Walt's Vacation, Philosophy and the September Issue

If the editor in chief goes on vacation and no one know where, does the magazine blog cease to exist? Not necessarily. At least not if he made the mistake of giving his managing editor the password to the posting software. While Walt is off in a Secret, Undisclosed Location without Internet access, those of us left behind will try to fill the void. I won't be as conversant of all matters process control as Walt, nor probably as faithful a blogger, but I will do my best to keep the electrons moving. While our Fearless Leader is off taking a well-deserved rest, we worker bees have been getting the September issue of Control to the printer. By next week, it will all be up online and in the mail shortly after that, but in the meantime, here's what you have to look forward to. Executive Editor Jim Montague and VP of Content, Keith Larson, are both on a philosophical kick. Jim's Control Report answers the question, how could batch methods, standards and concepts keep pandas from becoming extinct or help you find a new job if you're laid off. Keith kicks the meditiation up a notch with a review of Richard Hofstader's book, I Am a Strange Loop, which is about that ever-intriguing question, "How do we know what we know?" and then connects it to plant intelligence. Heady stuff. Meanwhile, for those of us looking for something with a little firmer connection to the everyday world, Jim gets his head out of the ether and talks about how ISA-88 is taking the world of batch far beyond its intended boundaries in the September cover story, "Cookin' Up a Fine Elixir." As an added treat, our Group Art Director Steve Herner drew the original cover art and Associate Art Director, Derek Chamberlain adapted it for an original and entertaining layout. Art directors are the unsung heroes of print magazines. They make all the rest of us look good and never get more than a mention in tiny mouse type on the masthead, while the editors get all the bylines. Check out their work. Meanwhile, back in the print pages, our Senior Technical Editor, Dan Hebert, and Jay Abshier of KEMA each reports on changing compliance rules. Dan talks about the current UL surge-suppression standards, and Jay takes on the new NERC CIP standards and what you need to do to be compliant. Walt reports on the New Zealand-based dairy co-op, Fonterra Cooperative Dairies, whose 11,000 + dairy farmers make it the sixth largest dairy company in the world. Fonterra has 20 plants on three continents with 25 systems, and has to collect data from all of them. Read how Fonterra's Alica Baucke and her advanced process control team does it. I report on a survey of more than 150 of our readers and our editorial board on the future of the process automation profession. Is there even going to be one in two decades? Read it and see. Finally, the September issue has All the Usual Suspects: Our ControlTalk guys, Greg McMillan and Stan Weiner on the Top Ten Things Learned Over Decades in the Field, Bela Liptak and his stable of experts discussing calibration problems and good engineering reference books, our Digital Managing Editor Katherine Bonfante on the best of ControlGlobal.com (check out her Automation Minute in either English or Spanish) and even pre-vacation Walt recommending -- what else?-- speaking out.