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新视野大学英语_新视野大学英语4读写教程课文unit4 The Telecommunications Revolut

新视野大学英语_新视野大学英语4读写教程课文unit4 The Telecommunications Revolut

Section A:
The Telecommunications Revolution
(The Telecommunications Revolution)
A transformation is occurring that should greatly boost living standards in the developing world. Places that until recently were deaf and dumb are rapidly acquiring up-to-date telecommunications that will let them promote both internal and foreign investment. It may take a decade for many countries in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe to improve transportation, power supplies, and other utilities. But a single optical fiber with a diameter of less than half a millimeter can carry more information than a large cable made of copper wires. By installing optical fiber, digital switches, and the latest wireless transmission systems, a parade of urban centers and industrial zones from Beijing to Budapest are stepping directly into the Information Age. A spider's web of digital and wireless communication links is already reaching most of Asia and parts of Eastern Europe.
All these developing regions see advanced communications as a way to leap over whole stages of economic development. Widespread access to information technologies, for example, promises to condense the time required to change from labor- intensive assembly work to industries that involve engineering, marketing, and design. Modern communications "will give countries like China and Vietnam a huge advantage over countries stuck with old technology".
How fast these nations should push ahead is a matter of debate. Many experts think Vietnam is going too far by requiring that all mobile phones be expensive digital models, when it is desperate for any phones, period. "These countries lack experience in weighing costs and choosing between technologies," says one expert.
Still, there's little dispute that communications will be a key factor separating the winners from the losers. Consider Russia. Because of its strong educational system in mathematics and science, it should thrive in the information age. The problem is its national phone system is a rusting antique that dates from the l930s. To lick this problem, Russia is starting to install optical fiber and has a strategic plan to pump $40 billion into various communications projects. But its economy is stuck in recession and it barely has the money to even scratch the surface of the problem.
Compare that with the mainland of China. Over the next decade, it plans to pour some $100 billion into telecommunications equipment. In a way, China's backwardness is an advantage, because the expansion occurs just as new technologies are becoming cheaper than copper wire systems. By the end of 1995, each of China's provincial capitals except for Tibet will have digital switches and high-capacity optical fiber links. This means that major cities are getting the basic infrastructure to become major parts of the information superhighway, allowing people to log on to the most advanced services available.
Telecommunications is also a key to Shanghai's dream of becoming a top financial center. To offer peak performance in providing the electronic data and paperless trading global investors expect, Shanghai plans telecommunications networks as powerful as those in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Hungary also hopes to jump into the modern world. Currently, 700,000 Hungarians are waiting for phones. To partially overcome the problem of funds and to speed the import of Western technology, Hungary sold a 30% stake in its national phone company to two Western companies. To further reduce the waiting list for phones, Hungary has leased rights to a Dutch -Scandinavian group of companies to build and operate what it says will be one of the most advanced digital mobile phone systems in the world. In fact, wireless is one of the most popular ways to get a phone system up fast in developing countries. It's cheaper to build radio towers than to string lines across mountain ridges, and businesses eager for reliable service are willing to accept a significantly higher price tag for a wireless call — the fee is typically two to four times as much as for calls made over fixed lines.
Wireless demand and usage have also exploded across the entire width and breadth of Latin America. For wireless phone service providers, nowhere is business better than in Latin America — having an operation there is like having an endless pile of money at your disposal. BellSouth Corporation, with operations in four wireless markets, estimates its annual revenue per average customer at about $2,000 as compared to $860 in the United States. That's partly because Latin American customers talk two to four times as long on the phone as people in North America.
Thailand is also turning to wireless, as a way to allow Thais to make better use of all the time they spend stuck in traffic. And it isn't that easy to call or fax from the office: the waiting list for phone lines has from one to two million names on it. So mobile phones have become the rage among businesspeople, who can remain in contact despite the traffic jams.
Vietnam is making one of the boldest leaps. Despite a per person income of just $220 a year, all of the 300,000 lines Vietnam plans to add annually will be optical fiber with digital switching, rather than cheaper systems that send electrons over copper wires. By going for next-generation technology now, Vietnamese telecommunications officials say they'll be able to keep pace with anyone in Asia for decades.
For countries that have lagged behind for so long, the temptation to move ahead in one jump is hard to resist. And despite the mistakes they'll make, they'll persist — so that one day they can cruise alongside Americans and Western Europeans on the information superhighway.

