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Questions to ask English experts from Chinese learners(Round 4) [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-5-14 14:50:36 |Display all floors
Thank every member who answered readers' questions from last time. Chinese English learners from Wechat are very happy to recieve your replies. Here are more questions from them:

1 Xueba (学霸), an online catchphrase in China, has been used to refer to students who work hard and excel in learning. Some people translate it as "curve wrecker". What does "curve wrecker" mean? I wonder if it is an acceptable translation in context. Are there any other words or phrases expressing the same meaning besides "curve wrecker"?

2 How do you order a steak at a restaurant? How do you express the level of steak doneness in English? Could you explain the differences between different levels of doneness?

3 How does college admission work in the US? What are the general admission requirements? Is race a factor in college admissions?

4 Why are superhero comics and movies so popular in the US? Where does this superhero complex originate from?

5 Why does the keypad of some hands-free phones have the 26 letters of the English alphabet on it? Do these letters serve a practical function?

The previous rounds:
http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=963247&extra=page%3D1
http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=959318&extra=page%3D1
http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=956074&highlight=English%2Bexperts

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Post time 2014-5-17 11:08:58 |Display all floors
#1:
In this context, "Straight-A student" is a more appropriate translation for "学霸“.  
The term "curve wrecker" has a negative connotation. To understand what this term means, we have to first know what the word "curve" signifies.
A "curve" is a numerical correction determined and applied by a professor to test score of every student in his class so that a majority of them can pass or at least get a better grade in a difficult exam (for major academic subjects like Abstract Algebra, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, etc).
Let's say a particular exam in Level E Calculus has a perfect score of 100 points with a passing grade of 60. The simplest curve is to take the highest score in class, add enough points for that to make 100, and then add that same number of points to each and every student who took that exam. So, if the highest score in class is 85, the professor may add 15 points for that score to reach 100. Likewise, everyone's test score will also be added 15 points. Those who got a minimum score of 45, originally a failing grade, will now get a passing score.
Therefore, a 学霸 will be deemed as a "curve wrecker" if, for example, he/she got a perfect or very high score in that test, eradicating or narrowing the possibility for others to get bonus points.

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Post time 2014-5-17 12:03:49 |Display all floors

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Post time 2014-5-21 11:30:06 |Display all floors
#2

How do you order a steak at a restaurant?

To order steak in restaurants, one must first know the better cuts of beef, tenderness/marbling of fat, and where it came from.

Some famous cuts of steak used in a good steakhouse:
- rib eye (taken from the centre cut of the cow’s rib section, quite tender as it has the most fat in it)
- filet (from the short loin e.g. T-bone or Porterhouse steak, the most tender and most flavourful especially those cooked with the bone in)
- New York (from the tender short loin)

Other types:
- Salisbury steak or hamburger steak (minced meat formed into steak shape)
- sirloin (taken from the sirloin part near the cow's rear; upper sirloin is more tender and generally more expensive than the lower sirloin)

Know the country of origin of the beef you're ordering as different countries have different ways of feeding and rearing their cows which affect the quality of the meat and health safety of diners. Beware of ordering beef coming from Japan (Wagyu, Kobe, etc) as they may be radioactive meat tainted with caesium isotopes. American beef are banned in Europe and many other countries due to BSE infections. US beef cattle are also synthetic sex hormone-raised (use of estrogenic additives to fatten feedlots) which has carcinogenic risks when consumed by humans.

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Post time 2014-5-21 11:31:41 |Display all floors
#2
How do you express the level of steak doneness in English?

The level of doneness can be expressed as:
well done
medium well done
medium
medium rare
rare

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Post time 2014-5-21 11:37:05 |Display all floors
#2
Could you explain the differences between different levels of doneness?

Well-done: The piece of steak should show no hint of pink whatsoever. Its center will be grayish-brown throughout and the outside will be nicely charred.  
Core temperature = approximately 165 degrees

Medium-well: The middle part of the piece of steak will just have a slight hint of pink.  Otherwise, it will be primarily cooked through and will feel quite firm.  
Core temperature = approximately 155 degrees

Medium: The piece of steak will have a large band of pink through the middle, but will be primarily grayish-brown throughout.  
Core temperature = approximately 145 degrees

Medium-rare: The center of the steak will be slightly warmer and reddish-pink instead of red.  
Core temperature = approximately 130 degrees

Rare: The piece of steak will have a bright red center, and its outside will be brownish-gray. The center will be warm, but not hot.  
Core temperature = approximately 125 degrees

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Post time 2014-5-21 12:21:37 |Display all floors
I know many colleges use an admissions form called the Common Application, but I am not sure if the requirements are different for International Students.
The car is red. I am not.

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