Discover? ― describe

“世界で最小の巻貝”(World's tiniest snail)というタイトルが目に留まりました。


Needles in haystacks? Child’s play. For a real challenge, try finding a snail in a needle stack.

After combing through soil samples from Southern China’s Guangxi Province, a team of scientists has described seven new terrestrial “microsnail” species. One, dubbed Angustopila dominikae, could be the smallest in the world – at a mere 0.86 mm tall, it could fit in the eye of a needle 10 times over. Researchers described their findings Tuesday in the journal ZooKeys.
(Joseph Dessault. Scientists discover tiniest-ever land snail. The Christian Science Monitor. September 29, 2015.)



a team of scientists has described seven new terrestrial “microsnail” species









直接対決 ― square off




UNITED NATIONS — After circling each other for the past year, President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia squared off on Monday at the United Nations in dueling speeches that presented starkly different views on the Syrian crisis and how to bring stability to the Middle East.

President Obama made a forceful defense of diplomacy and the system of rules represented by the international body, but in a veiled reference to Mr. Putin, he warned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.”

Mr. Putin talked about mounting a broad effort to support Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, as the best bulwark against the spread of the Islamic State and other radical groups, even though the White House has said Mr. Assad has to leave power if there is to be a political solution in Syria.
(Obama and Putin Clash at U.N. on Mideast Crisis. New York Times. September 28, 2015.)

"square off"という表現を取り上げます。"square"という単語は動詞としてはあまりなじみがないのではないでしょうか。

"square off"は、身構える、けんかをする態勢を取る、という意味です。ボクシングの用語のようですが、ボクシングの試合は一対一ですから、“直接対決”と訳してもいいかもしれません。


After circling each other for the past year,

とある部分です。つまり、オバマ氏とプーチン氏がお互い“直接対決”を避けてきた(circling each other)ところが、国連総会を舞台に中東・シリア問題で対決することになった、ということなのですが、"circle"に続いて、"square (off)"とは言葉の使い方にセンスを感じますね。



caught on a hot mic

"hot mic"という表現をご存知でしょうか?私は初めて見たのですが、手元の辞書にも載っておらず意味をつかみあぐねたのですが、フレーズとしては、

be caught on a hot mic



German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard confronting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over incendiary posts on the social network, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, amid complaints from her government about anti-immigrant posts in the midst of Europe's refugee crisis.

On the sidelines of a United Nations luncheon on Saturday, Merkel was caught on a hot mic pressing Zuckerberg about social media posts about the wave of Syrian refugees entering Germany, the publication reported.

The Facebook CEO was overheard responding that "we need to do some work" on curtailing anti-immigrant posts about the refugee crisis. "Are you working on this?" Merkel asked in English, to which Zuckerberg replied in the affirmative before the transmission was disrupted.
(Javier E. David. Angela Merkel caught on hot mic griping to Facebook CEO over anti-immigrant posts. CNBC. September 28, 2015.)



さて、今日取り上げる表現である、"hot mic"というのは言うなれば、「スイッチオンになっているマイク」のことです。

Oxford Dictionaryのオンライン版では下記の定義が載っています。

A microphone that is turned on, in particular one that amplifies or broadcasts a spoken remark that was intended to be private

さて、冒頭にも書きましたように、この表現は"be caught on"という部分が解釈の上でも重要になってきます。公人の発言というのは内容によほど注意をしないとそれがマスコミに取り上げられ、思いもよらない解釈や反応により本人が窮地に立たされることにもなりかねないものです。

"hot mic"についても、本来プライベートで発言したつもりがうっかり公的発言として取り上げられてしまった、という含意があります。


貧乏ゆすりが見直される!? ― fidget




Sitting has been called the new smoking, but is fidgeting the new standing?

New research suggests that sedentary people who consider themselves big fidgeters have better health outcomes than their counterparts who sit still.

For office workers fearing an early death from prolonged sitting, which has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, it might be heartening to know that the restless foot tapping and leg shaking that annoy your cubicle mates could be adding years to your life.
(Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz. Forget standing, fidgeting could prolong your life. Chicago Tribune. September 24, 2015.)




restless foot tapping
leg shaking



ダライ・ラマ14世の仰天発言!? ― attractive


何でも、BBC Newsのインタビューで、自身の後継者として女性も当然ありうるが、その女性は見目良くなければならない、と発言したそうです。(訳は筆者)

The Tibetan spiritual leader, a self-declared feminist, stunned a BBC interviewer by saying that were a woman to eventually take over his position, she would be unsuitable if she was ugly.

