1)   “The Scientific Method” Please respond to the following:


·         Watch the video titled “The Scientific Method” (3 min 15 sec) under the Scientific Method terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at http://www.ket.org/education/video/kgedu/kgedu_000005.htm . Next, describe each step of the scientific method. Assess the importance of the role of reproducibility, collaboration, and peer review as part of scientific inquiry.


·         Watch the video titled “GlobalTrek: Inca Road” (4 min 2 sec) under the scientific inquiry section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at http://science360.gov/obj/video/ef05ee9f-2c21-4ef2-8b4d-fa8cbda76670/globaltrek-inca-road . Next, describe the main challenges that scientists face in collecting data and making observations on how the road was made. Then, explain the strategy that researchers are developing to overcome these challenges. Describe the manner in which scientists can use this research for future construction in mountainous regions.


·         Pseudoscience is defined in your book on page 6. Read this section and then give an example of a pseudoscience and explain why it doesn’t qualify as scientific. Next, choose an example that hasn’t already been mentioned in your textbook or by your classmates.




Page 6


Science and Society Pseudoscience


For a claim to qualify as scientific, it must meet certain standards. For example, the claim must be reproducible by others who have no stake in whether the claim is true or false. The data and subsequent interpretations are open to scrutiny in a social environment where it’s okay to have made an honest mistake, but not okay to have been dishonest or deceiving. Claims that are presented as scientific but do not meet these standards are what we call pseudoscience, which literally means “fake science.” In the realm of pseudoscience, skepticism and tests for possible wrongness are downplayed or flatly ignored.


Examples of pseudoscience abound. Astrology is an ancient belief system that supposes that a person’s future is determined by the positions and movements of planets and other celestial bodies. Astrology mimics science in that astrological predictions are based on careful astronomical observations. Yet astrology is not a science because there is no validity to the claim that the positions of celestial objects influence the events of a person’s life. After all, the gravitational force exerted by celestial bodies on a person is smaller than the gravitational force exerted by objects making up the earthly environment: trees, chairs, other people, bars of soap, and so on. Further, the predictions of astrology are not borne out; there just is no evidence that astrology works.


For more examples of pseudoscience, look to television or the Internet. You can find advertisements for a plethora of pseudoscientific products. Watch out for remedies to ailments such as baldness, obesity, and cancer; for air-purifying mechanisms; and for “germ-fighting” cleaning products in particular. Although many such products operate on solid science, others are pure pseudoscience. Buyer beware!


Humans are very good at denial, which may explain why pseudoscience is such a thriving enterprise. Many pseudoscientists do not recognize their efforts as pseudoscience. A practitioner of “absent healing,” for example, may truly believe in her ability to cure people she will never meet except through e-mail and credit card exchanges.


She may even find anecdotal evidence to support her contentions. The placebo effect, discussed in Section 8.2 , can mask the ineffectiveness of various healing modalities. In terms of the human body, what people believe will happen often can happen because of the physical connection between the mind and body.


That said, consider the enormous downside of pseudoscientific practices. Today more than 20,000 astrologers are practicing in the United States. Do people listen to these astrologers just for the fun of it? Or do they base important decisions on astrology? You might lose money by listening to pseudoscientific entrepreneurs; worse, you could become ill. Delusional thinking, in general, carries risk.


Meanwhile, the results of science literacy tests given to the general public show that most Americans lack a basic understanding of basic concepts of science. Some 63% of American adults are unaware that the mass extinction of the dinosaurs occurred long before the first human evolved; 75% do not know that antibiotics kill bacteria but not viruses; 57% do not know that electrons are smaller than atoms. What we find is a rift—a growing divide—between those who have a realistic sense of the capabilities of science and those who do not understand the nature of science, its core concepts, or, worse, feel that scientific knowledge is too complex for them to understand. Science is a powerful method for understanding the physical world, and a whole lot more reliable than pseudoscience as a means for bettering the human condition.






2) “Temperature, Heat, and Pressure” Please respond to the following:


·         Watch the video titled “Heat and Temperature Introduction” (2 min 30 sec) under the Temperature and Heat terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1zOnyC4RgQD . Next, describe the fundamental differences and similarities between temperature and heat. Then, analyze how heat transfer occurs during the processes of conduction and convection. Provide one (1) example of where each occurs in natural physical systems.


·         Watch the video titled “USGS Gas Hydrates Lab” (6 min 44 sec) under the Gas Hydrate terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U46XOoU0DrM#t=12 . Next, explain the main reasons why pressure and temperature play a critical role in the stability of gas hydrates. Identify at least two (2) situations where methane hydrate deposits predominantly occur and discuss the key challenge(s) in locating and harvesting methane hydrate under each situation.


·         Suppose it is a very hot summer day and you want to cool your kitchen. Unfortunately the windows and doors in your kitchen cannot be opened. You have either a fan or a refrigerator to cool the kitchen. Which do you believe would be more effective to cool the room? Explain your answer then try testing your theory.




3) “The Electromagnetic Spectrum” Please respond to the following:


·         Watch the video titled “What Are Gamma Rays?” (1 min 39 sec) under the Gamma Rays terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPlrtgilgK8 . Next, give your opinion on whether or not the benefits of space exploration to the Moon and Mars outweigh the risks and costs of exposing such travelers to gamma rays above Earth’s atmosphere. Provide a rationale for your response.


·         Watch the video titled “Video Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum” (5 min 3 sec) under the EM Spectrum terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at http://missionscience.nasa.gov/ems/emsVideo_01intro.html . Next, describe one to two (1-2) ways that you encounter and utilize electromagnetic radiation in your daily life. Note : Feel free to include both naturally occurring examples, as well as any man-made technologies.


·         Choose a technology device that makes use of the EM Spectrum. Next, explain how this device works using terminology learned in this chapter.






4) “Common Chemical Hazards and Superfund Sites” Please respond to the following:


·         Watch the video titled “Groundwater Contamination” (4 min 35 sec) under the Water Pollution terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xs1jLlbztE . Next, explain the main reasons why some groundwater sources that we use may be more vulnerable to chemical contamination than others. Next, suggest one (1) strategy that the government can take to reduce groundwater contamination.


·         Access the Superfund Sites Website under the Super Fund terms section of the Science Corner. You can also access the site at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm . Click on your region of the country in the map and then click on your state. Next, choose one (1) of the Superfund sites on the list and provide a brief summary of the site. Describe the community involvement (e.g., remediation strategies, current stage of cleanup at the site, etc.) in the discovery or cleanup of the site and give your opinion as to whether or not you believe the community involvement is efficient.


·         Imagine that you recently found out you live close to a Superfund site. Identify the most important information you would want to know about the site. Give your opinion on whether you would move to a new location. Explain why or why not.




5) “Science, the Future, and Reflections on the Course” Please respond to the following:


·         Identify the main developments in science that you find most fascinating. List at least two (2) topics that you wish you could learn more about and explain why.


·         Share your opinions on the course, including the topics you enjoyed the most and the least and explain why. Describe the salient manner in which you would use the knowledge learned from this course in your daily life.




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