英语学习

Section A:
The Telecommunications Revolution
(The Telecommunications Revolution)
A transformation is occurring that should greatly boost living standards in the developing world. Places that until recently were deaf and dumb are rapidly acquiring up-to-date telecommunications that will let them promote both internal and foreign investment. It may take a decade for many countries in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe to improve transportation, power supplies, and other utilities. But a single optical fiber with a diameter of less than half a millimeter can carry more information than a large cable made of copper wires. By installing optical fiber, digital switches, and the latest wireless transmission systems, a parade of urban centers and industrial zones from Beijing to Budapest are stepping directly into the Information Age. A spider's web of digital and wireless communication links is already reaching most of Asia and parts of Eastern Europe.
All these developing regions see advanced communications as a way to leap over whole stages of economic development. Widespread access to information technologies, for example, promises to condense the time required to change from labor- intensive assembly work to industries that involve engineering, marketing, and design. Modern communications "will give countries like China and Vietnam a huge advantage over countries stuck with old technology".
How fast these nations should push ahead is a matter of debate. Many experts think Vietnam is going too far by requiring that all mobile phones be expensive digital models, when it is desperate for any phones, period. "These countries lack experience in weighing costs and choosing between technologies," says one expert.
Still, there's little dispute that communications will be a key factor separating the winners from the losers. Consider Russia. Because of its strong educational system in mathematics and science, it should thrive in the information age. The problem is its national phone system is a rusting antique that dates from the l930s. To lick this problem, Russia is starting to install optical fiber and has a strategic plan to pump $40 billion into various communications projects. But its economy is stuck in recession and it barely has the money to even scratch the surface of the problem.
Compare that with the mainland of China. Over the next decade, it plans to pour some $100 billion into telecommunications equipment. In a way, China's backwardness is an advantage, because the expansion occurs just as new technologies are becoming cheaper than copper wire systems. By the end of 1995, each of China's provincial capitals except for Tibet will have digital switches and high-capacity optical fiber links. This means that major cities are getting the basic infrastructure to become major parts of the information superhighway, allowing people to log on to the most advanced services available.
Telecommunications is also a key to Shanghai's dream of becoming a top financial center. To offer peak performance in providing the electronic data and paperless trading global investors expect, Shanghai plans telecommunications networks as powerful as those in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Hungary also hopes to jump into the modern world. Currently, 700,000 Hungarians are waiting for phones. To partially overcome the problem of funds and to speed the import of Western technology, Hungary sold a 30% stake in its national phone company to two Western companies. To further reduce the waiting list for phones, Hungary has leased rights to a Dutch -Scandinavian group of companies to build and operate what it says will be one of the most advanced digital mobile phone systems in the world. In fact, wireless is one of the most popular ways to get a phone system up fast in developing countries. It's cheaper to build radio towers than to string lines across mountain ridges, and businesses eager for reliable service are willing to accept a significantly higher price tag for a wireless call — the fee is typically two to four times as much as for calls made over fixed lines.
Wireless demand and usage have also exploded across the entire width and breadth of Latin America. For wireless phone service providers, nowhere is business better than in Latin America — having an operation there is like having an endless pile of money at your disposal. BellSouth Corporation, with operations in four wireless markets, estimates its annual revenue per average customer at about $2,000 as compared to $860 in the United States. That's partly because Latin American customers talk two to four times as long on the phone as people in North America.
Thailand is also turning to wireless, as a way to allow Thais to make better use of all the time they spend stuck in traffic. And it isn't that easy to call or fax from the office: the waiting list for phone lines has from one to two million names on it. So mobile phones have become the rage among businesspeople, who can remain in contact despite the traffic jams.
Vietnam is making one of the boldest leaps. Despite a per person income of just $220 a year, all of the 300,000 lines Vietnam plans to add annually will be optical fiber with digital switching, rather than cheaper systems that send electrons over copper wires. By going for next-generation technology now, Vietnamese telecommunications officials say they'll be able to keep pace with anyone in Asia for decades.
For countries that have lagged behind for so long, the temptation to move ahead in one jump is hard to resist. And despite the mistakes they'll make, they'll persist — so that one day they can cruise alongside Americans and Western Europeans on the information superhighway.

