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2.4 Early disasters

Many of the earliest bridges were simply a wooden trestle type of construction, an efficient and easy-to-build structure, yet providing a secure and safe passage for heavy metal trains. Although we tend to associate such structures with the United States, they were in fact widely used in Britain in the early days of steam locomotion. However, they had a limited lifetime owing to rot, so were gradually replaced by wrought iron girder bridges, often laid on brick or masonry piers.

Designe
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Introduction

This unit starts by giving an overview of the two main categories of disasters: disasters of natural origin and disasters of human origin. It then analyses the Tay Bridge disaster, which was caused by mechanical failure.

Inevitably, human factors emerge as important in many major disasters. They may involve the failure by engineers, designers or managers to recognise faults in safety-critical products, or managers overriding the design team for other reasons – such as keeping to a dea
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3.1 Introduction

I've an opera here you shan't escape – on miles and miles of recording tape.

Flanders, M. and Swann, D. (1977) ‘The Song of Reproduction’ from The Songs of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, London, Elm Tree Books and St George's Press, p. 99

Sounds, pictures, measurement data, financial statistics, personal details, etc. can all be recorded and stored on magnetic media, i.e. m
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3.6 Learning and effective action

I claim that learning is about effective action. It is distinguished when I, or another observer, recognise that I can perform what I was unable to perform before. Following Reyes and Zarama (1998), I am going to claim learning is an assessment made by an observer based on observed capacity for action. From this perspective, learning is not about ideas stored in our mind, but about action. So what makes an action effective? Reyes and Zarama (1998, p. 26) make the following claims:


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5.5 Multiple-cause diagrams

Multiple-cause diagrams are another way of using interconnectedness to structure a complex situation. In this case, the interconnectedness is that of causation. Multiple-cause diagrams represent both sufficient and contributory cause, without making a distinction between them. Drawing multiple-cause diagrams allows for the identification of systems of causation. Such a system can be pictured as an interconnected group of events or effects; the effect is of a system that behaves
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4 Introduction

(Please refer to Reading 4: Learning to act: managing and systems practice, by Andy Lane) This unit teaches some aspects of systems thinking and practice. But what does it mean to be a systems practitioner, and is it different to being a manager? This reading attempts to answer those questions.

First, I believe a good systems practitioner will be more competent at handling complex situations, more capable of managing their working and domestic lives, and more able to learn not only how
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7.1 Some basic principles of religious studies

Remember that in Section 4 I suggested that possible reasons for studying religion could be clustered together under two broad headings:

  1. to understand the society in which we live, the culture we inherit and the wider world of which we are a part;

  2. as part of a personal quest for religious
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6.1 Introduction

Whatever else they may be, religions grow in historical and social settings. The present form of a religion has its roots in the past. Religion can exercise a strong influence upon society and the cultural forms of a society, but religion itself is no less affected by changes and pressures within society. Religion gives meaning to a pattern of living and may even be responsible for establishing a certain lifestyle or distinctive social organisation or institution. At the same time, religion o
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5.3 Scholarly definitions of religion

Scholars offer us many different definitions of religion, but these definitions tend to be of two types. The first type is known as a substantive definition: that is, a definition that tells us what kind of thing religion is by pointing to its distinguishing characteristic – usually its beliefs and/or practices. We can find an example of a substantive definition of religion in my summary of the definitions found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Think again about d. Acc
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5.2 The ‘answer’ in your dictionary

Exercise 9

Please now look at the definition of ‘religion’ given in your dictionary.

  1. Do you think that the definition is going to help you when deciding what is or is not religion? Please give
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5.1 ‘Religion’ and ‘the religions’: two new notions

I want to begin our closer discussion of the question ‘what is religion?’ by looking briefly at the history of the use and meaning of the term. You may be surprised to find how recently the word ‘religion’ has taken on the meanings attached to it today.

Contemporary scholars of religion emphasise not merely the cultural breadth but also the antiquity of religious activity. Yet, the term ‘religion’ as we understand it today is very much a Western concept.

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Introduction

This unit provides an overview of John Napier and his work on logarithms. It discusses his approach to this lasting invention and looks at the key players who worked with him, including Briggs, Wright and Kepler.

This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Topics in the history of mathematics (MA290) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in
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4 Conclusion

The biographical monograph is probably one of the best ways of writing appealing and accessible art history. Helen Langdon's Caravaggio is an attractive and well-written narrative of the life and work of an important and allegedly infamous artist. We learn about a set of artworks in a particular context and at the same time get to know a ‘new friend’ whose personality and environment seem to speak through the illustrations. The biographical structure is also a convenient way of con
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2 The varieties of imaginative experience

What would life be like without imagination? Perhaps, in this very first question, we have found something that is impossible to imagine. Imagination infuses so much of what we do, and so deeply, that to imagine its absence is to imagine not being human. Some people, I am told, think about sex every five minutes. For them, I presume, a sudden loss of imaginative powers would be devastating. Some people (not necessarily the same ones), at certain points in their lives, think about getting marr
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2 Links between English and Latin

Although Latin is not the direct ancestor of English, as it is of Italian, French and Spanish (the so-called ‘Romance’ languages), it has nevertheless given us an enormous number of words. According to some estimates, nearly half of all English words come from Latin. You may be familiar with the idea that words such as science, transport and solution are derived from Latin, but did you know that street and kipper come from Latin words which entered ordinary spe
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2.8 The Gricean Programme

Before considering any further potential criticisms of Grice's position, let us step back and consider his wider importance to philosophy: his contribution to what is often called The Gricean Programme. Grice himself was not really a Gricean in this sense, since he was not committed to all elements of the programme that bears his name. But Grice's influence has been as great as it has in part because of the way in which his ideas have been co-opted into this broader programme.

Th
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2.4 The meaning of expressions versus the meaning of individual utterances

I drew a contrast at the beginning of the chapter between those approaches to the meaning of utterances that look to the meaning of the words used, and those approaches that look instead to the content of the mental or psychological states of speakers. Grice belongs to the second camp. He aims to show that the meaning of an expression (e.g. a word or a sentence) is derivative, definable in terms of how that expression is typically used in meaningful utterances. The meaning of individual utter
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1.6 Further reading

For an advanced general introduction to the philosophy of language, see Blackburn 1984. Lycan 1996 is pitched at a more accessible level. Pinker 1994 is an informal but informative discussion of the hypothesis that much of our linguistic ability is innate, an important topic that has had to be left out of this unit.


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6 Hospital care

In most aspects of medical care, the rich generally enjoyed better access to medical services and better-quality services than the poor. The only exception to this rule was hospital care. In the nineteenth century the ‘deserving’ poor – whose respectability was guaranteed by the need for them to have a letter of admission from a subscriber or employer – could receive medical and surgical treatment in charitable hospitals. The very poor could obtain care through Poor Law hospitals, whi
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4 Domestic care

Despite their best efforts, everyone fell ill at some point in their lives. Although historians of medicine write a great deal about how the sick were cared for by doctors and in hospitals, in the past (as nowadays) minor complaints were diagnosed and treated at home, almost entirely without the help of medical professionals, using special diets and home-made or bought-in remedies. As with preserving health, poor families had relatively few resources for treatment. They might seek advice from
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