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- Th'Gaussling on Boeing
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1. HELPING CHEMISTS FIND JOBS IN A TOUGH MARKET. 2. TOWARDS A QUANTITATIVE UNDERSTANDING OF THE QUALITY OF THE CHEMISTRY JOB MARKET.
A Texas grand jury on April 10 indicted chemicals manufacturer Arkema North America and one of its executives on assault charges, alleging they underplayed the dangers of a fire that injured two emergency workers called to the site during a fire.
The U.S. arm of the French chemicals firm and its vice president of logistics, Michael Keough, were charged with “reckless assault” of two sheriff’s deputies by misrepresenting hazards of chemicals released during a fire after Hurricane Harvey, prosecutors said.
“The reckless assault was the misrepresentation by a highly placed corporate official” of the dangers of organic peroxides that burned after the plant flooded, said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. A conviction carries a penalty of two years to 10 years, she said.Here's the press release from the Harris County DA. It's an interesting theory: i.e. by not giving the sheriff's deputies all the information they needed about the Arkema peroxides, when the deputies were exposed to the chemicals, it was Arkema who was at fault. I guess I'd like to know - what is the threshold for declaring felony assault as a result of a chemical release? A plume? A spill? How big?
As an experienced cyber first responder, Julian Gutmanis had been called plenty of times before to help companies deal with the fallout from cyberattacks. But when the Australian security consultant was summoned to a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2017, what he found made his blood run cold.
The hackers had deployed malicious software, or malware, that let them take over the plant’s safety instrumented systems. These physical controllers and their associated software are the last line of defense against life-threatening disasters. They are supposed to kick in if they detect dangerous conditions, returning processes to safe levels or shutting them down altogether by triggering things like shutoff valves and pressure-release mechanisms.
The malware made it possible to take over these systems remotely. Had the intruders disabled or tampered with them, and then used other software to make equipment at the plant malfunction, the consequences could have been catastrophic. Fortunately, a flaw in the code gave the hackers away before they could do any harm. It triggered a response from a safety system in June 2017, which brought the plant to a halt. Then in August, several more systems were tripped, causing another shutdown...I presume that we all knew these days were coming, once we heard about Stuxnet. It's still surprising to me that people figure out ways to connect their physical plant to the internet when there doesn't seem to be necessary, although sufficiently determined people can figure out how to jump air gaps. (At some point, does cybersecurity become a EH&S issue at large enough plants?)
The Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) announces a nationwide search to fill the position of Division Director, Division of Chemistry (CHE). Appointment to this Senior Executive Service position may be on a career basis, or on a one- to three-year limited-term basis, with a salary range of $165,842 to $175,400. Alternatively, the incumbent may be assigned under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) provisions. Information about the Division’s activities may be found at https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=CHE.
The successful candidate will possess an established record of significant achievement in research administration as well as leadership responsibility in academe, industry or government. In addition to having a strong record of research and education accomplishments within his or her technical communities, the Division Director must be experienced and competent in technical, financial, and administrative management. He/she must work well with people, be an effective communicator, and act as a mentor to continuously develop the diversity of talents and skills of his or her colleagues at all levels.
What's the job market like for chemists? Dude -- it's always bad.*
How bad is it? How the heck should I know? Quantifying the chemistry job market is what this blog is about. That, and helping chemists find jobs.
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(*For the literal-minded, this is a joke. Mostly.)