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6.1 Defining amplitude

Another important property of a sine wave we need to be able to specify is its amplitude. In essence, the amplitude of a sine wave is its size. Unfortunately there are various ways of defining what is meant by the size of a sine wave, and you are likely to come across many of them in material you look at outside this unit. Before I explain what our definition is, it will help matters if we look at what is meant by the average value of a sine wave.

Figure 16 shows a sinusoidally a
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5.1 Phase and phase difference

In this section I am considering sine waves that have the same frequency, but are out of step with each other.

Suppose we have two detectors at fixed points, A and B. At this moment in time A is in a high pressure region and B in a low pressure region. If we were to look again shortly later B would now in a high pressure region and A in a low pressure region. The pressures at A and B would be out of step with each other. The pressure variation at B is not in phase with that at A. The ex
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2.1 The importance of sine waves

For much of the rest of this unit we shall be concerned with the properties of a type of sound wave that when represented as a graph has a characteristic shape known as a sine wave. Figure 1 shows you what a sine-wave graph looks like. For the moment you need not be concerned with what this grap
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1.4 Summary

The close relationship between music and technology is not new, and is not confined to electronically generated or computer-generated music. Historically there is a long association between music and technology, and this continues in the way instruments are made and the way music is disseminated. Additionally, for a good proportion of listeners throughout the world, listening to music is almost synonymous with listening to electronically processed and delivered music, through recordings, broa
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit, you should be able to:

  • explain correctly the meaning of the emboldened terms in the main text and use them correctly in context;

  • describe simply what a pressure wave is and give a simple explanation of sound in terms of a travelling pressure wave;

  • explain ‘cycle’ in terms of an oscillating source and the pressure wave it produces;

  • relate amplitude (including peak-to-peak and r.m.s.), frequency, period a
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16.4 Managing for emergence and self-organisation

It might be useful to re-read Box 4 before starting this section. In this example, the terms ‘open’ and ‘closed’ were used on several occasions. You have already encountered the term ‘closed system’. You were told that human beings are closed systems in terms of inputs to
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6.3 Clarifying purposefulness

Research conducted by Ralph Stacey (1993) shows how business managers often behave in a way contrary to espoused policies and expectations. Rather than adhering to conventions of long-term planning, and accepted orthodoxies and procedures, they actually tend to make a succession of unrelated, adaptive responses to changing situations as the need arises. This is often, and rather disparagingly, labelled muddle-through or crisis management but can result in adaptive action and organisation.


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6.2 Modes of managing systemically

Now I want to describe some of the possibilities I see as being available in the repertoire of an aware systems practitioner able to connect with the history of systems thinking and with the new theories of complexity.

David Robertson, in a presentation to the Society for Research into Higher Education in late 1998 entitled ‘What employers really, really want’ reported that: ‘research on employers in a number of English-speaking countries (an elite survey with senior corporate peo
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3.5 Distinctions about systems practice

A tension has existed throughout the history of Western thought around whether to focus on parts or the whole. The practice that springs from this history carries the same tension. This tension has been particularly visible within science and philosophy for a long time and it gives rise to different approaches. I will be addressing these tensions in Author(s): The Open University

1.1 Making sense of the metaphor

The metaphor of the juggler keeping the four balls in the air is a powerful way for me to think about what I do when I try to be effective in my practice. It matches with my experience: it takes concentration and skill to do it well. But metaphors conceal features of experience, as well as calling them to attention. The juggler metaphor conceals that the four elements of effective practice often seem to be related. I cannot juggle them as if they were independent of each other. I can imagine
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7.2.3 Trap 3: interpretation, structure, and analysis

If you deliberately impose an interpretation or analysis on your picture, you preclude the possibility of seeing other, potentially more interesting, features later. Remember the rich picture is a representation of the complexity. If you structure that complexity, you are no longer representing it as you experience it. You also lose the possibility of using the drawing process itself as a means of encountering the complexity in all its fullness.

The trap takes a number of forms.
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6 Part 2: 2 Immersing yourself in complexity

The first three activities in Figure 4 are to plan a strategy, then to immerse yourself in an example of complexity, and then represent that complexity through drawing a rich picture. I've selected a rich picture as the focus of this task because it is a means of bringing you into a r
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Part 2: 1 Introduction

I have a number of purposes in mind as I write Part 2. You can read these in conjunction with Figure 4.


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14 Part 2: 5 Self-assessment questions

SAQ 4

What are the four main factors that motivate individuals to invent?

Answer

Individuals are motivated to invent by one or more factors:

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11.3 Step 2 – exploration

This is the period when, following the identification of the problem, attempts are made to understand it better and to make a stab at designing a solution. This might be a short process or it could take years and involve a detailed search for information, experimenting with different designs, even redefining the problem as a result of this activity.

Alexander Graham Bell adopted a problem-focused strategy when exploring the problem of designing a working telephone. This strategy is one
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11.1 Five steps to invention

I've looked at what motivates people and organisations to invent. I'll look more closely now at what's actually involved in inventing something.

Wherever invention occurs, whether with a lone inventor or in a creative team within an organisation, there seem to be common factors involved. There have been many attempts over the past 100 years to explain the creative process that occurs while people are attempting to solve problems. I'm going to combine ideas from two such models of the st
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10.6 What drives invention in organisations?

Much invention and nearly all innovation nowadays take place inside organisations – from small start-up companies to well-established multinationals. This is mainly because increasingly invention and innovation require access to technology and resources beyond the scope of most individuals. But it is also because competitiveness and survival depend on the continual improvement of a company's products and processes. This provides a strong incentive for companies to invest in both the increme
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10.5 Desire to help others

This is a less common motivation but it shows not everyone is driven by money.

In 1991 the inventor Trevor Baylis saw a BBC documentary about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. What was needed was a way of broadcasting the safe-sex message to people in areas without electricity and where batteries for a radio could cost a month's wages. Solar power wouldn't necessarily help as most people who could get to a radio listened in the evening after work. While absorbing this information he ima
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10.2 Scientific or technical curiosity

Some inventors understand a scientific phenomenon and set about inventing a technological device to exploit the phenomenon.

The invention of the laser grew from the interest of two researchers in studying the structure and characteristics of a variety of molecules. During the Second World War, Charles H. Townes worked on developing radar navigation bombing systems. After the war he had the idea of modifying the radar techniques and using microwaves to study molecular structure. Subseque
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