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Cash as we know it? 现金时代要终结?

中国日报网 2021-05-28 11:26


Reader question:

Please explain this headline, particularly “cash as we know it”: The end of cash as we know it.


My comments:

This means that cash, in the way it exists or in the way it currently functions is probably coming to an end. In other words, cash has evolved – and beyond recognition.

Cash, or course, refers to banknotes and coins that we carry with us – inside wallets and pockets.

That’s no longer the case – at least in some places.

In major cities, for example, people have stopped carrying cash around. Instead, they pay for goods and services via a debit card or a credit card or, increasingly, online payment apps using their mobile phone.

In Beijing, for example, some people haven’t been carrying cash around for years.

That’s why some people believe we’re seeing the end of cash as we know it.

As we used to know it, that is. As we have known it.

Whenever people address something as we know it, they mean to say something as it exists, as it is now or has been for a long time, as we currently experience it, as we normally understand them.

Usually, when people use this idiom, they mean to compare “things as we know them” with things in the past or future. Some old buildings as we know them are very different from the way they looked when they were first built, for instance, and for obvious reasons, having been burned down or torn down and having undergone so many renovations.

In other words, things have been changing.

But, back to our example, is this really the end of cash as we know it?

I don’t know for sure. Old habits die hard. I know of one retiree who says he still loves to count his pension money by hand. Every month, he says, he goes to the bank and pulls out his pension sent to his savings account electronically. He counts them and then puts them into another bank account. He says it gives him security to have cash in hand.

Well, good for him.

Here are media examples of “something as we know it”:

1 The school cafeteria as we know it will be unrecognizable when the next academic year begins in the fall, whether or not in-person instruction resumes. Instead of eating in the familiar, raucous spaces they remember, students can instead look forward to breakfast and lunch in their classrooms, or more of the take-home meals that districts have conjured on the fly to replace their conventional food-service programs.

Across the country, school cafeterias have been emptied by the Covid-19 pandemic and meal-service staff have upended their operations entirely: More than 80 percent of schools now offer food via drive-through pick up, and over half offer walk-up services, according to a recent School Nutrition Association survey.

Even policy – typically onerous and slow to move – adapted: This month, the Department of Agriculture extended a crucial waiver that allows all school districts, not just those in poor neighborhoods, to provide free meal service this summer. And while traditional programs are required to feed kids on-site, the agency in May extended waivers that allow schools to operate grab-and-go models and permit parents to pick up food on their children’s behalf.

School nutrition directors say they’re all but guaranteed to need future extensions; they won’t be able to resume regular operations for months — possibly even years.

“My hope is that USDA extends those waivers until we have a cure, or until we have vaccines,” said Jennifer LeBarre, executive director of school nutrition services at San Francisco Unified School District, which serves over 60,000 kids. “Until we are back to normal or as close to normal as we possibly can be — which is anywhere from two to 10 years.”

Citing the futility of enforcing social distance guidelines in communal lunch rooms with hundreds of kids, many schools are now declaring those settings defunct – at least until the pandemic abates. In the meantime, school nutrition directors are reimagining what meal service should look like in the future, while trying to meet the needs of students and families during the immediate crisis.

“It is highly implausible for us to open up a school cafeteria in a traditional manner that most of us are used to seeing by the start of August,” said Jordan Gordon, director of child nutrition services at Kansas City Public Schools, one of Missouri’s biggest districts, serving more than 15,000 students. “It takes a lot of strategy and manpower and planning to open up a school in normal circumstances. But now we’re planning for completely abnormal circumstances.”

- School lunch as we know it is over, ChalkBeat.com, June 23, 2020.


2 Meghan Markle’s shocking allegations about her life in the royal family have fundamentally altered the British monarchy “as we know it,”a parliamentarian has claimed.

Former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, the first black member of Parliament, theorized in a new Vanity Fair cover story that, as a result of Markle’s contentions, the monarchy “as we know it will last as long as the queen is alive.

Upon Her Majesty’s death, Abbott said, “I think there will be a big public debate … and I think what the royal family and their advisers did with Meghan will be part of the argument for change.”

Abbott said a debate could even reach the floor of Parliament, with a “clamor to look at the current arrangement and maybe move to a more Scandinavian monarchy, where you don’t have all the pomp and ceremony.”

Markle, who is biracial, last month told Oprah Winfrey how members of the royal family had “raised concerns” with Prince Harry over how dark their children’s skin would be — and also revealed that she was so unhappy in palace life that she had considered suicide.

Meanwhile, British writer Anna Pasternak said Markle’s claims may even stop Prince Charles from being crowned king.

“I’m not 100 percent sure that we will see Charles ascend to the throne,” Pasternak told VF. “The Sussexes have sparked something so fundamentally incendiary in this country that it is changing the face of Britain, and I think the monarchy as an archaic institution may well topple.”

Following Harry’s claims that his father and brother are “trapped” within their roles, “both sides are like wounded animals,” Pasternak said.

The writer — who wondered if Markle will ever set foot on British soil again — added: “Harry said there’s been an awful lot of hurt. Well, there’s been an awful lot of hurt now on the side of the Windsors from this interview.”

- Meghan Markle’s claims could spell end of British monarchy: parliamentarian, PageSix.com, April 20, 2021.


3 President Joe Biden, whose son Beau died of a brain tumor, promised to “end cancer as we know it.” To better understand how that could happen, USA TODAY spoke with Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, which will help lead the effort.

Sharpless talked about the current “golden age” of cancer research, in which investments from decades ago are finally paying off for patients, as well as the role the NCI can play in making even more progress, despite the challenges that remain.

Question: What does the president mean by “ending cancer as we know it”?Is that really possible?

Answer: Notice what the president didn’t say. The president didn’t say eradicate all cancer. It’s not likely to occur because of the fundamental links in biology between cancer and aging. It would be hard with the present technology and understanding of biology to end cancer deaths entirely.

What I believe the president meant by that is changing cancer from what it is, what we know today, to more of a disease where the age-adjusted mortality is much lower and where cancer death is largely occurring in the old and frail. So the idea is reduction of mortality and incidence in otherwise healthy individuals.

Q: What about extremely lethal cancers such as pancreatic cancer, or the glioblastoma that killed Beau Biden? Is it going to be feasible anytime soon to make progress against these?

A: That’s going to require new thinking and new ideas. The hard thing to predict is when that’s going to happen. In 2000, I would not have said we’re about to make huge progress in melanoma. It did not look particularly opportune back then, but lo and behold the world changed very quickly.

Q: A cancer researcher told me that although he had spent his life fighting the disease, the best approach would be to prevent it in the first place. What kind of progress do you expect in terms of cancer prevention?

A: The bad news about prevention is once you get past tobacco, obesity and the viruses we can vaccinate for, it starts getting harder fast. The NCI has tried many trials to feed people a vitamin or retinoid or some medicine that we think would prevent cancer. All of those have not really worked. There is no food we recommend you eat or vitamin we recommend you take to not get cancer. We recommend you stay thin, we recommend you exercise, but much beyond that, our recommendation is pretty limited for cancer prevention.

Ending cancer as we know it? National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless lays out his vision, by Karen Weintraub, USA Today, May 11, 2021.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:yaning)



Reality check? 现实核查


Let them off the hook? 摆脱困境


A dog-eared phrase? 老旧的说法


Fair and square? 光明正大

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