Electricity – Ground Fault or Arc Fault

If you were asked, "Who discovered electricity?" What would be your answer? I'm almost positive (a little electric humor) that Benjamin Franklin and his kite flying tale comes to your mind. It was not electricity that Ben discovered in 1752. It was the lightning rod. In 1800, Alessandro Volta manufactured the first battery capable to deliver a constant electric current. It was Volta, not Franklin, to discover electricity.

Many of the ways we use and deliver electricity today are still the same as in the days of Franklin and Volta. Differences in electrical potential between materials cause current to flow between them. Charges can be produced by rubbing fur or cloth over a non metallic surface. Metal wires are used to transmit electrons over long distances; but one property stands out the most. Electricity can kill!

Today, we have developed many ways to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of exposure to electric current. We use circuit breakers, surge protectors, arch fault, ground fault, and equipment grounding to safely control the flow of electrons from one place to another. Two of these safely systems generate a lot of questions. What is the difference between ground fault and arc fault?

Ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protection has been around for a few decades. It is most commonly seen in areas where water is present. For instance, in modern homes, you will find GFCI protection in the kitchen near the sink, in the bathroom near the water sources, in garages, and any receptacles outside of your home. This type of protection guards against injury by monitoring how much current is flowing through it. If the GFCI detects a difference between the amounts of current leaving as opposed to returning, it shuts off. The missing current has to be going somewhere other than its intended destination. It's going to ground. A horrible place if you happened to be in the middle of the current as it's headed to ground.

Arc fault circuit interrupt (AFCI) protection has only been available to consumers for a few years. Like its parent GFCI, AFCI is designed to detect when electricity is not traveling to its intended destination. Unlike GFCI, AFCI is not protecting against the loss of current to ground. It is guarding against a broken conductor. These broken conductors are the primary cause of home fires in America today.

Primarily, AFCI is required in bedrooms. Bedrooms are notorious for having corded appliances, such as computers, alarm clocks, and desk or floor lamps in them. Many times the cords of these appliances are routed under beds, dressers, or carpets. This is not as safe as it looks. Cords are often cut by the items placed on them. Once severed, the broken conductor will arc. This arcing will continue until the metal is burned through or a circuit breaker trips. Often, the time between the initial cutting of the conductor and the tripping of the breaker is not quick enough and a fire breaks out. AFCI was designed to detect the initial arc caused by the severed conductor and immediately turn the power off.

In conclusion, electricity is the flow of electrons between items with differenting potential. If not properly controlled, this difference can have horrible repercussions, when people or property is in the way. Modern industry has taken great measures to protect us while using one of the most fundamental properties of nature – electricity.

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Financial Reporting & Auditing in Singapore

The Accounting Profession of Singapore

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) is the national body representing the accounting profession in Singapore. It maintains a register of qualified accountants comprising mainly local graduates. Membership is open to members of the Institutes of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, Australia, Scotland, Ireland and a number of other accounting bodies. Generally, prior to being admitted as a full member, they must attend a week-long pre-admission course. Members are designated as certified public accountants (CPA).

The Public Accountants Board, whose council members are appointed by the Ministry of Finance, licenses and registers accountants who wish to practise. It also handles practice monitoring, disciplinary matters and regulations on professional conduct.

Accounting Records in Singapore

All companies incorporated under the Companies Act are required to maintain books of accounts that sufficiently explain the transactions and financial position of the company.

The books may be kept either at the company’s registered office or at another place the directors think fit. If the books are maintained outside Singapore, sufficient records must be maintained in Singapore to facilitate the preparation and/or audit of financial statements that reflect accurately the company’s financial position.

Sources of Accounting Principles

Financial Periods Commencing before 1 January 2003 The principal source of accounting principles in Singapore, namely Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) and Interpretation of Statements of Accounting Standards (INT), are issued by ICPAS. These standards are essentially International Accounting Standards (IAS) modified for certain transitional provisions. They provide guidelines on the accounting measurements and disclosure requirements. Businesses may depart from such standards if the standards conflict with disclosure exemptions granted by law. Otherwise, ICPAS may take disciplinary action against any of its members who are in violation of the standards.

Rules on accounting measurements are generally established by SAS and INT. Disclosure requirements are governed by SAS, INT and the Companies Act.

ICPAS is a member of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC). Compliance with IASC standards are not mandatory, but the institute supports the IASC objectives of formulating and publishing standards for observance during presentation of audited financial statements and promoting worldwide acceptance of such standards.

