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

Leading the News

Silicon Valley Consultancy Proposes New Coding Boot Camp Accreditation Model.

The Chronicle of Higher Education  (11/12) reports that Silicon Valley consultancy firm Entangled Solutions “is proposing a new model for assessing educational quality.” The firm “calls for evaluating traditional institutions and other education providers based on students’ opinions of the programs once they’ve left, and on ‘valid, reliable, and appropriate’ tests of student learning.” The piece reports that the model “is designed for coding academies and other educational providers seeking to be part of a U.S. Department of Education experiment that will allow federal student aid to flow to ventures that operate in partnership with accredited colleges.”

Inside Higher Ed  (11/12) reports that ED recently announced that it “will allow a handful of nontraditional providers – including boot camps and online course providers – to team up with accredited colleges on academic offerings that will be eligible for federal financial aid.” Entangled Solutions “said this week that it is seeking to be one of those quality-assurance entities.”

Higher Education

Murray Bill Would Ease Financial Aid Rules For Homeless Students.

The Washington Post  (11/13, Douglas-Gabriel) reports Sen. Patty Murray has “reintroduced legislation to end financial aid requirements that ask students to verify their living situation every year and supply documentation stating they’re homeless.” Last year, 56,000 college students “identified as homeless on the federal financial aid application,” and advocates “say the number is likely higher because many students are not filling out the form.” Murray said, “For many students, higher education can be a ticket to the middle class, so it is vitally important that students from all walks of life have the chance to go to college, further their education, and succeed.”

Billionaire David Geffen Donates $100 Million For New Private School At UCLA.

The Los Angeles Times  (11/12) reports billionaire David Geffen is donating $100 million to UCLA to create a private school for students in sixth to twelfth grade. The UCLA Lab School currently educates many elementary school children of UCLA faculty, but the new school will allow children to receive a middle school and high school education at UCLA as well.

Opinion: Baby Boomers Are Ending Higher Education As An American Equalizer.

Jeffrey J. Selingo, a regular contributor to the “Grade Point” blog on The Washington Post  (11/13, Selingo) writes that many Baby Boomers benefited from the Higher Education Act, which helped many people attend college who otherwise would not have been able to attend. Selingo argues that now the same people who benefited the most from the Higher Education Act are dismantling its ability to be an equalizing force by cutting state aid to public universities and colleges thereby driving up tuition across the US. Selingo outlines how higher education is once again a divisive force in the US dividing the haves from the have-nots.

New Software Engineering School Recruits More Famous Mentors From Tech Industry.

Fortune  (11/12, Darrow) reports the nontraditional Holberton School for software engineers has recruited two more “industry heavyweights” to be mentors at the school: IBM CTO Jerry Cuomo and Symfony founder Fabien Potencier. They join other mentors from Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and other big companies. Holberton aims to train the software engineers of the future by focusing on problem-solving and projects, rather than traditional degree work. Holberton will operate in San Francisco and is expected to have an inaugural class of only 32 students after receiving more than 1,000 applications.

Six Virginia Community Colleges Received Grants To Increase Career And Technical Education Classes.

On its website, WSLS-TV  Roanoke, VA (11/12, Zibton) reports six community colleges in Virginia received grants, which will allow more students to take career and technical education classes. A spokesperson for Virginia Western community college said the grants will help students gain credentials and licenses in a wide variety of fields, such as manufacturing and welding, because federal financial aid does not cover such courses.

October Prism Now Online – Members Only
Cover story – A sprawling telescope array has made South Africa a world leader in radio astronomy and produced a pipeline of specialized engineers.

The Best Part of ASEE Membership
Members weigh in in this short video from the Annual Conference.

Transforming Undergraduate Eduction in Engineering
Read the first report of this multi-phase project.

Research and Development

University Of Texas Researchers Developing Positron Beam Testing Facility.

Chromatography Techniques  (11/13) reports, “Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are developing a next generation positron beam facility that will enable them to analyze the properties of advanced materials” that could be used in “ultra compact high-speed computers and ultra small high-powered batteries.” Researchers are focusing preliminary efforts on graphene. The project was funded by a NSF Major Research Instrumentation Development Grant.

Researchers Engineering New Material To Filter Salt Out Of Seawater.

Business Insider  (11/13) reports that US researchers have found a “new, markedly more energy-efficient way of taking the salt out of seawater.” The researchers are developing a new material, “a nanometre-thick sheet of polybdenum disulphide (MoS2) riddled with these nanopore holes,” that models show can filter “high volumes of water” by passing it “through extremely tiny holes called ‘nanopores’ while blocking salt and other contaminants.” The lead researcher, University of Illinois professor of mechanical science and engineering Narayana Aluru noted, “If we could find a low-cost, efficient way to purify sea water, we would be making good strides in solving the water crisis.”

University Of Connecticut Announces Limb Regeneration Research Project.

Hartford (CT) Business Journal  (11/12) reports the University of Connecticut announced a new research challenge called The Hartford Engineering a Limb (HEAL) Project. The university aims to regenerate a human knee within 7 years, and then regenerate an entire leg within 15 years. The project will be led by Cato T. Laurencin, a leading orthopaedic surgeon at the university. The project will be partially supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Global Developments

Chinese Scientists Create Ultra-Thin Radar Absorbing Material.

