Saturday, May 29, 2010

Recipe of the Moment: Dripless Popsicles

An acqaintance of ours (who runs a daycare center) told us the secret ingredient for popsicles that don't drip: gelatin.  A recipe can be found here and was found using the keyword search "dripless popsicles".

Friday, May 28, 2010

Knowing 'X'

John S's thoughts on the new hardness tester reminds me of an instrument we have in our lab: a texture analyzer.  The texture analyzer attempts to quantify the performance of a variety of materials, often in their use state.  For foods, texture analysis becomes useful when paired with sensory analysis.  The sensory analysis (performed by customers or trained panelists) describe the performance of the product, while the texture analysis puts a number on the performance.  As John mentions, comparing '2x' to 'x' is useful, but knowing what 'x' means is another matter.
Back in my selling days, we often used the x:2x comparison to get in the door to see a new industrial customer.  The standard pitch was "give me a good sample and a bad sample and a description of the problem, we'll test the product, and see if we can identify the problem rheologically.  Then, you'll have a quantitative description of the problem and can find the appropriate solution, such as a new ingredient, different process, etc."
It's my impression that a lot of industrial rheology works this way.  One runs a comparison to an internal standard; but, because of time pressures, 'x' may not need to be understood, as long as the product is working for the customer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How Did You Get Here?

I would estimate there are 5-10 regular readers of this blog.  If you don't mind my asking, how did you find this blog?  Any new readers are welcome to comment as well.  Anonymous comments are fine.
Thanks for your time.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

CP20 Followup

Last month, I asked for help with a CP20.  I'll try out the Society of Rheology group on LinkedIn.  Updates to follow as appropriate.

Video of the Moment: Ketchup Packet Review

A few months ago, I showed off the new Heinz ketchup packet.  From SlateV, here is a review of the new packet.

Disclosure: I work for ConAgra Foods, which competes against Heinz in the ketchup market.

Monday, May 17, 2010

SOR Award Winners

  • Congratulations to Professor Tom McLeish,  who will receive the Bingham Medal at this year's SOR Meeting.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Suzanne Fielding, who will receive the Metzner Award at this year's SOR meeting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rheology Dot ???

  • is the website of the Society of Rheology
  • is owned by Rohm and Haas, which is a subsidiary of Dow.
  • It doesn't appear that any other extensions (.edu, .info, etc.) appear to be in use.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SOR Short Courses

There will be two short courses at the 2010 SOR meeting in Santa Fe this year.  There will be a two day course on colloidal dispersions and a one day course on microrheology.  Information on the courses can be found here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Social Network Sites

Two items of note:

  • The Society of Rheology has set up a discussion group on LinkedIn.  You must be a member of SOR to join.  So far I've seen discussions on geopolymers and chocolate.
  • Anton Paar USA is on Facebook.  I believe that you need to be a customer or prospect to join, as when you search "anton paar" on Facebook, nothing comes up.
    (I tend to use Facebook during my leisure hours, so I rarely log onto the site at work.  Is anyone else using Facebook at work?)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Faces of Change

British readers probably recognize this gentlemen, but I had never heard of him until last week.
This is Isambord Kingdom Brunel, who was one of the great railroad barons of the 19th Century.  He finished second in an unscientific poll of 100 greatest Britons ahead of such luminaries as Shakespeare and Newton.  He's one of the founders of the Great Western Railway and developed an integrated transportation system that transferred goods and people from London to New York.

The talk centered on how some of the principles that Brunel employed can be used to address complex problems like global warming or obesity.  One thought I had during the talk is that issues like these are so complex and have so many interested parties that it is difficult to imagine a single player like Brunel becoming the face of the solution.

While discussing this issue with colleagues, most of us mentioned other  famous capitalists.  The most common examples were Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple).   Afterwards, I could only think of two big projects that really had no singular public face.  The first, an engineering feat, was the Apollo moon program.  To be sure, the project was launched by a famous speech by John Kennedy, and the astronauts became public faces.  But I can't think of one person who receives more than his fair share of credit for that whole project. 
The second project is the anti-smoking campaign, which was a feat of social engineering.  There was a report from the US Surgeon General in 1964 which laid out the dangers of smoking.  People stopped smoking en masse, businesses put no-smoking sections in place, companies banned smoking in buildings and eventually on their properties.  It took 34 years before the tobacco companies stopped fighting and entered into a settlement with federal and assorted state governments.  There is no one person who is regarded as the singular face of this social change.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Obligatory NJ Joke

Q: Why are New Yorkers always in such a bad mood?
A: New Jersey is the light at the end of the tunnel.

(Originally heard on A Prairie Home Companion)

Jobs Report (May)

A keyword search "rheolog*" on on May 2 returned 44 job openings.  The jobs are distributed as follows by state---

  • New Jersey - 11
  • Massachusetts - 5
  • Pennsylvania - 4
  • New York - 3
  • California - 3
  • Ohio - 3
  • Indiana - 3
  • Connecticut - 2
  • Delaware - 2
  • Tennessee - 1
  • Arizona - 1
  • Illinois - 1
  • Missouri - 1
  • Colorado - 1
  • Kentucky - 1
  • Oregon - 1
  • No location specified - 1