Financial Periods Commencing on or after 1 January 2003 With the implementation of section 37 of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2002, SAS issued by ICPAS will not be used with effect from annual financial periods commencing on or after 1 January 2003. Instead, Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (FRS), issued by the new accounting standards-setting body, the Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance (CCDG), are now effective. FRS are essentially adopted from International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The previous SAS were adopted from the same set of IFRS (formerly referred to as IAS) but with modification to certain transitional provisions. Consequently, there are differences between FRS and SAS.

Interpretations of Standards are authoritative guidance on the application of the relevant standards. CCDG adopted all international interpretations as Interpretations of FRS (INT FRS) with effect from financial periods beginning on or after 1 January 2003.

Compliance with FRS is a statutory requirement whereby any non-compliance amounts to a breach of the Companies Act by the directors.

Financial Reporting in Singapore

The Companies Act requires that an audited set of financial statements, made up to not more than six months before every Annual General Meeting, is to be presented to the shareholders at the meeting. Generally if a company incorporated in Singapore has one or more subsidiaries, it must prepare consolidated financial statements unless it meets certain criteria as provided for in FRS 27 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements. Currently, financial statements under the Companies Act consist of the balance sheet, income statement together with explanatory notes. With the Companies (Accounting Standards) Regulations 2002 coming into operation for financial periods on or after 1 January 2003, a complete set of financial statements will comprise the balance sheet, income statement, statement of changes in equity, cash flow statement and explanatory notes.

The financial statements must be accompanied by the directors’ and auditors’ reports and by a statement from the directors declaring that the financial statements show a true and fair view and that it is reasonable to believe that the company can reasonably pay its debts as they become due.

Companies which meet specific provisions in the Companies Act may be exempt from having their accounts audited but nevertheless must prepare financial statements that comply with the Companies Act.

Annual Requirements for Companies in Singapore

The Companies Act requires every company, except for those exempted in accordance with the provisions in the Act, to appoint one or more auditors qualified for appointment under the Accountants Act to report on the company’s financial statements. The auditors are to ascertain whether proper books of accounts have been kept and whether the financial statements agree with the company’s records. They will then report on the trueness and fairness of the financial statements to the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting.

Audit Exemption Starting with the financial year beginning on or after 15 May 2003, the following companies are no longer required to have their accounts audited. However, they are still required to prepare accounts (and consolidated accounts where applicable) that comply with FRS.

o Small exempt private companies An exempt private company with revenue in a financial year below S$5m is exempted from appointing auditors and from audit requirements. Revenue is defined according to the statutory accounting standards, i.e. the FRS.

o Dormant companies A dormant company is exempted from appointing auditors and from the audit requirements if it has been dormant either (a) from the time of its formation or (b) since the end of the previous financial year. A company is considered dormant during a period in which no accounting transaction occurs, and the company ceases to be dormant on the occurrence of such a transaction. For this purpose, transactions arising from the following are disregarded:

  • Taking of shares in the company by a subscriber to the memorandum
  • Appointment of company secretary
  • Appointment of auditor
  • Maintenance of a registered office
  • Keeping of registers and books
  • Fees, fines or default penalties paid to the Registrar of Companies

My Master’s Degree – How Should I Talk And Write About It?

There are many circumstances in which foreign student have to talk about their intentions to study for advanced degrees. Statements of purpose written to accompany applications for university admission are the most obvious case, but the same situation comes up in interviews with recruiters, IELTS Speaking Tasks, and verbal interactions of all kinds with the officials at the universities you will be attending.

Unfortunately, it’s the time many foreign students say things that sound the least “English.” As a result, these unavoidable statements can often suggest that your command of English is weak. Even though all the native English speakers who regularly hear foreign students make these statements have long gotten used to hearing them spoken incorrectly, the mistake always registers with them at some level, however unconsciously.

To make the best impression on university administrators and IELTS examiners, use the right language to talk about your degree and your academic sentences.

The following are the most common mistakes:

“I’m going to learn a master’s degree.”

“I’m going to study a master’s degree.”

“I plan to learn a master degree.”

Don’t make these unnecessary but common mistakes. All that is necessary for you not to make them is to understand clearly what the appropriate words are and mean.

- A “master’s degree” is a noun. When written, it always has an apostrophe, that is, “master’s degree,” not “masters degree” or, worse, “master degree.”

- A master’s degree is not, however, a field of study. We don’t study a master’s degree, we study a field in which we earn (or, more colloquially, “get”) a maser’s degree. Therefore, in English, we say that we plan “to earn a master’s degree in marketing [or the name of some other field].”

