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  • Let me tell you a story.

    讓我給你說個故事。

  • It's my first year as a new high school science teacher,

    現在是我第一年當高中科學教師,

  • and I'm so eager.

    而我滿懷期待。

  • I'm so excited, I'm pouring myself into my lesson plans.

    我非常興奮,把自己完全投入了課程的安排之中。

  • But I'm slowly coming to this horrifying realization

    然而我慢慢理解到一個恐怖的事實

  • that my students just might not be learning anything.

    是我的學生們可能其實什麼也沒有學到。

  • This happens one day:

    有一天發生了這樣的事:

  • I'd just assigned my class to read this textbook chapter

    我指定了我們班讀課本裡的一章

  • about my favorite subject in all of biology:

    是有關於生物學中我最喜歡的部份:

  • viruses and how they attack.

    病毒以及牠們如何攻擊致病。

  • And so I'm so excited to discuss this with them,

    因此我非常興奮要與他們討論這課題,

  • and I come in and I say, "Can somebody please explain

    而當我切入話題時,「請哪一位可以解釋一下

  • the main ideas and why this is so cool?"

    這裡的主要概念以及這個概念為什麼這麼酷?」

  • There's silence.

    課堂裡一片寂靜。

  • Finally, my favorite student, she looks me straight in the eye,

    終於,我最喜愛的學生,她直直看著我的眼

  • and she says, "The reading sucked."

    然後她說,「閱讀很糟。」

  • And then she clarified. She said, "You know what,

    接下來她澄清道說,「你知道嗎,

  • I don't mean that it sucks. It means that I didn't understand a word of it.

    我不是說這課題很糟。我的意思是我無法明白這裡任何一個字。」

  • It's boring. Um, who cares, and it sucks."

    這很無聊。而且,誰管它,這就是很糟。」

  • These sympathetic smiles

    那些深感同情的微笑

  • spread all throughout the room now,

    現在漫延到整個房間,

  • and I realize that all of my other students are in the same boat,

    而我了解我所有其他學生都在同樣的情況裡,

  • that maybe they took notes or they memorized definitions from the textbook,

    就是雖然他們記筆記或是記下課本裡的定義,

  • but not one of them really understood the main ideas.

    但是他們中沒有一位真正理解主要概念。

  • Not one of them can tell me why this stuff is so cool,

    他們沒有一位能夠告訴我為什麼這東西如此酷,

  • why it's so important.

    為什麼這如此重要。

  • I'm totally clueless.

    我完全沒了頭緒。

  • I have no idea what to do next.

    我完全不知道下一步該怎麼作。

  • So the only thing I can think of is say,

    所以我唯一能想到的就是說,

  • "Listen. Let me tell you a story.

    「聽著。讓我來跟你們說個故事吧。

  • The main characters in the story are bacteria and viruses.

    在這故事裡面的主角是細菌和病毒。

  • These guys are blown up a couple million times.

    這兩位先生被放大了幾百萬倍。

  • The real bacteria and viruses are so small

    真正的細菌和病毒是如此的小

  • we can't see them without a microscope,

    我們不用顯微鏡是無法看見牠們的,

  • and you guys might know bacteria and viruses

    而或許你們會知道細菌和病毒

  • because they both make us sick.

    是因為牠們都使我們生病。

  • But what a lot of people don't know is that viruses

    然而有很多人不知道的是病毒

  • can also make bacteria sick."

    也能夠使細菌生病。」

  • Now, the story that I start telling my kids,

    現在,這是我告訴我孩子們的故事,

  • it starts out like a horror story.

    它的開頭像是個恐怖故事。

  • Once upon a time there's this happy little bacterium.

    很久以前有一隻小小快樂的細菌。

  • Don't get too attached to him.

    別對牠太過著迷囉。

  • Maybe he's floating around in your stomach

    有可能牠在你的胃裡四處漂流

  • or in some spoiled food somewhere,

    或者在哪裡的腐壞食物中,

  • and all of a sudden he starts to not feel so good.

    突然牠開始感到有些不舒服。

  • Maybe he ate something bad for lunch,

    大概是牠午餐吃了些不好的東西,

  • and then things get really horrible,

    然後事情變得非常恐怖,

  • as his skin rips apart, and he sees a virus

    牠的皮膚裂開,看見一隻病毒

  • coming out from his insides.

    從牠的肚子裡跑出來。

  • And then it gets horrible

    接著更恐怖的事發生了

  • when he bursts open and an army of viruses

    牠爆開而且一整隊的病毒

  • floods out from his insides.

    像洪水般從牠體內湧出。

  • If -- Ouch is right! --

    如果--唉唷是正確的形容--

  • If you see this, and you're a bacterium,

    如果你看到這,而你是隻細菌,

  • this is like your worst nightmare.

