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STS: 1. Science, Technology and Society education methodology. (DM). 2. Sequence Tagged Sites. Reference sequences derived from different library clones, for which PCR assays have been designed. These unique sequences are useful in mapping analyses, where they define a specific reference point, in order to test a region for the presence of a particular locus. (GK)



SUBMARINE: A self-contained and propelled underwater habitat originally developed as a weapon of stealth. Submarines make possible the covert launch of conventional or nuclear inter-continental missiles, or the release of medium and short range missiles on the doorstep of the enemy. Manned or remote-controlled submarines and submersibles also have applications in science and exploration. (See AQUABOT, NUCLEAR SUBMARINE) (MP)


SUBPOPULATION: Geographically distinct groups within the population of a species, between which there is little or no migration or reproductive exchange. (See POPULATION, SUBSPECIES) (MP)

SUBSISTENCE: The minimum supports or provisions for life and the means necessary to allow living, for example the provision of fresh water, nutrition and shelter. It is a global tragedy that many peoples and other organisms are denied access to the basic necessities of life. (See SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE, SUFFICIENCY) (MP)

SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE: Small-scale agriculture such as indigenous or backyard farms which directly provide food for members of the local community. Subsistence agriculture may lack support if not recognized by economic indicators. (See SUBSISTENCE) (MP)

SUBSISTENCE FISHING: Fishing which makes a significant contribution towards the diet of communities, often indigenous or minority groups. (See SUBSISTENCE) (MP)

SUBSPECIES: The subdivision of a species, in which subpopulations have been reproductively isolated from one another long enough to differ genetically, forming distinct races of the same species. (See FOUNDER EFFECT, SPECIES, SUBPOPULATION) (MP)


SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME (SIDS): is defined as "the sudden death of any infant or young child which is unexplained by history and in which thorough postmortem examination fails to demonstrate an adequate cause for death." Typically, however, infants at risk of SIDS may carry functional aberrations not readily identifiable by physical examination. While the etiology of SIDS remains a matter of speculation, a number of related epidemiological risk factors have been identified. Two identifiable risk groups are infants with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and those from drug-abusing mothers. It is well established that infants born to drug-abusing mothers risk immaturity due to IUGR or preterm birth and suffer a 5-10 times increased incidence of SIDS. Strong postnatal breathing activity in the neonate is closely related to the degree of functional maturation of the brain’s neuronal mechanisms regulating the respiratory system. A term infant can quickly establish the necessary respiratory pattern changes required by extrauterine life. However, when fetal growth is inadequate, the immaturity of the infant’s respiratory system may result in recurrent episodes of apnea (cessation of breathing) and chronic hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). (See ADDICTION, INFANT MORTALITY, INTRAUTERINE GROWTH RETARDATION, SMOKING). (IP)

SUFFERING: An entity can be said to suffer is if is aware that it is in PAIN (q.v.). The extent to which non-humans (and even babies before they are born or reach a few months of post-birth age) can suffer is deeply contentious. Most biologists and philosophers who have considered the question hold that adult mammals, probably other vertebrates and even possibly some invertebrates such as octopuses can suffer. (See CONSCIOUSNESS) (MR)

SUFFICIENCY: A condition of enough to provide for survival and comfort but without undue excess. (See DECONSUMERISM, DEMATERIALIZATION) (MP)

SUFI: (from the Arabic "suuf", meaning "wool") Muslim mystic. The Sufis practice limitation in food and drink, and weigh words very carefully, thus limiting the extent of speech as well. In addition, they practice a style of meditation. Traditionally their garments were of coarse wool, and this is the origin of the term "Sufi". These practices are in order to help the mystic focus on God, and not be distracted by one's surroundings. (AG)

SUN TZU: Author of the definitive text on the traditional Chinese art of war (bing fa). Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ was first published around the 4th Century BCE, and an interpretation can be found in Sun Tzu: The Art of War by General Tao Hanzhang. One of the central principles is that “ win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.” Today Sun Tzu’s text is more commonly studied in the context of international business strategy than in the original context. (MP)

