Support materials only that illustrate some possible contexts for exploring Science as a Human Endeavour concepts in relation to Science Understanding content.
Computer models of human thermoregulation responses, including heat transfer, perspiration, respiration and blood flows, have been developed for use in the design of clothing and environments that aim to protect humans from hyper- and hypothermia (ACSBL103). Models of human thermoregulation can aid in the design of military chemical suits, industrial protective clothing, space suits, and environments such as space stations, aircraft, vehicles and buildings. Simulating and modeling the human thermoregulatory system also enable scientists to study and predict the effects of extreme environments on the human body, and to design safety regulations for people working in these environments, such as firefighters, pilots, foundry workers and soldiers (ACSBL106).
Use of growth hormones and other hormones is controversial in the livestock industry, with proponents arguing that they increase productivity, reduce the cost of production and improve food affordability. Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is a synthetically produced hormone that has been shown to increase milk yield. While proponents of rBST point to studies that show that milk products produced using rBST cannot be distinguished from other milk products, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a United Nations body that sets international food standards, has to date refused to approve rBST as safe (ACSBL107). While the United States and other countries currently allow the use of rBST, countries such as Australia and New Zealand have banned it based on evidence that it increases the risk of health issues in cows and because of concerns regarding milk contamination (ACSBL106). This issue is significant in international trade of dairy products, prompting debate about appropriate labeling of milk products, international standards and reasonable import bans.
Globally, hundreds of thousands of people die of snake bite each year, most of them in developing countries. The venom of many species of snake contains neurotoxins that cause paralysis. Antivenom is conventionally manufactured by ‘milking’ venomous animals, immunising large animals with small quantities of the collected venom and then extracting the antibodies produced in the animals’ blood. The process is risky and labour-intensive and the products are highly expensive, often provoke allergic reactions, and are difficult to transport and store, making availability of antivenoms a significant challenge in developing countries. Some organisations have called for global cooperation and investment by science, business and government bodies to increase the availability of antivenoms in the developing world (ACSBL108). Part of this challenge may be met by new research that has demonstrated it is possible to generate an antibody response using synthetic DNA which is injected into cells to produce a protein that closely resembles the most toxic parts of the actual venom (ACSBL109).