Monthly Archives: November 2019

Hitachi develops automation technology of 3D culture – BSA bureau

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 10:44 am

Hitachi, Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is focusing on Social Innovation Business combining its operational technology, information technology and products, has developed a new automation technology of 3D culture, solving problems of the previous 3D culture using Hitachi's Automated Cell Culture Equipment for iPS cells.

Automation of both 2D culture and 3D culture using this equipment makes it possible to automatic massive manufacture a variety of cell types such as cardiomyocytes, meeting customer needs. The automation technology was developed by collaborative research with Myoridge Co. Ltd. which has culture technology of iPS cell-derived cardiomyocytes by the protein-free method.

Furthermore the support service to establish an automatic manufacturing process for customers who are considering automation of manufacturing regenerative medicine products will be started on December 1st, 2019. As for the service, Hitachi will examine customers' manual manufacturing process to find out the important parameters, and suggest how to optimize them by the development knowledge of automation technology of 3D culture.

Expanding the market of regenerative medicine to recover the functions of tissues and organs is expected in recent years. A large number of cells are required for regenerative medicine but it is difficult to manufacture an enough amount of cells manually. So the automation technology of mass cell culture is necessary to expand the market of regenerative medicine.

Hitachi had been developing automation technology of mass iPS cell culture, and developed the automated cell culture equipment for iPS cells for research use in June 2017. Adopting the closed flow channel for the connection of the culture vessels and the medium bottles, the equipment is capable of cell seeding, culturing, and monitoring in sterile environment and offers stable supply of high-quality mass cells. Hitachi commercialized the automated cell mass culture equipment which has the necessary functions to comply with the Japanese regulation, GCTP for the first time in Japan in March 2019.

Hitachi automated the new 3D culture (low medium cost, low shear stress, and simple medium change process) by collaborating with Myoridge, solving problems of the previous 3D culture. The previous 3D culture has problems such as using a large amount of medium because of the height of the culture reactor, the shear stress to cells from the agitating medium, and the complex process of medium change. Hitachi started the collaborative research with Myoridge in October 2018 and developed the automation technology of the new 3D culture by distributing spheroids both uniformly and densely on the cell culture vessel for 2D culture. Furthermore, Hitachi manufactured cardiomyocytes by the automation technology more effectively than by manual. The technology is probably able to be applied to a variety of cell types and make them be manufactured automatically.

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Hitachi develops automation technology of 3D culture - BSA bureau

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UCC Coffee insight report explores the Future of A… – The

Posted: at 10:44 am

Over the past 12 months, the UK coffee shop market has seen a considerable 7.9% growth, with estimated sales of 10.1b and the report considers how automated processes are evolving to further accelerate this growth.

The report highlights include: examples of trailblazing brands and industries and how automation is being embraced across other industries; how automated technologies are increasing efficiency in the supply chain; smarter tech and better service; coffee delivery and telemetry: how data enables operators to make smart decisions for their entire coffee estate

Phil Smith, head of category and insight at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, said: As the entire world, from businesses to individuals, embraces automation, its power as a driving force for change is undeniable.

Globally, the automation market is forecast to increase by 30% to reach 3.13b by 2025. Our report considers how automation is changing the face of the coffee industry, solving widespread challenges from seed to sip. From growing to harvesting, through the supply chain, to preparation, payment, customer service and delivery. For the consumer, automation signals choice and reliability. Good value, quality and consistency can all be achieved without compromise, delivering a new age of coffee experience to all.

The Future of Automation Report is free to download on

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Building Toward Automated Construction Workflows | 2019-11-27 – Engineering News-Record

Posted: at 10:44 am

Construction software giant Autodesk has doubled down on a commitment it made two years ago, when then-new CEO Andrew Anagnost said it was a construction software company first, so making its tools work in an automated construction workplace is its future.

We know that a future with more automation is necessary, Anagnost said at the companys annual Autodesk University conference and trade show in Las Vegas. The fact that four billion people worldwide enjoy prosperity is good, but we also know that making more plans for more people is a reality we all need to face up to, he said. Anagnost and other executives said Autodesk would focus on how to better integrate its vast software library with the workflows of on-site robotics as well as with prefabrication and modular construction. He highlighted how customers such as modular builder Skystone and contractor Hensel Phelps are already deploying these capabilities today.

