A brief history of Portland Cement

If you’ve never heard of Portland cement, you may be surprised to learn that it is one of the most important ingredients ever produced by man, created and patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824.

Aspdin heated lime cement powder mixed with clay in a furnace, and then ground the clinker that was left into a powder. He named the substance “Portland cement” because of similarities it had with Portland rock, a kind of rock excavated on the Isle of Portland in England.

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Aspdin’s cement business continues today with Aspdin’s son William at the helm. To this day, Portland cement remains the most commonly used cement throughout the world. For your cement needs, consider Ready Mix Concrete Derby at a site like Best Mix, suppliers of Ready Mix Concrete Derby.

Cement is usually produced by two processes – wet and dry

The dry process is basically the same as the wet, except that in the wet, water is mixed in with the raw materials before being placed into the kiln. Although there is little difference in efficiency between the two processes, the wet process has the disadvantage of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption to evaporate the water. Most of the manufacturing processes where cement is produced is done using the preferred dry process.

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Crushing and Grinding: The raw materials such as limestone and clay, which are obtained from the mine are then crushed into fine powder form.

Raw materials are crushed and mixed in the right proportions to form what is called “raw food” or “kiln feed”. Next, the clinker is formed – a new substance emerged that comes from the kiln known as ‘clinker’.

Problems with Septic Tanks

Nobody, whether homeowner or business wants to deal with a damaged septic tank or overflow. Out of sight and out of mind is the best way to describe how a septic tank should be. However, if you experience a nasty smell or toilets don’t function like they used to, you could well have an issue.

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As another part of your home, septic tanks require regular maintenance to keep them working effectively. If they are not maintained properly, the following warning signs may present themselves:

Gurgling noise coming from the plumbing system

Water and sewage from the drains, sinks and toilets back up into the property

Stench around the septic tank and drain field

Damp spots or standing water near the septic tank

Bright green, full grass growing around the septic tank area even in summer

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What problem is most common?

Lack of maintenance

It is important that your septic tank is pumped and emptied regularly. Some of the tanks need to be emptied once a year. A professional company can pump, empty and clean up your tank and perform essential maintenance and repair. For Septic Tank Emptying Bromsgrove, visit a site like BSA Environmental, a provider of Septic Tank Emptying Bromsgrove.

Land movement

A slight movement of the ground around the septic tank can put a huge amount of pressure on the tank, potentially leading to fractures and cracks in the walls. Which can lead to two problems:

The septic tanks can back up and must be emptied more often.

If groundwater enters the septic tank through the cracks, the tank will no longer be able to separate liquid from solid waste effectively.

Putting in an offer on the property

Looking for a new home can be a difficult and anxious time and it helps to have some helpful hints for putting in a bid and being successful.

Putting in a bid

An estate agent will normally do this on your behalf, because by law they have to pass on any offer they receive to the seller. It’s good practice to place a bid in writing as well, following an email or phone call. If the seller is interested, then the negotiation process can be initiated through estate agents. As an agent works for the seller, you may feel there is no one else to act on your behalf. Often buyers will hire a buyer’s assistant to assist in the negotiation process.

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A lower bid is more likely to be accepted if:

The property has been on the market for some considerable time

If the seller needs to move quickly

The completion date suggested by you works well for sellers

If you are able to move quickly and have the funds available immediately

When the times comes, consider a Removal Companies Essex at a site like Jeakins, a leading Removal Companies Essex.

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Tactics for bidding

The bidding process can vary and be pen or closed. Open negotiations are much more common.

It pays to start low with an open negotiation bidding process. Consider putting in an offer about 10% below the asking price. This is normally expected by sellers, so they inflate the property price when it first enters the market.

You should expect to be told if another offer has beaten yours so that you can place a further bid if the property is still within your budget limit. Remember to stay cool and polite, interested but not desperate.

The importance of removing tree stumps

Tree stumps can be unsightly and at times, dangerous. If you have a stump on your property, from a dead, fallen or cut tree, stump grinding is the process that removes that unwanted stump. That’s why eliminating stumps is a crucial element of effective tree care and maintenance.

