Should international standards for quality management be combined with those for environmental management? No, concludes a technical advisory group set up by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). A better approach, the panel says after a year-long study, is to make the ISO 9000 quality series and the ISO 14000 environmental series more compatible. That would make it easier for businesses to implement both, if they desire. The job of ironing out conflicts between the two sets of standards, the group adds, should be finished by 2000 or 2001. Among suggested changes: Relevant terms and definitions should be identical, and there should be consistent use of terminology in both families of standards. Also, management system and auditing standards should be aligned as much as possible. An objective should be a common core document, with accompanying separate modules on quality and environment. ISO's Technical Management Board is studying the recommendations. The board meets next month.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.