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常春藤解析英语【62】Five Minutes to Midnight 滴!答!滴!毁灭倒数计时

2010-08-17 21:37:00 来源:常春藤英语
Five Minutes to Midnight 滴!答!滴!毁灭倒数计时

by Kevin Lustig

The University of Chicago publishes the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine about topics related to nuclear technology. On the cover of every issue of the magazine, there is a picture of a clock. Since it first appeared, the time on the clock has ranged between 11:43 and 11:58. The time it shows does not indicate the time of day, though. Instead, the time displayed represents how close we are to midnight, a time symbolizing the destruction of mankind.

The idea for the clock came about in 1947, shortly after atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan. Scientists had seen the destructive power of these weapons, and they concluded that nuclear war would be a catastrophe for the entire planet. They created the doomsday clock to show how close humans had come to destroying themselves. The first time it showed was 11:53. After that, the clock has been turned ahead or back based on world events. In 1949, when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, for example, the clock was turned ahead four minutes, to 11:57. In 1953, with the US and USSR both testing more destructive nuclear weapons within months of each other, it was turned ahead another minute. The clock has never been that close to midnight before or since.

These days, the threat of global nuclear war is much lower. However, scientists have added global warming and other factors like nanotechnology to their calculations of the time for the doomsday clock. As a result, the clock is currently at 11:55, five minutes to midnight. Of the nineteen times the doomsday clock has displayed over the years, this one is the fifth-closest to 12:00. It is a silent warning that global affairs are currently heading towards destruction, and it reminds us to be careful in order to keep time from running out.

1. What first caused scientists to create the doomsday clock?
(A) Russia's first atomic test.
(B) The atomic bomb attack on Japan.
(C) The publication of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
(D) A worldwide natural disaster.

2. Which event would be most likely to cause the clock's time to be turned ahead?
(A) A major peace treaty being signed by two countries.
(B) The invasion of one powerful nation by another.
(C) One of the important stock markets crashing.
(D) The extinction of an important species of animal.

3. How is the current doomsday clock different from the original clock?
(A) It is based on more than just the problem of nuclear war.
(B) Its time is the closest to 12:00.
(C) Nuclear war is no longer part of its calculations.
(D) Its time is fixed at 11:55 since the threat of nuclear war is gone.

4. The current time on the doomsday clock indicates that the world is _____.
(A) unlikely to experience anything bad any time soon
(B) already certain to be destroyed by mankind
(C) in more danger now than ever before
(D) getting dangerously close to the destruction of human beings


1. be related to...  与……有关
例: A person's intelligence is not related to the color of his or her skin.

2. range between A and B
= range from A to B
范围在 A 与 B 之间,范围从 A 到 B(都有)
例: The people with the flu range from two months to 90 years old.
(罹患这次流感的人年龄从两个月大到 90 岁都有。)

3. indicate vt. 显示;指出
例: The medical survey indicated that a proper diet can prevent many diseases.

4. represent vt. 代表
例: This ring represents my love for you.

5. symbolize vt. 象征
symbolic a. 象征的
be symbolic of...  象征……
例: The crown symbolizes power and authority.
= The crown is symbolic of power and authority.

6. come about   产生,发生
例: How did your car accident come about?

7. shortly after...  在……之后不久
例: It began to rain shortly after he left the house.

8. conclude + that 子句  作出……的结论;断定……
例: Based on the evidence, the police concluded that he was the killer.

9. come close to V-ing  几乎∕差一点……
= come near to V-ing
例: The stray dog came close to being run over by a car.

10. add A to B  把 A 加进 B
例: If you add this money to your savings, you will have enough to buy a car.

11.As a result, S + V   结果∕因此,……
例: Ed was late this morning. As a result, he will not get the on-time bonus this month.

12. currently adv. 目前
例: David has had many jobs. Currently, he is working as a journalist.

13. remind sb to V  提醒某人(做)……
remind sb of sb/sth  令某人想到某人∕某事物
例: You have to remind Jane to take out the garbage or she'll forget.
例: The smell of pipe tobacco reminds me of my grandfather.

14. run out  用尽,用完
run out of...  用完∕耗尽……
例: Hurry up! We need to finish this project by midnight, and time is running out.
例: Kathy ran out of cash and had to resort to using her credit card.

