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Flashcards in Chapter 3 Deck (52):

Natural law

Description of what scientists find happening in nature repeatedly in the same way, without known exception.



Matter, energy, or information entering a system.



Rate of flow of matter, energy, or information through a system.



Matter, energy, or information leaving a system.


Feedback loop

Circuit of sensing, evaluating, and reacting to changes in environmental conditions as a result of information fed back into a system; it occurs when one change leads to some other change, which eventually reinforces or slows the original change.



Interaction of two or more factors or processes so that the combined effect is greater than the sum of their separate effects.



Chemical such as hydrogen (H), iron (Fe), sodium (Na), carbon (C), nitrogen (N), or oxygen (O), whose distinctly different atoms serve as the basic building blocks of all matter. Two or more elements combine to form compounds that make up most of the world's matter.



Combination of atoms, or oppositely charged ions, of two or more different elements held together by attractive forces called chemical bonds.



Minute unit made of subatomic particles that is the basic building block of all chemical elements and thus all matter; the smallest unit of an element that can exist and still have the unique characteristics of that element.



Atom or group of atoms with one or more positive (+) or negative (-) electrical charges.



Combination of two or more atoms of the same chemical element (such as O2) or different chemical elements (such as H2O) held together by chemical bonds.


Inorganic compounds

All compounds not classified as organic compounds.


Matter quality

Measure of how useful a matter resource is, based on its availability and concentration.



Capacity to do work by performing mechanical, physical, chemical, or electrical tasks or to cause a heat transfer between two objects at different temperatures.


Kinetic energy

Energy that matter has because of its mass and speed or velocity.


Potential energy

Energy stored in an object because of its position or the position of its parts.


Electromagnetic radiation

Forms of kinetic energy traveling as electromagnetic waves. Examples are radio waves, TV waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X rays, and gamma rays.


ionizing radiation

Fast-moving alpha or beta particles or high-energy radiation (gamma rays) emitted by radioisotopes. They have enough energy to dislodge one or more electrons from atoms they hit, forming charged ions in tissue that can react with and damage living tissue.


Degradable polluants

Potentially polluting chemical that is broken down completely or reduced to acceptable levels by natural physical, chemical, and biological processes.


Biodegradable polluants

Material that can be broken down into simpler substances (elements and compounds) by bacteria or other decomposers. Paper and most organic wastes such as animal manure are biodegradable but can take decades to biodegrade in modern landfills.


Non-degradable pollutants

Material that is not broken down by natural processes. Examples are the toxic elements lead and mercury.


chain reaction

Multiple nuclear fissions, taking place within a certain mass of a fissionable isotope, that release an enormous amount of energy in a short time.


energy efficiency

Percentage of the total energy input that does useful work and is not converted into low-quality, usually useless heat in an energy conversion system or process.


What happened on Easter Island?

Easter Island has all these trees that the Polynesians would cut down. After a while they ran out of trees to cut down. This is an example of tragedy of the commons. Since there were no more trees the civilization started to go down hill. They couldn't build canoes (for escape, and hunting), streams started to dry up, they couldn't grow crops, and they couldn't cook anything. They ever started eating each other.


What is a positive feedback loop. Give an example.

A positive feedback loop causes a system to change further in the same direction. An example of a positive feedback loop is depositing money in a bank at compound interest. The interest will increase while the money stays in the money stays in the bank.


What is a negative feedback loop? Give an example.

A negative feedback loop cause a system to change in the opposite direction. An example of a negative feedback loop is recycling aluminum cans.


What are the three types of atomic building blocks?

Positively charged protons, uncharged neutrons, and negatively charged electrons.


What is at the center of an atom?

The center has a small nucleus.


Explain the pH scale.

is used to measure the acidity and alkalinity in water solutions. There are three different pH levels, a pH less than 7 (acidic), a pH of 7 (neutral solution), and a pH higher than 7 (basic)


What do genes consist of? Why are they important?

Genes are made up of specific sequences of nucleotides in a DNA molecule. Genes are important because they hold all our hereditary information.


What do chromosomes consist of? Why are they important?

Chromosomes are combinations of our genes that make up one DNA molecule, together with a number of proteins. They are important because the genetic information inside our chromosomes are what make us different.


What is plasma?

Plasma is a high-energy mixture of roughly equal numbers of positively charged ions and negatively charge electrons.


Whai is the difference between high quality matter and low quality matter?

High quality matter is concentrated, mostly found in the earth's surface. Low quality matter is dilute often found very deep underground or dispersed in the ocean or atmosphere.


What is convection. Example?

Convection is when heating water in the bottom of a pan causes some of the water to vaporize into bubbles. Ex: boiling water.


What is conduction? Example?

Conduction is when heat from a stove burner causes atoms or molecules in the pan's bottom to vibrate faster. Ex: a cold cast iron skillet is placed onto a stovetop.


What is radiation? example?

Radiation is when the water boils, heat from the hot stove burner and pan radiate into the surrounding air. Ex: heating a tin can of water using a Bunsen burner.


What is the difference between heat and temperature?

Temperature is the average speed of motion of the atoms, ions, or molecules in a small of matter at a given moment. Heat can be transferred from one place to another by three different methods.


What is the difference between high quality energy and low quality energy?

High quality energy is concentrated and can perform much useful work. Low-quality energy is dispersed and has little ability to do useful work.


What happens during a chemical change (chemical reaction)?

A change occurs in the chemical composition of the elements or compounds.


What is the law of conservation of matter? What does persistence mean?

The law of conservation of matter is when we can change many elements and compounds from one physical or chemical form to another. However, we can't destroy or create elements and compounds. Persistence means a measure of how long the pollutant stays in the air, soil, water, or body.


Expalin radioactive decay

Radioactive decay is a nuclear change in which unstable isotopes spontaneously emit fast-moving chunks of matter (called particles)


Explain nuclear fission

Nuclear fission is a nuclear change in which the nuclei of certain isotopes with large mass numbers are split apart into lighter nuclei when struck by neutrons.


Expalin nuclear fusion

Nuclear fusion is a nuclear change in which two isotopes of elements are forced together at extremely high temperatures until they fuse together to form a heavier nucleus.


What is the first law of thermodynamics? Example.

This is when energy cannot be destroyed or created, but it can be converted to one form to another. An example would be an automobile engine and how it converts from chemical to kinetic energy.


What is the second law of thermodynamics? Example.

This is when energy is converted from one form to another, but it can either be useful or more dispersed.


What resource was most heavily used by the islanders?



List 5 ways theta resource was used

Canoes, transport of trees, houses, weapons, script.


How did starvation occur?

Water dried up, no more trees to do slash and burn method, and no more trees, so no more canoes, which means no more hunting.


Their diet change?

They started eating rats, because their were no more things to eat besides the rats.


Warfare begin?

There was a limited amount of resources, so people would kill each other to get their resources, also fight over chickens.


How is the history of Easter Island similar to the Tragedy of the Commons?

Easter Island degraded their natural resources until there was nothing left.


Why do you think Easter Islanders did not or could not stop themselves from stripping their island of such an important resource.

They didn't know a life without that resource so that's why they couldn't stop using it.