|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/02/27 15:06 《英语学习》|
Queen a Bargain for Canadians
Canada gets its constitutional monarchy cheap, paying just C$1.10 (45 pence) per citizen per year, or half the cost of running one of Ottawa's main museums, according to a study by a royalist group. The Monarchist League of Canada said the $1.10 pays for the expenses of the Governor General, the Queen's representative in Canada, and for the expenses of lieutenant governors in Canadian provinces. It also pays for royal visits, including the Queen's Golden Jubilee tour of Canada. That works out at under half the annual cost of the Museum of Civilisation, across the river from the capital Ottawa, or half the cost of running the Senate. "It's a pretty bare bones operation," said Monarchist League of Canada Chairman John Aimers. "It's a very modest and appropriate expenditure." Aimers said that even without the monarchy, Canada would still spend money on visiting foreign ambassadors and heads of state, and someone would be required to do the largely ceremonial governor general's job. "The costs would still be the same," he said. The governor general and lieutenant governors represent the Queen, who is Canada's head of state. Canadians foot the bill for security and other issues when members of the royal family visit Canada. But they don't pay for royal vacations, like the ski trip to Whistler, British Columbia, taken by Prince Charles and his sons in 1998.
Spell-Check Can Make Writing Worse
How might you drag a good writer's work down to the level of a lesser scribe? Try the spell-check button. A study at the University of Pittsburgh indicates spell-check software may level the playing field between people with differing levels of language skills, hampering the work of writers and editors who place too much trust in the software. In the study, 33 undergraduate students were asked to proofread a one-page business letter half of them using Microsoft Word with its squiggly red and green lines underlining potential errors. The other half did it the old-fashioned way, using only their heads. Without grammar or spelling software, students with higher SAT* verbal scores made, on average, five errors, compared with 12.3 errors for students with lower scores. Using the software, students with higher verbal scores reading the same page made, on average, 16 errors, compared with 17 errors for students with lower scores. Dennis Galletta, a professor of information systems at the Katz Business School, said spell-checking software is so sophisticated that some have come to trust it too thoroughly. "It's not a software problem, it's a behavior problem," he said. Microsoft technical specialist Tim Pash said grammar and spelling technology is meant to help writers and editors, not solve all their problems. The study found the software helped students find and correct errors in the letter, but in some cases they also changed phrases or sentences flagged by the software as grammatically suspicious, even though they were correct.
*SAT：Scholastic Assessment Test的简称，即“学习水平评估考试”，亦作Scholastic Aptitude Test。由美国大学委员会(The College Board)委托“教育考试服务机构”(Educational Testing Service)主持进行。美国没有统一的大学入学考试，各大学通常以SAT成绩作为录取标准。普通的SAT包括英文(verbal)和数学(math)两部分。
Unemployed Turn to TV Show to Win Jobs
Germans competing in a new television gameshow will not be bidding to win a luxury car or exotic holiday. In a country \where\ four million people are out of work, the prize is much more sought-after: a job. Two unemployed people will compete for one job contract in each show, and viewers will get to decide who they think is best suited to the post, said Marcus Wolter, program director at the Neun Live channel. "There might be two hairdressers for example, who have to show how well they treat customers and, of course, how well they can cut hair," he said. The new show, which will go on air in late autumn has triggered criticism from unions and social organizations. "Those who want to exploit the unemployed for visual ends are playing with the fears and hopes of people in a shameless and despicable manner," said Walter Hirrlinger, president of the VdK social federation. Germany's DGB trade union federation told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper finding jobs for the unemployed should rest with professionals and not a TV show. But Wolter said TV audiences were well-equipped to choose the better candidate without being employment experts: "If people can vote for their favorite song in the Eurovision song contest without having a music degree, why shouldn't they also vote in our show without being job experts?"
Remarks：在这个时代，也许真正的showtime已经来临了，没什么不能拿来show & sell了，但我觉得，还是主席先生说得有道理。
Doctors Advised to Stop Interrupting and Listen
Doctors should keep quiet and let patients explain their problems instead of interrupting them, Swiss scientists said. Most patients can explain what is wrong with them in less than two minutes and many may even be swifter, according to Dr. Wolf Langewitz of University Hospital in Basle. But research from the United States has shown that doctors usually start talking after about 22 seconds. "Doctors do not risk being swamped by their patients' complaints if they listen until a patient indicates that his or her list of complaints is complete," Langewitz said in a report in the British Medical Journal. When he and his colleagues used a hidden stopwatch to time patients until they were finished talking, the average time was 92 seconds, although elderly patients tended to take longer. "Even in a busy practice driven by time constraints and financial pressure, two minutes of listening should be possible and will be sufficient for nearly 80 percent of patients," Langewitz added.