Hensel Phelps demonstrated how it used the Boston Dynamics-developed Spot robot to capture the hundreds of photos it uses to create its 360 jobsite image. Using HoloBuilders SpotWalk app, the little robot follows a route through the jobsite carrying a 360 camera payload, capturing all the imagery Holobuilder needs to document the site.

[It empowers] a staff member to have better communication and coordination with process and procedural chores, said Andrew Cameron, Hensel Phelps project manager for the Harvey Milk Terminal project at San Francisco International Airport, where SpotWalk was deployed as a pilot project.

In addition to freeing up staff, Cameron says Hensel Phelps got better-quality data using the robot and app because Spot took site photos in the exact same locations every single time, even as the project advanced. Its not left-justified one day or right-justified the next, he says.

On the modular side, Marriott International has used some form of prefabrication be it whole modular units, bathroom pods or simple assemblies on 70 projects and, as an owner, is now working on the tallest modular hotel in New York City the 26-story, $65-million NoMad Hotel. Marriott echoes Hensel Phelps, saying that its turn to automation is driven by need to maximize its workforces time.

We need more people in the trades, said Jennifer Abuzeid, senior director global design strategies at Marriott. We have a very similar group of owners as Hilton and IHG. Were thrilled we started down this [modular delivery] path a number of years ago, and were thrilled to be in this position of leadership, but this has to be a Hilton, an IHG, a multifamily construction thing too, because of the number of people we need.

All the modules for the NoMad project will be produced by DMDmodular in its factory in Skawina, Poland. Skystone, the general contractor on the project, will transport the modules to the site and install them.

When asked what shifting tools toward robotics and modular design means for contractors, Nicolas Mangon, Autodesk vice president of AEC strategy, says it will ultimately create new jobs. The typical general contractor [today] does not have a factory, and wont have enough products to build a factory, Mangon says. The theory we are working from is there will be a new group of middle prefabricators that will have those capabilities and reduce the scope of the general contractors.

Jim Lynch, another Autodesk vice president and general manager of construction, says it will create more opportunity than disruption in the long run.

Its not heavy lifting, we have the tools, he says, saying its the integration that matters. Making those connections is where were at right now.

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Building Toward Automated Construction Workflows | 2019-11-27 - Engineering News-Record

Posted in Automation | Comments Off on Building Toward Automated Construction Workflows | 2019-11-27 – Engineering News-Record raises $50 million to automate repetitive business processes – VentureBeat

Posted: at 10:44 am

Automating monotonous records management, customer relationship management, IT, and human resources processes is the dream of every enterprise pursuing efficiency. A study conducted by Software Testing and Big Data found that approximately 10-20% of work hours are spent on dull, repetitive tasks and that businesses miss half of all automation opportunities, on average.

But if you ask folks like Richard Waldron, Alistair Russell, and Dominic Lewis, theres hope for companies looking to embrace workflow automation. The trio of entrepreneurs launched in 2012 with the goal of enabling enterprises to build and maintain integrations using visual tools and rich APIs.

Of course, competition is fierce in the global workflow automation market. Research and Markets anticipates it will grow by at least $19 billion in the next five years, fueled by shifting dynamics and high demand in the software segment. The robust market has bolstered robotic process automation firms like Automation Anywhere, which last week raised $290 million at a $6.8 billion valuation, and UiPath, which in April raised $568 million at a $7 billion valuation.

The London- and San Francisco-based startup has achieved a measure of success since then and raised $50 million in a series C round led by Meritech Capital. The latest tranche, which closed in October and was announced today, includes participation from Spark Capital, GGV Capital, and True Ventures and brings Tray.ios total raised to around $100 million.

CEO Waldron says the funding will support strategic hiring across Tray.ios team, as well as continued investment in product development. Weve seen general automation act as the new growth engine for rapidly growing companies as they solve integration challenges and scale operations with low-code general automation, he added. Thats why were doubling down on hiring the best team in the world, including veteran executives from ServiceNow and Duo to serve our incredible customers so we can continue to earn the world-class customer ratings theyve awarded us. provides a platform that integrates any web-based software using automated workflows, on a backend that can process billions of tasks in milliseconds. The eponymous system connects to any app with an API and processes changes in data values in real time, as part of workflows that span up to hundreds of steps in length and support event-triggering logical operators.

