Scope – Knowledgespeak: STM Industry Daily News Alert

UK government publishes long awaited science and innovation strategy, leaves many questions unanswered
The UK government has published its long awaited science and innovation strategy, but many of the questions asked by the science community will not be answered until the next spending review. The strategy re-iterated capital spending plans set out in the autumn statement, but does not commit to ringfencing the science budget or to increase R&D expenditure in line with competitors.
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University of Alberta Libraries opens access to published research in Canada
University of Alberta Libraries is offering its open access e-journal hosting services to any Canadian scholarly journal, effective immediately. U of A Libraries already hosts more than 30 scholarly journals using Open Journal Systems software. It has offered the free service for eight years, but had restricted it to publications with an editorial affiliation or strong historical link to the university.
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Chemical & Engineering News wins four 2014 Eddie and Ozzie Awards for digital and print products
Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), has won four 2014 Eddie & Ozzie Awards for its affiliated website and video work. The awards, given annually by the media company Folio:, honour the best design and editorial products in the magazine and publishing industry. The Eddie & Ozzie competition is the largest in magazine publishing, receiving more than 2,000 entries for about 140 awards.
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Welsh Consortium selects Ex Libris solutions for shared library management and discovery
Library automation solutions provider Ex Libris Group has announced that WHELF – a consortium of all the Welsh University Libraries, as well as the National Library of Wales and the Welsh NHS Libraries – has selected the Ex Libris Alma unified resource management service and the Ex Libris Primo discovery and delivery solution to deliver a new bilingual shared library system for Wales. The WHELF Consortium adopted the Alma and Primo next-generation solutions following a rigorous selection and assessment process.
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Publishing Technology ends 2014 on a high with 10 percent rise in ingentaconnect publishers
Content solutions provider Publishing Technology has ended this year on a high by announcing one of its most significant achievements – a 10 per cent rise in the number of publishers choosing to host their publications on its ingentaconnect platform. The Company signed new deals in 2014 with 27 major academic and professional publishers, who join the list of over 250 publishers already hosting their book and journal content digitally on ingentaconnect. The year also saw Publishing Technology welcome five new clients onto its advance enterprise system.
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Jisc announces two new representatives to its board of trustees
Jisc has announced two new representatives to its board of trustees, who will help determine strategic direction and priorities to reflect the present and future needs of UK education and research. Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, and Dr Ken Thomson, the principal of Forth Valley College in Scotland, will join board of senior leaders and managers from across UK further and higher education.
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ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

ED Set To Release College Rating Framework.

The Washington Post  (12/18, Anderson) reports that under a draft framework scheduled to be released by ED today, colleges will be rated “on access, affordability and student outcomes — perhaps relying on graduates’ employment and earnings data.” The POst reports that ED’s framework “leaves many questions unanswered,” but clarifies that ED “still intends to assume a new role as an arbiter of the performance of thousands of colleges and universities.” The Post quotes Under Secretary Ted Mitchell saying, “Designing a new college ratings system is an important step in improving transparency, accountability and equity in higher education. The public should know how students fare at institutions receiving federal student aid, and this performance should be considered when we assess our investments and set priorities.”

The Wall Street Journal  (12/19, Belkin, Subscription Publication) also covers this story, quoting Mitchell saying, “The public should know how students fare at institutions receiving federal student aid, and this performance should be considered when we assess our investments and set priorities. We also need to create incentives for schools to accelerate progress toward the most important goals, like graduating low-income students and holding down costs.”

The Politico  (12/18, Emma) “Morning Education” blog describes the speculation surrounding the specifics of the plan ahead of its release, and notes that “Republicans are already going on the attack” on Capitol Hill.

Bloomberg News  (12/19, Lorin) reports that the ratings could be used by families to “steer their children toward colleges churning out graduates who make a good living 10 years after graduation,” noting that the “ratings may also favor schools where diplomas lead recent grads to jobs with salaries sufficient to cover living costs and repay student loans.” Noting that the ratings are intended to promote college affordability, Bloomberg reports that ED “wants to give consumers information so they can shop for college the way they do for cars and refrigerators.” This piece quotes Mitchell saying, “We’re trying to focus the debate. We are far less interested in fine gradation than we are in identifying very high performers and very low performers.”

The AP  (12/19, Hefling) reports that the fact that ED only released a “framework” for the plan is an indicator “of just how complicated it is for the federal government to assess more than 7,000 colleges and universities.” However, the piece reports that the focus is largely on “access, affordability and outcomes — particularly the number of students completing their degree.” The AP reports that Mitchell said that the Administration is not likely to push for legislation to tie the ratings to Federal student aid during President Obama’s final years in office, and quotes him saying, “I think people have been worried primarily because they don’t know what it is we actually intend to do. I’m hopeful that now that we have a document out we’ll be able to have a very constructive, positive conversation about how we do this in the right way.”

Politico  (12/19) reports that the goal of the plan “is to steer billions in federal financial aid toward the colleges that rate highly — and to yank funds from those that fail to meet administration standards.” However, “outraged” Republicans “are already going on the attack.” The piece notes that Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) “plans to lead an effort to cut off funding for the ratings initiative,” while Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will do the same.

Analysis: Report Short On Details. In a separate article, Politico  (12/19) reports that ED officials had been accurate in recent months when they described the document released today as “a ‘draft,’ an ‘outline’ and a ‘wire frame,’” noting that it consists of “a list of things the department is considering in its analysis of which institutions offer students and families the biggest bang for their buck.” This piece notes that ED is seeking public input on the draft, quoting Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying, “With the guidance of thousands of wise voices, we can develop a useful ratings system that will help more Americans realize the dream of a degree that unleashes their potential and opens doors to a better life.”

Other media outlets covering this story include the NPR  (12/19) “NprEd” blog, the Los Angeles Times  (12/19, Gordon), Reuters  (12/19, Nawaguna), US News & World Report  (12/19), and Inside Higher Ed  (12/19).

Higher Education

Report: States Working To Boost Low-Income Students’ College Graduation Rates.

The Christian Science Monitor  (12/18) reports that according to a new report from Jobs for the Future, a group that works to boost postsecondary education for low-income students, “community college students need better guidance and clearer pathways to a degree if significant numbers of low-income students are to graduate with a high-value credential.” The piece cites low community college completion rates, and says the report says that despite schools’ efforts, “states need ‘integrated reform strategies’ to scale up promising new approaches.”

Henry Rowan Foundation Donates Further $15 Million To Rowan University.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  (12/19, Lai) reports that Rowan University’s engineering school is receiving $15 million from the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation in $1 million annual installments. Henry Rowan’s initial $100 million donation in 1992 helped what was originally called Glassboro State College into one of the largest colleges or universities in New Jersey, with a student body increase from 9,855 to nearly 15,000 and several new academic centers and facilities opened in recent years. The school’s endowment grew from $1.33 million in today’s money in 1992 to some $180 million.

From ASEE
#ASEEYoADiversity Three-minute video- Karan Watsoni: Minority programs are necessary until our colleges change

Support ASEE with Your Amazon Holiday Purchases
ASEE participates in Amazon Smile, a program allowing you to donate a percentage of your purchase total to the charity of your choice. To set up your account to donate to ASEE, follow these few simple steps.

November Prism Online – Now Open to Public
The cover story, “Corporate Blinders,” presents an engineering ethics case study.

Research and Development

UCLA Researchers Develop Lens-Free Microscope.

The Los Angeles Times  (12/18, Netburn) reports a Science Translational Medicine paper by UCLA scientists detail a new lens-free microscope that is equally as effective as light microscopes at detecting cellular abnormalities. The paper’s senior author, UCLA professor Aydogan Ozcan, said that “The bread and butter of this project is a CCD or CMOS imager, which is the same thin chip you find in every little digital camera, whether it’s a high-end SLR or a cellphone camera.” Although in a study a board certified pathologist was able to achieve 99 percent accuracy in cancer tissue detection with images from the device, Ozcan said the product still requires work.

Pitt Scientists Work On Wheelchair Standards.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  (12/19) reports that researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working on developing “new standards of wheelchairs worldwide.” Jon Pearlman, from the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, explains that “there’s no trained personnel around the world to know what type of wheelchair should be provided to the users.” Thus, Pearlman and Prof. Rory “Cooper are working on the project with the US Agency for International Development.”

Workforce

Manufacturers Adding Jobs.

The Buffalo (NY) News  (12/19, Robinson) reports White Rock Pigments is planning on opening a new $130 million plant in the Buffalo area that will employ more than 100 workers. The project was given $2 million in tax credits and should be open by August 2016.

Hampton Roads (VA) Virginian-Pilot  (12/19, McCabe) reports that the Norfolk Naval Shipyard is looking to hire 1,500 workers by the end of September 2015. The hiring will be in part to replace a loss of 700 workers to retirement, resignations and transfers, but will also include a net gain of 800 positions “primarily in the trade skills.”

