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时间:2018年12月12日 13:43:27

There might be a ninth planet in the solar system after all, and it is not Pluto.太阳系或许还是拥有第九颗行星,不是冥王星。Two astronomers reported on Wednesday that they had compelling signs of something bigger and farther away — something that would satisfy the current definition of a planet, where Pluto falls short.两名天文学家于周三通报,他们发现了令人信的迹象,表明存在一颗更大、更遥远的天体——该星体将满足目前对行星的定义,而冥王星则不符合。“We are pretty sure there’s one out there,” said Michael E. Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology.“我们相当确定有那么一颗行星,”加州理工学院(California Institute of Technology)的行星天文学教授迈克尔·E·布朗(Michael E. Brown)说。What Dr. Brown and a fellow Caltech professor, Konstantin Batygin, have not done is actually find that planet, so it would be premature to start revising mnemonics of the planets.布朗士和他的同事康斯坦丁·巴蒂金(Konstantin Batygin)尚未真正找到那颗行星,所以现在修改行星名单还为时过早。In a paper published in The Astronomical Journal, Dr. Brown and Dr. Batygin lay out a detailed circumstantial argument for the planet’s existence in what astronomers have observed — a half-dozen small bodies in distant elliptical orbits.布朗和巴蒂金在《天文学杂志》(The Astronomical Journal)上联合发表了一篇论文,提出详细的旁,认为天文学家们观测到的现象——在遥远的椭圆轨道上运行的六个小天体——明了这颗行星的存在。What is striking, the scientists said, is that the orbits of all six loop outward in the same quadrant of the solar system and are tilted at about the same angle. The odds of that happening by chance are about 1 in 14,000, Dr. Batygin said.这两位科学家称,一个突出的现象是,这六个天体的轨道全部位于太阳系的同一象限内,并且倾斜角度大致一样。巴蒂金表示,这种情况纯属巧合的概率大约是1.4万分之一。A ninth planet could be gravitationally herding them into these orbits.可能有第九颗行星通过引力将这些天体拉入这样的轨道。For the calculations to work, the planet would be at least an equal to Earth, and most likely much bigger — perhaps a mini-Neptune with a mass about 10 times that of Earth. That would be 4,500 times the mass of Pluto.要想理论成立,这颗行星至少要和地球尺寸相当,很可能要大得多——大概相当于一颗小海王星,质量是地球的10倍、冥王星的4500倍。Pluto, at its most distant, is 4.6 billion miles from the sun. The potential ninth planet, at its closest, would be about 20 billion miles away; at its farthest, it could be 100 billion miles away. One trip around the sun would take 10,000 to 20,000 years.冥王星运行到远日点时,距离太阳46亿英里。这颗有望成为第九大行星的天体距离太阳最近时是200亿英里,最远时可能是1000亿英里。绕行太阳一周需要1万到2万年。“We have pretty good constraints on its orbit,” Dr. Brown said. “What we don’t know is where it is in its orbit, which is too bad.”“我们对它的轨道参数有了不少了解,”布朗说。“我们尚不知道的是它在轨道上的位置,这太糟糕了。”Alessandro Morbidelli of the d’Azur Observatory in France, an expert in dynamics of the solar system, said he was convinced. “I think the chase is now on to find this planet,” he said.法国蔚蓝海岸天文台( d’Azur Observatory)的太阳系动力学专家亚历山德罗·莫比德利(Alessandro Morbidelli)觉得可信。“我认为现在的目标是找到这颗行星,”他说。This would be the second time that Dr. Brown has upended the map of the solar system. In January 2005, he discovered a Pluto-size object, now known as Eris, in the Kuiper belt, the ring of icy debris beyond Neptune.如若实,这将是布朗第二次颠覆太阳系的图谱。2005年1月,他发现了一颗大小相当于冥王星的天体,位于海王星以外的充满冰结碎块的柯伊伯带(Kuiper Belt)。它如今命名为阋神星(Eris)。