Want to know the price of polyethylene in Senegal, Nigeria or South Africa? Then look no further. ICIS pricing has two new weekly reports on Polymers in Africa. Read my colleague Will Beacham on his new secret Blog on the subject. Also with link to FREE samples of the reports themselves.
July 2009 Archives
Thinking of getting your home redecorated to take your mind off the gloomy economic outlook? Well your choice of colour will be dictated not by fashion but by your feelings about your finances.
If you're European, like the Blog, you'll be choosing whites and off-whites, while in the US beige and grey are dominant, according to research by AkzoNobel, the world's largest paint and coatings company, supplier of leading brands such as Dulux®, Flexa® and Sikkens®, and huge consumer of chemicals.
"Midtones will tend to predominate overall, with cleaner off-whites and fewer heavy shades evident, indicating a move towards colors that are lighter in mood and more optimistic in feeling, which will lift our spirits as we move on from the tough economic times we're currently going through."
The death of Michael Jackson has created over 7,000 tonnes of polycarbonate demand because of all the CDs and DVDs being sold, producer Bayer revealed during a conference call on Wednesday to present its quarterly results.
Knowing the Blog's long-standing fascination with Lego, the ultimate petrochemical toy (and a loyal customer of ICIS), my friend Lara has sent me this article about one celebrity's intention to build a full-size house out of Lego and live in it for two days.
James May, co-presenter of motoring TV programme "Top Gear", is building the Lego house in Dorking, Surrey, UK, and more than three million Lego bricks have already been delivered to the site.
"I've got a man working on a flushing Lego lavatory. We think it's possible," May said.
More Lego blog postings:
A chemical prankster has sent the Blog this link to what he calls "Chemistry Porn."
A food dye known as Brilliant Blue G (BBG) could offer an effective treatment to people with spinal cord injuries, but with the unfortunate side-effect of turning them blue, according to research at the
Bermuda, favoured retirement location for US chemical folk in the Northeast Chems (NECA) hubs of Philadelphia, NYC and Pittsburgh, and popular ICIS holiday destination for those with anniversaries to celebrate, has been shaken by the Queen's decision to skip its 400th anniversary celebrations on 28 July, according to this article which I read in old-fashioned hard copy while marooned indoors on Tuesday during a Devon downpour.
It appears that Queen Elizabeth II did not attend Tuesday's event after the island's elected Government decided in June to resettle four former
By the purest coincidence, the Blog found this plaque on the Cobb at Lyme Regis on Sunday, commemorating Sir George Somers who founded the settlement on
What family holiday is complete without a soundtrack? The soundtrack to the Blog Family's
Deep into Wiltshire, a late entry for "Chemical Songs" came on - "Plastic Man," track 17 on the Kinks' Ultimate Collection. It's not very good, so no wonder it wasn't nominated in the original chemical song listing.
We've moved on from the days of restoring the calm on beachtrips with "The Wheels on the Bus go round and round" and "No more monkeys jumping on the bed.
The Blog is back from a brief rain-soaked staycation in the West Country. For the Blog's non-UK readers, I should explain that this is the far south-western tip of England, famed for its golden beaches, surf, rolling green hills covered in patchwork fields, luscious dairy produce, Plymouth (see USA, etc) and good weather.
We townies swapped our London house for our country friends' Devon farmhouse in the Axe Valley, so while they were enjoying exhibitions, theatre, catching up with old friends, restaurants and M&S prepared meals, we were collecting prizes for blackcurrant jam and home-crocheted clothing (as proxies) at the Village Fair, eating clotted cream teas and pub lunches (Otter Ale for the menfolk), watching rabbits on the lawn and herons overhead, and walking the Cobb in Lyme Regis (like Meryl Streep in the French Lieutenant's Woman).
There's not much evidence of the petrochemical industry's footprint in
For readers who are not familiar with the traditional English children's story of Town Mouse and Country Mouse, it is the tale of a country mouse who comes to stay with his cousin in
You can't get away from chemicals on holiday - the US Grand Prix in Monterey, California was where ICIS aromatics editor Madelon ten Cate found herself during her tour of the US West Coast in July, surrounded by the paraphernalia of the sponsor, Spanish oil and chemicals major Repsol.
The Laguna Seca circuit was the site of the
Petchem employees in
An estimated 100,000 Siberian Chipmunks are living in northern
They have already spread from
The first promotional email for APIC 2010 in Mumbai has hit the Blog inbox this morning, announcing the dates as Thursday 13 and Friday 14 May 2010 at the Hotel Renaissance.
The host association, Chemical and Petrochemical Manufacturers' Association, India (CPMA) is expecting over 1,200 participants, equalling or surpassing the previous record attendance at APIC 2008 in
For postings on previous APIC conferences see:
Flu fears prompt cancellations at APIC conference in Seoul
Flu fears prompt cancellations at APIC conference in Seoul
In a roll call of the big chemicals of our times, they go on to show the part played by, amongst others, hydrogen, oxygen, PET, spandex, neoprene and PTFE.
Click here for the full and free article on ICIS news.
Spouses' programmes at conferences have always been a bit of a mystery to the Blog. In these times of reduced travel budgets and lower attendance at conferences, it is hard to believe that companies are still prepared to pay for delegates to take their partners along too.
And yet from the number of wives at conference receptions wearing the official spouse's badge, the Blog has to assume that there are still plenty of companies happy and willing to pay not only for multiple delegates but also multiple delegates' wives. Or is it the case that delegates are prepared to put their hands in their own pockets and pay the extra for the spouse's badge themselves?
The original "wives' programme" (before my time) has evolved into the more inclusive "spouses' programme" and now the less judgmental "partners' programme" with provision for a "spouse/significant other, friend or adult child". Significant others are now welcomed at a price of €150 each at EPCA, or $100 a head at NPRA.
