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5.5 Indoor pollutants

Before leaving air pollution you might reflect that many of us spend most of our time indoors where the air quality can differ from that outside the building.

Question 30

In what ways will the air be different inside a building?


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5.3 Global warming

Media attention has been such that it would be hard to have missed the fact that global warming is considered to be a ‘bad thing’. Why should this be so? What is so wrong with being a bit warmer? Anyway, is global warming really occurring and, if it is, what are the causal factors responsible for it?

Let us deal with this last question first. As we sit on a beach in summer, or in a sunny window seat in winter, we are aware of the Earth being warmed by the Sun. In fact the Earth is w
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4.7 Summary

Human activity has been responsible for some extinctions and othe deleterious changes to habitats. These changes have not always been the result of thoughtless or selfish behaviour; often intentions were worthy, but outcomes were not as predicted. The importance of genetic diversith is demonstrated here in relation to Dutch Elm disease. The need to retain genetic diversity in plants, used for food and medicine, is recognized in such initiatives as the Kew Milennium Seed Bank Appeal.


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6.2 The hierarchy of human needs

A second approach is to look at the human needs and wants from a more theoretical perspective. One such model was developed in the 1950s and 1960s by Abraham Maslow. Although it exists in many variants it is generally known as Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. In the most common interpretations it places the fundamental material needs of survival, such as food, shelter and safety at the base of a triangle, rising through social needs of belonging in human society, to
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4.4 Discussion

In this second case study, I have described two different trends in energy use by cold appliances over the last few decades. On the one hand the efficiency with which appliances use electrical energy has improved but, in spite of this, their consumption of electricity has increased significantly in recent decades. Since 2000 consumption has started to decline, probably as a result of the introduction of minimum energy standards. The trend will only continue if we demand and use the most energ
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2.1 Environment and technology

A central concern of environmental studies is the relationship between technology and our environment: how people use technology to transform materials into forms which can meet our needs and wants. In the process of doing this we inevitably change the environment which provides these materials but which also supports all life.

A few moments ago I went to my fridge and took some milk out to add to a cup of coffee. I used this common example of a modern domestic appliance without a secon
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Learning outcomes

When you have completed this unit you should have:

  • developed an awareness of different ways in which our use of technology can affect the environment

  • developed your own skills in reading and interpreting texts and diagrams containing some technical descriptions


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References

Beetham, D. (1999) Democracy and Human Rights, Cambridge, Polity Press.
Brown, C. (2001) ‘Human rights’ in Baylis, J. and Smith, S. (eds) The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Caney, S.(2001) ‘International distributive justice’ Political Studies, vol. 49, pp. 974–97.
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand how the world is in the process of ‘being made’, right down to the earth beneath our feet;

  • consider how islands are shaped by a dynamic relationship between territories and flows;

  • show how human life is entangled with non-human forces and processes in the making of today's globalised world.


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1.1Aim

The aim of this section is to practise the use of diagramming techniques as part of a fundamental shift in interpreting issues – from an assembly of static objects to a network of dynamic relationships.


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4.2.3 The significance of the distribution of energies

Near room temperature (300 K), the average bundle of thermal energy associated with a particle is 0.026 eV (look back at Box 2 Temperature and energy). This is not going to do much damage to something stuck together with bonds that have an energy of a few eV – just as the average wage earne
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6.5 Market experience

It is some 20 years since the Topper project was conceived by Peter Bean, Technical Director of Rolinx and Ian Proctor, the designer of the original GRP boat. Sales initially were excellent, especially to sailing schools and clubs where there was much demand for a small, light and very safe sailing boat for children. But after that, the market became saturated, sales were heavily dependant on individuals and families, so decreased despite attempts to export the boat to the USA and Israel, for
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5.6.3 Conformation and crystallinity

If there are key connections between the chain configuration and crystallisation, you might also expect some more subtle effects from rotation about chain bonds. After all, polymer chains must be able to twist into the regular conformation demanded for crystal structures (Figure 57(a)). And what influence will rotation have on
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4.5.1 The copolymer equation

It can be shown that the rate of change of monomer concentration in any copolymerization is given by the equation

where [M1] and [M2] are the concentrations of monomers 1 and 2 at any instant and r1 and r2., are reac
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3.2.2 Ethane cracking

Although ethane can be cracked thermally, the reaction is slow and does not necessarily yield ethylene at high severity. Careful control of reaction conditions, however, allows the reaction to occur

The yield of ethylene is typically nearly 50 wt% with the rest composed o
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3.1 The steps to systems modelling

Systems modelling in practice usually involves six broad steps, within each of which there may be many subsidiary steps and some checking and revision. There is also likely to be iteration back to the earlier steps, as issues which call for changes in earlier decisions are uncovered.

Nevertheless, in my experience, the following six steps are likely to cover the basics.

  1. Identify the system of interest, in particular specify the system boundary a
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Stage 2: Analysis of the existing situation (where are we now?)

Having defined and agreed on the problem, it is necessary to decide on the system in which you consider it plays a part. In practice the two stages are closely linked and the analysis of the existing system nearly always means a redefinition or refinement of the problem or opportunity. Identifying and defining the problem and the system or systems that relate to it are critical for the success of subsequent analysis.


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2.2 A modern view

Modern attempts to define engineering recognise the importance of the resources identified by Sage, and that the subject can be divided into two components: engineering knowledge – the ‘know-what’, and engineering process – the ‘know-how’. Engineering knowledge is:

[…] the growing body of facts, experience and skills in science, engineering and technology disciplines; coupled to an understanding of th
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6.1 Articulating your appreciation of complexity

I have organized the material in this section so that you can follow the activity route shown in Figure 6.

This section is primarily concerned with what can be understood by the term complexity, and how to compare it with the ideas of difficulty and mess. To do this, you are firs
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