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Paradigm shift

[ 2009-08-11 13:14]     字号 [] [] []  
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Paradigm shiftReader question:

In this sentence – EU innovation needs paradigm shift – what does “paradigm shift” mean?

My comments:

A paradigm is a prototype, an example, a pattern or generally speaking a model.

A model, of course, is someone or something for others to model on.

In other words, give us a model and we’ll all copy and follow suit.

That way, life is all sweet and easy, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, life changes and sometimes a model need be changed. That’s where “paradigm shift” comes into play. Paradigm shift originally refers to a radical change in theory developed in new scientific fields wherein old theories no longer seem to apply.

In everyday conversation, on the other hand, “paradigm shift” simply represents any fundamental change in our collective thinking.

In China prior to the 1980s, for instance, young people looking for jobs were almost always advised to seek what was called an “iron rice bowl”, that is, a position in a government organization where one’s pay is fixed and good for life.

Since the 1980s, however, a paradigm shift has occurred. Nowadays, at least some people are looking for higher paying as well as more challenging jobs than the humdrum occupation offered by a government agency. Still others look to start up their own companies, thus seeking to become owners rather than mere employees – something unthinkable, no doubt, to their parents.

Anyways, that’s paradigm shift, a radical change in thinking from conventional (accepted) views.

In other words, a new consciousness.

Here are media examples:

1. A paradigm shift is underway, unrecognized inside the US kettle. Its water level is falling and its temperature is rising, even as fewer foreign born cooks stir its contents. The US banking and political leaders errantly pursue a path toward a return to normalcy, when all pathways have been washed out by powerful storms that to do abate and will worsen. Several key developments point to a new global order taking shape, as the Chinese actively work to plant global seeds that result in the Yuan currency serving more of a role in global trade. They will eventually de-throne the US Dollar from its primal perch. The US Dollar will be used less in global trade. The US$-based assets are being diversified. These developments are gaining traction, power, and publicity. The foreign creditors continue to protect their core US$-denominated reserves, while clearly undermining the US$ on the margin, as alternatives are chosen. To date, the alternative choice is hard assets, commodity supplies, and properties from the resource camp. The paradigm shift will change the face of the United States permanently, but to date few recognize the changing landscape.

- Abandoned US Dollar & Paradigm Shift, News.goldseek.com, July 23, 2009.

2. A few other NBA stars had decided to play in a low-top in recent years, most notably Gilbert Arenas and Steve Nash. And many of the all-time greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played most of their careers in a low-top.

In his 1990 autobiography “Kareem,” Abdul-Jabbar attributed his long, mostly healthy career to wearing low-tops, rather than the more popular high-tops.

“I seemed to know instinctively,” he wrote in his book. “That the skeletal system is built to absorb shock and if you bind and immobilize the ankle, the stress just transfers up to the next available join, which is the knee, the great nemesis of the basketball player. I was Galileo out there on this, alone in my approach for a long time.”

Not anymore. In the post-Air Jordan world, Bryant is by far the most high-profile player to wear a low-top.

In the sneaker world, (Kobe) Bryant deciding to choose a low-top was tantamount to a paradigm shift.

To gather evidence on whether this was a good idea, Avar and his group immediately went into the lab.

“At the lab, we were able to review Kobe making high-speed cuts in slow-motion capture video,” Avar said. “Every frame showed that the low profile shoe allowed him to make sharper cuts, while increasing responsiveness.”

At 11.6 ounces, the Kobe IV is approximately 20 percent lighter than the average Nike basketball shoe. Avar and his team estimate Bryant runs between two and three miles in an average basketball game. With less weight in his shoes over that distance during an 82-game season, it theoretically will help him maintain his energy well into what he hopes will be another long playoff run.

- Bryant’s switch to low-top shoes raises eyebrows, LA Daily News, December 16, 2008.



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.


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