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Technologies are meaningful objects. From our everyday, common-sense standpoint, two types of meanings attach to these objects. In the first place, they have a function and for most purposes their meaning is identical with that function. However, we also recognize a penumbra of ‘connotations’ that associate technical objects with other aspects of social life independent of function. Thus, automobiles are means of transportation, but they also signify the owner as more of less respectable, wealthy, sexy, etc.

Often technologies also signify the owner or user as coming from a particular culture. Consider cross-cultural differences in attitudes and uses of cell phones. In a study comparing Americans and Indians with regards to cell phones Ira Jhangiani (2006) found that Americans were a lot more concerned with privacy issues than Indians. Americans were concerned about their privacy being violated due to features such as the camera, voice call and storing personal information on the cell phone. No such privacy issues were raised in India. However, the researcher found that text messaging and being able to use it was more important to Indians than the Americans. The importance of ringtones and usability ratings of the task was higher in India. The use of Bollywoods songs as ringtones has gained popularity in India over the past few years. Also, Indian users were more familiar with the concept of profiles than Americans.

Exercise: think about it

Answer the following question:

1. Are you a cell phone user?

2. How concerned are you about your privacy being violated due to features such as the camera, voice call and storing personal information on the cell phone?

3. Consider your favorite ringtones. What are some of your favorite ringtones? Are these ringtones reflective of your culture? Why?

4. How familiar are you with profiles? Why?

Another good example to ponder the relationship between cultural diversity and technology are the differences in coastal defense structures. These technologies vary across cultures. Since as stated before technologies bear the imprint of a particular culture then designing and building of coastal defense structures embody a diversity of legal, scientific and other socio-cultural concerns and meanings coming from various relevant stakeholders, including engineers, politicians, citizens, insurance companies, etc. These structures, a particular technology are an amalgamation of their concerns and interests in the context of a given culture, which may be different in any other culture.

A Study by Wiebe E. Bijker (2006) helps us illustrate cross-cultural differences in coastal technologies. He compared American and Ducth coastal engineering. He asked: How is it possible that the USA failed to keep New Orleans dry, when large parts of the Netherlands can exist below sea level? For Bijker the difference is not due to expertise and competence nor is it a matter of quality. He showed that the difference is due to different conceptions and styles of risk management in relation to flooding. This means that Americans and Dutch engineers respond to different “technological cultures.” Although engineers in both cultures share a concern with natural hazards and disasters the Americans tend to focus on predicting disasters and mediating the effects once they have happened. American coastal defense technologies embody these concerns with prediction and “flood hazard mitigation.” Americans engineers are also concerned with insurance issues. The risk criterion that is used in designing levees and other coastal defense structures in the United States is a 1: 100 chance (a “hundred year flood”). This criterion is a technical norm but not a legal rule.

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Civis project - uprm. OpenStax CNX. Nov 20, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11359/1.4
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