Leading the News
Boston Hosts ISS Research And Development Conference This Week.
The Boston Herald (7/5, Graham) reported that starting on Tuesday, Boston will host the International Space Station Research and Development Conference, with speeches from astronauts Cady Coleman, Karen Nyberg, and Sunita Williams. James Kirkpatrick, executive director of the American Astronautical Society, said that the conference is part of an effort to show the public what can be done at the ISS and to generate interest in conducting research there. Angus McQuilken, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, said that the ISS was “a truly unique platform for research” with “unique attributes.”
The AP (7/6) notes that as part of the event, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, along with officials from NASA, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, will award “one or more Massachusetts life science companies” a $500,000 grant to conduct research at the ISS.
Duncan Statement About Shutting Down Corinthian Colleges At Odds With Education Department Stance.
The Huffington Post (7/2, Nasiripour) reports Education Secretary Duncan told MSNBC on Wednesday that the Education Department “was ‘thrilled’ to shut down the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges,” an assertion at odds “with his department’s frantic efforts last year to save the company.” His comment also contradicts the Education Department’s “continued insistence that many former Corinthian students keep paying off their federal student loans.”
Legislation Would Aid Veterans Who Lost Money To Corinthian.
Politico (7/2, Hefling) writes that the “collapse” of Corinthian “has been a calamity for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who not only lost their chance at a college degree from the shuttered schools but also can’t get back tens of thousands in tuition covered by the GI Bill,” but there is now “a movement in Congress to bail out the veterans and give them a second chance at a degree.” However, prospects for passage remain unclear.
APSCU Set To Appeal Gainful Employment Ruling.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (7/6) reports that the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities “will appeal a ruling that upholds the US Education Department’s gainful-employment rule.” The piece reports that association president Steve Gunderson called the rule “arbitrary and capricious and in violation of federal law.” The Chronicle explains that the rule “will judge career-oriented programs on their graduates’ ability to pay back student loans.”
Washington State To Cut Public University Tuition By Up To 20%.
The Christian Science Monitor (7/2, Khadaroo) reports Washington State will cut tuition for public universities by up to 20% over the next two years, asking, “Could this be the start of a trend in college affordability?” In Minnesota, officials said tuition for the 2016-17 year will be cut by 1 percent, but “many states are still raising tuition. For those states with room in their budgets, some are opting for tuition freezes, while others are putting money back into university coffers so they can improve the quantity and quality of course offerings.” And part of the reason for the Washington cut is that “tuition there grew by 34 percent over the past five years.”
Research and Development
Johns Hopkins Students Create Pill Dispenser Designed To Prevent Drug Abuse.
The Huffington Post (7/1, Lord) reports that for recent graduates of Johns Hopkins University spent their senior year “building a device aimed at helping stamp out medication misuse among addicts,” noting that their high-tech dispenser “makes drug misuse virtually impossible” by using a fingerprint scanner and an internal timer. The article notes that the container is made of a strong steel alloy to prevent users from breaking it open.
Scientists Plan For Asteroid Threat.
USA Today (7/5, Watson) reports that scientists around the world are discussing methods of protecting earth from a devastating asteroid impact. From a conference in Italy last spring to a project in Hawaii to build early warning telescopes, the scientific community is studying several ways by which humans could avoid a natural disaster. Among them are conducting a nuclear strike to destroy the asteroid and either firing a laser or launching a kinetic impact to knock it off course. Brent Barbee of the Goddard Space Flight Center, who helped analyze the plan to use a to carry a nuclear bomb to destroy an incoming asteroid using the Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle, said, “We’re preparing ourselves in case we don’t want to take the hit. … We’ve checked that box.” Paul Miller of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory notes that an asteroid strike “is probably the greatest natural disaster that is potentially preventable by our actions.”
ESA Has “Gentler” Way To Deflect An Asteroid. The Tech Times (7/5) reports that like NASA, the ESA is developing a way to deflect an asteroid. However, unlike NASA, the ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) a “gentler…kinetic impactor,” and not a nuclear blast, to deflect an asteroid. This will be tested on Didymos, which NASA will also observe through its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART).
The International Business Times (UK) (7/6, Jayalakshmi) also covered the story.
China Sees Boom In Industrial Robots.
The Wall Street Journal (7/6, Aeppel, Magnier, Subscription Publication) reports that sales of industrial robots in China grew by 54% last year, and cites data from the International Federation of Robotics indicating that China will have more industrial robots than any other country by next year.
