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Unformatted text preview: Homework 1 CIE 274 Spring 2012 Due January 31 1. In this problem, we investigate which of Jared Diamond’s four factors contributing to collapse of a civilization are also major factors influencing a specific environmental disaster. We modify these factors slightly as follows: Factor 1. A group may not anticipate a problem before it happens. Factor 2. Once the problem occurs, the group may fail to perceive it, or perhaps perceive it only after a long time has elapsed. Factor 3. Once the group perceives the problem, it may not attempt to find a solution, or perhaps attempt to find a solution only after a long time has elapsed. Factor 4. Once the group attempts to find a solution, the efforts may be unsuccessful, e.g., because the effort needed is too great. Consider the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Read the following account of the oil spill, and then determine which of the four factors played a major role in this disaster. List each factor by number, and answer Yes or No for each one. Note that the “group” referred to by Diamond can be considered as the decision makers and workers carrying out the requests of the decision makers throughout the time history of this incident. The Exxon Valdez left the Alaskan oil terminal the evening of March 23, 1989. The tanker was forced go outside the normal shipping lane due to icebergs. The captain, who was later found to have alcohol in his blood even hours after the accident, turned control of the vessel over to two individuals, both of whom may have been fatigued due to excessive workload. One of these individuals turned the controls over to another individual, and the remaining two failed to pilot the ship past a dangerous point outside the shipping lane. The tanker ran into Bligh Reef shortly after midnight on March 24, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound ( Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, 2011). The response to the spill suggests that whatever procedures were in place to contain and manage oil spills were inadequate, as the responses to the accident were delayed and fraught with difficulty. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (1992) wrote: “The response to the Exxon Valdez involved more personnel and equipment over a longer time period than did any other spill in U.S. history. Logistical problems in providing fuel, meals, berthing, response equipment, waste management, and other resources were one of the largest challenges to response management. At the height of the response, more than 11,000 personnel, 1,400 vessels, and 85 aircraft were involved in the cleanup.” Furthermore, significant ecological damage was apparent more than a decade after the spill (Peterson et al., 2003), and more recent studies have shown that problems continue (Dell’Amour, 2009)....
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course MEE 332 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Syracuse.
- Fall '10