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历年考研英语阅读理解1996年05

所属教程:历年考研英语阅读理解

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http://online2.tingclass.net/lesson/shi0529/0008/8686/A_1996_5.mp3
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[00:03.79]1996 Passage4

[00:07.41]What accounts for the great outburst

[00:09.50]of major inventions in early America

[00:12.62]--breakthroughs such as the telegraph,

[00:14.94]the steamboat and the weaving machine?

[00:18.62]Among the many shaping factors,

[00:20.94]I would single out the country's excellent elementary schools;

[00:24.57]a labor force that welcomed the new technology;

[00:27.70]the practice of giving premiums to inventors;

[00:31.02]and above all the American genius for nonverbal,

[00:34.95]"spatial" thinking about things technological.

[00:39.24]Why mention the elementary schools?

[00:42.15]Because thanks to these schools our early mechanics,

[00:45.88]especially in the New England and Middle Atlantic states,

[00:49.52]were generally literate and at home in arithmetic

[00:52.95]and in some aspects of geometry and trigonometry.

[00:57.29]Acute foreign observers related American adaptiveness

[01:01.22]and inventiveness to this educational advantage.

[01:05.34]As a member of a British commission visiting here

[01:08.07]in 1853 reported,

[01:10.49]"With a mind prepared by thorough school discipline,

[01:14.11]the American boy develops rapidly into the skilled workman."

[01:19.16]A further stimulus to invention

[01:21.38]came from the "premium" system,

[01:23.49]which preceded our patent system

[01:25.81]and for years ran parallel with it.

[01:28.95]This approach, originated abroad, offered inventors medals,

[01:33.08]cash prizes and other incentives.

[01:36.51]In the United States,

[01:38.42]multitudes of premiums for new devices

[01:41.35]were awarded at country fairs

[01:43.77]and at the industrial fairs in major cities.

[01:47.20]Americans flocked to these fairs to admire the new machines

[01:51.63]and thus to renew their faith in the beneficence

[01:54.55]of technological advance.

[01:57.48]Given this optimistic approach to technological innovation,

[02:01.44]the American worker took readily to

[02:03.85]that special kind of nonverbal thinking required

[02:06.57]in mechanical technology.

[02:09.19]As Eugene Ferguson has pointed out,

[02:11.71]"A technologist thinks about objects that cannot be reduced

[02:15.64]to unambiguous verbal descriptions;

[02:18.57]they are dealt with in his mind by a visual, nonverbal process...

[02:23.71]The designer and the inventor...

[02:25.74]are able to assemble and manipulate in their minds devices

[02:29.96]that as yet do not exist."

[02:33.06]This nonverbal "spatial" thinking can be just as creative

[02:37.26]as painting and writing.

[02:39.62]Robert Fulton once wrote,

[02:41.64]"The mechanic should sit down among levers,

[02:44.47]screws, wedges, wheels, etc.,

[02:48.09]like a poet among the letters of the alphabet,

[02:51.12]considering them as exhibition of his thoughts,

[02:54.45]in which a new arrangement transmits a new idea."

[02:59.06]When all these shaping forces--schools,

[03:02.08]open attitudes, the premium system,

[03:05.01]a genius for spatial thinking

[03:07.48]--interacted with one another on the rich U.S. mainland,

[03:11.52]they produced that American characteristic, emulation.

[03:16.05]Today that word implies mere imitation.

[03:19.78]But in earlier times it meant a friendly

[03:22.38]but competitive striving for fame and excellence.

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