The company offers Tray as an embedded solution aptly dubbed Tray Embedded with templates and connectors for APIs, files, databases, apps, custom connectors, and business logic but is built atop a serverless architecture. Its configuration wizard walks customers step by step through each authentication in workflows, and it spotlights the parameters they need to fill prior to deployment.

Tray.ios expansion has accelerated as of late, with bookings up by more than 500% over the past and hiring in North American and Europe across marketing, sales, customer service, and development teams triple what it was a year ago. The startup has nabbed a number of high-profile customers, including VMWare, Pearson, Udemy, Fico, Jellyvision, Vox Media, DexYP, Northwell Health, Clearbit, Iterable, InVision, SAP, Arrow Electronics, Lexmark, New Relic, Segment, Outreach, Digital Ocean, Copper, Forbes, AdRoll, Copper, and Intercom.

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Which-50 Awards: Waterman Business Centres Best in Automation – Which-50

Posted: at 10:44 am

Reception staff at Waterman Business Centres can now onboard a new co-working tenant and configure and provision every service they need in 15 minutes a process which typically would have required a two to three week lead time.

Previously each step in the onboarding process was completed manually, undertaken by an employee at each office location. The time to complete an onboard was typically three weeks or longer depending on the availability of technical resources.

The company has completed an automation project which has allowed it to cap costs as it opens new locations while also making life fast, simple and easier for its tenants. These outcomes earnt the business a Which-50 Award for Best in Automation.

Waterman Business Centre is a privately owned serviced office and coworking business that opened its first centre in 2016. The business currently has three large facilities, covering 17,000sqm in Victoria. An entry-level single membership is competitively priced $30 per month for provides unlimited hot desking and high-speed internet.

Martin Reidy, operations manager at Waterman Business Centres, said it was clear processes would need to be automated to enable the business to grow.

When we expanded from our initial site in Narre Warren, we realised that a 2-3 week lead-time for onboarding would limit our ability to scale quickly and also to offer a very competitive entry-level membership fee of $30 a month with no lock-in contracts, Reidy said.

If we couldnt speed up onboarding it would also mean that expensive leased office space would remain unprofitable if we didnt fill it quickly with new members.

The business looked to the telco industry, which provisions similar services, and designed a customer journey and infrastructure which would eliminate the major pain points customers face when dealing with their phone or internet provider.

With a technology budget of $600,000 for the project, Waterman acquired best-in-class technologies from leading vendors including Extreme Networks then designed, developed and deployed an intermediate synchronisation tool to automate the technical and administrative components of onboarding a new customer, and managing their requirements over time.

Our automation is founded on a Secure Automated Campus solution based on Extreme Fabric Connect, and Extreme Networks wired and wireless networking hardware, Network Access Control. Weve written custom code to integrate the Extreme environment with our Microsoft CRM and LDAP, PaperCut, Xima, Avaya, Inner Range, Xero and PayWay, Reidy explained.

By automating processes and systems Waterman Business Centres was able to shorten the sales cycle, reduce onboarding time and cost, optimise IT efficiencies, eliminate lost revenues through human error, and offer more competitive new products.

Without the investment in automation, Waterman estimates it would have required one full-time network admin to manage every two sites, equating to 2.5 FTE at a cost of approximately $300,000 per annum.

The centres have just one part-time IT administrator looking after the network, supported by its front-of-house reception staff, who can often resolve issues with the system.

Reidy said the system also has benefits for ongoing maintenance, because staff can quickly identify and resolve any issues, such as device connectivity problems, rogue access points or excessive bandwidth consumption.

Extreme Networks automated tools and automatic provisioning means there is no need for technical intervention and our front-of-house service team can resolve most issues. In fact, our members sometimes dont believe that our receptionists can sort out their issue.

As well as office space and shared facilities, Waterman provides technology services such as internet and its own enterprise-grade data centre facility.

