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Centuries-Old Giants, Beloved but in Peril 百年巨木備受喜愛 但處境危殆

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讀紐時學英文
2018/11/09 第240期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
 
 

紐時周報精選 Centuries-Old Giants, Beloved but in Peril 百年巨木備受喜愛 但處境危殆
Lavender’s Soothing Scent Could Be More Than Just Folk Medicine 薰衣草香讓人鎮靜 可能不只是民俗療法

紐時周報精選
 

Centuries-Old Giants, Beloved but in Peril 百年巨木備受喜愛 但處境危殆
文/Dionne Searcey
譯/李京倫

Wide, awkward baobab trees blend into the cityscape of Dakar, the busy capital of Senegal, almost without notice.

樹冠寬闊、姿態樸拙的猴麵包樹(或稱猢猻樹),在幾乎沒人注意的情況下,與塞內加爾繁忙首都達卡的風景融為一體。

Drivers wash a fleet of taxis parked beneath one giant tree near a freeway on-ramp. Rusting cars with open hoods are parked in a mechanic’s shop under the shade of another. A leathery trunk is a community billboard, with ads nailed to it for a plumber and an apartment for rent.

計程車司機清洗一排停在高速公路入口匝道附近一棵巨木下的計程車。引擎蓋大開的生鏽汽車則停在另一棵巨木樹蔭下的修車廠裡。粗糙的樹幹是社區公布欄,徵求水電工和公寓出租的廣告釘在上面。

Aliou Ndour stood on a crowded corner, pulled out his phone and scrolled past the pictures of friends and family to another precious photo: the baobab in his home village.

恩多站在擠滿人的角落,拿出手機,用手指滑過螢幕上親友的照片,來到另一張珍貴的相片:他老家村裡的猴麵包樹。

Fat baobabs, some more than half a millennium old, have endured across Senegal, passed over for lumber largely because their wood is too brittle and spongy for use in furniture. Baobab leaves are mixed with couscous and eaten, the trees’ bark stripped to make rope, their fruit and seeds used for drinks and oils.

胖胖的猴麵包樹在塞內加爾全國各地屹立,其中有些超過500歲,這種樹逃過砍伐,大致是因為木頭太脆太鬆軟,不能用作家具。猴麵包樹的葉子跟蒸粗麥粉混著吃,樹皮剝來做繩索,果實和種子則做成飲料和油。

Something else has helped preserve these giants: They are beloved.

另有一個因素讓這些巨木得以保存:它們受到喜愛。

“This,” said Adama Dieme, craning his neck to look up at the spread of branches of the baobab on his block, “is the pride of the neighborhood.”

迪艾米伸長脖子,仰望著他所在街區這棵猴麵包樹的樹枝伸展的幅度,他說:「這棵樹讓鄰里感到光榮。」

But baobabs, like many of the region’s trees, are in jeopardy, threatened by the same forces upending numerous facets of society — climate change, urbanization and population growth.

不過,猴麵包樹就像這區域的許多樹一樣陷入險境,受到顛覆社會諸多面向的同樣力量威脅,包括氣候變遷、都市化與人口成長。

West Africa has lost much of the natural resources once tied so closely to its cultural identity. Poaching has stolen most of its wildlife; lions, giraffes and desert elephants are sorely endangered.

西非已失去一度與其文化認同緊密相連的大半天然資源。盜獵行為竊奪了絕大多數野生動物:獅子、長頸鹿和沙漠象都瀕臨滅絕。

Huge swaths of forest are being razed to clear space for palm oil and cocoa plantations. Mangroves are being killed off by pollution. Even wispy acacias are hacked away for use in cooking fires to feed growing families.

極其大片的森林為了生產棕櫚油和種植可可樹而被夷為平地。紅樹林不敵汙染而毀滅。就連纖細脆弱的刺槐也被砍下作為烹飪用的柴火,以餵飽逐漸增加的家庭。

A recent study said climate change might be blamed for the deaths of some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobabs. In Senegal, local researchers estimate the nation has lost half its baobabs in the past 50 years to drought and development.