SURROGATE: Someone serving as a substitute decision maker. (See SURROGACY, SURROGATE MOTHER) (IP)

SURROGATE MOTHER: A woman who is artificially inseminate, with sperm or embryo, and carries an embryo to term, with the intention of relinquishing the child at birth. (DM)

SURVIVAL: Survival is the base motivating force of all biological organisms, as Darwinian ’s urvival of the fittest" implies. The concept also helps explain motivational forces in cultural, sociopolitical and corporate contexts. In a crisis, survival depends largely upon a correct blending of attack, retreat and standing one’s ground. Modern industrial warfare has however made aggression at a group level largely a losing strategy for the individuals and environments involved. The survival of our own species is only now becoming recognized as a great and immediate concern. (See EXTINCTION, HUMAN EXTINCTION, NATURAL SELECTION) (MP)

SURVIVAL CURVE: A plot obtained by graphing the percentage of organisms surviving at different intervals against radiation dose. (IP)

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: A popular descriptive term for evolution by the process of natural selection. (See NATURAL SELECTION, SURVIVAL) (MP)

SUSCEPTIBILITY TESTING Which provides information about the genetic component in a multi-factorial disorder. (JA)

SUSTAIN: (Old French: sustenir from Latin: sustinēre ‘to hold up’) To support, cause to continue, keep in existence, preserve, replenish, prolong and maintain at a certain standard or level; to provide for necessities and give relief or support to people or ecosystems. Also used as in to bear or ‘sustain’ a loss or injury, or to indicate corroboration/support for the validity of a judgement. (See SUBSISTENCE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABILITY, SUSTENANCE) (MP)

