As you may have noticed, the Chemical Notebook has taken a summer hiatus of practically European extent. Sorry for the lack of posting. I do have excuses. Two floods—including Hurricane Irene–and my vacation occurred over the past month. (I considered writing a post on materials and hurricanes, but it was just going to be about how stupid it is to tape up windows during a hurricane.) Once I started treading water, it was time for me to put the final touches on a C&EN cover story on plastics.
Also, the news hasn’t exactly inspired me to write. There are summer doldrums, but over the past month the news flow has been truly pitiful. Mike McCoy forwarded me an item about a drunk (allegedly) teenager that drove through the gate of a Huntsman plant in Port Neches, Texas. These days, I’ll actually take something like that.
And then there is the Solyndra fiasco. I do want to write about that in depth at some point. And the episode fills me with doubt because I have been a backer of the idea of government incentives to boost U.S. manufacturing. Dow CEO Andrew N. Liveris, who wrote a book on the topic of reinvigorating American manufacturing, was quoted in a New York Times article on Saturday. I did wince a little when he mentioned that government, with the help of outside advisors, would “pick winners”. I wonder if the interview was conducted before the Solyndra story broke.