The next year, the International Astronomical Union placed Pluto in a new category, “dwarf planet,” because in its view, a full-fledged planet must be the gravitational bully of its orbit, and Pluto was not.第二年,国际天文学联合会(International Astronomical Union)就把冥王星归入名为“矮行星”的一个新类别,因为在该学会看来,一颗名副其实的行星必须能够清空轨道上的其他天体,而冥王星做不到这一点。The first indication of a hidden planet beyond Pluto had come a couple of years earlier. The Kuiper belt extends outward from Neptune’s orbit, about 2.8 billion miles from the sun, to a bit less than twice Neptune’s orbit, about five billion miles.在此之前两年,科学家就首次发现了冥王星以外可能存在隐藏行星的迹象。柯伊伯带从海王星的轨道向外延伸,一直到接近海王星轨道两倍的地方,也就是分布在距离太阳约28亿英里到50亿英里处。Astronomers expected that beyond lay mostly empty space.天文学家认为,那以外应当几乎空无一物。Thus they were surprised when Dr. Brown and two colleagues spotted a 600-mile-wide icy world at a distance of eight billion miles that remained well outside the Kuiper belt even at the closest point in its orbit.所以,当布朗和他的两名同事在80亿英里远的地方发现了一片直径600英里的冰雪世界时,科学家们颇为意外。就连该天体运行轨道的近日点也在柯伊伯带以外。No one could convincingly explain how the object, which Dr. Brown named Sedna, got there, and the hope was that the discovery of more Sedna-like worlds would provide enlightening clues.布朗把它命名为赛德娜(Sedna)。没有人能够对这颗天体为何出现在那里作出令人信的解释。科学家希望,将来发现更多的类似天体,从而提供能带来启发的线索。Instead, astronomers looked and found nothing, deepening the mystery.但事与愿违,天文学家的搜寻一无所获,让此事变得更加扑朔迷离。Finally, in 2014, Chadwick Trujillo, who had worked with Dr. Brown on the Sedna discovery, and Scott S. Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, reported a smaller object in a Sedna-like orbit, always remaining beyond the Kuiper belt.最后,2014年,曾和布朗共同发现赛德娜的查德威克·特鲁希略(Chadwick Trujillo)与位于华盛顿的卡内基科学研究所(Carnegie Institution for Science)的天文学家斯科特·S·谢泼德(Scott S. Sheppard)通报,发现了一颗较小的天体有着与赛德娜类似的轨道,一直运行在柯伊伯带以外。Dr. Trujillo and Dr. Sheppard noted that several Kuiper belt objects had similar orbital characteristics, and they laid out the possibility of a planet disturbing the orbits of these objects. “It was the best explanation we could come up with,” Dr. Trujillo said.特鲁希略和谢泼德注意到,柯伊伯带的几个天体有类似的轨道特征。他们提出了一种假设:有可能存在一颗行星,正是它影响了这些天体的轨道。“这是我们能想到的最佳解释了,”特鲁希略士说。But the particulars of their proposed planet did not explain what was in the sky, Dr. Brown said.不过,布朗称,他们提出的这颗行星的参数却无法解释太空中的现象。“The theorists didn’t really take it seriously,” he said. “They figured it was all some observational effect. The observers didn’t take it seriously, because they figured it was all some theoretical thing they couldn’t understand.”“理论领域的学者没当回事,”他说。“他们认为这都是某种观测效应。观测领域的学者也没当回事,因为他们认为这都是他们无法理解的某种理论。”Still, the peculiarities of the orbits appeared genuine.然而,它们轨道的特殊性看来是真实的。Dr. Brown said he and Dr. Batygin “sat down and beat our heads against the wall for the last two years.”布朗表示,他和巴蒂金“过去两年坐在那里,想破了脑袋。”First, they focused on the six objects in stable orbits and disregarded others that had been recently flung out by Neptune.他们开始把重点放在处于稳定轨道的六个小型星体上,不再考虑近期被海王星抛出的其他天体。That made the picture clearer.局面豁然开朗。“They all point into the same overall direction,” Dr. Batygin said. “This is in stark contrast with the rest of the Kuiper belt.”“他们都指向大致一样的方向,”巴蒂金说。