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

Leading the News

Analysts Examine Apple iPhone 7 Market Potential.

Examining a Baird analyst note out on Wednesday by William Power, Investor’s Business Daily  (6/1, Seitz) says Baird’s “semiconductor team recently completed its quarterly Asia supply chain checks” and found no more iPhone “procurement cuts since March” and argued “that the low-cost iPhone SE is performing ‘modestly ahead of expectations.’” On the flip side, the supply chain checks found “initial iPhone 7 procurement is slightly below the iPhone 6S and below consensus estimates.” Baird reckons initial iPhone 7 procurement will be “at 90 million to 110 million units.”

By contrast, Business Insider  (6/1) highlights a note from BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long arguing the “iPhone 7 is actually sitting in front of a massive incoming wave of untapped sales,” due to its “largest base of existing users.” Long reckons “twenty-five percent of the ‘installed user base’ is poised for an upgrade” with “an audience of 120 million phones.”

Meanwhile, BGR  (6/1) examines the question, “What If The IPhone 7 Is Boring?” and Fortune  (6/1) explains, “Why iPhone 7’s ‘Minor Upgrade’ Must Drive Apple’s ‘Turnaround.’”

Analyst: BYOD Trend To Provide Additional Headwinds For Apple. In a May 31 research note, Elazar Advisors analyst Chaim Siegel writes that because US mobile carriers “have been pulling back on subsidized phones,” thereby forcing customers to decide whether to pay out of pocket for a mobile phone upgrade is the reason that Apple’s 6S phone “didn’t do as well, why Apple is focused on low cost phones (SE) and why ‘7’ could also be weak.” Siegel went on to say that Apple will find it “difficult to dodge” the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and, coupled with “China and global channel inventories could hinder Apple’s results before the ‘7’ launch.” Research from Elazar Advisors provided on embargo by Thomson Reuters.

Higher Education

Two Killed In UCLA Campus Shooting.

A fatal shooting on the campus of UCLA has generated significant media coverage, including major papers and the three network news broadcasts. In its lead story, ABC World News Tonight (6/1, lead story, 2:35, Muir) reported on the “two hours of terror” that took place at UCLA in Los Angeles. Authorities said a shooter took “deadly aim” before killing himself, “triggering a massive lockdown,” according to the report. The name of the shooter has not been disclosed, “but there is word of a note, possibly left behind.” ABC’s Kanya Whitworth said, “Hundreds of officers swarm the area, rifles drawn. Fears of a possible gunman on campus.” Some students barricaded “themselves inside, propping tables against doors, tying cords to door handles, using belts, anything they could find to stay safe.” Following “two hours of chaos,” police declared the shooting a murder-suicide. According to Whitworth, the police’s next step is “to figure out who this shooter is. They will be searching their apartment and scrubbing their social media accounts.”

NBC Nightly News (6/1, lead story, 2:35, Guthrie) reported, also in its lead story, that following “several tense hours this morning…two people were killed, a professor and a student in a murder-suicide police, at this hour, are still trying to unravel.” NBC’s Gadi Schwartz said there was “a huge response to reports” of the shooting, with “sights of tactical teams spreading out, looking for the shooter, and extracting students to safety.” LAPD said the “shooting happened inside an engineering building. A professor killed before the gunman took his own life.” A motive is being investigated, but Schwartz noted “the shooting scare coming right before finals, for the 43,000 students on campus.”

The CBS Evening News (6/1, story 3, 1:30, Pelley) identified the slain professor as William Klug. CBS’ Ben Tracy said the “law enforcement response to this was simply massive. You had hundreds of LAPD officers swarming this campus with automatic weapons. You had the FBI, the ATF, and 17 ambulances that were sent.”

Fox News  (6/1) reports on its website that the gunman was identified as a male, and he may have been a graduate student, according to KTTV and the Los Angeles Daily News. Furthermore, KNX radio, “citing a law enforcement source, reported that the gunman was ‘despondent’ about his grades.”

