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发表于 2008-10-9 10:04  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 

Laugh for the Health of It 笑能治百病



Laugh for the Health of It

Patients and medical practitioners alike have long believed in the healing power of humor. It is claimed that humor not only affects patients' moods, but can actually help them recover faster.

Several studies, as well as a lot of anecdotal evidence, seem to support this. Patients in better spirits are known to have higher immune cell counts. Some have even claimed to have healed themselves of serious illnesses by reading comics and watching comedies.

Despite all this, many researchers are not convinced. They point to the fact that many afflictions have been known to disappear spontaneously, with or without a daily dose of laughter. They also say that while optimism in general does seem to be related to better health, it is hard to tell which comes first.

Humor in times of stress, however, clearly makes us feel better. On one level, it takes our minds off our troubles and relaxes us. On another, it releases powerful endorphins in the brain that act to alleviate pain.

There are cases where the appreciation of a good joke is indeed directly related to a person's health. It can show, for example, whether a person has suffered damage to one particular area of the brain: the right frontal lobe.

Scientists confirmed this by having people read jokes and asking them to choose the funniest endings from a list. Subjects with normal brains usually chose endings that were based on a relatively complex synthesis of ideas. Subjects with specifically located brain damage, however, responded only to slapstick endings, which did not depend on a particular context. When pressed , the brain-damaged subjects saw the logic in the correct endings. They simply did not find them funny.

Of course, humor is largely an individual matter. The next time your friend does not get one of your jokes, there is no need to accuse him of being a lamebrain. However, you might suggest that he lighten up—for the health of it.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:05  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 

Where Do Rainbows Come From? 彩虹来自何方



Where Do Rainbows Come From?

Throughout history, rainbows have been a source of mystery and legend. Rainbows are also important symbols in a number of cultures around the world.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, for example, God shows Noah a rainbow to let him know that the Flood is over and that he will never destroy the earth again with flooding. An ancient Mayan book also tells of a rainbow signaling a new age after the destruction of the earth.

In a myth from Germany, the rainbow is the palette that God used to paint the birds. Some Native American groups believed that rainbows were made from wild flowers. In other traditions, the rainbow is the hem of a particular god's coat.

In an ancient Japanese myth, the rainbow is a bridge from heaven to earth. The first man and woman walked down this bridge to learn the ways of the world.

Today, we know exactly how rainbows are made. In the seventeenth century, the scientist Isaac Newton and the mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes analyzed them very carefully. They concluded that rainbows were caused when sunlight was broken up as it passed through raindrops.

When it rains, the colors that make up white light separate because they bend at different angles when they pass through water. The result is the full spectrum of colors the human eye can see, as well as some that it cannot; at the outermost edges of a rainbow lie ultraviolet and infrared light.

Everyone knows that we can sometimes see rainbows on a rainy day. However, you actually have a chance of seeing a rainbow anytime there is light behind you and water in the air in front of you. So, if you want to know what it feels like to have the power of a god, get a spray bottle, stand with your back to the sun, and create a rainbow!

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:07  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 

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Holiday Eating--Food for Thought 大饱口福,莫忘健康



Holiday Eating--Food for Thought

Holiday seasons are usually filled with joy, laughter, and people enjoying each other's company. Another thing holiday seasons are known for, however, is eating.  Every year, many Americans make resolutions on New Year's Eve to join a gym and lose weight-especially the weight they gained during the Christmas season just before.

A study done in the United States confirmed that people gain weight during the holiday season more than at other times of the year. However, they do not gain as much as they think. The study measured people's weight during the American holiday season, which lasts from the week of Thanksgiving to New Year's. The study showed an average weight gain of .37 kilograms, much lower than the predicted amount of 2.3 kilograms.

Some studies say many adults gain weight during the holiday season because they like to eat tasty foods, and they are more likely to do so during the holidays. Nevertheless, there is no reason to let your holiday joy turn into your New Year's regret.

When faced with a threat, our common responses are to fight, or take flight. However, when we are faced with an overwhelming variety of food, our response seems to be to eat all we can.

Experts say that when people are faced with an all-you- can-eat buffet, they eat more because they think they are getting more for their money. They often forget they are paying the same amount whether they eat just what they need, or everything they want. In fact, behavior like this puts people on the same level as laboratory mice. When mice are faced with many different foods to choose from, they too cannot help but overeat.

What can you do to control yourself, especially during the holiday season?  First, when you are looking over a table filled with food, choose just what you need to make a balanced meal.  Also, take your time when making your choices. This is better than immediately grabbing everything that catches your eye.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:08  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
Drink to Your Health 没事多喝水



Drink to Your Health

Since all living things need it, and it makes up two-thirds of our bodies, it seems obvious that water is vital to our health. Most people, however, drink fewer than the eight recommended glasses each day. An alarming one-third drink no water at all!