  1. Improve aesthetics and regain space

Tree stumps can ruin the look of a nice, neat garden if left. Getting rid of them will immediately improve the appearance of your whole property. This will also raise the overall value and visual appeal. In addition to aesthetics, space is also an important issue, especially if your garden is smaller.

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  1. Avoid accidents

While a stump may not seem dangerous, it can be a significant trip hazard for anyone. This is especially a problem with senior citizens and small children. Removing the stump is not only necessary for security for yourself and your family, it also eliminates the possibility of accidents related to the stumps that could cost you a lot of money. For advice from a Tree Surgeon Essex, visit a site like Benchmark, a leading Tree Surgeon Essex.

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  1. Protect against diseases and pests

A tree stump on your property may look harmless, but they can be a breeding ground for a lot of pests or unwanted diseases. Insects and other pests can take up residence in this stump. Not removing a stump gives insects plenty of opportunity to settle in and proliferate. The stumps of trees often die from disease. Removing the stump can prevent the spread of disease from tree stumps to nearby healthy trees.

Getting your affairs in order

Step 1 – Create a will

If you’ve not got around to it, make it a priority. If you want to be sure that things like assets and money are left to those you want to receive them, then you must stipulate this in a will. If you don’t, the law will decide what happens to your assets – and they may go to someone you don’t want. 

It’s also a good idea to tell those individuals who you wish to act as executor of your will. An executor is the person who handles your financial affairs and wishes after your death. You are able to have more than one person to be the executor, but ideally no more than four.

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If you have children under 18, a will also states who should be responsible by law to look after them if you die.

Step 2 – If you want to be super-organised to ease the burden on family and friends, you could consider planning your own funeral. For help and advice, consider Funeral Directors Billericay at a site like Bennetts, a leading Funeral Directors Billericay.

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Step 3 – Get your paperwork together

You know where all your important documents are stored, whether it’s in a drawer or filing cabinet, but do others know? You must inform the executor of your will.

They will need to know the whereabouts of documents like:


Any divorce papers

House deeds

Bank statements

Insurance policy

Credit card statement

Mortgage information

Birth and marriage certificates

Tax certificates

Details of savings and investments – including: premium bonds, pension statements and stock certificates, for example.


Clinical Trials

We are hearing a lot about clinical trials in the media at the moment. Trials underway to test new drugs are normally completed in four phases. Should a treatment be successful in the first stage, it will pass to phase II and so on followed by a study conducted after approval by regulators.

Pre-clinical phases of a drug or device involves testing on non-human cells that provide information about how effective it is, the problem of toxicity and how this impacts the drug or device.

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Phase I involves the testing of drugs on healthy human volunteers in a clinical trial, with small doses at first and subsequent increases in the dose further on but still at lower than the therapeutic dose. A small group of healthy volunteers will be invited to the clinic for clinical trials, so that they can be observed around the clock. Sometimes labs need to move where the funding is. For Lab Relocation Services, visit a site like Aport Global, providers of Lab Relocation Services.

Phase II involves the testing of a drug or device on patients to whom the compounds might benefit to assess the efficacy and possible side effects. These patients will receive what is known as a therapeutic dose.

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Phase III involves testing on patients to measure how effective it is and its safety. This phase involves a group of randomized patients to measure how useful this drug in everyday clinical practice. This measure is the part that takes the longest and is the most expensive of all the phases.

Stage IV is the stage after a drug or device has received approval by the regulatory board but continues to be monitored in the community.

All you need to know about the trees that make our timber

If you have ever bought timber from a Southampton Timber Merchants such as you will have seen the vast number of choices that you have to pick from.  But are you aware of some of these fascinating tree facts?

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  • It can take decades for trees to reach their maturity. An oak tree tends to reach maturity after 25-30 years whilst an apple tree will reach maturity in around 10 years. There is no given timeframe as to when trees as a whole will reach a particular age, this always depends on the variety of tree and whether it is a standard size or altered size such as dwarf varieties.
  • Trees have a unique way of communicating with one another by using an underground network of fungi that help to share resources from one tree to another. There is a ‘mother’ tree that is at the centre of every network. These neighbour networks are also used by the trees to warn one another about pests that might be attacking trees in the area.