The Los Angeles Times  (6/1, Parvini, Mather, Branson-Potts) reports that at 10:00 a.m., “cellphones buzzed to life across campus, announcing that a shooting had taken place. Within minutes, thousands of students found themselves racing for cover, building makeshift barricades against classroom doors that wouldn’t lock and arming themselves with anything they could find.” The Times reports that Klug was “an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering,” who “was described as both brilliant and kind, a rare blend in the competitive world of academic research.”

The New York Times  (6/1, Lovett, Pérez-Peña, Hauser, Subscription Publication) reports that authorities are calling the shooting a murder-suicide, and that there may have been a suicide note. The AP  (6/1, Armario) reports that Klug “was gunned down in an engineering building office Wednesday,” and that the “shooter in the murder-suicide has not yet been identified, and finding his motive in killing Klug will be foremost in the investigation as it continues Thursday.”

The Washington Post  (6/1, Svrluga, Berman) reports that the campus “was reopened after a lockdown lasting about two hours.” LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck “said police could not immediately confirm the identities of the two people killed, their relationship or their roles at the school, saying only that they were both men.”

UCLA Cancels Engineering Classes For Remainder Of Week. The Los Angeles Times  (6/1) reports that Provost Scott L. Waugh said that “final exams and commencement will proceed as scheduled next week at UCLA,” and that “most classes will resume Thursday except for in the engineering programs.”

Vermont College Spending $3.6 Million To Modernize Science Facilities.

Vermont Public Radio  (5/31) reports that Vermont’s Castleton University is investing “$3.6 million to renovate and modernize its science facilities” as part of its “STEM Improvement Project.” School officials say the purpose is “to make Castleton’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics students as competitive as possible.” The AP  (6/1) also covers this story.

Student Loan Debt Preventing Entrepreneurship.

The AP  (6/1, Rosenberg) reports that college debt is preventing many recent college graduates from becoming entrepreneurs, adding that “millions of others who have been out of school for years are in the same unhappy place.” The piece puts this story within the context of concerns about the broader economic impact of “the nation’s collective $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.”

District: Free College Courses Cost Ohio Schools Too Much.

The Columbus (OH) Dispatch  (6/1, Edwards) reports that “College Credit Plus, the statewide program that lets middle and high school students take free college courses, was a hit with Ohio families in its first year.” However, school districts say it is too costly for them, and want parents who can afford it to pay some of the cost. According to the Columbus Dispatch, “the school groups – the Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials and Buckeye Association of School Administrators – want help paying for textbooks and a standardized way to compare College Credit Plus to other credit-bearing courses, such as Advanced Placement,” and “they want to be able to negotiate with colleges to set lower credit-hour fees than those set by the program.”

Rhodes Scholarship Program Announces Largest Expansion In History.

The New York Times  (6/1, Chan, Subscription Publication) reports the Rhodes Trust on Wednesday announced “the largest expansion” of the Rhodes scholarship program in its history. The program that finances graduate study at the University of Oxford will now be open to students from Ghana, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. Rhodes Trust chief executive Charles Conn said, “Our goal is to be completely a global scholarship,” adding, “There’s never been an increase like this before.” The number of scholarships will also increase from 83 to 95 per year and the number of Rhodes scholars pursuing education at any time will increase from about 220 to 250.

EDITOR NEEDED: Journal of Engineering Education
ASEE members recognize JEE as the world’s premier journal on the scholarship of engineering and engineering technology education. Read more if you’d like to be considered as the next editor.Summer Prism Now Online
ASEE members can access the new Prism magazine online. Topics include research opportunities opening up with a thaw in US-Cuba relations and proposed changes to ABET criteria, among much more.

Retention Strategies
Going the Distance” is a video showcasing effective retention strategies at six universities.

ASEE has done extensive work on retention and time-to-graduation rates over the previous several years. A good distillation was recently done by consultant Cindy Veenstra.

Research and Development

University Of Texas-Arlington Engineering Professor Creates App To Track Floodwaters.