The McClatchy-Tribune News Service  (12/19) reports Anheuser-Busch subsidiary Metal Container Corp. broke ground on a $150 million facility expansion at its aluminum bottle manufacturing plant. The expansion will create 70 new jobs that will double production at the plant.

The Detroit Free Press  (12/18) reports robotics supplier Paslin of Warren, Michigan, is looking to hire 200 full-time technical positions to expand its ability to produce assembly line equipment. The company is investing $20 million in its expansion and was able to secure $1.7 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp to help train workers.

The McClatchy-Tribune News Service  (12/18) reports TiFiber of Fayetteville, AR, has announced plans to locate a production facility in Fort Smith that could create nearly 100 new jobs by 2019, according to a news release. Pilot-scale production of a sanitizer will begin next year to establish a Food and Drug Administration certification, with “significant production” expected to begin in 2017.

The AP  (12/19) reports that 16 companies in Indiana have promised to create more than 1,700 jobs in the state by 2025 after receiving $19 million in tax credits, according to an announcement from state officials. AMI Industries Inc. has promised to invest $8.5 million to create 475 jobs by 2017, and Grand Design RV will invest $6.9 million and create up to 330 additional jobs.

Industry News

New Wave Of Engineering Innovators Look To Revive Nuclear Power.

In a lengthy essay in Newsweek  (12/19), Josh Freed of Third Way covers nuclear engineering Ph.D. candidates at the Nuclear Science and Engineering Library at MIT, Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, who while studying for their qualifying exams, came across a “50-year-old paper from Oak Ridge about a reactor powered not by rods of metal-clad uranium pellets in water, like the light water reactors (LWRs) of today, but by a liquid fuel of uranium melted into molten salt.” They were “intrigued, because it was clear from the paper that the molten salt design avoided some of the main problems associated with LWRs.” And it wasn’t just theoretical—”Oak Ridge had built a real reactor, which ran from 1965-1969, racking up 20,000 operating hours.” Freed adds that the “domestic reactor market went into decline” and the “American supply chain for nuclear reactor parts withered.” While “almost all commercial nuclear technology had been discovered in the United States, our competitors eventually purchased much of our nuclear industrial base, with Toshiba buying Westinghouse and Hitachi buying GE’s nuclear arm.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Highway Engineering Credited In Reducing Roadway Deaths.

The AP  (12/19) reports Wisconsin is set to record the fewest number of traffic fatalities since 1943, according to state transportation officials. With only 480 fatalities so far this year, the State Department of Transportation is applauding “improved engineering on roadways” that include rumblestrips and roundabouts as major factors that prevent serious crashes. Last year the state recorded 527 road deaths.

Nebraska Court May Rule On Keystone Friday.

The Hill  (12/19, Barron-Lopez) reports that the Nebraska Supreme Court may rule as early as Friday morning on whether the governor had authority to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline through the state. A lower court ruled in September that a 2012 law allowing Gov. Dave Heineman to greenlight the pipeline’s route was unconstitutional. If the state’s supreme court’s decision is not made by Friday, it will likely come early next year. The Hill notes that depending on the verdict, the State Department could continue its national determination review of the controversial pipeline next year as well.

TransCanada CEO: Keystone XL Still Relevant. Bloomberg News  (12/18, Penty, Van Loon) reports that in comments Wednesday during an interview, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling discussed questions about the relevance of the Keystone XL pipeline in the current market. Girling said of the oil sands that would be transported by the pipeline, “We’re not going to be exporting anything outside of the United States. The pipeline that we’ve proposed will be needed under any scenario.”

Reid Touts NRC Report On Yucca Mountain Drawbacks.

Roll Call  (12/19, Sanchez, Subscription Publication) reports Sen. Harry Reid “claimed another victory Thursday” in the fight to “kill the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project.” Reid “touted a new Nuclear Regulatory Commission report.” In a statement, Reid said the report “acknowledges one of the major weaknesses of the effort to resurrect Yucca Mountain” is that the “federal government does not have the water it needs nor control of the land necessary to build a nuclear waste dump in Nevada.”

Space-Based Solar May Offer Attractive Power Generation.

CNN  (12/19, Shadbolt) reports on the benefits of solar power stations in space where “there’s no atmosphere, it’s never cloudy, and in geosynchronous orbits it’s never night.” The story quotes Dr. Paul Jaffe of the US Naval Research Laboratory, saying, “NASA and the US Department of Energy did a study in the late 70s that cost $20 million at the time and looked at it in pretty great depth,” adding, “The conclusion at that time was that there was nothing wrong with the physics but the real question is the economics.” He pointed out that the situation remains much the same, given that it is still a question of economics, though there are also some technical problems to be solved. It explains that both laser beams and microwaves offer the means of transferring energy from space. Jaffe said that at present, building such a power station would cost “tens of billions” given the need for “as many as 100 launches into space,” in building it.

Elementary/Secondary Education

Alaska STEM Program Receives National Award.

The Fairbanks (AK) News-Miner  (12/19) reports “the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program was named the most exceptional program in STEM education and workforce development by the United States Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative this week.” The program was honored “for its work to ‘establish and implement a framework for achieving enduring growth of minority participation in the energy sector through enhanced public awareness of energy-related careers and the promotion of both STEM education and workforce development.’”

STEM Event With Professional Scientists Hosted At South Lake Elementary.

The Gaithersburg (MD) Gazette  (12/12, Davis) reports that scientists and working professionals from groups including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Defense, and Montgomery County’s Department of Environment participated in South Lake Elementary School’s first STEM Night. South Lake’s First-grade teacher Angelina Ferri said “We’re hearing from experts that STEM skills are really important for 21st-century learners to have in order to be successful in the future. We want to prepare our 21st century learners for those careers.” The article also describes several demonstrations that occurred as part of the event.

Thursday’s Lead Stories

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Scope – Knowledgespeak: STM Industry Daily News Alert

Nature Index indicates China’s leading cities for high quality research and status of research collaboration
The diversity of Chinese institutions and their growing contribution to global scientific developments and collaborations with other countries have been highlighted in the Nature Index China 2014, published as a supplement in Nature. By 2013 weighted fractional count (WFC), China is currently the country with the second largest output in the new Nature Index represented by 19 Chinese institutions in the top 200 global contributors.
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Wiley and Jisc announce new OA agreement
Publisher John Wiley and Sons, Inc. has announced a pilot agreement, brokered by Jisc, for articles published on an open access basis. The agreement follows discussions, between Jisc, Wiley and the UK library community, and will enable greater support for universities during the transition to open access.
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SPIE launches new peer-reviewed journal serving the astronomical instrumentation community
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has announced the first issue of the new Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (JATIS). All articles will be freely available through the end of 2015 in the SPIE Digital Library. Mark Clampin, SPIE Fellow and James Webb Space Telescope Observatory Project Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will serve as the editor-in-chief of the journal.
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Frontiers launches first OA journal in the humanities and social sciences – Frontiers in Digital Humanities
Swiss open-access publisher Frontiers, part of the Nature Publishing Group family, has announced the launch of a series of interdisciplinary open access journals across the whole spectrum of the humanities and social sciences. The first journal, Frontiers in Digital Humanities, is now open for submissions.
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The Company of Biologists automates collection and management of APCs with CCC’s RightsLink for Open Access
Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), a global licensing and content solutions organisation, has announced that The Company of Biologists has chosen to automate the collection and management of Article Processing Charges (APCs) through RightsLink® for Open Access from within HighWire’s Bench>PressTM manuscript submission and tracking system. The Company of Biologists is a not-for-profit publisher and UK charity promoting research and study across all branches of biology.
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East Tennessee State University selects Ex Libris Alma, Primo and bX Recommender
Library automation solutions provider Ex Libris Group® has announced that Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and Northeast State Community College (NeSCC) have together selected a suite of Ex Libris solutions, comprising Alma® resource management solution, the Primo® discovery and delivery solution, and the bX® article recommender service. ETSU is replacing a number of legacy systems including Innovative Interfaces Sierra.
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IMS Health appoints Mason Tenaglia as VP, Payer & Managed Care Insights, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics
Global information and technology services company IMS Health has announced that Mason Tenaglia has been appointed vice president, Payer & Managed Care Insights, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Tenaglia is a leading authority on understanding the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the healthcare industry, and is a frequent author and speaker on the topic.
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ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Washington State Governor Proposes Carbon Market, Fuel Standards, Clean Energy Funds.

Bloomberg News  (12/17, Doan) reports Washington Gov. Jay Inslee “proposed a carbon market, a statewide fuel standard and $60 million dedicated to clean energy projects” to battle global warming, stating that “I believe it’s our destiny to lead in clean energy.” The governor’s website stated the plan “would generate about $1 billion annually.”

