August 2009 Archives
It's summer, but traditional summer jobs for students are thin on the ground. The recession has put paid to all the seasonal vacancies in shops, hotels and offices. So it was a great stroke of luck when I bumped into a colleague who had a short-term vacancy in her sales support team, and managed to snap it up for my student son.
I can write about it now without fear of embarrassing him, as he has done his five weeks and is off to enjoy the rest of his vacation.
He had a pleasant time, earned some money and I enjoyed having his company for the drive in and at lunch.
Everyone I told about it said either: "So, it's not what you know, it's who you know," or "Nepotism rules eh?" or "What, that tall guy?"
To which I would just like to say ... sometimes you can just be in the right place at the right time, or maybe "It's better to be lucky than to be smart."
Click here for:
Everyone SO enjoyed the training session on aromatics I did yesterday here in the ICIS London offices, that by popular acclaim I am putting the link to the ICIS aromatics training module here for all to enjoy. Unfortunately, there is not much to see before you pay the $115 (inc VAT) fee.
Click here for the online training site.
Or here for the aromatics module.
Designers are working on a new safer standard pub glass based on plastic and polycarbonate in response to a rise in violent incidents involving glassware.
"They will look at: adding a new feature to the glass material that provides safety when it is broken; developing a composite or alternative material; ensuring that plastic and polycarbonate is at the core of any new vessel; and making sure that the new material makes no difference to the consumer's enjoyment of the drink."
The Blog's comrade Will Beacham, veteran of Glastonbury, has just returned from a stint in the ICIS Chemical Business offices in New York City, and has penned a scurrilous piece for the new ICIS blog "From Our Own Correspondent," where he draws some unflattering comparisons between our own UK base and the glamorous Big Apple.
(photo: Doriz de Guzman, ICB)
Lego, the ultimate petrochemical toy, is enjoying unprecedented success and this week recorded a two-thirds rise in pre-tax profits worldwide and a 35% jump in
Now the popular coloured plastic toy is being hailed as the cure for every country's housing shortage, in an article in the Times today.
"Lego's techies could dream up a sustainable brick and create homes more durable and pleasing to the eye than the flimsy, low-grade hutches that pass for houses on many new developments. The housing crisis would be addressed, the dole queue shortened and across the land families could spend their weekends helping friends to build their homes, like mass Amish barn-raisings ...
Few could have imagined in 1932, when the Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen founded Lego (from the Danish leg godt, meaning "play well"), that in its eighth decade the company would be such a behemoth in the world toy market. Lego is sold in 130 countries and used by an estimated 400 million people. Some 17 billion Lego bricks, with their ingenious studs-and-tubes design, are made each year."
(photo Rex: Gen Con 2009 Gamer Convention,
(photo Rex: Gen Con 2009 Gamer Convention,
Somali pirate attacks on oil and chemical tankers have been on hold for a few weeks on account of the monsoon season, but they are expected to start up again around the end of August.
Now luxury ocean liners in Russia are offering pirate hunting cruises aboard armed private yachts off the Somali coast, according to an article in Austria's Wirtschaftsblatt (Reiche Russen auf Piratenjagd vor Somalia), and picked up in today's Private Eye.
"Wealthy punters pay 5790 Dollars per day to patrol the most dangerous waters in the world hoping to be attacked by raiders. When attacked, they retaliate with grenade launchers, machine guns and rocket launchers. Passengers, who can pay an extra 5 Dollars a day for an AK-47 machine gun and 12 Dollars for 100 rounds of ammo, are also protected by a squad of ex special forces troops. The yachts travel from
PS There was a disclaimer at the foot of the Wirtschaftsblatt article to say:
"Comment of the editors: Goldman Morgenstern & Partners tells us, that "they believe", this story is "satire.""
It's hard keeping up with the fashion. Maybe harder still if you are more at home with the likes of ethylene and propylene than with Dolce and Gabbana but chems company Lanxess is trying. The company is producing a "trend collection", which is a selection of tanned leather samples that show off trends for the fall/winter 2010/2011. It begs the question, will the company be including a white leather lab coat in the collection.
