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Will everything be digital.

What happens in a world in which atoms are replaced by bits? In which everything that was wired becomes wireless, and vice versa?

The important thing to remember is that bits are bits. In the digital world there are no movies or magazines or pieces of music. There are just 1s and 0s, for which we did not even have a name until 1946 when Princeton sta­tistician John Tukey concatenated the words bina­ry and digit into the term bit.

For the next 25 years, bits were of interest only to a few specialized members of the scientific community. But of late, bits have become important to everybody, because we can represent anything as bits—anything. In the not-too-distant future, we'll be able to describe the human body with bits and try out new drugs on these models rather than on living beings.

Books and magazines and newspapers are not the meaningful element. Words are one of the most powerful and efficient forms of human communication. A few words - i.e., a few bits—can create religions, can make war or peace. Those words when presented to the eye are pre­sented as text. In the past we could render text only by print­ing it on paper, carving it in stone, writing it with smoke.

Today we can do something new. We can reduce the text to bits, which we cannot see or hear, take this new representation and store it, manipulate it or transmit it, and then later render it on a computer display or a piece of paper. The same is true of music, movies, still pho­tographs. While this is widely recognized, few people have a sense of the quantity of bits needed to achieve one rep­resentation vs. another. For example, when you read a book, you consume about 3 mil­lion bits an hour. When you look at television, you consume 3 mil­lion a second. UNDERSTANDING BANDWIDTH. Bandwidth is the ability to move bits. Broadband is the ability to move a lot of bits per second. Though everybody seems to do it, likening bandwidth to the diameter of a pipe is misleading, because our consumption of bits is not analogous to drinking from a gar­den or fire hose. We don't necessarily consume bits in a continuous fashion (like water), and even if we did, that does not perforce mean our computers have to receive them that way.

One of the most profound changes afforded by the digital world is the ability to be asynchronous, in the smallest and largest time scales. In the smallest sense, this allows us to use efficiently our channels of communications; for example, interleaving peo­ple's conversations—packetizing them—so that many people share the same channel without being aware that they are. In the larger sense, we can expand, contract and shift our personal time in new ways, leaving and receiving messages at mutual convenience. On a yet larger scale, social behavior will also become more asyn­chronous, with all of us moving in much less lockstep rhythm and with more personal cadence than we do today.

But in this new world, more bandwidth is not necessarily good, or even what we want. And, when we do want it, it is not nec­essarily in order to sit in front of a device and consume a few bil­lion bits an hour. Moreover, the dominant user of the Net in the future will not be people at all. It will be machines talking to one another in ways we cannot imagine. For them, trickle charging information or blasting at a billion bits a second are options not directly meaning­ful to people. Increasingly, these bits will arrive wirelessly.

BEING WIRELESS. Plugs are the past. The need to be tethered is disappearing for two reasons: better battery technologies (and less power-hungry devices) and improved use of radio frequencies, so-called RFs. Eventually, everything electric will talk with everything else elec­tric, using very fine-grained, wireless communications. Ultimate­ly, all long-distance traffic will be fiber and all short-distance traf­fic will be RF.

Today you may have one or two dozen wireless devices (radio, cell phone, TV, pager, car key). Tomorrow, you will probably have thousands of them.

One place you’ll find these micro wireless devices will be on packaging, when RF identification tags replace the Universal Product Code—those little vertical bars read by supermarket checkout scanners. With emerging print technologies, it will be possible to print active tags directly onto containers—tiny com­puters that broadcast their ID, price and other characteristics (such as the expiration date). A refrigerator or a medicine cabi­net can thus know what is inside it. A container could be aware of the absence or presence of each pill. In the future, all these inanimate objects will be able to talk to one another and pass messages among themselves.

Vocabulary notes:

to concatenate – связывать

meaningful – значимый

to render – отдавать

bandwidth – полоса пропускания

broadband – широкополосная передача

likening – уподобление

perforce – необходимость

asynchronous – асинхронный

interleaving – чередование

lockstep – жесткая конфигурация

cadence – ритм, модуляция, тактовый сигнал

bursty – пульсирующий

trickle – сочиться

blasting – освобождение

tethered – связывать

fine-grained – мелко-модульный

expiration – истечение

RF - радиочастотный


IX. Translate the following sentences paying attention to the verbs in the Subjunctive Mood:

1. Without radio we should hardly be able to observe artificial satellites and receive scientific information from space. 2. The solution of the problem requires that all the experimental data obtained be exact. 3. It is required that all measurements be done beforehand. 4. It is nece­ssary that these data should be processed as soon as possible. 5. It is important that engineers should develop automatic control systems. 6. Atomic energy finds such wide and varied application in our life that our age might be called the age of atom. 7. It is important that safe­ty measures be taken while working with the electric equipment. 8. It is desirable that the engine should combine high efficiency and lightness. 9. We suggested that his project be discussed in detail. 10. It is essential that he should inform us about the results of his research.


