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Last updateWed, 23 Aug 2017 6pm

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Applications in Water Harvesting Systems

Applications in Water Harvesting Systems

Water harvesting in commercial projects ...

Safety Relief Valve FAQs

Safety Relief Valve FAQs

Companies that repair, test, maintain or...

An Update on U.S. Valve-Related Standards

An Update on U.S. Valve-Related Standards

It takes much time and effort by many pe...

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Industry Headlines

Leading Economic Indicators for the U.S. Increased in July

Wednesday, 23 August 2017  |  Chris Guy

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3% in July to 128.3 (2010 = 100), following a 0.6% increase in June, and a ...

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Low Cracking Pressure in Chemical Processing Condensate Lines

Low Cracking Pressure in Chemical Processing Condensate Lines

Tuesday, 22 August 2017  |  Arie Bregman

Steam condensate is the liquid by-product formed when steam goes from the vapor state to the liquid state; this process occurs in a wide range of appl...

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Industry Headlines

Velan Names Duc Tran Vice-President, Engineering

14 HOURS AGO

Velan Inc. has appointed Duc Tran as its new vice-president, engineering. Tran will be a key member of the company's senior management team and is succeeding Gil Perez, who has assumed a new mandate as vice-president, product technology and strategic initiatives. He will report directly to president...

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AIV and Gulf Coast Modification Opening NW Houston Facility

1 DAY AGO

AIV, LP has announced plans for a new 320,000+ square-foot facility at NW Lake Drive, near Telge Road and Highway 290 in northwest Houston. The 32-acre construction site allows for the future expansion of up to 700,000 sq. ft. This facility will consolidate AIV and Gulf Coast Modification ’s curr...

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Group Asking Feds to Halt LNG Exports

12 HOURS AGO

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America recently sent a letter to the Secretary of Energy on two LNG export demand scenarios. They argue that the Obama Administration’s “public interest” LNG export studies, which are still being used to justify LNG export approvals to non-free tra...

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Chemical Activity Barometer Shows Modest Slowing

1 DAY AGO

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council remained unchanged from July, continuing a modest deceleration of growth. The flat reading follows a 0.1% increase in July and a flat reading in June. Compared to a year earlier, the CAB is up 3.2% year-over-year, an easing fr...

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Leading Economic Indicators for the U.S. Increased in July

9 HOURS AGO

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3% in July to 128.3 (2010 = 100), following a 0.6% increase in June, and a 0.3% increase in May.

“The U.S. LEI improved in July, suggesting the U.S. economy may experience further improvements in economic activity in the...

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U.S. Factory Output Declined in July

5 DAYS AGO

Manufacturing output edged down 0.1% in July. The index for durables decreased 0.5%. Among durable manufacturing industries, with the indexes for primary metals and for furniture and related products each dropped more than 1%. The index for other manufacturing (publishing and logging) moved down 0.4%....

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Solving the Problems in Front of You

vmsum11_social_media

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.


IN THE INBOX

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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