Last updateFri, 28 Oct 2016 1pm


Mining: Are We There Yet?

Mining: Are We There Yet?

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Warriors, Welding and Wooing the Workforce

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For the last several years, one of the b...

New Test Standards for Low-E Compliance

New Test Standards for Low-E Compliance

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Industry Headlines

U.S. Economy Grew 2.9% in the Third Quarter

Friday, 28 October 2016  |  Chris Guy

Real GDP in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 2.9% in the third quarter of 2016, according to the advance estimate released today by the Departm...



Industry Headlines

Honeywell and Flowserve Collaborate on IIoT Solutions


Honeywell and Flowserve will collaborate to provide Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for industrial customers. The collaboration will be part of the Honeywell INspire program, Honeywell's joint customer development program for its IIoT ecosystem.

Honeywell and Flowserve have a long history of colla...


Train Named Executive President of Emerson Automation Solutions


Emerson recently named new senior leadership appointments to its Office of the Chief Executive who now report directly to chairman and CEO David N. Farr, and help develop and guide the company’s global strategies.

Michael H. Train’s new title is executive president of Emerson Automation Sol...


Offshore Production Nearly 30% of Global Crude Oil Output


Global offshore oil production (including lease condensate and hydrocarbon gas liquids) in 2015 was at the highest level since 2010, and accounted for nearly 30% of total global oil production. Offshore oil production increased in both 2014 and 2015, reversing consecutive annual declines from 2010 t...


New 2017 Construction Starts Increasing 5% to $713 Billion


The 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2017 will advance 5% to $713 billion, following gains of 11% in 2015 and an estimated 1% in 2016.

Manufacturing plant construction will increase 6%, beginning to recover after steep declines in 2015 and 2016 that refle...


U.S. Economy Grew 2.9% in the Third Quarter


Real GDP in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 2.9% in the third quarter of 2016, according to the advance estimate released today by the Department of Commerce. This is the highest figure in two years and slightly better than economists had predicted. In the second quarter, real GDP increased ...


Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Rises But Remains Sluggish


Manufacturing activity fifth district (MD, DC, VA, WV, NC, SC) remained sluggish in October, according to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. New orders and backlogs decreased this month, while shipments flattened. Hiring activity strengthened mildly across firms and wage i...


Solving the Problems in Front of You


Engineers are problem solvers and today, they have some pretty amazing tools to help them with that problem solving. Here’s an example from a recent trip.

I went to a station to refill a rental car with gas before returning it to the agency. As usual, I guessed the wrong side for the gas tank and had to circle around to put the car at the right angle to pump the gas. I couldn’t figure out where the latch to open the gas cap was located, and there was no owner’s manual in the glove box to help.

On my smart phone, I did a quick Google search by voice command using the car make, model and “gas tank door latch” as keywords. The results were an online forum with my answer: the door was latched magnetically and required a gentle push to open. This simple voice search saved me 5 to 10 minutes of hunting around for a non-existent latch and a lot of frustration.

These searches from our PCs, phones, tablets and other devices help us solve problems quickly and painlessly every day. Google and the other search engines, along with the right selection and number of keywords, often help us get an answer to a problem in front of us. Although it’s not foolproof, most times, these methods of finding what we need work great.


For businesses, an important issue today with searching is that a lot of wisdom is trapped in email inboxes and “sent items” folders. Desktop indexing and search software such as the search built into PC operating systems or desktop search applications can find some information. But such tools don’t help us with the information that hasn’t reached our inboxes.

Different approaches ranging from content management systems to blogs, wikis, online collaboration and community software are being tried as search destinations with varying degrees of success. The key element to that success seems to be the number of people willing to participate in each approach and the community that naturally forms from this participation.

Metcalfe’s Law states that: “The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).” Robert Metcalfe, who is responsible for that principle, also offered this:

…a more insightful and, I think, important contribution to the conversation — that to understand the value of a social network we need to consider not just the number of users but also the affinity between the members of the network.

My take on this is that the fastest path to the information you need is to solve the problem in front of you. If a Google search or question posed to your immediate colleague does not yield a quick answer, you should try your social network. That is, provided you’ve built this network to sufficient size to realize the exponential effects described by Metcalfe’s Law.

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