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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 Sound production in musical instruments

Musical instruments come in all shapes and sizes and produce an enormous variety of different sounds. Yet, with the exception of certain electronic instruments, the basic physical principles by which sound is produced are the same for all instruments – including the human voice. In this section, I shall introduce some of these principles. These will then be expanded upon over the rest of the unit.

Remember I told you that when a musician plays an instrument they cause it to vibrate. T
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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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2 New products – old failings

This section introduces product ‘usability’. It offers a case study of a vegetable peeler to illustrate how usability issues exist alongside other important concerns in the product development process.

If you look around high-street or shopping-mall stores, you cannot help but notice the number and variety of new products on offer. This year's washing machine or dishwasher, stylish furniture, multi-feature telephones, audio systems, DVD players, digital cameras and camcorders, all b
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5.14.3 Electrodialysis

Electrodialysis is an electrochemical process in which ion transfer separates salt from water. It is effective only for substances that can be ionized: for example, salt (NaCl) becomes, in solution, a mixture of Na+ and Cl ions. (Silica, on the other hand, does not ionize and hence is not removed by electrodialysis. It could, however, be removed by reverse osmosis.) When electrodes, connected to a suitable direct current supply, are immersed in a salt solution, curren
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5.14.2 Reverse osmosis

This technique, explained in Section 3.8.1, is rapidly becoming a major means of desalination, with research producing membranes with lower operating pressures (and hence lower operating costs). Originally a pressure of 14 × 106 Pa was needed to separate pure water from sea water but with newer membranes only half this pressure is required. Reverse osmosis membranes operate at ambient temperature, in contrast to multistage flash distillation, and this lower temperature minimises s
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5.7 Disinfection

Before water can be passed into the public supply, it is necessary to remove all potentially pathogenic micro-organisms. Since these micro-organisms are extremely small, it is not possible to guarantee their complete removal by sedimentation and filtration, so the water must be disinfected to ensure its quality. Disinfection is the inactivation of pathogenic organisms and is not to be confused with sterilisation, which is the destruction of all organisms.

Worldwide, chlorine is the most
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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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4.2.3 Adjectives

Adjectives are words which describe nouns, for example black horse, these chairs, some people, my chocolate or twelve swans. In Latin they ‘agree’ with the noun they describe: they match with regard to gender and number (and also case – but we will discuss that later). This is occasionally so in English, too. For example, we say that house but those houses.


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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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