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更新时间:2006/12/21
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Bad Things Come in Small Packages
拆信小心!

While most armies in the world shun their use, and military authorities exclude them from warfare, the technology to produce biological and chemical weapons is widely available. Moreover, these weapons are cheap, easy to conceal, and very effective. Since September 11, 2001, biological weapons seem to have become the weapon of choice among the disenfranchised militants of the world. Some people are worried chemical warfare may follow.

Chemical weapons are abundant in variety. Their effectiveness is determined by several factors, including age, purity, weather conditions, and choice of dissemination. They include nerve agents, blister agents, and choking agents, all of which can be ingested through the eyes, lungs, or skin. Sarin, a type of nerve gas, was used by the Aum Shinrikyo cult in March 1995, killing 12 people and injuring more than 5,500 on a Tokyo subway.

Biological weapons, by definition, are any infectious agent, such as a bacterium or virus, used deliberately to inflict harm on soldiers and civilians alike. This classification can include toxins and poisons derived biologically. Biological weapons can be produced nearly anywhere, from government labs to suburban kitchens.

Experts contend, however, that the transformation of a deadly virus or bacterium into an effective weapon is anything but straightforward: A conventional bomb would likely destroy the germ as it exploded. In contrast, dissemination via alternative methods, such as surface mail, has recently proved quite effective.


1. shun v. 回避
2. disenfranchised a. 被剥夺公权的
3. ingest v. 摄取
4. toxin n. 毒素

 

尽管世界上多数国家的军队都避免使用生化武器,军事当局在战争中也不使用它,而制造生化武器的科技仍然随处可得。此外,这些武器造价便宜、容易藏匿,而且效果很明显。2001年9月11日之后,生物武器似乎已成了世界上被剥夺公民权的好战分子们选择的武器。有些人担心,接着可能会有一场化学战争。

化学武器种类繁多。它们的效力是由几种因素决定的,包括年限、纯度、气候状况,以及散布途径。化学武器包括神经毒、疱毒和窒息毒,它们都能通过眼睛、肺部或皮肤被人体吸收。沙林是一种神经性毒气,1995年3月奥姆真理教在东京地铁站使用,造成12人丧命,5,500多人受伤。

从定义来看,生物武器是指任何蓄意用来伤害士兵和老百姓等的传染手段,如细菌或病毒等。这类武器包括用生物学方法培植出来的毒素和毒药。生物武器几乎到处都可以制造,从政府实验室,到郊区的厨房。

然而,专家认为,要将一种致命的细菌或病毒转化成有效的武器并不是一件容易的事:一颗常规炸弹就有可能在爆炸时摧毁病菌。相对来说,通过其它方式传播,如普通邮件,近来被证实相当有效。

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