Links ‘n Things Monday (10/1/12)

The job market for chemical engineers has almost become a caricature in some ways – there is such a shortage of candidates, there is a feeding-frenzy around anyone who has between 3 and 20 years of experience and is willing to relocate even just a little bit. I’ve seen one engineer get up to 5 job offers… this is great for people who are looking for a job, but it is a serious strain on the employer side. The thing is – I don’t see this trend changing for the foreseeable future. Even as manufacturing numbers stagnate, hiring for open engineering positions remains strong. It’ll be interesting to see what happens post-election, I have heard from many sources that a lot of companies are in “wait and see” mode – hard to imagine this job market getting much more unbalanced than it already is. Anyway…here are some links for this week, trying to keep things light!

1) Kind of a “huh” story, A Chinese farmer decided he wanted a Lamborghini so we built it himself…it ended up costing him about $9,500 in parts and after seeing the end result, I had to ask, “was that worth it?” I guess if you have nothing better to do: http://dsc.discovery.com/cars-bikes/chinese-farmer-builds-a-lamborghini-reventon-with-9500-in-spare-parts.html?#mkcpgn=otbn1

2) Last Tuesday Google announced something pretty cool – they have added 360 degree under-water views of 6 reefs throughout the world. So now, in addition to being able to see a street-view of millions of locations around the globe, you can now also go underwater. Really cool stuff: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9231735/Google_Maps_dives_underwater_for_panoramic_ocean_views

3) It may sound crazy – but in Nederland, CO there is a dead guy being kept frozen as part of a cryogenics fantasy of sorts. Bredo Morstoel died of a heart attack in 1989 and since then his grandson has had him “on ice” first at a cryogenics facility in California and now in a homemade freezer. In Nederland, “Frozen Dead Guy” has become a celebrity of sorts, but now he might have to be moved to Michigan due to a dispute between the cryogenics-enthusiast grandson and the current caretaker of the frozen grave. This story falls under the category, “you can’t make this stuff up.” http://www.livescience.com/23527-frozen-dead-guy-michigan-cryonics.html

4) An economy-related link; every month the American Chemistry Council (ACC) releases its “Chemical Activity Barometer” reading which is essentially an economic indicator tailored specifically for the chemical industry. This month’s number was up 0.3% from last month, but foretells of lackluster growth into 2013. Said ACC chief economist Dr. Kevin Smith, “Interestingly, we are seeing this year’s economy repeat the pattern of 2010 and 2011. At ACC, we’ve compared this situation to the old Charlie Brown comic strip where Lucy holds the football for Charlie but at the last moment as he goes to kick it, she removes it. Just as the first quarter discussion about economic recovery is finally gaining traction, the proverbial football — the recovery — disappears, hence the ‘Charlie Brown’ effect.” Here’s the full-text of the article: http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/Leading-economic-indicator-increases-but-suggests-sub-par-growth-in-2013_9777.html#.UGnr51FP-Xs

5) Another article in the “huh” category – a houseboat builder in Australia has come up with a new niche – selling Tsunami-Survival Pods (TSP). The pods can hold up to 4 people and has enough air to last 2.5 hours – it also comes equipped with a beacon to help rescuers find it once the waters recede. The designer (Matthew Duncan) isn’t taking orders yet, but he is hoping that people and resorts in tsunami-prone areas will like his new invention: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/10/tsunami-submersible/

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