Who doesn’t love a new button to push!? We just updated the site today with a new button, which you will see in the lower left-hand side of the homepage. It reads, “View Jobs by State” and clicking it will take you to a page where we’ve linked to jobs, both chemical and mechanical engineering jobs, in a state-by-state format. This makes searching for jobs in a particular geography super easy. If you’re looking for a ChemE job in Texas, just click on “View Jobs by State”, scroll down, then click on “TX ChemE Jobs”…wahlah…all the Chemical Engineering jobs we have in Texas will immediately appear. If you click on a state link and nothing appears, or you arrive at a search screen, it simply means there are no available jobs at the moment. We hope you find this helpful and as we go along, we’ll add more sub-industry links for engineers in the environmental, civil, etc areas.
The last month has seemingly been a whirlwind – at least for me anyway. My wife and I had our first child in late April and after taking a week off to spend time with mom and baby, I’m back in the saddle. Parenthood, while challenging for sure, has been great so far and I’m looking forward to discovering more and more about our little one. The engineering job market remains hot – all sectors have high demand for talent, particularly the chemical, mechanical (reliability) and electrical (controls and power distribution) engineering areas. Here’s some interesting science and engineering articles – enjoy!
1.) Social scientists have been conducting an awfully interesting experiment in two remote villages in Ethiopia. Basically – they show up, drop off a bunch of tablet computers (still in the box) for kids and then leave. They don’t leave any instructions, they don’t provide anyone to teach the kids how to use these things – they just leave them and see what the kids can figure out. As it turns out – they figure out a lot, check it out: http://engineering.curiouscatblog.net/2013/05/03/given-tablets-but-no-teachers-kids-teach-themselves-having-never-seen-advanced-technology-before/
2.) Here’s a cool infographic I stumbled across. A lot of people were focusing on Felix Baumgartner’s leap from the edge of space and understandably that grabbed a lot of headlines – but this graphic talks about some other recent engineering feats that were less heralded: http://www.bestonlineengineeringdegree.com/best-engineering-2012/
3.) Wanna see a bat tongue up close? Trust me, it’s cool: http://www.livescience.com/29362-shape-shifting-bat-tongue-mops-up-nectar.html
4.) The latest report from the American Chemistry Council confirms, for the most part, what we are seeing in the broader World economy – there is some growth, but it is rather timid. The Global Chemical Production Regional Index rose by 0.1% in March which was slower than the growth seen in January and February. Here is the full article: http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/Global-CPRI-grows-in-March-but-at-a-subdued-pace-ACC-says_10515.html
I love the idea of April Fools’ Day, but I’m terrible at executing it. The jokes I think of are too cruel or are too transparent…so I enjoy the creativity of others. John’s pretty good at it – but he’s such a prankster that anyone who knows him very well has their guard up on April 1st. I digress. The engineering market continues to be VERY unbalanced. This is bad news for employers but great news for job-seekers. I’ve been in this business for going on 33 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it quite like this. There are so many jobs to fill it is hard to stay on top of what is open. If you’re looking to make a move to a certain area of the country or you’d just like a job with more advancement opportunity…now is the time to be looking. Here are the links for this week – enjoy!