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  • It is thought that there are over 60,000 trees across the world with around 300 of these species being classified as critically endangered and many more on the endangered list.

Why Should your Company Have GPS Vehicle Tracking?

GPS tracking has revolutionised the world, and that includes the business world. All smartphone devices are now installed with GPS tracking, and one of the things that GPS tracking has brought to the world of business is fleet vehicle tracking. Here are some reasons why transport managers are using GPS tracking systems to track their fleet.

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Being able to track where your vehicles are at any time is beneficial to you as a manager and to your customers. It allows you to help your drivers to manage and organise their day and it allows you to keep customers up to date and to deliver much better customer service when it comes to vehicles arriving at their destination.

You will be able to monitor the speed of your vehicles as well as their whereabouts. Cutting down on fines, as well as increasing road safety is a key reason why vehicle tracking is so valuable to businesses.

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Vehicle security is another reason why it is helpful to have GPS tracking. If the vehicle is stolen it is easy to track, and signs on the vehicle stating that the vehicle is fitted with GPS tracking acts as a deterrent to potential thieves.

With vehicle tracking software, you can get a range of reports from the data that it provides you with. This can be used to manage your fleet in many ways, from improving your fuel efficiency, to changing routes to make them more economical, this is a wealth of information that is invaluable to any business running a fleet.

What Happens During a Cremation?

Although the only thing that you can be certain of in life, as the famous saying goes, is death and taxes, we, as a society have a reluctance to talk about death. Many of us have attended or even had to arrange a funeral at some point, with the help of professionals such as these Essex funeral directors, but within society it seems we do not treat death as a subject that we are happy to speak about.

This leads people to wonder about it, and the different aspects of the processes surrounding it, and one of the most popular questions is ‘what happens during a cremation’.

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Despite the fact that the majority of funerals are cremations rather than burials in the UK it seems that we do not know a lot about what happens with cremation. Sometimes we have images in our head that are far more disturbing than the reality – so briefly, how does a cremation service happen…

The same way as a traditional service, the coffin is brought into the crematorium. The ceremony itself can be religious based or not, depending on the individuals wishes. A service lasts around 40 minutes and is similar to a church service in how it is done.

The mourners then leave the crematorium, and a curtain is drawn around the coffin. This is the part that many people fear that they will see the coffin go into the furnace, but that is a very old-fashioned process and it is no longer done in the UK. However, if you ask in advance a maximum of two relatives can witness the coffin go in if they should wish to.

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The cremation is done on the same day, and the process takes around an hour and a half. Any metals (such as metal hip replacements) are removed with a magnet and recycled, and the ashes are placed in an urn to be passed on to the family. You can then place them in an urn of your choosing, you may have a grave to bury them in or take them to a special place to scatter them.

The New Cold War – Are we Once Again at Risk of Nuclear Destruction?

Throughout the Cold War, the two superpowers – the Soviet Union and the United States nearly started full nuclear exchange a few times – The tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie (which seems unimaginable to us now when we can do tank driving for fun at ). Then only a year later came the Cuban Missile Crisis – the whole world watched with bated breath as the humanities survival seemed to hang by a thread. In 1983, Operation Able Archer, a NATO training exercise once again nearly sparked a nuclear exchange.

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Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has seemed less and less likely that the world will end in a full nuclear exchange – indeed, it doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of public consciousness anymore as it once was. During the 1980s, pop culture, from film to music was ingrained with the grim realisation that we were very close to hearing the 4-minute warning.

But in recent years, the question has once again started to rear its ugly head. With tensions growing between Russia and the West as Russia continues to update its nuclear stockpile. In North Korea too, the current leader Kim Jong Un is seemingly obsessed with developing the nuclear missile program of the secretive state and with his hot temper is understandably a worry for the United Nations.

Then, over in America is the President Donald Trump – also hot tempered and unpredictable, and having a huge nuclear weapon stockpile at his disposal has also caused concern with his hot-headed reactions to North Koreas missile tests.

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It seems that in these times a new cold war is back – hopefully it will diffuse as the last one did.

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