加载中…
个人资料
postman
postman
  • 博客等级:
  • 博客积分:0
  • 博客访问:52,723
  • 关注人气:26
  • 获赠金笔:0支
  • 赠出金笔:0支
  • 荣誉徽章:
相关博文
推荐博文
正文 字体大小:

第2章  Unbuilding Our Home  夷平我们的家园-下

(2008-10-27 09:45:53)
标签:

杂谈

第2章  Unbuilding Our Home  夷平我们的家园-下

 

For many decades, even after being exposed to the elements, zinc galvanizing has protected your steel heating and cooling ducts. But water and air have been conspiring to convert it to zinc oxide. Once the coating is consumed, the unprotected thin sheet steel disintegrates in a few years. Long before that, the water-soluble gypsum in the sheetrock has washed back into the earth. That leaves the chimney, where all the trouble began. After a century, it's still standing, but its bricks have begun to drop and break as, little by little, its lime mortar, exposed to temperature swings, crumbles and powders.

 

镀锌表皮暴露在自然环境中,但它几十年来还是很好地保护了负责加热或冷却的钢制管道。但是在水和空气的共同作用下,锌开始氧化。一旦镀锌表皮失效,那么薄薄的钢板便失去了保护,几年之内就会开裂。石膏灰胶纸夹板中的水溶性石膏在此之前就已流失,被大地吸收。烟囱成了麻烦的开端。一个世纪之后,它还依旧耸立,但砖块早就开始剥落,一点一点地裂开;石灰砂浆也是如此,温差变化使其碎裂为粉末。

 

If you owned a swimming pool, it's now a planter box, filled with either the offspring of ornamental saplings that the developer imported, or with banished natural foliage that was still hovering on the subdivision's fringes, awaiting the chance to retake its territory. If the house's foundation involved a basement, it too is filling with soil and plant life. Brambles and wild grapevines are snaking around steel gas pipes, which will rust away before another century goes by. White plastic PVC plumbing has yellowed and thinned on the side exposed to the light, where its chloride is weathering to hydrochloric acid, dissolving itself and its polyvinyl partners. Only the bathroom tile, the chemical properties of its fired ceramic not unlike those of fossils, is relatively unchanged, although it now lies in a pile mixed with leaf litter.

 

如果你曾经有个游泳池,现在就会成为一个播种筒,里面会撒满开发商引进的观赏植物的种子,或者是曾经被驱逐出去的天然植被——它们一直在角角落落中留守,等待有朝一日夺回领土的机会。如果房子有一间地下室,那么它同样也会被土壤和植物所填没。荆棘和野葡萄藤正盘绕于钢制的排气管道上,它们不到一个世纪的时间就会生锈腐烂。白色的热塑树脂的水管装置,照到阳光的那一边已经发黄、变薄,其中含有的氯化物已经风化成为氢氯酸,溶解自身的同时也殃及周边的聚乙烯材料。只有浴室的瓷砖外观几乎未发生什么变化,因为经烧制的陶瓷制品所含的化学成分有些类似于化石,不过它已经碎落成堆,干草和树叶混迹其中。

 

After 500 years, what is left depends on where in the world you lived. If the climate was temperate, a forest stands in place of a suburb; minus a few hills, it's begun to resemble what it was before developers, or the farmers they expropriated, first saw it. Amid the trees, half-concealed by a spreading understory, lie aluminum dishwasher parts and stainless steel cookware, their plastic handles splitting but still solid. Over the coming centuries, although there will be no metallurgists around to measure it, the pace at which aluminum pits and corrodes will finally be revealed: a relatively new material, aluminum was unknown to early humans because its ore must be electrochemically refined to form metal.

