2009年7月26日 星期日

the Great War


據朋友推薦 本書翻譯不差
不過我注意到翻譯者不知道The Story of the Great War 指的是第一次世界大戰

2009年7月24日 星期五

此the brand 表示Ford 而非"品牌"

Ford Motor Co. returned to profitability in the second quarter and showed signs of stabilizing as the company continued to win customers from its Detroit competitors.

The car maker reported a profit of $2.3 billion, though that came mainly from gains it recorded as part of efforts to restructure its debt during the quarter. Excluding those gains, Ford would have reported a loss of $424 million, still narrower than a comparable loss of $1.03 billion a year earlier and much better than Wall Street analysts were expecting.

The earnings suggest that the deep downturn in Detroit may have bottomed out and at least one member of the Big Three has figured out how to stabilize its business at a much lower sales volume.

The results also underscore the assessment of Chief Executive Alan Mulally as a rising star in an industry he entered only three years ago.

Ford remains on track to break even or make money in 2011 and has sufficient liquidity to fund its turnaround plan, Mr. Mulally, a former Boeing Co. executive, said Thursday.

Once seen as the industry's sickest company, Ford underwent a wrenching cost-cutting period. It closed plants, shed brands and laid off more than 40,000 employees. It also borrowed $23.5 billion from private lenders by mortgaging almost everything of value at the company.

In the last year, a leaner Ford was able to shun a government bailout and avoid bankruptcy, recasting itself as a U.S.-based car maker with enough new products and global reach to survive the auto-sales downturn.

A key indicator of Ford's relative success has been its increasing ability to manage cash burn, the issue that caused General Motors Co. to stumble close to insolvency. Ford used about $1 billion in cash during the second quarter, far less than the $3.7 billion in the first quarter. That left the Dearborn, Mich., company with $21 billion in gross cash in its automotive operations.

Ford's rate of cash use fell largely as a result of limited spending on buyer incentives and increased production at its North American plants.

To be sure, Ford remains saddled by massive debt and declining sales in one of the worst auto markets in recent history. And Ford doesn't expect to repeat the one-time gains from debt restructuring.

For the recent quarter, Ford reported earnings of 69 cents a share, compared with a loss of $8.67 billion, or $3.89 a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $27.2 billion from $38.6 billion a year earlier. Ford blamed the slump on the 33% year-over-year drop in the annualized sales rate for the U.S. vehicle market.

Nonetheless, Ford executives predicted a rosier second half of the year, saying for the first time that they expect to gain market share for 2009 in both the U.S. and Europe. Cash outflow also is expected to abate for the second half.

Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth cautioned that a slower-than-expected economic recovery or a disruption of the industry's parts supply could tamp down Ford's optimistic outlook.

The company's debt at the end of the second quarter totaled $26.1 billion. Ford's decision to decline U.S. aid or file for bankruptcy protection may have created consumer goodwill, but rival GM was able to eliminate about $40 billion in debt. Chrysler Group LLC similarly exited bankruptcy with lower financial obligations.

But Mr. Mulally said the bankruptcy reorganizations and debt reductions at Ford's rivals haven't put his company at a disadvantage. Ford reduced its own debt by $10.1 billion in the second quarter while raising $1.6 billion through new stock. At the same time, it reduced the cost of running its business by $1.8 billion.

'I think it's great cars and a very strong business' that are drawing more people to Ford, Mr. Mulally told analysts and journalists during a conference call.

According to Standard and Poor's, GM and Chrysler lost market share in the U.S. through the first six months of 2009, while Ford's rose slightly to 15.9% from 15.3%. GM's share for the first six months was 19.8%, compared to 21.5% in the same period in 2008. For Chrysler, the figure was 9.8%, down from 11.7%.

And for the first time in about three years, Ford's internal data are showing that consumer opinion about the brand is improving by a significant margin.

HC 評
此the brand 表示Ford 而非"品牌"


2009年7月8日 星期三

Why weather forecasts can affect your prosperity

有興趣的朋友可以比較 ft 這篇翻譯和機械翻譯

Undercover economist: Why weather forecasts can affect your prosperity

By Tim Harford 2009-07-09

Spare a thought for the weather forecasters. Taken for granted when they get it right, they are invariably whipping boys when they get things wrong – despite a far better forecasting record than we economists have. They probably have more to contribute to the economy, too.

A recent case in point: Bournemouth's woes during the bank holiday at the end of May. The Met Office predicted storms, but the beach resort in fact enjoyed the sunniest day of the year. Bournemouth's tourist office reckons the town missed out on at least 25,000 visitors and more than £1m of revenue as a result. Subtler losses and gains were registered by the would-be tourists, and the lucky ones who enjoyed both a sunny day and a quieter beach.

Tourists have always been vulnerable to the weather, but they may now be more vulnerable to weather forecasters. The internet has made it easy to check the forecast and easy, too, to make late bookings for short breaks – which are self-evidently more responsive to the weather.

Galvanised by Bournemouth's woes, I did some research into the economics of weather forecasting for a short BBC documentary. What surprised me was the sheer range of industries that could save money if given a reliable forecast.

Electricity generators need temperature forecasts to gauge the demand for power, and electricity generation itself is weather-sensitive. It's not just a case of windmills and solar panels: gas-fired power stations are more efficient at lower temperatures. Without a good forecast, both energy and money will be wasted.

Local governments are responsible for salting and gritting roads as they freeze. It's a costly process, best avoided if the roads are not, in fact, going to freeze at all. Supermarkets consult detailed weather forecasts and adjust the local product mix accordingly. An extra day's reliable warning of the local weather is a godsend.

