Most of the humour going around this week is either off-topic (the
Click here for "Out of Gas."
Most of the humour going around this week is either off-topic (the
Click here for "Out of Gas."
ICIS Training moved to
"They're doing a new exercise where they build petrochemical chains using cards (placing cards on their heads is not part of the exercise though,)" explains trainer Peter Taffe.
"Delegates at the upcoming
Oil companies such as BP and Shell are important sponsors of the arts in London, including theatre, opera and the visual arts. There was a lively debate on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme this morning about whether oil companies were cynically using the arts to give themselves social legitimacy.
Tate Britain will be celebrating 20 years sponsorship from BP today, and protests are planned outside the event due to BP's environmental record.
Greenpeace's Charlie Kronik and Sir Christopher Frayling debated the issue on the Today Programme at some length.
(photo Tate Britain)
I've been away for a few days but I see that in my absence the first mailing has gone out for the 9th European Aromatics & Derivatives Conference, encouraging folk to sign up for the earlybird discount of €146 per delegate off the standard fee.
Early registration fee (booking on or before 3rd September 2010) €749 + VAT (19%)
Standard registration fee (booking after 3rd September 2010) €895 + VAT (19%)
"Come sunshine, snow or rain - the wheels keep rolling on forever."
It's a road movie celebrating the nobility of the long-distance chemical trucker and the 90th birthday of Den Hartogh Logistics, complete with heart-tugging vocals.
"To experience the ultimate emotion, we recommend listening to the song and music," says the email today to "Dear Relationship" from Den Hartogh attaching the four-minute video clip.
Here we are, the new 2010 update of all-time-favourite Top Chemical Songs - all contributions gratefully received ...
1 Anything by "The Chemical Brothers" or "My Chemical Romance"
2 Anything by "The Vaselines"
3 "The Plastic Ono Band"
4 Ethylene - John Hiatt
5 Slow Chemical - Spongebob cover version of Finger Eleven original
6 Plastic Beach - Gorillaz
7 Stuck inside of
8 I am xylene, I am xylene (parody on Sailing by Rod Stewart)
9 Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead
10 Polyethylene - Radiohead
11 Polythene Pam - Beatles
12 Plastic Fantastic Lover -
13 Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
14 It's Now or Never - Elvis Presley (last chance for a price hike)
15 The Carnival is Over - The Seekers ($100/barrel crude oil)
16 N E C A (to the tune of YMCA - Village People)
17 Toxic - Britney Spears (MTBE)
18 Wipeout - The Ventures (US economy)
19 Thanks for the Memories - Fall Out Boy (cheap crude)
20 A Little Less Conversation, a little more action - Elvis Presley (for Olefins...)
The Vaselines are the new and oh so obvious entry into the Blog's Top 20 Chemical Songs.
According to an email update today from ticket website We Got Tickets:
"Even if you're not familiar with The Vaselines it's likely you know at least three of their songs; Nirvana famously covered 'Son Of A Gun' and 'Molly's Lips' on their 'Incesticide' album and 'Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam' at their legendary MTV Unplugged performance."
The new entry has necessitated a reshuffling of the original Top Chemical Songs list, to incorporate readers' more recent contributions.
Together with Brazilian footwear brand Melissa, she is selling the Westwood children's shoe range at a pricey £60 a pair. They'll be just the thing for the most recent crop of petchem babies and toddlers.
Hot on the heels of the new ICIS Dubai office, Nexant has opened a
Nexant's new office will be manned by Graham Hoar, Director -
Alastair Hensman of Nexant gave a sterling performance at last week's ICIS Phenol Conference in
The summer EPL for 2011 will be in Copenhagen, the Blog hears from Nel who has the scoop even before it's on the EPL website.
A quick poll of EPL attendees in the ICIS London office establishes that Copenhagen is an excellent and very popular choice, and certain to attract a large attendance.
The vuvuzela has boosted demand for plastics, and given retailers an unexpected sales boom, according to this article on Sky spotted by Lara. The constant din at the World Cup games has maddened players and fans, but UK supermarket Sainsbury's has sold 40,000 of the plastic trumpets at £2 each. For the pitiful England vs USA game, it sold a vuvuzela every two seconds. "It seems like the bad publicity has been good for us," said Brandon Bernado of vuvuzela.co.za whose factory produces 10,000 of the horns every day. "We're completely sold out. Every time we manufacture more, the next morning by nine we're sold out," he said. The man who created the vuvuzela seven years ago, Neil van Schalkwyk, believes the industry is now worth 50m rand (£4.4m) globally. You can even download a free vuvuzela iphone app that makes 90 decibels (dB) of noise - nearly as loud as a chainsaw. The real horn can belt out more than 130 dB.
The vuvuzela has boosted demand for plastics, and given retailers an unexpected sales boom, according to this article on Sky spotted by Lara.
The constant din at the World Cup games has maddened players and fans, but UK supermarket Sainsbury's has sold 40,000 of the plastic trumpets at £2 each.