Soccer Player Traded for Shrimp
Both teams said they got a good catch when striker Kenneth Kristensen switched soccer teams in Norway for about 170 pounds of fresh shrimp. A local newspaper said that third-division side Floey in Kristiansand agreed to pay rival team Vindbjart striker Kristensen's weight in shrimp for the privilege of having him among their forwards. "Kenneth was very eager to play for Floey, and we didn't want to be difficult. But he was under contract for us, so of course we had to demand some kind of compensation," said Vindbjart club president Vidar Ulstein. After a brief meeting, Vindbjart's officials decided that the transfer payment would be Kristensen's weight in shrimp. "No problem, we have enough shrimp," said Floey president Rolf Guttormsen. The exact amount that Floey will have to pay, will be decided when the two teams meet next time. To make sure that they get their due payment, Vindbjart will bring along scales, which Kristensen will mount before the game. Kristensen scored 14 goals for Floey this season.
Hat Trick* of Own Goals
Lithuania has scored an astonishing three own goals, including two from Gerdas Aleksa, to help Germany to a 4-1 victory in a European under-21 championship qualifier. After going ahead through a penalty from Mindaugas Kalonas in the 16th minute of the game, Lithuania lost their way, handing victory on a plate to the Germans in their first test under new coach Juergen Kohler, the former defender. Goalkeeper Simas Skinderlis put the ball \into\ his own net in the 40th minute. After German Michael Zepek headed a goal in the 54th minute, Aleksa struck the ball past his own goalkeeper twice in the 60th and 69th minutes. It is very unusual for three own goals to be scored in one match at international level. English soccer has witnessed two own goals from one player in domestic action, however. In 1976, Chris Nicholl scored all four goals in a 2-2 draw between Aston Villa and Leicester.
* Hat trick：帽子戏法，指在一场比赛中连进3球。这个词源于19世纪70年代在英国广为流行的板球比赛。在板球比赛中，如果一名投球手连续投出3个好球而将对方3名球员淘汰出局，他通常会得到一顶新帽子作为奖品，这就是“hat trick”的来历。现在“hat trick”的应用范围已不限于体育领域，人们还用它来形容任何连续3次的成功。
Soccer Team Paying for Fans' Seats
A bad pro soccer club is telling its fans, "This one's on us!" Embarrassed by Sigma Olomouc's 2-5-5 record*, putting it 13th in the 16-team Czech League, team officials ordered their players to foot the bill for tickets to the next game against Sparta Prague. All spectators will get in free to Sigma Olomouc's Andruv Stadium, which seats 12,119. At $1.70 a ticket, a sellout would cost the players about $20,000. The average annual salary in the Czech Republic is $5,900. "We were wondering how best to punish players who are paid royally but play lousily," club chairman Jiri Kubicek told a local newspaper. "Then a club official came up with this idea." The players, for their part, accepted the punishment for poor play. "None of us even thought about grumbling," captain Martin Vaniak said. "We hope the stadium will be packed. We want to get the fans back on our side."
* 2-5-5 record：2胜5平5负的战绩。体育报道中常用这样的方式表示球队的战绩，3个数字依次代表胜、平、负的场次。
Game Company Gives UK Drivers Free Ticket to Speed
A computer game company's offer to pay the speeding fines of all British drivers as part of an advertising promotion for a new motor racing game has been branded irresponsible and dangerous by the government. Acclaim Entertainment said it would refund the fines of any driver caught by speed camera on October 11, 2002 to mark the launch of a new PlayStation 2 driving game "Burnout 2: Point of Impact." Acclaim spokesman Shaun White said the company did not condone speeding but wanted to "ease the financial pain a bit." "Taking the side of people who enjoy driving fast, it therefore seemed quite logical to offer people caught by camera something that would make them feel OK about it," he said. But the Department of Transport said the campaign would be likely to promote speeding and encourage dangerous driving. "If they want to foot what is likely to be a hefty bill, that is their choice. But we cannot condone something that so obviously encourages people to break the law and do something dangerous," a spokesman said. "Basically they are encouraging people to speed and to break the law. I just hope for their sakes that none of these people ends up knocking down a child. "
Sexy Pin-Ups* Model Coffins for Funeral Home
Death is hardly something to look forward to, but one Italian funeral home is trying to make the afterlife a tad more tempting by using bikini-clad women to sell its coffins. On its site www.cofanifunebri.it, the Rome-based funeral home and coffin factory Cisa features its hand-crafted caskets alongside models sipping champagne or reclining seductively on the lids. "We wanted to make the whole idea of picking your coffin less serious, maybe even make people laugh a bit," Giuseppe Tenara, one of the partners, said. Near-naked women are used to sell everything in Italy from computers to chocolate bars, but Cisa has taken the advertising ploy to new limits. "Unfortunately the site hasn't helped sales much, because we mostly get calls from faraway places like Greece and Spain instead of Rome," Tenara told reporters. That hasn't stopped Cisa from creating an online "sexy calendar" with yet more temptresses frolicking among the coffins. Still, not all clients have been charmed. "Some people are scandalized, but we just explain that we're trying to make people laugh," Tenara said.
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