Consolidation

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Origin

Latin consolidatus, past participle of consolidare to make solid, from com- + solidus solid

For lessons on the related topic of Integration, follow this link.

Definitions

  • 1: to join together into one whole : unite <consolidate several small school districts>
  • 2: to make firm or secure : strengthen <consolidate their hold on first place>
  • 3: to form into a compact mass

Business Consolidation

Consolidation is the act of merging many things into one. In business, it often refers to the mergers and acquisitions of many smaller companies into much larger ones. In the context of financial accounting, consolidation refers to the aggregation of financial statements of a group company as a consolidated account. The taxation term of consolidation refers to the treatment of a group of companies and other entities as one entity for tax purposes. Under the Halsbury's Laws of England, 'amalgamation' is defined as "a blending together of two or more undertakings into one undertaking, the shareholders of each blending company, becoming, substantially, the shareholders of the blended undertakings. There may be amalgamations, either by transfer of two or more undertakings to a new company, or to the transfer of one or more companies to an existing company". Thus, the two concepts are, substantially, the same. However, the term amalgamation is more common when the organizations being merged are private schools or regiments.

Soil Consolidation

Consolidation is a process by which soils decrease in volume. According to Karl Terzaghi consolidation is any process which involves decrease in water content of a saturated soil without replacement of water by air. In general it is the process in which reduction in volume takes place by expulsion of water under long term static loads. It occurs when stress is applied to a soil that causes the soil particles to pack together more tightly, therefore reducing its bulk volume. When this occurs in a soil that is saturated with water, water will be squeezed out of the soil. The magnitude of consolidation can be predicted by many different methods. In the Classical Method, developed by Karl von Terzaghi, soils are tested with an oedometer test to determine their compression index. This can be used to predict the amount of consolidation.

When stress is removed from a consolidated soil, the soil will rebound, regaining some of the volume it had lost in the consolidation process. If the stress is reapplied, the soil will consolidate again along a recompression curve, defined by the recompression index. The soil which had its load removed is considered to be overconsolidated. This is the case for soils which have previously had glaciers on them. The highest stress that it has been subjected to is termed the preconsolidation stress. The over consolidation ratio or OCR is defined as the highest stress experienced divided by the current stress. A soil which is currently experiencing its highest stress is said to be normally consolidated and to have an OCR of one. A soil could be considered underconsolidated immediately after a new load is applied but before the excess pore water pressure has had time to dissipate.

Memory Consolidation

Memory consolidation is a category of processes that stabilize a memory trace after the initial acquisition. Consolidation is distinguished into two specific processes, synaptic consolidation, which occurs within the first few hours after learning, and system consolidation, where hippocampus-dependent memories become independent of the hippocampus over a period of weeks to years. Recently, a third process has become the focus of research, reconsolidation, in which previously consolidated memories can be made labile again through reactivation of the memory trace.

Memory consolidation was first referred to in the writings of the renowned Roman teacher of rhetoric Quintillian. He noted the “curious fact… that the interval of a single night will greatly increase the strength of the memory,” and presented the possibility that “… the power of recollection .. undergoes a process of ripening and maturing during the time which intervenes.” The process of consolidation was later proposed based on clinical data illustrated in 1882 by Ribot’s Law of Regression, “progressive destruction advances progressively from the unstable to the stable”. This idea was elaborated on by William H. Burnham a few years later in a paper on amnesia integrating findings from experimental psychology and neurology. Coining of the term “consolidation” is credited to the German researchers Müller and Alfons Pilzecker who rediscovered the concept that memory takes time to fixate or undergo “Konsolidierung” in their studies conducted between 1892 and 1900.[1]

Systematic studies of retrograde amnesia started to emerge in the 1960s and 1970s. These were accompanied by the creation of animal models of human amnesia in an effort to identify brain substrates critical for slow consolidation. Meanwhile, neuropharmacological studies of selected brain areas began to shed light on the molecules possibly responsible for fast consolidation. In recent decades, advancements in cellular preparations, molecular biology, and neurogenetics have revolutionized the study of consolidation.