Friday, June 28, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
In this article, we are going to be looking at cleanrooms, and how various companies can benefit from having one installed within their facilities. Just in case you are unsure of what a cleanroom is, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it thus: a room for the manufacture […] that is maintained at a high level of cleanliness by special means.
Although they are mostly used for the manufacture of things (usually objects requiring precision manufacture, such as microchips and the like), cleanrooms can also be useful for research.
It is difficult to evaluate exactly how valued cleanrooms are in the industry, as they have become completely inextricable from the process – they have been used for a long time, and the technology driving them has evolved alongside the industry as a whole.
To try and work out the “true” value of a cleanroom, in isolation, we are going to have to look at a case study performed by Life Science. For the full study, you can click here, but a summary will follow.
The Beginnings of the Case Study
Working in a major IVF facility, the case study commenced with the design and construction of a cleanroom to be used in the process of transferring the embryo. IVF facilities usually work out of normal laboratories, with the fertilisation taking place in a biosafety cabinet, and the embryo developing in temperature-controlled incubators.
A human embryo is, of course, an immensely delicate object. Taken outside of its natural environment (the human body), an embryo has no protection against any contaminants, as it has been refined over thousands of generations to survive in the ultimate controlled environment.
To keep the embryo safe outside the body, you’re going to need a similar environment, one which is as close to perfectly-controlled as possible. We couldn’t imagine a better place than a cleanroom, so set about performing the case study.
The new cleanroom was to use an ISO-7 environment for the fertilisation and growth, while the embryo implantation was to be in an ISO-8 one. You can find out more about cleanrooms by clicking here, and get more information about cleanroom standards here.
The Results of the Case Study
Of course, the pregnancy success rates did not simply and instantly rocket upwards – no one was expecting them to; IVF implantations are not that straightforward. At first, the rates of success were about the same as they had been prior to the installation of the cleanroom.
However, as time passed by, the doctors and nurses soon began to see an upward tick, and they reported that the variability of the success rates had reduced by a significant amount.
These results only continued to improve as the staff members got used to working within the cleanroom environment, and as they adapted to the different practices used in a cleanroom. This showed that the initial stalling of positive results was perhaps due to unfamiliarity with the environment.
The new cleanroom allowed staff to be more responsive to issues, as and when they arise, as they could now both monitor and evaluate cleanliness, maintenance, and operator methods, meaning they could continue to improve their technique.
In all, it was the cleanroom that caused these positive results.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
FedBizOpps.gov, the US government web site that lists contracts open for bids, has recently been revamped. The new site offers printed information, videos, users' guides and FAQs on the procurement process that the law mandates. Even more advice is available from the Small Business Administration, which has pages of resources on how to register for this and qualify for that. All this keeps busy professionals away from their primary business for far too long, but failure to research the process of doing business with the government invites failure. US government contracts can be lucrative, but their requirements are stringent and must be rigorously adhered to. Even professionals with years of experience in their field may not understand all the ins and outs, and making a mistake can be extremely costly. Federal contracts are offered by a bewildering array of agencies in need of everything from engineering and production to a few extra parking places in a particular location. Just finding a contract on which to bid successfully takes considerable work and lots of know-how. This leaves businesses with several options. They can hire consultants to handle the bidding process. They can wade through all the available information and try to do it themselves, but this is risky and time-consuming. Or they can seek out federal publication seminars and train an existing employee on the intricacies of the government procurement process. However it is accomplished, the business with the best information on the process is likely to be the most successful.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
You all know what an architect is – someone who designs and plans buildings and oversees their construction. They usually work with engineers to bring aesthetically pleasing building designs to life; creating something that meets the safety standards whilst still being interesting to look at.
To put it bluntly, an architect has a pretty cool job. Sadly, it takes a lot of effort to get there – college, then university, and then several more years to get your accreditation. However, you can also get a bit of a head start by learning architecture online, all from the comfort of your living room or study.
Online, you can find loads of flashcards; these are designed to help students to learn a number of important terms relevant to their chosen career path, as well as the definitions of these terms. It won’t be too difficult to find some tailored to architecture, so get Googling!
Look at these flashcards about once a day; this is the best way to memorise unfamiliar terms. Make sure you regularly go over the terms which you’ve already learned to make them stick firmly in your head.
Get your favourite search engine up and look for websites dedicated to architecture. Look at hobbyists’ sites as well as professional design ones, and learn the more popular terms and phrases and find out what’s in vogue.
Some sites will give you visual aids to help your understanding, whereas others will have interviews with veteran architects to aid you in discovering what is in store in the field of architecture.
www.architecture.com is the official website of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and will put a number of great resources at your disposal, but you should also look at the sites of different architecture firms as well, such as www.mccormick-architecture.co.uk, for inspiration.
