ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

 

SpaceX Delays AsiaSat 6 Satellite Launch.

Florida Today  (8/26, Dean) reports that SpaceX’s planned Wednesday launch of the AsiaSat 6 satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rocket has been delayed for no stated reason and with no new launch date confirmed. According to the article, SpaceX may have wanted to take more time to make sure a recent launch failure of a test rocket will not affect the Falcon 9 rocket being used for the launch. An earlier version of the story posted on the same website before the delay was announced noted that SpaceX is planning to launch a mission to the ISS on September 19 at the earliest.

According to Reuters  (8/27, Koltz), there is no indication if this launch problem will affect the launch for NASA.

NASA Space Flight  (8/26, Bergin) notes that even though no official explanation was given, SpaceX engineers were dealing with a helium leak. The article stressed that so far there is no clear information on whether that issue, or anything related to the recent launch failure, was the cause of the delay.

Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc  (8/26) writes that the company has been “dogged by helium leaks” in 2014.

Meanwhile, Jeff Foust at NewSpace Journal  (8/26) writes that if the September 19 launch is delayed, the next Orbital Sciences cargo mission in October could be delayed as well.

Spaceflight Insider  (8/26, Botsford), Forbes  (8/27, Knapp), and Latin Post  (8/27, Derr) also cover the story.

Jurvetson: Musk May Be Among US’ Top industrialists Of All Time. CNBC  (8/26, Sandholm) reports that technology investor Steve Jurvetson believes that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk could one day be among “the pantheon of America’s all-time greatest industrialists.” According to Jurvetson, who is a SpaceX board member, said that SpaceX is “the future of the U.S. space program” for its missions to the ISS and potentially to Mars.

Competitors Said The Be “Scrambling” to Keep Up With SpaceX. In an article for Fortune  (8/26), Clay Dillow writes that in order to understand SpaceX’s “potential value,” it is worthwhile to look at what is happening in the satellite launch market more so than the company’s missions to the ISS. To Dillow, competitors like Arianespace and the ULA are “scrambling” to keep up with SpaceX, even as they dismiss SpaceX’s launch claims as “hype.” However, several analysts cited in the piece do not think that SpaceX will “doom” any other launch provider yet.

Higher Education

 

NSF Gives Los Angeles Colleges Grants To Foster Tech Startups.

The Los Angeles Times  (8/27, Dave) reports that the National Science Foundation announced Tuesday that it is giving UCLA, the University of Southern California, and Caltech a combined $3,5 million grant “aimed at helping technology start-ups flourish in the region.” The colleges, the piece reports, are looking to “accelerate and better advertise” a local upsurge in tech startup venture capital. Noting that the grants come through the NSF Innovation Corps program, the Times reports that the program’s goal is to “to get investors and business leaders communicating with university researchers and students.”

 

New University Of Illinois Engineering Building Holds First Classes.

The Urbana/Champaign (IL) News-Gazette  (8/26) reports on the first day of classes in the University of Illinois’ new $95 million Electrical and Computer Engineering building, noting that the facility has been “decades in the making.” The piece reports that members of the university community call the building “a huge, high-tech improvement over the department’s home for more than half a century, Everitt Lab at Green and Wright streets.”

 

CFPB, California DVA Up Pressure On Corinthian.

Noting that Corinthian Colleges Inc. is “gradually closing its doors under an agreement with” ED, the Chronicle of Higher Education  (8/26, Thomason) reports that on Monday, the firm disclosed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused it of “violating the Dodd-Frank Act and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.” Meanwhile, also on Monday, the California Department of Veterans Affairs took steps to keep the firm from receiving GI Bill funds.

 

Corinthian’s Creditors Agree To Allow Sale Of Some Assets.

The Wall Street Journal  (8/27, Gleason, Subscription Publication) reports that Lender Bank of America has agreed to allow the embattled for-profit firm Corinthian Colleges to sell certain assets to finance the continuation of operations as the firm works to sell off its campuses. The assets include student loan notes, Florida real estate holdings, and some educational equipment.

 

Air Force Academy Launches New Sexual Assault Prevention Policies.

The Air Force Times  (8/26) reports that leaders at the Air Force Academy have responded to the “sexual assault scandals that have rocked the military — and their academies” by adopting “new strategies to prevent sexual assault.” The article reports that cadets at the academy “are now part of discussion groups that begin with a less- threatening topic: dating.” The piece quotes Air Force Academy sexual assault response coordinator Teresa Beasley saying, “The only time we talk to cadets about sex is about sexual assault. That seems to kind of be an unbalanced way of talking.” The academy’s bystander intervention training program “enables smaller groups to more easily engage in dialogue and act out role-playing scenarios.”

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I-Corps for Learning
NSF will provide up to $1.2 million to support research into how the I-Corps program’s focus on the “ditch of death” between research and development can help address the gap associated with bringing a promising education practice to a common, widespread utilization. Learn more about participating in I-Corps for Learning. Proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2014 to be considered for participation in the January 2015 cohort.

