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Building blocks? 基石

中国日报网 2023-07-11 11:12


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: Hard work and persistence are the building blocks of success.

My comments:

Hard work and persistence are the basic elements needed for one to succeed.

Hard work, obviously. To succeed at something, be it building a business or playing basketball, one needs to put in the hours, put in the work, i.e. spend the time and make the effort.

Persistence? That allows us to continue after making mistakes and suffering setbacks. Obviously, we’re not supposed to quit every time something goes wrong. That way, we’ll never get anything done. Instead, we should still believe in ourselves and keep going – and persevere.

Oh, building blocks.

Building blocks, literally, refer to the pieces of wood or plastic children build toy houses with. To build a toy house high, children learn to put the big, solid pieces at the bottom. That way, they have a solid foundation, able to carry the weight of the entire building.

By analogy, building blocks stand for things that are the basic components. They’re the separate parts that combine to make something whole. For example, the family is considered the building block of society. Without families, there’d be no society at large to speak of.

Okay, let’s read a few “building block” examples in the media:

1. Bipartisan talks over a cornerstone infrastructure package sit on the brink of falling apart completely just days before a White House-imposed deadline for tangible progress.

Gone is what for several weeks appeared to be positive, if cautious, sentiment about the prospects of President Joe Biden and a group of six Senate Republicans reaching consensus on a deal to inject hundreds of billions in investment into the nation’s aging infrastructure.

In its place is a clear inflection point on talks that have yet to make the kind of progress to advance beyond Biden’s Memorial Day deadline.

“We continue to think there needs to be major progress by Memorial Day,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” Monday, acknowledging that getting a bill through Congress and to Biden’s desk is a process. “All that is not going to happen by Memorial Day. But we really need to get this done this summer, which is why we continue to want to see, even just in the few days between now and the holiday, some real progress if we’re going to pursue this path.”

The break comes at a crucial moment for Biden’s legislative agenda, with a convergence of dynamics that, if mishandled, could threaten to torpedo the prospects of the $4 trillion in infrastructure, economic and social safety net spending he has put on the table.

Several other key agenda items, from police reform and tighter gun laws to voting rights, are also stuck in slow-moving bipartisan talks.

But on infrastructure, where both sides signaled a genuine willingness to try and identify a path forward, those involved say there is palpable frustration from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue that the significant divides on everything from the topline cost to what actually constitutes “infrastructure” in the scope of any deal may be impossible to bridge.

Democrats have for weeks debated how to thread the needle between the desire not just by Biden, but also key moderates in the Senate, to seek a bipartisan pathway without undercutting the ambitious legislative goals of the party that controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.


There are also a series of smaller, bipartisan efforts underway. Over the weekend, Capito and Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware unveiled a $340 billion surface transportation bill that could serve as a potential building block for a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a series of smaller, bipartisan conversations are still ongoing even as lawmakers warn they have yet to find a breakthrough.

“There are a handful of folks who want to make sure we try bipartisanship first, and I don’t know if those folks feel like we have exhausted that yet,” one Democratic aide said. “We have to wait for Manchin and his friends,” the aide said, alluding to the moderate West Virginia Democrat.

Democrats are still laying the groundwork for a scenario in which they may have to go it alone just in case.

- Bipartisan talks over infrastructure deal on the brink of crumbling days before deadline, CNN.com, May 24, 2021.

2. I’ve been into bodybuilding ever since my senior year in high school, and working on maximizing performance levels through fitness plans and diet has always been something that interested me.

But for the most part, I just focused on the traditional high-carb muscle building diets and workouts that you see advertised in all bodybuilding magazines. You know the ones where you eat six chicken breasts a day and wash it all down with a glass of raw eggs.

Ultimately, this led me on a quest to figure out how to maximize muscle growth and fat loss through the foods I ate, because after half a glass of eggs, I knew that was not an experience I wanted to repeat.

After many years of trial and error, I have focused on keto and carnivore bodybuilding diets in alternating cycles. The results I’ve achieved are quite amazing, especially in the bulking phase, and despite health warnings, I’ve never felt and looked better.

So, I decided to publish all that research and experience so you can answer the popular question.


(1) Lots Of Energy For Exercise

This is one thing many people who start out with plans to bulk up get really wrong. They simply don’t eat enough meals per day, resulting in a lack of calories to support the heavy workouts and strength training for building muscle.

