The City of the Future What will the city of the future look like? No one knows for sure, and making predictions is a risky business. But one thing is certain-they are going to get bigger bef
ore they get smaller. In the future, care for the environment will become very important as earth’s natural resources run out. We will use lots of recycled materials, such as plastic, aluminum, steel, glass, wood and paper, and we will waste fewer natural resources. We will also have to rely more on alternative energy, such as solar and wind power. All this seems certain, but there are plenty of things about city life in the future which are not certain. To find out what young people think about the future of urban life, a teacher at a university in Texas in the United States asked his students to think how they would run a city of 50000 people in the year 2025. Here are some of the ideas they had: Garbage ships To get rid of garbage problems, the city will load huge spaceships with waste materials and send them towards the sun, preventing landfill and environmental problems. Batman Nets Police will arrest criminals by firing nets instead of guns. Forget the malls In the future all shopping will be done online, and catalogues will have voice commands to place orders. Telephones for life Everyone will be given a telephone number at birth that will never change no matter where they live. Recreation all forms of recreation, such as cinemas, bowling, softball, concerts and others, will be provided free of charge by the city. Cars All cars will be powered by electricity, solar energy or wind, and it will be possible to change the colour of cars at the flick of a switch. Telesurgery Distance surgery will become common as doctors carry out operations from thousands of miles away, with each city having its own telesurgery outpatient clinic. Holidays at home Senior citizens and people with disabilities will be able to go anywhere in the world using high-tech cameras attached to their head. Space travel Travelling in space by ordinary citizens will be common. Each city will have its own spaceport. Getting Around in Beijing Taxis Taxis are on the streets 24 hours a day. Simply raise your hand, and a taxi appears in no time. They are usually red, and they display the price per kilometer on the window. You should check the cab has a business permit, and make sure you ask for a receipt. Buses and trolleybuses Public transport provides a cheap way to get around in Beijing . There are 20000 buses and trolleybuses in Beijing, but they can get very crowded. It’s a good idea to avoid public transport during the rush hour. Fares are cheap, staring at 1 yuan. Air-conditioned buses cost more. Buses numbered 1 to 100 are limited to travel within the city centre. Higher numbers have destinations in the suburbs. Tourists shouldn’t miss the 103 bus which offers one of the most impressive routes, past the Forbidden City and the White Pagoda in Beihai Park. If you get on a double-decker bus, make sure you sit upstairs. You’ll have a good view of the rapidly changing city. Most buses run from about 5:00 am to midnight. However, there is also a night bus service, provided by buses with a number in the 200s. Minibuses Minibuses with seats for 12 passengers offer an alternative to expensive taxis and crowded public transport in some areas. They run regular services and follow the same routes as large public buses. And in a minibus you always get a seat even in rush hours. Underground
There are four underground lines in Beijing, and several lines are under construction. Trains are fast and convenient, but rush hours can be terrible. A one-way trip costs 3 yuan. Station names are marked in pinyin. The underground is open from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm. Pedicabs Tourists like these human-pedalled ―tricycle taxis‖, but they can be expensive. You should talk to the driver, and make sure you know the price before you begin the journey, for example, if it is per person, single or return. Tricycles are worth using if you want to explore the narrow alleys (hutong) of old Beijing. Body Language and Non-verbal Communication If you say the word ―communication‖, most people think of words and sentences. Although these are very important, we communicate with more than just spoken and written words. Indeed, body positions are part of what we call ―body language‖. We see examples of unconscious body language very often, yet there is also ―learned‖ body language, which varies from culture to culture. We use ―learned‖ body language when we are introduced to strangers. Like other animals, we are on guard until we know it is safe to relax. So every culture has developed a formal way to greet strangers, to show them we are not aggressive. Traditionally, Europeans and Americans shake hands. They do this with the right hand—the strongest hand for most people. If our right hand is busy greeting someone, it cannot be holding a weapon. So the gesture is saying, ―I trust you. Look , I’m not carrying a threatening weapon.‖ If you shake hands with someone, you show you trust them. We shake hands when we make a deal. It means, ―We agree and we trust each other.‖ Greetings in Asian countries do not involve touching the other person, but they always involve the hands. Traditionally in China, when we greet someone, we put the right hand over the left and bow slightly. Muslims give a ―salaam‖, where they touch their heart, mouth and forehead. Hindus join their hands and bow their heads in respect. In all of these examples, the hands are busy with the greeting and cannot hold a weapon. Even today, when some people have very informal styles of greeting, they still use their hands as a gesture of trust. American youths often greet each other with the expression, ―Give me five!