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There are thousands of really large asteroids out here.太空中有成千上万巨大的小行星Some are over 10 miles long. The size of Manhattan.有些长达十余英里,大小堪比曼哈顿An asteroid this size每一亿年左右hits the Earth every 100 million years or so.就会有一颗这般大小的小行星撞上地球The last one struck the Earth 65 million years ago,最近的一次撞击发生在六千五百万年前and probably was responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.很可能正是恐龙灭绝的原因We don#39;t know when the next asteroid will strike,我们不知道下一颗小行星会在何时袭来but if it was big enough it could sterilize our planet.不过如果它足够巨大,就可能毁灭地球That would be the end of the 5 billion year long story of life on Earth.那将是地球上五十亿年生命长河的终结but even if we avoid such a natural catastrophe,但即使我们幸免于这一自然灾难we could all too easily end up destroying ourselves.我们也可能轻易毁灭于自己之手In the last 10 thousand years,在最近的一万年里humans have come to dominate the planet.人类在地球上占据统治地位We are so successful,我们非常成功that it#39;s tempting to think we are evolution#39;s grand prize.以至于认为自己是进化史上最璀璨的成就But I believe intelligence is probably overrated.但我想我们对自身智慧的评价过高了It#39;s not necessarily a good thing for a species#39; survival.这对于一个物种的生存并不是一件好事Bacteria have managed without it细菌在缺乏智慧的情况下for over three billion years.存在了超过三十亿年Intelligence, at least in our case, leads to technology.对人类而言,智慧至少会带来技术发展And there many ways technology could wipe us out.而技术却有很多毁灭我们的途径The most obvious, of course, the threat from nuclear weapons.最显而易见的就是核武器带来的威胁Even if the risk of a nuclear war happening in one year is miniscule,虽说今后一年内发生核战争的几率很低say only one in a million,只有百万分之一的可能if we run those odds over 100,000 years,但如果将范围扩大至十万年the chance of catastrophe falls to one in ten.几率将会大幅提高至十分之一Personally I worry that even this might be overoptimistic.个人认为,这个几率也有些过于乐观了Although we are clever enough to have designed such weapons,即使人类的智慧足以设计出这样的武器I#39;m not sure we are clever enough not to use them.但我不认为人类拥有足够的智慧不使用它们As time marches relentlessly into the future,随着时间延续到未来the universe has other surprises in store.宇宙还为我们准备了更多惊喜There are some powerful things out there.宇宙中还有更为强大的东西Some of which could destroy the Earth without any help from us.有些无需我们推波助澜,就能轻易毁灭地球 Article/201510/402469

I#39;m in the Mexican gallery in front of what looks like a giant stone horseshoe-it#39;s about 20 inches (50 cm) long and about 4 inches (10 cm) thick and is made of a very beautiful grey-green speckled stone. When it first came to the British Museum in the 1860s they thought that it was a yoke for something like a carthorse-but there were two immediate problems with this theory: first the object is very heavy, it#39;s about five or six stone (35 kg)-too heavy even for a horse#39;s neck-and secondly, there were no carthorses or draught animals in Central America until the Spaniards brought them from Europe in the sixteenth century.在大英物馆的墨西哥厅,有一件形似大型石制马蹄铁的物品,长约四十厘米,厚十二厘米,由美丽的灰绿色斑点石制成。1860年它刚到大英物馆时,人们以为它是马匹之类的拉车的轭。但很快疑问便出现了:首先,这件东西重约四十千克,背起来过于沉重;其次,在16世纪西班牙人进入美洲之前,美洲其实没有任何用于负重拉拽的动物。It was only just over 50 years ago that it was generally understood that these stone carvings had nothing to do with animals; they were meant to be worn by men. They represent the padded belts made of cloth or basketwork worn to protect the hips during ancient Central American ball games. Indeed some of these stone belts may have been moulds used to shape lighter cloth or leather padding, but the one we have in the British Museum is made of solid stone, so heavy that if it was worn it can only have been very briefly. Nowadays it would perhaps be for a quick photo call, but we don#39;t actually know exactly when or how it might originally have been worn.直到五十多年前,人们制品与动物无关,而是给人类穿戴的。它类似用布的软垫,戴在腰间,在古代中美洲的球类运动中用于保护臀部。有些石头腰带可能只是模具,成品则由较轻的布料或皮革制成。而大英物馆所藏的这一件也太过沉重,即使戴不了太长时间。我们无法准确了解古人佩戴它的原因何在,也不了解他们在什么情况下会佩戴它,又是如何佩戴的。We asked the leading expert on these games, Michael Whittington, what he thought these stone belts were for:中美洲球类运动专家迈克尔惠廷顿认为,这些腰带主要是在仪式使用的:;I believe these were ceremonial objects.Wearing an object that#39;s 75-100 lbs around your waist during an athletic competition will slow you down considerably, so they probably were worn as part of the ritual ceremonies at the beginning of the game. 我认为这些是仪式用具。在运动比赛中戴着三四十公斤重的东西会让人动作变慢。因此应该是在比赛前的宗教仪式中使用的。它们象征着比赛中人们真正会使用的腰带。 Article/201501/354548

Deadly hypernovas, frozen comets致命的超超新星,冰冻的彗星scorched planets, white dwarves, red giants烧焦的行星,白矮星,红巨星Tiny drops in a vast pool of white light巨大水池里的小水滴our home galaxy, the Milky Way我们的星系,We wanted to know where we fit in我们想知道我们的位置Here#39;s our answer.下面就是Civilizations, past and present古往今来的文明Everyone that#39;s ever lived每一个古人今人The smallest bug, the highest mountain最小的甲虫,最高的山脉all of it invisible, not even a tiny speck.全都看不见,甚至算不是一个小斑点Our home is a minor planet orbiting an insignificant star.我们的小地球正在绕着一个毫不起眼的恒星的旋转It is disappeared right now, who would even notice?如果它马上消失,也没人会注意And yet, so far, we#39;ve found nowhere else we would rather live但到目前为止我们还没有找到其他我们愿意居住的地方nowhere we could live也没有能够居住的地方It#39;s only now, far from home只有现在远离故乡that we#39;re beginning to truly appreciate it.我们才真正开始珍视它Look at all these stars, hundreds of thousands of them看看这些恒星,数十万颗恒星Surely one of them, more than one, must be capable of supporting life.其中一颗,应该不只一颗,一定能够持生命Maybe here in this swarm of stars, the Great Cluster也许在这一群恒星组成的大星团里就有Back in the 1970#39;s, astronomers sent a message in this direction1970年代,天文学家向这个方向发出了信息detailing the structure of our DNA and our solar system#39;s location详细描述了人类DNA结构和我们太阳系的位置But the message won#39;t arrive here for another 25,000 years.至少还要25000年,这些信息才能到达这里We haven#39;t found alien life yet我们仍然没有发现外星生命But neither have we found any reason to believe但同样也没有任何理由去相信宇宙中it isn#39;t out there somewhere.没有外星生命There#39;s an equation devised有一个方程式to estimate the number of other advanced civilizations是设计用来估算其他发达文明的数量The result is startling.计算的结果令人震惊There could be millions of civilizations just in our own galaxy.仅在我们系可能就有数百万个文明 Article/201507/387509


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