August 2011 Archives
Contains very strong language, strong violence, sex references and drug use, said the warning on the cinema website. I didn't think that sounded like my kind of film, but "The Guard" is very funny and even quite touching. It is a story about an Irish village cop and a straight-laced FBI agent, and their fight against a gang of murdering drug smugglers.
Since most of the films I've seen lately have been on a small screen on a plane, it was a delight to watch in the best small cinema I have ever visited. The Curzon in Wimbledon, two floors above the HMV shop, is new and very smart, with wide blue plush seats and loads of legroom, and a rather sleek coffee bar attached. A good film on a pin-sharp wide screen with a cup of coffee in hand definitely beats watching films on planes.
An outdoor film and poster campaign promoting chemistry will be shown in Brussels and Berlin in September and October.
The film "Chemistry, it's all about you," which the Blog reviewed in January, will be shown live on cubes in the Brussels train stations of Luxemburg and Brussels Midi and in the metro station Schuman in the second half of September. More posters will be on display in the metro stations Arts-Loi and Merode.
According to an email announcement from EPCA today:
"In Berlin, the outdoor campaign will take place during the 45th EPCA Annual Meeting. From 1 to 4 October 2011 the film will be shown on a giant screen in the Sony centre, a business complex located at Potsdamer Platz and via the "Berliner Fenster" in the passenger coaches of the Berliner metro. A poster campaign identical to the one in Brussels will run from 27 September to 3 October in the U29 network, via 300 City Light Poster boxes all over Berlin in places visited by tourists and young people under the age of 29. Mobile City Light posters will also be placed at the entrance of five hotels used by EPCA for the conference."
An invitation to discover the poetic elements of the periodic table at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) in Philadelphia has just landed in the Blog inbox.
On the first Friday in September Jena Osman, author of the interactive hypertext poem "The Periodic Table as Assembled by Dr. Zhivago, Oculist," will be reading her work in the museum of the CHF.
Joe Chang in ICIS New York has won the first ever ICIS Decathlon and writes this characteristically modest account ...
Two years, one pulled hamstring, a sprained ankle, bruised egos, and countless regrets culminating in one spectacular bar fight, has finally resulted in a winner in the 1st ICIS Decathlon.
In a dizzying array of 10 feats of strength between editorial and sales in New York, ICIS Chemical Business Global Editor Joseph Chang steamrolled over US Sales Manager Bernard Petersen.
The triumphant winner was presented the coveted ICIS Champion Trophy (pictured) in a ceremony in New York.
The lack of basic numeracy in advertising was the topic of outraged conversation on the sidelines of a workshop the Blog attended this morning.
A photo from today's Metro was being passed round on a colleague's iPhone to a general sucking of teeth and shaking of heads. Spot the error ...
NECA's Fall 2011 meeting on 15 September will be in a Canadian chateau winery, our friend Kathy H emails the Blog this morning.
With her own winning charm she writes: "As you are the doyenne of the world chemicals party, I thought I'd send along the latest from our beloved NECA. This year's Canadian meeting is being held at a winery!"
With a sinking heart I open the attachment to see the photos of the Chateau du Charmes & Hillebrand Wineries. The event agenda looks pretty gruelling with an afternoon private wine tour at the first winery with a tasting and cocktail reception in the vineyard courtyard (sponsored by Williams), followed by another private wine tour and tasting at the second winery. Then there is a dinner with the option to have the winemaker's pairing wine selection. It is indeed a tough life in the post-shalegas northeast chemical industry.
Register online at www.necainc.com
EPL has confirmed the dates for its 2012 meetings in Brussels.
The March European Petrochemical Luncheon will take place at the Conrad Hotel on Thursday 1 March 2012.
The December 2012 EPL will be on Thursday 13 December, also at the Conrad, our friends at the EPL confirmed by email while I was on holiday last week.
The easiest of flying companions is my son. After years of student travel on bargain Megabus or Megatrain, the world of taxis and planes holds only relieved delight for him. When a succession of airline staff bid him good morning, he replies with a surprised smile, and he picks up a free newspaper with glee as we board.