Engineering and Public Policy
NHTSA Will Penalize Fiat Chrysler Over Handling Of Recalls.
USA Today (7/3, Bomey) reports National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Mark Rosekind said Thursday that his agency will penalize Fiat Chrysler over its botched handling of 23 recalls involving about 11 million vehicles. Rosekind said the automaker did not notify the government about the defects. The Wall Street Journal (7/3, Spector, Subscription Publication) reports Rosekind said the penalties will definitely come by the first week of September.
Wind Farm Off Block Island To Begin Generating Power Late Next Year.
The Wall Street Journal (7/3, Kamp, Subscription Publication) reports Block Island, Rhode Island will soon be home to the first US offshore wind farm, with five windmills off its coast set to begin generating power in late 2016. The project has advanced more quickly than the much larger Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which has been delayed due to legal conflicts.
Author: Obama’s Push For Renewables Likely To Prove Vastly Expensive.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (7/6, Darwall, Subscription Publication), author Rupert Darwall noted that in a recent interview, Bill Gates argued that current renewable technologies are not the solution to reducing the US’ carbon footprint, as they are unreliable and extremely expensive. He argues that the costs of attempting to meet the President’s goal of having the US generate 20 percent of its energy through renewables by 2030 is far too high, something like $2 trillion.
Consumers Face Challenges In Seeking Renewable Energy.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (7/6, Maykuth) reported Friday that consumers face challenges when trying to choose alternative electricity suppliers to their traditional utilities. In Pennsylvania alone, the Inquirer found that residents have 45 different green power options to choose from, and only 2.5 percent of the state’s customers opted for them. Further, low electricity prices are discouraging some residents from seeking more expensive options.
EIA: US Consumers Increasingly Turning To Energy Alternatives.
The Deseret (UT) News (7/5, O’Donoghue) reports that, according to an EIA analysis, “U.S. consumers are increasingly turning to solar, wind and biomass for their energy needs, driving domestic renewable energy consumption to its highest peak since the 1930s.” Researchers found that “renewables’ share of the nation’s energy consumption hit 9.8 percent in 2014.”
Indiana CTE Programs Credited With Improving High School Graduation, Reducing College Remediation.
The Fort Wayne (IN) Journal-Gazette (7/6) reports on an increase in participation in CTE courses in Indiana schools, saying that this is resulting in “a higher high school graduation rate and less remediation needed in the first year of college.” The article notes that Gov. Mike Pence and state education officials have made career readiness “a major priority,” and reports that the state’s 160 CTE courses “range from advanced manufacturing, accounting and aerospace engineering to welding, veterinary careers and 3-D computer animation.”
The AP (7/6) reports that according to a new state DOE report, “95% of students concentrating on career and technical education courses…graduate from high school,” whereas the overall graduation rate is 90%. The article notes that Pence recently lost “an effort to change how K-12 schools receive funding for CTE courses,” but adds that the state budget earmarks $24 million a year “for investments in career and technical education pathways as well as statewide career and technical education and workforce development initiatives.”
Ohio High School Students Signed Up For STEM Programs At Local College.
The Journal-News (OH) (7/5, Poturalski) reports 270 high school students are enrolling in STEM programs at Butler Tech’s Bioscience Center in West Chester, Ohio. The students can choose between four programs: health technology, dental assisting, exercise science, and biomedical science. The organizers of the program say it is part of the broader national effort to help students explore and get into STEM careers.
Makers Week Celebrated At A Michigan Elementary School.
MLive (MI) (7/5, Moroney) reported on Makers Week, a week-long STEM event that took place at schools across the country. At a White House Event, President Obama said the week should be dedicated to citizens, businesses, and education institutions supporting people who make and build things. Students at one Michigan elementary school made bridges with toothpicks and marshmallows and other geometry projects.
Floating Classrooms On Lake Champlain Teach STEM Classes To Students.
VTDigger (VT) (7/5, Nixon) reported that since 2008, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center in Vermont has offered STEM classes in a “floating classroom” on Lake Champlain. The program serves more than 900 students per year.
Thursday’s Lead Stories
• ED’s Gainful Employment Rules Take Effect.
• Kansas State University Salina Offering New UAS Degree.
• Survey: Age, Politics Divide Americans On Science.
• Report: Tech Employees Seek Research-oriented, Low-cost Cities For Jobs.
• Domaille Engineering To Work On Space Fence Radar.
• Strict California Fracking Rules Take Effect.
• Fourth Graders Take Trip To Learn More About Marine Biology.