英语学习

Section B:
The Information Superhighway
Are you too tired to go to the video store but you want to see the movie Beauty and the Beast at home? Want to listen to your favorite guitar player's latest jazz cassette? Need some new reading material, like a magazine or book? No problem. Just sit down in front of your home computer or TV and enter what you want, when you want it, from an electronic catalogue containing thousands of titles.
Your school has no professors of Japanese, a language you want to learn before visiting Japan during the coming summer holiday. Don't worry. Just sign up for the language course offered by a school in another district or city, have the latest edition of the course teaching materials sent to your computer, and attend by video. If you need extra help with a translation assignment or your pronunciation, a tutor can give you feedback via your computer.
Welcome to the information superhighway.
While nearly everyone has heard of the information superhighway, even experts differ on exactly what the term means and what the future it promises will look like. Broadly speaking, however, the superhighway refers to the union of today's broadcasting, cable, video, telephone, and computer and semiconductor industries into one large all-connected industry.
Directing the union are technological advances that have made it easier to store and rapidly transmit information into homes and offices. Fiber-optic cable, for example — made up of hair-thin glass fibers — is a tremendously efficient carrier of information. Lasers shooting light through glass fiber can transmit 250,000 times as much data as a standard telephone wire, or tens of thousands of paragraphs such as this one every second.
The greatly increased volume and speed of data transmission that these technologies permit can be compared to the way in which a highway with many lanes allows more cars to move at faster speeds than a two-lane highway — hence, the information superhighway.
The closest thing to an information superhighway today is the Internet, the system of linked computer networks that allows up to 25 million people in 135 countries to exchange information.
But while the Internet primarily moves words, the information superhighway will soon make routine the electronic transmission of data in other formats, such as audio files and images. That means, for example, that a doctor in Europe who is particularly learned will be able to treat patients in America after viewing their records via computer, deciding the correct dose of medicine to give the patient, or perhaps even remotely controlling a blade wielding robot during surgery.
"Sending a segment of video mail down the hall or across the country will be easier than typing out a message on a keyboard," predicts one correspondent who specializes in technology.
The world is on "the eve of a new era", says the former United States Vice President Al Gore, the Clinton administration's leading high-technology advocate. Gore wants the federal government to play the leading role in shaping the superhighway. However, in an era of smaller budgets, the United States government is unlikely to come up with the money needed during the next 20 years to construct the superhighway.
That leaves private industry — computer, phone, and cable companies — to move into the vacuum left by the government's absence. And while these industries are pioneering the most exciting new technologies, some critics fear that profit-minded companies will only develop services for the wealthy. "If left in the hands of private enterprise, the data highway could become little more than a synthetic universe for the rich," worries Jeffrey Chester, president of the Center for Media Education in Washington, D.C.
Poor people must also have access to high technology, says another expert. "Such access will be crucial to obtaining a high-quality education and getting a good job. So many transactions and exchanges are going to be made through this medium — banking, shopping, communication, and information — that those who have to rely on the postman to send their correspondence risk really falling behind," he says.
Some experts were alarmed earlier this year when diagrams showed that four regional phone companies who are building components of the superhighway were only connecting wealthy communities.
The companies denied they were avoiding the poor, but conceded that the wealthy would likely be the first to benefit. "We had to start building some place," says a spokesman for one of the companies, "and that was in areas where there are customers we believe will buy the service. This is a business."
Advocates for the poor want the companies building the data highway to devote a portion of their profits to insuring universal access. Advocates of universal access have already launched a number of projects of their own. In Berkeley, California, the city's Community Memory Project has placed computer terminals in public buildings and subway stations, where a message can be sent for 25 cents. In Santa Monica, California, computers have replaced typewriters in all public libraries, and anyone, not just librarians, can send correspondence via computer.
Many challenges face us as we move closer to the reality of the information superhighway. In order for it to be of value to most people, individuals need to become informed about what is possible and how being connected will be of benefit. The possibilities are endless but in order for the information superhighway to become a reality, some concrete steps need to be taken to get the process started.

