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Crystal ball 水晶球

中国日报网 2020-07-07 14:11


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence, "crystal ball" in particular: We don't have a crystal ball but researchers try to make their best coronavirus estimates based on facts.

My comments:

Researchers are not fortune tellers who look into their crystal ball and sees a perfectly clear picture. Presumably, alright, which enables them to make firm and definite predictions about your future. Researchers do not work like that. Researchers can only make their guesses, estimates based on facts, facts and findings. They use their findings to predict future trends surrounding the coronavirus, which is still all the rage in America, among other countries.

The crystal ball is the round ball which is shiny and almost transparent, into which spiritualists and others look in order to tell fortunes and make predictions.

Crystal, the natural mineral being glass-like and clear looking, has given quite a few idioms in the English language. People say, for example, it's as clear as crystal to me, meaning something is clear and not confusing. Or, the picture on this high-definition TV is crystal clear, meaning perfectly clear.

Well, coronavirus researchers cannot promise to see the future as clearly as someone seeing into the crystal ball. I remember watching a BBC program years ago, in which a fortune teller sees everything, sees everything crystal clear. He tells a man who's apparently come to inquire how a friend of his, who died in a traffic accident, is doing over there - in heaven. Your friend, the fortune teller says, tells me he'll be playing football tomorrow. He wears a Liverpool shirt. He says they're playing Chelsea.

Unlike people who believe in mysticism and superstition, coronavirus researchers base their conclusions, which are necessarily incomplete, on facts, solid facts.

In other words, there's no magical thinking involved here. Magical thinking, of course, is what Donald Trump uses when he talks about the coronavirus. Apparently the President of the United States has his own crystal ball which allows him to say that the coronavirus pandemic will magically disappear, and, more recently, that 99% of infections are totally harmless.

Things like that.

Well, suffice it to say that Trump's crystal ball isn't a workable one.

Anyways, here are media examples of the proverbial crystal ball, which gives people a clear and unclouded vision into the future:

1. During the job interview, help the candidate demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and experience. Start with small talk and ask several easy questions until the candidate seems relaxed. Then hold a behavioral interview.

A behavioral interview is the best tool you have to identify candidates who have the behavioral traits and characteristics that you have selected as necessary for success in a particular job.

Additionally, behavioral interview questions ask the candidate to pinpoint specific instances in which a particular behavior was exhibited in the past. In the best behaviorally-based interviews, the candidate is unaware of the behavior the interviewer is verifying. This is a much better approach to learning about your candidate then asking the individual to look into a crystal ball and predict probable future behavior.

In addition to the candidate's verbal responses during the job interview, you'll want to notice all of the nonverbal interaction, too.

- How to Interview Potential Employees, TheBalanceCareers.com, November 15, 2019.


2. Assumption in an uncertain COVID-19 world coupled with a more conservative approach stand as foundational pillars in development of Sussex County’s fiscal year 2021 budget, a spending plan that will deviate somewhat from those in recent years past.

I have no crystal ball,” said Sussex County Director of Finance Gina Jennings. “We are assuming that revenues will decrease because unemployment is up, and people’s retirement savings have been impacted. These two factors alone will affect the sale of real estate is Sussex County.”

“I am taking a very cautious approach and will be presenting a flat budget with no large initiatives and no new grants or capital projects until we know how our revenues will be impacted,” said Ms. Jennings.

As departmental heads were formulating budget requests, the coronavirus crisis arrived. In response, departments were tasked to prioritize expenses and develop baseline budgets.

“We developed a flatline budget,” said Ms. Jennings. “There will be supplemental expenses depending on our revenue, because right now it’s hard to tell how our revenue is going to be impacted.”

- ‘No crystal ball’: Sussex takes cautious approach with budget,DelawareStateNews.net, May 16th, 2020.


3. The Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra has released its concert schedule for 2020-21 with a season opener to be performed on the weekend of Oct. 3 and 4.

However, it has canceled its Aug. 8 program to celebrate Plymouth’s 400th anniversary, which was originally planned for March.

While the highly regarded regional orchestra’s planners have no crystal ball to tell them what the state’s rules on social distancing may (or may not) require months from now, the orchestra is sticking with its plan for some big nights in big halls, “until we’re told not to,” music director Steven Karidoyanes said recently.

The orchestra and its board plan concert seasons a full year in advance, because of the logistical considerations and financial requirements involved in staging full orchestral performances, Karidoyanes said. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic still makes it impossible to plan with certainty, he mused,, “Can’t we still aspire to do what we can when we all come back?”

If the state’s four-phased reopening plan does not permit large indoor gathering by the new season’s dates, “We’ll find other ways to bring the music to our audience,” the music director said.

- Plymouth orchestra says it’s on with the show ... maybe, June 25, 2020.


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:丹妮)


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