15. be in danger  处于危险之中
例: Warren's in great danger. There's a time bomb hidden in his car.


1. bulletin n.(学会的)会刊;公报
2. atomic a. 原子的
atomic bomb  原子弹
3. nuclear a. 核子的
nuclear weapon  核子武器
4. instead adv. 反而;却
5. destruction n. 毁灭
6. destructive a. 破坏的,毁灭性的
7. catastrophe n. 大灾难
8. doomsday n. 最后审判日;世界末日
9. threat n. 威胁
10. factor n. 因素,要素
11. nanotechnology n. 奈米科技
12. calculation n. 计算
13. affair n. 事件
14. peace treaty n. 和平条约
15. invasion n. 入侵,侵略
16. crash vi. 下跌
17. extinction n. 灭绝
18. fix vt. 使固定


1. be close to N  接近……
2. based on/upon...  根据∕基于……
3. for example/instance  例如,举例来说


芝加哥大学出版的《原子科学家公报》是一本刊登有关核子科技的杂志。每一期的杂志封面都有一张时钟的图片。从它第一次登上杂志封面起,时间便一直在 11:43 到 11:58 之间摆荡。然而,钟上的时间并非标示一天中的任何时刻,而是象征人类距离毁灭的午夜时分还有多久。

世界末日钟始于 1947 年,也就是日本被投下两颗原子弹后不久。科学家看到这种武器毁灭性的威力,断定核战对这整个星球会是一场浩劫。于是便创造了世界末日钟,向世人显示人类离自我毁灭有多近。第一次显示的时刻为 11:53,之后,钟上的时间便依照世界上发生的事件调快或调慢。例如,当时的苏联在 1949 年第一次测试原子弹时,末日钟的时间便调快 4 分钟至 11:57。1953 年,美国和苏联在几个月内相继测试更具毁灭性的核子武器,末日钟又往前调了 1 分钟,是空前绝后最接近午夜的一次。

近来全球的核战威胁已减低许多。但科学家新增了全球暖化和奈米科技等其它变量,来计算末日钟的时间。结果,现在时钟走到 11:55,差 5 分钟就到午夜时分。末日钟的时间在这几年来共调过 19 次,最近这一次是第五个最接近 12:00 的时刻。这是一个无言的警告,告诉我们全世界的所作所为正一步步走向毁灭,提醒我们必须谨慎行事,以免世界走向尽头。

1. 科学家因何创造出世界末日钟?
(A) 俄罗斯首次测试原子弹。
(B) 日本遭受原子弹攻击。
(C) 《原子科学家公报》创刊。
(D) 发生全球性的天然灾难。
题解: 根据文章第二段,末日钟始于 1947 年,也就是日本被投下原子弹后不久,可知应选 (B)。

2. 下列哪个事件最有可能造成末日钟的时间往前调?
(A) 两国签署一项重大的和平条约。
(B) 一个强国被另一强国入侵。
(C) 重要的股票市场崩盘。
(D) 一个重要物种的灭绝。
题解: 根据文章第二段,科学家看到核子武器毁灭的威力,断定核战对这整个星球会是一场浩劫,于是创造了世界末日钟,对人类提出警告;而两个强国若发生战争,很有可能走上核战一途,故选 (B)。

3. 现在的末日钟和原先的有何不同?
(A) 衡量的基准不再局限于核战问题。
(B) 目前的时间最接近 12:00。
(C) 核战不再是计算时间的指标之一。
(D) 由于核战威胁解除,现在的时刻固定在 11:55。
题解: 根据文章第三段,近来全球的核战威胁虽减低许多,但科学家新增了全球暖化和奈米科技等其它变量,来计算末日钟的时刻,故选 (A)。

4. 末日钟现在的时刻指出这个世界 _____。
(A) 近期内不会有任何坏事降临
(B) 确定会被人类彻底摧毁
(C) 比起以前任何时间更危在旦夕
(D) 离人类毁灭很近,处境危急
题解: 根据文章第三段,末日钟最近一次显示的时刻是第五个最接近 12:00 的时刻,提醒我们人类目前的所作所为正走向毁灭,故选 (D)。

标准答案: 1. (B) 2. (B) 3. (A) 4. (D)

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