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An Interactive Life. By Barbara Kantrowitz with Joshua Cooper Ramoby . Background Information.

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an interactive life

An Interactive Life


Barbara Kantrowitz with Joshua Cooper Ramoby

background information
Background Information
  • The text is taken from American Newsweek. Newsweek is American news weekly established in Dayton, Ohio in 1933. In it domestic and international news is summarized, analyzed and categorized according to topics each week. It also has special sections devoted to arts, science, medicine, sports, etc. it is one of the three largest newsweeklies of America and has a wide domestic and international circulation. The authors of the text, Barbara Kantrowitz and Joshua Cooper Ramo are regular contributors to Newsweek
the general idea of the text
The general idea of the text
  • An interactive life will put the world at your finger tips, changing the ways you shop, play and learn. The ultimate promise of the interactive life is that you will be able to get a large amount of information over a wide range of topics by pressing a button. The dreams are possible thought there’s a dark side. The advice is “hang on for the ride”—wait for the future changes.
words and expressions
Words and expressions
  • the display: the display of various phonographs invented by Edison and other competitors represent the development of the phonograph machine in the tens of years/time of their development, and their development reflect the change of idea and purpose of the recording of sound in people’s mind.
  • Interactive: (computer计) that allows information to be passed continuously and in both directions between a computer and the person who use it/交互式的,人机对话的;互动的
hype: n. (infml. often derog.) loud, exaggerated promotion or publicity; attempts to get a lot of public attention for things or people by saying loudly and often that they are very good, or better than they really are/夸张的宣传(某事物)
  • e.g. media hype 传媒宣传
  • to hype v. hyping their latest record with a lot of interviews 借大量采访大肆宣传他们的最新唱片
Terminator XII: an American science fiction movie series, starring the popular actor, Arnold Schwarzengger. The number XII implies a future installment of the series.
  • 终结者第十二季
nailing down: making sure, settling
  • to nail sb. down: a) to force (a person) to state clearly their intention or wishes./强迫(某人)表明意图
  • e.g. Before they repair the car, nail them down to a price.(=make them tell how much it will cost).
  • 他们修车前,先让他们把价钱讲明白
  • b) AmE to reach a final and definite decision about something/[美]最终确定,对…做出定论
  • Two days isn’t enough time to nail down the details of an agreement.
  • 要把协议的所有的细节都确定下来,两天的时间是不够的。
  • nail sth.down: make with nails; define sth.precisely 将某物用钉子钉牢,确定某物
  • 例: they haven’t nailed down when and where to have a meeting.开会的时间和地点尚未确定。
  • to nail sth. up: If you nail sth. up, you fix it to a vertical surface using nails.
  • e.g. the warning notice that he had nailed up on the pole
Infrastructure: the basic systems or structures that a country or organization needs in order to work properly, for example, transport, communications, and banking systems/基础设施(如运输,通讯,银行制度等),基础结构
  • A country’s economic infrastructure/国家的经济基础设施
Buzzword: a word or phrase, especially one connected with a particular subject, that has become fashionable and popular and is used a lot in newspaper etc./(报刊等的时髦用语)
  • "intelligent agents": man-made robots with similar intelligence with man/智能型机器人
agents with specific marching orders: each of the four agents do different things based on different orders of the computer operator
  • each of the four agents are represented by four images of people wearing different clothes on the computer screen.
  • Implication(暗含的意思):These agents are just images and not actual robots that are actually produced in reality.
keep a tab/tabs on sth./sb.: keep account of sth./sb.:keep sb./ sth.under observation记某人的账,监视某人(某物)
  • 例: keep tabs on who’s using the phone记录打电话人的名字
  • it is not always possible to keep tabs on everyone’s movements.
  • 监视每个人的行动并不总是能办的到。
  • The police have been keeping tabs/ a tab on him.
spy on sb: to keep watch secretly/暗中监视;侦察;窥探
  • spy on the enemy’s movements/侦察敌方行动
  • spy into other people’s affairs/窥探他人的隐私
  • I’m sure my neighbors spy on me.
