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Monthly Archives: June 2017

  • How to lose weight without changing your diet or exercise regime

    In the desperate dash to attain the perfect summer body, to luxuriate with a certain confidence on the beaches and swimming pools of the world, more and more people are exploring alternative ways of losing weight. You may be familiar with the 5:2 diet, the Atkins diet, as well as the Dukan diet, but have you heard of people purposely exposing themselves to cold conditions in order to lose weight? The latest weight loss trend reportedly requires no change in exercise or diet, leading some of us to posit that it sounds too good to be true - let’s find out.

    Initial discovery


    Non-shivering thermogenesis is a burgeoning field that has less than ten years of research and investigation under its belt. The brainchild of a former NASA materials scientist, Ray Cronise boldly surmised that Michael Phelps was able to maintain a steady weight despite his 12,000 calorie daily intake because of the amount of time he spent immersed in cool water. It turned out he was right. After a bout of self-experimentation, which included cold showers, winter walks, and sleeping without sheets, Cronise discovered that he was able to lose 26 pounds in a matter of six weeks. And thus, the field of non-shivering thermogenesis was born.

    The theory behind it

    PET scan

    So does the theory support Cronise’s hypothesis? A spate of recent research would suggest so. Understanding why cold causes weight loss first requires an understanding of brown adipose tissue (or brown fat). Also in its infancy research-wise, the presence of brown fat in humans was only unearthed less than a decade ago, when a PET scan conducted by Jan Nedergaard and Barbara Cannon to locate the presence of tumours in a patient, instead found an unrecognisable cluster of dark spots, that were later identified as brown adipose tissue. When the body is cold, it can warm itself by burning up stores of brown fat to generate heat. For this reason, cold can cause weight loss without any need to exercise or alter food intake.

    Putting theory into practice

    Winter walk

    Wouter van Marken Lichenbelt, a professor at Maastricht University who headed research on non-shivering thermogenesis, concluded that “mild cold exposure increases body energy expenditure without shivering and without compromising our precious comfort,” yet it is achieving this precise state that makes it so difficult. How cold is too cold?

    Lifestyle changes

    Ray Cronise, the father of non-shivering thermogenesis himself, advocates a number of simple lifestyle changes. Cronise avoids turning the heating on, sleeps without even a sheet, never mind a duvet, and always opts to forgo a jacket where others would be altogether more indecisive. Whilst all of these measures will undoubtedly test your resolve and endurance, all are free and uncomplicated to implement, and should see you lose a few pounds in no time.

    Ice vest

    Others prescribe more extreme measures. Wayne Hayes has developed an ice vest that can be worn throughout the work day, although he only suggests wearing it twice a day, for up to an hour at a time.

    Cold or tepid showers and baths

    salamander pump

    If you want more immediate results but you aren’t prepared to walk around with an ice vest underneath your clothes, a more practical alternative is to swap out a hot shower or bath for a cold or even tepid one. To salvage some remaining enjoyment out of the shower, you should at least make sure the pressure of your shower is protected, and you can do this by acquiring a salamander pump.

    While the exact relationship between cold temperatures and metabolic action of brown adipose tissue is far from set in stone (especially as stores of brown fat vary from person to person) it is clear that tolerating lower temperatures does cause weight loss. And the means by which you choose to do this is completely up to you - good luck!

  • How to keep cool during the summer months

    In Britain, we are unaccustomed to it being dry, never mind hot. When temperatures do climb above the 20°C mark, it tends to elicit a state of panic - with people scrambling for sun screen, shades and ice cream. And that is exactly what we are in for this summer if recent weather reports are to be believed - surges of heart are set to be part and parcel of 2017.While we’d like to think we all relish the sunshine, there are some downsides. The most obvious of which is miserable and fitful sleep. To help you keep cool in the sun and sleep soundlessly, here are some of the most effective solutions. Some will be obvious, and others may surprise you!

    Eat less and more often

    summer salad

    Heat tends to stifle the appetite and you should probably follow your body’s lead if you want to stay cool this summer. When we eat food, our body expends energy digesting it, producing metabolic heat in the process. The larger the meal we eat, the more metabolic heat our body creates. For this reason, it is best to sacrifice bigger meals for smaller, more frequent ones - your body temperature will thank you!

    Keep away from alcohol and caffeine

    summer water

    A cold beer and a refreshing glass of white wine are staples of summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are ideal for the hot weather. As you may already be all too aware, alcohol dehydrates the body, which can lead to headaches, dizziness, tiredness and even heat exhaustion, all of which are exacerbated by high temperatures. Caffeine-containing drinks are just as bad for dehydrating the body. While it is unlikely you’ll be putting the kettle on for a cup of coffee with the sun beaming overhead, you may fancy a quick, caffeine-filled coke. You are far better off drinking water instead, which will keep you hydrated and cool.

    Hot or cold shower?

    packaged pump systems

    Logically speaking, it seems obvious that taking a cold shower would be perfect for relief from the hot weather. Think again. Taking a cold shower actually causes our core temperature to increase. Because our skin temperature is dramatically reduced under the jets of cold water, the body decreases blood flow and therefore reduces its ability to lose heat. The cool shower will give you an initial feeling of coolness, but within minutes you will have inadvertently made yourself warmer. That is why it is better to stick to a warm, or if you don't think you can tolerate it, a tepid temperature shower. Regardless, you want to be certain that your shower is performing at peak capacity and packaged pump systems are the best way to achieve it.

