Christmas Countdown – Planning for your Christmas feast

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The countdown is on – as the chocolate calendar doors of advent tick down, the pressure mounts for people around the country to get ready for the big day! Adverts everywhere encouraging us to buy things that we surely don’t need, and to do things that seem to make no sense are confusing, added to kids demanding toys that are impossibly overpriced – and probably impossible to find in any shops too! So, if your brain is in a whirl over the Christmas countdown have a look below at this count down to the big day and what you do need to do to make yourself and your family the perfect festive feast! Read more »

Marrakesh goes green with reusable tensile structure

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The Marrakesh climate summit has been hailed a success, despite the difficulty in finding a broad consensus due to the wide range of green ideas the event showcased.

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Green energy on display

Exterior lighting for the summit site was environmentally friendly for optimum energy efficiency, while solar panels and trees were used as sources of renewable energy for the Marrakech summit.

Displays, posters and art installations were made of recycled materials to demonstrate the impact of climate change. Recycling bins were another visible feature of the site. Transport was provided by Chinese electric buses and French Velib bicycles.

Reusable structures

Central to the site were a series of reusable structures, covering 10 hectares. These will be dismantled and used elsewhere.

The Marrakech Hall comprised two wooden structural elements with no sides; however, the centrepiece was an enormous tensile tented structure, translucent and waterproof, that protected delegates from extremes of temperature.

Tensile structures and the environment

Fabric structures can be extremely environmentally friendly. The use of recycled and sustainable materials can create structures that are an energy-efficient and sustainable alternative to traditional roofing.

Several of the original structures associated with the O2 Arena have been dismantled and used elsewhere. These structures have a 50-year life span and have had a useful life in locations across the globe after being reconditioned and weatherproofed.

By maximising natural light and increasing heat and shade protection, the structure in Marrakech demonstrated the sustainability and eco credentials of a tensile structure.

How fabric structures can help you go green

A tensile structure is a highly-efficient structural design that reduces construction costs. If you are interested in these lightweight and sustainable structures, you can find information online about who can help with fabric structures?

There are any number of sustainable elements to a tensile structure – a lower carbon footprint, a reduction in the urban heat island (UHI) effect, and the ability to reuse structures as demonstrated in Marrakech.

Many membranes are free from plasticisers, stabilisers and odours and are chemically inert. Other fabrics can be extremely robust and do not degrade over the lifetime of the structure. The environmental impact can be lessened even further by reusing and recycling fabrics, making tensile fabric structures the architecture of the future – a point the Marrakech structures highlighted.

What might the future hold for the office?

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Offices have evolved a lot from the rows of cubicles and production lines with a focus these days on creating an environment to bring out the best in workers. Happy staff equals greater productivity and hopefully less days lost to sickness. Read more »

7 of the best cloud-based software testing tools

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As the cloud becomes an increasingly popular choice for activities such as storing, backing-up or recovering data, it’s also gaining traction for use in software testing.

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Using the cloud for software testing makes sense. It has the benefits of affordability, accessibility and high scalability. It’s especially convenient for those testing mobile devices in multiple locations, where physical infrastructure isn’t possible. If cloud-based software testing appeals to you, here are seven tools that may help.

1. Nessus

This cloud-based software testing service is aimed at checking software for vulnerabilities, such as missing patches and misconfigurations. It’s ideal for detecting threats and ensuring compliance is followed. As a bonus, you can also generate scan reports.

2. LoadStorm

If you want to test the load capability of your mobile or web applications, LoadStorm is the perfect cloud-based software testing service. It lets you see how effective your systems are when under excessive usage pressure, and what your breaking point would be. According to DZone it’s also cost-effective and easy to use.

3. Jenkins Dev@Cloud

With this tool, you can implement continuous deployment, development and integration, in various languages and services. The great feature of Jenkin Dev@Cloud is that it lets you link securely to existing systems through the cloud.

4. SOASTA CloudTest

If you’re wondering what actually is software testing? this tool is the epitome of all you might need. Highly recommended, you can test four types of automation on a single platform with this tool, making it efficient and convenient.

5. Xamarin Tests Cloud

If you’re looking for a cloud-based testing tool aimed at mobile applications, this is the one to choose. It’s a UI acceptance testing tool, which displays full-resolution screenshots of every step, including test time, memory or CPU usage. As an added bonus, this testing tool can run the test on over 1,000 devices.

6. App Thwack

This is a cloud-based simulator for actual testing on devices. The beauty of this tool is that it’s compatible with various automation platforms. App Thwack also comes with lots of handy features, such as comprehensive test reporting, customisable testing and multi-platform support.

7. BlazeMeter

If you want to carry out load testing or performance monitoring, this cloud-based tool is worth considering. Its standout feature is that it can simulate up to one million users, so can provide accurate and reliable results.

Are Cancer Drug Benefits Exaggerated by Clinical Trial Results?

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Two cancer physicians have spoken out publicly about the way in which large clinical trials can overstate the effectiveness of treatments. The physicians argued in JAMA Oncology that the trials required to obtain federal approval for new cancer drugs regularly make claims that would not apply in real-life situations.

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The Background

A contract research organization will often be called on to coordinate clinical trials in order to see whether cancer drugs are safe, effective and worthy of being sold to patients.

The process is based on the idea that such trials would give an accurate insight into how the drugs would work and interact with a general population of cancer patients.

Dr Vinay Prasad, of the Oregon Health and Science University, and Dr Sham Mailankody, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, however, have said that the people who take part in such clinical trials are not representative of an overall cancer population.