 

五百年之后,剩下的事物会有哪些呢?这取决于你居住在世界的哪个地区。如果气候温和,曾经的市郊便会成为森林;除了一些土丘,这里逐渐开始类似人类进行开发之前的模样,或者是被驱逐的农民初次见到这片土地时的样子。林木之中,郁郁葱葱的林下叶层半掩着铝制的洗碗机散件和不锈钢炊具,它们的塑料把手虽已开裂,却依然坚固。在下个世纪,尽管没有冶金学家来进行观察,铝变形和腐蚀的速度终会显露——铝是一种相对较新的金属,早期的人类并不知道,因为铝矿石必须经过电化提炼才能成为金属。

 

The chromium alloys that give stainless steel its resilience, however, will probably continue to do so for millennia, especially if the pots, pans, and carbon-tempered cutlery are buried out of the reach of atmospheric oxygen. One hundred thousand years hence, the intellectual development of whatever creature digs them up might be kicked abruptly to a higher evolutionary plane by the discovery of ready-made tools. Then again, lack of knowledge of how to duplicate them could be a demoralizing frustration—or an awearousing mystery that ignites religious consciousness.

 

铬合金使得不锈钢具有形态复原的功能,但是,这种效果或许将延续几千年,尤其是当罐子、平底锅和碳合金餐具被埋藏在不与氧气接触的地下时。在遥远的未来,不知哪种智慧生物把它们挖了出来,于是乎,他们进化的速度因为发现这些现成的工具而突飞猛进。不知道如何复制这些工具让他们觉得灰心受挫——不过神秘感和敬畏感说不定能够唤醒他们体内的宗教意识。

 

If you were a desert dweller, the plastic components of modern life flake and peel away faster, as polymer chains crack under an ultraviolet barrage of daily sunshine. With less moisture, wood lasts longer there, though any metal in contact with salty desert soils will corrode more quickly. Still, from Roman ruins we can guess that thick cast iron will be around well into the future's archaeological record, so the odd prospect of fire hydrants sprouting amidst cacti may someday be among the few clues that humanity was here. Although adobe and plaster walls will have eroded away, the wrought iron balconies and window grates that once adorned them may still be recognizable, albeit airy as tulle, as corrosion eating through the iron encounters its matrix of indigestible glass slag.

 

 

  如果你居住在沙漠中,现代生活中的塑料制品腐蚀剥落的速度会更快,因为聚合物链会在阳光紫外线的侵袭下断裂。由于缺水,木制品在这里能够保持得更长久,不过金属接触到盐性的沙漠土壤会腐蚀得更加迅速。看着罗马遗址,我们由此能推测,厚厚的铸铁制品会出现在未来的考古学记录中,所以立在仙人掌之间的消防栓或许有朝一日会成为人类曾在这里生存的唯一线索,这可真是幅奇怪的画面。砖坯墙和石灰墙将可能受到侵蚀,可曾经起到装饰作用的锻铁阳台和窗户格栅尽管已经薄如轻纱,不过可能还是能被识别出来,因为腐蚀作用虽然吞没了铸铁,却难以对付剩下的玻璃渣。

 

Once, we built structures entirely from the most durable substances we knew: granite block, for instance. The results are still around today to admire, but we don't often emulate them, because quarrying, cutting, transporting, and fitting stone require a patience we no longer possess. No one since the likes of Antoni Gaudi, who began Barcelona's yetunfinished Sagrada Familia basilica in 1880, contemplates investing in construction that our great-great-grandchildren's grandchildren will complete 250 years hence. Nor, absent the availability of a few thousand slaves, is it cheap, especially compared to another Roman innovation: concrete.

 

 

我们曾经把所知道的最耐用的物质用于建筑结构:比如说花岗岩石块。它的效果今日依然可见,我们崇拜,我们震惊,但我们现在不再采用这种材料,因为采石、开凿、运输和切割石料需要很大的耐心,而我们却已经不再具备这样的耐心。从此之后,怕是不会出现第二个安东尼奥·高迪了——他1880年开始建造巴塞罗那至今未曾竣工的圣家赎罪堂,现在没有人再会考虑投资一个需要建造250年、重孙的重孙的孙子才能完成的工程了。现在,没有了成千上万的奴隶,使用罗马人的另一发明——水泥,岂非便宜?

 

Today, that brew of clay, sand, and a paste made of the calcium of ancient seashells hardens into a man-made rock that is increasingly the most affordable option for Homo sapiens urbanus. What happens, then, to the cement cities now home to more than half the humans alive?

