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7.4 Closing thoughts

Of course, doing anything about this needs scientific evidence and understanding, but it also requires social, economic and technological changes, which can only be achieved through political will. If you want to explore some of the broader context, a good place to start would be the New Internationalist issue 357, ‘The Big Switch: Climate Change Solutions’ at New Internationalist.

Faced with the sort of predictions climatologists are making, is it sufficient for science teac
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7 Conclusion

One might think of the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice as running along a spectrum, from which we shall now identify four different positions.

  • The first interpretation would argue that, overall, the extension of rights to the international sphere has been benign and effective. It has led and will lead to further successful claims for justice.

Evidence for the development of a globa
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5.8 Review of criticisms of international rights

Activity 1

Review the four criticisms of rights at the international level discussed in the previous sections.

  1. Identify which of these criticisms are objections in principle to
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5.3 The rebound effect

When individuals or organisations implement energy efficiency improvements, they usually save money as well as saving energy. However, if the money saved is then spent on higher standards of service, or additional energy-consuming activities that would not have otherwise been undertaken, then some or all of the energy savings may be eliminated. This tendency is sometimes known as the 'rebound effect'. For example, if householders install improved insulation or a more efficient heating boiler,
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Cyborgs and cybernetics
What are cyborgs? Would a cyborg future deliver positive human advances or a Hollywood-style nightmare in which human beings have become a sub-species? Could we one day download our minds? This album gives an insight into the development of cybernetics and how it is used to fuse technology and humanity. The interfaces that communicate between man and machine are developing rapidly and to Prof. Kevin Warwick at Reading University, cyborgs are a technological evolutionary step forward from humans.
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Structural Integrity: designing against failure
The Kinzua rail viaduct, in Pennsylvania, collapsed when it was hit by a tornado in 2003. First built in 1882 and redesigned 1900, it was at one time the highest bridge in the world. The two video tracks in this album tell the story of the Kinzua catastrophe. The subsequent forensic investigation has cast new light on the failure of Tay rail bridge in Scotland 125 years earlier; with 75 people killed, the worst ever disaster to befall a trestle bridge. This material forms part of the course T3
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Structural Integrity: Materials Testing
How is safety built into the design of new structures? What sort of tests are used to ascertain the safety of proposed designs? Structural integrity, the study of the safe design and assessment of materials and structures under load, has become crucial in engineering design. Concepts within stress analysis have wide applicability, as there are very few manufactured components and products that do not experience any loading during their life. The tracks on this album demonstrate a selection of
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Structural Integrity: Silver Bridge
The 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River was an engineering mystery and a human tragedy - 46 people died. Why did a suspension bridge built to last a century not make 40 years? Built in 1928, it was a slimmer version of similar bridges built in nearby Pittsburgh. The slimming down was deemed to be safe because of the use of a tougher steel and ‘silver coloured anticorrosion paint’. The tracks in this album look at the factors which led to the catastrophic failure of one of
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Riddle of the Tay Bridge disaster
On December 28th 1879, the Tay Bridge collapsed as a train passed over it, killing all 75 passengers on board. At the time of this tragedy, the Tay Bridge was the longest bridge in the world, and to this day the accident remains the worst structural disaster the UK has ever seen. This album attempts to unlock the mystery of this catastrophe, through several plausible explanations and expert opinions. This material forms part of the course T173 Engineering the future.Author(s): The OpenLearn team

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Composing with MIDI
In the last 50 years, developments in technology have had a profound effect on the production, recording and manipulation of music. The 8 video tracks in this album introduce Simon Whiteside, a television and film composer, explore his recording studio and explain how he uses MIDI to create music for films and television programmes. Using an example of one of the programmes he has worked on, Simon illustrates the technical and creative processes involved. This material forms part of TA212 Techno
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Music in Code
Today, listening to music is easy - we have CDs, MP3s, radio, television and the internet. But around a hundred years ago life was very different - either you had to play music yourself or have someone else play it for you. The 15 video tracks in this album demonstrate various ways to play music by mechanical means, with the ingenious use of levers, pegs, cylinders or paper rolls, and explain the principles used to create and control these music-making machines. This material forms part of TA212
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Brass Instruments
Technology and music have been closely associated since the very first musical instruments were constructed, and in the 19th century an explosion of invention revolutionised the way brass instruments could be played. The 14 video tracks on this album introduce the basic acoustical principles of brass instruments and how technical developments have affected the way they are designed and played. The album explores the latest scientific research, performers' perspectives and the manufacturing proce
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Water Treatment
Do you think about where your water comes from? In the UK each of us uses an average of about 150 litres of water per day! The seven video tracks in this album consider issues of demand and quality in water supply as well as treatment processes. They give information on methods of minimising waste, emergency water treatment and effluent control. This material forms part of T308 Environmental monitoring, modelling and control.Author(s): The OpenLearn team

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Noise Pollution
How do your ears work and what kind of sound levels can damage your hearing? The five video tracks in this album explain basic concepts such as units of noise, sound insulation and noise control. Car manufacturers like Lexus have developed the quiet car, but this kind of technology benefits the driver, not the people living beside busy roads. Locals from a Derbyshire village explain how the construction of the A50 has affected their lives. The Transport Research Laboratory analyses tyre noise on
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Innovation Design: Sustainable Communities
Can you picture the future in a world without fossil fuels? Perhaps you think that living an "alternative" lifestyle has to mean painful and radical changes to the way you live now. This album looks at various small scale initiatives which show that living sustainably may not be as unpalatable as you might imagine. Bedzed, Findhorn, Hockerton, Samsoe Island; these are all decentralised communities at the forefront of a major social and technological experiment. In our world of finite resources a
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The Four Generations of Computers
Computers play a huge part in almost all of our lives, but how did these machines become so powerful and important? And what were some of the earliest models like? This collection of videos takes us through the Four Generations of computers, starting with Colossus, the world's first electronic computer (launched in 1944), and finishing with the BBC Micro (launched in 1981) and Fourth Generation Computers, looking at how technology changed throughout these years. Visiting locations such as The Na
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Digital Nepal
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, so just how has it managed to develop a wireless network and promote innovation? This collection explores how Nepal has developed its digital technological infrastructure, how it is still developing from a complex political background and gives a sense of how different cultures around the world relate to digital technology. The videos look at the country's recent history, with particular focus on education, health, language and the economy. Th
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Revolutions in sound recording
Since the invention of the phonograph in 1877, the recording and playback of sound has been a key element of life in the western world. This free course, Revolutions in sound recording, traces the technology and characters of the sound recording industry as it advances from Edison's original phonograph to the formats we know today. Author(s): Creator not set

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Managing for Sustainability
What are the key issues for sustainable resource management? How do companies operate while maintaining corporate social responsibility? From understanding the need for sustainability, and environmental auditing to learning how organisations integrate health and safety policy. This collection/album explores many of the issues that face modern businesses and gives some insight into how these companies function while adhering to various environmental management systems. This material is taken fr
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Personal development planning for engineering
This free course, Personal development planning for engineering, has been written in keeping with the requirements of UK-SPEC and the professional engineering institutions (e.g. ImechE, IET etc). It will provide you with a range of relevant information and guidance in critically assessing and scrutinising your career development aspirations. First p
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