“这和柯伊伯带的其他天体截然不同。”Besides the long odds of this alignment being coincidental, Dr. Batygin said, this pattern would disperse over time.且不说这种一致性纯属巧合的几率有多小,巴蒂金表示,这样的运行模式也本应随时间的流逝而消散。That argued for the force of some unseen body guiding Sedna and the others.他们认为,这是未曾发现的星体在吸引赛德娜和其他天体。Dr. Batygin, a theorist, tried placing a planet among them, which scattered some Kuiper belt objects, but the orbits were not sufficiently eccentric.作为理论天文学家,巴蒂金试图将一颗行星安放其中。这打散了柯伊伯带中的不少天体,但形成的椭圆轨道的离心率依然不够大。Then he examined what would happen if a ninth planet were looping outward in the opposite direction. That, Dr. Batygin said, gave “a beautiful match to the real data.”随后,他假设有第九大行星在相反方向向外绕行。巴蒂金表示,结果呈现出“与真实数据完美的匹配”。The computer simulations showed that the planet swept up the Kuiper belt objects and placed them only temporarily in the elliptical orbits. Come back in half a billion years, Dr. Brown said, and Sedna will be back in the Kuiper belt, while other Kuiper belt objects will have been pushed into elliptical orbits.计算机模拟显示,该行星将柯伊伯带的天体全部重新洗牌,只是暂时被安置在椭圆形轨道中。巴蒂金表示,五亿年后赛德娜会回到柯伊伯带,而其他天体也会被推入椭圆形轨道中。Another strange result in the simulations: A few Kuiper belt objects were knocked into orbits perpendicular to those of the planets. Dr. Brown remembered that five objects had been found in perpendicular orbits.模拟中另一奇怪的结果是:小部分柯伊伯带天体被撞向了与其他行星相垂直的轨道。根据巴蒂金回忆,在垂直轨道中发现了五个天体。“They’re exactly where we predicted them to be,” he said. “That’s when my jaw hit my floor. I think this is actually right.”“它们完全处在我们预测的位置上,”他称,“我惊得下巴都掉地了。我认为这应该是对的。”Dr. Morbidelli said a possible ninth planet could be the core of a gas giant that started forming during the infancy of the solar system; a close pass to Jupiter could have ejected it. Back then, the sun resided in a dense cluster of stars, and the gravitational jostling could have prevented the planet from escaping to interstellar space.莫比德利表示,可能存在的第九大行星,也许是一个气态巨行星的核心,自太阳系初期就开始形成;可能当它经过木星时被引力抛远了。当时的太阳处在密集的恒星群中,而引力的推挤可能阻止了这颗行星逃到星际空间。“I think they’re onto something real,” he said. “I would bet money. I would bet 10,000 bucks.”“我觉得他们这样下去有戏,”他说,“我敢打赌。我赌一万块。”Dr. Brown said he began searching for the planet a year ago, and he thought he would be able to find it within five years. Other astronomers will most likely also scan that swath of the night sky.巴蒂金称,他早在一年前就开始寻找这颗行星,他认为自己可以在五年内找到它。其他天文学家很有可能也会去搜索那一片夜空。If the planet exists, it would easily meet the definition of planet, Dr. Brown said.他说如果这颗行星真的存在,它应该能轻易吻合对行星的定义。“There are some truly dominant bodies in the solar system and they are pushing around everything else,” Dr. Brown said. “This is what we mean when we say planet.”“在太阳系有一些格外显要的星体,它们会肆意摆布其他一切天体,”巴蒂金说,“这就是我们说的‘行星’的意思。” /201601/424080