We have pre-booked the exit row with extra room for his long legs, and by mid-morning he has already eaten three breakfasts. He is not fazed by queues, the usual delays on boarding and on take off, or the fact that I have printed out our boarding passes on the back of the APIC delegate list.
He is armed with some educational reading, the "Highway Code" which stays unopened for the duration of the trip. The secrets of braking distances at 60 mph and toucan crossings remain safe within its covers for another day.
He is even interested to know about the workings of the metal detectors and microwave scanners, and says he will ask one of the security staff. I assure him that they will not know the answer.
Foot-nibbling fish are swimming hungrily in a green spa tank in the middle of the concourse at Edinburgh airport.
Foot-weary travellers can have the fish chew off all the dead skin on their feet, in full view of passers by, next to Gate 11 in departures.
Knowing the Blog's well-founded love of Lego, one reader has sent a link to this spoof website with a new playset: City Looters.
The little ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) bricks have been formed into four tableaux of city rioting and looting - not that the Blog condones any of this for one minute!
Thomas Leow joined Singapore-based SK Chemicals, exclusive agent for trader Trammochem's olefins business in Asia, on 1 July 2011, the company announced by email on 16 August.
Leow, formerly with Mitsui Tokyo in its olefins trading group, will work with SK Tan in the Singapore office and with Trammochem's other Asian olefins offices in Shanghai and Seoul.
"These additions (Leow and van Oosten) will strengthen our olefins trading effort at a time when many changes are taking place in the market," the Trammochem announcement added.
Brad Pitt is filming at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant in Scotland, the Blog reads with disbelief in today's Scotsman.
After bringing Glasgow to a halt last week, the film crew for the zombie film "World War Z" moved on 22 August to the industrial landscape of Grangemouth on the east coast of Scotland, on the banks of the Firth of Forth.
According to another article, the area has been screened off, with only film crew and zombie extras allowed on set. Nevertheless, some 100 onlookers have gathered at the site, and doubtless some of them have some connection to the Ineos site.
9 November 2012: First official trailer for the film ...
Performing a one-hour monologue always strikes me as an impressive feat. Whether it is a comedy stand-up routine, a play, a political speech or a lecture, the Blog is always impressed with the feat of memory. Especially when it is a well-known text like a theatre classic, where the audience knows it well, so it has to be word perfect.
Newsreaders, politicians, film actors who read from screen, notes or bullet points, or film just small chunks at a time - that's no big deal. Of course a pretty face, a strong delivery, good timing - they all count for something, but it is the act of delivering from memory without prompts that inspires admiration.
The joint top news item in Scotland (along with the North Sea oil spill) this week is that Brad Pitt is in Glasgow filming the zombie film "World War Z", and the whole country is swooning in adoration, I gather from the newstands of Edinburgh. From the pages of coverage in the Scotsman, it seems that he is not expected to memorise more than a few minutes' dialogue at a time, but then he is Brad Pitt, so who cares?
A surprisingly old KLM Dakota propeller plane was taking off from Edinburgh airport on Thursday morning as the Blog family was passing through.
Later the local paper revealed that the Dutch airline was celebrating 65 years of flying to Scotland. The airline's chief operating officer said, in a stirring statement of Scottish solidarity, that it was a significant occasion for KLM as it underlines the continued importance the airline places on having a presence in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
In a similarly patriotic vein, there were image-rebuilding Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) adverts all over Edinburgh airport: "One of Scotland's oldest companies," and a headline in this morning's local Metro: "Shell at last says sorry to Scotland." There is no mention at all of the UK up here.
Lego, the perfect petrochemical toy, will get you into university, it's official. Singapore's Straits Times has an article in its education supplement today on how a young man built a Lego 1.5m long submersible aircraft carrier, with battery-operated moving parts, and used it for his university application.
His Youtube video of the process earned him a place at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
The 10,000-piece warship took Mr Teh Jun Hao a month to build, according to this article.
The article struck a chord with the Blog, coming in the same week as a friend had forwarded this article from the UK's Portsmouth News about the Royal Navy launching its own Lego toy Type 45 destroyer.
