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Text 1: Portland Cement Production
Two different processes, "dry" and "wet," are used in the manufacture of portland cement.
When rock is the principal raw material, the first step after quarrying in both processes is the primary crushing. Mountains of rock are fed through crushers capable of handling pieces as large as an oil drum. The first crushing reduces the rock to a maximum size of about 6 inches. The rock then goes to secondary crushers or hammer mills for reduction to about 3 inches or smaller.
In the wet process, the raw materials, properly proportioned, are then ground with water, thoroughly mixed and fed into the kiln in the form of a "slurry" (containing enough water to make it fluid). In the dry process, raw materials are ground, mixed, and fed to the kiln in a dry state. In other respects, the two processes are essentially alike.
The raw material is heated to about 2,700 degrees F in huge cylindrical steel rotary kilns. Kilns are frequently as much as 12 feet in diameter large enough to accommodate an automobile and longer in many instances than the height of a 40-story building. Kilns are mounted with the axis inclined slightly from the horizontal. As the material moves through the kiln, certain elements are driven off in the form of gases. The remaining elements unite to form a new substance with new physical and chemical characteristics. The new substance, called clinker, is formed in pieces about the size of marbles.
Clinker is discharged red-hot from the lower end of the kiln and generally is brought down to handling temperature in various types of coolers. The heated air from the coolers is returned to the kilns, a process that saves fuel and increases burning efficiency.
Text 2: A central heating system
A central heating system provides warmth to the whole interior of a building (or portion of a building) from one point to multiple rooms. When combined with other systems in order to control the building climate, the whole system may be a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system.
Central heating differs from local heating in that the heat generation occurs in one place, such as a furnace room in a house or a mechanical room in a large building (though not necessarily at the "central" geometric point). The most common method of heat generation involves the combustion of fossil fuel in a furnace or boiler. The resultant heat then gets distributed: typically by forced-air through ductwork, by water circulating through pipes, or by steam fed through pipes. Increasingly, buildings utilize solar-powered heat sources, in which case the distribution system normally uses water circulation.
In much of northern Europe and in urban portions of Russia, where people seldom require air conditioning in homes due to the temperate climate, most new housing comes with central heating installed. Such areas normally use gas heaters, district heating, or oil-fired systems. In the western and southern United States natural-gas-fired central forced-air systems occur most commonly; these systems and central-boiler systems both occur in the far northern regions of the USA. Steam-heating systems, fired by coal, oil or gas, feature in the USA, Russia and Europe: primarily for larger buildings. Electrical heating systems occur less commonly and are only practical with low cost electricity or when geothermal heat pumps are used. Considering the combined system of central generating plant and electric resistance heating, the overall efficiency will be less than for direct use of fossil fuel for space heating.
Electric heating or resistance heating converts electricity directly to heat. Electric heat is often more expensive than heat produced by combustion appliances like natural gas, propane, and oil. Electric resistance heat can be provided by baseboard heaters, space heaters, radiant heaters, furnaces, wall heaters, or thermal storage systems.
In larger commercial applications, central heating is provided through an air handler which incorporates similar components as a furnace but on a larger scale.
Text 3: Types of ventilation
Mechanical or forced ventilation: through an air handling unit or direct injection to a space by a fan. A local exhaust fan can enhance infiltration or natural ventilation, thus increasing the ventilation air flow rate.
Natural ventilation occurs when the air in a space is changed with outdoor air without the use of mechanical systems, such as a fan. Most often natural ventilation is assured through operable windows but it can also be achieved through temperature and pressure differences between spaces. Open windows or vents are not a good choice for ventilating a basement or other below ground structure. Allowing outside air into a cooler below ground space will cause problems with humidity and condensation.
Mixed Mode Ventilation or Hybrid ventilation: utilises both mechanical and natural ventilation processes. The mechanical and natural components may be used in conjunction with each other or separately at different times of day. The natural component, sometimes subject to unpredictable external weather conditions may not always be adequate to ventilate the desired space. The mechanical component is then used to increase the overall ventilation rate so that the desired internal conditions are met. Alternatively the mechanical component may be used as a control measure to regulate the natural ventilation process, for example, to restrict the air change rate during periods of high wind speeds.
Text 4: Key elements of a fire safety policy
Fire safety refers to precautions that are taken to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a fire that may result in death, injury, or property damage, alert those in a structure to the presence of a fire in the event one occurs, better enable those threatened by a fire to survive, or to reduce the damage caused by a fire. Fire safety measures include those that are planned during the construction of a building or implemented in structures that are already standing, and those that are taught to occupants of the building.
Threats to fire safety are referred to as fire hazards. A fire hazard may include a situation that increases the likelihood a fire may start or may impede escape in the event a fire occurs.
Fire safety is often a component of building safety. Those who inspect buildings for violations of the Fire Code and go into schools to educate children on Fire Safety topics are fire department members known as fire prevention officers. The Chief Fire Prevention Officer or Chief of Fire Prevention will normally train newcomers to the Fire Prevention Division and may also conduct inspections or make presentations.
Text 5: The automotive Industry
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The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's motor vehicles.
About 250 million vehicles are in use in the United States. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007; they burn over 260 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China and India. In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investments. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars. The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems.
With rapidly rising oil prices, industries such as the automotive industry, are experiencing a combination of pricing pressures from raw material costs and changes in consumer buying habits. The industry is also facing increasing external competition from the public transport sector, as consumers re-evaluate their private vehicle usage.