The Dallas Morning News  (6/1) reports that University of Texas-Arlington civil engineering professor D. J. Seo “is combining data from radar and high-tech sensors as well as crowd-sourced information to help warn people about flash flooding.” Seo’s iSeeFlood app “allows people to report flooding when they spot high water.”


LANL, New Mexico Community Colleges Aim To Prime State’s Youth To Enter Lab Workforce.

The Santa Fe New Mexican  (6/1, Moss) reports that faced with a looming “exodus of seasoned employees over the next five years,” Los Alamos National Laboratory representatives and New Mexico community college presidents met in Santa Fe with US Sen. Martin Heinrich “to discuss how the state’s smaller educational institutions can better prime students for careers at the lab.” Representatives emphasized that science, technology, engineering and math programs at their schools help prepare students to enter the workforce, but many “said imbuing students with a love of science from a young age is not being accomplished at the K-12 level in the state.”

Industry News

GM Uses Aluminum, Magnesium, Carbon-Fiber In Vehicle Lightweighting Processes.

Forbes  (6/1) contributor Karl Brauer explores the ways GM is lightweighting its cars using advanced manufacturing technology, “introducing new assembly materials, and challenging its engineering team to come up with new innovative approaches to vehicle construction.” Aluminum alloy, while more expensive than steel, “is the new material of choice for most automakers” because it is “lightweight, easy to work with, durable, and more corrosion resistant than low-carbon steel,” Brauer explains. GM is also incorporating magnesium and carbon-fiber into its vehicles to lower their weights.

Analysis: Glass Industry Rebounding On Innovation And Demand.

In a 2,300-word analysis, Chemical Engineering  (6/1, Grad) reports on the rebound of the glassmaking industry precipitated by increasing “innovation and demand.” The article highlights innovation in smart glass and flexible glass, citing Corning’s “thin flexible” Willow Glass and the work of Schott AG. Corning senior research manager John Mauro said “the most successful of his company’s innovations is ‘Gorilla glass,’ a brand of toughened glass…designed to be thin, light and damage-resistant.” The glass has been used mainly “for portable electronic devices such as mobile phones, portable computer displays, and television screens.” The article also mentions Corning’s partnership with Ford to use Gorilla glass in windshields.

Engineering and Public Policy

Philadelphia Program Uses Water Absorption Installations To Keep Runoff Out Of Sewers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  (5/30, Avril) reports that the city of Philadelphia has had an agreement with state regulators for five years and “has met its target of keeping more than 600 million gallons of rain out of the aging sewer system each year” by installing “hundreds of water-absorbing ‘tools’: plant-studded green roofs, parking lots made of permeable pavement, stormwater trenches, and rain gardens such as the two on West Girard.” The article notes that “Swarthmore College is leading an effort to measure underground water pressure at various levels down to seven feet below the surface, in order to calculate how much water is getting to the water table,” while “Villanova University researchers are measuring near-surface water pressure, temperature, humidity, and other indicators.”

SMART TD Legislative Director Asks FRA About Reducing Radio Congestion.

Progressive Rail Roading  (6/1) reports SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch, in a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration, raised concern about what he called “needless radio broadcasts” that distract locomotive engineers, and cited a finding by the National Transportation Safety Board that the radio likely played a role in the engineer’s loss of “situational awareness” in the May 2015 Amtrak derailment. Risch wrote that “clearly, there is a problem out there and the NTSB has it on its radar,” adding that “some modest changes to railroad operating rules…would greatly reduce radio congestion, and we have asked railroads many times to do so, but unfortunately we have made no progress.”

Iowa Board Moves Toward Approval Of Pipeline Project.

The AP  (6/1, Pitt) reports that “the Iowa Utilities Board moved closer Wednesday to allowing a Texas oil pipeline company to begin construction in Iowa in areas for which it has landowner approval and permits.” The AP explains that the board voted “to direct its attorney to draft an order” and, if approved, it “would allow Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, to begin digging trenches and laying pipe in Iowa.” Meanwhile, the AP says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “hasn’t issued permits for about 60 plots of land at river crossings, wetlands or on federal land where historical or environmental issues could arise, but expects issues those for all but three sites by June 16.”

