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2010年度勇敢的思想者 2010 Brave Thinkers


   David Cameron1) 戴维·卡梅伦

  Why he’s brave: Cameron has been making bold decisions since he took office in May, 2010. When his Conservative Party gained the most votes in 2010’s election, he invited the Liberal Democrats into a coalition. And then, faced with financial crisis, he wasted no time in raising taxes and cutting spending.

David Cameron 戴维·卡梅伦  Britain’s new prime minister faced two tests when he formed his first government in spring, 2010, and surprised the country both times. The margin of Cameron’s victory in May’s general election was too small to let the Tories2) rule alone. Instead of offering the Liberal Democrats a limited voting pact on specific proposals, he offered seats in the cabinet and invited them into a full and, he hopes, lasting coalition. It is bound to be a turbulent marriage, but it might be a fruitful one, and while it lasts, it will entirely recast British politics.

  The new coalition’s most pressing challenge was economic policy, and again Cameron was brave. The coalition announced tax increases and spending cuts at the high end of3) what was feasible, kicking in faster than many economists think wise. Cameron is reducing public borrowing by 9 percent of GDP in five years. The spending cuts will lop off4) a full quarter of some department budgets. Once the consequences start to be felt, resistance in the country will rise, and the pressure on the coalition will no doubt increase. Cameron may turn out to have erred, but you have to respect his taste for the unexpected.

   Kevin Costner5) 凯文·科斯特纳

Kevin Costner 凯文·科斯特纳  Why he’s brave: Wouldn’t it have been great if, earlier in the year of 2010, BP had had access to machines that could clean up some of its oil spill? Actually, it did—and those machines were developed and funded in large part by the actor Kevin Costner.

  Among the terrible things we learned when BP’s blown Macondo well began spewing6) those 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico was that the oil giant did not have a magical petroleum-cleanup machine. Little did we know that one farsighted wealthy man had spent more than $20 million building just such a contraption7). And who could possibly have guessed that that man was Kevin Costner?
  英国石油公司的马孔多油井爆炸后, 五百万桶原油涌入墨西哥湾。在关于这一事件我们所了解到的一系列可怕事实中,其中一个就是这个石油巨头没有一台可以清除石油的神奇机器。而几乎不为我们所知的是,其实已经有一位富有远见卓识的大富豪斥资两千多万美元制造了这种设备,可谁又能猜得到这个人竟会是凯文·科斯特纳呢?

  After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill8), the actor went looking for a technology that could have cleaned up Prince William Sound. None existed, so he committed to developing one. He purchased a patent for a centrifuge9) created by a chemist. Costner knew that a centrifuge can help separate mixed substances by spinning them. A denser material will move outward, while a lighter one will migrate toward the machine’s center. The chemist’s working model was designed to separate radioactive isotopes10), and it stood about six inches tall. But it suggested that something similar could remove oil (which is light) from water (which is comparatively dense). The trick would be building a machine large enough and fast enough to handle thousands of gallons.

  And so, along with his scientist brother, Costner spent the 1990s plowing money into the concept, securing patents and relying on a team of researchers in Nevada to develop the device. When they were close, the Costners reached out to every major oil company, only to be rebuffed by industry players who told the actor we’d never have another spill like the Valdez.

  Of course, we did. And Costner’s machines finally got a look. In the aftermath of 2010’s spill, BP bought 32 of them to use in the gulf. Now the actor is working with Edison Chouest Offshore to build first-responder ships that could be deployed around the world to clean up future spills.

  Tom Sullivan 汤姆·沙利文

Tom Sullivan 汤姆·沙利文  Why he’s brave: The entrepreneur who once sold construction material out of his truck and later founded Lumber Liquidators now wants to change how we power our vehicles. Making a big bet on the future of hydrogen fuel technology, Sullivan is building a network of fueling stations.
  勇敢理由:这位企业家曾经开着货车卖过建材,后来又创立了Lumber Liquidators木材公司,现在他又想改变我们汽车的供能方式。沙利文十分看好氢燃料技术的未来,正着手构建氢燃料补给网络。

  Hydrogen is the ultimate have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too11) alternative fuel. It’s superclean, and it’s the most abundant element in the universe. The main problem is that there’s no such thing as a hydrogen grid: no one has built the network of thousands of refueling stations that would make owning a hydrogen car practical.

  Enter Tom Sullivan, the wealthy 51-year-old founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators, a 200-store hardwood-flooring chain that he started out of the back of his pickup truck in 1993. Sullivan, a libertarian, has long been interested in alternative energy on self-reliance grounds, and so, three years ago, he plunked down over $10 million to buy a small company that made electrolyzers12)—the machines used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. To Sullivan, solar-powered electrolyzers seemed like the perfect foundation for a network of hydrogen refueling stations. “I thought, I’ll build some stations and see if we can get it going,” Sullivan said. “Somebody had to just get off their ass and do something.”
  这就给了汤姆·沙利文“施展拳脚”的机会。腰缠万贯的他现年51岁,是Lumber Liquidators木材公司的创始人兼董事会主席。Lumber Liquidators是一家拥有两百个门店的硬木地板连锁公司,是他在1993年靠一辆皮卡车起家创建的。沙利文是个自由主义者,长期关注替代能源,而且坚持自力更生。于是,三年前,他斥资一千多万美元买下了一家生产电解槽的公司——这种装置可用于分解水中的氢和氧。在沙利文看来,太阳能电解槽似乎是建立氢燃料补给站网络再好不过的基础设施了。“我想先建几个站点,看看是否能成功运行起来,”沙利文说,“总得有人行动起来,去做点有意义的事情。”

