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就那么一段

为什么我们会喜欢一本书一部电影一首音乐,无非能从其中感受到情绪,大多时候是一种情绪的共鸣,更能激起我们的爱。这伯牙叔齐的默契可遇不可求,就像外国人看到Strange horse这个iPhone app会觉得无可理喻一样。换到流行一点的话,就是相互磁场比较和,气场不排斥。

阅读也是这样,看着满篇文字,遇到喜欢的总忍不住圈圈点点,过了很久还能记住其中那么一句或一个笑点。

下面是Davis的一篇文章(The progress of geography in the United States (1924))。说到近代地理学家,很多都是别的学科转到地理来的,所以有一点鸠占鹊巢的意思,但是地理学家们,又是多么骄傲于自己学科和自己伴随它的进步。

We have at least advanced from a stage when geography was anyone’s and everyone’s business to a stage when it is also the business of geographers. We have advanced from a day when geographical knowledge was gathered in an almost unconscious, accidental manner by untrained travelers, to a day when it is consciously and intentionally gathered by trained experts, and when its different aspects and the variations appropriate ways of treating them are coming to receive deliberate attention. We have advanced from an era when there was no opportunity for the collegiate study of geography or fro the training of professional geographers, to an era when many of our colleges and universities are offering such opportunity, and in increasing measure from year to year. We have advanced from a time when geography was only a subject for elementary study, to a time when it has grown so greatly. That it may well engage a man’s best effort for this whole life. If the progress thus far made is not continued, our geographers will have only themselves to blame.

No geographer, therefore, need feel himself unfortunate because of the great diversity of the fact that his composite object require him to study; for in the progress of his work he may discover relation and principles which binds his face together in a thoroughly reasonable manner, and he may then concern himself, especially in his teaching, largely with those relations and principles, and introduce items of fact chiefly to illustrate the principles. Let no young geographer, therefore, be disheartened when he discovers the multiple nature of his subject or the impossibility of mastering all its content. Let him first secure a good understanding of the fundamental components of geography, and then select some special component to study systematically in its occurrence all over the world, and some special area of the world in which to study all the components in their regional associations.

同时,地理又是一个多交叉的学科(darktemplar同学还说我们以后一定要在城市生态气候这些学科做一点interdiscipline的课题)。以前,做模型的时候,用系统动力学,知道那是从数学/物理/管理(或者说系统科学)借来的nonlinear system dynamic;现在做基于行为者的模型,又是从数学/计算机/社会学心理学(或者说复杂科学)借来的comlexity adaptive system。虽然地理学史上很少提到达尔文,但是达尔文也被广义上认为是一个地理学家,他的进化论研究以及达尔文主义也默默影响着地理学的思想。看了这一篇(Darwin impacts on geography)才知道,原来Davis的侵蚀循环也跟达尔文主义息息相关。

Four themes in Darwin’s writings are significant in the development of geographical thought. 1) The idea of development through time strongly influenced the progress of geomorphology, pedology, ecology, and to some extent the social sciences; 2) Darwin’s stress on the intimate relationships between organic life and habitat gave impetus to organismic interpretations of regions and states, which persisted in geography long after the decline of biological Vitalism; 3) the themes of selection and struggle were deterministically applied in both human and political geography; 4) a fourth theme in Darwin’s writings, the random nature of original variations, was ignored by geographers until recently, partly because of Darwin’s own equivocal position on this issue. Finally, Darwin’s work so changed the nineteenth century world view that the development of geography as a science itself became possible.

看霍金这本书(时间简史),完全是因为Star Trek和The Big Bang Theory,最有共鸣的地方不在于相对论和量子力学,而在于那一种能把问题简单化的表述和不停追求目标又有清醒的执着。

Because the partial theories that we already have are sufficient to make accurate predictions in all but the most extreme situation, the search for the ultimate theory of the universe seems difficult to justify on practical grounds. (It is worthy nothing. Though, that similar arguments could have been used against both relative and quantum mechanics, and these theories have given us both unclear energy and the microeletronics revolution!) The discovery of a complete unified theory, therefore, may not aid the survival of our species. It may not even affect out life-style. But ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world. Today we will yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity’s deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing request. And our good is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in.

