又中又英——Doomsday Clock

  Not many people pay attention to the Doomsday Clock. It is not a real clock that tells the time. It is a symbolic clock at the University of Chicago. Last week, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a group that manages the symbolic clock, set it at 100 seconds to midnight. That's the same setting as last year. It means the world could reach doomsday in 100 seconds. We should all be frightened by this, but most people don't take the Doomsday Clock seriously. The word "doomsday" means the end of the world. That is the meaning of the word for the Doomsday Clock. But the word "doomsday" can also mean a time when something very bad happens.

  The Doomsday Clock is a symbol of human-made apocalypse. The word "apocalypse" is similar to "doomsday". In the Bible, it means the end of the world. The Doomsday Clock warns us about the end of the world caused by humans. The word "symbolic" comes from the word "symbol", which represents something. For example, a cross represents the Christian religion. The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that warns us about the end of the world. Every year, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists move the clock backwards or forwards to tell us how much danger the world is in. It is doomsday, or the end of the world, when the scientists set the Doomsday Clock at midnight.

  Scientists began the Doomsday Clock in 1947 after the nuclear bombing of Japan. At that time it was set at seven minutes to midnight. That meant the world had seven minutes before apocalypse. In 2018, it was two minutes to midnight. Today it is just 100 seconds. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists believe the greatest threats to the world now are climate change, nuclear weapons, and the coronavirus. Some people believe the coronavirus is natural, not human-made. But other people believe humans caused it by food markets that sell live animals and not acting fast enough to control the virus.

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  不是很多人會關注那個末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)——它不是真正用作報時的鐘,而是在芝加哥大學一個具象徵意義的(symbolic)鐘。上星期,負責管理這個象徵性的(symbolic)鐘的原子科學家,將這個時鐘設定為距離子夜僅一百秒。這跟上年的設定一樣。這個時間設定的意思是,世界可以在一百秒內就到達末日(doomsday)。我們所有人本應會因此而懼怕,可是大多數人都沒有認真看待這個末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)。Doomsday是指世界末日,用在Doomsday Clock一詞中正是這個意思;但doomsday一字也可解作危機時刻,有極糟糕的事情發生。

  末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)是人為(human-made)大災劫(apocalypse)的標誌(symbol)。Apocalypse一字跟doomsday 相近,在《聖經》裏,它就是指世界末日。這個末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)警戒我們,人類的作為正在毁滅世界。Symbolic來自symbol一字,是象徵某種意義。譬如,十字架就代表了基督宗教。這個末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)正是警告我們世界末日隨時到臨的符號(symbol)。每一年,原子科學家都會將這鐘的分針撥後或撥前,以告訴我們世界正在面臨多大的威脅。要是科學家將末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)的分針調撥至子夜,那就標示着doomsday,即世界末日。

  一九四七年,日本經歷原子彈爆炸後,科學家就開始設立這個末日之鐘(Doomsday Clock)。當時它的設定為距離子夜七分鐘,意即世界距離末日(apocalypse)僅餘七分鐘。二○一八年,它距離子夜兩分鐘;今天,只得一百秒。原子科學家相信,現時全球最大的威脅是氣候變化、核子武器,以及新冠肺炎。一些人認為,新冠肺炎病毒是天災而非人為的(human-made);但另一些人則相信,它是人類造成的,因為有街市販賣活動物,且人類在控制病毒的應變上也不夠迅速。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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