This is because they are generally healthier, younger and more connected to their health care system. They are also likely to be wealthier and better educated.

In the US, 60 per cent of cancer patients are aged above 65, whilst 31 per cent are over the age of 75. Between 2007 and 2010, clinical trials of cancer drugs such as those run by a contract research organisation saw just 33 per cent of those who took part aged 65 and ten per cent above 75.

During this period, the FDA approved a total of 24 cancer drugs. More information about the FDA and cancer approvals can be found at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/InformationOnDrugs/ApprovedDrugs/ucm279174.htm.

The University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Dr Hanna Sanoff adds that cancer patients involved in clinical trials are also more likely to have a good support network and be ‘highly motivated’.

Evidence in Support

A 2016 study by Sanoff and colleagues looked at the results of the pivotal trial of cancer drug Sorafenib and the way in which patients who have taken the drug since have fared. One of the major discrepancies discovered was that the median survival of patients in the real world was three months, a significant amount less than the 10.7 months indicated by the trial, while comparable patients who were not given Sorafenib had the same median survival period of three months.

FDA to modernise electronic reporting in hospitals

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There has been an unfortunate spate of recent cases in which medical devices have contributed to or been involved in adverse events in US hospitals, which has resulted in the FDA exploring new approaches to reporting problems with approved medical devices in user facilities. Read more »

7 ways to make the most of limited warehouse space

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A lack of warehouse space usually means you have too much of the right stock, too much of the wrong stock, or you’re poorly organised. Take a look at some of our tips below to help you identify and rectify your storage mistakes in the warehouse. Read more »

Future technology will focus on metal adhesive innovations

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Innovations in metal adhesives for bonding are likely to increasingly feature in future technologies as part of an upward trend that has already seen them applied in more and more construction and engineering purposes.

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Such bonding adhesives offer myriad advantages over traditional methods and are increasingly becoming more effective and versatile as new research and development grows. Read on to find out more about why metal adhesives are likely to be a key part of the technological future of manufacturing.

Innovation

Innovation is ever growing. Where traditional adhesives were once used to bond two metals of the same type, they can now be used to bond different materials with different metals, or metals and other materials, together. Metals that can be bonded these days using adhesive include aluminium, steel and stainless steel, and other materials such as glass and ceramics.

Some people may be wondering what are metal bonding adhesives used for?. You may be surprised by the answer, as they are now used in everything from vehicle manufacture to wind turbines, household appliances and even building construction.

Metal bonding adhesives vs traditional bonding methods

Traditional mechanical bonding methods such as bolting and riveting are limited in where the force can be applied. Adhesive, on the other hand, can be applied to the whole of the two areas to be combined, reducing the stress on specific points and spreading it evenly across the join. In comparison to options such as welding and soldering, adhesives are much more flexible, again giving them greater advantage as a means of bonding. Bonding adhesives are also more energy efficient, lower in cost, and use less human resources than traditional methods. Using an adhesive is also normally a much faster process, both in application and readiness, than traditional bonding methods.

Future outlook

It is thought that the lightweight nature, durability and ever-increasing usability of metal adhesives is likely to see them used more and more in all sorts of technologies and industries. This is an area in which research and development investment is high; therefore, manufacturers can expect to see even more advanced products come their way over the next few decades.

Metal adhesives for bonding are now a key part of manufacturing and processing and are responsible for producing better products, faster and at a slower cost.

The Big Freeze

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The Ice Age is a misleading term as there have actually been at least five ice ages in the history of the Earth. An ice age is defined as a time of colder world temperatures and glacial expansion which can last hundreds of millions of years. Humans did not develop until the last ice age, emerging as the dominant land species. An ice age dramatically changes the appearance of Earth as glaciers reshape the landscape and their immense weight pressing into the Earth’s crust. The most recent ice age reached it’s peak about 18,000 years ago. Read more »

The wisdom of teeth

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We chew and bite with them, talk with them and smile with them but how much do know about our teeth? Teeth are the hardest substance in the body and are made up of the following:

  • Periodontal ligament – holds teeth against the jaw
  • Cementum – tissue that connects roots to the gums and jawbone
  • Pulp – soft, inner part of the tooth in which the blood and nerves run
  • Dentin – under the enamel, it is a hard mineral substance
  • Enamel – the tough, white part on the outside made from calcium

A normal adult will have 32 teeth made up of incisors, canines, premolars, molars and wisdom teeth. These different teeth are designed to do different jobs. Incisors are at the front and are the sharpest as they need to cut food. Canine teeth are in the corner as they are designed for tearing and grasping. Premolars are next and have a flat chewing surface and the molars at the back are bigger as they are for chewing and grinding before swallowing.

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Between six and ten months, a baby’s teeth begin to come through and the process begins again at about age seven. The baby teeth are lost and replaced by permanent adult teeth. Most people have all their adult teeth by 21. It is during the process of getting adult teeth through that it might become apparent that overcrowding or overlapping is an issue. Corrective dental treatment can take place in the form of braces. Metal or clear braces are available. For more information about corrective dental work, visit Docklands dental.

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An adult mouth should hold 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, 8 molars and 4 wisdom teeth. Unless, of course, you’ve had to have any removed for some reason! Wisdom teeth usually appear at around 18 years of age but are often removed if they cause discomfort and displacement of existing teeth. The crown is the tooth as it appears above the gum line and what is seen when you smile. The root is below the gum line and is the largest part of the tooth but can’t be seen.

According to the dentists, electric toothbrushes are better than manual ones and particularly if they have an oscillating head. Evidence suggests that after a 3 month period, using an electric brush led to a decrease in plaque by 21%.