The key differentiators in our industry are definitely the additional technology services you can provide over and above basic internet access. If you can do that simply and easily, thats a massive advantage, Reidy said.

We are 100 per cent BYOD our members can bring their own devices, phones, printers and routers. There are no constraints on what devices are on our network. We also pride ourselves on the community we have been able to create amongst our members. Thats one of the hallmarks of our business.

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How The Mandalorian could unravel The Rise of Skywalkers biggest mysteries – Digital Trends

Posted: at 10:43 am

Its a good time to be a Star Wars fan.

Jedi: Fallen Order is the best Star Wars video game in years. Comics and spinoff novels like Doctor Aphra and Resistance Reborn are introducing all kinds of fun new characters and expanding the Star Wars mythos in interesting ways. The Galaxys Edge theme park is everything we hoped it would be. Theres more Clone Wars on the horizon. And Obi-Wan. And Cassian Andor.

And then weve got The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker.

The Mandalorian is Disney+s flagship title, the first live-action Star Wars TV show, and a groundbreaking technological achievement. The Rise of Skywalker is the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga, the story that began way back in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and has propelled Star Wars forward ever since.

Together, they mark a massive shift for Star Wars, and following 2019, Star Wars is never going to be the same. But what if, in Star Wars new everything counts, Disneyfied-canon, theyre linked more than that? What if The Mandalorian sets up some of The Rise of Skywalkers biggest plot twists?

Its more likely than you may think. (Warning: Potential spoilers await ahead.)

The Mandalorians breakout star is Baby Yoda, a green-skinned, 50-year-old infant who seems to be, at the very least, the same species as Lukes old Jedi master. Its easy to see why hes so popular with the shows characters and viewers alike. The little guy is cute as a button, hes the key to one of the Star Wars Universes biggest mysteries, and his Force abilities are already extremely formidable.

So far, The Mandalorian hasnt explained what Werner Herzogs ex-Imperial warlord, known as the Client, is planning on doing with Baby Yoda, but the third episode dropped some hints. When the Mandalorian is surveying the Clients hideout, he overhears the Client talking about harvesting the babys genetic material. More importantly, Herzogs assistant, Dr. Pershing, has a patch on his costume that looks like the symbol of Kamino, the cloning facility featured in Attack of the Clones.

The Kamino backstory gets a little convoluted, but basically, the facilitys scientists were creating a secret clone army when they were discovered by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Soon-to-be Emperor Palpatine tricked the Republic into deploying the clone forces against the rebel Separatists, then used his new army to decimate the Jedi and establish the Galactic Empire.

However, clones soldiers had some problems. Because every member of the clone army came from the same genetic template, they were all susceptible to the same diseases. Palpatine also considered clones inferior, and preferred pure human soldiers act as the Empires representatives. Over time, the Emperor phased out the clones and replaced them with normal human Stormtroopers.

Still, The Mandalorian implies that not every member of the Empire agreed with Palpatine. If the Client is making clones a few years after Return of the Jedi, who knows how far the technology has gotten 25 years later when The Rise of Skywalker is set? If clones are still an ongoing concern, they could answer two of The Rise of Skywalkers biggest mysteries.

Going into The Rise of Skywalker, there are two big questions: Why is Rey so skilled with the Force, and how does Emperor Palpatine come back from the dead? Could The Mandalorians dabbling in cloning be implicit confirmation that, indeed, Rey is Palpatines clone?

Theres a precedent for this kind of thing. In the old Expanded Universe, which Disney deemed non-canon after it bought Lucasfilm in 2012, Palpatine cheated death via cloning in the Dark Horse comic book series Dark Empire. In that story, Palpatine reveals that hes gained immortality by transferring his consciousness to a series of clones, although his new bodies wear out quickly. Palpatine decides to possess Han and Leias third child and make its body his new, permanent form, but is defeated by Leia.

The Rise of Skywalker wont repeat the same beats, but it could borrow Dark Empires general concept. Clones are already a fundamental part of Star Wars lore, so JJ Abrams and his crew wouldnt have to invent anything new to explain Palpatines return. The heavy lifting is already done.

