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

Leading the News

Many Native Alaskans Support Shell’s Off-Shore Arctic Drilling.

Bloomberg News  (8/7, Barrett) reports that while activists opposed to Shell’s offshore oil drilling in the Arctic “invoke the interests of native Alaskans,” many native Alaskans work for oil business or depend on it. The oil industry also brings in tax revenue, and so many native Alaskans welcome Shell’s exploration. In fact, the Native Village of Point Hope, which had been the lead plaintiff in legal efforts to stop Arctic Ocean drilling, “dropped out of the suit in March and now openly supports Shell.” While off-shore Arctic drilling “raises significant questions about the limits of human engineering, the consequences of a potential oil spill, and climate change,” Rex Rock Sr., a whaling crew captain and president and chief executive of Arctic Slope Regional (ASRC), which has subsidiaries in oil-field services, construction, and information technology, said, “Shell has agreed to a lot of limits that will protect the whales and allow us to continue our traditional activities.”

Shell’s Fennica Arrives In Alaska. In a segment it broadcast at least 10 times through the day, NWCN-TV Seattle (8/6, 5:47 a.m. PDT) reported that Shell’s support ship the Fennica arrived in Alaska. NWCN briefly notes the protest in Portland, Oregon, where the ship had been for repairs. KGW-TV Portland, OR (8/6, 6:02 a.m. PDT) ran a similar segment twice.

Also providing coverage is KTOO-FM Juneau (AK)  Juneau, AK (8/5).

BSEE Inspectors Overseeing Shell’s Drilling Operations. The World Oil  (8/7) reports that two BSEE inspectors are “overseeing Shell’s drilling operations 24/7 in the Chukchi Sea to ensure compliance with federal regulations and safety standards.” They “boarded the Polar Pioneer semi-submersible and the drillship M/V Noble Discoverer last week as part of the bureau’s commitment to safe and responsible offshore energy exploration and development.”

Higher Education

College Professor Recommends Stint Teaching Middle School To Gain Perspective.

In commentary in the Wall Street Journal  (8/7, Subscription Publication), Sarah Lawrence College writing teacher Marek Fuchs relates an experience in which he and a colleague spent two weeks teaching summer school at a New York middle school. Fuchs describes how the chaotic atmosphere and challenges involved in teaching middle school students gave perspective on including all students in classroom activities.

University Of North Georgia Awarded STEM Grant From NSF.

The Gainesville (GA) Times  (8/7) reports that in July the University of North Georgia received a nearly $615,00-grant under the National Science Foundation’s Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics project, which will go toward 24 annual scholarships for freshmen “based on academic ability, financial need and full-time enrollment in eligible STEM programs.” It reports that grant funds will also be used for “improving student support programs and drawing in industry partners.”

Cooper Union Professor Redesigns Engineering Course For Millennials.

The CNBC  (8/6, Petti) website reports that Cooper Union professor Eric Lima has completely changed his freshman engineering course to suit the millennial mindset, replacing textbooks and robot-building competitions with projects to help them “understand how their ideas will come about in the world.” During an interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Lima said, “Now the professor is a facilitator and it’s an open classroom and the student becomes an expert.” CNBC notes that Lima’s course and a Cooper Union summer program “landed the college No.1 on Forbes Most Entrepreneurial College list.”

Income-Based Repayment Plans For Student Loans Will Cost Taxpayers $39 Billion During Next Decade.

Bloomberg News  (8/6, Lorin) reported the growing use of income-based repayment plans by college graduates with student loans will cost taxpayers at least $39 billion over the next decade. Out of the $1.2 trillion in student loans held by US consumers, more than $200 billion is in income-based repayment plans. The US Government Accountability Office is “opening a review of the cost of the plans following a June 19 request” from Rep. Mike Enzi.

Aldrin To Join Florida Institute Of Technology Faculty.

Florida Today  (8/7, Reed) reports that during an interview with the publication, Florida Institute of Technology President Anthony Catanese revealed that the university is “in the final stages of negotiations” for securing Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin as a research professor of aeronautics. Catanese also said that the school will establish the he Buzz Aldrin Institute “focusing on getting younger people interested in going to Mars,” adding that more details will come “very soon.” The AP  (8/7) and the Orlando (FL) Sentinel  (8/6, Speck) “Go For Launch” blog both run short articles following on Florida Today’s coverage.

