Rosenzweig's Ramblings

 
Rosenzweig's Ramblings

Editor in Chief Mark Rosenzweig brings his monthly columns to video.

Mark has more than 40 years of editorial experience in technical publishing. Since 2003, he has been Editor in Chief of Chemical Processing, where he is responsible for the overall editorial content of the magazine and its Web site. He selects topics for coverage, works with experts and other sources to provide suitable content, edits articles and writes columns and stories.

He started with Chemical Engineering magazine, serving in a variety of progressively more responsible positions, including four years as European Editor based in London, and 13 years as Managing Editor. He then went on to lead Chemical Engineering Progress magazine as Editor in Chief for 11 years. He has won the Jesse H. Neal Editorial Achievement Award of the American Business Media and a Gold Award for editorial excellence of the American Society of Business Press Editors. He earned a bachelor of chemical engineering degree from The Cooper Union in New York City, and has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Mark lives in New York City, where he has been driving his Studebaker GT Hawk for almost 30 years. He also has more than 50 typewriters.

Below you will find a list of his Ramblings in chronological order. Enjoy!

2011 Ramblings

June 2011: New Museum Really Adds Up

Mark thinks that many high-school students rule out careers in science and technology because they find classes on the subjects dull, daunting or disconnected from their world.

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May 2011: Could You Be the Ultimate Plant Manager?

Mark gets his game on as he talks about a promising online game that debuted in late March. It comes from a company that some might consider an unlikely source -- Siemens Industry, Inc.

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April 2011: Biofuels Development Gets a Boost

Mark notes that moving promising biofuels technology from the lab to demonstration scale often poses a significant financial as well as technical hurdle. Now, though, developers can take advantage of an expanded government research facility.

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March 2011: Is Water The New Carbon?

Mark discusses the fact that companies face increasing pressure to disclose, as well as optimize, water use. The rising cost and tighter regulation of water, coupled with concerns about adequate long-term availability in many regions, is prompting many chemical companies to treat water conservation as an imperative in their sustainability efforts.

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February 2011: Don't Neglect Energy Auditing

Mark stresses that we should not ignore energy auditing. Technology and regulations will make chemical operations increasingly energy efficient. For instance, sites adopting digital fieldbuses gain access to data on equipment health that can provide early warning of performance degradation as well as diagnostic information that can lead to true predictive maintenance.

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January 2011: Gas Buoys U.S. Chemical Industry Outlook

Mark hopes for the best that abundant supplies of domestic natural gas may open up more feedstock opportunities. Longer-term, the prospects may be even brighter: "With improving competitiveness resulting from developments in shale gas, the United States may once again become a favorable location for investment."

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2010 Ramblings

December 2010: We Can Learn a Lot from Dow Chemical

Mark thinks we can learn a lot from Dow Chemical. In fact, in early October, Dow Chemical received the 2010 Robert W. Campbell Award from the National Safety Council (NSC), Itasca, Ill.

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November 2010: Don't Slight the Simple Stuff

Mark notes that mundane assets can pose significant risks. Many plants now boast markedly better performance and reliability than they were able to achieve in the past. A major reason for such gains has been increasing reliance on sophisticated equipment and software that have become available thanks to the continuing evolution of technology.

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October 2010: Is Starting in Production a Wise Career Move?

When Mark got his chemical engineering degree, the job market was buoyant. He had lots of offers, including from a leading global chemicals producer, a distillery and a shoe polish maker. Most involved starting out in a production role. That was the norm. Hear what he thinks about about this career move.

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September 2010: We Need More Engineers in Congress

Mark asks: Where is America's equivalent of Ashok Kumar? A chemical engineer who worked extensively in industry, he was the first and only chemical engineer in the U.K.'s House of Commons. In 1997 he was elected as a Member of Parliament for an area that's a major chemical production center.

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August 2010: Look on the Positive Side Of The Oil Spill

Mark tells us to expect a lasting legacy after oil finally stops flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon. Cleanup and restoration will take a long time, probably decades. Long-term changes in spill-response planning and regulation undoubtedly also will occur.

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July 2010: Marshalltown Really Builds Upon a Legacy

World travel isn't as appealing to Mark as it used to be. Having been posted abroad for a number of years and traveled extensively over his career has jaded him a bit. Nevertheless, he does frequently get out of the office. In this video he talks about a state-of-the-art valve testing facility occupies site of historic factory.

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June 2010: Plant Security Deserves More Attention

Mark has visited more than a few facilities in his time and, frequently, first impressions can be telling. For instance, it's often apparent from a cursory view how well a site is maintained and the quality of housekeeping.

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May 2010: Obama Tackles Safety Board Vacancies

Mark comments on President Barack Obama's first nominees for the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB): Rafael Moure-Eraso, Ph.D., to be chair and Mark A. Griffon to be a member. If confirmed, these appointments would bring the board back to a full complement of five members.

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April 2010: Sustainability Proves Its Worth

Listen as Mark discusses a study that points to considerable cash flow benefits from better performance. Effectiveness in using resources differs markedly among some major chemical companies and that difference has a significant financial dimension, according to a recent report "Sustainable Value Creation by Chemical Companies."

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March 2010: U.S. Lead in Science and Engineering Erodes

Asian countries are gaining momentum according to the National Science Board's report to the President and Congress on the state of science, engineering and technology in the U.S. See what Mark has to say about it.

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February 2010: We Need Another A.C. Gilbert

Stroll down memory lane as Mark remembers when many engineers of his generation played with Erector Sets when they were growing up.

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January 2010: Trade Shows Require Rethinking

Mark notes that Chemical companies continue to face financial pressures. With funds tight for capital expenditures, there's less motivation to send engineers to the show, especially when firms also are curtailing non-essential travel to save money.