Reuters  (12/18, Carroll) reports Gov. Inslee’s program will involve capping carbon amounts emitted by large businesses and fuel distributors, and give companies options to curb carbon emissions, purchase carbon permits via state auctions, or purchase those permits on the open market. Reuters notes the proposal may be difficult to pass through Washington’s GOP-controlled Senate. Reuters reports that Gov. Inslee will also introduce a low-carbon fuel standard that would force fuel producers to reduce carbon content in their fuels.

According to the AP  (12/17), money raised from the carbon market will be used to “pay for transportation projects, education-funding requirements imposed by the state Supreme Court, and assist low-income families and industries that are most affected by higher energy costs.” The AP notes that with legislatures facing a “projected budget gap of more than $2 billion,” they may find “it’s better to tax pollution than voters.” State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R) called the proposal “‘a general fund tax increase’ that will hurt working families and businesses.”

The Tacoma (WA) News Tribune  (12/17, Shannon) reports that the governor’s aides stated the “cap-and-trade fees” associated with “Carbon Pollution Accountability Act” will only apply to “those polluters emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases” per year. Gov. Inslee stated the plan was necessary for Washington to “meet emissions-reductions targets…written into state law in 2008.”

Higher Education

Rowan Engineering School Receives $15 Million Donation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  (12/18, Lai) reports that Rowan University will receive $15 million from the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation to endow its engineering school, to be renamed the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering. The money will arrive in $1 million blocs. Since the Rowan family’s initial 1992 pledge of $100 million, its endowment has grown from less than $1 million to $180 million, enrollment has increased by five thousand, and new facilities have been established. University officials consider the engineering school one of its best assets.

ED To Release College Rating Plan Friday.

Inside Higher Ed  (12/17) reports that according to ED sources, the department is expected to “release a much-anticipated outline of its college ratings system on Friday,” noting that the draft “includes the metrics on which colleges would be rated by the federal government.” The piece notes that the draft had been expected next spring, but that ED delayed releasing it twice. The article adds that Under Secretary Ted Mitchell said “earlier this month that the draft outline would not include the names of specific colleges or universities, nor would it show how institutions perform under the draft metrics.”

Politico  (12/18, Emma) also reports on the impending release of the rating plan in it’s “Morning Education” blog, noting that “college presidents and higher education lobbyists have some burning questions” about what for the ratings will take. The piece notes that another “contentious question” regards whether the salaries of graduates will be considered, since though the Administration “has repeatedly indicated that it’s an important measure of a college’s success…no one wants to penalize institutions that focus on preparing students for relatively low-paying jobs or that encourage graduates to enter public service.”

Civil Rights, Consumer Groups Tell Duncan Corinthian Deal Will Hurt Students.

Bloomberg News  (12/18, Lauerman) reports that a coalition of groups including the NAACP and advocacy groups for students and consumers have written to Education Secretary Arne Duncan to say that students at schools owned by Corinthian Colleges Inc. “will be hurt by the planned sale of 56 campuses to college-loan debt collector Educational Credit Management Corp.” The letter complains that students at affected schools will not be allowed to discharge their debt, “even though multiple federal and state agencies have alleged Corinthian inflated its job placement rates.” The article quotes ED spokeswoman Dorie Nolt saying in an email that during the process of dismantling Corinthian, “our focus has been on making sure students and American taxpayers are protected.” The Orange County (CA) Register  (12/18, Orange County (CA), Register) also covers this story, following on Bloomberg’s article.

Noting that signatories include the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Institute for College Access and Success, and the Service Employees International Union, the Chronicle of Higher Education  (12/18, Thomason) reports that the groups laid out a number of conditions which ECMC should meet. Their letter “raises a number of concerns, including reports that ECMC, which has a student-loan-servicing arm, has run roughshod over borrowers.” In addition to Duncan, the letter was addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray. Inside Higher Ed  (12/18) also covers this story.

From ASEE
#ASEEYoADiversity Three-minute video- Karan Watsoni: Minority programs are necessary until our colleges change

Support ASEE with Your Amazon Holiday Purchases
ASEE participates in Amazon Smile, a program allowing you to donate a percentage of your purchase total to the charity of your choice. To set up your account to donate to ASEE, follow these few simple steps.

November Prism Online – Now Open to Public
The cover story, “Corporate Blinders,” presents an engineering ethics case study.

Research and Development

NASA Delays Decision On What Form ARM Will Take.

The Newport News (VA) Daily Press  (12/17, Dietrich) reports that on Wednesday, NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot stated that he needed more time tow decide between two NASA proposals for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), one headed by researchers at the Langley Research Center. Lightfoot said, “Honestly, I expected to make a decision today. … [The teams] made the decision really hard. … They both had great solutions.” The article notes that while the two proposals differ, each have “new technologies such as solar electric propulsion, approach sensors and docking mechanisms with NASA’s new Orion crew capsule.” According to the article, the option headed by Langley is $100 million more expensive and more complex than the other option, which was a concern for Lightfoot. However, Lightfoot noted, “The challenge we’re having is, while” Langley’s option is “more complex, it also demonstrates a lot more of the technologies we’re going to need.”

SPACE  (12/17, Kramer) reports that during a news conference, Lightfoot said, “I was so impressed with our teams and what they did. … They’re all focused on getting these technologies ready to go so that we can start this pioneering piece and get humans beyond low-Earth orbit.” A final decision on what path to take is expected “by early 2015.”

According to Space News  (12/17, Foust, Subscription Publication), Lightfoot said that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden “agreed” with the finding “to ask the teams to look into additional details about their concepts” and put off a final decision. Lightfoot said, “It was just close. … We needed more information in a couple of areas to make sure we were making the right call here. … It’s two or three weeks well spent for the teams to bring back some clarifications around a couple of areas we want to understand more. … Taking two or three weeks now is not going to change the overall schedule.”

NBC News  (12/17, Boyle) also covers the story.

Workforce

Innotec Offers $500 Reward For Engineer Referrals.

MLive  (12/18, Martinez) reports “Innotec Corp. is offering $500 to anyone who helps” the company bring in one of the up to 50 engineers they are seeking over the next two years through a program “dubbed ‘Build More.’” With the recent boom in the job market for engineers, Steve Deters, Innotec’s human relations director stated “normal recruiting methods just are not enough anymore, so we’re trying an innovative way to crowd source engineers.”

Industry News

Frontier Solar Contract With SUNY Could Lead To Company Plant In Buffalo.

The Buffalo (NY) News  (12/18) reports that state officials “hailed” an agreement with Japan’s Solar Frontier “to supply solar modules” for a SUNY Polytechnic Institute building that was a “key step in building a relationship” with the company and could lead Solar Frontier to open a “major solar panel factory in Buffalo.” Alain Kaloyeros, SUNY Polytechnic’s CEO stated that Solar Frontier has “expanded its thoughts on a possible factory in Buffalo” from a plan that would have employed around “250 research, development and manufacturing jobs” to plans that “could be ‘many times’ bigger.”

Engineering and Public Policy

New York To Ban Fracking.

In a move that is being portrayed in the media as a big win for environmentalists, New York state is expected to ban fracking. While some stories focused on the public health aspects of the move, others attributed it to political motives.

The AP  (12/18, Esch) reports that in an announcement on Wednesday, New York Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said he is recommending such a ban, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “responded that he would defer to Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker on the decision.” Martens said that the Department of Environmental Conservation “will put out a final environmental impact statement early next year” and follow it up with “an order prohibiting fracking.”

The New York Times  (12/17, A1, Mckinley, Subscription Publication) reports that the move ends “years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.” The decision comes “amid increased calls by environmentalists to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.” The Times adds that the state has “had a de facto ban on the procedure for more than five years.”

The Wall Street Journal  (12/17, Orden, Cook, Subscription Publication) reports that the decision puts around 12 million acres of the Marcellus Shale, rich with natural-gas reserves, off limits. The move makes the state the first with significant potential to ban fracking.

The Washington Post  (12/17, Bump) reports in its “The Fix” blog that despite the official reports, it is “far more likely that the real reason the ban will go into effect is that the politics changed dramatically” for Cuomo. First, “the state’s employment picture changed” and second, “he doesn’t need to worry about reelection for a long time – if at all.” Cuomo “can now wash his hands of the issue.”

In an editorial, the New York Times  (12/18, Board, Subscription Publication) endorses the Governor’s move. The Times says that the message to the Administration and the extraction industry is “that not only ordinary citizens but health officials and state leaders like Mr. Cuomo have serious doubts about all of these issues — doubts that a strong regulatory regime might help answer.”

ASCE Gives Nevada Infrastructure C-Minus.

