Click here for original link.
For the latest ICIS news article (Friday night) on evacuations at oil rig platforms and petrochemical plant in the Gulf as Hurricane Gustav heads towards the region, click here.
website which shows salaries for thousands of employees in leading companies,
including major chemical firms, has been running for two months in the
Click on Glassdoor.com to see more than 50,000 company reviews and salary reports from 80 countries. A quick scan shows entries for top chemical companies like Dow, DuPont, Bayer, BASF, ExxonMobil and Chevron.
According to the article: "All the salary entries and company reviews written by current and former employees are anonymous, but they are vetted for accuracy. The key to the site's growth is that to view the details users have to submit their own salary or review."
Also high on the list must be the Black Russian, not only oil-like in colour but also geographically correct.
Liquorice liqueur and home-made liquorice vodka seem to be popular on the student circuit and have the right viscous consistency.
And then there's straight Guinness - not so much a cocktail, but certainly black.
For more oil and chemical-themed entries, I am endebted to aromatics editor and former bar manager, Peter Salisbury who proposes:
The Oil Slick - based on black sambucca.
The Midnight Oil - oily only in name, because it looks suspiciously light-coloured from the ingredients.
And the extremely topical biofuel-themed Corn 'n' Oil, based on dark rum made from Blackstrap molasses and falernum, an obscure spice-flavoured tipple from the Caribbean.
that banish bad hair days garnered the most press coverage from Sunday's
American Chemical Society's conference in
Click here for coverage in:
elsewhere there was a bit of scientific coverage from the conference (17-21 August 2008).
I especially liked this headline: "Forget the Olympics, Watch Live Footage from a Massive Chemistry Conference."
When I'm in the ICIS Houston office, one of my favourite places to get lunch is the local Whole Foods Market on Kirby. That is when I'm not queuing up for slabs of beef at the Texas Bar-B-Q or down the nail salon.
So I was happy to see that a flagship Whole Foods store had opened last year in London's Kensington High Street, bringing the organic supermarket brand to the UK, but now I'm not at all surprised to read that the new venture is facing disaster after making a £10 million ($20m) loss in its first year.
In these economically straightened times, it was just too classy, too expensive, too big and in the wrong place, with no parking.
And while Houston Whole Foods is still thriving, 600 branches of Starbucks are closing down across the US, because they over-estimated how many punters were prepared to pay $2 a cup, and saturated areas with multiple branches.
No problems for Starbucks outside the US though, where the company has plans to "accelerate its international growth." In the UK, saturation doesn't seem to be a problem, with coffee shops now outnumbering even hairdressers and charity shops on every high street. In the Blog's own tiny patch of west London, there are nine coffee shops within five minutes' walk, all packed with teenagers, students and mums with pushchairs, who are all happily paying £2 ($4) a cup to while away the afternoon.
Neither is it a problem in Shanghai, where branches of Starbucks are visible not just in the tourist areas but at metro stations and shopping centres out in the business areas like Songhong Road where the ICIS jv partner CBI offices are.
What's the message here? Is the US consumer with his higher disposable income prepared to pay for good quality food but not coffee, while it's the other way round in the UK? Is the US feeling the pinch before Europe? Or has the coffee craze peaked in the US with Europe and Asia inevitably to follow, albeit a few years down the road?
hi-tech gadgetry was on display when the Blog visited a major petrochemical
company this week for a three-way global video conference. My colleague Peter S
and I sat chatting long-distance in a state-of-the-art HALO suite, where the
experience was as life-like as having all the members of the global product
management team from the three offices in the room together.
It made our previous in-house experience of video-conferencing look like the kids' webcams, and as old hat as black and white TV. If this is the shape of the future, airlines have got a lot to worry about.
And as if
that wasn't enough of a glimpse into the future, the ladies' restrooms had this
very chic hand-drier. It's called a Dyson Airblade.
It's good to see where this year's bumper profits have been spent.
from British Airways have just dropped into the Blog's inbox, begging me to
start travelling through London Heathrow's Terminal 5. A full-page advert in
fertilizer team travelled in June to the annual IFA conference in
PDIT (Suisse) SA in Geneva is the trading arm of PDIT Group in
This alternative chemical periodic table of "Awesoments" is going the rounds on teenage blogs.
For the full-size version, go to Teenhut.net, if you don't mind wading through a load of teen advice on "Inside a Boyfriend's Mind" and "Top Ten Jobs for Teens".
Hydrocarbon petchem folk will be interested to see that C (carbon) is now chocolate, but H (hydrogen) has disappeared.
For endless periodic table fun (for chemists) see:
Our Houston pricing editors were enthralled to receive a last-minute press release from BASF inviting them to this week's World Brewing Congress at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the chemicals major would be showcasing some new filtration products.
My colleague Stephen Burns in Houston tells me that despite the short notice, editors were passionately keen to transmute their experience of the subject matter into a Hawaiian business trip.
I'm impressed by the conference website which aims to attract delegates with click-through links to "Top 10 Reasons to Attend", "Hawaii IS Affordable, Take a Look", and "Donate Beer". Are they kidding? To paraphrase Carling, it's probably the best conference in the world.
The Blog is shocked to see that our own ground-breaking article on "Living without polypropylene for a week - Cold Turkey" by Andy Brice in ICIS Chemical Business on 19 May 2008 has been the subject of an "homage" today by a reporter on the BBC website and turned into "A Month without Plastic".
As Andy points out, she only goes without buying new plastics, so she still gets to use her phone, her computer, her car and all the accessories of modern life. Still, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ...