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Freewheeling spirit? 无拘无束

中国日报网 2023-11-28 13:47


Reader question:

Please explain “freewheeling” in this sentence: Like many Alaskans, he’s a freewheeling spirit.

My comments:

A freewheeling spirit is someone who’s unrestrained and carefree. He or she usually behaves in a casual way. They lead a life that’s not strictly restricted by societal rules or regulations.

In our example, “he” is an Alaskan and that probably helps.

Alaska, you see, is cut off from mainland America. It borders the Arctic. It’s remote and much less mainstream. Therefore, the people of Alaska may, generally speaking, feel less restrained by how Americans should behave in generally accepted ways of saying and doing things.

Like sheep or horses in the wild, they get to wander on their own, so to speak, much more than those kept in a farm.

This may be a totally inappropriate analogy, but you get the idea. Sheep or horses kept in a farm have a much structured style of living. Every day is more or less the same, for example for they have a scheduled time for eating, sleeping and, as a matter of fact, every other activity.

They don’t have much room or time to roam on their own.

Anyways, the main word to talk about here is freewheeling, and that originally refers to a bicycle or car running on its own.

If you ride a bicycle or drive a car, you’ll understand this perfectly. After pedaling your bike up to a fast speed, you can afford to relax and take your foot off the pedal, so to speak, and let the bike run on its own.

Likewise, you can cruise a little while driving a fast car, relaxing and even saving a little bit of gas.

But the drawback of freewheeling is also obvious. If you relax too much and become too careless, your bike may fall or your car may get off track.

Danger ensues, hence. Accidents occur.


All right, here are media examples of “freewheeling” in various situations:

1. Dai Davies brought Internet connectivity to the academic and research communities of Europe and then to other regions of the world, and continues doing so today.

In a recent chat via phone, he pointed out that three main groups have roles to play in that effort.

The first is engineers. “They are extremely creative, but they have to understand that the things they make are used by non-engineers. Early Internet engineers thought they were connecting engineers to one another, but what the Internet actually did was create connections between people,” he said. “Back in the 70s, when interconnectivity began, the Net was designed by and for us – the engineers. But engineers make a huge mistake in assuming that the average user of their product is an engineer.” What the Internet actually achieved, Davies notes, is vastly different from what it was originally meant to do: “It achieved a global connectivity that no one foresaw.” People began using it for sharing photos, finding directions, playing games, watching movies. He suggested that Internet engineers should be more like the folks who lay out department stores, where the stuff people buy on impulse is on the main floor, and the stuff people need – the sheets and blankets – are on the lower level.

The second group with a role to play in preserving the Internet’s original spirit is the users. The best thing we all can do to help the Internet, Davies says, is to use it. “Voting with our feet” – and wallets – makes a difference to developers. “We have to make the Internet more customer-focused,” he said. He offered a familiar commercial example: iTunes. “That was implemented by engineers, but it focuses on accessibility, simplicity and ease of use. While engineers were devoting themselves to achieving great sound quality, users were saying, ‘I don’t really mind about that, as long as I can hear my music whenever I want.’” “It’s the same with mobile phones, he added. “People buy them despite their poor sound quality. Internet developers should keep that lesson in mind: It’s important to have a customer mindset. We engineers aren’t trained to think that way, but we should be. Usability is key.”

The third group that Davies believes has a role to play in keeping the Internet creative and thriving is the governance community, whether that be engineering groups like ICANN, individual nations or worldwide governance organizations. Based on his own experience, he believes nations and governance groups must help ensure competitiveness. This is a matter of passion for Davies, as the former leader (1993-2011) and a current employee of DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology in Europe).

Sometimes it’s politics that is the main problem. “We were having reasonable success until the advent of Arab Spring,” he says. “But because of the political upheaval, the organizations we created got disrupted there.”

He concedes that the Internet is not a “law-free zone,” and that it should in fact be regulated – but only to the extent that competition should be guaranteed and people’s privacy and security respected.

But he’s hopeful that with these three groups working together – the governance groups, the engineers and the users themselves – we can keep the Internet free and open, and preserve its “freewheeling spirit” for future generations.

- Preserving the Internet’s “Freewheeling Spirit”, InternetHallOfFame.org, January 16, 2015.

2. President Donald Trump made his first public appearance on Saturday since returning from a three-day hospitalization for coronavirus, telling supporters at the White House that “through the power of American science and medicine, we will eradicate” the virus “once and for all.”

“Thank you all for the prayers,” Trump said from the Blue Room balcony at the White House to hundreds of invited guests at a campaign-style event on the South Lawn.

Trump arrived wearing a mask and removed it before speaking. Attendees appeared to be mostly masked but were standing close together with no suggestion of social distancing. Hand sanitizer stations and a medical tent were nearby.

Trump’s comments touched on several of his usual stump-speech topics, including suggestions of voter fraud. The remarks ran for about 18 minutes, much shorter than Trump’s typical freewheeling campaign speeches.

- Trump Resumes Public Events With Mini-Rally on White House Lawn, Bloomberg.com, October 10, 2020.

3. Taylor Swift recently reached billionaire status, thanks to taking control of her music empire, her concert film, and her wildly successful Eras Tour. So how does a guy like Travis Kelce keep up? Well, he’s not doing so badly with a reported $14 million yearly salary from the Kansas City Chiefs, but his lifestyle needed a major upgrade to accommodate the music superstar.

“Travis is over the moon for Taylor,” an insider told the National Enquirer, via RadarOnline. “He’ll do anything to impress her, no matter the cost!” That means ditching some of his single-guy decorating choices; the athlete knew his lady deserved comfort and class. “Travis was living like a frat boy before and realized he would never entice Taylor to his dorm-style bachelor pad when she’s accustomed to grandeur and luxury,” they added.

That’s why Kelce recently splurged on $6 million Kansas City residence that boasts 17,000 square feet and plenty of privacy. “He’s hoping his lavish new home will convince her he’s serious about being a husband and father,” the source noted. That is probably music to Swift’s ears because she apparently wants to become an “NFL wife” – and given her warm welcome from the other WAGS, the couple may be on the fast track to marriage.

However, the NFL start may want to watch his wallet just a little bit since he reportedly is going crazy upgrading his lifestyle to match Swift’s world. A home is always a big purchase, but Kelce is also stepping up “his wardrobe… jewelry, and ride” just to impress her. The insider warned, “But the expenses are piling up and he’d better watch out she doesn’t leave him holding the bag.” Hopefully, Kelce will cool his free-wheeling spending because it seems that Swift is smitten with him no matter how much money he has in the bank.

- Travis Kelce’s ‘Frat Boy’ Lifestyle Reportedly Got a Huge Makeover To Impress Billionaire Taylor Swift, SheKnows.com, November 1, 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)


Hot mess? 一团糟


Effect change? 引起变化


Stretched too thin? 过度分散


Freaking out? 极度兴奋


Scratching their heads? 迷惑不解


Make a spectacle of yourself? 现眼包

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