The AP  (12/18, Rindels) reports that the American Society of Civil Engineers “gave Nevada’s infrastructure a C-minus grade in its latest report card, saying maintenance funding isn’t keeping pace with the needs of aging school buildings, dams and roads.” The piece notes that when ASCE last rated Nevada in 2007, the state got a C, and adds that the state’s schools were cited for particular criticism this year, receiving a D.

Johns Hopkins Researchers Say New Orleans Ranks 10th In Cities At Risk For Hurricane Outages.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune  (12/18) reports that a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University “ranks New Orleans 10th among U.S. coastal cities most at risk of widespread power outages after a hurricane, just behind Miami, Fla.” The top three cities on the list were New York, Philadelphia, and Jacksonville, Florida. The piece lists the criteria by which cities were rated, and reports that lead researcher associate professor Seth Guikema released a statement saying that “the study provides useful data for cities in planning for climate change.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Alaska STEM Program Wins DOE Award.

The Fairbanks (AK) News-Miner  (12/18, Morrow) reports in its “Whiteboard” blog that the “Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program” has been “named the most exceptional program in STEM education and workforce development by the United States Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative.” The story concludes by noting that “more than 70 percent of its students who go to college and begin studying in a STEM field graduate with a degree.”

Oregon College Gets ED Grant To Improve STEM Education.

Woodburn (OR) Independent  (12/18) reports that ED has given Pacific University a $580,198 grant “to help improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Woodburn, Salem and other areas.” The article describes some of the aims in increasing academic achievement in STEM subjects, and explains that ED’s Mathematics and Science Partnerships “is a federal formula grant program that funds collaborative partnerships between STEM departments at institutions of higher education and high-needs school districts.”

Wednesday’s Lead Stories

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Scope – Knowledgespeak: STM Industry Daily News Alert

Elsevier publishes four new books on Nuclear Engineering
STM publisher Elsevier has announced the publication of four new nuclear engineering books of particular interest to safety managers, designers, engineers, operators and regulators of nuclear power plants. Among these new books is The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident: How and Why It Happened, written by Yotaro Hatamura, Seiji Abe, Masao Fuchigami and Naoto Kasahara, and translated by Kenji Iino.
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Springer set to publish official journal of the Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale
STM publisher Springer will publish Economia e Politica Industriale – Journal of Industrial and Business Economics as of January 2015. Founded in 1973, the journal is the official journal of the Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, an Italian society which focuses on business and industrial economics. In order to expand its focus to the international community, the journal will now be published exclusively in English. It was formerly published by Franco Angeli.
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Stockholm University partners with figshare on research data management
figshare, an online digital repository where researchers can preserve and share their research outputs, including figures, datasets, images, and videos, has announced Stockholm University as the first Swedish customer of their research data management platform, figshare for institutions. The partnership expands figshare’s global portfolio onto the continent, hot on the heels of their recent announcements with Loughborough University in the UK and Monash University in Australia.
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Thomson Reuters announces new initiative to integrate Ringgold’s Identify into ScholarOne Manuscripts
The Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters has announced an initiative to advance efficiency and precision in scholarly publishing by integrating Ringgold’s Identify into ScholarOne Manuscripts. This collaboration will accelerate the scholarly publishing process by easing the previously cumbersome task of accurately identifying the institutional affiliation of authors and reviewers.
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American Astronomical Society and IOP Publishing announce new ebook publishing partnership
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) and IOP Publishing (IOP) have created a new electronic book publishing partnership as part of the AAS’s mission to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe. The program will combine IOP’s award-winning ebook publishing with the expertise of the AAS community to foster a deeper understanding of diverse topics in the astronomical sciences.
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IHS Inc. acquires Infonetics Research
IHS Inc., a global source of critical information and insight, has acquired Infonetics Research, an international market research firm that serves the global communications market. Based in Silicon Valley, Infonetics Research provides market intelligence on equipment, software and services to clients in more than 20 countries. Its intelligence services span 21 markets across the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space.
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Maastricht University selects OCLC WorldShare Management Services
OCLC, the non-profit computer library service and research organisation, has announced that Maastricht University, a leading international university in the Netherlands, has selected OCLC WorldShare Management Services as its library management system. WorldShare Management Services (WMS) provide cloud-based library management and discovery applications in an integrated suite, offering librarians a comprehensive system to manage library workflows efficiently, and improve access to library collections and services.
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ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

UTexas Study Finds Methane Leaks At Drill Sites, Shows Need For EPA Regulation.

The New York Times  (12/10, Revkin) reports a study by the University of Texas and URS, a consulting firm, that examined methane emissions at the two major source points of fracking wells, “liquid unloadings and pneumatic controller equipment,” found that only about 20 percent of each equipment type accounted for 95 percent of pneumatic controller emissions and 65-83 percent of uploading emissions . Steven Hamburg, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, which helped with the study, states the finding show the need for “comprehensive regulation of new and existing sources.”

USA Today  (12/9, Rice, Today) reports on two studies published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Environmental Science & Technology journal that found “significant quantities of methane” are being released by “millions of abandoned oil and gas wells” in the US and that “only a few active natural gas wells” emit most of the methane from active wells. The study on abandoned well found their methane emissions “can be significant,” quantifying that they may account for 4-7 percent of “human-sourced methane emissions” in Pennsylvania where the study took place; however, there is “no regulatory requirement to monitor” methane emissions at abandoned wells. The second study found that about 20 percent of the fracking wells caused “most of the known methane emissions” from those wells.

NPR  (12/9, Joyce) produced a segment featuring University of Texas scientist Dave Allen, who lead a study on methane leaks at gas fracking wells that was recently published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. Allen and his team tested methane levels at over 100 wells and found “a small fraction of the sources are giving you the majority of emissions.” Allen said he supports regular methane surveys of sites across the country.

The Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram  (12/17) and National Geographic  (12/11) also ran reports on this story.

Higher Education

National Science Foundation Grant Awarded To Ohio State.

The Columbus (OH) Dispatch  (12/16) reports that Ohio State University’s Center for Emergent Materials is receiving $17.9 million in National Science Foundation over the next six years according to Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) office, after having been awarded a $10.8 six year grant in 2008. The center is one of 12 to receive such funding.

NRC Awards Worcester Polytechnic $1.1M To Boost Nuclear Research.

The Worcester (MA) Business Journal  (12/16, Saia) reports, the NRC has awarded Worcester Polytechnic Institute $1.1 million in Federal grants “to help revitalize the nuclear power industry, the school announced Monday.” The NRC award is part of $15 million in grants the NRC has awarded to 37 colleges and universities. The “money for WPI will be used for scholarships, fellowships and faculty development through its nuclear education program.” Germano S. Iannacchione, head of WPI’s physics department, said the “majority of this funding” will be used to “support the national objective for reinvigorating the nuclear power industry.” NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane said in a statement announcing the awards that there is “both a domestic and worldwide need for highly qualified nuclear professionals to keep nuclear power plants and nuclear materials safe and secure.”

From ASEE
#ASEEYoADiversity One-minute video – Freeman Hrabowski: “We need to change the culture. We assume most people wont make it in STEM.”

Support ASEE with Your Amazon Holiday Purchases
ASEE participates in Amazon Smile, a program allowing you to donate a percentage of your purchase total to the charity of your choice. To set up your account to donate to ASEE, follow these few simple steps.

November Prism Online – Now Open to Public
The cover story, “Corporate Blinders,” presents an engineering ethics case study.

Research and Development

Curiosity Findings Have Implications For Potential For Life On Mars.

Coverage of new Curiosity rover findings from Mars received very positive coverage. Articles focused on the implications for the presence of life on Mars, even though scientists quoted in the pieces typically noted that the observations do not necessarily mean that life exists. Typically, foreign sources highlighted that the question may be resolved not by Curiosity, but by the ESA’s ExoMars mission. Meanwhile, the new studies were often portrayed as a good scientific turning point both for the Curiosity rover and Mars exploration in general.

The AP  (12/16) reports that a team led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Christopher Webster the Curiosity rover has observed temporary “spikes of methane” in Mars’ atmosphere over the past year, sometimes raising the amounts of methane in locations by a factor of 10. The University of Michigan’s Sushil Atreya said that this shows that there are “relatively localized” sources, although it is unclear whether these are biological in origin or not. Meanwhile, the rover also made “the first confirmation of organic carbon in a Martian rock,” although the type of organic material was not specified.

The New York Times  (12/16, Chang, Subscription Publication) reports that Curiosity project scientist John P. Grotzinger said that this is “a great moment” for the rover because of the implications for the potential for life on Mars. Furthermore, the discovery of methane is “a 180-degree flip” form a previous Curiosity finding of no methane on Mars. Michael J. Mumma of the Goddard Space Flight Center, who first discovered plumes of methane back in 2003, said the results “confirmed this startling reality that methane is being released, sporadically, and it is being destroyed quickly. … Both events are surprising.” The New York Times  (12/16, Revkin) “Dot Earth” blog points readers to the article in the New York Times print edition.