SUSTAINABILITY: 1. Ability to be sustained, as of an ecosystem process, population etc. 2. A measure of policy accordance with principles and philosophies of sustainable development. 3. A goal or ultimate objective; a hypothetical place where requirements are met for sustaining ecosystems and human wellbeing. (See CARRYING CAPACITY, STRONG SUSTAINABILITY, SUSTAIN, SUSTAINABLE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, WEAK SUSTAINABILITY, UTOPIA) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE: Capable of being sustained, supported or maintained indefinitely. The capacity of a resource to replace, replenish or provide for itself, especially natural resources. If sustainability of a natural resource is hindered it becomes a receding resource or declining ecosystem service. The label ‘sustainable’ is often overused, for example in reference to ‘sustainable’ economic growth. The use of ‘sustainable’ raises questions, such as just what is able to be sustained, at what level, for how long, and for the benefit of exactly which human groups or biophysical habitats. (See LIMITS TO GROWTH, RENEWABLE ENERGY, RENEWABLE RESOURCES, SUSTAIN, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABLE YIELD, SUSTAINABILITY) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: Agriculture able to maintain primary production capacity without degrading or depleting soil productivity, land fertility, adjacent ecosystems or downstream water quality. Sustainable agricultural practices may include polyculture, permaculture, agroforestry, organic farming, trickle irrigation, subsistence farming etc. Wherever possible sustainable agriculture limits land clearing, monocultures, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, introduced species, and wasteful practices like flood irrigation. Some say that genetically modified organisms and crops may pose an ecological or health risk and are therefore unsustainable. Agrotechnology is often used however to sustain uninterrupted human food supply and prevent food crises, famine or malnutrition. (See AGROFORESTRY, AGROTECHNOLOGY, ORGANIC FARMING, PERMACULTURE, POLYCULTURE, SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE CORPORATION: Businesses and organizations whose policies, practices and products serve to sustain and enhance the workplace, society and the biosphere. Sustainable corporate management goes beyond the language and thought of economics, focusing on broader sustainable development goals and "triple bottom line" accounting (social, ecological and economic outcomes). Example sets of guiding principles for sustainable corporations include the UN Global Compact and the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES). The ecologically sustainable corporation exercises precaution not to alter the limiting factors which allow surrounding organizations and ecosystems to function. Investment in a sustainable future also maintains profitability, for example savings from efficient energy/resource use, redevelopment of waste by-products into new markets, and new niche opportunities for sustainable products and services. Characteristics of natural ecosystems such as circulation of waste, process-orientation and cooperative network organization can be usefully emulated by corporate management. Old-style business, which ignores community concerns and treats workers and the environment as resources to be exploited, will eventually suffer the consequences of oppressive bureaucracy, employee alienation, public cynicism, environmental activism, and industrial relations conflict. New organizational architectures can instead increase corporate effectiveness and longevity by enhancing workplace satisfaction, innovation, autonomy and teamwork motivated by clearly defined and heartfelt company principles. (See GLOBAL COMPACT, NATURAL STEP, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES, SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT, TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE, VISIONARY COMPANY) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: First use of the term was in the I.U.C.N. ‘World Conservation Strategy’ (1980), influenced by works such as ‘The Limits to Growth’ (1972). The first widely recognized definition wasn’t until W.C.E.D. (World Commission on Environment and Development) ‘Our Common Future’ (1987; also known as ‘The Brundtland Report’) as follows:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This original aspect has been encapsulated in the term ‘Inter-generational Equity’ (more colloquially, “What about the kids?”). People have been expanding and redefining the principles of sustainable development ever since. The subject of Intra-generational or social equity naturally arises, and is usually included as a principle by environmentalists but not necessarily by capitalist governments. This highlighted other discrepancies of opinion about the meaning of sustainable development, with various commentators declaring it ambiguously fuzzy and self-contradictory in papers like ‘Environmental Sustainability - Magic, Science and Religion in Natural Resource Management’ (Ludwig 1993) and ‘Sustainable Development - Modern Elixir or Sack Dress’ (Frazier 1997). The flexibility of its interpretation and enticement to both sides of the spectrum - the promise of economic development and environmental sustainability - nevertheless aided the term’s survival and popularity. The basic evolution of the philosophy, politics and economics of sustainable development can be traced through the following major international forums: IUCN/UNDP/WWF ‘Caring for the Earth’ (1991); UNCED ‘Rio Earth Summit’ and ‘Agenda 21’ (1992); United Nations ‘Commission on Sustainable Development’ (1992); IUCN/IIED ‘Strategies for National Sustainable Development’ (1994); ‘Conference on Population and Development’ (1994); ‘Conference on Social Development’ (1995); ‘Kyoto Conference on Climate Change’ (1997); revised ‘Earth Charter’ (2000); and the ‘Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development’ (2002). The landmark 1992 Rio Earth Summit aimed for a statement of principles (the ‘Earth Charter’), an action plan into the twenty-first century (‘Agenda 21’) and conventions on climate, biodiversity and forests. Climate and biodiversity conventions have typically been weakened by US protectionism of its energy and biotechnology industries, and the forests issue was hampered by South claiming that North was using protection of tropical forests as a carbon sink for its greenhouse emissions. Final statements and conventions were accused of being a dilute and deliberately ambiguous compromise, and the Earth Charter wasn’t finally revised and amended until 2000. The whole process illustrated not only the need for an agenda for global survival, but also the shortfalls of negotiated solutions and inadequacies of international institutions. Other official initiatives have been taken at multi-national and national levels, for example Commission of the European Community ‘Towards Sustainability’ (1993) and Commonwealth of Australia ‘National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development’ (1992). Australia chose the term ‘Ecologically Sustainable Development’ to emphasize ecosystems over broader economic and social aspects. ‘Environmentally Sustainable Development’ provides another slant on the term which de-emphasizes both economy and ecology. An investigation of UK sustainability ‘Blueprint for a Green Economy’ (David Pearce et al, 1989) expanded the philosophy and resulted in ‘Blueprint 2: Greening the World Economy’ (1991) and ‘Blueprint 3: Measuring Sustainable Development’ (1993). Measurement of sustainability indicators and models is inherently difficult. For example, aspects of human wellbeing include things like poverty, quality of life, modernization, health, democracy, freedom and fair trade, also the subject matter of sustainable development. Sustainability indicators include those measured by the ‘Genuine Progress Indicator’, ‘Human Development Index’, ‘Index of Social Health’ and ‘State of the Environment Reports’. To ensure all-inclusivity, the ‘Chair of Sustainable Development’ (di Castri 1995) metaphor was introduced (a Renaissance chair bringing to mind integrated Enlightenment thinking), with four essential legs - the economic, ecological, social and cultural. Other models have coalesced socio-cultural, or conversely added physico-chemical, political, legal, informational or other domains of the environment. The application of sustainable development requires integrated, strategic, adaptive and precautionary management. To many people today, the concept of Sustainable Development has become more than just a slogan or cliché, but a guiding symbol and pathway to a wonderful utopian place called ‘Sustainability’. It is certainly possible that the philosophies embedded in this concept might be one of our best tools for avoiding human extinction over the longer term. (See AGENDA 21, DEVELOPMENT, INTRAGENERATIONAL EQUITY, PROGRESS, SUSTAIN, SUSTAINABLE, SUSTAINABILITY, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES, SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT, UTOPIA) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES: There is a diversity of views on the most appropriate set of principles for the balanced management of "Sustainable Development". A summary of some of the main objectives and principles follows. Sustainable development enhances current community "wellbeing" and safeguards the "welfare" of future generations. Most central to the concept is the principle of "inter-generational equity", which may be achieved by the "constant capital" rule. A "strong" version of this requirement is that of "constant natural capital" (i.e. not allowing the substitution of natural capital for built or human capital). "Critical natural capital" must never be substituted because it is essential to the functioning of ecosystem life-support services. This leads to the principles of "maintaining biological diversity" (i.e. loss of species/genetic diversity is a justifiable reason to restrain development) and "maintaining essential ecological processes". The term "ecologically sustainable development" emphasizes these objectives. Ecosystem and habitat levels are the appropriate scales to address the biodiversity issue (in addition to the species level). The "precautionary principle" must be implemented to deal cautiously with any risks of irreversible environmental damage. Recognition must be made of "the global dimension", since many sustainability issues such as global warming and biodiversity are international in scope. "Integrated", "strategic" and "adaptive" management techniques are essential here. "Limits to growth" means that development must not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment to support it (or the carrying capacity of the globe to support us). "Limits of acceptable change" imply something similar with emphasis on human preferences. "Sustainable resource use" means that renewable resources are not used at a rate faster than they can replenish themselves, that non-renewable use generates development of replacement technologies, and that wastes are not produced faster than they can be assimilated by the environment. This requires "efficiency" and "effectiveness" in resource use, and mutually supportive international trade and environmental policies (including debt reduction and poverty relief only resilient economies can have good capacity for environmental protection). "Environmental valuation", or the internalization of environmental costs, implies that prices for goods and services should reflect the social and ecological costs of their production and consumption. The "integration of economic and environmental goals" helps minimize any previous incompatibility. The field of "ecological economics" helps address these issues. The above objectives and principles must be carried out with "full community participation" and "respect for human rights". Environment groups often disagree with governments in their interpretation of sustainable development environmentalists emphasizing the "sustainable" half of the term (fragility/irreversibility), and the official line emphasizing "development" (economic flexibility). Various further principles included by the former are "intra-generational equity" (fairness in wealth distribution), "qualitative development" (socio-cultural/ethical values primary to economic ones), "sustainable income" (only income able to be maintained indefinitely should be taken), and concepts of "sufficiency", "non-consumerism", "cultural diversity", "ecocentrism" and "ethics". (See BIODIVERSITY, CONSUMPTION, CRITICAL NATURAL CAPITAL, EFFICIENCY, ENVIRONMENTAL VALUATION, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY, LIMITS TO GROWTH, PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT, WELLBEING) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY - AUSTRALIA is an agency created in 1996 by the New South Wales government to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions in this state. SEDA accomplishes this by promoting investment in the commercialization and use of sustainable energy technologies (see GREENHOUSE EFFECT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT). (IP)



SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT: Sustainable management is handling, direction and control of an organization or environment according to sustainable development goals and principles. Well-defined core principles of social responsibility and environmental stewardship form the central management framework. This involves integrated, precautionary, strategic and adaptive management practices, and includes full consideration of ecological, social and cultural as well as economic factors. Sustainable management of natural resources requires ongoing maintenance, renewal or replacement of all natural capital. There should be acknowledgment of the ecocentric nature of the system under management and continuous monitoring of ecosystem indicators. Sustainable sociopolitical management sustains and enhances intra- and intergenerational human wellbeing. Sustainable organizations manage human resources in a way which promotes employee satisfaction, human rights, cultural diversity and innovative potential in the workplace. (See ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT, INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT, NATURAL STEP, PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT, SUSTAINABLE CORPORATION, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES, TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGIES: Scientific progress and economic development usually involve the implementation of new technologies. Sustainable technologies do not degrade or deplete elements of natural ecosystems or human wellbeing. Typically defense industries have been a driver of non-sustainable technologies. Transition to a sustainable world may involve a shift in their use from warfare to peacekeeping, emergency response and dangerous humanitarian missions. The re-allocation of technologies from defense to civilian applications can be economically successful, as with Japanese electronic, mechanical and optical products after 1945. Sustainable technologies may be in the health, environmental science, media, information, management, energy or service sectors, and include any technology which enhances quality of human or ecological life. Sustainable industries and destructive industries can obviously both generate jobs and income. Why not be part of the next wave of sustainable corporations - their vision and the nature of their technology will make the crucial difference. A critical mass should be reached where socio-economically and environmentally sustainable technologies will become the norm. (See CRITICAL MASS, ENGINEERING ETHICS, SUSTAINABLE CORPORATION, TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM, TECHNOLOGY, VISIONARY COMPANY) (MP)

