I'll admit it — I am all over the board when it comes to writing posts for ChemicalProcessing.com's Chemical Reaction blog. I gravitate toward odd, interesting and strange news. I also enjoy reading about the whimsical side of chemical engineering and hope my readers enjoy it, too.
As I was poking around in the archives I noticed a few trends. One: Blogs about safety seem to grab visitors' attention. Two: Blogs that suggest things aren't always as they seem are popular. Three: Lighter topics aren't off limits.
Here are several examples of the most popular posts, in no particular order:
Let Cartoons Be Your Guide to Chemistry. When looking for a gift for my nephew's birthday, I came upon "The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry," (2005, Collins Reference) by Larry Gonick and Craig Criddle. According to Amazon.com, "If you have ever suspected that 'heavy water' is the title of a bootleg Pink Floyd album, believed that surface tension is an anxiety disorder, or imagined that a noble gas is the result of a heavy meal at Buckingham Palace, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry to set you on the road to chemical literacy."
Chemical Workers Feel at Risk on the Job. Worker safety should be the No. 1 concern for any chemical manufacturer. Sure, a robust bottom line is nice, but if companies put employees at risk to achieve financial results they're going to spiral down fast. And even if manufacturers are following protocol to keep the workforce safe, sometimes it's not enough.
OSHA Is Not a Town in Wisconsin. Searching for information on electrical risks, I came across a funny sign. It reads: Caution — If you think OSHA is a small town in Wisconsin you're in trouble.
When a Kilogram Doesn't Weigh a Kilogram. It seems that the only things you can count on are death and taxes. Even the international prototype of the kilogram isn't reliable.
Scientists Prove No More Sugar Meltdowns. Stop the presses — sugar doesn't melt, it decomposes. Not only is this a revolutionary discovery, it also means caramels will be tastier and pharmaceutical companies can tout with confidence that a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down.
Heck Reaction Makes Many Things Possible. I fully admit I sometimes take for granted how things work. I know without science and technology, much of what I do and enjoy wouldn't be possible. But I don't give enough credit to behind-the-scenes magic.
The HAZCOM Song Has a Good Beat and Champions Safety. I'm not the biggest fan of Twitter. To me, it's too busy and it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. But sometimes you find something useful.
One of Chemical Processing's followers (maddie273) posted a link to a catchy tune about HAZCOM. The author wrote the song in March 2011 about the United States OSHA HAZCOM program and is written to the tune "The Thing" by Phil Harris (1950s).
Be sure to visit the Chemical Reaction blog often to see what else is new. And please alert me to any interesting items you think should be covered.