"That female must be attractive, otherwise it is not much use," he said.

The ageing Buddhist monk made his remarks during a nine-day visit to London, where he is promoting the concepts of compassionate and considerate behaviour. However, his views on the qualifications for whoever eventually takes over his role may damage his standing among female followers.
(Dalai Lama: any woman successor 'must be pretty.' Independent. September 24, 2015.)

BBC Newsのレポーター(女性)は、この発言を受けて、まさか冗談ですよね?と返したそうですが、ダライ・ラマはそれを否定したそうです。





having a pleasing appearance; especially : having a pleasing appearance that causes romantic or sexual feelings in someone








Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn faces a reckoning with his board on Wednesday, summoned to explain the falsification of U.S. emissions tests in the biggest scandal in the 78-year history of the world's largest carmaker.

A source close to the company said a five-member executive committee was grilling Winterkorn at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, and was likely to make a recommendation on his future ahead of a full board meeting on Friday.

Volkswagen is under huge pressure to act, with its shares down more than a third in value since the crisis broke. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for it to move "as quickly as possible" to restore confidence in a company held up for generations as a paragon of German engineering excellence.
(Andreas Cremer. Volkswagen chief faces grilling by board over diesel scandal. Reuters. September 23, 2015.)









神業 ― stop on a dime



Protecting Pope Francis Means Being Able to Stop on a Dime

WASHINGTON — As one of the lead Secret Service agents for President Obama on Inauguration Day in 2009, Joseph P. Clancy experienced the difficulty of protecting someone surrounded by throngs of supporters who want to get close to a leader they adore.

But those crowds seemed tame compared with what Mr. Clancy, now the agency’s director, says he saw this year trailing Pope Francis and his security detail in Vatican City as they waded into an ecstatic crowd at St. Peter’s Square.

Mr. Clancy and other senior Secret Service officials had traveled there to learn how the pope interacts with audiences and to meet with Vatican security officials about provisions for guaranteeing the pope’s safety during his trip to the United States — a pilgrimage that poses one of the biggest security challenges of his two-and-a-half-year papacy.
(Protecting Pope Francis Means Being Able to Stop on a Dime. The New York Times. September 22, 2015.)


"stop on a dime"というフレーズはあまり馴染みがありませんが、以前に取り上げた、"turn on a dime"に似ています。




"turn on a dime"でも取り上げたところですが、"dime"はアメリカの貨幣で最小単位である10セント硬貨のことです。サイズも"最小"であり、"stop on a dime"とは言わば、10セント硬貨のような最小のスペースを把握して停止することができる、つまり極小の差異をコントロールできるという意味だと思われます。



Mercury retrograde



こうした傾向は日本人には限らないのでしょう、海外でも"Mercury retrograde"というのが話題になっているらしいことを知りました。

If you spilled a whiskey all over your computer or signed a lease for a bedbug-filled apartment, relax! It’s probably not your fault; it’s probably Mercury retrograde.

The astrological phenomenon, which started Thursday and goes until Oct. 9, is the hottest scapegoat in town, the juice cleanse of the cosmos, if you will.

According to astrological hucksters (and the flocks who follow them), the three periods each year when Mercury appears to be moving backward are total pandemonium, a time when the stars are liable to wreak havoc on technical devices, morning commutes and official documents.
(Why smart people actually believe Mercury retrograde ruins lives. New York Post. September 19, 2015.)

"Mercury retrograde"というのは日本でも“水星逆行”と訳されているようです。色々なトラブルが発生する時期ということのようですが、今年は9月17日から10月9日までの期間がそれにあたるそうで、トラブルは“水星逆行”に原因があるということなのです。


The origin of observing cosmic phenomena goes back thousands of years, when people thought the cosmos revolved around the Earth, long before Google and Neil deGrasse Tyson. But Mercury never actually “retrogrades.”

It’s just an illusion caused by the rotation of the Earth, like passing a local train that appears to be going backwards because you’re on an express train, moving so quickly past it.


秋のシルバーウィーク連休の真っ只中ですが、色々トラブルに見舞われている方は"Mercury retrograde"が影響しているのかも!?


night owl


Drinking a cup of coffee at night may mess up your sleep in more ways than one: Caffeine not only keeps you awake but also affects your body's internal clock, which tells you when it's time to sleep and wake up, a new study suggests.