X. Translate the sentences. Mind the means of expressing the Subjunctive Mood:

1. Provided all of the requirements were met, the efficiency of the apparatus would be increased. 2. Without the new instrument this experi­ment would not have been successful. 3. If you classified the data fewer tests would be needed. 4. If you had known about semiconductors more, you would have understood the arrangement of this device. 5. You could have done this work better. 6. You might have asked me about the work of this machine before putting it into operation. 7. They suggest that he should begin the test immediately. 8. It is required that those devices be used in this case. 9. Had he informed me in time I should have sent this device. 10. Without proper care and maintenance this equipment wouldn't operate so well. 11. If the machine were repair­ed, it would be set in motion immediately. 12. If he had been able to get all the books on that subject, his report would have been much better. 13. Had you taken all the safety measures the machine would not have been broken.


XI. Define the types of Conditional Clauses in the following complex sentences. Translate them into Russian:

A. 1. If a solid body or a liquid is heated, it will usually expand. 2. If you want to carry out your experiment successfully, you thoroughly prepare all the necessary ingredients. 3. The measurements were always correct provided the necessary instruments were used. 4. If you want to speak a language, you must hear it spoken. 5. If a machine is to make usable translations, the machine itself must be able to extract some meaning of the text. 6. If we are to believe some forecasts, compu­ters may become a common thing of every day used by almost every­body. 7. If the model fits well, the observed data will be correct.

B. 1. If sound could propagate in interplanetary space it would cover this distance in 14 years. 2. If the earth were as hot as Venus, the oceans would evaporate. 3. Were it not for ionosphere, radio waves would propagate like light waves only within the limits of visible hori­zon. 4. If I were to see your experiment, I should get a clear conception of this phenomenon. 5. But for electricity little could be done in a mo­dern research laboratory. 6. If a new telephone system were installed on the line we should be able to improve the reliability of telephone service. 7. If life existed on the Venus, we should know it. 8. It would be better if some experiments were repeated. 9. If the Earth did not rotate, it would not take the shape of a ball.

C. 1. If he had prepared the material beforehand, he might have done the work quite easily. 2. If they had completed the research, the results would have been discussed at the conference. 3. The manned spaceships might not have been launched into the cosmos, unless scien­tists had studied the information received from the space satellites. 4. Could these observations have been proved theoretically they would have done much to advance our knowledge in the field of space research. 5. If he had been able to get all the books on that subject, his report would have been much better. 6. Had he taken into account the pro­perties of the substance under investigation, he would have been careful when working with it.


XII. Define the functions of should and would. Translate the sen­tences:

A. 1. He thought I should come to the laboratory. 2. We know we should be able to overcome all the difficulties in our research. 3. We were sure that we should finish our work in time. 4. The director asked whether the materials of our research would be typed. 5. He said that he would mention your work in his report. 6. The teacher thought that the students of this group would be able to understand the new text. 7. Yes­terday I found out that the professor would lecture on the latest deve­lopments in cybernetics.

B. 1. It is very important that you should take part in the discussion. 2. It is necessary that they should come in time. 3. It is important that the current should be measured exactly. 4. Without radio electronics there would be no cybernetics, cosmonautics and nuclear physics. 5. It would be impossible to measure the temperature of Venus without a radio-telescope. 6. They suggest that we should begin the tests imme­diately. 7. Don't raise the temperature lest the speed of the reaction should be too high. 8. The instruments were packed carefully lest they should be broken during transportation.

C. 1. If they had completed the research, the results would have been discussed at the conference. 2. If you had applied your theoretical knowledge to your practical work, you would have got a different re­sult. 3. If he had not used this formula, he would not have made this mistake. 4. They would finish the work in time, provided they had the necessary material. 5. Should one transmitter fail the other takes over its functions. 6. Should the temperature decrease, the velocity of elect­rons will decrease too.

D. 1. It should be borne in mind that this method fails to give good results. 2. He would work on his design for hours. 3. One should keep in mind this property of water. 4. The reaction wouldn't proceed until we added some water. 5. This transistor would operate at 400°C. 6. The results of the experiments should be checked up very carefully. 7. He would prepare for his exams for hours. 8. You should work at your English as hard as possible. 9. Last year we would spend much time in the laboratory.


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