According to the Los Angeles Times  (12/16, Khan), Webster said the new finding “opens up a whole debate of methane on Mars again and life on Mars. … We thought we closed that chapter, but now we’re on to the next chapter.” Goddard’s Paul Mahaffy, a co-author on the study, said, “The methane measurements are saying something about modern Mars. … It’s alive at some level; it’s living and breathing and giving off little spurts of methane somehow.” However, some are more skeptical of the results, including Kevin Zahnle of the Ames Research Center, who said, “There is considerable methane on the rover. … They are looking for Martian methane through a cloud of their own methane. … They can’t rule out the possibility that something funny is going on.”

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor  (12/16, Spotts) reports that the discovery of organics is helping operators plan for the future. According to the article, Grotzinger added that Mars exploration is now more about “testing specific ideas” than making never-before-seen discoveries in what he called a “Star Trek mode.”

Nature  (12/16, Witze) notes that India’s Mars Orbiter Mission has yet to report any results about methane in Mars’ atmosphere, which it has been mapping. However, it, and the upcoming ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, do not have “the precision of Curiosity.”

The Telegraph (UK)  (12/16, Dodds), to highlight the findings, has a timeline of the search for life on Mars.

Also covering the story are he Washington Post  (12/16, Feltman) “Speaking of Science” blog, Huntsville (AL) Times  (12/16, Roop), Reuters  (12/16, Klotz), Bloomberg News  (12/16, Chen), BBC News  (12/16, Amos), Science Magazine  (12/16, Klein) “ScienceShot,” NPR  (12/16) “All Things Considered,” Scientific American  (12/16, Billings), SPACE  (12/16, Kramer), Guardian (UK)  (12/16, Sample), New Scientist  (12/16, Grossman), AFP  (12/16, Sheridan), Sen  (12/16, Klotz), National Geographic  (12/16, Vergano), Discovery News  (12/16, Klotz), Discovery News  (12/16, Klotz), NBC News  (12/16, Boyle) website, Science News  (12/16, Wayman), Huffington Post  (12/16, So), Vox  (12/15, Stromberg), another Telegraph (UK)  (12/16, Knapton)article, a separate Telegraph (UK)  (12/16, Knapton) article, Boing Boing  (12/16, Jardin), CBC News (CAN)  (12/16), The Verge  (12/16, Lopatto), Daily Mirror (UK)  (12/16, Von Radowitz), Independent (UK)  (12/16, Griffin, Lusher), ABC News  (12/16, Fischer) website, The Inquisitr  (12/16), Open Minds  (12/16, McClellan), and the Air & Space Smithsonian Magazine  (12/16, Schulze-Makuch) website.

Shark Lookalike Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Developed By US Navy.

The Christian Science Monitor  (12/16, Mulrine) reports that the US Navy has developed an unmanned underwater vehicle called the GhostSwimmer, which is a reconnaissance robot that looks like a shark, and is researching several other underwater organism-inspired projects. Boston Engineering’s Advanced System Group director Michael Rufo said “GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and sailors safe.” The GhostSwimmer is currently intended to gather tide, current, wake, and weather condition information, but could be used for hostile reconnaissance in the future. Institute for the Study of War senior naval analyst Christopher Harmer stated “as the technology matures, we’re certainly going to use them for reconnaissance, and eventually, we’re going to weaponize them.”

Bloomberg: Harvard Professor’s Neuron-Watching Tech Could Advance Drug R&D.

In a 1,400-word analysis, Bloomberg News  (12/17, Chen) examines the implications for R&D of a new method for “converting electrical activity into fluorescent light.” The research made a splash this June when a video published online by Harvard University neuroscientist Adam Cohen in the journal Nature Methods  showed footage of a “neuron firing, letting researchers watch the signal flowing through an entire cell.” Bloomberg News says that being able to see these cells in the process of firing “may let researchers track and measure brain activity, including firing patterns of cells affected by disorders like epilepsy or multiple sclerosis.” Pharma companies such as Biogen Idec and GlaxoSmithKline “have already lined up to collaborate with Cohen’s biotechnology firm, Q-State Biosciences, hoping to advance drug development.” Biogen declined to give details on what it was working on with Cohen, but GSK has asked Cohen “to help the company study cardiac safety by looking at electrical activity in the heart.” John McNeish, GSK head of research in regenerative medicine, said it worked “beautifully.” He added, “If the experiment was done in laboratories with single-cell patch clamping, it could have taken months to do. This took a week or two. So there’s money and impact written all over it.”

Engineering and Public Policy

McConnell Says New Senate Will Start With Keystone.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader McConnell on Tuesday laid out his first priority of the new Senate – the passage of legislation forcing approval of a key pipeline project. While media coverage suggests that the legislation will likely clear the Chamber, some stories highlight the fact that it likely won’t have sufficient support to override a veto.

USA Today  (12/17, Davis) reports that McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that the Senate’s first action next year will be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. McConnell said, “We’ll be starting next year with a job-creating bill that enjoys significant bipartisan support. First item up in the new Senate will be the Keystone XL pipeline.” USA Today says that the project has “significant” support among Republicans, as well as the backing of “some moderate Democrats.” That gives legislation pushing approval of the project its “best chance of passage in six years.”

The AP  (12/17, Ohlemacher) reports that McConnell added, “People want jobs and this project will create well-paying high-wage jobs for our people. We’re optimistic we can pass it and put it on the president’s desk.”

The Huffington Post  (12/16, Mcauliff) reports that the new legislation will be similar to a bill offered by Sen. John Hoeven (R) this year which “would mandate the construction of the pipeline,” and “almost passed in the waning days of this Congress.” It would “be nearly certain to succeed in a Republican-led Senate, much as it has repeatedly passed in the GOP-led House.”

Reuters  (12/17) reports that McConnell also said, “It’ll be open for amendment. I will hope that senators on both sides will offer energy-related amendments but there’ll be no effort to try to micromanage the amendment process.” Unlike other news services, Reuters is less certain about the legislation’s prospects, looking beyond passage and saying that the GOP will likely struggle to secure sufficient votes to overrun a potential presidential veto.

Similarly, The Hill  (12/16, Bolton) reports that defeated Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), who co-sponsored the legislation this year, predicted that it would pass only to be vetoed by the President. She added that McConnell doesn’t have the votes to override a veto.

The Washington Times  (12/17, Miller) reports that in announcing the move, McConnell took a “parting shot” at outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, criticizing the Democrats’ attempts to “micromanage the amendment process.” Politico  (12/16, Schor, Everett) reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), the incoming head of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, “said an open amendment process on Keystone XL legislation would show that Republicans are ready to change the way the Senate has been operating.”

White House Expresses Displeasure With Tech Sector’s Response To Immigration Moves.

Politico  (12/16, Tummarello) reports that sources report that the White House has given the tech sector “an earful” after “leading industry groups gave a tepid response to President Barack Obama’s immigration moves.” Politico notes that Obama “mainly focused on deferring deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants and didn’t address the tech sector’s longtime goal of increasing the number of H-1B, or high-skilled, visas for foreign workers.” White House officials “said they’ve been reaching out to the tech community to explain the limits of the president’s authority on this issue and encourage a continued push for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.”

White House Reaches Out To Tech Sector Over Lack Of High-Skill Visa Increase.

Politico  (12/16, Tummarello) reports that the White House is disappointed with tech sector leaders’ response to his executive actions on immigration over the lack of increase in H-1B high-skill foreign worker visas. The article notes that there is now consideration among industry groups that initially supported comprehensive immigration reform over supporting high-skill specific legislation once the GOP has taken control of Congress next year, despite push-back from labor unions claiming that would harm US citizen employment. The current H-1B cap is 85,000 visas per year.

Pipelines surge in Pennsylvania (NPR).

NPR  (12/16, Cusick) reported that “the surge in drilling has meant trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are being pumped out of Pennsylvania every year. And now billions of dollars are flooding into the state for new pipeline projects to move that gas to market.” The article reported “Matt Henderson, of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, says more than $10 billion in pipeline projects have already been announced for Pennsylvania.” The article notes Cabot’s proposed Atlantic Sunrise peipeline, which would bring gas “as far south for Cabot’s interests to Cove Point which is an exportation terminal, where Cabot’s looking forward to exporting to Japan.” The article also discussed opposition from locals who oppose routes that run through their communities, noting that “two dozen protesters” were arrested outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission headquarters last summer, the commission that oversees facillities like Dominion’s Cove Point terminal.