‖ One person then holds up his hand, palm outwards and five fingers spread. The other person raises his fingers spread. The other person raises his hand and slaps the other ’s open hand above the head in a ―high five‖. Nowadays, it is quite a common greeting. Body language is fascinating for anyone to study. People give away much more by their gestures than by their words. Look at your friends and family and see if you are a mind reader! The Student Who Asked Questions In a hungry world rice is a staple food and China is the world’s largest producer. Rice is also grown in many other Asian countries, and in some European countries like Italy. In the rice-growing world, the Chinese scientist, Yuan Longping, is a leading figure. Yuan Longping was born and brought up in China. As a boy he was educated in many schools and was given the nickname, ―the student who asks questions‖. From an early age he was interested in plants. He studied agriculture in college and as a young teacher he began experiments in crop breeding. He thought that the key to feeding people was to have more rice and to produce it more quickly. He thought there was only one way to do this—by crossing different species of rice plant, and then he could produce a new plant which could give a higher yield than either of the original plants. First Yuan Longping experimented with different types of rice. The results of his experiments were published in China in 1966. then he began his search for a special type of rice plant. It had to be male. It had to be sterile. Finally, in 1970 a naturally sterile male rice plant was discovered. This was the breakthrough. Researchers were brought in from all over China to develop the new system. the research was supported by the government. As a result of Yuan Longping’s discoveries Chinese rice production rose by 47.5 percent in the 1990’s. There were other advantages too. 50 thousand square kilometres of rice fields were converted to growing vegetables and other countries, such as Pakistan and the Philippines. In Pakistan rice is the second most important crop after wheat and will be grown in many parts of the country. The
new hybrid rice has been developed by the Yuan Longping Hightech Agricultural Company of China. Its yield is much greater than the yield of other types of rice grown in Pakistan. A Trip Along the Three Gorges In August 1996, Peter Hessler, a young American teacher of English, arrived in the town of Fuling on the Yangtze River. He and a colleague were to spend two years there teaching English at a teacher training college. They were the only foreigners in the town. The first semester finished at the end of January and they had four weeks off for the Spring Festival. They could go anywhere they wished. They decided to take a boat downstream. We decided to buy tickets for the Jiangyou boat. Our colleagues said, ―You shouldn’t go on those ships. They are very crowded. They are mainly for goods and people trading along the river. They don’t stop at the temples and there won’t be any other foreigners.‖ That sounded fine to me. We just had to show our passports and they let us get on the boat. We left the docks on a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining brightly as we sailed downstream through a hilly region. Men rode a bamboo rafts along the river ’s edge and coal boats went past. As the sun setting behind the white pagoda. It was beautiful. We slept through the first gorge, which is called the Qutang Gorge. The gorge narrows to 350 feet as the river rushes through the two-mile –high mountains. ―Oh,well,‖ my friend said, ―at least we have two more left.‖ At Wushan we made a detour up the Daning River to see some of the smaller gorges. The next day we went through the big gorges on the Yangtze River,home of Qu Yuan, the 3rd century BC poet. There was so much history along the Yangtze River. Every rock looked like a person or animal, every stream that joined the great river carried its legends, every hill was heavy with the past.As we came out of the third gorge, the Xiling Gorge, we sailed into the construction site of the dam. All the passengers came on deck. We took pictures and pointed at the site, but we weren’t allowed to get off the boat. The Chinese flag was blowing in the wind. In a distant mountain was a sign in 20-foot characters. ―Build the Three Gorges Dam, Exploit the Yangtze River,‖ It said. The Monster of Lake Tianchi The ―Monster of Lake Tianchi‖ in the Changbai Mountains in Jilin province, northeast China , is back in the news after several recent sightings. The director of a local tourist office, ,Meng Fanying, said the monster, which seemed to be black in colour, was ten metres from the edge of the lake during the most recent sighting. ―Tt jumped out of the water like a seal—about 200 people on Changbai’s western peak saw it,‖ he said, Although no one really got a clear look at the mysterious creature, Xue Junlin, a local photographer, claimed that its head looked like a horse. In another recent sighting, a group of soldiers claim they saw an animal moving on the surface of the water. The soldiers, who were walking along the side of the lake, watched the creature swimming for about two minutes. ―It was greenish—black and had a round head with 10—centimetre horns‖, one of the soldiers said. A third report came from Li Xiaohe, who was visiting the lake with his family. He claims to have seen a round black creature moving quickly through the water. After three or four hundred meters it dived into the water. Ten minutes later the monster appeared again and repeated the action. Mr Li Xiaohe said that he and his family were able to see the monster clearly because the weather was fine and the lake was calm. There have been reports of monsters in Lake Tianchi since the beginning of the last century, although no one has seen one close up. Some photos have been taken but they are not clear because it was too far away. Many people think the monster may be a distant cousin of the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. They also think that there might be similar creatures in other lakes around the world. Scientists, however, are skeptical. They say that the low-temperature lake is unlikely to be able to support such large living creatures. Lake Tianchi is the highest volcanic lake in the world. It is 2189 metres high and covers an area of about ten square kilometres. In places it is more than 370 metres deep.