UPI  (11/12, Maass) reports that scientists at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China “have developed new material that can help fighter jets avoid the most advanced radars.” The material is almost 10 times thinner than other, similar microwave absorbing materials. The research “suggests the newly-developed material could surpass the stealth capabilities of Lockheed Martin’s F-35, which has stealth technology that may not be too effective against ultrahigh frequencies.”

The International Business Times  (11/13) also covers the story.

Japan Changing The Way It Calculates R&D Spending.

Bloomberg News  (11/12, Ujikane) reports Japan is planning to make changes to help “boost its gross domestic product – at least on paper – by accounting for research and development spending on such things as robotics technology and new cancer drugs.” The piece explains that, “while this won’t come soon enough to affect GDP data next week that may show Japan entered its second recession since Shinzo Abe took office, the changes set for late next year could help the prime minister move toward his goal of expanding the economy by 20 percent to 600 trillion yen ($4.88 trillion) over five years.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Cuomo Rejects Proposed Natural Gas Project.

The New York Times  (11/13, Santora, Subscription Publication) reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday rejected a bid by Liberty Natural Gas to build an in-state liquefied natural gas project known as Port Ambrose, explaining that the “potential for disaster…during extreme weather or amid other security risks is simply unacceptable” and those risks “far outweigh any potential benefits.” Cuomo added that the project could “have an immediate negative effect on the squid and scallop industries” and could have conflicted with the New York Power Authority’s proposed offshore wind farm. Liberty’s Chief Executive Roger Whelan said the company was “disappointed and very surprised” by the decision.

The Hill  (11/13, Henry) reports Liberty Natural Gas “had hoped to invest $600 million into the Port Ambrose project, which would have pumped an average of 400 million cubic [feet] of natural gas per day into area gas pipelines.” Environmental groups praised Cuomo’s decision yesterday. The AP  (11/13, Balsamo, Klepper) reports Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito said, “Today, Gov. Cuomo has closed the door on the antiquated energy policies of the past and opened the door for a meaningful renewable energy future.”

Bloomberg News  (11/12, Loh) reports projects like “Port Ambrose require the approval of governors in adjacent coastal states under the Deepwater Port Act” and “in this case, both Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would have had to signal their approval – or simply stay silent – for Port Ambrose to obtain the necessary deepwater port license.” The Albany (NY) Times Union  (11/13) reports the veto of the terminal “could add more impetus to several massive natural gas pipeline projects seeking to carry hydrofracked natural gas through the state from neighboring Pennsylvania.”

Montana Gov. Creates Clean Power Plan Advisory Board.

The AP  (11/13) reports that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed an executive order creating the interim Montana Clean Power Plan Advisory Council to help sign the state’s compliance. Bullock aims to strike a balance between that state’s fossil fuels and renewable energy resources and the appointees to the advisory board “will have a record of focusing on solutions, rather than divisions,” the AP reports.

Cheap Polysilicon Aiding Solar Power Boom.

Bloomberg News  (11/13, Martin) reports the price for polysilicon, which is the key ingredient in solar cells, has “dropped to a record low amid a supply glut that won’t end soon.” Bloomberg New Energy Finance compiled data shows that there is so much polysilicon “on the market that suppliers including Europe’s Wacker Chemie AG, Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. in the U.S. and South Korea-based Hanwha Chemical Corp. are losing money at spot prices that reached $14.76 per kilogram this month, down 31 percent in the past year.” The glut “is unlikely to ease with polysilicon manufacturers reluctant to curtail production because demand for solar power is surging, said Jenny Chase, lead solar analyst at New Energy Finance.”

Oil-By-Rail In The Northwest Considered As Alternative To Keystone.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer  (11/12, Connelly) reported that “rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Obama has the oil industry, already buffeted by plummeting oil prices, scrambling for an alternative pipeline or an alternative to pipelines.” An Oil Change International report, commissioned for independent research group Sightline, “predicts that rail transport to the Northwest could unlock up to 382,000 barrels a day of new tar sands oil that would otherwise not be extracted.” The Post-Intelligencer says the “politics of transporting oil has become a continent-wide chess game,” and “potential moves” include the “major oil-by-rail terminal projects…proposed for the Northwest,” with Shell’s refinery in Anacortes “proposing a major expansion of its ability to receive oil by rail.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Latino Youth Summit In Washington DC Includes Latino Student Science Fair.

NBC News  (11/13) reports Latino students from across the US attended the Latino Youth Summit in Washington DC last month. Julian Martinez from Florida completed a science project on how to create energy from mud, which he presented at the Latinos in Tech Innovations and Social Media (LATISM) conference at the event in the nation’s capital. Ana Roca Castro, the founder of LATISM, was inspired to start the conference after she attended the National Science Fair earlier this year and realized that not a single Latino student was there.

Thursday’s Lead Stories

World’s Fastest 3D Printed UAV Debuts At Dubai Airshow.
New $120 Million Engineering Student Housing Being Built At Arizona State University.
Georgia Tech Researchers Catalog How Animals Clean Themselves.
Increasing Coal Plant Permits Spark Doubts About China’s Energy Priorities.
WSJournal Analysis: With Keystone Rejection, Obama Missed An Opportunity.
Connecticut’s New Education Standards Prioritize STEM Skills.

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