So why is drinking enough water so important? A minor water deficiency can lead to headaches, sleepiness, and moodiness, while prolonged dehydration can cause high blood pressure and other serious problems.

Drinking water helps our bodies in a variety of ways. It helps us get rid of toxins, which enables our kidneys to do a better job, and it helps prevent bladder infections. It improves digestion and helps us develop antibodies. Finally, water is a great moisturizer and gives our skin a
healthy glow.

Drinking water throughout the day is an important habit to pick up. For your health, give this simple substance the importance it deserves.

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A Healing Cuisine 食补─中国吃的艺术



A Healing Cuisine

Chinese cuisine is widely known and enjoyed in all four corners of the world. Who could not confess to longing for a favorite Chinese dish? But there is one interesting concept concerning Chinese food which is almost unheard of in the West, and which is becoming increasingly ignored by the youth of the East—the ancient custom of “tonic food.”

Tonic food is food which is consumed to improve one’s well-being, or stave off sickness, particularly at times when one is more prone to illness. For instance, it was once the custom for new mothers to eat a sesame- oil hot pot every day for the first month after giving birth. It was believed that this dish would benefit the muscles, reduce pain, improve circulation, stimulate sweating, and warm the body.

In fact, these Chinese beliefs parallel some Western theories of health, although each takes a different path toward the very same goal. Western medicine actually recommends some of the exact same ingredients that make up the chicken hot pot dish. Sesame oil has been found to promote contraction of the womb while providing lots of calories, and chicken meat is particularly high in protein. Any Western doctor should be happy to suggest such a Chinese dish after childbirth.

The elderly, weak, and young can also benefit greatly from tonic foods, especially during the winter. Some foods, such as goat meat and spinach, are seen as “hot,” while others, such as Chinese cabbage and radish, are seen as “cold.” One should be careful not to eat too much of either “hot” or “cold” food. However, how much “hot” or “cold” food one should eat depends on the time of the year, how the food is prepared and what it is prepared with, and the individual’s health.

“Warm” or “cool” tonic foods are strongly recommended. The choices for “warm” and “cool” foods range from simple sea cucumber to the delicacy of bird’s nest soup, depending on the individual’s economic circumstances.

The concept of tonic food is far from losing credibility, either with Westerners or practitioners of modern medicine. For example, up until two years ago, tonic foods were added to the meals served at a renowned hospital.

The custom of prescribing tonic foods for a healthier life also spills over into the catering industry. Although tonic foods themselves are losing popularity among the younger generation, Chinese herbal medicines, such as wolfberry fruit, can be found on many a restaurant menu, either added to fruit tea or as a beneficial addition to a dish. These herbs attract customers, such as over-worked office staff, in need of a modest pick-me-up.

So, whether you need to boost your masculinity with a large helping of bull penis, or increase your mental powers with a serving of pig’s brain soup, you may find that this ancient Chinese custom could be just the tonic you were looking for.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:10  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
Larry's Lawn Chair Ride 梦想起飞,别一飞冲天……



Larry's Lawn Chair Ride  

Larry Walters’ boyhood dream was not an unusual one: He wanted to fly. What was unusual, though, was the way he fulfilled it. After finishing school, Larry joined the U.S. Air Force, but was rejected from pilot-training school because of poor eyesight. However, his dream remained.

Larry, aged 33, was not a pilot, but a truck driver in Los Angeles. One day, while sitting outside in his lawn chair, Larry had his eureka moment. As he watched jets fly overhead, an idea came to him to use weather balloons to fly.

A few weeks later, Larry bought 42 one-meter diameter weather balloons. He tied them to a lawn chair and filled them with helium. Then he sat down in the chair with some beer, sandwiches, and a BB gun. Larry’s plan was to float about 10 meters above his backyard, enjoy a few hours in the air, and then pop some balloons with his gun to get back down. But things did not go according to Larry’s plan.  

When his friends cut the anchor lines, Larry, lifted by the 42 balloons, shot skyward at an astonishing speed. He finally settled at an altitude of 4,000 meters. Afraid to pop any of the balloons, in case he should upset the balance of his “craft,” Larry sat, cold and frightened, in the sky with his beer and sandwiches for 14 hours.

Airline pilots heading toward Los Angeles’ busy international airport radioed in reports of the strange sight. Larry’s presence in the skies caused numerous planes to be rerouted. Eventually, Larry worked up the nerve to shoot a few balloons and slowly descended, landing in power lines. Uninjured, he climbed down to safety and was arrested by waiting police.