当我谷歌了之后才知道原来赵薇也拍了《京华烟云》的电视剧。第一次看中国人写的晚清的小说,并且用英文写的。看到八股、顶戴、姨妈、阴阳、中医、中式礼仪这些用英文表述起来那么自然不突兀,不得不佩服林语堂先生。(Moment in Peking Lin Yutang)只是每天两章三十多页的阅读速度还需要提高。我很爱林语堂先生的这段序。

This novel is neither an apology for contemporary Chinese life nor an expose of it, as so many recent Chinese “dark curtain” novels purport to be. It is neither a glorification of the old way of life nor a defense of the new. It’s merely a story of how men and women in the contemporary era grow up and learn to live with one another, how they love and hate and quarrel and forgive and suffer and enjoy, how certain habits of living and ways of thinking are formed, and how, above all, they adjust themselves to the circumstances in this earthly life where men strive but the gods rule.

至于费曼先生这本书(The Feynman lectures on Physics)的序也有那么一段很有共鸣。如果当年我们学编程用的是head first的教程,如果是一个小班级,如果是一个会individual relationship的老师,可能不会让那么多人对编程恐惧。在大学里面,遇到好的研究者不难,遇到好老师却很难。

“The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous” (Gibboons)
I think, however, that there isn’t any solution to this problem of education other than to realize that the best teaching can be done only when there is a direct individual relationship between a student and a good teacher — a situation in which the student discusses the ideas, thinks about the things, and talks about things. It’s impossible to learn very much by simply sitting in a lecture, or even by simply doing problems that are assigned. But in our modern times we have so many students to teach that we have to try to find some substitute for the ideal (Problems give a good opportunity to fill out the material of the lecture and make more realistic, more complete, and more settled in the mind the ideas that have been exposed.)

在电子交流的时代,也许我在电脑的这一头蹙眉焦虑,但是对方收到的情绪可能完全不是那么一回事,而我们又太害羞说出自己心里的想法而漫长地等着对方能会心的“戳破”了吧。

Posted on August 6th, 2009 by Registered Commenterhedgehog in Academic | 学海无涯 | CommentsPost a comment

Reader Comments (10)

我刚帮同学翻译完一句关于读书的话,就看到黄教授您在这里不厌其烦地长篇大论。Reading is private,所以我就不评论了……不过,我一直想问你是怎么做笔记的,so detailed and well-organized。

Btw, (1)你有没有想过多看点人本主义的书,不仅仅局限在地理学哈~ (2)最后一段话没看懂。

hedgehog Reply:

没有 我阅读面很窄~~ 我还想看post modern什么的都翻翻就放下了
记笔记啊 不告诉你 哈哈 baiguanque129

Andrew Reply:

baiguanque100 baiguanque073

August 6th, 2009 | Registered CommenterAndrew

最后一段真是精辟 为何人们总习惯在电脑两侧倾诉呢

hedgehog Reply:

很多话当面真的说不出来啊。。。哎 baiguanque037

August 6th, 2009 | Registered Commenter老奶奶

因为上个学期翻一篇段义孚的短文,撞进了这个页面,觉得很有意思就放在收藏里,不时逛过来,好像更新不是特别勤,但质量很高,第一次留言表达一下支持和感谢。

hedgehog Reply:

谢谢 槑花 baiguanque047

Andrew Reply:

你写地理博客出名的愿望实现了!!! baiguanque003

hedgehog Reply:

不需要内牛满面吧 还好吧 baiguanque061

槑花落落 Reply:

修炼成这么高级别的Nerd还能保持一股清新很不容易,仰望一下是小女子分内之事,呵呵
趁暑假还没结束开始读Moment in Peking,确实“秀色可餐”,以后看到好书继续和大家分享啊

August 11th, 2009 | Registered Commenter槑花落落