It is time to give durian fruit another chance. A stall outside the Marriott Singapore on the corner of Orchard Road is selling a variety of mooncakes for the Mid Autumn Festival, and one of them is "Snowskin Mooncake Pure Mao Shan Wang Premium Grade Durian."
I'm up for that, although not a presentation box of eight for Sing $58. I don't think my family would be grateful recipients, since our feelings towards durian were poisoned forever in the late 90s when I took my small children for a durian smoothie at a stall in Millennia Tower. We were so unanimous in our revulsion at the long-lingering taste that none of us has ever tried it again.
This evening I bravely tried a sample spoonful of the durian filling and, although I can still taste it an hour later, it really wasn't bad at all. Quite nice really.
Call the Marriott Mooncake Hotline (!) at +65 6831 4708
Eddy Setiawan of Dow Chemical has been appointed president south east Asia from this month, he announced on Wednesday 10 August 2011 on LinkedIn.
Setiawan, formerly global business director of Dow's chlorinated organics, and a one-time benzene contact for the Blog at Dow in Horgen, Switzerland, will continue to be based in Singapore.
Wednesday morning and I'm leaving London for scheduled meetings in Singapore, not to get away from the riots. The drive to the airport through the western suburbs is clear and quiet, with people walking their dogs and the roses in full bloom in the summer sunshine. Still there is an air of menace everywhere, with the car radio relaying all the overnight news of the riots interspersed with traffic updates as roads are being re-opened.
The ICIS office in the south London suburb of Sutton although not in the thick of it, is still too close for comfort. Many of the ICIS staff came in to work on Tuesday through scenes of devastation. My colleague Nigel put some disturbing photos on our internal Yammer of broken windows and burnt out streets.
"Buildings smouldering; streets cordoned off; debris everywhere. London August 2011 on my way to work. Landmark buildings destroyed last night as looters (only kids?) targeted Croydon," he wrote.
Other colleagues in south London were yammering about violent incidents, shop closures, clouds of smoke, children being sent home early from nursery and police warnings. Twitter was down due to the volume of traffic.
Our office workers on Tuesday afternoon were advised to leave early and take laptops home in preparation for home-working if necessary. On my drive home through Kingston on Tuesday evening, shops were shut early and there was a heavy police presence.
Reclining in the waters of
It is a giant sculpture by artist Oliver Voss showing a woman's head and knees, as if she was lying down in the water, and will be on display for the first half of August.
In the background can be seen
Dow will make the fabric wrap to go around the Olympic Stadium in east London, according to this BBC article spotted by Nigel.
The wrap was originally to be the finishing touch to the stadium, but was dropped for cost reasons. Now Dow will fund the wrapper and will be allowed to advertise on the panels around the stadium until a month before the Olympics open in 2012.
The Blog and many of the ICIS editors have been lucky in the draw for Olympics tickets, but we are unlikely to be passing that way before the event. Any readers who spot the Dow wrapper are invited to send photos in to the Blog.
Andrew Jones will move to Midland, US, to take over the Chlor-Alkali business director role at Dow, later in August, he said on 4 August 2011.
Jones, currently global business director aromatics and derivatives at Dow Europe in Horgen, Switzerland, not to mention a regular speaker at ICIS conferences, passed the news to our own Paul Hodges, who is currently a repository of all news pertaining to corporate moves in the aromatics space.
Replacing Jones in Horgen will be Craig Barry, transferring to Switzerland from Houston where he has been running Dow's C4 business, Jones confirmed.
ICIS news readers will remember that Barry too has been a regular speaker at the ICIS olefins conferences.
Onno van Oosten will join trader Trammochem's global olefins trading team, working out of Switzerland, the company announced on 4 August 2011. Van Oosten was previously working for Mitsubishi in Dusseldorf, the statement added.
David Hughes has been appointed SABIC's general manager for Aromatics and Chlor-Alkali, based in Riyadh, the Blog hears on 3 August 2011 from fellow blogger Paul Hodges.
Hughes, formerly general manager for SABIC's Oxygenates Business Unit, will be replaced in this role by Ahmed al Umar, currently SABIC's regional head for Asia based in Singapore, he told the Blog today.