PayPal is on the hunt for international acquisitions to drive growth and fend off predators, as it prepares to separate from eBay and become an independent company in the first of several big technology split-ups this year.PayPal正在物色国际收购目标以推动增长并防止自己被收购。该公司眼下正准备脱离eBay成为一家独立的公司——这将拉开今年数家大型科技公司分拆的序幕。Chief executive Dan Schulmantold the Financial Times that acquisitions would be a priority, as PayPal uses the bn war chest that is a legacy of the split.PayPal首席执行官丹#8226;舒尔曼(Dan Schulman)向英国《金融时报》表示,收购将会是公司的优先考虑事项,因为此次分拆给它带来60亿美元的现金储备。“The balance sheet affords us the opportunity to look opportunistically where it makes sense to acquire,” he said. “I think there is a tremendous opportunity to look across the world.”他说:“当前的财务状况给我们带来了物色有价值的收购标的的机会。纵观全球,我们有着巨大的收购机遇。”The strong balance sheet would also support PayPal’s lending programmes, he noted.舒尔曼指出,强劲的资产负债表也将持PayPal的贷款项目。PayPal will pass a milestone towards independence today as pricing begins for its shares. Shareholders of eBay will get one share in PayPal per share they hold when the formal split takes place on July 17.今日PayPal将会启动股票定价,从而向成为一家独立公司跨出里程碑意义的一步。7月17日正式分拆时,eBay的股东每持有1股eBay股票将获得1股PayPal股票。The company’s enterprise value could be about bn, roughly two-thirds of eBay’s valuation, analysts at Wedbush estimated.Wedbush的分析师估计,PayPal的企业价值大约为400亿美元,大约是eBay估值的三分之二。PayPal’s rapid growth — revenues were up 19 per cent last year, with customers rising 13 per cent — has come increasingly from outside the eBay empire.PayPal的迅速增长——去年收入增长19%,客户增长13%——越来越来自eBay帝国的外部。Last week PayPal announced it would spend nearly bn to purchase Xoom, a growing international remittances company, which will leave about bn in net cash on its balance sheet.PayPal上周宣布,将斥资近10亿美元收购Xoom,这将让公司资产负债表上剩下约50亿美元现金。Xoom是一家正在成长中的国际汇兑公司。Other recent acquisitions include Braintree, which bolstered PayPal’s presence in processing software used in mobile apps. That deal included Venmo, a money transfer app for splitting the cost of meals or paying rent, which has seen total payment volumes quadruple in the past year.PayPal最近的收购还包括Braintree公司,后者让PayPal加大进军移动应用中的处理软件。该交易包括了Braintree旗下转账应用Venmo,该应用可用于分担餐费或者付租金。Venmo在过去一年里的付总额增长了3倍。Even as PayPal looks for acquisitions, it is considered a takeover target itself, particularly when cashed-up companies such as Apple and Google are trying to bolster their own payments businesses.就在PayPal寻求收购目标之际,它本身也被视为收购目标,尤其是在苹果(Apple)和谷歌(Google)等资金充沛的公司努力提升自己的付业务之际。 /201507/384363

It is sometimes cited as proof of Silicon Valley’s “no-holds” war for talent, but America’s technology heartland has evolved a working culture that is simultaneously relaxed and permissive.硅谷已发展出一种轻松宽容的职场文化,它有时被援引为这个美国科技中心 “不择手段”争抢人才的据。Famously, Google offers engineers the freedom to pursue their own projects for up to 20 per cent of their working time. Meanwhile, Netflix allows its staff the unheard-of-in-America privilege of unlimited vacations. The streaming firm also hit the news earlier this month when it offered new parents fully-paid leave for a year after birth or adoption.其中著名的是,谷歌(Google)允许工程师利用他们至多20%的工作时间来自由从事自己的项目。与此同时,Netflix给予其员工在美国闻所未闻的无限休假的特权。这家视频流媒体公司还在本月初上了新闻头条——它允许新晋为父母的员工在生产或是领养孩子后享受一年的全薪休假。It is an approach that seems designed to appeal to a particular type of individualist cum self-starter. Or, as the Harvard Business Review succinctly put it: “Only fully formed adults need apply.”这种方式似乎旨在吸引特殊类型的个人以及积极主动型人才。或者,正如《哈佛商业》(Harvard Business Review)简单说的那样:“只有完全定型的成年人才应该适用。”