Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Thought For Christmas: The Wood Wide Web

It's the time of year when many people think about the forthcoming Christmas and holiday season and one of the things that will feature in many houses over the coming weeks is a tree - a Christmas tree.

The tradition of Christmas trees goes back a long time. It's thought that the forerunner to the modern Christmas tree dates back to the 15th century.

Decorating the tree is also something of a tradition. In the 17th century people used apples and nuts for decoration and then in the 18th century people started to use candles for the effect of illumination.

Since the advent of electricity, of course, that has changed to a more practical and safe option of using electric lights.

The dark evenings over the Christmas period (especially up here in Scotland!) can be literally and figuratively brightened up by a colourful, Christmas tree when its lights are switched on.

Here in Stirling, we have cold winters, often with snow around Christmas and all the staff here love the tradition of Christmas trees. In fact, decorating our trees at home is a common topic of conversation during coffee breaks at this time of year! Whether to have a real or artificial tree, who prefers baubles to ribbons. Most of us love to add in something more familial like those lovely little things your children (or even you!) made at school. They may not have a 'designer' look but they will always make you smile :)

So we've established that electrical energy to power decorative lights is synonomous with Christmas trees but did you know that real trees actually generate their own form of electrical energy?

According to forester and author Peter Wohlleben, every species of tree is "genetically as far away from each other as you and a goldfish". As such each species has developed a way of communicating within it's 'tribe' by means of electrical signals which the trees' roots are able to generate. It's believed the type of information they can exchange in this way ranges from where to find nourishment in the soil to warnings of insect attacks.

Using electrical energy to warn of an attack - now there's a thought! Just as our Electro-Fence uses electricity to warn of a perimeter attack, it seems that nature, and in particular trees, got there first with the idea!

It's not just the trees that benefit from root-generated electrical signals; it appears that at the point where the web of roots cease, the information is carried forward and passed on by means of the surrounding fungal network. Scientists have now given a name to this complex network - The Wood Wide Web :)

If you love Christmas trees, take a look at some of the biggest ones in the world - here.

Enjoy a very Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Philadelphia Connection

Philadelphia has featured in our perimeter security blog several times over the years. Our Technical Director Andy Moon has made several business trips to the city and has always returned with fabulous photos and interesting stories. Usually there's a historical link - we here at Advanced Perimeter Systems love our history!

Here are two previous posts about Philly which have a history bias:

Joan of Arc Statue
William Penn Statue

It's safe to say that Philadelphia made a big impression on Andy, so imagine the excitement when we discovered yet another relevant and meaningful link with the city. What is it? Bose.

Electronics has been a passion of Andy's since an early age when he built his first crystal radio set (age 14). It appears that a similar passion developed for a boy from Philadelphia during the 1930's. His name was Amar Gopal Bose.

At the age of 13 Amar would spend hours dismantling and fixing radio sets. Every day after school he would repair radios in order to help his father's struggling business. He studied at the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology, achieved a PhD in Electrical Engineering and, as Dr. Bose, became a Professor there.

In 1964 he went on to found the Bose Corporation.

He once said that his aim had never been to make money, but by 2007 (aged 78) he was one of the richest people in the world. It was always his passion for research, learning and improvement that drove his ambition.

The first 50 years of the Bose Corporation makes for great reading - click here to access the page and scroll down to the second video clip where you can watch Dr. Bose talking about his childhood love of electronics. If you like train sets and tinkering with electronics you will love to hear the story :)

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Stirling Castle In The News With A Royal Visitor

If you are a regular reader of this perimeter security blog, then you will already know that here at Advanced Perimeter Systems Limited we all share a passion for our homebase of Stirling. With a colourful and unique history and some wonderful surrounding landscape, there is something for everyone here. Two of our previous posts about Stirling feature some interesting detail if you want to read them:
Perimeter Security People With A Passion
Security For William Wallace

It is not every day that our beloved city features in the news headlines but this last week saw one such day. HRH Prince William (the Duke of Cambridge) visited Stirling and, in particular, Stirling Castle.

Here is Stirling Castle photographed by one of our staff on their way to work last winter

Stirling Castle near Head Office of perimeter security manufacturer

The purpose of Prince William's visit was to launch the Thin Red Line Appeal to raise funds for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum as it faces an insecure future. It is hoped that the Museum's target of £4 million can be reached by 2019 in order to fund its redevelopment.

The Museum is located at Stirling Castle, hence why the Prince flew in there by helicopter to meet a variety of local people including schoolchildren and various dignitaries.

The Prince was clearly delighted to have been made patron of the Appeal and you can read more about his involvement on the Royal website here.

Not far from Stirling Castle across the River Forth and within sight of our own Head Office stands the Wallace Monument which was built as a memorial to William Wallace. Anyone who visits Stirling usually makes time to see the Monument. Prince William proved no exception!

helicopter flies past Stirling Castle
Photos courtesy Daily Mail - full article here

Even though he did not have time in his schedule to see the moument on foot, the helicopter carrying him back home after his visit to the Castle made a point of flying right past it. Undoubtedly, the Prince enjoyed his 'bird's eye' view :)

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