WSJournal Lauds High Court For Allowing Clean Water Act Challenges.

The Wall Street Journal  (6/1, Subscription Publication) editorializes in support of Tuesday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that allows legal challenges to the Obama Administration’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act, arguing that it allows those affected by what it contends are intrusive government regulations to have their day in court. The Journal calls the act one of the nation’s most abused federal laws and argues that it usually limits the scope of personal land use.

Green Groups Reject Smith’s Request For Information On ExxonMobil Climate Case.

The Washington Post  (6/1, Mufson) reports that environmental groups citing constitutional rights said they would not comply with a “sweeping request for information” from the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology led by Chairman Lamar Smith. Smith’s committee had asked for any communications that might show that eight leading environmental groups and nonprofit foundations and state attorneys general may have coordinated a legal strategy to uncover internal information about climate change that they allege ExxonMobil had concealed for decades. The environmental groups “said the request was unreasonably broad, violated their rights to free speech and free assembly, and interfered with their right to petition government officials.”

The Washington Examiner  (6/2, Antle) reports Greenpeace “blasted” House Republicans on Wednesday for what executive director Annie Leonard called a move to shield ExxonMobil. Leonard said Exxon “should be held accountable, but this letter from House Republicans seems more like an attempt to protect Exxon from scrutiny.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer  (6/1, Connelly) also provides coverage.

West Coast Officials Pledge To Work On Green Projects.

The AP  (6/1) reports that US governors and Canadian provincial officials on Wednesday pledged to collaborate on projects to reduce climate-changing pollution. California Gov. Jerry Brown joined his counterparts from Washington and Oregon, and the environment minister of Canada’s British Columbia, in the non-binding agreement “calling for a network of charging stations for electric vehicles up and down the Pacific Coast, among other projects.”

The San Francisco Chronicle  (6/1, Aleaziz) reports San Francisco, Oakland and four other West Coast cities also signed onto the pact. Under the deal, mayors Ed Lee and Libby Schaaf and their counterparts in Los Angeles; Seattle; Portland, and Vancouver “will encourage widespread reporting of energy usage in large buildings in their cities and the use of zero-emission vehicles.”

Clinton Proposes Tenfold Boost To Clean Energy On Federal Land.

The Hill  (6/1, Cama) reports that Hillary Clinton is pledging a tenfold increase in renewable energy production on federal land and water in a plan unveiled Wednesday. Clinton wrote Wednesday in the San Jose (CA) Mercury News  (6/1), “Now, as we work to combat climate change and build America into the world’s clean energy superpower, our public lands can once again play a key role in unlocking the resources we need.” She added, “We need to renew our national connection to the great outdoors, and today, I’m releasing a plan to do just that. It lays out ambitious goals that I know we can achieve, while improving our economy, our environment, and our public health.”

Construction Begins On Solar Project In Southwestern Michigan.

The AP  (6/1) reports construction of a Indiana Michigan Power solar power project has started in southwestern Michigan. IMP “says an estimated 50,000 solar panels are planned for a 35-acre site in Berrien County’s Watervliet Township.” Plans call for the project “to generate enough electricity to power about 650 homes annually.”

Sage Grouse Concerns Kill Southeast Oregon Energy Project.

The AP  (6/1) reports the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has “nixed” a significant southeast Oregon wind energy project. Last week the court ruled “that an environmental review by the Bureau of Land Management failed to adequately assess the winter population of greater sage grouse at the proposed facility near Steens Mountain in Harney County.” The project, proposed by Columbia Energy Partners, “called for 40 to 69 wind turbines and a 230-kilovolt transmission line to bring the energy to the electrical grid.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

NSBA Report: High School Grads Benefit From Right Combination Of Career, Academic Skills.

