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左和右

Left vs Right

2009年,萨摩亚国家禁止出售酒精饮料三天
In 2009, the country of Samoa prohibited the sale of alcohol —- for three days —- to
为了在该岛国将右侧行车改为左侧行车的时期内,保护人们的安全。
keep people safe while the island nation switched from driving on the right side of the road
作此改变,以使萨摩亚人能从附近
to driving on the left. The switch was so Samoans could get cheap “hand-me-down” cars
靠左行车国家新西兰和澳大利亚购买到便宜的二手车。但萨摩亚人不是那么高兴,
from nearby left-side driving New Zealand and Australia. But Samoans weren’t too pleased,
因为他们拥有的大多数汽车都是为右侧行驶而设计的。
since most of the cars they owned were designed to drive on the right. In fact, 2 out of 3
实际上,三分之二的地球人靠右行驶。
earthlings drive on the right.
但是为什么呢?并没有清晰而明显的理由来选择一侧而非另一侧。
But why? … There aren’t clear and obvious reasons to choose one side over the other,
因此,行驶习惯的起源,对于数学上的博弈论
so the origin of driving conventions is a perfect opportunity for the mathematics of
和对称性破缺而言,是一个完美的机会。或者,我们可以看看历史上的证据。
game theory and symmetry breaking. Or we can just look at historical evidence.
今天的规则演变于古道上“驾驶”牲畜和马车的规则。
Today’s rules evolved from “driving” livestock and carts on the earliest roads. Archaeologists
考古学家以观察到英格兰一处古罗马采石场左侧车道具有更深凹槽的现象来作为左侧行驶的证据,
view deeper grooves on the left lane leaving an ancient Roman quarry in England as evidence
因为出采矿场的运货推车装载更重。
for left-side traffic, since departing wagons would’ve had heavier loads. And it’s possible
而且,靠左行驶的习惯是更合理的,惯用右手的士兵和骑士能够
that this left side convention was in place so right-handed soldiers and knights could
更快地抽出他们的武器来防备经过的敌人。
draw their weapons more quickly against passing enemies.
不管什么理由,靠左行驶的规则,最终于1935年在英格兰被定入法律。
Whatever the reason, keeping to the left was eventually made into law in England in 1835.
时至今日,靠左测行驶人群中的大多数居住在像印度,
And today, most people who drive on the left side live in countries, like India, South
南非和澳大利亚这样的国家,这些国家都曾是英国的殖民地。
Africa, and Australia, which were once British colonies.
但那解释不通为什么世界其他地方靠右行驶。
But that doesn’t explain why the rest of the world drives on the right.
有些人声称那是法国革命后,那儿的驾驶员转成了靠右行驶,
Some claim that following the French Revolution, drivers there switched to the right to reject
以抵制被推倒贵族的惯例,但其他人表示法国人从来都是右侧行驶。
the practices of their overthrown aristocracy, but others suggest the French drove on the
不管怎样,右侧行驶的规则确实有推广到欧洲大多数国家,
right all along. Regardless, driving on the right side of the road did spread across much
这在于拿破仑(之后希特勒)强加他们国家的行驶规则到被征服的
of Europe when Napoleon (and later Hitler) imposed their national driving rules on conquered
领土之后。
territory.
其他的国家自愿改为右行,以向它们邻国看齐,
And other countries voluntarily switched to the right to align with their neighbors, like
就像瑞典1967年那样。或是为了远离他们的殖民史,就像七十年代的尼日利亚
Sweden in 1967, or to veer away from their colonial pasts, like Nigeria and Ghana in
和加纳那样。
the 1970s.
那在美国呢?好吧,美国拥有自己的靠右行车习惯,在某种程度上,是因为早期的马车和左驭货车。
And in the US? Well, America owes its right-sided habit, in part, to the carts and postilion
不论是在地上还是马背上
wagons of its early days. Driving either from the ground or from horseback, right-handed
右撇子喜欢在马的左边行走或骑行
men preferred to walk or ride on the left side of the horses so they could control the
这样他们就可以用右手驾驭牲畜。因此,他们会靠右行车
animals with their right hand. As a result, they drove their wagons to the right in order
使得座位靠近路中央,以便于看清和避开迎面而来的车辆
to be seated near the center of the road, to see and steer clear of oncoming traffic.
这就是根本上的交通法规的要义,即保全我们于高速两吨金属重的射弹一般的汽车。
And that’s ultimately the point of driving laws: to keep us safe from the high-speed,two-ton metal projectiles we call cars.

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