For the pitiful England vs USA game, it sold a vuvuzela every two seconds.
"It seems like the bad publicity has been good for us," said Brandon Bernado of vuvuzela.co.za whose factory produces 10,000 of the horns every day.
"We're completely sold out. Every time we manufacture more, the next morning by nine we're sold out," he said.
The man who created the vuvuzela seven years ago, Neil van Schalkwyk, believes the industry is now worth 50m rand (£4.4m) globally.
You can even download a free vuvuzela iphone app that makes 90 decibels (dB) of noise - nearly as loud as a chainsaw.
The real horn can belt out more than 130 dB.
Rick Wakeman, musician and songwriter, will be the guest performer at the December EPL, the Blog hears from a well-informed source on the EPL committee.
The news has already been greeted with pleasure and amazement by EPL members of a certain age, who remember Wakeman as the keyboardist in 1970s prog rock band Yes.
The Blog was impressed to hear that our mole on the EPL committee once accompanied Wakeman in a public performance. Perhaps he will be persuaded to repeat the performance in December.
Apparently the Brussels Hilton has plans in hand to supply a grand piano for the evening.
EPCA has emailed its members with links to various interesting documents including a full list of its members, which serves as a handy "Who's Who" in petrochemicals. Blog readers will be impressed to see that it has full names and contact details, along with a few nice smiley photos of some prominent individuals in the European aromatics crowd, although the one of Jossi is a bit grim.
I snapped a few crafty photos from the second row of the 6th ICIS Phenol-Acetone Conference on Wednesday morning.
1 Our own Julia Meehan opens the conference
2 Chairman John Keeley and second speaker, Alastair Hensman, Nexant/Chemsystems
3 Keynote speaker Michael Foeste from Mitsui & Co Deutschland
A few photos from ICIS Training in Berlin.
1 Peter and Nigel join in the breakout session on Day 1
2 Another group hard at work in the breakout session.
3 Preparing the final presentation on the flipchart.
Berlin is the place to be next week for the ICIS Phenol Conference and two days of ICIS Training. We're setting off armed with a load of ICIS paraphernalia, travelling on an assortment of airlines to avoid British Airways during the strike period.
I understand that the delegate numbers for the 6th ICIS Phenol-Acetone Conference on 16-17 June are at a record high of 120, but there are bound to be a few more people who turn up on the day. There's still time to book online.
The Schweizerhof Hotel looks good on its website, and I hope there will be time to check out the spa before popping out for a Currywurst.
Wellington boots are the best thing ever for splashing around in mud. Now a hi-tech wellie which charges a mobile phone has been launched for this summer's Glastonbury Festival. The Blog had to read the press release through a couple of times to be sure it wasn't a spoof:
"The Orange Power Wellies, created in collaboration with renewable energy experts GotWind, use a unique 'power generating sole' that converts heat from your feet into an electrical current ... Twelve hours of stomping through the Glastonbury Festival in your Orange Power Wellies will give you enough power to charge a mobile phone for one hour. To increase the length of time you can charge your phone for, simply hot step it to the dance tent because the hotter your feet get, the more energy you produce."
These guys have got to have a sense of humour to call themselves "GotWind." My fellow blogger Will Beacham, who covered Glasto for the Blog last year, will be taking the Orange Power Wellies for a test spin at this year's festival.
EPCA has posted its delegate list online for the conference in Budapest in October 2010, showing that 1,350 petchem people have already signed up since registrations opened three weeks ago.
In an email to all delegates today, EPCA says that it had decided to post the list online earlier than usual to help delegates with planning their meetings.
Delegates who have already registered are able to see the full list - from Mr Abe of Japan to Ms Zueger of Switzerland - online with the aid of their login details.
Sony is using one of Arkema's patented elastomers to make extra durable footballs that will be given to African children during the World Cup.
The football is called "Join the Team!"
"The Arkema press release says that the new football has a double barrier, with one made of Pebax Rnew, which makes it 1.6 times more durable than a regular football.
It's also made of bio-based materials, but I don't totally understand why the football has its own name....," says our markets reporter, Libby George.
Cyclists and skiers know they have to replace their helmets if they drop them. Now polymer materials can be produced which start to smell if they develop small cracks. The larger the crack, the stronger the stink, according to this article on sciencecentric.com. The smell is released when tiny capsules in the plastic break.
A fleet of The cabs can operate for a day without refuelling, and will use six specialist hydrogen filling stations which are planned for the capital. It will be a long time before other vehicles are able to use the emission-free technology, because of the cost of manufacture and making available hydrogen re-fuelling stations.
A fleet of
The cabs can operate for a day without refuelling, and will use six specialist hydrogen filling stations which are planned for the capital. It will be a long time before other vehicles are able to use the emission-free technology, because of the cost of manufacture and making available hydrogen re-fuelling stations.
