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Weather on steroids? 极端天气

中国日报网 2024-04-02 11:12


Reader question:

Please explain “on steroids” in this sentence: A warming ocean puts weather on steroids.

My comments:

Warming ocean means warmer and warmer temperatures, which lead to greater volatility in the air, which, in turn, leads to more occurrences of extreme weather, such as typhoons of unprecedented force.

“Weather on steroids” likens weather to someone taking steroids to improve their strength.

Athletes, for example, take steroids (or drugs colloquially) to make them run faster, jump higher or gain greater stamina. In sports, some of these steroids are called performance-enhancing drugs. They’re illegal. Taking these drugs gives an athlete an unfair advantage.

Therefore, they’re not allowed.

In our case, the weather is likened to an athlete on steroids, which makes volatile weather even more volatile.

In other words, we’re going to see extreme weather more often and with greater ferocity.

Something “on steroids”, in short, makes its qualities even more noticeable and extreme.

Here are media examples of things “on steroids”:

1. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., this week decried President Donald Trump’s “nepotism on steroids” and said the president should not have the power to pardon himself.

Speaking on “Nevada Newsmakers,” the congressman who served as head of Nevada’s Trump-for-president campaign was responding to Trump’s recent statement (on Twitter) that the U.S. president has the “complete power to pardon.”

The Washington Post also reported Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in light of the federal investigation of possible collusion with Russia.

“Would a governor commute his own sentence?” Amodei said. “I mean, the self-dealing. I mean, we’ve got rules about nepotism. I mean, this is nepotism on steroids. It is total self-interest.”

Amodei, who was a JAG officer in the Army, then a civilian lawyer before being elected to represent Nevada’s second congressional district in 2011, said there is no precedent for a sitting president to pardon himself.

“I guess the only chances we’ve had in modern times to find out about that is with Nixon and President Clinton,” Amodei said. “My guess is no – (a president can’t pardon himself), since didn’t it take (President) Gerard Ford to pardon (President) Nixon?

“It probably cost Gerald Ford his race with Jimmy Carter. So I am going to answer off the top of my head, no,” Amodei said, referring to the 1976 presidential election.

Trump said that he has “complete power” of pardons in a Twitter tweetstorm last weekend.

In one of 10 tweets, Trump wrote: “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS.”

- Slamming Trump’s ‘nepotism on steroids,’ Amodei says president can’t pardon himself, LasVegasSun.com, July 29, 2017.

2. It is clear now that Boris Johnson has a straightforward and easily understood plan to solve the hitherto intractable problem of Brexit. In fact he has the same solution for most if not all of the problems that assail this country. The answer is optimism – or “optimism on steroids”, the medicine his colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg recently prescribed for his soon-to-be leader.

This is a peculiarly American solution to a very British problem, and raises yet another parallel between Johnson and his American partner in coiffure, rhetoric and political style, Donald Trump. Much has been written about the similarities between the two leaders – the trimming of reality to convenience, the highly malleable (indeed reversible) points of principle, the charisma and appeal to the mob. But somehow it is the repeated sanctifying of optimism I find most disturbing.

My main objection to optimism is that it is silly – at least as silly as pessimism, although obviously optimism has a better sales pitch. For it seems to imply that an attitude of mind can guarantee an outcome. There is a sense in which, I suppose, you could frame this as vaguely true. It is certainly true of pessimism, which will tend to ground any projects before they start (hence its bad reputation).

Optimism has an altogether more positive image. In the US the idea of positive thinking has been entrenched in its national psyche since its foundation. And certainly, if you don’t believe that by hard work, fortitude and willpower you can achieve your dreams, then you are unlikely to bother to work hard, be wilful or practise fortitude according to this thesis.

The trouble is that America, like Johnson and, you could argue, the world economic order, survives on myth – an approximation of reality that serves our emotional needs. Myths are powerful. Georges Sorel, the 19th-century French philosopher, wrote of the “mobilising myth”. He was particularly referring to the general strike within socialism, but also the way in which entire nations such as the US – as well as revolutionary Russia – could be founded. Mussolini, an admirer, took Sorel at his word. He said: “Men do not move mountains; it is only necessary to create the illusion that mountains move.” Social myths, wrote Sorel, are not descriptions of things, but “expressions of a determination to act”.

If you wanted to flatter Johnson, an activity he clearly welcomes, you could suggest that he is himself at the centre of ardently trying to build a social myth for Britain. One aspect of that myth is Brexit itself, the idea that we can be “free” and “independent”, and reclaim the swashbuckling glories of yesteryear. But it is the positive thinking aspect of the myth that seems to be at the forefront of Johnson’s “thought”, if one can elevate his jabberings to such a level of credence. Believe it and it will come true. You could call it the WYWUAS principle. When You Wish Upon A Star.

- Boris Johnson’s optimism is a sales pitch that can only disappoint, by Jonathan Powell, TheGuardian.com, July 24, 2019.

3. I’ve always had a complex relationship with Snow White. On one hand, as a child, I longed to be like her, to be as hardworking as her, and to have her voice and feminity. As I grew into my tween years, my admiration for her evolved into a judgemental skepticism.

Compared to all the newer Disney princesses such as Rapunzel, Mulan, Moana, and Elsa, Snow White seemed feeble, and quite frankly, dumb. She, along with Disney’s Golden Age princesses like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, unlike modern princesses was not a fighter, but an endurer, utilizing “kindness” and “dreams” as her shield, which seemed rather weak.

However, I was not the only person to think that. Journalist Lallanilla at UC Davis said, “Ever since Snow White first appeared on screens in 1937, Disney princesses have endured an onslaught of criticism for being too weak. As our society evolves with hyper-feminism, it seems like we’ve forgotten the quiet strength that lies in kindness and femininity.

One of the main causes of us shunning quiet strength is hyper-feminism. Hyper-feminism is like feminism on steroids- amped up and intense. Hyper-feminism, at times, risks overshadowing the quieter yet powerful strengths associated with kindness and femininity.

In its intense search for radical change, there’s a tendency to dismiss or downplay attributes traditionally linked to women, such as empathy, nurturing, and collaboration in order to appear more masculine and “strong.” The extreme emphasis on breaking stereotypes sometimes leads to the unintended consequence of devaluing qualities perceived as more traditionally feminine.

Besides this extreme hyper-feminism, another cause of this situation is the false definition of feminism.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as the “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

The most important and most often forgotten aspect of this definition is “on behalf of women’s rights and interests”. Feminism is not the rejection of feminity or desire to become more masculine, but the empowering of women based on their own personal interests and aspirations, whether that is to marry and live a happily-ever-after or to become a lawyer.

As Meg March in the Little Women 2019 movie adaption said, “Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn’t mean they’re unimportant,” feminism’s core belief is supporting women and their own dreams.

- Opinion: Beyond Swords and Superpowers: Rediscovering the quiet strength of femininity, by Emma Luu, LATimes.com, February 18, 2024.


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)


Pick up the pieces 整理残局


Shot across the bow? 警告性的一击


Won’t stand for it? 不能容忍


From here on out? 从此以后


Road rage? 路怒症

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