那些诉说着科技故事的物品

Objects which tell the story of technology

那些诉说着科技故事的物品

Rory Cellan-Jones | 09:12 UK time, Monday, 27 September 2010

Which single object sums up life in 2010? The marvellous Radio 4 series A History of the World in 100 Objects is coming to an end, and on 14 October the British Museum will reveal what it has chosen as the final object. While that one has already been selected, there is also a chance for anyone to contribute his or her ideas in two categories.

哪个单品可以概括2010年的生活?BBC Radio 4频道的系列节目《A History of the Wold in 100 Objects(100件物品展现世界历史)》即将要结束了。在10月14日,大英博物馆将会揭晓被选上的最后一个物品。即使最后一个入选物品已经选择好,大家仍然有机会提供自己的想法,遵循从以下两个分类。

 

First, you can nominate your own object of today: something that represents human ingenuity and the challenges facing humanity in 2010. And there is still time to upload your own historical object, with a description of what it says about the world at the time it was in use.

第一,你可以提名一个当代的物品:2010年的物品中能够代表人类智慧和人类面临的挑战的。第二,你可以上传一个历史上的物品,附上一个描述,讲讲它是怎样诉说它所处的那个时代的。

 

The ideas for the object of 2010 are arriving thick and fast on the website. Scrolling through, you will find plenty of nominations for the iPhone and other mobile devices, but other suggestions include the plastic bag, an online avatar, a wind-up radio, the Large Hadron Collider and the Hubble Telescope. I was struck by these three suggestions:

网站上关于2010物品的想法更新得很快很多。鼠标一路滑下来,你会发现许多人提名iPhone或者其他移动设备,其他提名还包括有塑料袋、虚拟化身、手动发条收音机、大型强子对撞机和哈勃望远镜。以下则是令我感到震惊的三条建议:

 

“a discarded Coca-Cola bottle (with the grooves) – our throwaway consumer society, found all over the world.”

“一个被丢弃的可口可乐瓶(带凹槽的)——我们用完即弃的消费者社会,遍布全世界”

“the digital camera – today everyone is an artist.”

“数码相机——现在每个人都是艺术家”

“Gibson ‘Les Paul’ electric guitar. For its influence in changing the face of popular music and, therefore, culture.”

“Gibson‘Les Paul’电子吉他,受它影响流行音乐的面貌改变了,因而,改变了文化。”

I have been pondering my own choice, which has, of course, got to be a piece of technology. At first I thought of choosing one of those USB memory sticks as a symbol of the effect of Moore’s Law on our lives. As processing power continues to double every 18 months or so, we are now able to store every photo, every document we own on a small stick that you can get for under £10. Soon, no doubt, the British Museum might store its entire archive on such a device.

我一直在思考着我的选择,当然,它会是一件科技产品。开始我曾想过选择USB记忆棒,作为摩尔定律影响我们生活的一个象征。随着处理能力每18个月就翻一倍左右,我们现在可以将所拥有的每张照片每个文件都储存到一个小棒中,它只要花费你不到10英镑。不久,毫无疑问,大英博物馆可能将它整个档案储存这样一个设备上。

In the end I plumped for the mobile phone simcard. Why? Because it, more than any individual phone, sums up the mobile revolution which is still changing our lives in all kinds of ways. Since the simcard’s birth it has transformed the way we communicate, it has become a means of identity and is now on the way to becoming a digital wallet too. That’s just in the developed world; in parts of Africa the sim is even more important.

最后我选定手机SIM卡。为啥?相比任何个人手机,手机SIM卡更能囊括整个“移动设备革命”,所谓“移动设备革命”现在也正影响着我们生活的各方各面。自从SIM卡的诞生,它就改变了我们交流的方式,它变成了一种认证的手段而且现在正变成一个电子钱包。那还只是在发达国家;在非洲的部分地方,SIM卡甚至更重要。

I’ve heard tales of Ugandan women being given simcards as wedding presents by female friends, as a way of guaranteeing their continued independence. Then there are the migrant workers who are now able to charge up their sims with cash, so that it can be transferred to their families hundreds of miles away without the need to spend days travelling. By bringing news, whether it is of family events or market prices or football scores, to people who have been starved of information, it is giving some countries a chance to leapfrog straight from the 19th to the 21st Century. So that’s my object of 2010.