Deans Pledge Diversity Efforts
Over 100 deans of engineering signed a letter pledging support for diversity initiatives. The letter was presented by University of Southern California Dean Yannis Yortsos at the first-ever White House “Demo Day.”

NEW edition of eGFI magazine
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Research and Development

Boeing, University Of South Carolina In Long-Term Research Agreement.

The AP  (8/7) reports that Boeing and the University Of South Carolina now have a “long-term research agreement” to study “new ways to use carbon fiber composite materials, finding improved techniques for fusing aircraft parts, and improving the efficiency of structures through automated manufacturing.” University President Harris Pastides said the result is not only good for the school, but could also make the state of South Carolina “a choice destination for the aerospace industry.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Pennsylvania Generating Station Faces “Final Hurdle” To Bring New Scrubbers Online.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  (8/7, Himler) reports “owners of the coal-fired Homer City Generating Station face a final hurdle” in efforts “to bring online new ‘scrubber’ units meant to reduce sulfur dioxide and other air contaminants.” The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection originally “granted approval” for the plant “to install and temporarily operate” the scrubber with a “combined limit of 6,360 pounds per hour” of emissions. However, “since then, plant officials learned…that the systems have to reach a higher operating temperature than was originally thought in order to be effective.”

NY Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit By Residents Seeking To Block Solar Farm.

Newsday (NY)  (8/7, Harrington) reports the New York state supreme court “has dismissed a lawsuit by Shoreham residents seeking to block construction” of a solar farm. Justice Joseph Farneti said in a Wednesday ruling that the residents “have no standing to petition this court to regulate the private conduct of either the developer or the land owner.” Farneti added that other than a “reflective glare,” the residents did not offer “any non-general specific injury to their property.” Garrett Gray, an attorney for developer Power of Salt Lake City, said the company will begin construction “as soon as possible.”

NYTimes Analysis: Coal Industry Already “Reeling” Before New Emissions Rules.

The New York Times  (8/7, Stewart, Subscription Publication) reports that the US coal industry is “reeling as never before in its history, the victim of new environmental regulations, intensifying attacks by activists, collapsing coal prices,” and most notably, the decline in price of alternative fuels such as natural gas. Now, the Administration has “slammed the industry with tougher-than-expected rules” from the EPA, which will “accelerate an already huge shift” away from coal.

Elementary/Secondary Education

Iowa Externship Program Gives Teachers Opportunities To Learn More About STEM Skills In the Workforce.

The AP  (8/6) reported Iowa’s STEM Advisory Council created a summer externship program so Iowa teachers could work alongside private sector employees to learn more about how STEM skills are used in different jobs. The program aims to help teachers learn how they can better prepare students for STEM careers.

College Of Southern Maryland Hosts “Engineer Like A Girl” To Teach Girls About Engineering Careers.

The Southern Maryland News Net  (8/7) reported the College of Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown Campus hosted a week-long “Engineer Like A Girl” event. The event was a partnership between military offices and several local universities that gave female high school students an opportunity to learn more about different engineering careers.

All Girls STEM Society Teaches Girls Through Workshops.

The Del Mar (CA) Times  (8/6, Billing) reported the All Girls STEM Society in central California is working to inspire and encourage young girls to learn more about STEM fields through workshops. Participants will learn how to develop websites at a workshop to be held later this month.

Aquabots Camp Teaches Middle School Students STEM Skills With Robots.

The Franklin (KY) Favorite  (8/6, Hollingsworth) reported a week-long Aquabots camp in Simpson County, Kentucky, taught participating middle school students STEM skills by working with Lego Mindstorm Robots. The camp was sponsored by Simpson County 4-H, Franklin Simpson Educational Excellence Foundation, and HARMAN.

Thursday’s Lead Stories

Warren Calls For Probe Into ED Review Of Contractors’ Military Student Loan Practices.
Through ASEE, Engineering Deans Make Diversity Pledge.
University Of South Dakota Receives Grant For Campus Supercomputer.
Piece Looks At Efforts To Draw Women Into Tech Fields.
Chinese Government To Embed Cyber Police Within Internet Companies.
Bechtel agrees to design, engineer first US-based floating LNG vessel.
Senate Panel Votes To Block EPA Rule For Power Plants.

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