Returning from holiday to the office is always a wrench, particularly that first morning of getting up early, putting on work clothes and facing a wall of urgent emails. The Blog has received some insider photos from the ICIS Houston office, showing how one returning manager found a few messages waiting for him after being off for a week.
It's time for the Blog to make some early announcements about the stellar line-up for our own Aromatics Conference, and the amazing Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) deal which still has a month to run.
Headline acts will include
- International e-Chem
- Wood MacKenzie
Watch this space or the conference's own dedicated website as further speakers are confirmed.
The conference, organised jointly by ICIS and International e-Chem, will take place in
Click here for the amazing BOGOF deal.
Registrations for the annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) conference have surged to 1,585 with six weeks still to go, according to the delegate list posted on the EPCA website on 18 August.
The official list of the conference, which will be held in
Last year's event saw a record attendance of 2,158, but that was pre-recession and all of this year's industry events have seen reduced attendance.
The Northeast Chemical Association (NECA) will host its Fall Meeting on 17 September at the Fairmont Tremblant Hotel, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.
Register for the reception and dinner at or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The secretariat of the European Petrochemical Luncheon (EPL) has kindly sent the Blog an update today of the members of the Committee:
- Mr. Pascal SAUVAIRE from ARKEMA has left the committee since June 2009.
- Mr. Jean-Francois CHESNEAU from ARKEMA has joined the committee since June 2009 in replacement of Mr. Sauvaire,
but did not take over the function of President.
- The function of president has been assigned to Mr. Gianluca GIRARDI from POLIMERI EUROPA,
who joined the committee in March 2009.
- Mr. Tobias HANNEMANN from INEOS PHENOL GmbH will leave the committee in September 2009 (end of his function term)
and will then be replaced by Mr. Rüdiger HARKER from BP Refining & Petrochemicals GmbH.
- Mr. Tony POTTER from CMAI also announced his departure from the committee due to changes in his work as from September 2009.
The committee looking for a replacer at the moment.
An artist in
Whereas most of us end up picking the cups into bubbly pieces or sticking pins into them, Cheeming Boey has turned his hobby into a profitable business, with some of his pieces selling for between £70 and £130.
ICIS polymers senior editor, Linda Naylor writes about her recent relocation from London to Paris ...
The thought of our looming journey between
Interested in the pheromone phenomenon, I looked up the product on the internet, and found some very interesting sites, particularly for the single gents among you. Here is a quote from a site I found (the grammatical errors are not mine):
"When Attractant Pheromone spray is applied to clothing it evaporates slowly and surrounds the wearer with an invisible layer of sexuality that will effect women in the immediate vicinity.
Attractant will change your life - and it's guaranteed - so you have nothing to lose! Try it today!"
So have a go, gents, and let us know the outcome!
The world's first flexible electronic screen is only months away from launch, according to this article in today's Times. Moving imagery on a roll up A4-sized "intelligent plastic" display will be ideal for newspapers, pricing reports and even blogs, and perfect for popping in your pocket or handbag.
"It is the first screen to be made from a microchip not of silicon but of cheap plastic," say the scientists at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory.
(Photo ereader from Plastic Logic)
A poignant farewell email from one of the many former employees of Artenius
It said ..."Of the 240 people employed by Artenius
"... Administration is a brutally abrupt end to a career. There are no farewell dinners or expressions of gratitude, just the exit door."
Controversial polyurethane bodysuits, which helped win 34 world records so far at the Swimming World Championships in Rome, will be illegal from next April or May.
The slinky 100% polyurethane swimsuits, such as the Jaked01, Arena X-glide and Adidas Hydrofoil are more buoyant, stronger and lessen water resistance for the swimmers.
Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics wearing his Speedo LZR suit, itself 50% polyurethane, and 23 world records were set at the Olympics by swimmers wearing the LZR.
The question on the lips of the swimming world now is whether all the polyurethane-enhanced swimming records should be allowed to stand.
(photos: Adidas, Rex)