technical writing

technical writin” rel=”nofollow”>ing

Order Description
Module 25
Communicatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing About Environmental Hazards

This module deals with the prin” rel=”nofollow”>inciples and practices in” rel=”nofollow”>involved in” rel=”nofollow”>in communicatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and writin” rel=”nofollow”>ing about environmental hazards. It illustrates the powerful persuasive effect of technical and professional
communication on public opin” rel=”nofollow”>inion, on public health, and on civic action to correct perceived problems.
Many well-in” rel=”nofollow”>informed people are in” rel=”nofollow”>increasin” rel=”nofollow”>ingly concerned about the enormous number of chemicals employed in” rel=”nofollow”>in our modern society and about the serious potential hazards they represent. For many of these
chemicals (such as DDT, CFCs, PCBs, and EDTA), the long-term effects of them are not known and will be learned only after many years and after many people have suffered from exposure to them. And,
as you know, the chemical in” rel=”nofollow”>industry for reasons of profit is not eager to have these hazardous materials regulated or limited in” rel=”nofollow”>in any way, sometimes to the poin” rel=”nofollow”>int of conspirin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to deny hazardous
effects or simply to confuse the issue and raise doubt in” rel=”nofollow”>in the public in” rel=”nofollow”>in various ways.
Readin” rel=”nofollow”>ing.
Read Chapter 2, Understandin” rel=”nofollow”>ing Ethical and Legal Considerations, and Chapter 8, Communicatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing Persuasively. Though our textbook does not deal with topic or concept of “rhetoric” per se, it does deal
with persuasion, which is the goal of the practice of rhetoric and the key poin” rel=”nofollow”>int of Chapter 8.
Go to the website devoted to brin” rel=”nofollow”>ingin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to public awareness the serious threat posed by the chemical DHMO, at Read all the material on the front page, then examin” rel=”nofollow”>ine the material in” rel=”nofollow”>in each
of the major sections listed in” rel=”nofollow”>in the left-hand column, further explain” rel=”nofollow”>inin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the depth of their concern and the seriousness of this threat.
After readin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the material at this site, proceed directly Module 26 to complete this assignment.
Module 26
DHMO, contin” rel=”nofollow”>inued
Communicatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing About Environmental Hazards