Catherine Gewertz writes at the Education Week  (6/1) “High School and Beyond” blog that according to a new study from the Center for Public Education at the National School Boards Association “the right combination of career and academic skills can pay off for high school graduates who don’t go to college, producing higher wages, and a better chance of working fulltime, than their peers who earn associate degrees or leave college without earning a degree.” The report “defines the six ingredients of what it calls the ‘high-credentials’ combination: completing Algebra 2 and advanced science, carrying a C-plus grade point average or better, completing three or more related career-focused courses and earning the accompanying professional license or certificate, and, of course, graduating from high school.”

K-12 Computer Coding Efforts Generating Interest.

Education Week  (6/1, Heitin) reports that Globaloria CEO Idit Harel in a recent Quartz article said, “The drag-and-drop coding apps and tutorials that many K-12 schools use to teach students the beginnings of code may be entertaining, but they don’t mimic the work that real computer scientists do,” adding that provides a “‘light and fluffy version of computer science’ that doesn’t deepen students’ understanding.” However, Co-Founder Hadi Partovi said Harel, whose company designs and sells computer science education programs for K-12 schools at about $75 per student per year, seems focused on his group’s Hour of Code, adding that he does not “think anybody pretends you can become a software engineer after one hour of playing.” According to Partovi, “We use the fun campaign to build interest and that interest is translated into real education.”

Saranac Elementary Kids Learning Code.

The Plattsburgh (NY) Press Republican  (6/1, Livingston) reports that Saranac Elementary school’s Coding Club after-school enrichment program, launched at the end of January, uses online tutorials and curriculum to introduce computer-programming concepts to students. According to Saranac Elementary Fifth-Grade Teacher Lisa Layhee “The website and its curriculum are completely free…and introduce children to the programming language Java Script using ‘drop-and-drag coding.’” Layhee said, “It looks very game-like, but the children have to basically program…It’s a friendly way to get these kids to learn a new language without it being forced upon them.” She notes that “the curriculum allows for ‘unplugged’ activities…so one doesn’t have to be on a computer for all the lessons.” About two-thirds of Layhee’s fifth-grade class is in the club, and kids from other grade levels have also joined the program.

Over 200 Schools Will Help City Kick Off “Computer Science For All.”

Chalkbeat New York  (6/1, Zimmerman) reports that New York City school officials on Wednesday announced that the city plans “to give all students access to computer science education will expand by 207 schools next academic year, and for the first time will include elementary schools.” According to officials, a minimum of 232 schools will provide some computer science, while “the rest will get ‘intensive’ training designed to help teachers incorporate smaller-scale lessons at their schools.” The announcement also stated that 11 schools will take part in a pilot program designed to “create a ‘junior’ version of the Software Engineering Program for elementary schools in which computer science topics are taught at each grade level.”

Similar coverage is provided by New York Daily News  (6/1, Colangelo).

Robotics Education Is Trending.

The Jackson Hole (WY) News & Guide  (6/1, Moody) reports that members of Jackson Hole High School’s RoboBroncs team of 14 sophomores, juniors and seniors took their robot to two competitions in the spring. At the Utah Regionals FIRST Robotics Competition in March, they won a quality award for design and a spot at FIRST Stronghold Internationals. To compete at FIRST Stronghold Internationals in St. Louis, the students had to program and design a robot able to complete a number of tasks. RoboBroncs Director of Videography Hunter Bakus said, “The main skills we need and have learned are related to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM education.” The Teton County School District has more than 100 students participating in FIRST.

Wednesday’s Lead Stories

Study: Students Earning Vocational Certificates At For-Profit Colleges Earn Less Than They Did Before Attending.
Western Carolina University Renaming Department To Reflect Engineering Focus.
Graphene Has Yet To Appear In Marketable Products.
IRelaunch Connects Returning Workers With Potential Employers.
Supreme Court Sides With Property Owners In Wetlands Case.
New Mexico Expands Math Curriculum To Grades Three Through Five.

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