- The degree is what we get as a result of studying, not what we study. So, when we talk about studying, we normally say, “I plan to study economics [or some other field].” It’s not incorrect to say, “I plan to learn marketing,” but “I plan to study marketing” is more normal, idiomatic English.

- The certificate that confirms that we have successfully completed a course of study and earned an advanced degree (not necessarily a master’s degree) is called a “diploma.” You can say, “I plan to earn a diploma in marketing,” or, if you have completed the degree, “I have a diploma in economics.” But if you do, realize that a native English speaker will not necessarily understand which graduate degree you have earned.

- The most appropriate verbs to use with “master’s degree,” prior to receiving the degree, are “study for,” “earn,” or “pursue.” So, you should say, “I plan to study for a master’s degree in communications,” or “I plan to earn a master’s degree in marketing,” or “I plan to pursue a master’s degree in engineering.”

This may seem like a minor matter in terms of language. However, making the most common mistakes can lead a university official or IELTS examiner to think less of your English language skills or, in the worst case, your intelligence.

So, practice writing and saying these simple but important sentences correctly.

Incorrect: I’m going to study a master degree.

Correct: I’m going to study for a master’s degree.

Incorrect: I will study a master’s degree of marketing.

Correct: I will study for a master’s degree in marketing.

Incorrect: I will learn a masters degree in economics.

Correct: I plan to earn a master’s degree in economics.

5 Tips to Avoiding Travel Eczema

Your eczema has been under control for a while. You have attained that sweet spot of equilibrium where your known eczema triggers are understood and avoided, whatever medications you take are working and not causing side effects, your skin is as good as it gets. Only one problem, you will be traveling soon.

Travel eczema, occurs when your body meets up with irritants and allergens you cannot control, as a result of not being on home turf. Whether it’s air, water, food, sun, soaps, detergents or weather, traveling presents some hard to solve problems trying to keep eczema in check.

Sometimes it’s the irritant or allergen you are exposed to that you would usually avoid, that causes the problem. But sometimes, just the change of routine or unfamiliar environments can cause flare-ups. Traveling can be stressful and eczema loves stress.

Here are a few tips to keep eczema at bay:

1) Do a little research into the type of foods you will encounter that are indigenous to the area you will visit. What can you eat, what can’t you eat. Eating the cuisines of other cultures is a major component of travel, and knowing what common additives are used in the preparation of popular dishes is a good way to stay symptom free.

2) Pack enough of your favorite medications, cremes, ointments and solutions. Don’t think you’ll be able to pick some of these up where ever you go. First, some products won’t be available, second , they may be very expensive and third, you don’t want to spend time running a round looking for something to ease your discomfort. If you travel to a tropical climate and you start to experience eczema symptoms like flaking and cracked skin, these minor openings are perfect places for more serious infections to gain a foothold, if you have the right medication this will not present itself as a problem. Better to have a little extra baggage than find yourself without your wonder creme.

3) Try to drink enough water or fluids, this will keep your system less stressed and better able to cope. I try to drink only bottled water that comes as close as possible to the type I drink at home. Meaning, I drink spring water with a specific mineral/chemical make up, so much sulfur, dissolved salts, etc., so when I travel I don’t drink mineral waters which may have higher mineral concentrations or added ingredients. If you drink German beer at home, then drink german beer abroad.

4) Pack and use an anti allergy travel sheet like an Allersac. Bleaches, detergents, soaps, perfumes are just a few of the triggers a travel sheet will help you to avoid when you spend 30% or more, of your time in a strange bed. An anti-allergy travel sheet, one that can be washed repeatedly, will be your best bet. Make sure, which ever travel sheet you use, it has a pillow pocket to protect against direct contact with the hotel pillow. One of the major causes of allergic eczema is dust mite dander. A travel sheet with a small pore size or one that claims protection from dust mites would be wise.

5) Environmental factors like cold, humidity, sunlight and heat can cause flare-ups especially when it’s the change that is the cause. If you travel to a warm climate from mid winter conditions at home, be prepared. Pack clothing that will mitigate reactions, sunblock, hat, gloves etc. The weather might cause your sinus problem to flare, which in turn stresses your body and causes your eczema to activate, or the humidity allows high mold or pollen counts where you travel. There are websites like http://www.aaaai.org/ which publish pollen and mold counts, and many sites for weather forecasts.

Having eczema and learning how it activates and affects you takes years, some people get a handle on it, others don’t, but even if you don’t know what the causes are, some simple precautions, a little research and remaining calm can help you to get the most out of traveling, even with eczema.