The automotive market is formed by the demand and the industry. The European automotive market has always boasted a higher number of smaller cars than the United States. With the high fuel prices and the world petroleum crisis, the United States may see its automotive market become more like the European market with fewer large vehicles on the road and more small cars. For luxurious cars, with the current volatility in oil prices, going for smaller cars is not only smart, but also trendy. And because fashion is of high importance with the upper classes, the little green cars with luxury trimmings become quite plausible.
Text 6: Road construction
Road construction requires the creation of a continuous right-of-way, overcoming geographic obstacles and having grades low enough to permit vehicle or foot travel and may be required to meet standards set by law or official guidelines. The process is often begun with the removal of earth and rock by digging or blasting, construction of embankments, bridges and tunnels, and removal of vegetation (this may involve deforestation) and followed by the laying of pavement material. A variety of road building equipment is employed in road building.
After design, approval, planning, legal and environmental considerations have been addressed alignment of the road is set out by a surveyor. Roads are designed and built for primary use by vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Storm drainage and environmental considerations are a major concern. Drainage systems must be capable of carrying the ultimate design flow from the upstream catchment with approval for the outfall from the appropriate authority to a watercourse, creek, river or the sea for drainage discharge.
A borrow pit (source for obtaining fill, gravel, and rock) and a water source should be located near or in reasonable distance to the road construction site. Approval from local authorities may be required to draw water or for working (crushing and screening) of materials for construction needs. The top soil and vegetation is removed from the borrow pit and stockpiled for subsequent rehabilitation of the extraction area. Side slopes in the excavation area not steeper than one vertical to two horizontal for safety reasons.
Old road surfaces, fences, and buildings may need to be removed before construction can begin. Trees in the road construction area may be marked for retention. These protected trees should not have the topsoil within the area of the tree's drip line removed and the area should be kept clear of construction material and equipment. Compensation or replacement may be required if a protected tree is damaged. Much of the vegetation may be mulched and put aside for use during reinstatement. The topsoil is usually stripped and stockpiled nearby for rehabilitation of newly constructed embankments along the road. Stumps and roots are removed and holes filled as required before the earthwork begins. Final rehabilitation after road construction is completed will include seeding, planting, watering and other activities to reinstate the area to be consistent with the untouched surrounding areas.
Text 7: Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956, defines it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines."
The field was founded on the claim that a central property of humans, intelligence—the sapience of Homo sapiens—can be so precisely described that it can be simulated by a machine. This raises philosophical issues about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings, issues which have been addressed by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity. Artificial intelligence has been the subject of optimism, but has also suffered setbacks and, today, has become an essential part of the technology industry, providing the heavy lifting for many of the most difficult problems in computer science.
AI research is highly technical and specialized, deeply divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other. Subfields have grown up around particular institutions, the work of individual researchers, the solution of specific problems, longstanding differences of opinion about how AI should be done and the application of widely differing tools. The central problems of AI include such traits as reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, communication, perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence (or "strong AI") is still among the field's long term goals.
Text 8: Production, cost, and efficiency
In microeconomics, production is the conversion of inputs into outputs. It is an economic process that uses inputs to create a commodity for exchange or direct use. Production is a flow and thus a rate of output per period of time. Distinctions include such production alternatives as for consumption (food, haircuts, etc.) vs. investment goods (new tractors, buildings, roads, etc.), public goods (national defense, small-pox vaccinations, etc.) or private goods (new computers, bananas, etc.), and "guns" vs. "butter".
Opportunity cost refers to the economic cost of production: the value of the next best opportunity foregone. Choices must be made between desirable yet mutually exclusive actions. It has been described as expressing "the basic relationship between scarcity and choice." The opportunity cost of an activity is an element in ensuring that scarce resources are used efficiently, such that the cost is weighed against the value of that activity in deciding on more or less of it. Opportunity costs are not restricted to monetary or financial costs but could be measured by the real cost of output forgone, leisure, or anything else that provides the alternative benefit (utility).
Inputs used in the production process include such primary factors of production as labour services, capital (durable produced goods used in production, such as an existing factory), and land (including natural resources). Other inputs may include intermediate goods used in production of final goods, such as the steel in a new car.
Economic efficiency describes how well a system generates desired output with a given set of inputs and available technology. Efficiency is improved if more output is generated without changing inputs, or in other words, the amount of "waste" is reduced. A widely-accepted general standard is Pareto efficiency, which is reached when no further change can make someone better off without making someone else worse off.
Much applied economics in public policy is concerned with determining how the efficiency of an economy can be improved. Recognizing the reality of scarcity and then figuring out how to organize society for the most efficient use of resources has been described as the "essence of economics," where the subject "makes its unique contribution."
Text 9: Public relations (PR)
Public relations (PR) is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
An earlier definition of public relations, by The first World Assembly of Public Relations Associations, held in Mexico City, in August 1978, was "the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest." Others define it as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.
The European view of public relations notes that besides a relational form of interactivity there is also a reflective paradigm that is concerned with publics and the public sphere; not only with relational, which can in principle be private, but also with public consequences of organizational behaviour. A much broader view of interactive communication using the Internet, as outlined by Phillips and Young in Online Public Relations Second Edition (2009), describes the form and nature of Internet-mediated public relations. It encompasses social media and other channels for communication and many platforms for communication such as personal computers (PCs), mobile phones and video game consoles with Internet access. The increasing use of the mentioned technologies give the media a democratisation power and thus, aid to the demystification of subjects.
Public relations is used to build rapport with employees, customers, investors, voters, or the general public. Almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs some level of public relations. There are a number of public relations disciplines falling under the banner of corporate communications, such as analyst relations, media relations, investor relations, internal communications and labor relations. Most of them include the aspect of peer review to get liability.