《The Man Who Solved The Market》中文版翻译连载57

科学家怪癖多:有人吃薯片也有规矩 相信自己能永生

《The Man Who Solved The Market》中文版翻译连载57
解决市场的人

The Man Who Solved The Market (57)

The IBM team was as unique in personality as in method, especially Mercer. Tall and fit, Mercer jumped rope to stay in shape. As a younger man, he had displayed a passing resemblance to the actor Ryan Reynolds, but that was about all Mercer had in common with Hollywood flash. He developed a laconic, efficient style of interaction, wasting few words and avoiding speaking unless he deemed it necessary, a quirk some fellows cientists appreciated. Mercer sometimes let out an “I cracked it!” afte rsolving a difficult computation, but he generally was content humming or whistling to himself all day along, usually classical music. Mercer didn’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol; he mostly stuck with Coca-Cola. On the rare occasions that he became frustrated, Mercer would yell out “bull-twadle,” which colleagues understood to be an amalgam of “bullshit” and “twaddle,” or idle talk.

IBM团队的个性和工作方法都是独一无二的,尤其是默瑟。他高大且身材好,经常跳绳来保持体形。年轻时,他和演员瑞安·雷诺兹有过短暂的相似之处,但这也是默瑟和好莱坞闪电侠的全部共同点了。他发明了一种简明有效的互动风格——少说废话,除非认为必要否则就不说话,这种怪癖受到了同行科学家的赞赏。有时候,默瑟会在解决一个计算难题后大喊一声“我解开了!”,但他整天哼唱或是吹口哨,通常是古典音乐。默瑟不喝咖啡、茶、酒;他大部分时间喝可口可乐。偶尔几次觉得沮丧的时候,默瑟会大叫”bull-twadle”,同事们认为这是“胡扯”和“胡言乱语”的结合体。

Mercer had such long arms that his wife sewed him dress shirts with extended sleeves, as well as of colors and patterns. At a Halloween party one year, Jelinek, who had a mean streak, came dressed as Mercer, wearing a shirt with impossibly long sleeves. Mercer laughed along with his colleagues.

默瑟胳膊很长,他妻子给他做正装衬衫需要延长袖子,包括各种颜色和图案。一年的万圣节聚会上,一向刻薄的贾里尼克扮成默瑟,穿了一件超长袖子的衬衫。默瑟和同事们一起笑了起来。

Mercer got to the office at six o’clock in the morning and met Brown and other colleagues for lunch at 11:15 a.m. Mercer consumed the same thing almost every day: a peanut-butter-and-jelly or tuna sandwich packed in a reusable Tupperware container or a used, folded brownpaper bag, which fellow researchers interpreted as a sign of frugality. After his sandwich, Mercer would open a bag of potato chips, lay them out on a table in order of size, eat the broken ones first, and then the rest, smallest to largest.

默瑟早晨六点到办公室,和布朗及其他同事一起在11:15吃午饭。默瑟几乎每天都吃同样的东西:一份花生酱果冻或金枪鱼三明治,装在可重复使用的特百惠盒子里,或者是用过的棕色纸袋里,同事研究员们认为这是节俭的表现。吃完三明治,默瑟会打开一袋薯片,按照大小把他们排在桌子上,先吃破损的那些,然后从最小的吃到最大的。

On Friday afternoon, the team met for soda, tea, cookies, and coffee cake. As they chatted, the researchers sometimes complained about IBM’s substandard pay. Other times, Mercer shared sections from an etymological dictionary he found especially amusing. Once in a while, he’d issue statements that seemed aimed at getting a rise out of his lunch-mates, such as time he declared that he thought he would live forever.

星期五下午,团队会聚在一起喝苏打汽水、茶、饼干和咖啡蛋糕。研究员们闲聊的时候,有时候会抱怨IBM低于标准的工资。其他时候,默瑟会分享他觉得有趣的词源学辞典中的章节。偶尔,他会发表一些似乎为了激怒伙伴们的言论,比如有一次他宣称自己能永生。

Brown was more animated, approachable, and energetic, with thick, curly brown hair and an infectious charm. Unlike Mercer, Brown forged friendships within the group, several members of which appreciated his sneaky of humor.

布朗更有生气,平易近人,活力四射,有一头厚厚的卷曲的棕色头发,有一种富有感染力的魅力。和默瑟不同,布朗在组里建立起了友谊,几个成员很欣赏他暗戳戳的幽默感。

As the group struggled to make progress in natural-languages processing, though, Brown showed impatience, directing special ire at an intern named Phil Resnik. A graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania who had earned a Bachelor of arts in computer science at Harvard University and would later become a respected academic, Resnik hoped to combine mathematical tactics with linguistic principles. Brown had little patience for Resnik’s approach, mocking his younger colleagues and jumping on his mistakes.