The finding shows that caffeine "affects our physiology in a way that we hadn't really considered in the past," said Kenneth P. Wright Jr., a co-author of the study and director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado.

The research may have implications for night owls who want to get up earlier, and for people who experience jet lag after traveling between time zones, the researchers said.
(Rachael Rettner. What If Night Owls Are Just People Who Drink Coffee At Night? Huffington Post. September 17, 2015.)



night owl


時を経て、"night owl"は動物としてのフクロウというよりも、宵っ張りの人を指す表現としてもっぱら使われるようになったそうですが、その歴史は古く、16世紀くらいから見られるもののようです。

シェークスピアも作品(ルークリース凌辱(The Rape of Lucrece))の中で使いました。


blue language


Aggrieved drivers have the Constitutional right to scrawl F-bombs and other words of rage when they submit their traffic ticket payment slips, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision stems from the arrest of a frustrated Connecticut motorist, who wrote “F–k your s–tty town b–ches” on a form as he sent the upstate town of Liberty $175 for a speeding fine in 2012.

Federal judge Cathy Seibel said the town was wrong to jail Willian Barboza, then 22, because he was legally permitted to spew all the blue language he wanted, as long as he wasn’t threatening anyone.
(Writing F-bomb on your speeding ticket is free speech, judge rules. New York Post. September 15, 2015.)



blue language






wipe the floor

"wipe the floor"という成句をご存知でしょうか?私は初めて見ました。


Bernie is wiping the floor with Hillary in latest polls

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders is generating enthusiasm — and Hillary Rodham Clinton anything but, according to new polls released Sunday.

Sanders is leading Clinton by 10 points in Iowa and 22 points in New Hampshire, according to the CBS/YouGov surveys.

The polls found the Vermont independent is thumping Clinton, 43 percent to 33 percent, among Iowa Democrats and 52 to 30 percent in New
Hampshire, but Clinton leads in South Carolina 46 to 23.

But the biggest difference, the pollsters found, is enthusiasm — Sanders is generating it and Clinton is not.
(Marisa Schultz. Bernie is wiping the floor with Hillary in latest polls. New York Post. September 13, 2015.)

恥ずかしながら、何を言っているのかまったく分かりませんでした。大統領選の話だろうというくらいは想像がつくのですが、"wipe the floor"という成句が分かりません。





それはそれとして、何ゆえに、"wipe the floor"が(相手を)打ち負かす、という意味になったのでしょうか?

この成句ですが、"wipe the floor with"というのが正しいのかもしれませんが、with~以下には打ち負かす相手、つまり打ち負かされる方が出てきます。



つまり、(打ち負かした)相手でもって、"wipe the floor"ということなのです。これはつまり、人をモップか掃除道具に使うに等しいことになり、ずいぶん過激な比喩ではないでしょうか。





A woman has been charged with felony assault with a weapon — her two pit bulls.

Cynthia Oliver allegedly sicced her pets on a man she was arguing with on a Bronx street. The bloody attack Friday ended with the man hospitalized with a severed ear and Oliver, 35, jailed in lieu of $35,000 bail.
(Woman sics pit bulls on defenseless man. New York Post. September 13, 2015.)









An Australian man whose son died after taking a synthetic drug has gone undercover and travelled to China to infiltrate the crime gangs which have been exporting the narcotics.

Rod Bridge presented himself as a potential buyer and met with drug bosses in the city of Hefei to discuss importing supplies into Australia and was offered more than five types of synthetic drugs, including up to 200 kilograms of one drug. The bosses said they could guarantee delivery within seven days.

“We have lots of experience sending packages to Australia,” one seller claimed.

“We know how customs works. Don’t worry, Australia is safe.”

Mr Bridge was accompanied by a Channel Nine television crew and filmed the exchanges using hidden recording devices.
(Jonathan Pearlman. Australian father infiltrates drug gangs in China to find his dead son’s suppliers. The Telegraph. September 14, 2015.)









A Manhattan man filed the second lawsuit against the city over an allegedly faulty Citi Bike fender.

Upper East Side resident Marcos Lara Reinhold was riding one of the bicycles last August on West 17th Street when the front fender buckled and sent him flying over the handlebars.

