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

eading the News

New Horizons Sends Back Signal Of Its “Triumph” At Pluto.

NBC Nightly News (7/14, story 10, 2:35, Holt) ended its broadcast with a report on yesterday’s New Horizon flyby of Pluto. At the time of the broadcast, the successful pass had not yet been confirmed. The broadcast focused on how the mission is “raising the profile” of Pluto and reigniting the debate over whether it is a planet or not. Anchor Lester Holt noted that NASA said that the Pluto flyby “completes its initial survey of our solar system.” A NBC News  (7/14, Wagstaff) website highlights Neil deGrasse Tyson’s statement from the broadcast.

The CBS Evening News (7/14, story 12, 0:40, Pelley) broadcast that the public was “invited to chat with Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science,” today about the mission.

The AP  (7/15, Dunn) reports that the spacecraft has sent back “word of its triumph,” which was not certain until NASA received the signal. John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said, “This is truly a hallmark in human history. … It’s been an incredible voyage.” The article notes that mission operations director Alice Bowman was “drowned out by cheers and applause” when she announced the mission’s success, and that both the White House, Congress, and physicist Stephen Hawking congratulated the team.

The New York Times  (7/15, Chang, Subscription Publication) notes that crowds began cheering the accomplishment early Tuesday morning when the flyby actually took place, even though know one yet knew if the spacecraft survived. As part of the day’s events, NASA also released “the newest color image of Pluto, which was sent down Monday,” which showed “five regions of distinct terrain.” The article notes that the colors were exaggerated to highlight terrain differences. With more data expected to come in through 2016, Bonnie Buratti of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, “It’s like opening up a birthday present every day from now until the end of the next year.”

USA Today  (7/14, Watson) similarly reports that there was “wild applause and hugs” when the successful signal came in, indicating New Horizons had sufficient fuel and “plenty of data” to send back. USA Today  (7/14, Watson), in another article, focused on the most recent image of Pluto, which was unveiled “to ‘Ooos’ from the other scientists in the audience.” The exaggerated colors highlight that Pluto may be “as complex and multi-faceted as scientists dared to hope.”

Higher Education

University Of Tennessee, Knoxville Quarterback A “Star” Student As An Aerospace Engineer Major.

Sporting News  (7/14, Hayes) profiles University of Tennessee, Knoxville quarterback Josh Dobbs, who is “a walking contraction to everything you’ve been told or sold about student athletes” and a “poster boy for everything the NCAA has tried to argue during its landmark litigation of fighting to keep money from players.” That’s because Dobbs, the “star quarterback,” is also a “star in the classroom” as an aerospace engineer major. The article notes how Dobbs recently completed an “elite internship” at Pratt and Whitney in West Palm Beach, where he worked on the F-135 engine, “the power for the F-35 Lightning II – a new plane that will soon be war ready.”

FastTrain College Employees Charged With Enrolling Students Without High School Diplomas.

The Miami Herald  (7/15, Vasquez) reports that FastTrain College of Miami is alleged by prosecutors to have had “recruiters, some of them former exotic dancers…drive around poor neighborhoods trying to cajole the men on street corners or at bus stops into jumping into a car for a trip to the school.” As a result of such activities, former assistant admissions director Anthony Mincey, former CEO Alejandro Amor, and a couple others “are facing criminal charges of conspiracy and theft of government money.” Among the alleged violations is “improperly enrolling students who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent.” The school’s “seven campuses were shut down following a 2012 FBI raid,” but it is “still operating” with eight campuses.

Chevron Invests $5 Million In Program To Graduate More Engineers.

Dallas Morning News  (7/13) business columnist Holly Haber writes that Chevron Corp. “is investing $5 million in an innovative new program” to meet the need for more engineers. The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy will allow “students to complete the first two years of a Texas A&M University engineering degree at” four Texas community colleges. Haber says Shariq Yosufzai, Chevron’s vice president of diversity, ombuds and partnerships, also an A&M alumnus, helped develop the program. She notes that he referred to the gap between engineer supply and demand as “frightening” and quotes him discussing the way to prosperity, which requires one to “out-innovate the competition.” He said, “Innovation happens from ingenuity, and ingenuity comes from diversity.”