Throughout the course up to this poin” rel=”nofollow”>int, we have been talkin” rel=”nofollow”>ing about technical communication in” rel=”nofollow”>in its best sense–communicatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing what is true, honest, correct, clear, and as helpful and meanin” rel=”nofollow”>ingful to
the reader as possible. This assignment, however, turns the tables by showin” rel=”nofollow”>ing you how technical communication can be “technically” true but drastically misleadin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, unhelpful, unclear and plain” rel=”nofollow”>inly
unethical. I hope that this assignment and exercise in” rel=”nofollow”>in unethical communication will help you to be a critical reader and consumer of technical and scientific communication as well as a good,
ethical technical communicator.
I should add that there is a technical term for this sort of writin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, “obfuscation,” which is the act of deliberately makin” rel=”nofollow”>ing thin” rel=”nofollow”>ings unclear, confusin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, or distractin” rel=”nofollow”>ing while not technically bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing
By now, I suppose that most of you have figured out that dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is simply the chemical name for water, H2O. Notice how even simply referrin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to water as a “chemical” and in” rel=”nofollow”>in its
official chemical nomenclature (which has many variants, as shows) to many people makes it seems omin” rel=”nofollow”>inous and scary, though it is only plain” rel=”nofollow”>in water–whether as a liquid (such as in” rel=”nofollow”>in drownin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
in” rel=”nofollow”>in a swim pool, which they refer to as “in” rel=”nofollow”>inhalation” of DHMO), or as a solid (ice, leadin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to frostbite or hypothermia), or as a gas/vapor (steam, which can cause terrible burns). The DHMO
organization actually is for real. Their real purpose is to make the public aware of how readily they can be manipulated, frightened, and persuaded to believe falsehoods through either a lack of
critical thin” rel=”nofollow”>inkin” rel=”nofollow”>ing or a lack of basic understandin” rel=”nofollow”>ing of chemistry. Check out the DHMO Research section, which lists a number of their actual studies tryin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to enlist support for a ban on DHMO. I
thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink that the most in” rel=”nofollow”>interest report is number 90700 at the University of Notre Dame. At one time, they spoke to a General Chemistry I course about the perils of DHMO and got 59% of the students to
sign a petition in” rel=”nofollow”>in support of a ban on DHMO–in” rel=”nofollow”>in a chemistry course! Even more surprisin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, they later did a study at Notre Dame with a General Chemistry II class (who should know even more about
chemistry), and got 86% to support a ban on DHMO.
Write a report in” rel=”nofollow”>in memo format (begin” rel=”nofollow”>innin” rel=”nofollow”>ing with a purpose statement, of course, from the generic technical report format) pin” rel=”nofollow”>inpoin” rel=”nofollow”>intin” rel=”nofollow”>ing ten features of the website and any of its pages that are highly
misleadin” rel=”nofollow”>ing though technically true. Use complete sentences to identify the feature and explain” rel=”nofollow”>in its likely impact on a naive, uncritical audience, and explain” rel=”nofollow”>in the true reality behin” rel=”nofollow”>ind the statement.
This typically takes about 250-400 words (feel free to take more if you wish). Reports with greater depth, coherence, and clarity of description and explanation will naturally warrant higher grades
than those with less depth, coherence, and clarity.
Earlier in” rel=”nofollow”>in this course, you learned how an example can be helpful to your readers by makin” rel=”nofollow”>ing your poin” rel=”nofollow”>ints clear and concrete but also by allowin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the reader to confirm his or her understandin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
again” rel=”nofollow”>inst actual reality. Here are three examples of the sort of items I am lookin” rel=”nofollow”>ing for from you, expressed in” rel=”nofollow”>in complete sentences.
1. On the homepage in” rel=”nofollow”>in the right column is listed a number of web lin” rel=”nofollow”>inks under the headin” rel=”nofollow”>ing “Related Info.” These lin” rel=”nofollow”>inks supposedly, suggest that the organizations listed, such as Greenpeace and the
Sierra Club, support the DHMO organization and its efforts to have DHMO banned throughout the nation. The reality, of course, is that anyone can put up lin” rel=”nofollow”>inks to any other website any time they want
to, without ever havin” rel=”nofollow”>ing contacted the owners of the other websites or fin” rel=”nofollow”>indin” rel=”nofollow”>ing out whether they support one’s agenda. The fact of havin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the lin” rel=”nofollow”>inks listed is in” rel=”nofollow”>in reality meanin” rel=”nofollow”>ingless; even worse, it is
deliberately misleadin” rel=”nofollow”>ing.
2. The DHMO Conspiracy page begin” rel=”nofollow”>ins with the bold headin” rel=”nofollow”>ing “DHMO Conspiracy,” as though just statin” rel=”nofollow”>ing those words means that there actually is a real conspiracy–we can assume that it exists without
question, the only question bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing the details of how wicked that conspiracy is. The real truth is exactly the opposite.
3. Also on the DHMO Conspiracy page, in” rel=”nofollow”>in bold letterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, one section has the header “EPA Refuses to Confirm or Deny Coverup,” which seems to imply that there actually exists a coverup and EPA just
acts as though there is no coverup in” rel=”nofollow”>in order to fool the public. This is much like UFO believers who take it as a confirmation that a coverup exists when a government agency such as the U.S. Air
Force “denies” that UFOs (as aliens from outer space) exist or that evidence of them exists. Just above that same section, in” rel=”nofollow”>in bold, big, bnght letterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing (as though big and bright makes it more real
and more true) the EPA is equated with the Central Intelligence Agency, which supposedly is a source of conspiracy and coverup, and even deadly destruction (as is held by those who believe that the
CIA actually caused the destruction of the twin” rel=”nofollow”>in towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11). The question mark at the end of the equation stimulates us to mull over the hidden threat our own
government poses to us, as though the government can be assumed to be evil.

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