SUSTAINABLE YIELD: The level at which a resource may be harvested or depleted such that it is able to replenish and sustain itself indefinitely, for example the catch of a fishery, timber yield in forestry, or agricultural productivity. The sustainable yield is an uncertain threshold level at which a population or resource will not be at risk of overall or long-term decline. (See OPTIMUM SUSTAINABLE YIELD, THRESHOLD MANAGEMENT, YIELD) (MP)

SUSTENANCE: The food, daily rations, nutrition taken in to sustain health and bodily functions. (MP)

SUU KYI, AUNG SAN: (1945- ). Burmese political leader and resolute opponent of Burma's military government since the late 1980s. Despite winning the elections the ruling military junta has refused to relinquish power and kept Suu Kyi under house arrest, where for extended periods she was forbidden to communicate with her husband and her two sons. Suu Kyi is the daughter of the Burmese leader of the independence movement General Aung San who was assassinated in 1947. In 1988 Aung San Suu Kyi founded the National League of Democracy and subsequently became the most articulate leader of the opposition to the military government. In recognition for her efforts to restore free elections in Burma, Suu Kyi in 1990 won the Sakharov Prize and in 1991 both the European Parliament Human Rights Prizes and the Nobel Peace Prize. Her books include 'Freedom from Fear' among many other writings. Suu Kyi is opposed to violence and emphasizes the need for dialogue, patience and persistence. (IP)

SWARM INTELLIGENCE: Media terminology for integrated wireless communication and artificial neural networking of ‘smart dust’ microprocessors or likely future robot, mote or nanobot networks. (See ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORKS, MOTES, NANOBOT, SMART DUST, SENSOR ARRAYS) (MP)

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