1.) I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but there are actually scientists/engineers out there who think that they can conduct geoengineering projects to reduce the overall temperature of the Earth. Not only is this fool-hardy in my opinion, but downright irresponsible and reckless…especially when you take into consideration just how limited our understand of “global climate” is. There are myriads of factors and people want to go ahead and tinker with that BEFORE they fully understand it? Needless to say, I fully agree with Jim Haywood who is quoted in this article and who suggests there needs to be a governing body over any group that wants to conduct world-scale geoengineering projects: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/31/earth-cooling-schemes-global-signoff
2.) There’s a poll up over at ChemicalProcessing.com – the poll poses the question, “What’s the turnover of engineers like at your facility?” Unfortunately there is only 3 options for response but I think the presence of this poll question belies the true state of the market at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the outcome of the poll was heavily skewed towards “minimal”: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/articles/2013/poll-what-s-the-turnover-of-engineers-like-at-your-facility/
3.) More news from the American Chemical Society (ACC) regarding the chemical manufacturing numbers for February. The verdict? Manufacturing output in all sectors is rising. My prediction? This will only further compress the employment market. http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/Chemical-production-in-the-U-S-rises-in-all-regions-ACC-says_10355.html
4.) I’m not a scientist or engineer by education – so imagine my delighted whimsy when I came across this article. All elementary students are taught about photosynthesis but I’ll be honest when I say that since learning about it then, I’ve never given it a second thought. A student at CalTech has discovered a previously unknown “secret” of photosynthesis that could have real world ramifications, particularly in the alternative energy industry: http://io9.com/artificial-plants-could-one-day-power-your-home-464881436
5.) Some people aren’t as bullish about the economic “recovery” we’re now seeing (can you tell which side I fall on?). Check out this NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/business/economy/rumors-of-a-cheap-energy-jobs-boom-remain-just-that.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
I walked outside this morning to take the dog out and it was snowing. It’s March 18th and we still haven’t had a 50 degree day here in Chicago this month! Arg. I’m sick of winter. Last year by this time we’d had a few 80 degree days already. OK, enough of my complaining. Big week for science stuff – Higgs Boson news, space news, mummy news…all pretty exciting stuff. Enjoy!
1.) Here’s the article about the study that has been done on mummified humans showing that people 1500-2000 years ago had arterial calcium deposits suggesting that they suffered from clogged arteries. This is a blow to the theory that the “modern” diet is to blame for a high incidence of heart disease in the U.S. (and other developed countries). As the article points out, this doesn’t mean you should go and eat a bunch of junk-food – but it does suggest that other factors (such as aging) may play a larger role in heart disease that diet does. My personal comment on this article is to say that while it’s easy to blame diet on some of the ills of modern society, it’s worth nothing that the life expectancy of people today are quite a bit higher than it was in ancient Egyptian times: http://www.livescience.com/27778-mummies-clogged-arteries-universal.html
2.) If you’re a space-junkie, chances are you’ve already seen this – but last week SpaceX tested their “Grasshopper” rocket successfully (for the 4th time). Imagine every sci-fi movie you’ve ever seen and how they all depict spacecraft taking off an landing vertically…well, Grasshopper does just that, except that it’s a rocket. SpaceX is doing a lot of cool things lately including the successful docking of a SpaceX craft with the International Space Station last week. Here’s a video of the rocket test: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/03/second-spacex-launch-hovers/
3.) There are people who are vastly more in-tune with YouTube than I am, but last week I came across a set of videos that I thought were out-of-this-world cool – somewhat literally. Captain Chris Hadfield, a Canadian currently living on and commanding the International Space Station (ISS), has become somewhat of an internet sensation lately, posting videos about regular every-day life on the Space Station. Here are a few videos – super cool stuff, I just love hearing his explanations of simple stuff in Space. Video 1 Video 2 Video 3
4.) A few months ago, in our monthly e-newsletter, I reviewed a book I had read called “The Emperor of all Maladies” which was essentially a biography on cancer and cancer treatment. Well, here is real-life, cutting-edge cancer research that is bearing fruit. Plexxikon announced in January that tests on a new drug that treats a deadly form of skin cancer were more effective than chemo therapy treatments of the same condition. The full results of the study will be released later this year: http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2011/01/19/plexxikon-roche-drug-extends-lives-in-patients-with-deadly-skin-cancer/
5.) Interesting article on the ChemicalProcessing.com website about the algae boom in the U.S. One company that is in this space that the article didn’t mention is a company called Aurora Algae based out of California. They have a research facility here in the U.S. and an algae farm in Australia. Pretty interesting field: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/articles/2013/algae-cultivation-technologies-begin-to-bloom/
Sorry for the few weeks hiatus – been busy in the recruiting world. Seems like we go in short cycles lately — in reality there are a far greater number of jobs open than the market of available talent can support and this is due to a number of factors. Every time there is a layoff – there is a frenzy of activity around those engineers and then it dies back down, and then there’s another mini-layoff and the cycle starts over again. As we recently wrote about in our monthly newsletter – we had one candidate recently gather 6 offers, another had 5 on-site interviews, and we routinely see folks have multiple offers to choose from. That’s the kind of market we’re in now. Anyway, here’s some articles I’ve gathered over the past couple of week, enjoy!
