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4.3.4 Ionic polymerization

Free radicals are indiscriminate in the compounds they attack, and their non-selective nature in polymerization reactions leads to problems such as chain branching and transfer which affect the structure of the polymer produced. Anionic polymerization overcomes many of these problems.

A typical commercial (but also see Box 8
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2.3.1 Structural isomerism

In the saturated hydrocarbons, whose structural formulae are shown in Figure 16, it is not possible to form distinct isomers with just three or less carbon atoms linked together. There is only one way in which one carbon and four hydrogen atoms can be linked together, the single compound being methane, CH4. A simila
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6 Summary

This unit has covered the background to systems engineering. It began by addressing the question ‘Why is systems engineering important?’ Two reasons were discussed:

  • projects go wrong, and the increasing incorporation of software means that they go wrong more often now than in the past

  • complication, complexity and risk are all increasing and need to be managed.

In the second section I examined the development of en
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5.2 The aims and principles of system engineering

The aims of systems engineering can be divided into those to do with its outputs and those associated with the process itself. As far as its outputs are concerned, systems engineering aims to ensure that:

  • the requirements of all the stakeholders are taken into account in engineering the system

  • the system, as engineered and realised, meets the requirements of stakeholders

  • the system, while meeting the req
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5.1 Introduction: the general framework

The general framework of systems engineering adopted in the course consists of: a hierarchy of elements; aims associated within its outputs and process; a set of principles; a division into technical and managerial components of the process.

The lexicon of system engineering used in the course contains the hierarchy of elements:

  • strategy: meaning the accumulated decisions concerning the areas in which an organisation operates and its lon
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3.4 Systems concepts: structure

As suggested earlier, the structure of a system is its functional or physical arrangement; the term that is often used in systems engineering is ‘architecture’. The architecture of a system can be deconstructed to reveal its constituent elements. I suggested in Section 1 that an existing knowledge base has an important bearing on the way in which a change problem is perceived. The way that this is conceived by one armaments system integrator is illustrated in
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4.5.2 10 Gigabit Ethernet

The standard for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3ae, lOGbE) was approved in July 2002. The main use of lOGbE, initially at least, is for backbone networks which interconnect 10, 100 or 1000 Mbit/s Ethernet hubs. These hubs might be widely separated geographically, so the standard includes physical layer specifications specifically for WAN (wide area network) applications as well as LAN applications. The WAN specification is for operation at slightly under 10 Gbit/s, 9.95328 Gbit/s, so as to be
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3.1 Introduction

I wonder if you experience complexity in your daily life? For much of the time I struggle to keep my head above water as I try to understand and manage the complexity I experience as part of everyday life. I find social commentator and cartoonist Michael Leunig's depiction of a solitary figure looking through an ‘understandascope’ (Author(s): The Open University

2.4 Review

In working through this section, you have identified some of your initial expectations and I have explained some of what I think you will discover as you work through the unit. It would be appropriate at this point to look at some of the questions I asked you about your expectations again and note ways your expectations have changed.

Spend a total of around 30 minutes on the next three activities.

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2.3 Appreciating epistemological issues

Common sense tells me my experience and understanding of the world are limited. I am 173 cm in height. That limits my view of the world. It may not matter much that I cannot see what my house looks like from above but it does mean there will be things going on in the roof I may not notice until they impinge on areas that I can experience.

More significantly, there is a real limitation on understanding the experiences of other people. You might tell me about your experience but your desc
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2.2 Taking responsibility for your own learning

Not much of this unit conforms to the traditional pattern I mentioned earlier – the theory-example-exercise pattern. In particular, you will find you are expected to discover much of it for yourself. Why is this? This is a legitimate question and deserves a full answer. One year, a student at a residential summer school complained I had not taught him properly. I was, he told me, an expert and so why did I not demonstrate how to tackle the problem he was working on and pass my expertise on
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2.1 The nature of systems thinking and systems practice

There are no simple definitions for either systems thinking or systems practice. It's difficult to find definitions that capture all the perspectives that the ideas carry for people who think of themselves as systems thinkers and systems practitioners. Most systems practitioners seem to experience the same kind of difficulty in explaining what they do or what it means to be systemic in their thinking. Through experience I've developed some criteria by which I characterize systems thinking, bu
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1.1.1 Learning by experience

It's a familiar idea but it implies two activities: learning and experiencing. Both activities need to happen if I am to say that learning from experience has happened. Experiencing seems to have two components. The first is the quality of attention that allows me to notice the experience and its components. The second is memory. Calling experience to mind allows me to examine the experience and to think about it in ways that were not possible at the time. Learning is what I take away from th
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1.1 Thinking about expectations

Anticipations and preconceptions are an important determinant of how people learn, so before you read on, I would like you to record some of what you are experiencing now as you begin the unit.

It's important to get these impressions noted down now, because new ideas and new impressions will quickly overlay the experience. What you are experiencing now will be re-interpreted as new understandings emerge. You are also likely to form some judgements about your expectations. So before any
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Introduction

When you meet with a situation you experience as complex you need to think about yourself in relation to the process of formulating a system of interest. Only with this awareness, can you increase your range of purposeful actions in the situation which are ethically defensible. To do so is the hallmark of systemic thinking and practice compared to systematic thinking and practice. The metaphor of the systems practitioner as a juggler of four balls is introduced as a device to explore skill de
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5.13 The final Act

In Act 3, Dan and Ned are back in Ned's flat and Ned is showing extreme signs of neurosis and paranoia. Dan can no longer bear Ned's rather dark and erratic behaviour, and he grabs the conversation by suddenly pouring out all the overwhelmingly negative aspects of his life as a dentist, father and lover. Some people might say that ethics is about how to live a ‘good’ life and, clearly, Dan needs a change. He recognises he is not leading a ‘good’ life. He knows all the things that are
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5.12 Interests

There is quite a lot to be said about the play, but in this unit I need to be selective. In the conversations that take place, one of the things that happens is that all sorts of interests unfold. There is a catalogue of benefits that could each potentially accrue to a long list of individuals and groups. We have the government that could gain benefits through ownership which would allow it to develop the device, understand threats, prevent development, protect the indigenous industry and ret
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5.11 Promises

Having tried various devices to persuade Ned, Ros resorts to her other ‘technical’ approach. She reminds him of his employment contract, which requires him to do his best to exploit his work. A contract, of course, is a form of promise you endorse when you sign it. Signing the contract is performative, it changes the relationships. In this case, it clearly is a promise, it is a promise to do his ‘best’, and that is clearly an ethical matter. This move obviously has a strong influence
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5.10 Conscience

Ned responds with the use of another ethical concept. He feels what he is proposing is ‘right’, regardless of any relationships at play, and he refers to his ‘conscience’. This is perhaps a way of saying, firstly, that he feels very strongly that he is right and, secondly, that any speculation about signing away the IP gives him a great deal of discomfort. This appeal to a ‘conscience’ is an interesting rhetorical move because it neither requires nor provides any reasoned justific
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5.9 Ethical reasoning

Now Ned's got three things. He's got the money that is presumably ‘good’. He's got his defence policy, which he thinks is ‘good’. Ros then introduces the well-being of the community. They are all ‘goods’ but each pulls in a different direction. Any judgement that Ned makes has to be based on an aggregation of these things. But, of course, these are quite different kinds of things, they are incommensurate, so adding up these things is not a straightforward proposition. Ros is hopin
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