3.4 Outer electronic configurations and the Periodic Table

The essential message of Figure 22 is that the Groups of elements that appear in columns of the Periodic Table usually have atoms with similar outer electronic configurations. Figure 23 incorporates these configurations into our mini-Periodic Table of typical elements; they appear at the top of each Group. They imply that the typi
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1 Developing modelling skills

The main teaching text of this unit is provided in the workbook below. The answers to the exercises that you'll find throughout the workbook are given in the answer book. You can access it by clicking on the link under the workbook.

Click 'View document' to open the workbook (PDF, 0.2 MB).

1.4.2 Displacements and bearings

The displacement from a point P to a point Q is the change of position between the two points, as described by the displacement vector

If P and Q represent places on the ground, then it is natural to use a bearing to describe the direct
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2.3.2 Total carbon footprints

Of course, the picture changes when you consider total CO2 emissions for different countries rather than emissions per person. Figure 8(b) is another chart that shows that America was by far the greatest total emitter of CO2 in 2002, but, owing to their huge population
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1.1.1 Where do we get our energy from?

The world’s current energy systems have been built around the many advantages of fossil fuels, and we now depend overwhelmingly upon them. Concerns that supplies will ‘run out’ in the short-to-medium term have probably been exaggerated, thanks to the continued discovery of new reserves and the application of increasingly advanced exploration technologies. Nevertheless it remains the case that fossil fuel reserves are ultimately finite. In the long term they will eventually become deplet
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9 Unit questions

Unit Question A

Foxes eat rabbits and rabbits eat dandelions. Predict what will happen if rabbit numbers are severely reduced (e.g. by disease). How confident are you about your predictions?

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6 Population growth

Earlier it was stated that three factors check population growth. These are predation, disease and insufficient food supply. For much of our history, our ancestors’ numbers were indeed limited by wars, disease and famine. The world population remained relatively stable until around 300 years ago. Then at the beginning of the 19th century (100 years after population growth started its geometric increase), the demographer Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth would outstrip food pro
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2.2 We are part of nature

Take a few minutes to look around at your surroundings before you read on. What do you see? Obviously this depends on where you are at the moment: at home, at work, or perhaps travelling in between, or maybe you have the misfortune to be laid up in hospital. Possibly like me you are at home. I am fortunate to have a study where I do much of my writing and you won't be surprised to hear that I'm looking at a computer screen at the moment. What else can I see? Books and bookshelves, furniture o
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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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5.7 Relating individual rights to state sovereignty

The fourth set of problems is really a specific example of the third set and relates to the ways in which individual rights relate to state sovereignty. The Millennium Conference of the UN in 2000 endorsed the need for people-centred changes to the institution and renounced its previous ‘state-centred’ structure. The human-centred logic of rights regards human rights as a value which places legitimate constraints upon the politics of national self-interest and interstate competition. Chan
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Introduction

This unit is about rights and rights claims, and the idea of implementing justice in the international sphere based on the concept of rights. It is agreed by most people that ‘rights are a good thing’ and in many respects they are. However, this unit deliberately takes a critical view. It seeks to examine closely why rights are a good thing and highlights some of the problems associated with rights. In this way, we hope that the sense in which rights are still, ultimately, ‘a good thing
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3.2.1 Social disruption

In return for being granted enhanced market access by developed countries, which turned out to be somewhat illusory, developing countries agreed to open up their own markets. Indeed, for supporters of the UR, this was its biggest achievement. One of the central propositions of economic theory is that under certain conditions free trade is beneficial to a country – but there are inevitably winners and losers. As a country adjusts to free trade, some sectors of the economy advance, while othe
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5.2 What's in a phase?

In an engineering and scientific context, a phase is an arrangement of atoms that is identifiable through its recurrence – the same pattern is found time and again. For instance, the compound of hydrogen and oxygen that we call water turns up all over the place in the same form as a runny, colourless liquid; this is a specific phase of the compound H2O. In water, the atoms apparently organise themselves according to what they are and the ambient conditions of temperature a
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3.4 Managing across interfaces

Increasingly, operations management is seen as an interface discipline (Voss, 1995). Managing across interfaces, both internal and external to the organisation, is a particular challenge for managers and this is discussed further in this section.

Information and communications technology is an important means of linking across the various interfaces. Author(s): The Open University

2 Where does the need arise?

There is a rather obvious question that has to be raised at some point, so we may as well get it over with now: Why do we present ourselves with all these problems? After all, life would be easier without them and we could all go off and do jobs that don't involve them. Do we really need to know everything about the universe? Or to send people into space, at significant cost and human risk? Do we really need to send sound and pictures through space? Do we really need to communicate with peopl
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6.3 Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge failure

Such over-design could not be sustained for long and bridge designers gradually pared back their margins of safety. There is elegance and economy in having the lightest structure compatible with function. But history has a habit of repeating itself.

In 1940 a new suspension bridge with a central span of 2800 feet was built over the Tacoma Narrows in the United States. It was soon noticed the bridge deck was prone to oscillate in certain winds. The vertical amplitude of the oscillations
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5.11 Further evidence on stability

Given the importance of establishing the nature of the stability of the bridge, further witnesses were called at a later stage in the enquiry to shed some light on the problem. If Mr Noble had observed chattering of the joints in the tie bars, had similar phenomena been observed earlier?

The key witnesses were the engineers in charge of erecting and finalising the structure before it was opened in May 1878, Major-general Hutchinson, the BoT inspector who approved the structure for publi
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1 Aims of Creating musical sounds

The aims of this unit are to:

  • introduce the idea that a musical instrument is made up of several component parts and that each component has natural frequencies at which it prefers to vibrate;

  • introduce the concept of standing waves and explain how a standing wave is made up of two travelling waves;

  • show that a component prefers to vibrate at its natural frequencies because these are the frequencies at which standing waves
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16 Part 3: Innovation

As you've seen above, many inventors have discovered that innovation – getting their ideas made and sold – is harder than invention. To bring an invention to the market there are a number of obstacles to overcome – technical, financial and organisational. The invention has to be made using appropriate materials and manufacturing processes depending on the nature of the product and the numbers required. Then, once an innovation is available to potential buyers, there are a number of fact
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5.1 Introduction

Water for public supply can be obtained from underground sources by wells sunk into aquifers, or from surface sources such as purpose-built reservoirs or lakes (collecting rainwater run-off or water from streams) and rivers. The safety of the water is of utmost concern – several million people die each year after consuming contaminated water. The primary aim in water treatment is the elimination of any pathogenic micro-organisms present. All the above-mentioned sources can be subject to pol
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