1.) Ever wondered why some of your friends seems to be able to party all night while others peter out after a few drinks? Turns out there’s a scientific reason for that and it was recently uncovered in a Yale University study. In heavy-drinkers, alcohol actually fuels their brains not unlike sugars do. Check out the article for the full explanation: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/348839/description/Heavy_drinkers_get_extra_brain_fuel_from_alcohol
2.) This isn’t really related to any articles I’ve read, but I’ve got a TV show recommendation for you. I’ve recently been watching ‘Breaking Bad’ and have really enjoyed it. The plot revolves around Walter White, a high-school chemistry teacher who finds out he has cancer and in order to provide for his family, he starts cooking methamphetamine. Not only is he good at it – he makes the best meth that anyone has ever seen. It’s not a show for kids. Here’s the info page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903747/
3.) I recently read a book called “Superbug”by Maryn McKenna that goes in-depth into the increasingly alarming epidemic of antibiotic-resistant superstrains like MRSA and the like. Now those diseases have captured the national spotlight and are worth everyone’s attention. England’s chief medical officer released a statement the other day saying that these untreatable infections pose “a catastrophic threat”. Here’s the article, which was also featured on DrudgeReport yesterday: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/11/superbugs-antibiotics-bacterial-diseases-infections
4.) According to the ACC (American Chemistry Council), the U.S. specialty-chemical market volume slipped by 0.1% in January which came after 2 straight months of gains in November and December of 2012: http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/U-S-specialty-chemical-market-volume-slips-in-January-ACC-says_10322.html
5.) A lot has been happening on the artificial vision front over the past few years — and for the first time, the FDA recently approved a device that is capable of restoring sight. This article on Wired.com goes through some of the devices and technologies that are out there. It’s exciting that we could be close to helping the blind to see: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/restore-sight/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top+Stories%29&pid=6397&viewall=true
Hey all – if you’ve been trying to access recent blog posts and getting an error message – that issue has now been fixed and everything should work correctly now.
I don’t know what it is – but by the middle of February I always feel like the end is in sight in terms of winter. Only two more weeks until March – and March is rarely very cold or snowy. This hasn’t been a bad winter in Chicago by any means, but for a summer-lover like me – warmer temperatures can’t come soon enough. Take heart my friends from cooler climates – winter is almost over. I’ve got quite a smattering of articles, a shout-out to my wife, Leslie, who helped me gather some of these.