Short VIDEO highlights – Maria Klawe’s plenary talk at the ASEE Annual Conference
The President of Harvey Mudd addressed diversity issues.

VIDEO Interview with President Joe Rencis
The new ASEE President discusses the next Society year.

Coverage of Boeing CTO John Tracy’s talk on Geekwire
What I look for in hiring recent grads.”

Research and Development

University Of New Mexico, Sandia Sign Agreement.

In continuing coverage, the AP  (7/15) reports that the University of New Mexico and Sandia National Laboratories have signed an agreement to cooperate on research and recruiting projects. The research will focus on “quantum computing and information science, nanoscience and microsystems engineering, nuclear engineering, high energy density science, energy, water, cybersecurity and bioscience for national security.”

IBM Announces Partnership With Nvidia For Work At National Laboratories.

The Federal Computer Week  (7/14) reports that an IBM announcement on July 13 stated that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will support work by IBM and technology provider Nvidia to develop “supercomputing centers of excellence” that will “enable advanced, large-scale scientific and engineering applications for various DOE missions.” The article notes these centers will revolve around the Summit and Sierra supercomputers that will be delivered to Oak Ridge Lawrence Livermore respectively.

The Techgage  (7/15, Williams) reports the Summit and Sierra “are expected to be installed in 2017” and operational by 2018. The article notes the fields the supercomputers will work on include “energy, climate research, cosmology, biophysics, astrophysics, medicine, and national security-related interests.”

DOE Grant Provides Funding For Research Partnership On Inductive Car Charging.

USA Today  (7/15, Woodyard) reports that Hyundai-Kia is part of the growing list of automakers “testing so-called inductive charging,” as well as Mercedes-Benz, GM, and Tesla. Using “a $4.2 million grant from the Department of Energy,” Hyundai-Kia and Mojo Mobility are “testing various techniques” for inductive charging, which would allow for “wireless electric car charging.” Mojo CEO Afshin Partovi comments that Mojo is “delighted to partner with Kia and the U.S. DOE to bring the cutting-edge capabilities of our position-free wireless charging systems, which allow greater flexibility for vehicle alignment with the charging surface, to Kia Motors’ electric vehicles and accelerate their adoption and ease of use for consumers.”

Engineering and Public Policy

SCE Issues RFO For Renewable Energy Under Solar Photovoltaic Program.

Power Engineering  (7/15) reports that Southern California Edison has made a Request for Offers for 27 megawatts of “renewable electricity from independent power producers” for its Solar Photovoltaic Program (SPVP). Edison’s Vice President of Energy Procurement & Management Colin Cushnie stated the RFO is the “fifth round of SPVP procurement continues SCE’s ongoing commitment to provide our customers with emissions-free energy. We look forward to receiving offers from across our service territory and continuing progress toward California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard goal of delivering 33 percent renewable power by 2020.”

House GOP Leaders Look For Short-Term Transportation Funding Fix.

The Washington Times  (7/15, Howell) reports that “key” House Republicans have filed a bill to extend federal highway funding for five months after its current July 31 expiration. House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan and Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster are looking to buy “enough time to fund the six-year bill that both parties want.” The pair “said extending the federal Highway Trust Fund through Dec. 18 will cost $8 billion and is paid for by beefing up tax compliance and capturing the savings from a 2013 increase in airport security fees for another two years.”

Report: Power Plant Emissions In Decline.