But dispensing vacation perks along with the air hockey tables is not the only way to run a tech company. A few hundred miles up the west coast in Seattle, a very different style prevails. Where Silicon Valley celebrates the laid-back culture of its pioneering 1960s and 1970s, Amazon has a flavour more evocative of ancient Sparta.但给出特殊的休假福利并提供空气曲棍球桌,并非是运营科技公司的唯一方式。在美国西海岸位于硅谷以北数百英里的西雅图(亚马逊(Amazon)总部所在地),一种截然不同的风格盛行。硅谷标榜自己开创性的上世纪六七十年代留下的轻松文化,但亚马逊的风格更令人想起古代的斯巴达。Criticisms of its approach are not new and were aired in Brad Stone’s 2013 book, The Everything Store. But they have now been given a fresh outing in a lengthy expose in the New York Times, citing scores of interviews with present and past employees.对亚马逊管理方式的批评并非首次出现,布拉德斯通(Brad Stone)在2013年的著作《一网打尽》(The Everything Store)中就提到过。但现在《纽约时报》(New York Times)在一篇长篇报道中援引对该公司现任及前任员工的数十次采访,对其管理风格进行了全新的揭露。People who do well are said to be those who thrive in an adversarial environment with constant friction. The online retailer’s founder, Jeff Bezos, apparently abhors what he calls “social cohesion”. He prefers the idea of his staff duking it out, using data and the power of argument. And according to the New York Times, employees are encouraged to report each other using a management tool designed to give anonymised feedback both to the individual criticised and their boss.干得好的员工据说是那些能在冲突不断的对抗性环境中平步青云的人。这家在线零售商的创始人杰夫贝索斯(Jeff Bezos)似乎憎恶自己口中的“社会凝聚力”。他喜欢让员工以数据和辩论为武器彼此争斗。根据《纽约时报》的报道,亚马逊员工被鼓励使用一个旨在向被批评员工及其老板发送匿名反馈的管理工具互打报告。Mr Bezos has given a measured response. While declaring the article “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with”, he also urges workers to come forward and contact him directly if they are aware of such practices. Given the gravity of some of the allegations, it leaves an equivocal impression; one he could have dispelled by promising to examine his own company records.贝索斯做出了慎重的回应。在宣称该文“所描述的并非我了解的亚马逊,亦非每天与我一起工作的有爱心的亚马逊人”的同时,他还敦促员工如果知道此类做法,就可以提出来,并直接与他联系。鉴于其中一些指控非常严重,这种回应给人一种模棱两可的感觉;他本可以承诺检查自己公司的记录来消除这种感觉。There is, of course, no excuse for unfair treatment. But when it comes to Amazon’s overall style, it is less clear what Mr Bezos has to justify. Amazon’s employees are not slaves. Many of its managers and engineers are highly employable elsewhere. Nor has its approach damaged the retailer. Now valued at 0bn, the 21-year-old company recently overtook Walmart as the world’s biggest general retailing group. It does not obviously lack for computing or management talent. Indeed it is constructing an enormous campus in Seattle where it plans to bring tens of thousands of them in one place.当然,任何借口都不能用来进行不公平的待遇。但就亚马逊的整体风格而言,看不出有什么是贝索斯必须明合理的。亚马逊的员工并非奴隶。它的许多经理和工程师在其他地方很容易找到工作。这种管理风格也没有对这家零售商造成伤害。现在这家成立21年之久的公司的市值为2500亿美元,最近超过沃尔玛(Walmart),成为全球最大的综合类零售集团。它看起来并不急缺计算或管理人才。实际上,该公司正在西雅图修建一座庞大的园区,计划将数万人才汇聚在一起。People often see the tech world as in some way unique. But there is no reason that it requires a management approach any more homogenised than industries that flourished before the world wide web. Not every investment bank has the work ethic of Goldman Sachs, nor management consultancy the culture of a McKinsey. Employees do not just work for a company because its bosses smile. They do so because they believe in its business model, or think they will derive fulfilment from sharing in its success.