  • 我肯定邻居暗中监视我。
levy a fee (to , upon): v. to demand and collect money officially; collect (a payment, etc) by authority or force/征收;征集(款额等);强加某事物
  • levy sth on sb
  • a departure tax levied on all travelers/向所有旅客征收的离境税
  • e.g. to levy a tax on tobacco 对烟草征税
elitism n. [U] derog. (behavior based on) the belief that there should be elites and that they deserve power, influence, special treatment, etc.; (believe in a) system, leadership, etc. that aims at developing an elite/旨在培养精英的体制、领导等(的主张);精英主义
  • many people believe that private education encouraged elitism.
  • 许多人认为私人办学可助长精英主义。
  • populism: n. type of politics that claims to represent the interests of ordinary people/平民主义;平民论(声言代表民众利益的政治主张)
  • populist: a person who claims to believe in the wisdom and judgment of ordinary people, esp. in political matters./平民主义者;平民论者
it's one thing ... (it's) quite another: this is a useful pattern, denoting contrast ...; 是一回事,…则是另一回事
  • e.g It is one thing for a teacher to speak and understand a language, quite another to consciously understand and explain the system of that language.
  • It’s one thing to think, and quite another to practice.
  • It’s one thing to talk big, and quite another to put your words into practice.
Spin (sb) a yarn: tell (usu long) story, often in order to deceive sb/讲故事(通常很长,常用以蒙人)
  • The old sailor loves to spin yarns about his life at sea.
  • 那老水手爱信口开河地讲他的航海生涯。
  • He spun us his unlikely yarn about being trapped for hours in a broken lift.
  • 他对我们胡诌在坏电梯中困了几个小时。
hang on for the ride: we should hang on for the ride in the vehicle (car/train) of the interactive technology
  • we should grip the “方向盘”tightly for the ride in the vehicle of the interactive technology so as to walk the right way and keep the going of the car safe and so as not to let the vehicle of the interactive technology go astray
  • “ride”前面用的是定冠词 “the” instead of 不定冠词 “a”, 证明是以前提到过的
  • 在这里用到了metaphor的用法,踏上这趟“交互作用科技”之旅
  • To get an idea of what the future might bring, step into the past.
  • Paraphrase: In order to form a view of what will happen in the future, you need only to have a look at what happened in the past.
His competitors envisioned the greater potentia for entertainment and art. Where he saw internal memos, someone else saw Beethoven
  • Paraphrase: His business rivals saw in their minds that there was great possibility of using the machine for entertainment and art.
Game fanatics may be able to do the same from another electronic library filled with realistic video versions of arcade shoot-'em-ups.
  • Paraphrase: Those who are obsessed in video games may do it in the same way by contacting another electronic library which has a large number of video tapes recording the actual shootings and killings seen in video game shops.
"Interactivity" may be the biggest buzzword of the moment, but "convergence" is a close second.
  • Paraphrase: "Interactivity" for the time being may be the most used word which has little meaning but sounds impressive to outsiders while "convergence" follows "interactivity" closely in the second place in frequency.
Imagine the conversation: "Have I got a compatible user for you!" .
  • Paraphrase: Try to think what the conversation would be like: “I have got a user who will suit you fine!”
If the tolls for using the information highway are too high, interactivity may widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots, the rich and wired vs. the poor and un-plugged.
  • Why may interactivity widen the gap?
  • Because those who have access to the information may have better opportunities since information and the speed of acquiring information are decisive in today's competition.
figure of speech
Figure of Speech
  • Simile
  • Metaphor
  • Synecdoche
structural analysis
Structural Analysis
  • 1. Paragraphs 1-2: Introduction of interactive life
  • a huge amount of information available to anyone at the touch of a button
  • 2. Paragraphs 3-18: description of interactive life
  • A. difficult to understand because it’s still a long way
  • B. four phases: fake interactive, true interactive, complete viewer control, and final frontier
  • C. possible dreams because of large capacity chip, fibre optic cables and digitalization
  • D. dark side: no privacy, wide gap, considerable debate
  • 3. Paragraph 19: Suggestion
  • hanging on for the ride