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

Leading the News

NASA Spacecraft Are Now Sending Back Data On Comet Encounter.

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, Khan) “Science Now” website reports that NASA’s three orbiters about Mars are sending back data on Comet Siding Spring following its pass by the planet on Sunday. MAVEN, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the Mars Odyssey were “unscathed” following the pass, and the data is expected to be processed over the next couple of days.

New Scientist Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, Graham) reported that with every Mars spacecraft safe, scientists are “revelling in the unexpected opportunity” to view a comet making its first pass into the interior of the solar system. Researchers are also reportedly exited by what the comet could reveal about Mars’ atmosphere.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, Porter) posted an interview with Glen Nagle from the CSIRO/NASA tracking station, who similarly explained the scientific value of the comet, both in and of itself and what it could reveal about Mars.

Higher Education

Columnist: For-Profit Colleges Target Students Of Color.

In a column for the NNPA Black Press of America Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21), Charlene Crowell notes that ED is preparing to announce “a new rule governing career education programs,” adding that the Center for Responsible Lending “has released research that finds high-cost, for-profit colleges make millions each year by targeting students of color.” She notes that such colleges make most of their money through “taxpayer funding,” and “their students incur heavy debts with low graduation rates and nearly no marketable skills.”

For-Profit College Grads Detail Their Experiences In Debt With Limited Prospects.

The Boston Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/19, Woolhouse) details the stories of a handful of students who attended for-profit colleges on student loans, only to become indebted tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars with limited job prospects due to a lack of recognition for their degrees. The piece portrays the misleading advertisements of a few featured schools to entice enrollment through the promise of better careers, which one student felt “took advantage of” her desperation.

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Research and Development

NIOSH Giving South Dakota School Of Mines Contract To Design Mine Ventilation Upgrade.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21) reports that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is giving the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology a $1.25 million contract “to design more advanced underground ventilation systems for block caving mines.” The article defines block caving as “an underground hard rock mining method that involves undermining an ore body and allowing it to progressively collapse under its own weight.” The piece explains that the NIOSH project “seeks to create safer and more comfortable working environments.”

NASA Developing System To Detect Fires Using UAVs.

The WAVY-TV Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Norfolk, VA (10/20, Blanton) reports on the work being done at the Langley Research Center to develop a way for UAVs to be used to detect fires, as well as “help firefighters with budget concerns.” Mike Logan, who heads the unmanned air vehicle laboratory at Langley, said, “The theory is that we should actually be able to see smoke rising up, or we should be able to see the hot spot with the infrared. … They’re going to be doing so many missions that flat out can’t be done now. People can’t afford to do them now because of the expense.” The article notes that the system has been tested at “he military aviation museum in Pungo,” with plans to use it over the Great Dismal Swamp before the end of 2014.

Researchers Consider Ultrasound Technology For Speech Therapy.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21, Reddy, Subscription Publication) reports that researchers at several institutions, including New York University and the University of Cincinnati, are exploring the use of ultrasound technology in speech therapy, with a study due to be published online in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. It says an ultrasound probe placed under the chin can help children learn how to make complex sounds such as “r” because the technology helps them visualize the proper positioning of the tongue.


NASA Investing In Early Career Technologists.

ExecutiveGov Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, Clemens) reports that on Friday, NASA announced that it chose “four teams of early career technologists” to help develop technology that NASA could use in the future. Michael Gazarik, NASA associate administrator for space technology, said, “Investing in the future leaders in space technology in partnership with the nation’s leading innovators is part of our overall portfolio strategy for mission success.”

Industry News

Study Finds Strong Customer Engagement With Retail Beacon Technology.

Melissa Campanelli writes at Retail Online Integration Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20) about market research from mobile app maker shopkick into the effectiveness of retail beacon technology at American Eagle Outfitters stores. “According to the report, some users received a shopBeacon message when they walked into an American Eagle store that offered a small incentive for visiting the fitting room,” says Campanelli. “At the end of the day, data showed that the percentage of users who visited the fitting room area to try on clothes was more than double for those who received the shopBeacon messages vs. for those users who didn’t receive the message.” Joe Megibow, chief digital officer at American Eagle Outfitters, is quoted saying the company is “very excited” about the report’s findings. “We found that being able to offer small, timely rewards for trying on clothes dramatically impacted behavior, and we love creating opportunities for our customers to experience our clothes and our brand.”

Lockheed Martin Ships Global Lightening Mapper Instrument For Integration.

