LISTENING 3 “GEOLOGY CLASS”
Listen to part of a discussion in a geology class.
Professor: The exploitation of minerals involves five steps. First, you have to explore and locate the mineral deposits, then you set up a mining operation, next, you must refine the raw minerals and transport the refined minerals to the manufacturer.
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Student1: Excuse me. Sorry. I only have four steps. Could you … ?
Professor: Sure That’s exploration, mining, refining, transportation, and manufacturing.
Professor: So, each of these activities involves costs, there are costs associated with them, and the costs can be economic, but not necessarily so. Mineral exploitation also has environmental costs associated with it. For example, the exploration stage will clearly have a high economic cost because of… of personnel and technology, but the environmental cost will probably be quite low. Why would that be, do you think?
Student2: Because you aren’t actually disturbing the environment. You’re just looking, I mean, after you find a mineral deposit, you don’t do anything about it at that stage.
Professor: Right. So the environmental costs would be low. But what happens when you use up all the resources that are easy to find? Then what?
Student 2: Then the costs go up for exploration.
Professor: Which costs?
Student 2: Well, probably both of them, but I can see where the economic costs would increase.
Professor: Okay. Let’s say, for example, that some areas such as national parks or historic reserves have been off-limits to exploration. What will happen when we use up the minerals outside of these areas? Remember now that these are, uh … nonrenewable resources that we’re looking for.
Student 1: Then there will be a lot of pressure … you know … to open up these areas to exploration and exploitation.
Professor: Probably so. And that means that there could be a high environmental cost. Any other options?
Student 1: Find an alternative.
Professor: Yes. You’re on the right track.
Student 1: Okay. Fmd an alternative, I mean a substitute, something that will substitute for the mineral. Maybe something man-made?
Professor: Good. That will involve a different kind of exploration, again with economic costs. I’m talking about basic research here to find synthetics. But, uh, let’s go on to the other steps, and we’ll see if we can pull this all together. How about mining? Now, we’re looking at high environmental costs because of the destruction of the landscape and … and the accumulation … of waste products that have to be dealt with. Air and water pollution is almost always a problem…. Any ideas on refining?
Student 2: Wouldn’t it be the same as mining? I mean, you would have high costs because of labor and equipment, and there would be problems of waste and pollution, like you said.
Professor: True. True. And in refining, well that often involves the separation of a small amount of a valuable mineral from a large amount of surrounding rock. So that means that… that, uh, refining also carries the additional cost of cleanup. And don’t forget that it’s often difficult to get vegetation to grow on piles of waste. In fact, some of it, the waste piles I mean, they can even be dangerous to living creatures, including people Not to mention the appearance of the area. So the environmental costs can be extremely high. Isn’t it sad and ironic that so much of the mining and refining must take place in areas of great natural beauty?
Student 1: So you’re saying that both mining and refining have heavy costs … heavy economic and environmental costs.
Professor: Right And in both mining and refining, you would need transportation to support the movement of supplies, equipment, and personnel. But after the minerals are mined and refined, then transportation becomes even more essential.
Student 2: And I was just thinking that in addition to the economic costs of the transportation tor trucks and fuel and labor and everything, there could ba, there might be some construction too, if there aren’t any roads in and out of the area.
Professor: And that would mean…
Student 2: That would mean that the landscape and even the ecosystem for the plants and animal life could be altered, so … so thafs an environmental cost.
Professor: It is indeed. Good point That leaves us with manufacturing. After we find it mine it refine it, and transport it, we still have to manufacture it. What are the costs associated with that? Well, construction again, for factories, then there would be energy costs, technology, and labor.
Student 1: So all that’s economic. No environmental costs in manufacturing then.
Professor: Well, yes there are actually. Pollution is often a costty problem for, uh, manufacturing plants.
Student1: Oh right I was thinking of the natural landscape, and the manufacturing is often positioned near cities to take advantage of the labor pool. But, um … cities have the environmental problems associated with pollution. So. every step has both economic and environmental costs then.
Listening 4 “Professor’s Office’
Listen to part of a conversation on campus between a student and a professor.
Student: Hi. I’m Ron Watson. I’m here to apply for the work-study job.
Professor: Oh, good. Um, have you ever had a work–study position?
Student: Not really. To tell the truth, I’m not exactty sure how it works.
Professor: Well, it’s like this: on work-study, you have regular hours and assigned responsibilities, but, if you get everything done, you can study. You can’t leave because there may be something else to do later, during your hours. But you should always bring your books and, oh. I’d guess that probably about 25 percent of the time, you should be able to study.
Student: This is even better than I thought. What kmd of assignments would I have. I mean, if I get this opportunity.
Professor: Clerical mostly, I’m afraid. Nothing too demanding, but it isn’t the most interesting work either. Filing, copying, delivering mail, uh, some grading, but only multiple–choice tests, and we use a grading machine for that.
Student: Would someone show me how to operate the gracing machine? I’m sure I could do it if someone showed me once or twice.
Professor: No problem. We have a secretary here in the department and she’ll be the main person you’d report to. She’d show you how to do everything.
Student: Okay. Great
Professor: Now, let’s see whether your hours will fit in with the hours we need. Could you work Monday through Thursday from ten to two?
Student: That’s sixteen hours a week?
Professor: To start We may actually want to extend that to Fridays, so, if that happens, it would be twenty hours. You’ll notice that the hours include the usual lunch break. That would let Nancy … she’s the secretary … so she could get you started on the work, and then take her lunch from noon to one, and be back for the last hour of your day. in case you had any questions.
Professor: Oh, and I should tell you about the phone. While Nancy’s gone for lunch, we’ll want you to answer the phone.
Student: Sure. I can do that. Uh, will there be any work on the computer? I’m familiar with most of the basic office programs. I used to help my Dad in his office when I was in high school. He’s a lawyer.
Professor: Oh. Well, we hadn’t planned to include anything like that in the job, but it’s a plus.
Student: Sorry to ask, but … how does the pay work? Do I get paid for the time I work minus the study time or …
Professor: Oh no. You get paid for sixteen hours a week whether you’re working or studying. This is a special program for students.
Student: It seems too good to be true.
Professor: Well, you need to have an interview with Nancy. Since you’ll be working dosely with her, she’ll make the final decision.
Student Okay. Should I make an appointment or …
Professor: No. Just go over to her desk and tell her who you are. She’s expecting you. We want to get the position filled as soon as possible.
Student: Well, thank you for seeing me. I hope I’ll be working here.
Professor : Good luck…. Oh, yes, be sure to tell Nancy about the computer experience.
Student: I will.
Professor: And let her know I’ve already interviewed you, and I referred you to her.
Student Thanks again. I really appreciate your taking the time to explain everything to me.
Professor: You’re welcome.