When asked by a reporter why he had done it, Larry responded, "a man just can't sit around." Larry fulfilled his dream, and set a record for a gas-filled balloon flight. But it cost him: He was later fined US$1,500 for violating air safety regulations.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:11  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 

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Can a Full Moon Really Affect Our Behavior? 月光光,心慌慌



Can a Full Moon Really Affect Our Behavior?

You have probably seen it in movies: When the moon is full, a man turns into a hairy, frightening creature and runs around the city, tearing people to pieces.  You may laugh at stories of wolf men, but have you ever wondered where the association of a full moon with crazy goings-on came from?
Such notions have been around a lot longer than scary movies. The word lunacy, meaning "madness," is derived from Luna, the Latin name for the Roman goddess of the moon. And, a hundred years ago in some European hospitals, fear of violence during full moons led doctors to chain up patients thought to be lunatics.

It is surprising how many people still believe that the moon can affect human behavior in unusual ways. For example, many medical workers are convinced that the number of emergency cases increases during a full moon. Considerable research has been conducted to establish a link between the cycle of the moon and the biological clocks of humans and other animals, with varying results.

One study in the United States found that people drink less alcohol and eat more during a full moon. Italian researchers found that more babies seem to be born in the one or two days following a full moon. And Britain's largest telecommunications company claims that Internet use increases during the seven days before a full moon.

Other researchers, however, have found serious methodological flaws in some of the studies that claim to demonstrate a relationship between a full moon and human behavior. Also, no research has yet found a direct link between the phases of the moon and attacks of depression or mania.

With only weak scientific evidence relating madness to the moon, perhaps the best way to explain the existence of this myth is to call it a relic of the past: Long before electricity, bright moonlight was an invitation for extra nighttime activity. And for some people, even just one night without sleep is enough to induce mania in them—whether or not they have hair on their hands.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:12  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
American Superstiti 笑谈美国迷信



American Superstitions

  Many of us already know about several American superstitions. Having a black cat cross your path, walking under a ladder, and breaking a mirror are all bad luck. In addition to these, there are many other superstitions that are worth knowing. Understanding them will keep you safe from evil spirits—if you believe in such things—and impress your American friends when you mention them.

  Like the superstitions in other cultures, American superstitions often involve the things important in daily life, such as health, numbers, and marriage. For example, have you ever had a cough that would not go away? According to one American superstition, you should take a piece of your hair and put it between two slices of buttered bread. Next, feed this hair sandwich to a dog and say, “Eat well, you hound, may you be sick and I be sound.”  This will trick the evil spirits and help your cough. It will also raise some eyebrows if you try it.

  In American superstitions, the number three is very important. Often, Americans will say, "All things come in threes." Three is lucky because it represents the traditional family: mother, father, and child. Therefore, gifts, letters, and guests will often arrive at your home in groups of three. However, it is also possible for bad events, like accidents and funerals, to come in threes as well.

  Another time people pay attention to superstitions is when they get married. During a wedding, brides must wear or carry “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” The old and borrowed things will bring luck to the person who gives them to the bride. The new and blue things will bring good fortune to the bride herself. The next time someone you know is getting married, be sure to recite this phrase.

  As it would be unlucky to discuss one more superstition, we will wind things up here. Keep your fingers crossed, and stay lucky!

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:13  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
The History of Beer 细说啤酒



The History of Beer

    One of the world's oldest stories, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is a lively tale of heroism and sacrifice from ancient Sumer. It also contains one of the earliest references to beer. In the story, a female friend of the hero changes a wild, primitive beast into a cultured human being by giving him seven cups of beer.

    In reality, drinking that much beer is more likely to have the opposite effect. Nowadays, it is the beverage of choice among rowdy young people on a Saturday night out, and it has fueled acts of violence and destruction in more than a few societies. It is, nevertheless, the oldest known alcoholic drink in the world and is widely enjoyed.

    Fermented beverages made from various types of grain appeared independently in different locations all over the ancient world from Africa to China. The word beer itself comes from a Latin verb meaning "to drink", and the ancient Romans were certainly no strangers to the brew. However, because they considered it the drink of barbarians , the Romans generally preferred wine.

    In ancient times, people who made beer lacked the means to preserve and filter it properly, so the drink was cloudy and turned bad quickly. It was medieval European monks who introduced scientific brewing techniques in an effort to produce a nutritious beverage to supplement their meager diets.

    The monks were not restricted to only brewing the beer, and consumption of it within the monasteries reached astonishing levels. One report from Belgium said that monks were drinking as much as five liters a day. Monastery breweries in Europe also ran their own pubs and enjoyed a tax-free status that came to be resented by the growing merchant class.