The Hill  (7/15, Henry) reports that a study released Tuesday by the sustainability group Ceres found that carbon emissions “fell by 12 percent from 2008 to 2013” but “are still significantly higher than they have been historically.” Ceres president Mindy Lubber said in a statement that “To level the playing field for all utilities, and achieve the broader CO2 emissions cuts needed to combat climate change, we need final adoption of the Clean Power Plan.” The Fuel Fix (TX)  (7/14, Blum) reports that Texas emits the most out of the states, but emissions rates are higher in Kentucky, Wyoming, West Virginia, Indiana, and North Dakota. The study was sponsored by power companies that rely “much more on natural gas-fired and nuclear power plant production.”

McCabe: EPA Regulation Is Fulfilling The Clean Air Act.

In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal  (7/15, McCabe, Subscription Publication), EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe responds to the Journal’s July 7 editorial criticizing the agency’s environmental regulations, saying that action taken by the EPA is fully in line with the scope of the Clean Air Act and has improved public health while the economy has grown. She writes that the Clean Power Plan has been subject to an extensive public process and that using legal maneuvers to destroy it would be a disaster for American public health.

LA County Board Votes To Ban Large Wind Turbines From Unincorporated Areas.

The Los Angeles Daily News  (7/14, Favot) reports that on Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors “unanimously approved a draft Renewable Energy Ordinance” that would “ban utility-scale wind turbines in unincorporated areas of the county,” implement standards on large-scale solar arrays, and incentivize certain small-scale renewable projects. The articles notes that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has voiced opposition to a portion of the proposal that “would require transmission lines to be placed underground.”

Connecticut Town Hopes To Find Private Partner For Hydropower Project.

The Hartford (CT) Courant  (7/14) reports that Canton, Connecticut “will make a second attempt at finding a private partner” for the Farmington River hydropower project, “this time with one of three companies that recently submitted proposals.” Canton’s First Selectman Richard Barlow said the town should “move this along as expeditiously as possible,” as Canton has “asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reprocess its license for this project and we are developing a lease on the dam with the state. Hopefully, all this can be brought together in the next two to three months.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Arizona District Implementing ED-Funded Summer Math Class.

The Nogales (AZ) International  (7/15) reports that the school district in Santa Cruz County, Arizona is holding a week-long summer class “to teach math by using measuring tools and other hands-on activities.” The class is employing the MetroMatematicas program, which is being funded by an ED grant worth $1.25 million. The piece notes that the program was developed by former Ford Motor Company engineer Nahum Correa.

Cisco Funds Program To Teach Arizona Students How To Be Tech Gurus.

The Yuma (AZ) Sun  (7/13, Womer) reported a $75,000 grant from technology company Cisco is funding a program that will train about 80 students in Yuma, Arizona to become “go-to technology gurus” for their schools. The grant is part of a larger $5 million “commitment from Cisco over the next three years to provide training, technology, equipment and software for Yuma schools.”

Dallas Program Will Train Teachers How To Be Better STEM Instructors.

THE Journal  (7/14, Hart) reported the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has organized the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute to teach “nearly 130 teachers at every stage of their careers” how to better “instruct their students” in STEM fields. The program is “funded in part by a $450,000 grant from Kosmos Energy, an oil and gas company, and $150,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Science.”

Department Of Defense Educators Will Receive Training On New Math Curriculum.

The Stars And Stripes (DC)  (7/15, Svan) reports the “Department of Defense Education Activity is investing millions of dollars to ensure its educators understand and are prepared this fall to teach new math standards to its youngest students.” The University of Texas at Austin Charles A. Dana Center will provide on-site training to DODEA educators.

Tuesday’s Lead Stories

New Horizons Reveals Pluto’s Size One Day Before Historic Flyby.
ED Reaches Deal With Corinthian Students To Suspend Student Loan Collections.
Reaction Engines Reveals How Skylon Engine Works.
University Of Louisville, UL To Partner On Manufacturing.
NHTSA Could Investigate Lexus For Alleged Faulty Acceleration.
Apprenticeships Emerging As New Path To Employment.

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