The 30-year-old bike commuter face-planted onto the concrete, knocking out top and bottom teeth and fracturing his jawbone.
(Rebecca Rosenberg. Man suing city over Citi Bike 'face-plant.' New York Post. March 21, 2015.)


a sudden face-first fall



Your calf muscles simultaneously act as the gas and brake pedal on a run. Need to push up a steep hill? That’s your calves called into action. Need to slow it up during the descent on the other side? Your calves make sure you don’t face plant on the way down.
(Jordan Metzl. How to Take Care of Your Calves. Runner's World. September 10, 2015.)



マクドナルドが放飼いの鶏卵への切り替えを表明 ― the golden arches



Another day, another change at McDonald's. The company announced it would switch to cage-free eggs within the next 10 years.

According to the USDA, cage-free eggs come from birds that can roam freely in an enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water.

In March, the golden arches announced a commitment to using chickens raised without human antibiotics. The company might even drop liquid margarine in favor of real butter, according to reports that surfaced earlier this month.
(Cristina Alesci. McDonald's promises cage-free eggs in 10 Years. CNN. September 9, 2015.)



the golden arches





昨日、Yahoo! Japanのトップページのヘッドラインで見たのですが、ユーザーの欲望に付け込んだ悪質なアプリのことを知りました。


A new app has a dirty little secret — click on its porn icon and get blackmailed.

The Android app has been tricking thousands of phone users into thinking they are about to watch X-rated videos when, in fact, they are having their pictures secretly snapped by hackers.

The malicious app, Adult Player, then locks users’ phones and threatens to post their photos and smut-seeking activity online unless they cough up $500.


Desai says such high-tech blackmail is typically referred to as "ran­som­ware" — a lucrative form of cyber-crime that involves demanding money from people by threatening to wipe a computer device or release private information.

Incidents involving ran­som­ware have increased by 127 percent since 2004, according to experts.
(The 'porn' app secretly blackmailing users. New York Post. September 9, 2015.)





ヘビ毒の解毒剤調達に危機 ― priced out of market


The world is running out of the one most effective treatments for snakebites, according to medical experts, putting thousands of lives at risk.

The warning was issued by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which said 100,000 people died from snake venom every year.


It says fresh supplies of Fav-Afrique, which neutralises the venom from 10 different species of snakes in Sub-Saharan Africa, are desperately needed.

Sanofi Pasteur, its manufacturer, says it has been priced out of the market and the remaining stocks, made last year, are due to expire in June 2016.
(Rob Crilly. Charity warns world is running out of snake anti-venom. The Telegraph. September 8, 2015.)

Sanofi Pasteurという会社が有効な解毒剤を製造販売しているようですが、なぜ今後調達が困難になるかという理由については同社は、

priced out of the market




ランダムハウス英和で"price"を引くと、"price out of the market"が成句として載っており、"market"のエントリへの参照となっています。




以下はCBC Newsのヘッドラインです。

Snakebite anti-venom running out worldwide, MSF says

Sanofi Pasteur announced in 2010 it would stop making drug due to competition from cheaper drugs

A spokesman for Sanofi Pasteur said the pharmaceuticals company was driven out of the market by competitors selling cheaper products, and it announced in 2010 it would stop making anti-venom. Those cheaper drugs are often seen as less effective.
(CBC News. September 7, 2015.)

つまりは、Sanofi Pasteurという会社が製造販売しているよりも安価な解毒剤が市場に出回ったことで、同社がこれまで提供してきた解毒剤を今後継続して製造販売できなくなってしまった、ということのようです。

上記の記事では、"was driven out of the market"とあります。"priced out of the market"という表現は初めて見るものだったので戸惑いましたが、要はそういう意味だということですね。


pull the wool over eyes


ところが、実はそんなにヘルシーでもない、というような指摘も出ているらしく、New York Post紙には全面広告のネガティヴキャンペーンが張られるなど、きな臭い状況が報じられています。

You’ll really pay extra when you eat at Chipotle, according to its critics.

An aggressive ad campaign against the fast-casual giant says you should cut the fat — warning diners that they could wind up obese like its bare-chested pitchman, whose rolls of fat are anything but appetizing.

The campaign launched in a full-page ad in The Post Thursday, but the big question quickly became who is funding the campaign, which includes a website, Chubbychipotle.com.


“Chipotle is all about marketing itself as a feel-good, healthy company. They are pulling the wool over people’s eyes,” said Will Coggin, the CCF’s director of research.
(Lisa Fickenscher. Who’s behind ad campaign against Chipotle? New York Post. September 4, 2015.)