然而在团队努力在自然语言处理方面取得了进展的时候,布朗失去了耐心,开始指责一位名叫菲尔·雷斯尼克的实习生表达了特别的不满。雷斯尼克是一名宾大的研究生,他在哈佛大学取得了计算机科学的文学学士学位,后来成为一名受人尊敬的学者,他希望能把数学策略和语言原则结合起来。布朗对雷斯尼克的办法非常不耐烦,嘲笑他年轻的同事,并对其错误大加指责。

One day, as a dozen IBM staffers watched Resnik work through an issue on an office white board, Brown ran up to him, grabbed the marker out of Resnik’s hand, and sneered, “This is kindergarten computer science!”

一天,十几名IBM的员工正在观看雷斯尼克在办公室白板上演示一个问题,布朗跑到雷斯尼克面前,从他手中抢过马克笔,冷笑道:“这是幼儿园的计算机科学!”

Resnik sat back down, embarrassed.

雷斯尼克坐回了作为,非常难堪。

Another time, Brown called Resnik “worthless” and “a complete idiot”.

另一次,布朗称雷斯尼克“毫无价值”,是个“彻头彻尾的白痴”。

Brown developed insulting nicknames for many of his junior colleagues, members of the group recall. He called Meredith Goldsmith, the only woman in the group, “Merry Death,” for example, or referred to her as “Jennifer,” the name of a previous member of the group. Most frequently, Brown called Goldsmith “little Miss Meredith,” a name the recent Yale University graduate viewed as particularly belittling.

小组成员回忆说,布朗给组里不少低级别同事起了侮辱性的绰号。比如,他把小组里唯一的女性梅瑞狄斯(Meredith)·戈德史密斯称作“快乐死亡(Merry Death)”,或者故意用前组员的名字“詹妮弗”叫她。布朗最经常把戈德史密斯叫成“小梅瑞狄斯小姐”,这位耶鲁的毕业生认为这个名字尤其带有贬义。

Mercer and Brown helped mentor Goldsmith, which she appreciated. But Mercer also shared his opinion with her that women belonged at home, taking care of children, not in the working world.

默瑟和布朗都负责指导戈德史密斯,这让她很感激。但是默瑟也会跟她说他认为女性就应该回归家庭,照顾孩子,而不是在职场工作。

Brown, whose wife had been appointed head of public health for New York City, viewed himself a progressive. He valued Goldsmith’s contributions and told her she was like a daughter to him. Yet, that didn’t stop Brown from allowing inappropriate jokes to flow amid the group’s locker-room environment.

布朗的妻子被任命为纽约市公共卫生部门的负责人,这让布朗觉得自己是个进步主义者。他很看中戈德史密斯的贡献,告诉她,她就像他的女儿一样。然而,这并没有阻止布朗在小组的更衣室里随意开一些不恰当的玩笑。

“They told dirty jokes all the time; it was a sport,” she recalls.

戈德史密斯回忆说,“他们一直在开下流的玩笑;像是一项运动”。

Goldsmith eventually quit, partly due to the uncomfortable environment in the group.

戈德史密斯最终辞了职,部分是因为小组的环境让她感到不舒服。

“In a sense they were both nice and sexist to me,” Goldsmith says. “I definitely felt objectified and not taken seriously.”

“某种意义上,他们对我既友好又带有性别歧视,”戈德史密斯说道。“我清楚地感到被物化了,没有被认真对待。”

Brown didn’t mean anything personal by the insults, or at least that’s what members of the group told themselves. And he wasn’t the only one who enjoyed chewing out or mocking others. A fierce and ruthless culture existed within the group, inspired by Jelinek’s ornery personality. Researchers would posit ideas and colleagues would do everything they could to eviscerate them, throwing personal jabs along the way. They’d fight it out until reaching a consensus on the merits of the suggestion. Twin brothers in the group, Stephen and Vincent Della Pietra, each of whom had undergraduate degrees in physics from Princeton and doctorates in physics from Harvard, leveled some of the most vicious assaults, racing to a whiteboard to prove how foolish each other’s arguments had been. It was no-holds-barred intellectual combat. Outside of a research lab, such behavior might be considered rude and offensive, but many of Jelinek’s staffers usually didn’t take it personally.

布朗觉得并没有人身攻击的意思,或者至少小组成员们是这样对他们自己说的。而且他也不是唯一一个喜欢责骂或嘲笑别人的人。受到贾里尼克暴躁性格的影响,小组内部存在着一种残酷无情的文化。研究员们有时候会提出一些想法,而其他同事则会竭尽所能的挑毛病,并在这个过程中进行人身攻击。他们会争论到底,直到他们对建议的优点达成一致。组里有一对双胞胎,斯蒂芬和文森特·德拉·皮耶特拉兄弟,分别拥有普林斯顿大学的物理本科学位和哈佛大学的物理学博士学位,他们会挑起最狠的攻击,跑到白板前去证明彼此的争论是多么愚蠢。这是一场没有任何限制的智力的较量。在研究室之外,这种行为可能会被认为粗鲁又讨厌,但贾里尼克的一些员工通常觉得这是对事不对人。

“We ripped each other to shreds,” recalls David Magerman, an internon the IBM speech team. “And then we played tennis together.”

“我们把对方撕成碎片,”大卫·麦格曼回忆道,他是该小组的实习生。“然后我们会一起打网球。”

(免责声明:仅供个人阅读学习及翻译参考。如有不准之处,请留言帮助改进)

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