2010年03月17日

サルやチンパンジーのコトバを解読する


Deciphering the Chatter of Monkeys and Chimps
( New York Times )

Walking through the Tai forest of Ivory Coast, Klaus Zuberbu"hler could hear the calls of the Diana monkeys, but the babble held no meaning for him.

That was in 1990. Today, after nearly 20 years of studying animal communication, he can translate the forest’s sounds. This call means a Diana monkey has seen a leopard. That one means it has sighted another predator, the crowned eagle. “In our experience time and again, it’s a humbling experience to realize there is so much more information being passed in ways which hadn’t been noticed before,” said Dr. Zuberbu"hler, a psychologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Do apes and monkeys have a secret language that has not yet been decrypted? And if so, will it resolve the mystery of how the human faculty for language evolved? Biologists have approached the issue in two ways, by trying to teach human language to chimpanzees and other species, and by listening to animals in the wild.

It is tempting to think of the vervet calls as words for “leopard,” “snake” or “eagle,” but that is not really so. The vervets do not combine the calls with other sounds to make new meanings. They do not modulate them, so far as is known, to convey that a leopard is 10, or 100, feet away. Their alarm calls seem less like words and more like a person saying “Ouch!” ― a vocal representation of an inner mental state rather than an attempt to convey exact information.


【 まずは準備運動 】

・predator 捕食者(他の動物を殺して食べる動物)
・humble 卑しめる、辱しめる、謙虚にさせる、謙遜した
・modulate 調節する、調整する


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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(1) | TrackBack(0) | 科学

2010年03月15日

軽いスキンシップの深い意味


Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much
( New York Times )

Psychologists have long studied the grunts and winks of nonverbal communication, the vocal tones and facial expressions that carry emotion. A warm tone of voice, a hostile stare ― both have the same meaning in Terre Haute or Timbuktu, and are among dozens of signals that form a universal human vocabulary.

But in recent years some researchers have begun to focus on a
different, often more subtle kind of wordless communication: physical contact. Momentary touches, they say ― whether an exuberant high five, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a creepy touch to the arm ― can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words.

In a series of experiments led by Matthew Hertenstein, a psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, volunteers tried to communicate a list of emotions by touching a blindfolded stranger. The participants were able to communicate eight distinct emotions, from gratitude to disgust to love, some with about 70 percent accuracy.


【 まずは準備運動 】

・hostile 敵の、敵意のある
・stare  じっと見る(こと)、凝視
・accurately 正確に(名詞:accuracy)
・blindfold 目隠しする
・gratitude 感謝
・disgust (むかむかするような)嫌気、いとわしさ


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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 科学

2010年03月08日

礼儀かパニックかは時間次第


Polite or Panicky May Depend on Time to React
( New York Times )

When the ship is sinking is it really women and children first, or every man for himself? The answer, it seems, may depend on how fast it's going down.

Comparing who survived two of history's most famous sinkings -- the Titanic and the Lusitania -- indicates sharply different behavior on the two doomed vessels, neither of which had enough available lifeboats for all passengers.

When a torpedo sent the Lusitania to the bottom in just 18 minutes, claiming 1,198 lives, most survivors were young, fit people age 16 to 35 who could rush to a spot in the lifeboats and hang on to it.

By contrast, it took 2 hours and 40 minutes for the Titanic to slip beneath the waves, time for people to consider what to do rather than just react. While 1,517 people perished, the survivors tended to be women, children and those accompanying a child.


【 まずは準備運動 】

・available 利用できる、入手できる(動詞:avail)
・torpedo 魚雷(魚のエイだったのかあ・・・)
・perish 死ぬ、滅びる


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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 科学

2010年01月27日

古くなった脳の鍛え方


How to Train the Aging Brain
( New York Times )

Many longheld views, including the one that 40 percent of brain cells are lost, have been overturned. What is stuffed into your head may not have vanished but has simply been squirreled away in the folds of your neurons.

One explanation for how this occurs comes from Deborah M. Burke, a professor of psychology at Pomona College in California. Dr. Burke has done research on “tots,” those tip-of-the-tongue times when you know something but can’t quite call it to mind. Dr. Burke’s research shows that such incidents increase in part because neural connections, which receive, process and transmit information, can weaken with disuse or age.

But she also finds that if you are primed with sounds that are close to those you’re trying to remember ― say someone talks about cherry pits as you try to recall Brad Pitt’s name ― suddenly the lost name will pop into mind. The similarity in sounds can jump-start a limp brain connection. (It also sometimes works to silently run through the alphabet until landing on the first letter of the wayward word.)


【 まずは準備運動 】

・vanish 消える
・fold 折る、折り重ねる、折りたたみ
・neuron 神経細胞(ニューロン)
・transmit 送る、伝える
・prime (銃砲に)火薬を詰める、(ポンプに)呼び水をする
・pit 種
・limp 弱々しい、疲れた


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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 科学

2009年12月23日

与えて暮らした1か月に健康というご褒美


In Month of Giving, a Healthy Reward
( New York Times )

When Cami Walker of Los Angeles learned three years ago that she had multiple sclerosis, her health and her spirits plummeted ― until she got an unusual prescription from a holistic health educator.

Ms. Walker, now 36, scribbled the idea in her journal. And though she dismissed it at first, after weeks of
fatigue, insomnia, pain and preoccupation with her symptoms, she decided to give it a try. The treatment and her experience with it are summed up in the title of her new book, “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life” (Da Capo Press).

Ms. Walker gave a gift a day for 29 days ― things like making
supportive phone calls or saving a piece of chocolate cake for her husband. The giving didn’t cure her multiple sclerosis, of course. But it seems to have had a startling effect on her ability to cope with it. She is more mobile and less dependent on pain medication. The flare-ups that routinely sent her to the emergency room have stopped, and scans show that her disease has stopped progressing.


【 まずは準備運動 】

・multiple sclerosis 多発性硬化症
・plummet まっすぐに落ちる、(人気・物価などが)急落する
・scribble 走り書きする、ぞんざいに書く
・sum 総計する、合計する、概要を述べる、要約する
・startle びっくりさせる、跳び上がらせる
・flare-up ぱっと光ること、燃え上がり、(病気の)再発(flare:炎)


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