If you’ve got a Kindle or another e-reader, you should take a look online at the various different resources and articles available to you. Many of them are free, but Amazon has a good range of architectural textbooks at reasonable prices. This is a good solution if you want to keep learning whilst taking a break from the computer screen.
Of course, you won’t be able to get anywhere without actually taking a proper course, so it’s vital that you do! There are loads of architecture courses on the internet, and many of them are even free, so you have nothing to lose!
They should be able to offer you the fundamentals of architecture, giving you a good cornerstone to build on. (Architecture puns, we love ‘em). The paid ones will be better in the long run, as they’ll give you a more focused view, but the free courses are a good place to start at least.
A decent class will offer online tutorials and even seminar sessions in which you can chat with your fellow students and ask an experienced professional some questions – it’s just like going to uni, but you don’t even have to leave home!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Aten had no statue; it was never represented in human or animal form. Offerings were piled on a great altar – gifts of bread, poultry, beef and garlands of flowers – and the Disc of the Sun witnessed the rites as the pharaoh consecrated gifts, burned incense, and poured water, with the queen officiating at his side. The temple site contains an astonishing number of lesser altars – some 2,000 in all – which may have been used by Amarna’s citizens. The possibility that the king and his subjects worshipped the Aten in the same sacred space indicates another revolutionary departure form the conventions of earlier Egyptian rites. Residential areas grew haphazardly to the north and south of the city’s official buildings. The homes of he wealthier citizens were spaced out along the streets at irregular intervals, and humbler citizens occupied the areas in between, different classes living side by side. Whatever their size, whether humble dwellings or princely palaces, houses in Amarna were laid out according to the same basic plan. All were divided into three parts: an antechamber, a living room, and a private area with bedrooms.
The antechamber was a long and often beautiful room, its ceiling supported by wooden columns, and it was sometimes surrounded by a suite of smaller rooms. The square living room was the centre of the house. The walls were not open the sun, so the room temperature was cool and comfortable. They led up to a ceiling higher than that of the rest of the house, supported by wooden columns. Daylight entered through small windows set high in the walls. The private apartments consisted of the master’s chamber and rooms reserved for family and guests. There were no true bathrooms – a simple chamber provided a space where servants would shower family members with water from a jar. A small adjacent room provided somewhere to relax, and a staircase led to the terrace roof where the family might sleep if the summer heat made the house unbearable.
Dancing is by no means an easy way to make a living. However, for some people it's the obvious choice when it comes to deciding on a career. Getting in to the professional dance world can be tough, and it takes a lot of luck. With so many universities and colleges offering degrees in dance, is it worth going to school before you take a crack at the stage? There are many ways to set yourself up for a career in dance and this blog should help your decide whether or not a dance degree is right for you.
Career Options for Dancers
It can be easy to imagine yourself on stage or dancing on a music video, but dance careers aren't just limited to performance. It's important to realise that whilst professional dance is a tough world and many performers just don't make it, that there are other career options. Teaching is always a possibility, as is choreography. However, physical therapists, dance therapists, and even primary school teachers can all benefit from dance training. Given how hard it is to break into the dance world, it is worth considering some back up options that relate to your dance training.
The Pros of a Dance Degree
There are some advantages to getting a degree in dance, not least that should you be considering these back up career options that a degree will be infinitely useful. While dancers don't need degrees to perform, getting qualifications can aid you in other areas of the dance field. Even if you're a great dancer with a promising professional future ahead of you, there is always the chance that you could be injured and unable to perform, so additional qualifications are a nice safety net. Plus, many dance students tend to double major, giving them a degree in dance as well as one in another area that can provide additional support should dancing not pay the bills.
There is another huge advantage to getting a degree. Schools specialising in dance, whether they be dance academies or universities with a solid dance programme, will give you the contacts that you need to get ahead. In the area of the arts, just as in other professions, sometimes the people that you know are just as important as what you know. Getting into a good dance programme, even if you don't end up completing a degree, will get you introductions to professional dancers, choreographers, directors and agents, and these people can be instrumental in helping you build your career.
The Cons of a Degree in Dance
There is one major drawback to a degree in dance, which is the combination of time and money. Dancing requires constant learning and training. It's possible that a study programme will leave you without the time to put in the training that you need. Additionally, as university and academy programmes are getting more and more expensive, you might find yourself short of funds to pay for on-going classes with good teachers.
Even with loans to pay student fees, once you have a degree you're not guaranteed a stable income that's going to help you pay those loan bills. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a big break and know the right people, a dance degree really isn't going to be a necessity. You can make it without a degree if you work hard and train hard, but an additional qualification, if you can afford it, might make a difference to your quality of life if things don’t pan out as you planned. Just like sports, dance careers are often short and high-pressured, so having a plan B is the sensible option.
Sharon Pertwee is a stage performer who teaches dance and musical theatre to young children in her spare time. She studied at a well-known university to gain a teaching qualification but followed her passion and learnt dance at www.americanacademy.co.uk.