最近一份研究顯示,非洲一些最老、最大的猴麵包樹死亡,可能要歸咎於氣候變遷。在塞內加爾,當地研究人員估計,該國50年來已因乾旱與人為開發而失去半數猴麵包樹。

One of the biggest developments in the country is outside Dakar, where Senegal’s president is building an entirely new city, in the middle of a baobab forest. Officials have pledged to replant any trees they raze.

塞內加爾最大的開發案之一在達卡市郊,塞內加爾總統正在一片猴麵包樹森林的中央建造一整座新城市。官方承諾要把所有連根拔起的樹種回去。

On the far edges of the development, construction workers were building new homes. The corpse of one baobab laid on the ground, a musty smell lingering at its exposed hollow interior. The smooth marks of an ax scarred its trunk.

在這開發案的遙遠邊緣,建築工人正在蓋新的住家房子。一棵猴麵包樹的殘骸躺在地上,一股霉味從暴露在外的空心

Other charred carcasses of baobabs lay nearby. A worker said those had been torched with gasoline.

木頭內部持續飄散出來。斧頭平滑的標記在樹幹上留下傷痕。

“Whenever you see a baobab that has fallen down, you’re sad,” said Gorgui Kebbe, the worker.

另有些焦黑的猴麵包樹殘骸躺在附近,工人說都是用汽油燒過的。

“It’s a symbol of our country. But having a house to live in takes priority.”

工人柯柏說:「每當你看到一棵猴麵包樹倒下,就會難過,那是我們國家的象徵,不過,有房子住最重要。」

※說文解字看新聞

這篇文章講的是塞內加爾的猴麵包樹雖然受到喜愛,但因為氣候變遷和人為開發而處境危殆。標題用peril,內文用jeopardy,兩者都指「危險」,但含意有別。

peril語氣比danger強。danger泛指危險、危害、威脅,peril指嚴重的危險(尤其是死亡),通常指重大而立即的危險,或受到傷害、損失或破壞的風險,例如某種動物「面臨滅絕的危險」,就可以說in peril of extinction。

jeopardy是正式用語,意思幾乎跟peril一樣,但強調「暴露」在危險中,通常會以慣用語to put someone/something in jeopardy來用。

jeopardy還用在法律上。當我們說,被告的同一罪行不能審判兩次,就是「一事不再理」原則,英文說protection against double jeopardy(禁止雙重危險、禁止雙重追訴),意思就是你不能為了同一個罪行,讓某人的自由陷入危險兩次。

 

Lavender’s Soothing Scent Could Be More Than Just Folk Medicine 薰衣草香讓人鎮靜 可能不只是民俗療法
文/JoAnna Klein
譯/李京倫

Lavender bath bombs; lavender candles; deodorizing lavender sachets for your shoes, car or underwear drawer; lavender diffusers; lavender essential oils; even lavender chill pills for humans and dogs. And from Pinterest: 370 recipes for lavender desserts.

薰衣草泡澡球;薰衣草蠟燭;為你的鞋子、汽車或內衣褲抽屜除臭的薰衣草香囊;薰衣草擴香瓶;薰衣草精油;甚至是能讓人類和狗冷靜下來的薰衣草藥丸。還有來自社群網站Pinterest的點子:370種薰衣草甜點食譜。

Take a deep breath. Release.

深吸一口氣。吐氣。

People like lavender. We have been using this violet-capped herb since at least medieval times. It smells nice. But Google “lavender” and results hint at perhaps the real fuel for our obsession: “tranquility,” “calm,” “relaxation,” “soothing” and “serenity.” Lavender has purported healing powers for reducing stress and anxiety. But are these effects more than just folk medicine?

人們喜歡薰衣草。至少從中世紀以來,我們一直在使用這種頂端藍紫色的藥草。它很好聞。不過,上谷歌搜尋「薰衣草」,結果也許暗示著我們迷戀薰衣草的真正原因:「寧靜」、「鎮定」、「放鬆」、「舒緩」和「平靜」。相傳薰衣草有療癒力,能減輕緊張和焦慮。這些效果並不只是民俗療法?