    這就像是你最糟糕的惡夢。

  • But if you're a virus and you see this,

    反而如果你是病毒而看到這,

  • you cross those little legs of yours and you think,

    你會交叉你那小小的雙腿想著,

  • "We rock."

    「我們超屌。」

  • Because it took a lot of crafty work to infect this bacterium.

    因為要感染這隻細菌需要很多精密的工作。

  • Here's what had to happen.

    以下是會發生的事

  • A virus grabbed onto a bacterium

    一隻病毒抓上了一隻細菌

  • and it slipped its DNA into it.

    然後它把DNA植入那隻細菌

  • The next thing is, that virus DNA made stuff

    接著發生的事,病毒的DNA會生產物質

  • that chopped up the bacteria DNA.

    把細菌的DNA切成一斷一斷

  • And now that we've gotten rid of the bacteria DNA,

    然後現在我們就搞定了細菌的DNA

  • the virus DNA takes control of the cell

    病毒的DNA奪下了這個細胞

  • and it tells it to start making more viruses.

    並告訴這個細胞開始生成更多的病毒

  • Because, you see, DNA is like a blueprint

    因為,你知道,DNA像是藍圖

  • that tells living things what to make.

    告訴活著的東西要建造甚麼。

  • So this is kind of like going into a car factory

    所以這有點像是走進汽車工廠

  • and replacing the blueprints with blueprints for killer robots.

    然後把他們的工程藍圖偷偷換成機器人殺手的藍圖。

  • The workers still come the next day, they do their job,

    第二天工廠工人仍然來,完成他們的工作,

  • but they're following different instructions.

    只是現在他們遵從不同的指示。

  • So replacing the bacteria DNA with virus DNA

    所以把細菌的DNA換成病毒的DNA

  • turns the bacteria into a factory for making viruses --

    就會把細菌轉化成製造病毒的工廠--

  • that is, until it's so filled with viruses that it bursts.

    就是,直到病毒塞爆這隻細菌。

  • But that's not the only way that viruses infect bacteria.

    但是這不是病毒感染細菌的唯一方式。

  • Some are much more crafty.

    有些是更狡猾的。

  • When a secret agent virus infects a bacterium,

    當特務病毒要感染一隻細菌時,

  • they do a little espionage.

    他們會先做點小偵測。

  • Here, this cloaked, secret agent virus is slipping his DNA into the bacterial cell,

    這隻穿著夜行衣的特務病毒正要植入它的DNA到細菌細胞中,

  • but here's the kicker: It doesn't do anything harmful -- not at first.

    但最厲害的是這個:它不會做任何有傷害性的動作——至少一開始不會

  • Instead, it silently slips into the bacteria's own DNA,

    相反地,它悄悄将自己的DNA塞入細菌,

  • and it just stays there like a terrorist sleeper cell,

    然後就待在那像是一個小歇中的恐怖份子,

  • waiting for instructions.

    等待著進一步指示。

  • And what's interesting about this is now whenever this bacteria has babies,

    有趣的是,現在只要這隻細菌有了小孩,

  • the babies also have the virus DNA in them.

    它的小孩們也會帶有病毒的DNA。

  • So now we have a whole extended bacteria family,

    所以現在有了一整個家族的細菌,

  • filled with virus sleeper cells.

    都感染上了這沉睡中的病毒。

  • They're just happily living together until a signal happens

    他們一同快樂地住在一起直到信號發生

  • and -- BAM! -- all of the DNA pops out.

    然後--碰!--所有病毒的DNA竄出

  • It takes control of these cells, turns them into virus-making factories,

    奪下了這些細胞,把它們變成病毒工廠,

  • and they all burst,

    然後他們全都爆開來,

  • a huge, extended bacteria family,

    一整個大細菌家族,

  • all dying with viruses spilling out of their guts,

    全部死於從肝膽竄出的細菌,

  • the viruses taking over the bacterium.

    然後病毒大舉掌控了細菌。

  • So now you understand how viruses can attack cells.

    現在你就知道病毒如何攻擊細胞。

  • There are two ways: On the left is what we call the lytic way,

    有兩種方式:左邊的我們叫做裂解性,

  • where the viruses go right in and take over the cells.

    也就是病毒直接攻擊然後奪下細胞。

  • On the [right] is the lysogenic way

    右邊是溶原性

  • that uses secret agent viruses.

    派出的是秘密特務病毒。

  • So this stuff is not that hard, right?

    所以這些東西並不那麼難,對吧?

  • And now all of you understand it.

    現在你們全部都了解了。

  • But if you've graduated from high school,

    然而只要你們讀過高中,

  • I can almost guarantee you've seen this information before.

    我幾乎可以保證你曾看過這樣的資訊。

  • But I bet it was presented in a way

    但是我懷疑會是以這樣的形式出現

  • that it didn't exactly stick in your mind.

    使它不會深深印在你的腦海。

  • So when my students were first learning this,

    这就是我的學生第一次學這個的時候,

  • why did they hate it so much?