    As the power and influence of the church declined, the art of brewing became an important commercial activity. Today, beer production is largely a high-tech process in the hands of huge corporations or government monopolies. However, recent years have seen a growth in the popularity of small-scale breweries, reflecting an increasing global demand for quality and variety.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:14  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
Work, Labor, and Play 工作,劳作和娱乐



Work, Labor, and Play

     So far as I know, Miss Hannah Arendt was the first person to define the essential difference between work and labor. To be happy, a man must feel, firstly, free and, secondly, important. He cannot be really happy if he is compelled by society to do what he does not enjoy doing, or if what he enjoys doing is ignored by society as of no value or importance. In a society where slavery in the strict sense has been abolished, the sign that what a man does is of social value is that he is paid money to do it, but a laborer today can rightly be called a wage slave. A man is a laborer if the job society offers him is of no interest to himself but he is compelled to take it by the necessity of earning a living and supporting his family.
     The antithesis to labor is play. When we play a game, we enjoy what we are doing, otherwise we should not play it, but it is a purely private activity; society could not care less whether we play it or not.
     Between labor and play stands work. A man is a worker if he is personally interested in the job which society pays him to do; what from the point of view of society is necessary labor is from his own point of view voluntary play. Whether a job is to be classified as labor or work depends, not on the job itself, but on the tastes of the individual who undertakes it. The difference does not, for example, coincide with the difference between a manual and a mental job; a gardener or a cobbler may be a worker, a bank clerk a laborer. Which a man is can be seen from his attitude toward leisure. To a worker, leisure means simply the hours he needs to relax and rest in order to work efficiently. He is therefore more likely to take too little leisure than too much; workers die of coronaries and forget their wives' birthdays. To the laborer, on the other hand, leisure means freedom from compulsion, so that it is natural for him to imagine that the fewer hours he has to spend laboring, and the more hours he is free to play, the better.
     What percentage of the population in a modern technological society are, like myself, in the fortunate position of being workers? At a guess I would say sixteen per cent, and I do not think that figure is likely to get bigger in the future.
     Technology and the division of labor have done two things: by eliminating in many fields the need for special strength or skill, they have made a very large number of paid occupations which formerly were enjoyable work into boring labor, and by increasing productivity they have reduced the number of necessary laboring hours. It is already possible to imagine a society in which the majority of the population, that is to say, its laborers, will have almost as much leisure as in ear5lier times was enjoyed by the aristocracy. When one recalls how aristocracies in the past actually behaved, the prospect is not cheerful. Indeed, the problem of dealing with boredom may be even more difficult for such a future mass society than it was for aristocracies. The latter, for example, ritualized their time; there was a season to shoot grouse, a season to spend in town, etc. The masses are more likely to replace an unchanging ritual by fashion which it will be in the economic interest of certain people to change as often as possible. Again, the masses cannot go in for hunting, for very soon there would be no animals left to hunt. For other aristocratic amusements like gambling, dueling, and warfare, it may be only too easy to find equivalents in dangerous driving, drug-taking, and senseless acts of violence. Workers seldom commit acts of violence, because they can put their aggression into their work, be it physical like the work of a smith, or mental like the work of a scientist or an artist. The role of aggression into their work, be it physical like the work of a smith, or mental like the work of a scientist or an artist. The role of aggression in mental work is aptly expressed by the phrase "getting one's teeth into a problem."

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:15  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 

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To Sleep, Perchance to Dream 睡觉,偶尔做做梦