Southern Maryland Newspapers looks at careers of Calvert County Commissioners Clark, Shaw. An editorial by the Southern Maryland Newspapers  (12/17) looks back on the careers of Calvert County commissioners Gerald Clark and Susan Shaw, both of whom are being replaced by incoming officials next year. According to the editorial, “opinions as to why Clark lost the primary” to Republican Mike Hart “range from his unwavering support of the controversial Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas plant expansion, to his sometimes prickly demeanor with constituents, to some voters just wanting a fresh face on the board.”

The Gaithersburg (MD) Gazette  (12/17) also carried the Southern Maryland Newspapers editorial.

President Blocks Oil, Gas Development Off Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Politico  (12/16, Martinson) reports that in a video filmed on Tuesday afternoon, the President announced “that he is barring oil and gas drilling off the coast of Bristol Bay, Alaska.” The move “to protect the ecologically sensitive region comes as Republicans in Congress prepare to challenge the administration’s plans to regulate carbon emissions.” The President said that the region is “something that’s too precious for us to be putting out to the highest bidder.”

The New York Times  (12/17, Baker, Subscription Publication) reports that the President “again used his executive authority to enact an environmental priority.” The President “first put the ecologically sensitive area of the Bering Sea — home to an important population of whales, seals and sea lions — off limits to oil rigs in 2010, but that restriction was set to expire in 2017.” The new action “made the ban permanent unless a future president acts to reverse it.”

The Washington Post  (12/17, Warrick) reports that the while the move was expected, the announcement “was a vindication for a coalition of commercial and recreational fishermen, environmentalists and some native Alaskan groups that have long opposed energy development in the area.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Massachusetts’ Dennis-Yarmouth Schools Participate In “Hour Of Code.”

Cape Cod (MA) Today  (12/16) reports on Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District’s participation in Code.org’s “Hour of Code” exposure initiative. The piece describes the challenging national initiative, its positive reception among students at all six DY schools, and a growing national demand for computer science education.

Detroit Public Schools Take New Approach With Trade Schools.

MLive  (12/17, Dawsey) reports on declines in Detroit trade school enrollment, prompting Detroit Public Schools to begin redesigning its career and technical programs into skilled workforce development centers for both youth and adults. The piece discusses the involvement of unions, nonprofits, and the chamber of commerce in the creation of regional centers for local business and college recruitment. The DPS plan is still in development and will require outside investment from business and colleges.

Tuesday’s Lead Stories

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Scope – Knowledgespeak: STM Industry Daily News Alert

Thomson Reuters’ 2014 State of Innovation India report identifies Hi-Tech Engineering and Pharma companies as front runners of innovation in India
The Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters has announced the launch of its 2014 State of Innovation India report. This is the second consecutive year of the study, which is conducted by looking at patent activity to gain a clearer understanding of the innovation landscape in India. The study showcases twelve leading sectors and analyzes the innovation in each based on patent activity.
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Wolters Kluwer Health upgrades Lippincott Advisor to help long-term care facilities improve nursing care planning
Healthcare information provider Wolters Kluwer Health has announced that it has further bolstered the use of Lippincott Advisor in the long-term care (LTC) setting. The company has added a new component to the product designed to help LTC nurses and clinicians develop better resident care plans used to guide treatment. Lippincott Advisor is a leading online clinical decision-support solution used by nurses and clinicians at the bedside in hospitals and healthcare institutions.
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Idaho State University opts for EBSCO Discovery Service
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) has announced that the Idaho State University Library, a Carnegie-classified doctoral research high institution, has opted to replace Primo Central Total Care with EBSCO Discovery ServiceTM (EDS) as its discovery solution. Side-by-side comparisons of the discovery tools prompted the university to make the switch to EDS.
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Copyright Clearance Center appoints Darren Gillgrass as Director, Product Management, Rightsholder Products and Services
Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), a global licensing and content solutions organisation, has announced that Darren Gillgrass will join as Director, Product Management, Rightsholder Products and Services, in January 2015. Based in Danvers, Gillgrass will lead a team building next-generation cloud licensing and commerce solutions for CCC’s rightsholder market.
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NISO approves four new projects to develop standards for alternative assessment metrics
The voting members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved four new projects to develop standards for alternative assessment metrics (altmetrics). The NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics Initiative was begun in July 2013 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation with a goal of building trust and adoption in new methods of assessing impact.
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Wellcome Trust announces new Executive Board appointments
The Wellcome Trust has announced new appointments to its Executive Board. Tim Livett will join Wellcome Trust as Chief Financial Officer and Ted Smith as Director of People and Development. Tim Livett will be responsible for the Trust’s financial management and for IT. Ted Smith takes on a new role, responsible for thinking strategically about how best to lead, develop and recruit talent in pursuit of the Trust’s mission, including both its staff and its wider research community.
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ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Johns Hopkins Team Wins Award For Improved Ebola Protective Suit.

The Washington Post  (12/14, Sun) reported that a new protective suit for healthcare workers fighting Ebola designed by a Johns Hopkins’ team “has been chosen as one of the winners in a global competition for solutions to increase the protection and comfort of front-line workers battling Ebola.” “The suit is easier to take off, and has a small battery-powered source to cool the user by blowing air into the hood, said Youseph Yazdi, executive director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design,” the Post reported, adding that “U.S. officials hope a version of the new protective suit could be on the ground within a few months.”

Reporting prior to the announcement of the competition’s winner, the New York Times  (12/13, A7, Mcneil, Subscription Publication) also reported on the Ebola protective gear various competitors had developed, including, “protective gear that zips off like a wet suit, ice-cold underwear to make life inside the sweltering suits more bearable, or lotions that go on like bug spray and kill or repel the lethal virus.”

Higher Education

NRC Grants To Support Nuclear Science And Engineering Program In Massachusetts.

The Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette  (12/15) reports that the NRC has awarded four grants worth $1.1 million to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. The funding will support faculty development and research, scholarships, and curriculum development in WPI’s new Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) Program. In a statement, NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane said of the awards: “The NRC is pleased to sponsor these grant programs as they offer college and university recipients an opportunity to encourage their best and brightest to pursue careers in nuclear engineering, health physics, radiochemistry, and related sciences.” The Telegram & Gazette notes that the NRC has awarded $15 million in grants to 37 colleges and universities.

Harvard President Discusses Upcoming Federal College Rating And Harvard Issues.

The Washington Post  (12/16, Anderson) reports that as the Department of Education college rating is expected to be released soon, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said “I think it raises the issue of what do you rate them for?” He believes the rating should be based on a variety of points, including the number of graduates going into public service. He also wants to challenge the growing view that college is not a worthwhile investment, and argues that college is important for not only economic reasons. Faust also explains Harvard’s new office to investigate sexual assault claims, as both the college and law school are being Federally investigated for their responses to such claims. Harvard is also the defendant in an affirmative action case over Asian American admissions.

Stanford Study To Analyze Artificial Intelligence Over Next Century.

The New York Times  (12/16, Markoff, Subscription Publication) reports that a Stanford University study set to last a century will examine how artificial intelligence influences society. The study, funded by a donation from Microsoft Research managing director Dr. Eric Horvitz, will have a committee of professors who will select scientists for a panel, which will write a report for 2015 publication as the first of a series of regular reports. Roboticist Sebastian Thrun believes A.I. will have increasing power over time, while some scientists are concerned that A.I. technology has the potential to replace human workers and facilitate government surveillance.

From ASEE
#ASEEYoADiversity One-minute video – Freeman Hrabowski: “We need to change the culture. We assume most people wont make it in STEM.”

Support ASEE with Your Amazon Holiday Purchases
ASEE participates in Amazon Smile, a program allowing you to donate a percentage of your purchase total to the charity of your choice. To set up your account to donate to ASEE, follow these few simple steps.

November Prism Online – Now Open to Public
The cover story, “Corporate Blinders,” presents an engineering ethics case study.

Research and Development

NC State Researchers Developing Stacked Monolayer Semiconductors.

AZoNano  (12/16) reports that a team of North Carolina State University researchers “has found that stacking materials that are only one atom thick can create semiconductor junctions that transfer charge efficiently, regardless of whether the crystalline structure of the materials is mismatched,” noting that this could lead to much cheaper manufacturing of such devices as “solar cells, lasers and LEDs.” The piece quotes NC State assistant professor of materials science and engineering Linyou Cao writing in a paper on the research, “This work demonstrates that by stacking multiple two-dimensional (2-D) materials in random ways we can create semiconductor junctions that are as functional as those with perfect alignment.”

Industry News

BAE Systems Will Acquire Eclipse Electronic Systems.

Space News  (12/16, Subscription Publication) reports that BAE Systems is acquiring Eclipse Electronic Systems, “a manufacturer of space-qualified signals intelligence gear.” Accuning it gains regulatory approval, the deal should “close during the first quarter.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Los Angeles Taking Steps To Address Vulnerability Of Aqueducts To Earthquakes.