  In the autumn of 2010 he opens his first SunHydro station, in Wallingford, Connecticut. It will be powered by 30,000 square feet of rooftop solar panels and will sell hydrogen for the gas-mileage equivalent of about $5 a gallon. Sullivan plans to expand along the East Coast’s I-9513) corridor, from Miami to Maine, by building stations at his Lumber Liquidators stores—slapping solar panels on the roofs and setting up electrolyzers in the parking lots. Of course, as a moneymaking venture, this might be completely crazy. But there’s also a bullheaded logic at work here. Sullivan is hoping he’s ahead of the curve. “I’d rather be early,” he said, “than late.”
  2010年秋天,他在康涅狄格州沃灵福德开设了第一个SunHydro氢燃料补给站。这个补给站将由面积达三万平方英尺的屋顶太阳能电池板供能,每加仑氢售价约五美元,行驶里程与一加仑汽油相当。沙利文计划在东海岸I-95号公路沿线的迈阿密至缅因州路段逐步扩展,方法就是把氢燃料补给站建在Lumber Liquidators公司的门店附近——在屋顶装上太阳能电池板,在停车场安设电解槽。当然,作为一项着眼于赚钱的风险投资,这或许完全是个疯狂的举动。不过,这种想法也有点刚愎自用的意味,沙利文只是希望自己能领先一步,少走弯路。“我宁可早点干,”他说,“也不想落在后头。”

  Sakena Yacoobi 萨基娜·雅库比

Sakena Yacoobi 萨基娜·雅库比  Why she’s brave: Over the past two decades, Yacoobi has braved violence and war to provide education to more than a quarter of a million students in Afghanistan. And despite fierce opposition from the Taliban14) and an entrenched15) culture of discrimination, Yacoobi has persisted as a champion in the cause to help young Afghan girls.

  Sakena Yacoobi began the work that has become her mission in 1992. That’s when she set up a school for Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Her school grew quickly—from 300 to 15,000 students in that first year—and so did her commitment to educating women and girls in Afghanistan, where the brutal Taliban denied them all schooling. Back in her own country, Yacoobi conducted classes underground, risking raids, flogging16), and imprisonment. Nearly two decades on, she has educated more than 350,000 people.

  Though the Taliban were driven from power, Yacoobi thinks the gender inequality ingrained in Afghan culture still threatens the country. As an Afghan Muslim born in Herat and educated in the United States, she’s uniquely suited to push for the type of change that connects traditional Afghan society with well-meaning reformers and aid workers from the West. She understands that—although we drop bombs, surge troops, build roads, provide electricity and computers—unless girls are educated, lasting progress won’t be made.

  1. David Cameron:戴维·卡梅伦(1966~),英国第53任首相,保守党领袖,是英国自1812年利物浦勋爵以来最年轻的首相。他出身于英国贵族家庭,是英王威廉四世的直系后裔,曾在英国著名的伊顿公学就读小学和中学。卡梅伦于1985年9月进入牛津大学布雷齐诺斯学院攻读哲学、政治与经济。2010年5月6日的英国大选后,保守党虽然胜出,但是并未在议会中赢得半数以上的议席,从而形成了英国自1974年以来第一个“无多数议会”,也称“悬浮议会”。
  2. Tories:托利党党员。托利党创建于1689年,是辉格党的对立党派,1832年以后托利党改名为保守党。
  3. at the end of:到达⋯⋯的极限,在⋯⋯的末端
  4. lop off:砍掉
  5. Kevin Costner:凯文·科斯特纳(1955~),美国演员、导演和制片人,两届奥斯卡奖得主,主要电影作品包括《与狼共舞》(Dance with Wolves)、《保镖 》(The Bodyguard)、《未来水世界》(Waterworld)等。1995年,他从美国政府手中买下了专门研发海洋石油污染处理的“海洋治疗方案公司”(Ocean Therapy Solutions),为后来研发清油机打下了基础。
  6. spew [spju:] vt. 喷涌
  7. contraption [kEn5trApFEn] n. 装置,精巧的设计
  8. Exxon Valdez oil spill:“埃克森·瓦尔迪兹”号石油泄漏事件,墨西哥湾原油泄漏事故之前美国历史上最严重的一次环境灾难。1989年3月24日,美国“埃克森·瓦尔迪兹”号超级油轮在阿拉斯加州美加交界的威廉王子湾附近触礁,泄漏原油达八百多万加仑,在海面上形成一条宽约一公里、长达八百公里的漂油带。
  9. centrifuge [5sentrIfju:dV] n. 离心机,分离机
  10. radioactive isotope:放射性同位素
  11. have your cake and eat it too:鱼与熊掌两者兼得
  12. electrolyzer [I5lektrEJlaIzE(r)] n. 电解装置,电解槽
  13. I-95:美国东部一条重要的高速公路,它从美国最东北的缅因州,沿着海岸沿线往南,一直贯穿美国最南部的佛罗里达州。I指的是interstate,即州际公路的缩写。在美国,东西方向的高速公路用偶数代称,比如 I-64、I-40;南北方向的用奇数,如I-81、I-95。
  14. Taliban:伊斯兰原教旨主义运动组织,发源于阿富汗的坎大哈地区。它在1995年发动战争,控制了全国含90%以上的领土,于1996~2001年期间在阿富汗建立了全国性政权。塔利班掌权后,全面推行伊斯兰法,实行极端宗教统治,并颁布政令禁止电影、电视、音乐等娱乐活动,不允许妇女接受教育和就业。2001年“9·11”事件发生后,在美军的打击下,塔利班政权垮台。
  15. entrench [In5trentF] vt. 确立,使地位牢固
  16. flog [flC^] vt. 鞭打,鞭笞