What happens then is that you lose weight in both fat storage and lean muscle mass, or the opposite of the goals that you set.

I have found that nine times out of 10, people don’t realize how much more food they need to eat to get all the energy, amino acids, and minerals needed to build new muscle tissue.

(2) Massive Amounts Of Protein

The number 1 ingredient for muscle building is a specific set of amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. There is no getting around it, and if you struggle to eat enough chicken, red meat, steak, and eggs every day, you have to resort to carnivore supplements.

It would not be uncommon for bodybuilders to aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight to build muscle. That’s a lot of meat to try and process, and something many performance athletes take a long time to get used to.

It all comes down to proper meal planning, and if you’re serious about this, then you should consider trying out a meat only diet weight loss program to see how quickly you can get all that protein in sans the high carb.
- 4 Tips to Build Muscles Fast, by Timothy Woods, CarnivoreStyle.com, June 26, 2023.

3. Billions of years ago, in the giant disk of dust, gas, and rocky material that orbited our young sun, larger and larger bodies coalesced to eventually give rise to the planets, moons, and asteroids we see today.

Scientists are still trying to understand the processes by which planets, including our home planet, were formed. One way researchers can study how Earth formed is to examine the magmas that flow up from deep within the planet's interior. The chemical signatures from these samples contain a record of the timing and the nature of the materials that came together to form Earth – analogous to how fossils give us clues about Earth’s biological past.

Now, a study from Caltech shows that the early Earth accreted from hot and dry materials, indicating that our planet’s water – the crucial component for the evolution of life – must have arrived late in the history of Earth’s formation.

The study, involving an international team of researchers, was conducted in the laboratories of Francois Tissot, assistant professor of geochemistry and Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator; and Yigang Zhang of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. A paper titled, “I/Pu reveals Earth mainly accreted from volatile-poor differentiated planetesimals,” appears in the journal Science Advances. Caltech graduate student Weiyi Liu is the paper’s first author.

Though humans do not have a way to journey into the interior of our planet, the rocks deep within the earth can naturally make their way to the surface in the form of lavas. The parental magmas of these lavas can originate from different depths within Earth, such as the upper mantle, which begins around 15 kilometers under the surface and extends for about 680 kilometers; or the lower mantle, which spans from a depth of 680 kilometers all the way to the core–mantle boundary at about 2,900 kilometers below our feet.

Like sampling different layers of a cake – the frosting, the filling, the sponge – scientists can study magmas originating from different depths to understand the different “flavors” of Earth’s layers: the chemicals found within and their ratios with respect to one another.

Because the formation of Earth was not instantaneous and instead involved materials accreting over time, samples from the lower mantle and upper mantle give different clues to what was happening over time during Earth’s accretion.

In the new study, the team found that the early Earth was primarily composed of dry, rocky materials: chemical signatures from deep within the planet showed a lack of so-called volatiles, which are easily evaporated materials like water and iodine. In contrast, samples of the upper mantle revealed a higher proportion of volatiles, three times of those found in the lower mantle.

Based on these chemical ratios, Liu created a model that showed Earth formed from hot, dry, rocky materials, and that a major addition of life-essential volatiles, including water, only occurred during the last 15% (or less) of Earth’s formation.

The study is a crucial contribution to theories of planet formation, a field which has undergone several paradigm shifts in recent decades and is still characterized by vigorous scientific debate. In this context, the new study makes important predictions for the nature of the building blocks of other terrestrial planets – Mercury and Venus – which would be expected to have formed from similarly dry materials.

“Space exploration to the outer planets is really important because a water world is probably the best place to look for extraterrestrial life,” Tissot says. “But the inner solar system shouldn’t be forgotten. There hasn’t been a mission that's touched Venus’s surface for nearly 40 years, and there has never been a mission to the surface of Mercury. We need to be able to study those worlds to better understand how terrestrial planets such as Earth formed.”

- Study shows the Earth formed from dry, rocky building blocks, Phys.org, July 5, 2023.


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)


Dragged his feet? 拖拉


Trust your gut 相信你的直觉


Sweetheart deal? 甜心交易


Ghosts of their former selves? 空壳


Man of the moment? 时下的风云人物

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