    為什麼他們如此恨這課題?

  • Well, there were a couple of reasons.

    嗯,這裡有幾點原因。

  • First of all, I can guarantee you that their textbooks

    第一點,我可以保證你他們的教科書

  • didn't have secret agent viruses, and they didn't have horror stories.

    沒有秘密特務病毒,也沒有恐怖故事。

  • You know, in the communication of science

    你們知道嗎,在科學的溝通裡面

  • there is this obsession with seriousness.

    有一種對嚴肅擺脫不了的著迷。

  • It kills me. I'm not kidding.

    這著迷使我受不了。我不是開玩笑。

  • I used to work for an educational publisher,

    我曾經為一個教育出版機構工作,

  • and as a writer, I was always told never to use stories

    而身為一個作家,我總是被告知千萬不要用故事

  • or fun, engaging language,

    或者是有趣,迷人的文字,

  • because then my work might not be viewed

    因為這樣會使我的作品不會被認為

  • as "serious" and "scientific."

    是「嚴肅」和「科學」的。

  • Right? I mean, because God forbid somebody have fun

    對吧?我是說,因為神禁止人們有樂趣

  • when they're learning science.

    當他們在學習科學知識。

  • So we have this field of science that's all about slime,

    就這樣我們有科學領域全有關於軟泥,

  • and color changes. Check this out.

    還有變色反应。看看這個。

  • And then we have, of course, as any good scientist has to have,

    我們還有,當然,像任何好的科學家都該有的

  • explosions!

    爆炸!

  • But if a textbook seems too much fun,

    然而如果一本教科書看來太好玩,

  • it's somehow unscientific.

    它就會被評為不科學的。

  • Now another problem was that

    現在另一個問題是

  • the language in their textbook was truly incomprehensible.

    在學生教科書裡的文字真的是讓人無法理解的。

  • If we want to summarize that story that I told you earlier,

    如果我們要總結前面我告訴你們的那個故事,

  • we could start by saying something like,

    我們可以從這樣的話起頭,

  • "These viruses make copies of themselves

    「這些病毒將自己複製

  • by slipping their DNA into a bacterium."

    是靠著把自己的DNA放進細菌裡面。」

  • The way this showed up in the textbook, it looked like this:

    而這信息在課本裡出現,是像這樣

  • "Bacteriophage replication is initiated

    「病毒感染細菌的複製是起始於

  • through the introduction of viral nucleic acid

    引介病毒的核酸

  • into a bacterium."

    進入一個細菌。」

  • That's great, perfect for 13-year-olds.

    那很好,超適合十三歲的人。

  • But here's the thing. There are plenty of people

    但是現在這種情況。有無數的人

  • in science education who would look at this and say there's no way

    在科學教育界會看著我們的總結說不可能

  • that we could ever give that to students,

    把這樣的東西教給學生,

  • because it contains some language that isn't completely accurate.

    因為這裡面有些不完全精確的用詞。

  • For example, I told you that viruses have DNA.

    比如,我告訴你病毒有DNA。

  • Well, a very tiny fraction of them don't.

    事實上,有一小部份的病毒沒有。

  • They have something called RNA instead.

    牠們有叫做RNA的作取代。

  • So a professional science writer would circle that

    所以一個專業的科學文字工作者會圈起它

  • and say, "That has to go.

    然後說,「這必須改掉。」

  • We have to change it to something much more technical."

    我們必須要把它改成更技術性的詞。」

  • And after a team of professional science editors

    就這樣在一整組專業的科學編輯

  • went over this really simple explanation,

    看過這非常簡單的解釋以後,

  • they'd find fault with almost every word I've used,

    他們會從我所用的每一個詞挑出錯誤,

  • and they'd have to change anything that wasn't serious enough,

    而且他們必須改正任何不夠嚴肅的詞語,

  • and they'd have to change everything

    而他們必須改動所有

  • that wasn't 100 percent perfect.

    不是百分之百完美的用詞。

  • Then it would be accurate,

    然後文章會變得十分精確,

  • but it would be completely impossible to understand.

    但是會變得完全無法理解。

  • This is horrifying.

    這真是恐怖。

  • You know, I keep talking about this idea

    你知道,我不斷提到這概念

  • of telling a story,

    也就是說故事,

  • and it's like science communication has taken on this idea

    而看起來科學的交流離不開這個概念

  • of what I call the tyranny of precision,

    就是我稱為對精確要求的暴政,

  • where you can't just tell a story.

    你不能只說個故事。

  • It's like science has become that horrible storyteller

    好像科學已經成為一個糟糕的說故事者

  • that we all know, who gives us all the details nobody cares about,

    你我都很熟習這種人,給我們一大堆無用細節的人,

  • where you're like, "Oh, I met my friend for lunch the other day,

    就像,「喔,我某天跟我的朋友一起吃午餐,