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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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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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5.5 Feminist critiques of international rights

The second source of criticisms that we would like to explore comes from feminist critiques. Some feminists argue that the universal notion of rights makes invisible the special problems faced by women as a group, and that, thereby, specific articles of the various human rights declarations and conventions reinforce traditional gender roles in the family and the workplace. This criticism comes in at least two forms.

The first is that rights for women (as for other disadvantaged groups)
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5.4 The influence of the Western perspective

With regard to the first set of problems – that the rights discourse is not universal but is deeply informed by a Western perspective – it is striking that many actors and commentators on the international stage now frame their arguments and assertions in terms of the language of rights and justice. Yet we need to ask to what extent this language of rights and justice really underpins shared understandings and values. There is a strong case for saying that if there are shared understandin
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3.3 Examples of rights

Many things have been claimed as rights, as can be seen in the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Table 1. One set of rights is citizenship rights. Primarily concerned with basic constitutional issues, these rights should, in Dworkin's phrase, ‘trump’ other considerations such as political
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3.1 Introduction

As this history might suggest, defining and conceptualising rights is not straightforward. This section aims to provide a working definition of ‘rights’ and introduce some important debates about rights. It aims to supply some conceptual tools to use when the discussion moves to the sphere of international politics.


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3.2.3 Fighting on too many fronts

Although I have dwelt on the agreements relating to agriculture, textiles, and intellectual property, there are some two dozen others, each involving intricate legal and technical details. These include agreements on:

  • Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures: these are standards applied to imported agricultural products so as to protect plants, animals and humans in the importing country. However, these standards are often arbitrarily used to restric
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3.2 (2B): Developing a relational model of the Powerdown Show programme

In this activity you will be challenged to reinterpret the following programme extracted from the Powerdown Show DVD: Energy Descent Pathways. The reason this programme was selected, from the many audio-visual programmes currently available online that tackle environmental and social issues, was because it presents an "ecotopian" approach to tackling the converging social, economic and environmental crises. Your challen
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2.6 Mathematical communication

When you looked at the title of this reading, did you experience unease? Most people shudder at the thought of dealing with anything mathematical, remembering the torturous lessons at school trying to grapple with calculus, statistics and logic. Yet most of us use mathematical com
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2.5 Visual communication

As discussed in Reading 2.4, written text has major limitations in representing relationships between things when they do not follow the linear structure of the text. Relationships can be extremely complex, even circular, as you will see in this block. In particular, the linear sequence of text is not able to clearly show context, elements, structure, processes and functions of
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4.3.3 Getting at the activation energy

The final trick I want to show you with Arrhenius's law is how to extract the constants r0 and Ea from experimental data. If the Arrhenius equation (Section 4.3.1) is ‘turned inside out’ by taking natural logarithms of both sides it becomes:


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4.2.3 The significance of the distribution of energies

Near room temperature (300 K), the average bundle of thermal energy associated with a particle is 0.026 eV (look back at Box 2 Temperature and energy). This is not going to do much damage to something stuck together with bonds that have an energy of a few eV – just as the average wage earne
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2.1 Boiling water

Whether it's to wash clothes, make a cup of tea, or just make it safe to drink, water often has to be heated – sometimes to boiling point. There are many ways to do this, but a very common means is some form of electric water-boiler, such as a kettle or an urn. In all but the crudest ones, a device is fitted to ensure that heating does not continue once the boiling point of water is reached.

In deciding on the type and design of such a device, we can suppose that a company manufacturi
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • relate the temperature of a solid to the mean kinetic energy of its atoms;

  • use models for thermally induced effects that involve linear, exponential and step changes;

  • use exponentials, logarithms and graphical methods to interpret data from a thermally activated process in terms of Arrhenius's law;

  • identify the changes of phase taking place in a variety of critical phenomena;


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5.7 Bibliographic software

If you are considering taking your studies further you might like to consider using bibliographic software. Bibliographic software can be used to sort references, annotate them, manage quotations or create reading lists.

There are several software packages on the market. Some are listed below.

3.2.7 Ways that groups go wrong

Before leaving Reading 2, it is worth mentioning some of the characteristic ways that groups ‘go wrong’. Why should a group, asked to design a camel, produce a horse? You might expect that when we pool the talents, experience and knowledge of a group, the result would be better, not worse, than that of any individual member. But as groups design ‘horses’ so frequently there must be some fairly familiar decision-making processes at work. Probably the most common problems are those that
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3.2 Group processes

So far, the emphasis has been on the factors that are significant in the relationship between an individual and the group. In this section I examine such issues as what tasks the group has to perform, how big the group is, who should be in it, how the group develops and so on. These are particularly important issues in the operation of formal groups within the organisation. These factors, mostly associated with the ‘environment’ of the group, can be critical in determining how effective a
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2.8 Why do (only some) teams succeed?

Clearly, it is not possible to devise a set of rules which, if followed, would lead inexorably to team effectiveness. The determinants of a successful team are complex and not equivalent to following a set of prescriptions. However, the results of poor teamworking can be expensive, so it is useful to draw on research, experience and case studies to explore some general guidelines. What do I mean by ‘team effectiveness'? – the achievement of goals alone? Where do the achievements of indivi
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2.1 What is a group?

Our tendency to form groups is a pervasive aspect of organisational life. As well as formal groups, committees and teams, there are informal groups, cliques and cabals.

Formal groups are used to organise and distribute work, pool information, devise plans, coordinate activities, increase commitment, negotiate, resolve conflicts and conduct inquests. Group working allows the pooling of people's individual skills and knowledge, and helps compensate for individual deficiencies. It has been
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6.5 Market experience

It is some 20 years since the Topper project was conceived by Peter Bean, Technical Director of Rolinx and Ian Proctor, the designer of the original GRP boat. Sales initially were excellent, especially to sailing schools and clubs where there was much demand for a small, light and very safe sailing boat for children. But after that, the market became saturated, sales were heavily dependant on individuals and families, so decreased despite attempts to export the boat to the USA and Israel, for
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