|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/02/27 09:50 《英语学习》|
Lithuania Has Inmate Beauty Contest
Move over Miss Universe, make room for Miss Captivity, a contest to pick the most attractive female inmate serving jail time in Lithuania. The organizer of the event, television producer Arunas Valinskas, announced that he finalized a deal with the Baltic country's sole female prison and already had accepted applications from 36 contestants. "We'll attempt to find beauty \where\ you might think there is none," he said at a news conference. "The prisoners are, after all, women first and foremost." The prison, the Panevezys Penal Labor Colony, holds more than 1,000 inmates, including convicted murders. It's in the city of Panevezys, some 90 miles north of Vilnius, the capital of this nation. The competition, which organizers said was the first of its kind in Europe, will be shown live on the private LNK TV. Top Lithuanian fashion designers will make the contestants' clothes and local dignitaries would serve as the judges, selecting a winner based on "beauty and elegance," Valinskas said. In addition to what many might see as the dubious honor of being crowned Miss Captivity, the winner and runners-up will qualify for 10,000 litas ($2,500) in prizes though they'd only receive them after completing their jail terms. Prison officials said participating detainees would be excused from working in the penitentiary's sewing factory during the week of the contest.
Wartime Wrecks Could Cause Ecological Disaster
Shipwrecks from the Second World War could cause catastrophic damage to the environment, scientists have warned. Oil spills from 1,080 ships on the Pacific floor could equate to the damage caused by the Exxon Valdez disaster in 19891. Researchers for the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme believe the greatest dangers are from sunken oil tankers which will continue to corrode. After a typhoon two years ago the USS2 Mississinewa, a fuel tanker sunk by a Japanese human torpedo in 1944, suffered a ruptured hull. The Mississinewa, located at Ulithi Atoll near the Philippines, could still contain millions of litres of oil, as could another tanker, the USS Neosho, which lies near Australia's Great Barrier Reef and was sunk in 1942. Trevor Gilbert, who advised the Programme, told New Scientist magazine: "With every year that passes, these vessels deteriorate more and the risk of significant oil release becomes more likely." Another adviser, Sefania Nawadra, said: "In tropical conditions, oil remains fluid even at depth. For example, the oil on the Mississinewa is as fluid as the day it came out of the refinery." The researchers, yet to receive funding for their work, have produced a map of the wrecks and hope governments will act on their work.
1. 1989年3月24日，埃克森-瓦尔迪兹号(Exxon Valdez)油轮搁浅并泄出267,000桶共1,100万加仑的油，油污进入阿拉斯加威廉王子海峡，对环境造成严重破坏。此次意外是美国有史以来最严重的漏油事件。
2. USS：美国船，United States Ship的缩写。
Harry Potter Town Is Britain's Best
The Dukes of Northumberland have known it for 700 years, but it is now official the small Northumberland town of Alnwick is the best place to live in Britain. In a survey measuring quality of life, Country Life magazine chose Alnwick home to the Dukes of Northumberland since 1309 ahead of second-placed Midhurst in West Sussex and Cornwall's Fowey, which tied with Gloucestershire's Tetbury in third place. "It's just a beautiful place to live in," the 12th Duke of Northumberland said when asked what made the market town, population 8,000, so special. "There's fantastic scenery, good beaches, great fishing and the traffic is not as bad as London." The imposing presence of Alnwick castle used as Hogwarts wizardry school in the Harry Potter films also helped secure the town's victory. Despite the northeast's inclement climate "the town scored no marks for that," said Country Life editor Clive Aslet Alnwick also beat its southern rivals in its low crime rates, provision of affordable housing and a variety of local shops. "We've got one of the best second-hand bookshops in the country," said the Duke. The survey did not measure economic prosperity. According to Aslet, a mix of beauty and communal spirit was considered more important than income. "It's about quality of life and if you want that, then a high income doesn't matter," he said. Alnwick is also just a 30-minute drive from Newcastle. "If I drive half-an-hour from my London office I'm still stuck in the Edgware Road," said Aslet.
Scotland Aliens' Favorite Holiday Destination
Want to see a flying saucer? Then come to Scotland. The country better known as the home of legendary Loch Ness monster has the highest concentration of UFO sightings on the planet, according to figures released recently. Around 300 "Unidentified Flying Objects" are spotted in Scotland each year, the most per square kilometer and per head of population of anywhere in the world, figures compiled by Scotland's official tourist body found. VisitScotland said 0.004 UFOs were spotted for every square kilometer of Scotland a rate four times as high as in France or Italy, this planet's other UFO hotspots. The 2,000 UFOs are spotted every year in the United States represent just 0.0002 sightings per square kilometer. "This confirms that Scotland is the nearest thing there is to the Costa del Sol* for aliens," a VisitScotland spokesman said. The figures' release coincided with what aficionados celebrate as International UFO day, the anniversary of June 24, 1947. On that date, a U.S. air force pilot claimed to have spotted nine mysterious disc-shaped objects over the Cascade Mountains in Washington, leading to the term "flying saucer."