To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

     So you awoke this morning in a miserable mood. Well, maybe your special dream character didn't put in an appearance last night, or maybe there just weren't enough people drifting through your dreams.
     If that sounds like far-fetched fantasy, consider these interesting findings that have emerged from eight years of sleep and dream research at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio:
     While sleep affects how sleepy, friendly, aggressive, and unhappy we feel after awakening, feelings of happiness or unhappiness depend most strongly on our dreams.
     Each of us has a special dream character, a type of person whose appearance in our dreams makes us feel happier when we awake.
     What we dream at night isn't as important to how we feel in the morning as the number of people who appear in our dreams. The more people, the better we feel.
     Our sleep influences our mood. Our mood, in turn, affects our performance. And throughout the day, our levels of mood and performance remain closely linked.
     During the past two decades, research has greatly expanded our knowledge about sleep and dreams. Scientists have identified various stages of sleep, and they have found that humans can function well on very little sleep, but only if they dream. Yet the true function of sleep and dreaming continues to elude precise explanation.
     In 1970 Milton Kramer and Thomas Roth, researchers at the VA Hospital and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, respectively, raised this question: Do our moods in the morning relate in any way to our sleep and dreams the previous night?
     Human experience suggests that they do. Certainly we generally feel better after a good night's sleep. But Drs. Kramer and Roth sought a much more definitive answer. And that answer, though still evolving, is positive yes.
     Kramer and Roth began by seeking to determine whether one's mood differs between night and morning, and whether this is related directly to sleep. They found that there is a difference, and its is definitely related to sleep. Then they explored the various aspects of mood and their relationship to the various stages of sleep and dreaming.
     What does a good night's sleep mean to our mood? Generally we are happier, less aggressive, sleepier, and a bit surprisingly, less friendly. Being sleepier is easily explained. It simply takes a little time to become fully alert after awakening.
     But why should we feel less friendly? Here the researchers must speculate a little. They suggest the answer may be the lack of association with other humans during the period of sleep.
     Once the two doctors established scientifically what common sense and folk wisdom had long taught - namely, that there is link between sleep and how we feel - they set out to learn what parts of our mood are related to which specific parts of the sleep cycle.
     Normal sleep is broken into five distinct parts - Stages 1 through 4, plus REM, an acronym for rapid eye movement. Much remains unknown about each of the five sleep stages. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, a period when the eyeballs move rapidly beneath the closed lids. And whether they remember or not, all adults dream, usually four to six times a night.
     Three types of mood are strongly related to some specific stage of sleep. Our friendly, aggressive, and sleepy feelings all relate to Stage 2 sleep, which accounts for most of our total sleep hours. Our friendly and sleepy feelings, but not our aggressive feelings, are affected as well by Stages 3 and 4, and by how long it takes us to fall asleep.
     This means that if you get less sleep than normal - and people vary a great deal in how much sleep they normally require - you awake more friendly, more aggressive, and less sleepy.
     At this point, the doctors found themselves puzzled. They knew from their earlier work that sleep determines if people feel happier. Yet when they studied the various sleep stages, they found no correlation between sleep physiology and the unhappy mood. Clearly sleep made a difference, but that difference didn't relate to how much time one spent in each of the various sleep stages.
     The two researchers decided the key to whether we feel happy or unhappy after sleep must lie in sleep's psychological component - our dreams. So they began studying dream content - what dreamers dreamed and who appeared in their dreams - to see how this affected mood.
     Instead of sleeping through the night, volunteers now were awakened four times while in REM sleep. They were asked about such things as what their dreams were about; the sex, age, identity, and number of the people in their dreams; and what each person in a dream was doing.
     Interestingly, Kramer and Roth found that being awakened four times a night didn't make a difference in the volunteers' morning mood patterns. But they did find that who appears in a dream has a far greater influence on mood than what occurs in the dream. "Who affects all the moods," Kramer says, "but primarily the unhappy mood."
     Each of us, it turns out, has a special dream character, and if this type of character appears in our dreams, we are happier when we awake. "For people in general, how unhappy you feel after sleep depends on who is in the dream," Kramer says. "Who it is that makes you happier is different for you than for me." For some it may be an older woman, for example; for others, a young man.
     Who appears in your dream isn't the only important thing. The more people who appear in your dreams the happier you are on awakening. It's a case of the more the merrier. "The bad thing in a dream is to be alone; you feel worse," Kramer explains. "You can relate this to wakening psychology, where being alone leads to more unhappiness. There is something about interacting with people that produces happiness."
     A number of researchers have examined the relationship of mood and performance. The doctors also checked into this relationship, and they have found some interesting correlations.
     "We found that the more friendly, more aggressive, more clear-thinking, less sleepy, and surprisingly, the more unhappy you are, the better you perform. That last one - the unhappy - I can't explain," Kramer says. Moreover, the level of person's moods and the level of his or her performance rise and fall together throughout the day.
     Initially the two VA researchers worked only with men, because the dreams of men are far easier to study. Men and women dream differently. Indeed, sex is the biggest factor in accounting for differences in the people activities, locations and feelings that occur in dreams. Dr. Kramer says, "When you compare men and women, you get a greater difference in dream content than when you compare, say, 20- and 60-year-olds, or black and white."
     Last year the VA researchers began studying the relationship of sleep, dreams, and mood in women. This work is continuing, but the initial findings reinforce what they had found in men.
     "Overall, the women are just like men," Kramer says.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:16  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
Let Your Mind Wander 让头脑畅想