Despite the thrills and spills of the themepark rides at this and other Legolands around the world, it seems that it is still the panoramas of little coloured plastic (ABS) bricks that fascinate visitors. The Blog family visited the Danish Legoland in Billund in one freezing cold but sunny Easter school holiday, when the children were barely as high as the model buildings.
(image Lego Group)
Balls of Fury is one of the worst films the Blog has ever seen. Like every other sports-themed film it's about a past champion gone to seed who makes a miraculous return to form.
It's a slapstick comedy only it's not funny and it's way too long, which is a pity because table tennis has been having a bit of a petchem revival, what with the appearance of a ping pong table in the ICIS Houston office. And who were the two eminent figures of the petchem industry playing ping pong at NPRA by the pool in the Marriott Riverwalk hotel?
Now the Blog finds that for newcomers to the game there is a foolproof new plastic and rubber invention called the Brodmann Blades. Two bats (paddles) are stuck together with a gap in between, and you just slip your hand in and swat the ball with your bat-glove.
The 1st Official BrodmannBlades™ Table Tennis Tournament @ SPiN will hold its Kick-Off Event on 21 June 2010 in
A bartender in Grand Isle, Louisiana took inspiration from the BP oil slick in the US Gulf to come up with the new Tar Ball Shot cocktail - one part Jagermeister and one part grape Jell-O - and at $2 a shot, it's the most popular drink on the island.
Jamie Ganucheau, bartender at Doc of the Bay was inspired by the tar balls washing up on her beach, according to this article on nydailynews.com.
"I felt inspired and knew what I had to do," she said. "I can't think of a better way to commemorate this terrible tragedy than with a delicious beverage."
This reminded the Blog of other Oil and Chemical-themed Cocktails which it celebrated on returning from drinking Dark and Stormies in
Yellow droplets of oil with smiley faces and blue plastic bottles with cow faces feature in this adorable video which explains that oil going into plastics is not used up, it is merely borrowed.
Franco was sent "Plastics - too valuable to throw away" after last week's "Pre-K" press conference in Amsterdam, where nine companies showcased what they would be launching at the K fair in October.
Petchem people who have connections with primary schools might like to offer it to their science teachers for rainy day science lessons, or for design and technology (DT) or "resistant materials" or whatever they now call the lessons where children make stuff.
A dog washing machine called the Joyful Honda, which automatically cleans and grooms a dog in 30 minutes for only $10, has been launched in Japan, I spotted in this week's Private Eye (If you click through here, you can also see a witty cartoon entitled "BP boss reassures world", which I cannot print here for copyright reasons, expires 7 June.)
Petchem folk will immediately spot that this will be a huge growth area for ethoxylate demand.
"It may look exactly like a washing machine for clothes, and there are many similarities, but the Joyful Honda is perfectly safe for pets. Some people say it is cruel, but we use pure ozone water and a special no-tears shampoo, and the process is entirely harmless, although it does take some animals a while to get used to the blow dryer," the manager of the Pet World pet store told reporters in Tokyo, according to Private Eye citing an article on NBC News.)
Petchem folk who have been showing off their new iPad will be interested to know that ... it blends.
The 2010 dates and venue for the Aromatics Conference are now out.
It will be on 23-24 November 2010 in
Watch out for news of speakers, topics and most importantly, EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS!
The speakers at EPCA have been announced. In a short fast-paced session on Monday 4 October, the speeches and panel discussion will start at 08.00 and be over by 09.30, giving delegates plenty of time to get on with networking and their own private meetings.
The morning business session will include:
See also: Chancellor Schröder to speak at EPCA Budapest Luncheon
It's a working Mac printer made out of a felt tip pen and some Lego men, and it's taking the social media world by storm.
Lego, long celebrated by the Blog as the perfect petrochemical toy, is once again in the spotlight, as the printer taps out the words "Hello World" and draws a cute picture of a horse. It's already being called "Horse Attack," in homage to the children's old TV series "Art Attack."
Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany (1998-2005), will be the speaker at the EPCA Closing Lunch on Tuesday 5 October 2010 in
His theme will be "Nine Billion People in 2050," echoing the theme of the conference: "Nine Billion People in 2050: The Chemical Industry as Enabler of Solutions."
The Blog's word of advice to delegates would be that there is no point in betting on the length of the speech, as it already says on the programme that after a five-minute introduction from Tom Crotty of INEOS, EPCA President, the Chancellor will speak from 12.05 till 12.25, and then take 35 minutes of Q&A from the floor.
And on another important point, the Blog would advise that you get something to eat beforehand, as the meal will not be served until after the speeches. The folk memory of the long hungry wait for food at the 2007 Lunch in
The annual EPCA conference in
The 44th European Petrochemical Association Annual Meeting will take place at the InterContinental and Marriott hotels in
The Early Bird Discount, which reduces the conference fee by EUR 100 to EUR 775, will expire this Friday, 4 June 2010.
(photo: Hungarian Parliament, Rex)