Links ‘n Things Monday (11/12/12)

The election is over and whether your guy won or lost, this country faces some serious fiscal questions as we move towards the end of the year. Fortunately for those of you in the chemicals industry, your industry seems to be leading the way in terms of our economy. I hope that the current hiring trends continue (I have no reason to believe they won’t) because things like chemical manufacturing are what this country needs to continue building the economy. I’ve got some interesting articles this week, some that make you think and some for entertainment’s sake. Enjoy!

1) I hesitate to post this kind of an article here mostly because it’s written for such a biased source but this person basically levels the chemical industry for what he deems to be detrimental lobbying efforts in Washington. Mr. Rosenberg makes some fairly wild claims, including a rather baseless attempt to connect cancer with a lack of chemical industry regulation. I agree with very little of Mr. Rosenberg’s opinions here, but it’s worth a read to see what someone coming from an environmentalist activist angle is thinking: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/drosenberg/the_absurdity_of_influence_the.html

2) Moody’s Investor Service doesn’t seem to have as optimistic an outlook on the chemicals industry as some of the other sources do. On Monday they changed their outlook on the industry to ‘negative’ citing “[the] expectation that profitability in the industry will decline in the next 12-18 months because of deteriorating economic conditions in Europe, combined with slowing growth in developing countries and relatively weak US growth.” If you read the complete report, it doesn’t seem as if they believe a huge correction is coming, but rather that the chemicals industry will see a lag that the rest of the economy is seeing because of a slow U.S. economic growth rate and continued European malaise: http://www.moodys.com/page/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PR_259721&WT.mc_id=NLTITLE_YYYYMMDD_PR_259721%3C/p%3E

3) Now for a dose of something a little more light-hearted – Medieval War Tactics. I’m a pretty big fan of Wired.com, particularly for their off-the-wall stuff. Mark Teppo is a Medieval expert of sorts, specializing in the study of Medieval weaponry and this article is about the transformation of weaponry as technology advanced during that period. Pretty interesting stuff, even for someone who doesn’t know much about that time-period: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/11/the-medieval-arms-race/

4) This is an encouraging article – the University of Wyoming Chemical and Petroleum Engineering departments are seeing the highest increase in enrollment out of any departments within the school from last year to this year. To anyone with high-school aged kids – have your kids at least consider a career in engineering. There are good salaries, job security and lots of opportunity which isn’t something you can say for a lot of other industries: http://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2012-11-13&val=701305&cat=energy

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