Let Your Mind Wander

     Until recently daydreaming was generally considered either a waste of time or a symptom of neurotic tendencies, and habitual daydreaming was regarded as evidence of maladjustment or an escape from life's realities and responsibilities. It was believed that habitual daydreaming would eventually distance people from society and reduce their effectiveness in coping with real problems. At its best, daydreaming was considered a compensatory substitute for the real things in life.
     As with anything carried to excess, daydreaming can be harmful. There are always those who would substitute fantasy lives for the rewards of real activity. But such extremes are relatively race, and there is a growing body of evidence to support the fact that most people suffer from a lack of daydreaming rather than an excess of it. We are now beginning to learn how valuable it really is and that when individuals are completely prevented form daydreaming, their emotional balance can be disturbed. Not only are they less able to deal with the pressures of day-to-day existence, but also their self-control and self-direction become endangered.
     Recent research indicates that daydreaming is part of daily life and that a certain amount each day is essential for maintaining equilibrium. Daydreaming, science has discovered, is an effective relaxation technique. But its beneficial effects go beyond this. Experiments show that daydreaming significantly contributes to intellectual growth, powers of concentration, and the ability to interact and communicate with others.
     In an experiment with schoolchildren in New York, Dr. Joan Freberg observed improved concentration: "There was less running around, more happy feelings, more talking and playing in the group, and more attention paid to detail."
     In another experiment at Yale University. Dr. Jerome Singer found that daydreaming resulted in improved self-control and enhanced creative thinking ability. Daydreaming, Singer pointed out, is one way individuals can improve upon reality. It is, he concluded, a powerful spur to achievement.
     But the value of daydreaming does not stop here. It has been found that it improves a person's ability to be better adapted to practical, immediate concerns, to solve everyday problems, and to come up more readily with new ideas. Contrary to popular belief, constant and conscious effort at solving a problem is, in reality, one of the most inefficient ways of coping with it. While conscious initial effort is always necessary, effective solutions to especially severe problems frequently occur when conscious attempts to solve them have been put off. Inability to relax, to let go of a problem, often prevents its solution.
     Historically, scientists and inventors are one group that seems to take full advantage of relaxed moments. Their biographies reveal that their best ideas seem to have occurred when they were relaxing and daydreaming. It is ell known, for example, that Newton solved many of his toughest problems when his attention was waylaid by private musings. Thomas Alva Edison also knew the value of "half waking" states. Whenever confronted with a task which seemed too hard to be dealt with, he would stretch out on his laboratory sofa and let fantasies flood mind.
     Painters, writers, and composers also have drawn heavily on their sensitivity to inner fantasies. Debussy used to gaze at the River Seine and the golden reflections of the setting sun to establish an atmosphere for creativity. Brahms found that ideas came effortless only when he approached a state of deep daydreaming. And Cesar Frank is said to have walked around with a dreamlike gaze while composing, seemingly totally unaware of his surroundings.
     Many successful people actually daydreamed their successes and achievements long before they realized them. Henry J. Kaiser maintained that "you can imagine your future," and he believed that a great part of his business success was due to positive use of daydreams. Harry S. Truman said that he used daydreaming for rest. Conrad Hilton dreamed of operating a hotel when he was a boy. He recalled that all his accomplishments were first realized in his imagination.
     "Great living starts with a picture, held in some person's imagination, of what he would like someday to do or be. Florence Nightingale dreamed of being a nurse. Edison pictured himself an inventor; all such characters escaped the mere push of circumstance by imagining a future so vividly that they headed for it." These are the words of the well-known thinker Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, and they show that people can literally daydream themselves to success. Fosdick, aware of the wonderful power of positive daydreaming, offered this advice: "Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye, and you will be drawn toward it. Picture yourself vividly as defeated and that alone will make victory impossible. Picture yourself as winning and that will contribute remarkably to success. Do not picture yourself as anything, and you will drift like an abandoned ship at sea."
     To get the results, you should picture yourself - as vividly as possible - as you want to be. The important thing to remember is to picture these desired objectives as if you had already attained them. Go over several times the details of these pictures. This will deeply impress them on your memory, and these memory traces will soon start influencing your everyday behavior toward the attainment of the goal.
     While exercising your imagination, you should be alone and completely undisturbed. Some individuals seem to have the ability to tune into their private selves in the midst of the noisiest crowds or company. But most of us, especially when the experience is new, require an environment free from outside distraction.
     A life lived without fantasy and daydreaming is a seriously impoverished one. Each of us should put aside a few minutes daily, taking short 10- or 15-minute vacations. Daydreaming is highly beneficial to your physical and mental well-being, and you will find that this modest, inexpensive investment in time will add up to a more creative and imaginative, a more satisfied, and a more self-fulfilled you. It offers us a fuller sense of being intensely alive from moment to moment, and this, of course, contributes greatly to the excitement and joy of living.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:17  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
Let's Stop Keeping Pets 让我们停止养宠物