 

如今,混合着粘土、沙子、古代海贝壳钙质的浆水变硬后就成为一种人造岩石,它日益成为现代城市人最为经济的选择。到了那时,成为半数人家园的水泥城市将变得如何呢?

 

Before we consider that, there's a matter to address regarding climate. If we were to vanish tomorrow, the momentum of certain forces we've already set in motion will continue until centuries of gravity, chemistry, and entropy slow them to an equilibrium that may only partly resemble the one that existed before us. That former equilibrium depended on a sizeable amount of carbon locked away beneath Earth's crust, much of which we've now relocated into the atmosphere. Instead of rotting, the wood frames of houses may be preserved like the timbers of Spanish galleons wherever rising seas pickle them in salt water.

 

在我们考虑那点之前,我得说说有关气候的一件事。如果我们明天就消逝,我们之前的所作所为将会对后世带来影响,地球引力、化学作用和熵将在几百年之后才把万物带到平衡状态,可这和人类存在之前的地球或许只有些许的相似了。之前的平衡状态取决于大量的碳元素被压在地壳层之下,而现在呢,大多数碳元素已经转移到了大气中。房屋的木制结构会像西班牙大型战舰上的木材一样,上升的海面将它们浸泡在盐水中,受到了保存,而非腐蚀。

 

In a warmer world, the deserts may grow drier, but the parts where humans dwelled will likely again be visited by what attracted those humans in the first place: flowing water. From Cairo to Phoenix, desert cities rose where rivers made arid soils livable. Then, as population grew, humans seized control of those aquatic arteries, diverting them in ways that allowed for even more growth. But after people are gone, the diversions will soon follow them. Drier, hotter desert climates will be complemented by wetter, stormier mountain weather systems that will send floods roaring downstream, overwhelming dams, spreading over their former alluvial plains, and entombing whatever was built there in annual layers of silt. Within them, fire hydrants, truck tires, shattered plate glass, condominia, and office buildings may remain indefinitely, but as far from sight as the Carboniferous Formation once was.

 

在一个更为温暖的世界中,沙漠变得越发干燥,但是人类曾经居住的地区将很有可能再次出现河流——人们最初就是被水所吸引才到了这里。从开罗到菲尼克斯,河流使干旱的土壤得以生存,沙漠城市便在这里崛地而起。后来,随着人口的增长,人类控制了那些水的干道,然后将它们分出支流以图日后更大的发展。但是人类消失之后,支流也随之消失了。干躁和炎热的沙漠气候和潮湿、多雨的山地气候交织在一起,滔滔洪水涌到下游,淹没了水库,一年一年堆积起来的淤泥覆盖了之前的冲击平原,埋葬了建造在那里的一切。消防栓、汽车轮胎、破破烂烂的厚玻璃板和办公大楼或许能够苟延残喘,不过,它们会像石炭层一般埋入地下。

 

No memorial will mark their burial, though the roots of cottonwoods, willows, and palms may occasionally make note of their presence. Only eons later, when old mountains have worn away and new ones risen, will young streams cutting fresh canyons through sediments reveal what once, briefly, went on here. 

 

没人会记得它们埋葬在这里,尽管三角叶杨、柳树和棕榈树的根茎或许偶尔会发现它们的存在。只有在万古之后,等老的山脉夷为平地,新的山脉平地而起,唯有这时,唯有年轻的溪流从沉积物中开辟出个个崭新的峡谷时,才会显露出那曾经在这儿短暂留存过的事物。

0

阅读 评论 收藏 转载 喜欢 打印举报/Report
  • 评论加载中,请稍候...
发评论

    发评论

    以上网友发言只代表其个人观点,不代表新浪网的观点或立场。

      

    新浪BLOG意见反馈留言板 电话:4000520066 提示音后按1键(按当地市话标准计费) 欢迎批评指正

    新浪简介 | About Sina | 广告服务 | 联系我们 | 招聘信息 | 网站律师 | SINA English | 会员注册 | 产品答疑

    新浪公司 版权所有