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2009 Ramblings

December 2009: Grasp All the Lessons of Bhopal

Mark is worried that industry still hasn't adequately addressed one factor behind the disaster. Watch his commentary and grasp the lessons.

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November 2009: Take a Safe Approach to Safety Equipment

You get what you pay for. Mark urges readers to not risk finding out whether bargains really will work right.

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October 2009: Industry Safety Initiative Deserves Applause

Tipping his hat to safety, Mark discusses how the American Chemistry Council is moving proactively to influence legislation.

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September 2009: Call It "Dereliction of Duty"

Mark thinks chemical companies too often don't exercise enough care when deactivating units.

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August 2009: Make the Most of Your Summer Reading

Forget Oprah, Mark's choices highlight two new books that provide important insights and guidance about plant safety.

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July 2009: Getting the Right Total Isn't Easy

Fond memories of his prized 1967 Wolseley 18/85 sedan prompts Mark to discuss how Chemical Processing's Readers' Choice Awards account for numerous current and retired brands.

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June 2009: Succession Planning: Avoid a Dumb Move

Mark wants us to admit that not all old hands hold incredible insights. Too many people strive to do just enough to get by, rather than to excel.

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May 2009: Have You Heard the One about the Chemical Engineer?

According to Mark, there's really nothing funny about our image as technocrats. But there are a few one-liners that will make you smile.

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April 2009: Chemical Engineers Crow

Mark says that far too few people appreciate contributions that chemical engineers have made to improve life and the environment.

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March 2009: Spend Slack Time Smartly

You finally may have a chance to focus on a variety of worthwhile projects. Editor Mark Rosenzweig will help you make the most of your down time.

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February 2009: Convince A Child To Explore Engineering

According to Chemical Processing's Editor, American kids need more awareness of engineering careers -- and a better education.

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January 2009 : How Should Industry Tackle Threats?

Mark Rosenzweig discusses a new report that promotes inherently safer technology for hazardous facilities.

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2008 Ramblings

December 2008: Give an Enduring Gift

This time of year has Mark thinking about how donating time and technical expertise can transform the lives of people in the developing world. One organization called Engineers Without Borders offers technically trained people (and others) a chance to make a real difference in the developing world.

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September 2008: Chemical Processing turns 70

Mark looks back at the rich history of Chemical Processing magazine. Can you imagine starting a publication today called Equipment Preview for Process Industries Production Men? Probably, not. However, industry — and society — was different when that magazine, the predecessor of Chemical Processing, debuted in September 1938.

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August 2008: Wireless takes center stage

Mark attended several large conferences run by automation vendors. Certain topics such as cyber security, control system migration and wireless technology have gotten a lot of attention at all of them. However, Honeywell did something different to highlight its value -- presenting a lively and informative skit called "Becoming Wireless."

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July 2008: Make the Most of Control System Migration

Mark says it's not surprising that many plants continue to rely on older equipment and systems. Indeed, in these tough economic times for the industry, it’s even harder in many cases to justify capital spending for upgrades or replacements.

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June 2008: ICI Fades Into History

The news in late April from AkzoNobel that it would retire the ICI name saddened Mark because it seemed an ignominious end for what had been one of the world’s leading chemical companies. ICI was only a shadow of its former self when Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel completed its takeover a few months ago.

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May 2008: What's Needed in Process Automation?

Mark notes that process automation continues to evolve, giving plants increasing options to improve their operations. Groups like the HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation as well as vendors conscientiously strive to add features and capabilities.

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April 2008: Vendors should see the light

According to Mark, plants can benefit from idiot lights -- similar to the "check engine" idiot light on a car. After all, many maintenance staffs suffer from reduced staffing and expertise, making it tough to consistently and comprehensively check the health of the multitude of equipment on site.

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March 2008: New president will grapple with greenhouse gases

In honor of the ongoing presidential nominating process, Mark will remove his pocket protector, put away his slide rule and change from a mild-mannered magazine editor to a super-powerful political pundit: He predicts that the next president of the United States will push for concerted action against greenhouse gas emissions.

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January 2008: Just call it alchemical engineering

Technology really can transform worthless materials into gold, notes Mark. Researchers in the U.K. are developing a process to use glycerol for making hydrogen. This would offer a pair of significant benefits — providing an outlet for glycerol, a material now with limited demand yet whose output is growing because it’s a byproduct of burgeoning biodiesel manufacturing, and enabling a renewable resource to displace natural gas as a feedstock for hydrogen.

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2007 Ramblings

December 2007: Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook

If you ask Mark, for more than 70 years, if one reference has epitomized what chemical engineering is all about it’s been "Perry’s Chemical Engineers' Handbook." Now, a new edition — the first in a decade — has just come out.

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November 2007: Celebrity cheers on U.S manufacturers

Mark discusses how an actor is drawing attention to thriving plants and the importance of manufacturing. Perhaps you remember Cliff Claven, postal worker and source of an endless stream of useless and often inaccurate trivia on the classic television series "Cheers." Well, John Ratzenberger, the actor who played Cliff, has taken on a far from trivial task — doing what he can to promote U.S. manufacturing.

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October 2007: Sustainability in the industry

The chemical industry is making environmental progress but needs stretch goals, says Mark. Leading chemical companies aren’t just talking about biofeedstocks but are building plants relying on them.

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September 2007: China's Manufacturing Concerns

Mark notes that every day seems to bring news about the perils of another product from China. The list grows and grows: tainted petfood ingredients, unsafe additives in juice, toothpaste containing diethylene glycol, faulty tires, children’s toys with lead paint or too small parts … It’s almost getting to the point that we should call some Chinese exports not goods but bads.

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