It is particularly at the Gala Dinners at the end of conferences that the partners are out in force. Glowing from spending the day in the hotel spa, heavy on the sequins and largely ignored by their menfolk, they bond over talk of holidays and retirement plans.
The health benefits of bringing a partner have long been known.
It was Edwina Currie, a former UK conservative junior health minister, who controversially advised businessmen in 1987 that, "...when they go abroad on business there is one thing above all they can take with them to stop catching AIDS - and that is the wife."
I once found myself on a spouses' city coach tour during a fertilizer conference. In this case for spouses, read wives, and it was in my pre-wife days. They were very welcoming when they found they had a non-wife worker in their midst.
But the times they are a-changing. The ending of the traditional tennis, golf and sailing events at conferences due to a lack of interest could be read as another sign that there is less of an appetite to entertain spouses at corporate expense.
A senior ICIS reporter tells the tale of a top-level gathering of chemical industry CEOs which he regularly attends in glamorous locations like Sicilian villas, where the leading international figures of the industry consort along with their wives. As he tells it, the French and Italian CEOs, tanned and sporting designer glasses, bring their much younger gorgeous model wives, while the British and American CEOs are accompanied by their sensible mumsy first wives.
(photo G8 First Ladies visit Vatican Gardens, Rome, July 2009: Rex)
A man in a hot air balloon, realizing he was lost, reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended further and shouted to the lady, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."
"You must be in IT," said the balloonist.
"Actually I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."
The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."
"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my ******* fault..."
"Led by Dr Yoel Fink from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the researchers have extended earlier work that placed sensors in relatively large polymer fibres.
Dr Fink and colleagues found a way to stretch the 25mm strands of polymer into much thinner fibres while maintaining the relative positions of the sensors."
Here's a funny video from a fellow RBI blogger - tips on what NOT to pack for a conference.
Dress Code for NYSE Visits
Professional Business Attire is encouraged. However, acceptable attire for an "informal" visit to the NYSE includes:
1) Jacket with long sleeves required
2) Dress shirt with or without tie, or collared golf/polo shirt or turtleneck
3) Full length trousers or slacks
4) Shoes should be of an appropriate style for a businesslike environment
1) Dresses, skirts or full length slacks (No Capri Pants, ¾ length or Clam Diggers)
2) Blouses, shirts or sweaters
3) Long sleeve jacket required when full length slacks are worn
4) Shoes should be of an appropriate style for a businesslike environment
(no open toe shoes or sandals)
- EPCA membership is stable at 554 members, the same number as last year.
- 10 milestone cars will be on display at the exhibition in Mercedes World.
- The new 5-member Executive Committee has representatives from: BASF, Royal Vopak, INEOS Olefins, Shell Chemicals and Odfjell.
Scientists at the UK's University of Leicester have been modifying starch and cellulose into plastic materials which can be rotted down on the compost heap.
They are showing off their greener experiments at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition (#sse09), in London, which began on 30 June. Their exhibit, "Plastics from Potatoes, Rubber from Rice" is one of more than 20 interactive exhibits chosen for the exhibition.
Click here for the Blog's ever popular posting on dancing potatoes.
Heaviest potato found in Lebanon
On the occasion of 4th July, the Blog has found this flaming red, white and blue shooter which is an example of a classic chemistry experiment, the density column, in Anne Marie's Chemistry Blog on the About.com:Chemistry website.
Will Beacham, ICB European bureau chief, writes about his adventures at
Glastonbury in Somerset, UK last weekend, Friday 26 to Sunday 28 June ...
With the mud now removed from most of my clothes, I'm back in sunny Sutton's ICIS office to share my experiences. Barbara only wanted the highlights of Bruce Springsteen from the comfort of her armchair. But I can tell you it was worth the effort of trudging through the fields with a pint of hot cider in my hand to watch probably the most electrifying live performance I've ever seen. You'd better get a ticket for next year!
For five days each year, a few fields in a quiet corner of the UK's West Country become a throbbing city of 180,000 people. The Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts is a national institution. Started in 1971 by a farmer, Michael Eavis, who had an interest in music, it has grown to become
Whilst there this year, I started thinking about the organisation and economics of this event, plus its wider impact on the local area and on demand for chemicals.
The local economy must benefit hugely from the festival. There were several hundred stalls selling everything from food to clothes to the "ShePee", which I'll leave to your imagination. Of the 180,000 people attending, 40,000 are workers: a major boost to the economy.
The huge number of tents covering the site must also stimulate demand for the
"Green" is certainly a key theme of the event. Woe betide anyone trying to avoid the queues at the toilets by hiding behind a bush or hedge. A team of "green police" (see video) wearing British Bobby hats coloured green patrol the site, blowing their whistles and chasing offenders.
The figures for waste produced are staggering. In 2008 the festival recycled 49% or 863.32 tonnes of its waste. This included 193.98 tonnes of composted organic waste, 400 tonnes of chipped wood, 9.12 tonnes of glass, 54 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tonnes of cardboard, 66 tonnes of scrap metal, 11.2 tonnes of clothing, tents, sleeping bags, 0.264 tonnes of batteries, 10 tonnes of dense plastic and 0.25 tonnes plastic sheets.
This year the festival also used a fleet of New Holland tractors, all capable of running on 100% biodiesel refined from used cooking oil sourced in the
This year I saw fantastic performances from Prodigy, Will Young, Tom Jones and Neil Young plus DJs like Pete Tong and Deadmau5. Don't tell any of my cool friends, but I also loved Australian legend Rolf Harris!
Icecream van in Glastonbury mud on the only rainy day
Will and friends
The shape of business travel to come