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well-tempered/['wel͵tempəd]/ a. 脾气好的, 经过锻炼的...

全新版大学英语综合教程第二册04

UNIT 4

The Virtual World

Part I Pre-Reading Task

Listen to the recording two or three times and then think over the following questions:

1. Is the hero a student or an employee?

2. What was he doing when the boss came in?

3. How did he act in front of his boss?

4. Can you guess what the texts in this unit are going to be about?

The following words in the recording may be new to you:

surf

vt. (在网上)漫游

log onto

进入(计算机系统)

unpredictable

a. 不可预测的

When an idle moment turned up at work, people used to reach for the newspaper, providing the boss wasn't looking. Nowadays they are more likely to spend their spare moments surfing the Internet. Needless to say, the boss is usually no more happier than before, thinking that his staff should be looking for some useful work to do. So what happens to the surfer who hears the boss's footsteps approaching? This is the situation the writer of the poem you are about to hear found himself in. Will he be caught in the act?

Surfing the Internet

Stepping into the lab,

I found no one is inside.

So I think I'm in the clear

Because the boss is nowhere in sight.

I log onto the web and start to surf

And then my hair stands up with fright.

The footsteps coming down the hall

Are quickening in pace.

There is no time to exit,

No way to save my face.

So I press the power button

And relax just a bit.

There is no way he can tell

Exactly what I hit.

I act all surprised,

Don't know why my machine died.

"Simply unpredictable these

Computers are!" I cried.

"So we'll get you a new one,

A computer that won't crash", he exclaims.

Do you think he'll wonder

When the new one acts the same?

Part II

Text A

Maia Szalavitz, formerly a television producer, now spends her time as a writer. In this essay she explores digital reality and its consequences. Along the way, she compares the digital world to the "real" world, acknowledging the attractions of the electronic dimension.

A VIRTUAL LIFE

Maia Szalavitz

After too long on the Net, even a phone call can be a shock. My boyfriend's Liverpool accent suddenly becomes impossible to interpret after his easily understood words on screen; a secretary's clipped tone seems more rejecting than I'd imagined it would be. Time itself becomes fluid — hours become minutes, or seconds stretch into days. Weekends, once a highlight of my week, are now just two ordinary days.

For the last three years, since I stopped working as a television producer, I have done much of my work as a telecommuter. I submit articles and edit them via email and communicate with colleagues on Internet mailing lists. My boyfriend lives in England, so much of our relationship is also computer-assisted.

If I desired, I could stay inside for weeks without wanting anything. I can order food, and manage my money, love and work. In fact, at times I have spent as long as three weeks alone at home, going out only to get mail and buy newspapers and groceries. I watched most of the endless snowstorm of'96 on TV.

But after a while, life itself begins to feel unreal. I start to feel as though I've become one with my machines, taking data in, spitting them back out, just another link in the Net. Others on line report the same symptoms. We start to feel an aversion to outside forms of socializing. We have become the Net critics' worst nightmare.

What first seemed like a luxury, crawling from bed to computer, not worrying about hair, and clothes and face, has become a form of escape, a lack of discipline. And once you start replacing real human contact with cyber-interaction, coming back out of the cave can be quite difficult.

I find myself shyer, more cautious, more anxious. Or, conversely, when suddenly confronted with real live humans, I get overexcited, speak too much, interrupt. I constantly worry if I am dressed appropriately, that perhaps I've actually forgotten to put on a skirt and walked outside in the T-shirt and underwear I sleep and live in.

At times, I turn on the television and just leave it to talk away in the background, something that I'd never done previously. The voices of the programs are comforting, but then I'm jarred by the commercials. I find myself sucked in by soap operas, or needing to keep up with the latest news and the weather. "Dateline," "Frontline," "Nightline," CNN, New York 1, every possible angle of every story over and over and over, even when they are of no possible use to me. Work moves into the background. I decide to check my email.

On line, I find myself attacking everyone in sight. I am bad-tempered, and easily angered. I find everyone on my mailing list insensitive, believing that they've forgotten that there are people actually reading their wounding remarks. I don't realize that I'm projecting until after I've been embarrassed by someone who politely points out that I've attacked her for agreeing with me.

When I'm in this state, I fight my boyfriend as well, misinterpreting his intentions because of the lack of emotional cues given by our typed dialogue. The fight takes hours, because the system keeps crashing. I say a line, then he does, then crash! And yet we keep on, doggedly.

I'd never realized how important daily routine is: dressing for work, sleeping normal hours. I'd never thought I relied so much on co-workers for company. I began to understand why long-term unemployment can be so damaging, why life without an externally supported daily plan can lead to higher rates of drug abuse, crime, suicide.

To restore balance to my life, I force myself back into the real world. I call people, arrange to meet with the few remaining friends who haven't fled New York City. I try to at least get to the gym, so as to set apart the weekend from the rest of my week. I arrange interviews for stories, doctor's appointments — anything to get me out of the house and connected with others.

But sometimes being face to face is too much. I see a friend and her ringing laughter is intolerable — the noise of conversation in the restaurant, unbearable. I make my excuses and flee. I re-enter my apartment and run to the computer as though it were a place of safety.

I click on the modem, the once-annoying sound of the connection now as pleasant as my favorite tune. I enter my password. The real world disappears.