我听说过这样的故事,乌干达妇女会得到由女性朋友们送的SIM卡作为结婚礼物,这是她们能拥有持续独立性的保证。外来的工人们现在有能力用现金充值他们的SIM卡,这样就可以将资金转给他们千里之外的家人而不需要在路途上浪费时日。通过带来消息,无论是家庭事件或市场价格或足球比分,对于信息短缺的人们来说,它都给这些国家带来从19世纪一步跨越到21世纪的机会。这就是我选择的2010年的物品。

But what of older forms of technology that have been nominated by readers of the 100 Objects website? They range from the very recent to objects hundreds of years old which tell us something about the changing effect of technology on our lives. So there’s a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, “the computer that opened up access to computing for a whole generation”. Someone else has contributed a Baird Televisor, “the last time a lone inventor working in difficult conditions… could invent something that would change the world.” Then from the 19th Century there is an early example of a manufactured iron nail, and from the English Civil War, a solid cannon ball.

“100件物品”网站上的读者提名了什么样的旧式的科技?它们涵盖了从近代的到数百年之前的物品,都在讲述着有关科技改变影响着我们的生活的故事。因此当然有Sinclair公司的 ZX Spectrum(译者注:1982年由Sinclair公司生产的一款8位个人电脑),“开启了整整一代人能够使用计算技术的时代的电脑”。有人提出了贝尔德电视播放机,“最后一次一个孤单的发明者在艰苦的环境工作……可以发明出改变世界的东西”。然后有一个来自19世纪的早期例子——一个工业化制造的铁钉,还有来自英国内战时期的加农炮弹。

My house is home to plenty of technology, but I struggled to come up with anything that might be considered a historical object. My 1995 signed copy of Bill Gates’ autobiography did not quite cut the mustard. Then I remembered that, up in the attic, I still had the ancient radio that was part of my childhood.

我家满屋都是科技产品,但我挣扎着想拿出任何一个可以被认为是历史物品的东西。我那1995年的比尔盖茨签名自传显然不是很符合主题。于是我想起,在楼阁上,我还有那童年时代的古老收音机。

A little research on the internet and an appeal for help from a social network provided me with as much information as I needed to get my Murphy A122 radio catalogued on the 100 Objects website. Here’s what I wrote:

在互联网上稍微调查一下和在社区网络发一个帮忙请求,我得到的信息便足够将我那Murphy A122的收音机提交到“100件物品”的网站上列表里。我是这样写的:

“This is a battered old Murphy radio that must have been made some time in the 1940s or 1950s, but was still the main radio in the home I grew up in in the 1960s and 1970s. It was – and would still be if I got round to getting it mended – an object which combined beauty with functionality. When you turned the knob to switch it on, an orange glow would gradually light up a darkened room on a winter’s evening. The sound from the wooden cabinet was rich and warm. It was normally tuned to the Home Service or the Light Programme, but I remember scrolling through the frequencies and hearing stations from across Europe – the list of place names in the Long Wave window runs from Reykjavik to Ankara to Berlin.

“这是一个破旧的墨菲收音机,大概是在40年代或者50年代生产的吧,但在60和70年代仍然是我成长时期家里的主流收音机。它曾经是,将来也会是我家的主流收音机,如果我拿去修理的话,这将会是个美丽与功能并存的收音机。当你扭开旋钮,一道橙色的亮光会逐渐照亮一个冬季傍晚的漆黑房间。我们通常会调到国内服务节目或轻松节目,我还记得我曾不断调整频道去收听横跨欧洲的电台,长波窗口的地名列表里从雷克雅未克到安卡拉(土耳其首都)到柏林。”

It’s a reminder of the first piece of communications technology that really brought the world – or at least Britain – together. Before the age of television, families would gather round radios like this to hear the wartime news bulletins, Winston Churchill speaking to the nation, or perhaps Take It From Here. 30 years later, I used to crouch beside it to hear the football results on Sports Report. So, for me, it speaks of childhood, and of the history of technology.”

它标志着第一个通信技术产品把世界连到了一起,至少英国是这样。在电视机时代以前,一家人都会聚集在收音机周围去收听战时新闻公告,温斯顿·丘吉尔的全国演讲,或者一小段《Take It From Here》。30年之后,我仍常常蜷缩在收音机旁边听体育频道的足球赛结果。因此,对于我来说,它不但讲述了我的童年,还有科技的历史。

For me, this has been a thought-provoking exercise. My two objects, a radio and a simcard, show what extraordinary changes technology has wrought even in the short(!) space of my life. Now it’s your turn – please contribute your thoughts about objects which tell the story of human ingenuity, both here and on the History of the World website. And if Twitter is your thing, you can tweet your choices with the hashtag #objectoftoday.

对我来说,这是一次发人深省的练习。我提出的两个物品,收音机和SIM卡。它们显示出科技创造了卓越非凡的改变,即使在我这么短的生命空间里。现在轮到你了——请分享你的关于那些展现人类智慧的物品的想法,在这里跟帖也可或者在“History of the world”的网站上发表也可。如果你是个推友的话,你也可以在Twitter上提出你的选择并附上#objectoftoday的标签。

 

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