Let's Stop Keeping Pets

     Pets are lovable, frequently delightful. The dog and the cat, the most favored of pets, are beautiful, intelligent animals. To assume the care for them can help bring out the humanity in our children and even in us. A dog or a cat can teach us a lot about human nature; they are a lot more like us than some might think. More than one owner of a dog has said that the animal understands everything he says to it. So a mother and father who have ever cared for pets are likely to be more patient and understanding with their children as well, and especially to avoid making negative or rude remarks in the presence of a child, no matter how young.
     It is touching to see how a cat or dog - especially a dog - attaches itself to a family and wants to share in all its goings and comings. If certain animal psychologists are right, a dog adopts his family in a most literal way - taking it for granted that the family is the band of dogs he belongs to.
     It is sometimes said that the cat "takes all and gives nothing." But is that really true? A cat can teach us a valuable lesson about how to be contented, how to be serene and at ease, how to sit and contemplate. Whereas a dog's constant pleas for attention become, sometimes, a bit too much. Nevertheless it is the dog who can teach us lessons of loyalty and devotion that no cat ever knew.
     So there's plenty to be said in favor of keeping pets. But with all that in mind, I still say let's stop keeping pets. Not that a family should kill its pets. Very few could bring themselves to do that. To be practical, I am suggesting that if we do not now have a pet we should not acquire one; second, that if we now have a pet, we let it be our last one. I could never say that pets are bad. I am saying, let's give up this good thing - the ownership of a pet - in favor of a more imperative good.
     The purchase, the health care, the feeding and housing and training of a pet - and I chiefly mean the larger, longer-lived pets - cost time and money. Depending on the animal's size and activity, it's special tastes and needs, and the standard of living we establish for it, the care of a pet can cost form a dollar a week to a dollar or more a day. I would not for a moment deny it is worth that.
     But facts outside the walls of our home keep breaking in on our awareness. Though we do not see the poverty-stricken people of India and Africa and South America, we can never quite forget that they are there. Now and then their faces are shown in the news, or is the begging ads of relief organizations. Probably we send a donation whenever we can.
     But we do not, as a rule, feel a heavy personal responsibility for the afflicted and deprived for we are pretty thoroughly formed by the individualistic, competitive society we live in. The first dime we ever made was ours to spend in any way we chose. No one thought of questioning that. That attitude, formed before we had learned to think, usually prevails through our life: "I made my money. I can spend it any way I like."
     But more and more we are reading that the people of the "Third World" feel bitter at us in the developed countries (with the United States far more developed than any of the others) for our seizing hold of two-thirds of the world's wealth and living like kings while they work away all day to earn a bare living.
     The money and the time we spend on pets is simply not our own to spend as we like in a time of widespread want add starvation. A relief organization advertises that for $33 a month they can give hospital care to a child suffering from kwashiorkor - the severe deficiency disease which is simply a starving for protein. Doing without such a pet, and then sending the money saved to a relief organization would mean saving a life - over the years, several human lives.
     Children not suffering from such a grave disease could be fed with half that amount - not on a diet like ours, but on plain, basic, life-sustaining food. It is not unreasonable to believe that the amount of money we spend on the average pet dog could keep a child alive in a region of great poverty. To give what we would spend on a cat might not feed a child, but it would probably pay for his medical care or basic education. The point needs no laboring. That is all that need be said.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:18  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 
Controlling Your Concentration 控制你的注意力



Controlling Your Concentration

     CONCENTRATION IS CENTERING YOUR ATTENTION
     Psychologically defined, concentration is the process of centering one's attention over a period of time. In practical application, however, concentration is not as simple to deal successfully with as the definition may imply. For this reason, it is helpful to keep the following points in mind.
     Your attention span varies
     Even with the greatest effort, our span of attention fluctuates. You can demonstrate for yourself this fluctuation of attention. In a quiet room, place a watch so that it can just scarcely be heard. Listen carefully and notice how the ticking increases in apparent intensity, fades to a point where it cannot be heard, and then increases again. This phenomenon reveals how our span of attention fluctuates, for the intensity of the ticking is actually constant.
     You pay attention to one thing at a time
     Evidence to date indicates that you attend to one idea at a time. It is possible for your attention to shift so rapidly that it seems that you attend to several concepts at once. But apparently this is only an illusion. In high concentration the shift from the focus of attention is of short duration and relatively infrequent.
     An illustration of periods of high, moderate, and low attention
     High attention has long periods of attending and short distraction periods. In low attention the periods of attending are short and the distraction periods long. In moderate attention there is a mixture of the extremes. Thus it is easy to see that it is highly unlikely that the student who has most of his attention centered on fancying at large will be able to recall even the major points of a lecture.
     Lack of concentration is a symptom, not the cause, of difficulty. When a student says "I can't concentrate", what he is really saying is, "I can't attend to the task at hand because my distractors are too strong."
     DISTRACTORS ARE OF TWO SORTS - PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL
     A distractor is anything which causes attention to vary from a central focal point. In the study situation distractors may be thought of as either psychological or physical in nature. Both types of distractors must be understood before the student can attempt to remedy his lack of concentration.
     Emotions are the most powerful distractors
     The angry man forgets the pain of injury, the fearful man finds it difficult to enjoy pleasure and the tense or anxious person may react violently to the smallest of matters. In the student's life there are many psychological pressures and tensions which block effective productivity. The fears about making the grade, the doubts of the friendliness of a friend's behaviour and the pressures of limited finances - these are only a few of the emotional forces which affect the student.
     Emotional reaction varies greatly from person to person. Some persons gain goal and direction from their tensions and actually do better because of them. Others fall apart under pressure, while a few people do well despite the pressure.
     Physical distractors are always present and rarely understood
     Our environment is much more important to how we feel and react than we often think. Particularly is this true of the effect of physical distractors on mental tasks. One research report has shown that comprehension and retention of reading were decreased when students listened to lively music. However, rate of reading was not affected, so that many students were not aware that they were affected by the background distractor. Another study found that the ability to recall accurately was affected by distracting conditions. Most of the evidence indicates that noise affects adversely higher mental task output. Still, the effect of distractors is seldom fully appreciated by students.
     ROUTING AND REASONING TASKS ARE AFFECTED DIFFERENTLY BY DISTRACTORS
     Typically when students are faced with the evidence on distractors the argument is given that their cousin, friend, or classmate can study in "Grand Central Station." And he makes "all A's" too! There is evidence, of course, that motivation plays an important role in overcoming the effects of distractors and that there are considerable differences in individual spans of attention. Either of these factors could account for some individuals being able to do well using inefficient methods. The fact that some exceptional people do well under adverse conditions scarcely justifies your assuming that you are exceptional in the same manner. Your chances of success are higher if you avoid the distractors which are known to hinder the typical student.