The Los Angeles Times  (12/16, Xia, Lin) reports Los Angeles officials are “taking concrete steps” to address the vulnerability of the city’s water supply to earthquakes. The three major aqueducts that provide 88 percent of Los Angeles’ water cross the San Andreas fault 32 times, and an earthquake along that fault “could destroy key sections of the aqueducts, cutting off the water supply for more than 22 million people in Southern California.” Mayor Eric Garcetti has asked for proposals for protective measures and alternatives. The article notes that according to an earthquake engineering expert with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, until now the utility “hasn’t had the resources to extensively study various retrofit options” for the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which crosses the fault through a tunnel under the mountains. The LADWP is considering placing a plastic pipe through the tunnel as an interim solution.

DOE Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement On Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project.

Arkansas Business  (12/15, Hogan) reports that the US Department of Energy “released a 3,700-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a $2 billion, 720-mile transmission line project” known as the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. The line would be built by Clean Line Energy Partners, including a “$100 million converter station” in central Arkansas, either in Pope County or Conway County according to the DOE. It would also “include converter stations at the endpoints, near Guymon, Oklahoma, and Memphis, Tennessee.” The DOE “will hold 15 public meetings in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas in January and February.”

The Arkansas Times  (12/15, Brantley) in its “Arkansas” blog reports on the Arkansas Business story, adding that the Sierra Club “last week reiterated its endorsement of the project as a way to get clean energy on the grid.”

The Tulsa (OK) World  (12/16, Walton) reports on the department’s release, adding that Clean Line Energy Partners called the draft statement “a major step forward” for the project. It also points out that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted the project “approval to sell transmission service to customers at negotiated rates and to negotiate agreements for 100 percent of the line’s capacity.” Further coverage appears at Electric Light & Power  (12/16, Galli).

Minnesota PUC Approves New Xcel Plans For Solar, Natural Gas Generation Units.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune  (12/16, Shaffer) reports that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission “on Monday authorized more than $500 million in new electrical generating units for Xcel Energy, including the state’s largest solar power project.” That proposal is for a $250 million solar installation “with panels sited at up to 20 locations across Xcel’s service area.” In addition to the solar project, the state PUC approved plans for “two large natural gas-fueled generation units” to be built in Burnsville and Mankato.

Elementary/Secondary Education

Huntsville Students Display Their Manufacturing Products.

The Huntsville (AL) Times  (12/15, Bonvillian) reports that on Monday at a Huntsville school board meeting, Huntsville students displayed some of the products they created while participating in “the district’s advanced manufacturing academy and through Greenpower USA.” While the focus was on the Greenpower USA program, the article notes that Huntsville students will be the first ones in the US “to design and create hardware for the International Space Station.” By utilizing a 3D printer, the students are developing a bracket clamp.

E-Learning Software Tops Educator Shopping List.

THE Journal  (12/15, Schaffhauser) reports on the findings of CompTIA’s September survey of 400 K-12 educators and administrators. Half of schools already have e-learning software, with 29% expecting to acquire or update software; similarly, half have classroom management software, with 19% to add or update. The findings also touched on the prevalence and demand surrounding game-based learning, massive open online courses, social media, and software allowing for collaboration between teachers. The piece touches on the influence of those platforms on teaching, assessed by the survey.

Monday’s Lead Stories

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Scope – Knowledgespeak: STM Industry Daily News Alert

Publishing For Digital Minds pursues global audience with multilingual social media backchannel
The London Book Fair, in association with The Publishers Association, has announced plans to put international social media at the heart of the next edition of Publishing for Digital Minds. It will recruit a team of social media experts to live-tweet and blog the 2015 conference in multiple languages. Publishing for Digital Minds’ ‘polyglots’ will be drawn from the markets most widely represented in the conference’s international audience, which welcomes large delegations from China, India and Latin America as well as Europe and North America.
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Retinal Cases & Brief Reports accepted for indexing by MEDLINE/PubMed and Scopus
Healthcare information provider Wolters Kluwer Health has announced that Retinal Cases & Brief Reports, a publication dedicated to publishing peer-reviewed case reports and brief reports in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal and vitreous diseases, has been accepted for indexing by MEDLINE/PubMed and Scopus. All articles back to Volume 1 Issue 1 now appear in PubMed and going forward all articles will be indexed immediately upon publication.
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Academic libraries from the UK’s Northern Collaboration in deal with OCLC to use QuestionPoint software for out-of-hours enquiry services
Libraries from the Northern Collaboration, a group of academic libraries in the North of England, have signed an agreement with OCLC to use QuestionPoint software to provide a collaborative out-of-hours virtual enquiry service for students. Having successfully piloted the service with seven institutions, the service is now being rolled out across the wider Northern Collaboration group.
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Cambridge Journals partners with The Mathematical Association to publish The Mathematical Gazette
Cambridge Journals has announced a partnership with The Mathematical Association to publish The Mathematical Gazette. The Mathematical Gazette publishes important and influential articles about the teaching and learning of mathematics. It also features fascinating expositions of attractive areas of mathematics, book reviews, and a teasing problem corner.
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Thieme announces publication of Total Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Scientific and medical publisher Thieme has announced the publication of Total Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, which presents a consistent approach to the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck disorders. This practical reference is designed to be the main otolargyngology text that residents and fellows will use on a daily basis and the principal text otolaryngologists will use for board recertification review.
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Latest edition of Blogspeak now online
The latest edition of Blogspeak is now online. Featured are: David Crotty (Creative Commons Confusion Continues to Confound Content Creators); Patrick Dunleavy (Poor citation practices are continuing to harm the humanities and social sciences); Stephen Curry (Open access and the direction of travel in scholarly publishing); Phill Jones (What’s Going On in the Library? Part 2: The Convergence of Data Repositories and Library Publishers); and Martin Eve (Macmillan may now offer ‘free access’, but is it really open?). Blogspeak includes blog posts relevant to the publishing industry, particularly STM publishing. Subscribers are invited to participate in the latest edition of Blogspeak Here.
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ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Senate Passes Budget Bill With $18 Billion For NASA.

Spaceflight Now  (12/14, Clark) reports that on Saturday, the Senate passed a Federal budget bill giving NASA $18 billion and almost all the requested funds “to develop commercial space capsules to fly astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of 2017.” As with previous coverage, the article considers the Orion and Space Launch System the “big winners” in the bill, adding that NASA’s planetary science division’s budget also was increased.

The Augusta (VA) Free Press  (12/13) reported that Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine were pleased that the bill passed by the Senate kept in funds to repair the Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s launch pad damaged back in October by a launch failure.

The WAAY-TV  Huntsville, AL (12/12, Barrett) “Space Alabama” website had a breakdown of the budget comparing the Administration, House, and Senate versions of the budget to the one passed over the weekend by Congress.

Ahead of the Senate vote, the International Business Times  (12/13, Poladian) reported that former NASA chief technologist Mason Peck was glad NASA’s budget was increased to $18 billion. He also supported the money going to the SLS and Orion because these are “important near-term projects.” However, Peck criticized the low amount Congress gave to the Space Technology Mission Directorate budget, saying the budget is inadequate to support “the much-needed technologies” NASA needs to develop for the long-term.

Higher Education

NACIQI Releases Draft Recommendations For HEA Reauthorization.

Inside Higher Ed  (12/12) reports that the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises ED on accreditation issues, “on Thursday released a draft set of recommendations for changing accreditation during reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.” Panel chair Susan Phillips pointed out that the recommendations are not a final draft, and that “the panel would continue working on the recommendations with the goal of producing a more final product during its next meeting in June.” Among the recommendations are replacing regional accreditation agencies with national ones, and allowing “alternative accrediting organizations.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education  (12/15) contrasts the recommendations with a more “modest set of proposals” the panel released in 2012, noting that the panel “is discussing amending those recommendations with a set of far-reaching proposals that would change both the accreditation process and the role of the panel itself.”

Senator Durbin Claims He Wanted Funding Cut for Corinthian.

BuzzFeed  (12/15, Hensley-Clancy) reports that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) claims he “begged” the US Department of Education not to “channel 370 million taxpayer dollars into Corinthian [Colleges] even after it was clear it was failing.” The Department temporarily cut off the school’s financial aid in June, but returned access once the school said it was close to bankruptcy. Senator Durbin and other Democrats have called on the Department to forgive the loans of students who attended the for-profit university, though the Department of Education has resisted that idea. Senator Durbin noted that the Republican control of Congress next year may make regulation of the for-profit college industry more difficult.

For-Profit College Offers Associate Degrees Through Charter Schools.