Workforce

 

New York Governor Announces Grants To Colleges For STEM Workforce Training.

Newsday  (8/27) reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that public colleges on Long Island will “share more than $1 million to train students for jobs in engineering, information technology, cybersecurity and other high-demand fields.” The piece notes that the state’s colleges will get nearly $7 million through a competitive grant program through the SUNY system.

 

Texas Manufacturing Leader: Not All Stem Degrees Equal.

The San Antonio Express-News  (8/27) runs an op-ed by Bill Cox, a member of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association board, in which he describes the apparent disconnect between reports of a shortage of STEM workers, and large numbers of STEM workers who can’t find jobs. Cox points out that such disciplines as psychology are included in the STEM category, and notes that with a dearth of jobs available to psychology graduates, “it’s little wonder these graduates are ending up in other fields.”

Engineering and Public Policy

 

Avegant Glyph Named Among 2015 Technology Pioneers.

USA Today  (8/26, Molina) reports “the creator of the virtual display Avegant Glyph has gone from Kickstarter to tech pioneer.” The company “is one of 24 honored by the World Economic Forum on Tuesday as a 2015 Technology Pioneer.” The winners “will be honored at an event next month in China.” The article notes that “Glyph is a ‘mobile personal theater’ that uses a Virtual Retinal Display” and “was developed by founder and Chief Technology Officer Allan Evans while working as an engineer for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.” He “and a team of scientists sought an alternative to traditional head-mounted displays that would often give users headaches after prolonged use.”

 

Obama Seeking Climate Agreement Without Senate Ratification.

In a front-page article, the New York Times  (8/27, A1, Davenport, Subscription Publication) reports the Administration “is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement” that requires countries to reduce fossil fuel emissions, but the White House is seeking to move forward “without ratification from Congress.” The agreement is expected to “be signed at the United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris.” To “sidestep” Senate ratification, according to the Times, the Administration is “devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions.” French Ambassador for Climate Change to the UN Laurence Tubiana said, “There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the US to get out of this impasse.”

UN Report: Global Warming Is Human-Caused And Dangerous. The AP  (8/27, Borenstein) reports the UN Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change distributed a draft report on Monday saying global warming is caused by humans, is dangerous, and might be irreversible. The AP says the report “paints a harsh warning” of the cause and “what it will do to humans and the environment.”

The New York Times  (8/27, Gillis, Subscription Publication) reports the report indicates the “risk of ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts’” during the coming decades, attributing cuts in grain production, “higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes” to the increase in emissions, and says the problems will likely increase. The report reads, “Human influence has been detected” and is “extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

WPost: New EPA Emissions Rules Are “Best Possible” Under Current Law. The Washington Post  (8/27) editorializes that the country “is about to see its fiercest climate-change battle,” as the Environmental Protection Agency begins to apply “new rules to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, trucks, and – most controversially – power plants.” The Post says the EPA’s regulations are the “best possible policy framework under current law,” and Congress “should not weaken the rules,” but “lawmakers could significantly improve on them.”

 

Opinion Pieces Differ On Economic Impact Of Fracking.

USA Today  (8/27) in an editorial writes that the “US energy renaissance” is shielding the nation from global unrest. This wouldn’t have been possible without novel techniques for drilling, the paper argues, “most notably hydraulic fracturing.” Though the paper concedes that geopolitical unrest poses “many dangers” and that “climate change is in desperate need of attention,” it concludes that domestic oil and gas supplies are needed to keep prices lower, boost jobs, and ease “security threats.”

In an accompanying op-ed in USA Today  (8/27), Natural Resources Defense Council senior policy analyst Amy Mall argues that although “we all want economic and energy security,” the answer isn’t “recklessly ramping up US oil and gas production” through fracking. She argues the US energy boom “has come with enormous costs to our economy in the way of environmental cleanup, health impacts, community burdens, lost property values and decreased quality of life.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

 

STEM Organization Pledges $4 Million To Washington State Programs.

The Redmond (WA) Reporter  (8/27) reports that the nonprofit group Washington STEM this week “announced nearly $4 million in investments in innovative, regionally based programs aimed at improving teaching and learning of science, engineering, technology and math across Washington state.” The group’s grants focus on fostering “the growth of regional STEM Networks” in the state and expanding teacher professional development to help “with implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.”

 

Pennsylvania District Boosts Taxes To Fund STEM Curriculum.

The Lehigh Valley (PA) Express Times  (8/27) reports that Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Area School Board in June passed a budget that raised taxes and “included funding to launch” a Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum in two high schools. The piece notes that the move comes five years after a pair of district administrators “pleaded for funding for a hands-on STEM curriculum,” but reports that the school board “balked at the $500,000 start-up costs over four years.”

Tuesday’s Lead Stories

 

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