Similarly, Abrams remains evasive when asked why Rey is so talented. Recently, Rolling Stone asked Abrams how Rey learned to use the Force so quickly.Spooky, right? Abrams replied. Its not an accident.

Abrams teases hint that theres more to Reys background than The Last Jedi let on, and if Reys a clone of a powerful Force-user, it wouldnt violate anything established in Episode VIII. Technically, Star Wars clones dont have families. Theyre born in labs. Reys parents could literally be nobody, and as a clone, she could still be related to one of the most important characters in the galaxy.

Weve already theorized that Rey is a clone of Palpatine. The Mandalorians Kamino references back this up. Rey was born about 10 years after Return of the Jedi, and five years after the first season of The Mandalorian. That gives the Client and Dr. Pershing five years to perfect cloning technology and bring the Emperor back from the grave. If theyve already cloned (or tried to clone) Baby Yoda, then they have experience working with Force-sensitive subjects. Bringing Palpatine back maybe in a few different forms seems like the next logical step.

This could all be a red herring, of course. Maybe The Mandalorians clone references are just a nod to Star Wars history and nothing more. Still, The Mandalorians release schedule hints that the new show and movie might be further connected.

Under Disney, everything Star Wars is carefully coordinated. The second-to-last episode of The Mandalorian drops on Wednesday, December 18. The Rise of Skywalker debuts on December 20, with preview screenings on December 19. Dont be too surprised if the penultimate episode of The Mandalorians first season contains a big, clone-related reveal.

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In the digital age fraudsters dupe AIIMS of 12 crore by cloning cheques and signatures – National Herald

Posted: at 10:43 am

Fraudsters siphoned off 12 crore from two bank accounts of India's premier medical institute, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), by allegedly using 'cloned cheques' over the past one month.

The money has been siphoned off from the bank accounts the medical institute has with the State Bank of India (SBI). The bank has initiated an internal enquiry into the matter.

A top placed source in Delhi Police told IANS on the condition of anonymity, "This is a case of cyber crime. The accounts from which 12 crore have been withdrawn are operated by the AIIMS director and the Dean. 7 crore were withdrawn from the account operated by the Director whereas 5 crore were withdrawn from the account held on the name of the Dean."

If sources are to be believed, the AIIMS in its report sent to the Union Health Ministry held responsible for the fraud.

The SBI has also alerted all its branches and advised its employees against paying high value cheques issued by AIIMS, New Delhi.

A Delhi Police source said: "The hospital administration has already informed the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police, which has initiated a probe."

A hospital source said that the fraudsters made attempts to siphon off over 20 crore from SBI's non-home branch in Dehradun and 9 crore from Mumbai in the last one week by allegedly using the cloned cheques. However, they failed in their attempts.


Media reports in 2016 had reported that a gang of five persons, who were involved in a fraud involving encashment by forging bank cheques had been busted in Uttar Pradesh

The gang initially tried taking photographs of cheques issued by companies. They then duplicated the cheques by chemically altering the number and forging signatures by tracing the signature. They also called the bank and obtained the balances in the account giving some details such as the last payment made.

Media reports had quoted police as saying that the gang used the cheque leaves issued to themselves while opening the account and created the forged cheques by altering the Cheque Number. They managed to encash the Account Payee cheques.

The Reserve Bank of India had come up with a set of guidelines for banks to ensure preventive measures to lower cheque frauds. One measure aimed to employ mobile technology in the form of SMS alerts to be sent out as soon as a cheque is received for clearing

Another step to scrutinise large value cheques was to alert customers via phone calls and obtain confirmations from the drawer/payer of the cheque. RBI had stated that banks should exercise extra caution while clearing cheques that are above a certain threshold value.

Account holders were also advised to follow the following steps:

What is surprising is that the AIIMS Director or Dean apparently were neither alerted nor were the recipients of SMS alerts.

Attempts to contact the Director, AIIMS for a comment proved abortive. We will update the report as and when we hear from them.