The vulnerability to bad weather is even higher in developing countries, sometimes with tragic consequences. As I reported in a column last year, the economists Emily Oster and Ted Miguel have investigated the link between bad weather and “witch” killings. Miguel found that modern-day witch-killings in Tanzania are correlated with droughts and floods. Oster, building on research by historian Wolfgang Behringer, found a connection between cold decades and witch-trials in 16th- and 17th-century Europe.

MIT economist Michael Greenstone has studied the impact of local temperature surges on deaths in both India and the US. He calculates that a year with one extra “heatwave” day – temperatures above 32°C instead of 12°C-15°C – would raise the annual death rate by eight per million in the US. In India, the temperature vulnerability is more than five times higher, notably in rural areas where agriculture suffers and wages drop.

Weather forecasting cannot prevent heatwaves, but it can help in other ways. Accurate forecasts can allow farmers to sow seeds without fear that they will be washed or blown away. A study from the mid-1990s – admittedly, conducted by the World Meteorological Organization – concluded that every dollar invested in weather forecasting services would save $10 in economic losses.

The World Bank broadly agrees, and is supporting Russian efforts to reinvigorate forecasting systems that have been deteriorating since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The World Bank's researchers reckon that the benefits of such efforts outweigh the costs by five to one. If those numbers stack up, that suggests an unlikely development tactic for poor countries: hire more weather forecasters.

作者:英國《金融時報》專欄作家提姆•哈福德(Tim Harford) 2009-07-09


最 近的一個例證,就是5月底銀行假日期間波恩茅斯(Bournemouth)出現的問題。英國氣象局(Met Office)預計,該海濱勝地在假日期間將會出現暴風雨天氣,但實際上,那是一年中陽光最燦爛的一天。波恩茅斯旅遊局估計,該城至少錯失了2.5萬名遊 客和逾100萬英鎊的收入。那些本打算前往波恩茅斯的遊客和(去了的)幸運遊客,則分擔了說不清楚的損失和收益——那些幸運的遊客既享受了陽光燦爛的一 天,也享受了更為安靜的海濱。





發 展中國家甚至更容易受到惡劣天氣的影響,有時還會造成悲劇性的後果。正如去年我在專欄中寫道的那樣,經濟學家艾米麗•奧斯特(Emily Oster)和泰德•米格爾(Ted Miguel)調查了惡劣天氣和“女巫”被殺之間的關聯。米格爾發現,當代坦桑尼亞殺害女巫案例與乾旱和洪水有關。在歷史學家沃爾夫岡•貝林格 (Wolfgang Behringer)研究的基礎上,奧斯特發現,在16世紀和17世紀的歐洲,幾十年的寒冷天氣與審判女巫之間存在關聯。

麻 省理工學院(MIT)經濟學家邁克爾•格林斯通(Michael Greenstone)對印度和美國當地氣溫飆升對死亡率的影響進行了研究。他估計,如果一年額外多一天“高溫天氣”——氣溫高於32攝氏度,而不是12 至15攝氏度——美國每百萬人每年的死亡率就會增加8人。在印度,高溫造成的死亡率是美國的5倍多,特別是在農作物歉收、薪資下降的農村地區。


世界銀行(World Bank)對此基本表示贊同,並支持俄羅斯重建自蘇聯解體以來日益衰落的天氣預報系統。



Google( machine translation)






易受惡劣天氣甚至更高在發展中國家,有時造成的悲慘後果。正如我在一列去年,經濟學家劉慧卿奧斯特和Ted米格爾調查之間的聯繫,惡劣天氣和“女 巫”殺人。米格爾發現,當今的政治迫害殺戮在坦桑尼亞是與旱災和水災。奧斯特的基礎上,研究的歷史學家沃爾夫岡林格,找到了幾十年冷戰的聯繫和巫婆,審判 在16和17世紀的歐洲。

麻省理工學院經濟學家Michael綠研究的影響,當地氣溫上升的死亡在印度和美國。他的計算,一年一個額外的“熱浪”天-溫度超過32 ℃而不是12 °的C - 15 ℃ -將提高每年的死亡率是每100萬個在美國。在印度,溫度漏洞超過5倍,特別是在農村地區,農業遭受和工資下降。




2009年7月1日 星期三


It all started in 2000, when clubbers in Paris started whirling their arms around, in a way never seen before –- fast and wildly. And so began "Tecktonic" -- a new dance style.

In the first study, 286 clubbers were observed while they were talking with loud music in the background. In total, 72% of interactions occurred on the right side of the listener. In the second study, researchers approached 160 clubbers and mumbled an inaudible, meaningless utterance and waited for the subjects to turn their head and offer either their left or their right ear. They then asked them for a cigarette.

在第一份研究中,研究人員觀察286名在吵雜的音樂聲中與人交談的夜店族。整 體而言,72%的互動都是發生在聆聽者的右邊。在第二份研究中,研究人員走向160名夜店族,在他們身邊發出聽不到,沒有意義的聲音,等待研究樣本轉過頭 來,用左耳或右耳聆聽。然後問他們有沒有菸。

Whirl is King, having driven out Zeus.

clubber:名詞,常去夜店的人。hc評:此說法是指台灣的某些酒店 與洋人之clubber 意義不同


MJ】マイケル・ジャクソンさん(50)的香港說法 台灣會戲稱之為 "米糕"

香港新浪網 - Hong Kong
米高死前兩天為其倫敦《This Is It》演唱會綵排的照片昨日被公開,相中的他消瘦不少,但「舞台王者」風采依然,有消息指米高這些最後演出或會輯錄成DVD推出,作為他一生中最後的專輯,銷售潛力無可限量。 該批相片攝於六月二十三日,即米高死前兩天。 ...