Butterflies – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

Butterflies are among the most extensively studied insects — it is estimated that 90 percent of the world’s species have scientific names. As a consequence, they are perhaps the best group of insects for examining patterns of terrestrial biotic diversity and distribution. Butterflies also have a favorable image with the general public. Hence, they are an excellent group for communicating information on science and conservation issues such as diversity.

Perhaps the aspect of butterfly diversity that has received the most attention over the past century is the striking difference in species richness between tropical and temperate regions. For example, in 1875 one biologist pointed out the diversity of butterflies in the Amazon when he mentioned that about 700 species were found within an hour’s walk, whereas the total number found on the British islands did not exceed 66, and the whole of Europe supported only 321. This early comparison of tropical and temperate butterfly richness has been well confirmed.

A general theory of diversity would have to predict not only this difference between temperate and tropical zones, but also patterns within each region, and how these patterns vary among different animal and plant groups. However, for butterflies, variation of species richness within temperate or tropical regions, rather man between them, is poorly understood. Indeed, comparisons of numbers of species among the Amazon basin, tropical Asia, and Africa are still mostly “personal communication” citations, even for vertebrates. In other words, unlike comparison between temperate and tropical areas, these patterns are still in the documentation phase.

In documenting geographical variation in butterfly diversity, some arbitrary, practical decisions are made. Diversity, number of species, and species richness are used synonymously; little is known about the evenness of butterfly distribution. The New World butterflies make up the preponderance of examples because they are the most familiar species. It is hoped that by focusing on them, the errors generated by imperfect and incomplete taxonomy will be minimized.







Crops production – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the production of food and feed crops in the United States rose at an extraordinarily rapid rate. Corn production increased by four and a half times, hay by five times, oats and wheat by seven times. The most crucial factor behind this phenomenal upsurge in productivity was the widespread adoption of labor-saving machinery by northern farmers. By 1850 horse-drawn reaping machines that cut grain were being introduced into the major grain-growing regions of the country. Horse-powered threshing machines to separate the seeds from the plants were already in general use. However, it was the onset of the Civil War in 1861 that provided the great stimulus for the mechanization of northern agriculture. With much of the labor force inducted into the army and with grain prices on the rise, northern farmers rushed to avail themselves of the new labor-saving equipment. In 1860 there were approximately 80,000 reapers in the country; five years later there were 350,000. After the close of the war in 1865, machinery became ever more important in northern agriculture, and improved equipment was continually introduced. By 1880 a self-binding reaper had been perfected that not only cut the grain, but also gathered the stalks and bound them with twine. Threshing machines were also being improved and enlarged, and after 1870 they were increasingly powered by steam engines rather than by horses. Since steam-powered threshing machines were costly items — running from $ 1,000 to $4,000 — they were usually owned by custom thresher owners who then worked their way from farm to farm during the harvest season. “Combines” were also coming into use on the great wheat ranches in California and the Pacific Northwest. These ponderous machines — sometimes pulled by as many as 40 horses — reaped the grain, threshed it, and bagged it, all in one simultaneous operation. The adoption of labor-saving machinery had a profound effect upon the sale of agricultural operations in the northern states — allowing farmers to increase vastly their crop acreage. By the end of century, a farmer employing the new machinery could plant and harvest two and half times as much corn as a farmer had using hand methods 50 years before.


The Art Nouveau style – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

AEAS阅读配图 - alphonse-mucha-redhead-among-flowers-art-nouveau-artwork


The end of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century were marked by the development of an international Art Nouveau style, characterized by sinuous lines, floral and vegetable motifs, and soft evanescent coloration. The Art Nouveau style was an eclectic one, bringing together elements of Japanese art, motifs of ancient cultures, and natural forms. The glass objects of this style were elegant in outline, although often deliberately distorted, with pale or iridescent surfaces. A favored device of the style was to imitate the iridescent surface seen on ancient glass that had been buried. Much of the Art Nouveau glass produced during the years of its greatest popularity had been generically termed “art glass.” Art glass was intended for decorative purposes and relied for its effect upon carefully chosen color combinations and innovative techniques.

France produced a number of outstanding exponents of the Art Nouveau style; among the most celebrated was Emile Galle (1846-1904). In the United States, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1843-1933) was the most noted exponent of this style, producing a great variety of glass forms and surfaces, which were widely copied in their time and are highly prized today. Tiffany was a brilliant designer, successfully combining ancient Egyptian, Japanese, and Persian motifs.

