November 23, 2010

Carve the Turducken!

Analytic Experts love Thanksgiving, too. So to give our team a little break, we thought we’d offer a different kind of blog this week with some interesting and cool facts about this most American of holidays.

  • Even though we associate Thanksgiving with the country’s origins and our founding families, it wasn’t until 1941 that congress declared Thanksgiving a national holiday to take place on the fourth Thursday in November.
  • The first known thanksgiving feast or festival in North America was celebrated by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and the people he called “Tejas” (members of the Hasinai group of Caddo-speaking Native Americans).
  • Columbus thought that the land he discovered was connected to India, where peacocks are found in considerable number. And he believed turkeys were a type of peacock (they’re actually a type of pheasant). So he named them “tuka,” which is “peacock” in the Tamil language of India.
  • The Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians for what we call the First Thanksgiving. The celebration lasted three days.
  • In October of 1777 all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time; however it was a one-time affair commemorating a victory over the British at Saratoga.
  • Fossil evidence shows that turkeys roamed the Americas 10 million years ago.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey.
  • Turkey is the traditional dish for the Thanksgiving feast. In the U.S., about 280 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving celebrations. There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey. They just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, starting the tradition.
  • Despite his wisdom in other areas, Thomas Jefferson thought the concept of Thanksgiving was “the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.”
  • Ninety-one percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day and 50 percent put the stuffing inside the turkey.
  • Turducken, a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, is becoming more popular for Thanksgiving (originated in Louisiana). A turducken is a de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The cavity of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are filled with, at the very least, a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture (although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird).
  • Here’s one of the most unbelievable Thanksgiving facts: The Guinness Book of Records states that the greatest dressed weight recorded for a turkey is 39.09 kg (86 lbs), at the annual “heaviest turkey” competition held in London on December 12, 1989.
  • The cranberry is a symbol and a modern diet staple of Thanksgiving. Originally called crane berry, it derived its name from its pink blossoms and drooping head, which reminded the Pilgrims of a crane. Twenty percent of cranberries eaten are eaten on Thanksgiving.
  • More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.

So carve your turkey, or turducken, dig in to your green bean casserole and top it off with cranberry sauce. All of us at The Analytic Expert and Emerson Process Management wish you the most joyous of Thanksgiving holidays.

November 4, 2010

Advancing the State of the GC Art

Hi, I’m Michael Gaura, Product Marketing Manager at Emerson Rosemount, and I’m the Analytic Expert this week.

As you know, gas chromatography is one of the most widely used techniques for analyzing hydrocarbon mixtures. Chances are you have a lot of these systems in your lab, in permanently installed online systems and in the field with portable systems. Because they’re so widely used, anything that makes gas chromatographs less costly and easier to use is good news for a lot of users in the oil and gas industries. Actually, in chemical, refining and hydrocarbon processing industries too, since GCs are employed there as well. So, I’m happy to say I have very good news.

This month, Emerson has introduced a new gas chromatograph called the 700XA. We don’t generally use this blog to tell you about products, but the 700XA represents an advance in technology, so you may want to be aware of it. First of all, the 700XA operates to specification across the widest range of temperatures in the industry – from -40 to 60o C (-40 to 140o F). This means the GC doesn’t require an expensive, environmentally controlled shelter to house it. If the 700XA happens to be in an existing shelter and the shelter’s environmental system fails, the GC will keep on ticking. In other blog posts and our newsletter, we’ve written about how much money operating without a shelter can save you. It’s tens of thousands of dollars. Check that out here.

The new 700XA also operates with the highest C6+ and C9+ repeatabilities in the industry in both controlled and uncontrolled environments. These repeatabilities improve the value of the energy content measurements of natural gas streams, leading to more accurate billing and process control. This is a boon for any user.

The new GC features a simplified design. Why should you care? Fewer overall parts mean less maintenance. Valves are constructed with a single bolt for fast troubleshooting, and electronic boards simply snap into place. Most service calls for standard maintenance take less than an hour. The annual average cost of service for the 700XA over five years is expected to be less than $300! Count the money you’ll save.

If you use Emerson GCs, you know how simple and high-performance the software is. The 700XA employs MON 20/20 workstation software, offering access to automatically saved chromatograms, simple-to-integrate user calculations and all of the information you require to monitor and maintain your gas chromatograph. The GC includes multiple Ethernet connections as a standard and communicates via Modbus, traditional IOs, and FOUNDATION Fieldbus.

You probably know that Emerson has been building GCs for over 50 years, so it’s really our technology to advance. The 700XA represents that kind of step forward.  It’s worth taking a look at.