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In the digital age fraudsters dupe AIIMS of 12 crore by cloning cheques and signatures - National Herald

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‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: This ‘Mandalorian’ Baby Yoda Fan Theory Could Explain Everything – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Posted: at 10:43 am

One of the most exciting parts of Disneys new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, is the appearance of Baby Yoda. The tiny green baby has captured the hearts of fans around the world, but he has also raised a lot of questions in the process. The show has yet to reveal what is going on with Baby Yoda, but a new fan theory could explain everything and it might have a major impact on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In a nutshell, the fan theory argues that Baby Yoda is not thereal Yoda, but he is a clone of the iconic character. If the theory is true,then it definitely clears up a lot of things in The Mandalorian, but italso set the stage for some big developments in Star Wars: The Riseof Skywalker.

In a recent interview, Oscar Isaac teased that the upcoming movie is the final bout in a larger chess match between the Sith and the Jedi. The actor did not reveal anything specific, but his comments could have been referring to the clone theory.

After all, what better way to defeat the Siths than to clone thebest Jedi Master of all time in Yoda? While this theory sounds good on paper,is there any evidence to suggest that Baby Yoda is actually a clone?

To back up the theory, the science of cloning was established in the animated Star Wars series, The Clone Wars. In the first episode of the show, titled The Lost One, the Jedi Sifo-Dyas was the first to initiate a plan to build a clone army.

His technology, however, was stolen by Palpatine and Count Dooku,but the fact that a Jedi started the whole cloning business lends credence tothe notion that Yoda was duplicated.

The only hole in the theory is that Siths were not a thing whenSifo-Dyas was around. But as a clairvoyant, there is a chance that Sifo-Dyasforesaw the rise of the Siths and wanted to create a clone of Yoda to combatthem.

If that is true, then it is possible that an adult Yoda clonewill appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to combatPalpatine, who has already been featured in the trailers.

Yoda came face-to-face with Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith.Although he ultimately lost the fight, Yoda could easily return and make thingsright.

That is, of course, assuming that Baby Yoda is still alive during the events in The Rise of Skywalker. If he did survive this long, there is little doubt that he would be much older and in a prime position to take out Palpatine.

Yoda enjoyed a brief cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi,and most Star Wars fans loved that director J.J. Abrams brought him backto life. So why not go all out and bring him back as a full-on clone in thefinal chapter?

There is no question that most fans would love to see Yoda return to action in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But until that happens, Baby Yodas fate on The Mandalorian remains a mystery.

Right now, the television show could go in several directionswith the character. For starters, the series could kill off Baby Yoda or puthim into captivity. Either of these scenarios would explain why we havent seenYoda crop up yet in the new trilogy.

Another option is that the Yoda clone could be whisked away tohide. He would not be the first character to live in exile in the franchise andit would open the door for him to return in The Rise of Skywalker.

Unfortunately, there is no telling what will become of Baby Yodain the series, but our fingers are crossed that he makes it out in one piece.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres in theaters on December 20th.

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Since the age of 5, I’ve known that I don’t want to be a mother –

Posted: at 10:42 am

At a very young age, I knew I didnt want to become a mother. An old family video shows five-year-old me declaring that I never wanted to have kids or get pregnant.

Before I even truly understood the ramifications of motherhood, I knew it wouldnt be the right choice for me. Yet decades later, Im still questioned by others about this deeply personal decision.

In my mid-20s, I felt intense societal pressure to become a mother. I was of child-bearing age, in a steady relationship and had a career. My friends were beginning to have babies, and people wanted to know when I was going to start my own family. The words, Im not having children almost always set off a volley of questions. It seemed as if my decision not to have children was somehow insulting to others.

Worse than the questions were the snide remarks or laughter. I was repeatedly told that I would change my mind or that I was making the wrong decision. Often, these comments came from the most unexpected people. My dental hygienist looked at me in shock and asked, Really? Never? Youre never having children?! A new colleague told me I was too young to know what I did or didnt want. A nail technician was so insistent that I have children that I finally stopped going to her shop. (Her reasoning? I was letting down the entire country by not making new Canadians.)

Having reached my late 20s without meeting another soul that didnt want children, I finally went in search of others like me online. I just wanted validation that I wasnt the only woman in the world who didnt want to become a mother. But I wasnt able to find any communities that spoke to me a young, educated, childfree woman.