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Section C:
Privacy in the Information Age
Imagine a small plastic card that holds all manner of information about you on a tiny memory chip (芯片): your date of birth, Social Security Number, credit and medical histories. And suppose the same card lets you drive a car, get medicine, get cash from machines, pay parking tickets, and collect government benefits.
One version of this so-called smart card is already in use. Some insurance companies issue medical history cards of customers, who need them to get medicine. This type of technology evolves out of convenience, says Evan Hendricks (伊万·亨德里克斯), editor of the Privacy Times (《私密时代》) newspaper, but "the dark side is that landlords, employers, and insurance companies could say we won't do business with you unless you show us your card."
Personal information gets harder to protect as more companies and government agencies build computerized databases (数据库) that are easily linked. "You can go from one database to another the way people go from one bar to another," says Hendricks. "The information superhighway will probably be developed by corporations, but the government is always willing to associate itself with these things. Companies develop databases to better target customers and then the government uses these databases for investigating crimes."
According to writer Simson L. Garfinkel (辛姆森·L. 加芬克尔), the database trend started with Ronald Reagan's stories of people on welfare cheating the government. "It was called Operation Match (匹配行动)," says a privacy expert, "and it matched databases of people who owed money to the government with other databases of people who received money from the government. Operation Match went after government employees who had not paid back student loans the government had given them for college, and welfare clients with large unreported incomes."
Saving the public from cheats and criminals has been an effective excuse for cutting back everyone's personal privacy. The government has been pressing for computer makers to include a special chip in their machines to allow police agencies to listen to electronic communications. The administration claims that failing to do so would be begging terrorists and criminals to plot together via the information superhighway.
That may still seem like something from a spy movie; more troubling is the growing ease with which everyday information can be accessed. Take the computerization of medical records. As one writer points out, "your video renting habits are better protected by law than your medical records." That's because there's more money in your medical records. A privacy expert says insurance companies generate "lists of individuals with certain kinds of medical problems and then turn around and sell those lists to medicine companies and other businesses."
Medical records are used to make a whole host of decisions about you that aren't related to your health. According to a 1991 government report, "50 percent of employers regularly use medical record information for hiring and promotion purposes. Of those who use this information, nearly 20 percent… do not inform their employees that their medical records have been used for such purposes." One company won't hire smokers, and another fired an employee after finding out he drank heavily at parties.
Employers and landlords often buy this information from companies that are in the business of creating data profiles. Besides criminal history, workers' insurance claims, and civil court records, one of their core products is credit information, which isn't always accurate. One of the country's largest credit bureaus paid out a huge amount of money a few years ago after settling a court case filed by 19 states claiming the company's reports were full of errors.
But the biggest information gatherer of them all is the Department of Motor Vehicles (汽车管理部门), or DMV, of each state, according to Garfinkel. "The DMV is a one-stop shop for state agencies that want to reach out and affect our lives," he writes. Given the existing system, which links together all 51 U.S. motor vehicle agencies, "no other state agency tracks the movement of people more accurately."
Nor is DMV data used solely for matters related to driving. "The state of Oregon (俄勒冈州) has 109 different offenses that can result in the temporary loss of a driver's license; 50 of them have nothing at all to do with driving," writes Garfinkel. Residents of the state of Wisconsin (威斯康星州), he notes, can lose their license for not paying library fines, neglecting to shovel snow away from the walk in front of their house, or failing to trim a tree whose branches hang over a neighbor's property. In the state of Kentucky (肯塔基州), students who drop out of school, have nine or more absences without being excused, or whose grades are below a given standard, lose their driving privileges "unless they can prove family hardship".
It's hard to avoid being seen on the DMV computer screens, but there are ways to keep a low profile in other areas. One health official recommends that when you sign a medical form you change it to make it clear "that you do not consent to having information re-released or sold to a second party without your direct, written consent".
Lots of other advice is available in publications listed in the Whole Earth Review (《全球评论》)(Fall 1993). Two of the most intriguing books on the list are Privacy for Sale (《出卖隐私》) by Jeffrey Rothfeder (杰弗里·罗斯费德) and Your Right to Privacy (《你的隐私权》)by Evan Hendricks of Privacy Times newsletter. Another well-known and useful periodical is the monthly Privacy Journal (《隐私月报》).

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