06202018Wed
Last updateWed, 20 Jun 2018 6pm

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From Cannon Balls to Pressure Seals: Graphite for Sealing

From Cannon Balls to Pressure Seals: Graphite for Sealing

From time to time, we re-publish well-re...

Gaskets Are Not Created Equal

Gaskets Are Not Created Equal

Gaskets are near the bottom of the food ...

Your Valves May Be Weaponized

Your Valves May Be Weaponized

The advent of the Internet of Things (Io...

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Industry Headlines

Global LNG Trade Growing, Led by Australia and the U.S.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018  |  Chris Guy

Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the larg...

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Industry Headlines

Metso Receives Major Valve Orders in China

1 DAY AGO

Metso has received two valve orders totaling 8,200 valves from major pulp and paper customers in China. The orders are booked in Metso's first quarter 2018 orders received. The total value of the orders and the company names are not being disclosed. Broadly covering China's mid and high-end customers ...

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A-T Controls Names Andy Cheney Southwest Regional Manager

5 DAYS AGO

A-T Controls recently announced the addition of Andy Cheney as the company’s new southwest regional manager, effective immediately.

Cheney’s new role will cover California, South Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. He has over twenty years in the valve and automation business and is very famil...

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Global LNG Trade Growing, Led by Australia and the U.S.

5 HOURS AGO

Global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 10% (3.5 Bcf/d) increase from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase since 2010, according to the Annual Report on LNG trade by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers...

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U.S. Natural Gas Production Could Grow 60% Over Next 20 Years

5 HOURS AGO

A decade since the start of a shale gas revolution that unlocked new supplies and resulted in a “wholesale turnaround” in U.S. production, the overall size of recoverable gas reserves continues to increase and the pace of production growth is only accelerating, a new report by IHS Markit s...

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Texas Economy Continues to Expand at “Solid Pace”

9 HOURS AGO

The Texas economy is expanding at a solid pace. Employment has grown at a 3.6% annualized rate through May, driven by job gains in the goods-producing sector. Unemployment remains near its historical low, and labor markets are tight. The Dallas Fed’s Texas Business Outlook Surveys (TBOS) suggest...

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Consumer Sentiment Climbs to Three-Month High

1 DAY AGO

Consumer sentiment rose slightly in early June due to consumers' more favorable assessments of their current financial situation and more favorable views of current buying conditions for household durables. The Expectations Index declined to its lowest level since the start of the year due to less f...

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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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