(820 words)

New Words and Expressions

virtual

a. 虚拟的;实质上的

accent

n. 口音

interpret

v. 理解;解释;(作)口译

clipped

a. with a short clear pronunciation 发音快而清脆的

tone

n. 语气,口气,腔调

fluid

a. not stable, likely to change 不稳定的,可变的

n. 液体

stretch

v. (cause to) become longer, wider, etc. without breaking 拉长,伸展

telecommuter

n. one who works from home, communicating with the workplace using a computer terminal 远程工作者

submit

vt. give (sth.) to sb. so that it may be formally considered 提交,呈递

edit

vt. revise or correct 编辑

email

n. 电子邮件

vt. 给…发电子邮件;用电子邮件发

communicate

vi. 通信,交往

Internet

n. 互联网,因特网

relationship

n. 关系

at times

sometimes 有时

endless

a. having or seeming to have no end 无休止的

take in

收进,吸收

data

n. (datum 的复数形式)数据,资料

spit

vt. 吐出

on line

connected to or controlled by a computer (network) 联机地,在线

symptom

n. 征兆;症状

aversion

n. a strong feeling of dislike 厌恶,反感

socialize

vi. mix socially with others 社交,交际

critic

n. a person who judges or criticizes 评论家;对…持批评态度的人

nightmare

n. a terrifying dream 噩梦

crawl

vi. 爬,爬行

interaction

n. 交往;相互作用

cyber-interaction

n. 通过网络交往

conversely

ad. 相反地

appropriately

ad. 适当地,得体地

appropriate a.

T-shirt

n. T恤衫

underwear

n. 内衣

but then

yet at the same time 但另一方面,然而

jar

v. 使感到不快,刺激(神经等)

commercial

n. 商业广告

a. 商业的

suck

v. draw liquid or air into the mouth 吸,吮

suck in 吸引,使卷入;吸收

opera

n. 歌剧(艺术)

soap opera

肥皂剧(以家庭问题为题材的广播或电视连续剧)

keep up with

learn about or be aware of (the news, etc.); move at the same rate as 及时了解或跟上

angle

n. a particular way of considering an issue, etc. 角度,立场

in sight

visible; likely to come soon 可看到的;临近

bad-tempered

a. having a bad temper 脾气坏的,易怒的

insensitive

a. not able to feel, unsympathetic to other people's feelings 感觉迟钝的,麻木不仁的

sensitive

a. 敏感的

remark

n. 言辞,话语

v. 说,评说

project

v. imagine that others have (the same feelings, usu. unpleasant ones) as you 以为别人也有(与自己同样的情绪)

misinterpret

vt. understand wrongly 错误地理解,错误地解释

emotional

a. 感情上的;动感情的

cue

n. 提示,暗示

doggedly

ad. persistently 顽强地,坚持不懈地

routine

n. 例行事务,日常工作,惯例

rely

vi. depend confidently, put trust in 依靠,依赖

unemployment▲

n. 失业

externally

ad. 从外面,在外部

external

a. 外面的,外部的

abuse

n. wrong or excessive use; cruel treatment 滥用,虐待

crime

n. (犯)罪

suicide

n. 自杀

restore

vt. bring back to a former condition 恢复

arrange

vt. prepare or plan 安排

flee

v. run away (from) 逃走;逃离

gym

n. 体育馆,健身房

set apart

使分离,使分开

interview

n., vt. 接见;面试

appointment

n. 约会

laughter

n. 笑,笑声

intolerable

a. too bad to be endured 不能忍受的,无法容忍的

apartment

n. 一套公寓房间;公寓

click

v. (使)发咔哒声;用鼠标点击

n. 咔哒声

modem

n. 调制解调器

annoying

a. 讨厌的,恼人的

annoy

vt. make angry, irritate; bother 使恼怒,使烦恼

connection

n. 连接

tune

n. 曲子,曲调

password

n. 口令,密码

Proper Names

Maia Szalavitz

迈亚·塞拉维茨

Liverpool

利物浦(英格兰西部港口城市)

Dateline

美国National Broadcasting Company (NBC) 的专题新闻报道节目

Frontline

美国Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) 的专题新闻报道节目

Nightline

美国American Broadcasting Company(ABC)的专题新闻报道节目

CNN =Cable News Network

(美国)有线新闻电视网

Language sense Enhancement

1. Read aloud paragraphs 10-13 and learn them by heart.

2. Read aloud the following poem:

Happily Addicted to the Web

Doorbell rings, I'm not listening,

From my mouth, drool is glistening,

I'm happy — although

My parents are not —

Happily addicted to the Web.

All night long, I sit clicking,

Unaware time is ticking,

There's heard on my cheek,

Same clothes for a week,

Happily addicted to the Web.

Friends come by; they shake me,

Saying, "Yo, man!

Don't you know tonight's senior prom?"

With a shrug, I replied, "No, man;

I just discovered letterman-dot-com!"

I don't phone, don't send faxes,

Don't go out, don't pay taxes,

Who cares if someday

They drag me away?

I'm happily addicted to the Web!

3. Read the following quotations. Learn them by heart if you can. You might need to look up new words in a dictionary.

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.

—— John F, Kennedy

A computer does not substitute for judgment any more than a pencil substitutes for literacy. But writing without a pencil is no particular advantage.

—— Robert S, McNamara

A computer will do what you tell it to do, but that may be much different from

what you had in mind.

—— Joseph Weizenbaum

4. Read the following humorous story for fun:

An lllinois man left the snow-filled streets of Chicago for a vacation in Florida. His wife was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick email.

Unfortunately, when typing her address, he missed one letter, and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher's wife whose husband had passed away only the day before. When the grieving widow checked her mail, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead Faint.

At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the screen:

Dearest Wife,

Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. Sure is hot down here.
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