The Art Nouveau style was a major force in the decorative arts from 1895 until 1915, although its influence continued throughout the mid-1920’s. It was eventually to be overtaken by a new school of thought known as Functionalism that had been present since the turn of the century. At first restricted to a small avant-garde group of architects and designers, Functionalism emerged as the dominant influence upon designers after the First World War. The basic tenet of the movement — that function should determine form — was not a new concept. Soon a distinct aesthetic code evolved: form should be simple, surfaces plain, and any ornament should be based on geometric relationships. This new design concept, coupled with the sharp postwar reactions to the styles and conventions of the preceding decades, created an entirely new public taste which caused Art Nouveau types of glass to fall out of favor. The new taste demanded dramatic effects of contrast, stark outline and complex textural surfaces.



法国产生了一批杰出的新艺术风格的倡导者;其中最著名的是埃米尔·加勒(Emile Galle, 1846-1904)。在美国,路易斯·康福特·蒂芙尼(Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1843-1933)是这种风格最著名的代表人物,他生产了各种各样的玻璃形式和表面,这些在当时被广泛复制,如今受到高度重视。蒂芙尼是一位杰出的设计师,成功地结合了古埃及、日本和波斯的图案。


mineral particles – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

The mineral particles found in soil range in size from microscopic clay particles to large boulders. The most abundant particles — sand, silt, and clay — are the focus of examination in studies of soil texture. Texture is the term used to describe the composite sizes of particles in a soil sample, typically several representative handfuls. To measure soil texture, the sand, silt, and clay particles are sorted out by size and weight. The weights of each size are then expressed as a percentage of the sample weight. In the field, soil texture can be estimated by extracting a handful of soil and squeezing the damp soil into three basic shapes; (1) cast, a lump formed by squeezing a sample in a clenched fist; (2) thread, a pencil shape formed by rolling soil between the palms; and (3) ribbon, a flatfish shape formed by squeezing a small sample between the thumb and index finger. The behavioral characteristics of the soil when molded into each of these shapes, if they can be formed at all, provide the basis for a general textural classification. The behavior of the soil in the hand test is determined by the amount of clay in the sample. Clay particles are highly cohesive, and when dampened, behave as a plastic. Therefore the higher the clay content in a sample, the more refined and durable the shapes into which it can be molded. Another method of determining soil texture involves the use of devices called sediment sieves, screens built with a specified mesh size. When the soil is filtered through a group of sieves, each with a different mesh size, the particles become grouped in corresponding size categories. Each category can be weighed to make a textural determination. Although sieves work well for silt, sand, and larger particles, they are not appropriate for clay particles. Clay is far too small to sieve accurately; therefore, in soils with a high proportion of clay, the fine particles are measured on the basis of their settling velocity when suspended in water. Since clays settle so slowly, they are easily segregated from sand and silt. The water can be drawn off and evaporated, leaving a residue of clay, which can be weighed.





Shoemaker-Levy 9 – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

In July of 1994, an astounding series of events took place. The world anxiously watched as, every few hours, a hurtling chunk of comet plunged into the atmosphere of Jupiter. All of the twenty-odd fragments, collectively called comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 after its discoverers, were once part of the same object, now dismembered and strung out along the same orbit. This cometary train, glistening like a string of pearls, had been first glimpsed only a few months before its fateful impact with Jupiter, and rather quickly scientists had predicted that the fragments were on a collision course with the giant planet. The impact caused an explosion clearly visible from Earth, a bright flaming fire that quickly expanded as each icy mass incinerated itself. When each fragment slammed at 60 kilometers per second into the dense atmosphere, its immense kinetic energy was transformed into heat, producing a superheated fireball that was ejected back through the tunnel the fragment had made a few seconds earlier. The residues from these explosions left huge black marks on the face of Jupiter, some of which have stretched out to form dark ribbons.

Although this impact event was of considerable scientific import, it especially piqued public curiosity and interest. Photographs of each collision made the evening television newscast and were posted on the Internet. This was possibly the most open scientific endeavor in history. The face of the largest planet in the solar system was changed before our very eyes. And for the very first time, most of humanity came to fully appreciate the fact that we ourselves live on a similar target, a world subject to catastrophe by random assaults from celestial bodies. That realization was a surprise to many, but it should not have been. One of the great truths revealed by the last few decades of planetary exploration is that collisions between bodies of all sizes are relatively commonplace, at least in geologic terms, and were even more frequent in the early solar system.




Clinical nutrition – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

The history of clinical nutrition, or the study of the relationship between health and how the body takes in and utilizes food substances, can be divided into four distinct eras: the first began in the nineteenth century and extended into the early twentieth century when it was recognized for the first time that food contained constituents that were essential for human function and that different foods provided different amounts of these essential agents. Near the end of this era, research studies demonstrated that rapid weight loss was associated with nitrogen imbalance and could only be rectified by providing adequate dietary protein associated with certain foods.

