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A Brief History Of Refrigeration

A Brief History Of Refrigeration

| Education | No Comments

Keeping things cold as a means of preserving and prolonging their life has long been understood. However, the means of doing that has presented some considerable challenges over the years and led to a good deal of invention and innovation.

From the commercial bottle coolers used in bars and restaurants to the humble domestic freezer, refrigeration technology is something we now take for granted, yet it’s a relatively recent invention.

Ice

Even as late as the first decades of the 20th century, keeping things cold relied on ice. Country houses would have insulated ice houses, usually underground, where ice harvested from lakes and ponds in the winter could be stored for use in the warmer months.

On a commercial level, transporting and storing ice gave birth to a whole industry. Commercial ice-making machines first appeared in the 1850s and made it possible to manufacture ice to be distributed to food processing and storage businesses, though these machines were too large for anything other than industrial use. It also became possible to freeze meat for transport by sea – the first practical application of this being a shipment of New Zealand lamb to London in 1882.

Ice as a cooling system began to make its way into homes in the 1800s too, and even as late as the 1930s most homes in the US would have had an insulated ice box kept cold by regular deliveries of ice produced by factories.

Cold as Ice

The history of artificial refrigeration goes back as far as 1755, when Scottish professor William Cullen designed a refrigerating machine. However, it was 100 years before commercial refrigeration became a practical reality.

The first domestic refrigerator as we would recognise it was introduce by the General Electric company in 1911, though it was powered by gas. The first domestic fridge powered by electricity didn’t appear until 1927.

In 1930 Frigidaire produced the first fridge using synthetic chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant, which made it possible to produce smaller, cheaper machines. However, by the 1970s CFCs were discovered to be damaging the ozone layer, and their use was banned by the Montreal Protocol of 1989.

The ready availability of fridges from companies such as Fridge Freezer Direct now means that they’re in reach of pretty much everyone. Houses no longer need to have larders with tiled floors to store food and keep it cool, and the ice house is a historical curiosity..

The Future

Current fridges and freezers aren’t all that different from the 1930s models. All that could be changing, though, as researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California are experimenting with magnetic refrigeration systems. These rely on an effect that means changing the magnetic field of a material causes it to get colder. Fridges based on this technology wouldn’t need any gasses, would use less energy and would be quieter than current technology.

Whatever the future holds, there’s no doubt that the ability to keep things cold has changed the way we live our lives, and it’s now hard to imagine being without the humble fridge.

The Hottest New Investor Trends For 2015

| Finance | No Comments

The hottest investor trends for 2015 include exciting new strategies designed to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing business climate head on. Topping the trends for 2015 are new ideas, such as pre-seed investing, and twists on traditional strategies that include changes in American’s retirement portfolios. Overall, 2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year for investors and business founders alike.

A New Way to Fund Startups

Pre-seed investors garnered a lot of attention in the last half of 2014 and the trend continues in to 2015. The traditional way to finance a startup is to ask family and friends for money, apply for bank loans, find willing investors and sometimes mortgage the house. The appeal of pre-seed funding is that potential business founders need only a great idea, no product, prototype or proof of concept required. Pre-seed funds give founders the means to move from idea to launch and investors retain a stake in the new companies. Pre-seed funds are typically modest amounts designed to get a business through its first year.

Investors and Sustainability

Socially responsible investing (SRI) is an increasingly popular form of ethical investing that promises to gain even more traction in 2015. Investing in socially conscious businesses is not a new idea, but its recent popularity is due in part to rising awareness and demand from the public at large. As more consumers choose to do business with socially responsible and ethical businesses, investors look for investments that combine financial returns with rising social awareness. According to the U.S. SIF, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, by the end of the year 2013, more than $6.5 trillion was invested in accord with SRI strategies, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Changing Retirement Portfolio

Retirement accounts are the stalwarts of tradition. Ford Motor Company and General Electric shares are typical stocks found in individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s. A new trend is emerging, however where big money managers, including T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Investments, acquire shares in privately held tech companies. Shares are then pooled into mutual funds and end up in the retirement portfolios of millions. The appeal is obvious. Tech companies, such as Uber, Pinterest and Airbnb, are growing faster than those on the stock market and investment management companies want to cash in. Tech companies are not required to trade publicly or issue financial status reports, making speculative investments like these riskier. The question for 2015 is whether or not retirement account holders actually benefit from risky tech stocks or if the big winners are the investment management companies themselves.

The Top Billion Dollar Startup Investors

Forbes Magazine recently announced its list of top billion dollar investment companies that have the experience, strategies and records of accomplishment to fund 2015’s most promising startups. Included in the top five are Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners.

New Technologies That Will Bring a Revolution to the Travel Industry

| Gadgets | No Comments

Getting away from the usual routine for a holiday abroad is something which none of us are likely to ever turn down. However, will it be even easier to travel in the future thanks to advance in technology?

GPS Uses

We are already seeing a lot of ways in which travellers can benefits from having a GPS system on their mobile devices. From finding out where you actually are to locating a hotel there are a lot of exciting ways of using your GPS to get more out of your holiday. However, the really exciting changes are coming in areas such as augmented reality, which gives you a completely different view of the city you are in, I one went on a cruise from Southampton and my person GPS when out at sea kept me busy. Time will tell what further advances we will see in this area but it seems clear that we can expect some big things which will be very welcome for travellers.

Near Field Communication

There is a lot of talk about this subject but it still isn’t entirely clear what exact form it will take in the future. You may have heard it been described as being a way to pay for things using your smart phone but it is going to be able to do a lot more for us than that. It is basically a way in which you phone can communicate with other smart devices, and interesting uses for it are already being found in countries such as Japan.

Biometric Identification

You have probably already heard about biometric passports, and certainly travelling with a document which has your retina scan and other essential details will bring you a lot of benefits. However, there are other uses for this technology and we can look at the world of cruise ships to find one of them. If you have ever travelled on board a cruise ship then imagine if you could check in by giving these details and then get automatic access to every part of the vessel which you need. No more keys, no more names on lists; just you and your body will be enough to get you into the places you want to go.

Mobile Devices for Travel and Work

For far too long many people have suffered through not being able to take time off to get a good holiday every year. Things have now changed drastically and now a lot of us can work from anywhere in the world without any problems whatsoever. In fact, if your job gives you this kind of flexibility then why would you ever need to go home again? Life could turn into a constant trip provided that you have a laptop and a broadband connection you can hook up to.