Space News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, Leone, Subscription Publication) reports that according to an October 15 press release, Lockheed Martin Space Systems “shipped the Global Lightning Mapper instrument it built for a next-generation geostationary U.S. weather satellite to Denver from Palo Alto, California, for integration with its host spacecraft, which the company is also building.” The spacecraft’s camera, which has a 1.8 megapixel focal plane and captures up to 500 frames per second, “will track lightening flashes from geostationary orbit.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Samsung Engineering To Win $1 Billion Texas LNG Project Contract.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, Park) reports that Samsung Engineering spokesman Edward Kang on Monday said the company will win its first LNG project contract this month for the design of the terminal of the Texas LNG project in Brownsville, TX. The initial contract will be for $5 million to design the terminal, but the company will also be constructing the full facility, to be completed in 2019. The total value of the contract is expected to surpass $1 billion.

Elementary/Secondary Education

High School Robotics Team Engineering Interest.

The Anniston (AL) Star Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21) reports that “Pleasant Valley High School’s robotics team this year expanded into a class with 31 students,” which is “up from 13 last year, when the Calhoun County Board of Education first offered summer training through Jacksonville State University for teachers to start robotics programs at that school and White Plains High School.” The article notes, “An engineer with Alabama Power, one of the sponsors of Pleasant Valley’s program, advises the team on how to construct their robot,” and “students also get to meet robotics engineers at seasonal competitions.”

NASA Astronaut To Speak At Pearland, Texas High School.

The Pearland (TX) Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21) reports that astronaut Stephanie D. Wilson will speak at Nolan Ryan Junior High in Pearland, Texas on Wednesday, October 29. Wilson will be speaking as part of a partnership with The Greater Pearland Chapter of Links Incorporated, Alvin ISD students, and others as part of an opportunity “for students to be exposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” including rocket science.

Wiregrass Hosts Construction And Engineering Fair For Area Middle And High Schools.

The Valdosta (GA) Daily Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21) reports, “Over 600 area middle and high school students participated in 3rd annual Construction and Engineering Fair at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College on the Valdosta campus.” Georgia Power was listed among the “businesses that participated and brought hands on learning opportunities for the students.”

Florida District Teachers Get Grants For STEM Projects.

The Pensacola (FL) News Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20) reports that teachers in Escambia County, Florida are receiving some $64,000 in grants from the Escambia County Public Schools Foundation to support STEM projects, including rocketry, publishing, and other subjects. The article reports that Superintendent Malcolm Thomas “said the foundation grants go to fund the types of projects that benefit students but can’t fit in the school board’s budget.”

New Hampshire Team Takes STEM To Elementary School.

The New Hampshire Business Review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/21, Rajala) reports on the development of Learniverse, an episodic STEM curriculum geared toward students from kindergarten to second grade. Led by Dennis Neil Kleinman, part of the original team behind the PBS show “Reading Rainbow,” the team of education, media, and product development experts worked with the University of New Hampshire’s STEM Discovery Lab to ensure the success of the product. Following testing, the product is now ready for distribution across the state and nationally. The program, eventually available online for little cost, intends to address early learning achievement gaps. Learniverse has also partnered with New Hampshire Public Television to offer shortened eight-minute episodes while NHPTV’s website loads.

Chicago Schools To Require All Students Learn Coding Before Graduating.

CNN’s Money Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, CNNMoney) reports in three years, Chicago public high schools will require foundational computer science courses, with at least 50% of high schools offering AP computer science within five years. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the initiative in December, aimed at offering more professional opportunities to the schools’ predominately low-income black and Hispanic students., which partnered with Chicago to incorporate computer science into 25 elementary school curricula, says Chicago’s is the most comprehensive of 25 states to count advanced computer science toward math or science credit. This summer 150 teachers from roughly 30 high schools, 20 middle schools, and 20 elementary schools, took professional development courses to better incorporate computer science into classrooms.

AP Science, History Courses Slated For Major Overhaul.

US News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/20, The Hechinger Report) reports the College Board is developing new guidelines for AP science and history courses, covering fewer topics in an effort to align with the Common Core’s emphasis on critical thinking. The piece outlines national hostility to Common Core over the perception of liberal bias in education. Calls to revise the AP programs followed a 2013 Dartmouth College Psychology Department study, in which 90 of 100 students who received a perfect score on the AP Psychology exam failed the school’s introductory course’s final exam; Dartmouth no longer offers AP credit to high scoring students.

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