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发表于 2008-10-9 10:21  资料  个人空间  短消息  加为好友 

现在开通英语博克!
Secrets of Success at an Interview 面试成功的决窍



Secrets of Success at an Interview

     The subject of today's talk is interviews.
     The key words here are preparation and confidence, which will carry you far.
     Do your homework first.
     Find out all you can about the job you are applying for and the organization you hope to work for.
     Many of the employers I interviewed made the same criticism of candidates. "They have no idea what the day to day work of the job brings about. They have vague notions of 'furthering the company's prospects' or of 'serving the community', but have never taken the trouble to find out the actual tasks they will be required to do."
     Do not let this be said of you. It shows an unattractive indifference to your employer and to your job.
     Take the time to put yourself into the interviewer's place. He wants somebody who is hard-working with a pleasant personality and a real interest in the job.
     Anything that you find out about the prospective employer can be used to your advantage during the interview to show that you have bothered to master some facts about the people who you hope to work for.
     Write down (and remember) the questions you want to ask the interviewer(s) so that you are not speechless when they invite your questions. Make sure that holidays and pay are not the first things you ask about. If all your questions have been answered during the interview, replay: "I did have several questions, but you have already answered them all."
     Do not be afraid to ask for clarification of something that has been said during the interview if you want to be sure what was implied, but do be polite.
     Just before you go to the interview, look again at the original advertisement that you answered, any correspondence from your prospective employer, photocopies of your letter of application or application form and your resume.
     Then you will remember what you said and what they want. This is very important if you have applied for many jobs in a short time as it is easy to become confused and give an impression of inefficiency.
     Make sure you know where and when you have to report for the interview. Go to the building (but not inside the office) a day or two before, if necessary, to find out how long the journey takes and where exactly the place is.
     Aim to arrive five or ten minutes early for the actual interview, then you will have a little time in hand and you will not panic if you are delayed. You start at a disadvantage if you arrive worried and ten minutes late.
     Dress in clean, neat, conservative clothes. Now is NOT the time to experiment with the punk look or (girls) to wear low-cut dresses with miniskirts. Make sure that your shoes, hands and hair (and teeth) are clean and neat.
     Have the letter inviting you for an interview ready to show in case there is any difficulty in communication.
     You may find yourself facing one interviewer or a panel. The latter is far more intimidating, but do not let it worry you too much. The interviewer will probably have a table in front of him/her. Do not put your things or arms on it.
     If you have a bag or a case, put it on the floor beside your chair. Do not clutch it nervously or, worse still, drop it, spilling everything.
     Shake hands if the interviewer offers his hand first. There is little likelihood that a panel of five wants to go though the process of all shaking hands with you in turn. So you do not be upset if no one offers.
     Shake hands firmly - a weak hand suggests a weak personality, and a crushing grip is obviously painful. Do not drop the hand as soon as yours has touched it as this will seem to show you do not like the other person.
     Speak politely and naturally even if you are feeling shy. Think before you answer any questions.
     If you cannot understand, ask: "Would you mind rephrasing the question, please?" The question will then be repeated in different words.
     If you are not definitely accepted or turned down on the spot, ask: "When may I expect to hear the results of this interview?"
     If you do receive a letter offering you the job, you must reply by letter (keep a photocopy) as soon as possible.
     Good luck!

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