We all know what the history books say about the first Thanksgiving, but how much do you know about current Thanksgiving Day traditions? And did you know S&T plays a role in them?
First, some facts:
In 2010, the American Automobile industry estimated more than 42 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That’s a combined total of 2.1 billion miles, which would be enough for a trip to Jupiter.
The National Turkey Federation (yes, it’s a real thing) estimates more than 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving.
If you use the average weight of turkeys (15 pounds), around 690 million pounds of turkey will be eaten this weekend.
Wondering what any of this has to do with S&T? Our research and development focuses across the spectrum of homeland security issues, including some Thanksgiving food and travel traditions.
Our national laboratories and centers of excellence work tirelessly to defend our agriculture and livestock against foreign animal and infectious diseases. For instance, our Center of Excellence for Zoonotic and Animal Disease Defense at Texas A&M University developed AgConnect®, which is a suite of data integration and analysis products designed to enhance situational awareness during infectious animal disease outbreaks. AgConnect® HealthNet, one of the analytical tools in the AgConnect® suite, has been piloted in four states and aggregates information to enable the analysis of animal surveillance data at multiple levels of detail for early disease detection.
Our research and development also affects systems you come into contact with as you travel. For instance, a modern car typically has more than 100 microprocessors, 50 electronic control units, and 100 million lines of software code – and that means there are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The S&T Cyber Security Division’s (CSD) Cyber Physical Systems Security (CPSSEC) project is working on that to keep the federal vehicle fleet ahead of potential cyber-attacks. This technology will also help automakers protect consumers.
I am continuously thankful that I am part of such a great organization and a great nation.
I wish you all safe travels and full stomachs - Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!