1.) I found this article pretty interesting, it’s a discussion on the dangers of consuming too much caffeine and also about the difficulties the FDA has had in regulating some of the energy drinks out there (Monster, 5-hour energy, etc). Turns out that how caffeine affects you is very similar to how alcohol affects you — how efficiently your body processes it all depends on how often and how much you consume it: http://cen.acs.org/articles/91/i5/Caffeine-Jitters.html
2.) Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that a meteor exploded over Russian last week in what has to be the most exciting space news since the ‘Curiosity’ rover landed on Mars. Since the meteor hit, scientists have been focusing on and around the landing site, attempting to find fragments. This has touched off a “gold rush” of sorts with people out there trying to find fragments to sell: http://news.yahoo.com/meteorite-rush-begins-russian-scientists-fragments-111415119.html
One other note on the meteor – several weeks ago a scientist from NASA came out and basically said that our current technology to detect asteroids that are potentially on a collision course with Earth is very rudimentary. Basically he said that we likely would have no warning – save for a flash as the asteroid hit. Here’s the full article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/01/10/we-probably-wouldnt-even-see-a-doomsday-asteroid-until-it-was-too-late/
3.) Don’t really know if this is good news or great news or just so-so news – but ACS is reporting that the chemical industry ended 2012 with a trade surplus, though only by a very small margin: http://www.che.com/only_on_che/latest_news/U-S-chemical-industry-ended-2012-with-trade-surplus-ACC-report-says_10233.html
4.) This is for those of you with some serious time on your hands – it’s a discussion of whether the much bandied “manufacturing renaissance” in the U.S. is real or not. The author does a very good job laying out the arguments and this is a very THOROUGH piece: http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13352/
This is the time of year that my buddies and I refer to as “sports purgatory” — the space in between the end of the NFL season and the start of either a) March Madness or b) The MLB season. I’m not a huge NBA or NHL fan so February really is pretty much the doldrums when it comes to sports. There’s some golf and the occasional interesting NCAA match-up on, but other than that it’s pretty dead on the sports scene. Lets just say, it’s a good time of year to get those home projects taken care of. But I digress. Here are some interesting articles from the scientific realm for this week, enjoy!
1.) This is an interesting article from the realm of psychology. Scientists have found that people tend to rate themselves as “above average” when asked to compare themselves to others in a number of areas. For example, 94% of college professors rated themselves as above average compared to their peers. Psychology actually has a term for this phenomenon, referred to as “illusory superiority”. It’s a quick-read article and definitely is thought-provoking: http://www.livescience.com/26914-why-we-are-all-above-average.html
2.) This is an amazing video. This astronomer attempts to put into perspective just how big Space is — it is really fricken HUGE. Best 6-minute video I’ve watched in awhile: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2013/feb/11/how-big-universe-sand-video1
3.) File this one more in the “huh” category – Dow Chemical has decided to leave the National Association of Manufacturers over a dispute involving NAM’s stance on natural-gas exports. Read more about it here: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/01/18/dow-chemical-severs-ties-with-key-manufacturer-group/
Three is all I have for today – been kinda slow for chemical manufacturing news – thankfully the job market is still HOT.
I assume a fair amount of you out there watched the Superbowl last night – a lop-sided affair turned nail-biter as the 49ers rallied from a big deficit to make things interesting at the end. Personally I had zero rooting interest in the game but I did go to a Superbowl party and was intrigued to see some of the commercials. I thought instead of the usual articles post I would recap some of the better commercials from last night’s game…this year was pretty lackluster in the commercials department, but there were a few that stood out.
1.) I think the winner of the night was actually a fairly serious commercial put out by Ram Trucks featuring the voice of Paul Harvey. Throughout most of the commercial I thought maybe it was an ad for Monsanto or Archer Daniels Midland – turns out it was for a truck that was really only shown at the very end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AMpZ0TGjbWE
2.) Some people thought the VW “Jamaican Guy Commercial” was offensive – but I gotta say, I really enjoyed it…if you can’t make fun of accents then what can you make fun of? Also, VW is a German car company so in my book, they’re allowed to make fun of other people’s accents because German accents are lampooned all the time. My favorite part is when the guy’s co-worker stops him and says, “hey Dave, you’re from Minnesota right?” Being from Minnesota, I found his response laugh-out-loud funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H0xPWAtaa8#aid=P-QzAHxHKWM
3.) It’s getting near the point of over-done, but I liked the latest M&Ms “I Would Do Anything for Love” Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29Csl01Qclc
4.) The worst commercial of the night had to be the big one Mercedes-Benz got when the lights at their stadium went out and cameras were giving still shots of the stadium roof with the huge Mercedes-Benz logo. Talk about a failure…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXKKsy3rINw