最後の段落で、CCF(Center for Consumer Freedomという、いわゆる消費者の権利擁護を標榜する団体)の代表者のコメントに出てくる、

They are pulling the wool over people’s eyes


これは、"pull the wool over someone's eyes"という成句なのですが、










A big part of what's won Chrome a lot of converts is how much faster it is over the competition. That speed comes at a price, though: The web browser is notoriously a resource hog (especially if you have a dozen or so tabs open at once) and it dramatically cuts into battery life. As Google tells it, the latest version of the browser will help absolve those sins a bit.
(Timothy J. Seppala. Chrome's next update makes it less resource hungry. Engadget. September 3, 2015.)

"a resource hog"という表現に着目します。


この"resource hog"という表現には、(豚のように)リソースを大量消費するシロモノ、というような批判的な意味が見えます。


Although today's dryers use less energy than the ones we grew up with, your clothes dryer is still the second biggest energy hog in your home (your refrigerator is number one).
(Today's Parent, 2012.)

The problem is that many air conditioners in this torrid zone are huge power hogs.
(Christian Science Monitor, 2004.)

Surprisingly, money doesn't matter nearly as much as many think in deciding whether to buy a gas hog or fuel-efficient car, according to new research.
(USA Today, 2008.)

"energy hog"(エネルギー浪費)、"power hog"(電力大量消費)、"gas hog"(ガソリンがぶ飲み)・・・、日常会話でも使えそうですね。


Fifth Amendment



A former aide to Hillary Clinton who helped set up her private email server has told at least three congressional committees that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying against his former boss, Fox News has confirmed.

Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign before helping install the so-called "homebrew" server system in her Chappaqua, N.Y. home, was asked to testify about the server by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
(Former Clinton aide who helped set up server to plead Fifth Amendment to avoid subpoena. Fox News. September 3, 2015.)


invoke the Fifth Amendment


plead the 5th
takes fifth


"Fifth (5th) Amendment"とは、米国憲法(Constitution of the United States of America)の修正第5条、ということなのですが、これはいわゆる黙秘権を認めるものとされています。



自動運転乗用車の障害は実は人間そのものだった ― by the book



MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google, a leader in efforts to create driverless cars, has run into an odd safety conundrum: humans.

Last month, as one of Google’s self-driving cars approached a crosswalk, it did what it was supposed to do when it slowed to allow a pedestrian to cross, prompting its “safety driver” to apply the brakes. The pedestrian was fine, but not so much Google’s car, which was hit from behind by a human-driven sedan.

Google’s fleet of autonomous test cars is programmed to follow the letter of the law. But it can be tough to get around if you are a stickler for the rules. One Google car, in a test in 2009, couldn’t get through a four-way stop because its sensors kept waiting for other (human) drivers to stop completely and let it go. The human drivers kept inching forward, looking for the advantage — paralyzing Google’s robot.

It is not just a Google issue. Researchers in the fledgling field of autonomous vehicles say that one of the biggest challenges facing automated cars is blending them into a world in which humans don’t behave by the book. “The real problem is that the car is too safe,” said Donald Norman, director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego, who studies autonomous vehicles.
(Google’s Driverless Cars Run Into Problem: Cars With Drivers. The New York Times. September 1, 2015.)



また、信号のない交差点では次から次へと交差点に進入してくる非自動運転車両を感知して、自動運転であるGoogle Carは先に進むことすらできなかったということです。


"by the book"という表現は、




Google Carsにはまだそこまでのレベルに達していないのでしょう。

今日は何の日?(8月31日) ― 831




"8-3-1"は、"I Love You."を現しているのだそうです。ご存知でしたか?








SAN MATEO, Calif.—Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said late Monday she and her husband were expecting twin girls in December, though given her good health and the "unique time" in Yahoo's transformation, she expected to take only a limited time away.


Some observers questioned whether she'd be able to commit the time to Yahoo's big ad clients while she recovered from her son's birth and adjusted to life as a new mom. Others questioned her priorities as a parent, given the time demands on a new CEO. Still others pointed out she was unfairly scrutinized for trying to meld a C-suite role with a young family, simply because she was a woman.
(Laura Mandaro. Yahoo's Marissa Mayer is expecting twin girls. USA Today. September 1, 2015.)




CEO: Chief Operating Officer
CFO: Chief Financial Officer
CIO: Chief Information Officer