The second era was initiated in the early decades of the twentieth century and might be called “the vitamin period.” Vitamins came to be recognized in foods, and deficiency syndromes were described. As vitamins became recognized as essential food constituents necessary for health, it became tempting to suggest that every disease and condition for which there had been no previous effective treatment might be responsive to vitamin therapy. At that point in time, medical schools started to become more interested in having their curricula integrate nutritional concepts into the basic sciences. Much of the focus of this education was on the recognition of vitamin deficiency symptoms. Herein lay the beginning of what ultimately turned from ignorance to denial of the value of nutritional therapies in medicine. Reckless claims were made for effects of vitamins that went far beyond what could actually be achieved from the use of them.

In the third era of nutritional history in the early 1950’s to mid-1960s, vitamin therapy began to fall into disrepute. Concomitant with this, nutrition education in medical schools also became less popular. It was just a decade before this that many drug companies had found their vitamin sales skyrocketing and were quick to supply practicing physicians with generous samples of vitamins and literature extolling the virtue of supplementation for a variety of health-related conditions. Expectations as to the success of vitamins in disease control were exaggerated. As is known in retrospect, vitamin and mineral therapies are much less effective when applied to health-crisis conditions than when applied to long-term problems of undernutrition that lead to chronic health problems.





Aurora – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

The spectacular aurora light displays that appear in Earth’s atmosphere around the north and south magnetic poles were once mysterious phenomena. Now, scientists have data from satellites and ground-based observations from which we know that the aurora brilliance is an immense electrical discharge similar to that occurring in a neon sign. To understand the cause of auroras, first picture the Earth enclosed by its magnetosphere, a huge region created by the Earth’s magnetic field. Outside the magnetosphere, blasting toward the earth is the solar wind, a swiftly moving plasma of ionized gases with its own magnetic filed. Charged particles in this solar wind speed earthward along the solar wind’s magnetic lines of force with a spiraling motion. The Earth’s magnetosphere is a barrier to the solar winds, and forces the charged particles of the solar wind to flow around the magnetosphere itself. But in the polar regions, the magnetic lines of force of the Earth and of the solar wind bunch together. Here many of the solar wind’s charged particles break through the magnetosphere and enter Earth’s magnetic field. They then spiral back and forth between the Earth’s magnetic poles very rapidly. In the polar regions, electrons from the solar wind ionize and excite the atoms and molecules of the upper atmosphere, causing them to emit aurora radiations of visible light. The colors of an aurora depend on the atoms emitting them. The dominant greenish white light comes from low energy excitation of oxygen atoms. During huge magnetic storms oxygen atoms also undergo high energy excitation and emit crimson light. Excited nitrogen atoms contribute bands of color varying from blue to violet. Viewed from outer space, auroras can be seen as dimly glowing belts wrapped around each of the Earth’s magnetic poles. Each aurora hangs like a curtain of light stretching over the polar regions and into the higher latitudes. When the solar flares that result in magnetic storms and aurora activity are very intense, aurora displays may extend as far as the southern regions of the United States. Studies of auroras have given physicists new information about the behavior of plasmas, which has helped to explain the nature of outer space and is being applied in attempts to harness energy from the fusion of atoms.






aeas精读:Social Media Privacy – A Contradiction in Terms?

This article is by Naomi Troni, global CMO of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Never in the course of human interaction have so many shared so much about themselves with so many others – and with so little apparent concern for their privacy. Was it really just a generation ago that people kept all but their most basic information under virtual lock and key? Today, we happily share our date and place of birth, name of our first pet, mother’s maiden name, favourite movie or book, favourite colour, first school teacher – and myriad other snippets of information required by online services as part of their security procedures.

The basic premise behind this information-sharing is nothing new. Consumers have long handed over a little personal information in exchange for services such as banking and finance, utilities and healthcare. The big difference now is that the information is digitized and accessible online – and we’re handing it out to virtually anyone who asks, regardless of how briefly the business has been in existence. Of even greater concern to many is the amount and variety of information being gathered about us without our explicit permission. Whereas retailers and others used to tweeze out information gleaned through loyalty cards, prize draws and catalogue mailing lists, now these old standbys have been massively augmented by customers researching and purchasing online, leaving in their wake a digital trail of cookie crumbs detailing their needs, tastes and desires.

And then there’s social media. If this isn’t the Holy Grail* for marketers, it’s difficult to imagine what would be. In this thoroughly 21st century communications channel, old notions of privacy simply do not apply; sharing personal information, experiences and opinions is the whole point of the service. And, wonder of wonders, consumers don’t only provide it willingly – they provide it for free’ Sure, some people take the precaution of limiting access to their Facebook or Google+ pages, but even these people typically are eager to share their thoughts via comment sections on news sites, reviews on retail sites and in branded clubs and forums.

With all the time we spend online and all the forums we frequent, it’s no wonder most of us have grown accustomed to doling out little snippets of personal information with barely a second thought. It helps that we rarely are asked to hand over a whole stack of personal information in one massive data transfer; that would be too much trouble and might provoke too much anxiety. Rather, we routinely hand it out a bit at a time.