人们通常认为科技世界在某种程度上是独特的,但没有理由要求该行业拥有比在万维网出现之前蓬勃发展的行业更为同质化的管理方式。并非每家投行都有高盛(Goldman Sachs)的职业准则,并非每家管理咨询公司都有麦肯锡(McKinsey)的文化。雇员不会仅仅因为老板微笑就为一家公司工作。他们为公司工作是因为他们相信其业务模式,或者认为他们将从分享该公司的成功中获得成就感。Mr Bezos is at the hard-nosed end of US entrepreneurship. But until there is further evidence that his approach is deterring vital staff from joining Amazon, or driving customers to competitors, he is unlikely to change — and there seems little reason why he should.贝索斯属于美国创业家中的强硬派。但在有进一步的据表明,他的做法吓阻了关键员工加入亚马逊,或者促使客户转向竞争对手之前,他不太可能做出改变——他似乎也没有应该改变的理由。 /201508/394834

U.S. appeals court on Friday overturned a 0 million jury verdict against Samsung, finally handing the South Korean smartphone maker a significant win in its longstanding patent feud with top rival Apple.当地时间周五,美国联邦巡回上诉法院推翻了要求三星赔偿1.2亿美元经济损失的陪审团裁定,使得这家韩国智能手机制造商在同苹果漫长的专利战中扳回了至关重要的一局。The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., said Samsung Electronics Co Ltd did not infringe Apple#39;s ;quick links; patent, and that two other patents covering the iPhone#39;s slide-to-unlock and auto-correct features were invalid. The court also said Apple was liable for infringing one of Samsung#39;s patents.位于华盛顿特区的美国联邦巡回上诉法院表示,三星公司没有侵犯苹果的“快捷链接”专利,而包括iPhone滑动解锁和自动纠正功能的两项专利是无效的。该法院还表示,苹果侵犯了三星公司的一项专利。In a statement, a Samsung spokeswoman said: ;Today#39;s decision is a win for consumer choice and puts competition back where it belongs in the marketplace, not in the courtroom.” A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment.三星发言人在一份声明中说,“今天的裁定对于消费者的自主选择权来说,是一次胜利,同时也让市场竞争的战场回归市场,而不是转至法庭。”苹果发言人则拒绝对此做出评价。Apple and Samsung have been battling over mobile device technology patents for years. Apple has mostly prevailed, and in December, Samsung paid Apple 8.2 million stemming from a separate patent case, which Samsung has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.三星和苹果之间的移动设备技术专利战已经持续多年。苹果赢得了大部分胜利,去年12月份,三星在另外一起单独专利诉讼案中,赔偿苹果5.482亿美元。三星已经上诉至美国最高法院。Friday#39;s ruling was issued by a unanimous three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit, the country#39;s top court specializing in patent issues.周五的裁定是由美国联邦巡回上诉法院的三人审判组一致作出的,这个三人审判组由美国顶尖的,擅长专利争端案件的法官组成。The ruling reverses a May 2014 verdict from a federal court in San Jose, California ordering Samsung to pay 9.6 million for using Apple#39;s patented technology without permission.美国联邦巡回上诉法院的裁定推翻了圣何塞联邦地方法院2014年5月做出的一项裁定。当时该法院裁定,三星因未经授权使用了苹果的快捷链接有关专利,赔偿后者1.196亿美元损失。Chicago-based patent lawyer Bradley Hulbert, who has followed the litigation, said the decision is ;a clear signal that Apple is not invincible and that alternative operating systems are here to stay. The marketing and psychological benefits for Samsung are huge.;芝加哥专利律师布拉德利·哈尔伯特一直在关注此案,他表示:“此项裁决是一个清晰的信号,苹果并非不可战胜,仍然有其他替代的操作系统存在。对于三星来说,这项裁决的市场效应和心理效果是不可估量的。” /201603/429565


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