*Costa del Sol：太阳海岸，西班牙南部旅游胜地。
Divorce at Work Is Contagious?
The likelihood that you will get divorced increases if several of your colleagues at work break up with their partners, Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reported, quoting a sociological study. ''The study shows that divorce is contagious,'' Aftonbladet said. This was more true for men than for women, according to sociologist Yvonne Aberg, who surveyed the marital records of 37,000 people at 1,500 places of work over a seven-year period. A wave of divorces at work can trigger another wave of separations as those parting companies often find a new partner among their colleagues, the study said.
Fundraiser Could Get You Divorced
An Australian law firm has offered up a free divorce as a prize in a Red Cross auction to raise funds for victims of the Bali bombings. The divorce is just one of 100 prizes up for the auction to raise funds for the Australian Red Cross which is helping victims of the October 12 blasts on the Indonesian resort island that killed more than 180 people and wounded hundreds. Teena Gilbert, co-organizer of the charity auction at the Tracy Village Social and Sports Club in the northern city of Darwin, said the A$1,000 ($560) prize was being donated by a legal practice. "When my assistant first told me I thought, 'Oh God', I wouldn't like my husband to see me bidding for a divorce," Gilbert told reporters. "We hope to raise a lot of money for Bali. It's a horrific tragedy and it's touched a lot of hearts." Law firm owner Vanessa Farmer told the Australian Broadcasting Corp she did not necessarily expect the highest bidder for the prize to want a divorce. "But I've indicated we're going to honor it," she said.
Indiana Jail Is for Sale
Looking for a cozy, 132-bed home with no view and plenty of locks on the doors? Porter County may have a deal for you, as county commissioners plan to sell the old Porter County Jail at auction. "A jail is obviously a very unusual real estate offering," said Steven L. Good, chief executive officer of Sheldon Good & Co. Auctions. Sheriff's officers and inmates are moving from the 30-year-old jail in downtown Valparaiso to a new jail, but demolishing the 35,272-square-foot jail could cost as much as $300,000, county officials said. The minimum bid will be $25,000, though Good said it was difficult to determine an asking price for the jail because so few are on the market. Paul Galanis, senior project manager at Good, said the four-story, brick-and-concrete building could be redeveloped as an office building or medical center, or the property could be used for a private prison.
Inventor Says No More Tears with Baby-Cry Gadget
A Spanish inventor, intrigued by his son's incessant crying, has designed a detector that he says will tell harassed parents within 20 seconds if their baby is hungry, bored, tired, stressed or uncomfortable. Electronic engineer Pedro Monagas said the gadget called "Why Cry" would soon go on sale at pharmacies in Spain. "I started (studying) the different kinds of cries of my son. Then I continued on 100 babies," Monagas told a local radio station. He said he identified five distinct crying types, which the noise-sensitive gadget is able to recognize. The device, the size of a calculator and powered by batteries, has five faces on a screen on the back representing the possible reasons why a baby is crying. "When the baby cries, it sets off the Why Cry and in 20 seconds the little faces light up," Monagas said. The Catalan inventor, who plans to give a share of any profits to a baby charity, is already working on a more advanced model to "make the family environment a little easier."
News for Redheads
Redheads may actually have another trait that makes them stand out sensitivity to pain, specialists reported. People with natural red hair need about 20 percent more anesthesia than people with other hair colors, they told a meeting of anesthesiologists. The unexpected finding not only suggests that redheads are more sensitive to pain, but offers insights \into\ how anesthesia works in people. "Red hair is the first visible human trait, or phenotype, that is linked to anesthetic requirement," Dr. Edwin Liem of the University of Louisville in Kentucky said in a statement. "In a nutshell*, redheads are likely to experience more pain from a given stimulus and therefore require more anesthesia to alleviate that pain." Liem said the finding is important news for specialists who monitor patients during surgery. "The art and science of anesthesiology is choosing the right dose," he said. "There is very little difference between the effective dose and the toxic dose of most anesthetics. Patients can awaken during surgery if they are given insufficient anesthesia or suffer cardiac and pulmonary complications when they are given too much." Scientists do not fully understand how anesthesia works, but the findings offers clues, as people with red hair have a certain genetic variant.
* in a nutshell：简单地说，简而言之。
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