By National Academy of Engineering

Record from the nationwide Academy of Engineering Annual assembly, held October 24, 2000. Discusses the engineering and environmental demanding situations in the world platforms engineering. Softcover.

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8. Adaptation Determines Health Outcomes. S. population. Maintaining our nation’s public health and community infrastructure, from water treatment systems to emergency shelters, will be important for minimizing the impacts of water-borne diseases, heat stress, air pollution, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects, ticks, and rodents. 9. Other Stresses Magnified by Climate Change. Climate change will very likely magnify the cumulative impacts of other stresses, such as air and water pollution and habitat destruction due to human development patterns.

Earth’s climate is a function of complex interactions among the sun, atmosphere, oceans, land, and living things. Several gases in the atmosphere, including CO2, absorb heat radiated from the Earth’s surface and create the “greenhouse effect,” a natural feature of our climate system. Humans have been changing the 23 24 ENGINEERING AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES composition of the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and clearing forests for agriculture and other uses for the past 1,000 years. But until about 100 years ago these activities had a minor effect on the global carbon cycle and the climate system (NAST, 2000).

In most populations of organisms there are many alleles for a given gene, not just two. New alleles, known as mutations, can arise. Although the word mutant has a negative connotation, not every mutant allele is bad news. Some alleles give organisms an advantage over their cousins in a particular environment. The advantaged organisms reproduce more efficiently than their cousins, thus explaining Darwin’s idea of natural selection. Breeders of animals and plants practice unnatural selection, relying on human intervention to ensure the efficient reproduction of a selected organism.

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