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Rocket science

[ 2011-07-26 14:20]     字号 [] [] []  
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Rocket science

Reader question:

Please explain “rocket science”, as in: The trick is real simple; no rocket science involved.

My comments:

Rocket science is easy.

Easy to explain, that is. It is the science of propelling a rocket into the high sky.

That’s rocket science in a nutshell, if you refrain from asking me to go into any details. It would require a real rocket scientist to explain everything in which rocket science is involve but fortunately, the question we’re involved with is in fact “rocket science” the linguistic term.

Or “no rocket science” as a matter of fact, for this commonplace phrase always appears in the negative.

OK, rocket science is really complex and complicated. No rocket science, therefore, is anything but. In other words, if something is described as “no rocket science”, it is really simple, straightforward and easy.

In the example from the top, when, say, a magician explains one of his tricks and declares “the trick is real simple” and that there’s “no rocket science involved”, he means exactly that – it’s real simple, nothing complicated at all.

Anyways, “no rocket science” (or “not rocket science” sometimes) is a useful term to learn, and we can best learn it, of course, via examples.

Here are a few from recent media:

1. Pakistan is wasting God’s gift, the monsoon rains. The crops which are benefiting directly from the rains are taking less water from the canals. Our only two dams are busy generating the much needed power and are not storing the surplus flows.

Had there been more dams, both power generation and water storage could have been better managed. As it is the precious water which we will need tomorrow is being wasted today, flowing down to the sea. Water management is no rocket science, you store water when you have water in the rivers (3 months), and use it when there is no water in the rivers (9 months), as simple as A,B,C.

- Monsoon rains, Nation.com.pk, July 12, 2011.

2. “Politics is no rocket science,” says Yasmeen Rehman, a woman parliamentarian in Pakistan’s Lower House, adding, “It is not as difficult as it is made out to be.”

A new study by Aurat Foundation (AF), a women’s group, that evaluates women MPs’ (member of parliament) performance between 2002 and 2007, is full of praise for female lawmakers.

Rehman led a group of 25 MPs as the most active on the floor of the house in making the most interventions.

“Women parliamentarians have actually excelled in several areas of legislative functioning as compared to their male colleagues,” states the report.

Women account for 21.6 percent of MPs in Pakistan’s parliament. In 2002, the figure was slightly lower at 21.1 percent.

But it still compares favourably with the rest of Asia, where female participation in parliament was calculated at 17.8 percent, by the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union. The global average was 18.3 percent in 2008.

- Women in Parliament Push for Space, IPSNews.net, June 1, 2009.

3. Dwight Howard, you do not get to have it both ways.

The center was in Paris recently, part of a promotional tour by Adidas, and said the Magic do not get enough love from the American media. It was part of an interview with the French magazine Reverse, transcribed by web site TalkBasket.

“I really think we get no love at all, to be honest. But that’s ok. We want to be respected by the teams we play and that’s the only thing that matters. The media can pick whoever they want to win the title, but the team that wins the title is the team that plays. The media doesn’t play a game. I’m pretty sure nobody thought that the Dallas Mavericks were ever going to win the title this year. It’s not about what anybody else says. It’s about what you believe. I believe in myself and in my team. We’ll bring our team to the top, then we will get some respect.”

Is there any player on the planet that doesn’t think the media is out to get them? That their team doesn’t get enough love?

Here’s a little clue: “the media” doesn’t love or hate anyone, not really. “The media” is not some mindless, faceless entity. We’re a bunch of people looking for stories to tell. Stories that people will read. How you react emotionally to said stories depends on your perspective. From your perspective Dwight, look at it this way: Give us good stores to tell (like the year you made the finals), you feel loved. You get knocked out of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks, you probably won’t like the stories we tell. It’s not rocket science.

- Howard doesn’t think the Magic get enough love from media, NBCSports, July 20, 2011.



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.


Brick wall?

Hand to mouth?

The wheat from the chaff

No axe to grind?

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)