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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第250期:大地在移动(4)

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There was also the problem, demonstrated by Rutherford and Soddy early in the century, that Earthly elements hold huge reserves of heat—much too much to allow for the sort of cooling and shrinking Suess suggested. And anyway, if Suess's theory was correct then mountains should be evenly distributed across the face of the Earth, which patently they were not, and of more or less the same ages; yet by the early 1900s it was already evident that some ranges, like the Urals and Appalachians, were hundreds of millions of years older than others, like the Alps and Rockies. Clearly the time was ripe for a new theory. Unfortunately, Alfred Wegener was not the man that geologists wished to provide it.

卢瑟福和索迪在20世纪初还指出了另一个问题:地球蕴藏着巨大的热量──巨大得根本谈不上休伊斯所说的冷却和皱缩。无论如何,要是休伊斯的理论真是正确的话,山脉就会在地球表面上分布得很均匀,而实际情况显然不是那样的;年龄也会差不多一样,而到20世纪初,情况已经一清二楚,有的山脉(比如乌拉尔山脉和阿巴拉契亚山脉)要比别的山脉(比如阿尔卑斯山脉和落基山脉)古老几亿年。提出一种新的理论的时机显然已经成熟。不幸的是,地质学家们不希望把这个任务交给阿尔弗雷德·魏格纳来完成。
板块运动

For a start, his radical notions questioned the foundations of their discipline, seldom an effective way to generate warmth in an audience. Such a challenge would have been painful enough coming from a geologist, but Wegener had no background in geology. He was a meteorologist, for goodness sake. A weatherman—a German weatherman. These were not remediable deficiencies.

首先,他的观点很激进,对他们学科的基础提出了质疑,不大可能在听众中产生多大热情。这样的一种挑战即使来自一位地质学家,也会是相当痛苦的,而魏格纳没有地质学的背景。天哪,他是一位气象学家,一名气象员──德国的气象员。这个缺陷是无法弥补的。
And so geologists took every pain they could think of to dismiss his evidence and belittle his suggestions. To get around the problems of fossil distributions, they posited ancient "land bridges" wherever they were needed. When an ancient horse named Hipparion was found to have lived in France and Florida at the same time, a land bridge was drawn across the Atlantic.
所以,地质学家们想方设法要驳斥他的证据,贬低他的见解。为了回避化石分布的问题,他们就架起古代“陆桥”,只要那里需要。当发现一种名叫“三趾马”的古马同时生活在法国和美国佛罗里达州的时候,一座陆桥就在大西洋上架起来了。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
belittle [bi'litl]

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vt. 轻视,贬低,使相形见小

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challenge ['tʃælindʒ]

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n. 挑战
v. 向 ... 挑战

 
generate ['dʒenə.reit]

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vt. 产生,发生,引起

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remediable [ri'mi:diəbl]

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adj. 可纠正的,可治疗的

 
radical ['rædikəl]

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adj. 激进的,基本的,彻底的
n. 激进分

 
evidence ['evidəns]

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n. 根据,证据
v. 证实,证明

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dismiss [dis'mis]

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vt. 解散,开除,逃避,(法律)驳回

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earthly ['ə:θli]

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adj. 地球的,俗世的,可能的

 
evenly ['i:vənli]

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adv. 平衡地,平坦地,平等地

 
effective [i'fektiv]

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adj. 有效的,有影响的

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