    Light clothing - in all senses of the word

    summer clothing

    Lighter colours reflect heat radiation from the sun whilst darker hues absorb it, making it vital to to stick to lighter coloured clothing to avoid sticking to your clothes. In terms of material, opt for natural materials over synthetic ones, cotton and linen won’t cling to your skin and trap heat like their synthetic counterparts, allowing you to stay cool.

  • The technology fire-fighters use to tackle a blaze

    For better or worse, the tragedy of the fire at Grenfell Tower has put a spotlight on the response of emergency services. As you’d expect, no other service attracted more scrutiny than the fire and rescue service. All of Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan were quick to praise their heroic efforts, but what exactly allowed fire-fighters to save the lives of so many? The technological developments of the last few years certainly played their part; the arsenal of today's firefighter goes way beyond a mere end suction pump...


    end suction pump Drone in action during a forest fire

    Asking what a drone actually is can provoke a variety of answers. Browsing Wikipedia for a definition of a drone will offer anything from an underwater vehicle to spacecraft. What unites these disparate structures under the branch of drone is the fact that they are all unmanned. And it is exactly this property that gives them such intriguing potential for use in fire and rescue missions.

    A drone, or more specifically an unmanned aerial vehicle, can be used to transmit real time video of the progression of a fire using infra-red imaging - and do it better and far quicker than anything else. Not just limited to reconnaissance, there is a growing hope that, in the future, drones will become a fire-fighting tool in their own right. Incorporating the ability to extinguish fire by sound would alleviate the crippling weight of water that has until now, scuppered the possibility of fire-fighting drones. Watch this space.


    When tackling a raging fire, communication is imperative in ensuring resources are allocated as effectively as possible. Paradoxically, the people that are the most important in identifying and relaying the development of a fire and the location of survivors are also the most at-risk and the least well-equipped to do this. Engulfed by smoke and flames, overburdened with heavy equipment, with their field of vision obscured, it is understandably difficult for fire-fighters to converse with the incident commanders that have the say-so to commit or withdraw resources.

    Thankfully though, the evolution of technology has made this communication far more fluid and reliable. Breathing apparatus now has integrated radio communications which use a frequency that has been bolstered to minimise the possibility of any loss of signal.

    end suction pump Siebe Gorman and Co smoke helmet

    Breathing apparatus 

    We have come a long way from the Lord Buckethead-esque smoke helmets of the late 1800s, and it goes without saying that the breathing apparatus that allows fire-fighters to travel through smoke and fire filled areas unscathed today has dramatically improved. The fire services use either closed circuit breathing apparatus (CCBA) or self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) depending on the gravity of the situation. Regardless, both are flexible and lightweight pieces of equipment that provide the wearer with oxygen in a toxic environment.

    With an abundance of technology at their disposal, you can see why fire and rescue services have become better and better at extinguishing fires over time, and let’s hope this level of progress continues well into the future.

  • From plastic bags to paving stones: innovative solutions to the waste crisis

    Disposing of hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste is no walk in the park - literally. The era of dumping waste in landfill sites is over. With the global population set to rise from 7 billion to 11 billion by 2100, the amount of waste we are producing is only going to rise. It is becoming more and more difficult to properly dispose of waste and the world is finally waking up to this fact - individuals all across the globe are committed to discovering new ways not just to dispose of waste, but to recover its utility completely.

    Battery-eating bacteria

    sewage pump Phone batteries at landfill

    In the modern age, a mobile phone is essentially an extension of the human body. While having almost boundless information at the tips of our fingers at all times is undoubtedly a positive, it also comes at a cost - e-waste is some of the most trying to dispose of. A slew of carcinogenic and toxic substances constitute the make-up of a phone battery and because of this, they pose a particular problem for waste disposal experts. The Belgians turned to smelting and the Germans opted for vacuums. The most successful approach appears to belong to researchers at the University of Edinburgh however. They are using bacteria that have the peculiar ability to precipitate out the precious metals in phone batteries as nanoparticles, allowing lithium, cobalt and nickel can all be extracted from battery waste.

    Vanishing circuit boards

    sewage pump Circuit boards at landfill

    Circuit boards are an indispensable part of all but the most primitive electronic devices. Because of their prevalence, they have been plaguing landfill sites with toxins like lead and mercury. In order to combat this threat, 12 research groups across the globe have made substantial efforts to produce a solution. It was discovered that silicon is water soluble, and subsequently, their research focused on reducing the standard width of these silicon circuit boards from 1 millimetre to just 100 nanometres,  allowing the circuit boards to dissolve in a matter of months.

    From plastic bags to paving stones

    Sewage pump Plastic at landfill

    Cameroon is just one example of a country that is turning one of its major flaws into an asset. Plastic bags and bottles have wrought havoc with the country’s environment - everything from blocked drains to polluted rivers have tormented Cameroonians. One savvy entrepreneur is making headway into ridding the country of this scourge by converting what had previously been plastic waste into paving stones. After the potentially toxic chlorine is removed, the plastic can be melted down and combined with sand to make durable paving stones. Not only are they superior environmentally, they are also considerably cheaper than their cement slab counterparts.

    Wastewater processing

    sewage pump Wastewater processing plant

    Wastewater is being underutilised in treatment plants across the globe. Fortunately, chemical engineers are becoming more and more efficient at extracting phosphorus from wastewater. Phosphorus is instrumental in the development of strong and healthy roots, flowers, seeds and fruit of plants. No longer is a sewage pump carrying just waste, but a multitude of potentially useful substances. Because the likes of phosphorus is diverted from the wastewater using modular activated sludge digesters, it dramatically reduces the energy required to treat the remainder.

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