Yes, said Hideki Kashiwadani, a physiologist and neuroscientist at Kagoshima University in Japan — at least in mice.

沒錯,日本鹿兒島大學的生理學家兼神經科學家柏谷英樹這麼說——至少在老鼠身上是如此。

“Many people take the effects of ‘odor’ with a grain of salt,” he said in an email. “But among the stories, some are true based on science.”

柏谷在電子郵件中說:「許多人對『氣味』的效果持保留態度,不過在各種消息中,有些真的有科學根據。」

In a study published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, he and his colleagues found that sniffing linalool, an alcohol component of lavender odor, was kind of like popping a Valium. It worked on the same parts of a mouse’s brain, but without all the dizzying side effects. And it did not target parts of the brain directly from the bloodstream, as was thought. Relief from anxiety could be triggered just by inhaling through a healthy nose.

在10月23日發表於「行為神經科學前沿」期刊上的研究報告中,柏谷與同事發現,嗅聞芳樟醇(薰衣草氣味中的酒精成分)有點像服用煩寧錠。芳樟醇在老鼠腦部中起作用的區域跟煩寧錠一樣,卻全無令人頭暈的副作用。而且芳樟醇並不像人們先前以為的、直接從血液針對部分腦部起作用,焦慮緩解可能僅靠健康的鼻子吸入芳樟醇氣味即觸發。

Their findings add to a growing body of research demonstrating anxiety-reducing qualities of lavender odors and suggest a new mechanism for how they work in the body. Kashiwadani believes this new insight is a key step in developing lavender-derived compounds like linalool for clinical use in humans.

他們的發現與愈來愈多的其他研究結果一樣,顯示薰衣草氣味能減輕焦慮,另外還提出薰衣草氣味在體內發揮作用的新機制。柏谷認為,就研發源自薰衣草的化合物(如芳樟醇)以供人體臨床應用而言,這一新見解是關鍵性的一步。

Kashiwadani and his colleagues became interested in learning how linalool might work for anti-anxiety while testing its effects on pain relief in mice. In this earlier study, they noticed that the presence of linalool seemed to calm mice.

柏谷與同事在測試芳樟醇緩解老鼠疼痛的效果時,開始對芳樟醇如何抗焦慮產生了興趣。在這個先前所做的緩解老鼠疼痛的研究中,他們注意到芳樟醇的存在似乎使老鼠平靜。

In this study, they exposed mice to linalool vapor, wafting from filter paper inside a specially made chamber to see if the odor triggered relaxation. Mice on linalool were more open to exploring, indicating they were less anxious than normal mice. And they did not

behave like they were drunk, as mice on benzodiazepines, a drug used to treat anxiety, or injected with linalool did.

而在現今這個抗焦慮的研究中,他們將小鼠暴露在芳樟醇蒸氣中,蒸氣從一個特製箱子裡的濾紙飄出,看氣味能否引發放鬆。吸入芳樟醇的老鼠更願意探索四周,顯示牠們不若一般老鼠焦慮。而且牠們的行為不像服用抗焦慮藥物苯二氮平類或注射芳樟醇的老鼠那樣,像是喝醉了。

But the linalool did not work when they blocked the mice’s ability to smell, or when they gave the mice a drug that blocks certain receptors in the brain. This suggested that to work, linalool tickled odor-sensitive neurons in the nose that send signals to just the right spots in the brain — the same ones triggered by Valium.

但當研究人員阻斷老鼠的嗅覺能力,或給老鼠一種阻斷腦部某些受體的藥物時,芳樟醇就不起作用。這顯示,芳樟醇的作用方式是逗弄鼻子中對氣味敏感的神經元,再由神經元將信號發送到腦部正確位置,跟煩寧錠觸發的位置一模一樣。

 

訊息公告
 

為什麼低血壓也要預防中風?
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