NPR  (12/14, Kamenetz) reports for-profit college ITT Technical Institute sought to offer two-year associate degrees in network systems administration or software development to high school students in five cities through its Early Career Academy charter schools. Programs in Indianapolis, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Houston were all delayed due to governance issues, though the Troy, Michigan program is operating with 40 students and four faculty. The programs are framed as “the first time a proprietary college has sought to get into the charter school business,” marking a cost-lowering experiment in post-secondary access. The piece goes on to describe for-profit charter school operation and various business models.

From ASEE
#ASEEYoADiversity One-minute video – Freeman Hrabowski: “We need to change the culture. We assume most people wont make it in STEM.”

Support ASEE with Your Amazon Holiday Purchases
ASEE participates in Amazon Smile, a program allowing you to donate a percentage of your purchase total to the charity of your choice. To set up your account to donate to ASEE, follow these few simple steps.

November Prism Online – Now Open to Public
The cover story, “Corporate Blinders,” presents an engineering ethics case study.

Research and Development

US Navy Working On Robotic Fish For Surveillance.

The website TweakTown  (12/15, Hatamoto) reports the US Navy is making progress with its Silent NEMO Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) project with the creation of the GhostSwimmer unmanned underwater vehicle, which mimics the swimming motion of regular fish and can operate in water 10 inches to 300 feet deep. Michael Rufo, Boston Engineering director of the Advanced Systems Group program, said, “GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success on more types of missions, while keeping divers and sailors safe.”

In similar coverage, UPI  (12/14, Benson) reports that testing at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story (JEBLC-FS) finished Dec. 11 but more are planned in the future. The article notes that SilentNEMO is a “project aimed at examining the possible uses of underwater drones” and the GhostSwimmer resembles a large fish, weighing almost 100 pounds and measuring about 5 feet long.

US Tech R&D Initiative Gets Timeline.

The Defense News  (12/14, McLeary) reports that Stephen Welby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, is leading an effort to help bolster US defense technology, looking at “proposals from the defense industry and commercial firms to determine which ideas deserve further scrutiny and, potentially, investment” as part of a project called the Defense Innovation Initiative. The Pentagon has identified five major categories that they are interested in identifying innovative technologies, including “space technology, undersea technology, air dominance and strike technology, air and missile defense technology,” and other technology-driven concepts. Analyst Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners cautions that the government’s insistence on owning the intellectual property for the technology it buys will be a major deterrence to commercial firms.

Industry News

Tetra Tech To Zero In On Its Engineering And Consulting Services.

The Los Angeles Times  (12/15, White) profiles consulting and engineering service firm Tetra Tech, Inc. which landed contracts across the world in the last two months, including in Afghanistan and “southern U.S. states.” Tetra Tech solves “water problems,” according to Chief Executive Dan L. Batrack, who notes that Federal contracts “have picked up lately,” pointing to business won from USAID, the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection agency and other Federal agencies.

GE Hitachi Robot Inspects Underground Pipe At The South Texas Project.

In continuing coverage, Power Engineering  (12/12) reports in a brief item that GE Hitachi’s ultrasonic “Surveyor” robot “successfully inspected a section of underground pipe at the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station” near Bay City “in less than eight hours.” It quotes Richard Rossi, GEH vice president of asset management services, as saying such pipes “are difficult to inspect and sometimes inaccessible. This technology enables an entire length of underground pipe to be inspected without the risk and expense of excavation.”

Penn Energy  (12/12) also carries this story on its website.

NASA, Rockwell Collins To Study Single-Pilot Cockpit Concept.

The Wall Street Journal  (12/14, Ostrower, Pasztor, Subscription Publication) reports that NASA and Rockwell Collins will study whether it is possible with new technology to fly a plane with only one pilot in the cockpit and a copilot on the ground assisting remotely. According to the article, the study could help address a future shortage in airline pilots. The article also notes that while the idea has been talked about for years, NASA’s involvement raises its profile and increases its viability. Parimal Kopardekar of the Ames Research Center, who manages the project, said that even if feasible, a single-pilot cockpit “may be too expensive” to retrofit “and may be too difficult” to regulate unless a plane is built from the outset with the design.

Engineering and Public Policy

Manufacturing Research Gets Earmarks.

The Wall Street Journal  (12/15, Hagerty, Subscription Publication) reports, the budget bill that passed the Senate Saturday contains authorization to spend up to $300 million over 10 years to establish a network of institutes to foster collaboration between companies, universities, and other organizations to develop manufacturing technology. The National Association of Manufacturers has endorsed the plan.

WPost Calls For FAA Action On Drones.

In an editorial, the Washington Post  (12/15) says that the FAA needs to “finally release rules governing commercial drone flights shorn of the absurd requirement that operators must have hours of cockpit time in real planes.” Commercial drone pilots “should have adequate practice on the equipment they are actually using, and they should be up to speed on FAA rules,” but “don’t need to know how to land a Cessna.” Meanwhile, the Post says that the FAA “should also find better ways to keep drones out of sensitive airspace.”

Utility CEOs Discuss Increase In Power Demand Due To Energy Boom.

The Wall Street Journal  (12/12, Smith, Subscription Publication) reports that power demand is increasing due to new and expanding manufacturing plants connected to the U.S. energy boom. Several utility chief executives discussed this increased demand for power, including Entergy’s Leo Denault, American Electric Power’s Nick Akin, and Dominion Resource’s Tom Farrell. Farrell also discussed the extra electricity Dominion is selling to data centers. The EIA predicts that while residential power sales will remain static, commercial and industrial consumption will increase next year.

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Push For More Distributed Wind Power Funding.

The Hill  (12/13, Cama) reported that “a bipartisan group of senators is asking the Energy Department to allocate more funding for small wind energy applications.” The senators “told the Energy Department to dedicate more of its funds through its renewable energy technology program to distributed wind power, in which turbines are located near power users and not in large farms.” The senators wrote, “We believe distributed wind power systems deserve sustained, and increased support.”

Fuel Cells May Be Useful For Carbon Capture.

The New York Times  (12/15, Wald, Subscription Publication) reports that the more engineers experiment, the “more they find unexpected ways to capture carbon dioxide.” One “novel approach” is taking shape in Connecticut by FuelCell Energy, where “engineers say carbon capture could be a cheap byproduct of running a fuel cell.” The Department of Energy “sees potential in the technology, enough to provide a grant of $2.5 million for the experiment.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Toy Gender Dynamics No Longer As Rigid.

The Los Angeles Times  (12/14, Li) reports that construction toy sales have increased over the last several years as demand from girls and parents, with sales rising 22 percent in 2012 to $2 billion, while other toy sales have fallen. Morningstar equity analyst Jaime Kats points out that “If you aren’t catering to the girls’ side you are leaving half the market on the table.” The article then notes that toy makers moved from gender-neutral to gender-based toys in the past because targeted toys sold better. The article also explains that toy makers balance the design of new toys to make them more appealing to both boys and girls, particularly by avoiding “pinking and shrinking.” The article then explains several examples of such toys and how they attempt to appeal to both genders.

Women In STEM Myths Persist.

In the “Healthy Kids” blog on Philly  (12/15, Winston), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention scientific director Flaura Koplin Winston writes that she is encouraged by the growth of science-related toys marketed towards girls, noting that the National Academies’ statistics show only 11 percent of US practicing engineers are women. She details several problems explained in a recent National Science Foundation women in Stem report. These include the STEM culture discouraging girls as they grow up, math and science teachers having selectivity bias against girls in the classroom, the promotion and pay discrepancy for women in the STEM workforce, and that parents need to do more to encourage girls to enter the STEM field.

Female Scientist Figurines Reissued By Lego.

The New York Times  (12/12, Abrams, Subscription Publication) reports that Lego’s Research Institute female scientist set has been reissued after selling out this summer. While drawing praise from consumer groups, the figures have also been criticized for still wearing lipstick and having drawn-in curves.

Computer Coding Event Educates Virginia Students.

The AP  (12/13, Reid) reports that approximately 70 students from Bellevue Elementary, Martin Luther Jr. Middle School, and the Mayor’s Youth Academy attended an “hour of code” event at the Science Museum of Virginia last Tuesday. The event to teach computer programming basics was created last year by code.org. Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton encouraged their interest by linking coding to video games, making things, and earning a paycheck. CapTech principal Vinnie Schoenfelder told them that if they are problem solvers, “you get the opportunity to lead, and you get access to leaders early in your career.”

Also in the News

Engineer Pleads Guilty To Defrauding USAID.

Bloomberg News  (12/12, Voreacos) reports Derish Wolff, former CEO of engineering consulting firm Louis Berger Group Inc. pleaded guilty to overbilling and conspiring to defraud the US Agency for International Development during a nearly 20-year period. The company agreed to pay $69.3 million to resolve civil and criminal investigations by the Justice Department into “false, fictitious, and fraudulent overhead rates” that resulted in overbilling from 1999 to 2007.

Friday’s Lead Stories

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