Anybody over the age of 30 likely will remember that in the early days of mainstream Internet, 10 to 15 years ago, consumers were wary about handing over private information. A 2001 UCLA report, for instance, found high levels of consumer concern over online privacy in general and credit card security in particular.

Since then hundreds of millions of people have come online and become regular users of commerce sites and social media. Early concerns about online privacy have been sidelined by the desire for more speed, more convenience, more choice and more great deals. Familiarity has bred complacency and even foolhardiness; we’ve all heard about people uploading pretty much everything, including the most intimate words and images.

Now, after a decade of consumers feeling increasingly free-and-easy with their personal information online, we are seeing signs of a new wariness setting in. In a Euro RSCG global survey conducted among 7,213 adults in 19 countries, we found that 55% of respondents are worried that ‘technology is robbing us of our privacy’; the figure was above 60% in a number of countries, including the United States and China. Similarly, 61 % overall agreed ‘People share too much about their personal thoughts and experiences online; we need to go back to being more private.’

And it’s not just snooping companies and hackers that consumers fear. Nearly half the sample (47%) – and a majority of millennials* – worry that friends or family will share inappropriate personal information about them online. Around one-third overall already regret posting personal information about themselves.

* Holy Grail – a desired ambition or goal (in Christian tradition, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper with his followers)
* Millennials – people born between 1982 and 2000

Colonial – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

Although only 1 person in 20 in the Colonial period lived in a city, the cities had a disproportionate influence on the development of North America. They were at the cutting edge of social change. It was in the cities that the elements that can be associated with modern capitalism first appeared — the use of money and commercial paper in place of barter, open competition in place of social deference and hierarchy, with an attendant rise in social disorder, and the appearance of factories using coat or water power in place of independent craftspeople working with hand tools. “The cities predicted the future,” wrote historian Gary. B. Nash, “even though they were but overgrown villages compared to the great urban centers of Europe, the Middle East and China.”

Except for Boston, whose population stabilized at about 16,000 in 1760, cities grew by exponential leaps through the eighteenth century. In the fifteen years prior to the outbreak of the War for independence in 1775, more than 200,000 immigrants arrived on North American shores. This meant that a population the size of Boston was arriving every year, and most of it flowed into the port cities in the Northeast. Philadelphia’s population nearly doubted in those years, reaching about 30,000 in 1774, New York grew at almost the same rate, reaching about 25,000 by 1775.

The quality of the hinterland dictated the pace of growth of the cities. The land surrounding Boston had always been poor farm country, and by the mid-eighteenth century it was virtually stripped of its timber. The available farmland was occupied, there was little in the region beyond the city to attract immigrants. New York and Philadelphia, by contrast, served a rich and fertile hinterland laced with navigable watercourses. Scots, Irish, and Germans landed in these cities and followed the rivers inland. The regions around the cities of New York and Philadelphia became the breadbaskets of North America, sending grain not only to other colonies but also to England and southern Europe, where crippling droughts in the late 1760’s created a whole new market.




Cties – aeas精读 (Y10-12)

Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, citizens of the United States maintained a bias against big cities. Most lived on farms and in small towns and believed cities to be centers of corruption, crime, poverty, and moral degradation. Their distrust was caused, in part, by a national ideology that proclaimed farming the greatest occupation and rural living superior to urban living. This attitude prevailed even as the number of urban dwellers increased and cities became an essential feature of the national landscape. Gradually, economic reality overcame ideology. Thousands abandoned the precarious life on the farm for more secure and better paying jobs in the city. But when these people migrated from the countryside, they carried their fears and suspicious with them. These new urbanities, already convinced that cities were overwhelmed with great problems, eagerly embraced the progressive reforms that promised to bring order out of the chaos of the city.

One of many reforms came in the area of public utilities. Water and sewerage systems were usually operated by municipal governments, but the gas and electric networks were privately owned. Reformers feared that the privately owned utility companies would charge exorbitant rates for these essential services and deliver them only to people who could afford them. Some city and state governments responded by regulating the utility companies, but a number of cities began to supply these services themselves. Proponents of these reforms argued that public ownership and regulation would insure widespread access to these utilities and guarantee a fair price.

While some reforms focused on government and public behavior, others looked at the cities as a whole. Civic leaders, convinced that physical environment influenced human behavior, argued that cities should develop master plans to guide their future growth and development. City planning was nothing new, but the rapid industrialization and urban growth of the late nineteenth century took place without any consideration for order. Urban renewal in the twentieth century followed several courses. Some cities introduced plans to completely rebuild the city core. Most other cities contented themselves with zoning plans for regulating future growth. Certain parts of town were restricted to residential use, while others were set aside for industrial or commercial development.