So I created that space. I procured a loan through Futurpreneur Canada, and then created a website and online community, naming it Childfree is Not a Dirty Word to describe the way people had reacted to my choice. The community quickly became a haven for other childfree people around the world and is now more than 40,000 members strong.

As a Canadian, Im lucky to be able to share my story with people from around the world, especially people living in places that are far less accepting of a childfree or even childless-by-chance life. Here in Canada, I may get quizzical looks or questions about my choice, but ultimately, Im free to choose the life thats right for me. In other countries, people talk about losing their jobs, being left by their partners, getting shunned by their families and being cast out of their communities because they dont have children.

According to a report from Statistics Canada, based on results from the 2016 Canadian Census, proportionally fewer households are composed of a mom, dad and kids family, and more Canadians are living alone or as part of a couple without any children.

From 2011 to 2016, the number of couples living without children rose faster (+7.2%) than the number of couples with children (+2.3%), the report adds. As a result, the share of couples living with at least one child fell from 56.7% in 2001 to 51.1% in 2016. This is the lowest level on record.

Despite the increasing number of people deciding to forgo parenthood, our lives are still mysteriously absent from mainstream media. A few sitcoms, including The Big Bang Theory, have developed a strong, childfree female character only to have the character change her mind, reinforcing the stereotype that no woman can be truly happy without children. This subliminal messaging, while irritating for the childfree, can be heartbreaking for the childless, people who wanted children but were unable to become parents.

A deeper examination of the childfree choice will be presented to Canadians in To Kid or Not to Kid, a documentary presented by The Passionate Eye. The film follows Maxine Trump, a filmmaker, as she decides whether she wants to have children. To Kid or Not to Kid confronts the notions that living childfree is somehow wrong, strange or selfish, and delves into why this choice is often mischaracterized or considered too taboo to talk about at all.

Watch To Kid or Not to Kid on The Passionate Eye.

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10 top tips to take the stress out of Christmas shopping – Offaly Express

Posted: at 10:42 am

Edenderry's Ciara Dempsey from the My Camera, My Boys and Me blog to bring you all things family life, parenting, fashion and lifestyle. This week Ciara has 10 top tips to take the stress out of Christmas shopping. Hallelujah!

1. Shop during school times

Try to time the majority of your shopping when the children are in school and the shops arent so busy. Not only will you be childfree but so are the shops.

2. Online shopping

With four children I've discovered the joy that is online shopping. Not only do you avoid the chaos of the shops like the crowds, parking and the noise, you can do it all in the comfort of your own home without having to set foot off the couch.

3. Late night shopping

Coming up to Christmas shops extend their opening hours, so this means another good time to shop is in the late evening when all the children are in bed. So it's not only a great time to get those certain special gifts but also time out for you.

4. Start early

As crazy as it sounds if you can start in September then do it, pick up little and often. Before you know it most of your Christmas shopping will be done before December rolls around.

5. Savings club

My husband and I have a savings club in stores like our local food store and butchers. This takes away a lot of financial stress on the run-up to Christmas. We start saving as little as 5a week as early in the year as we can.

6. Make lists

Make lists of who you have to buy for and what you have in mind for them. If needed include sizes of clothes and shoes. This will take away unnecessary pondering while out shopping.

7. Buy in bulk

See a good deal on toys, chocolates or candles - get them. Buy plenty if your Christmas list is a long one. Selection boxes and candles are always ideal to hand out over the Christmas period.

8. Divide and conquer

If you and your partner manage to go shopping together, split up. That way you're getting double the amount of gifts in half the time.

9. Eat well and leave early

If you make sure you hit the shops very early in the day you will avoid the usual lunchtime hustle and bustle. Also if you ensure to eat properly before you leave you will avoid the usual task of wrestling for a table in the food courts when the hunger kicks in.

10. Remember its the thought that counts

It's simple but true, dont spend time agonising over the perfect gift. The thought and the effort are what mean so much more to the person in receipt of the gift.

Hope these tips help and remember happy shopping. For more from Ciara, head over to her Instagram account HERE.

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10 top tips to take the stress out of Christmas shopping - Offaly Express

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