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

Leading the News

Apple iPhone Shipments To See First Annual Decline Says Source.

Nikkei Asian Review (JPN) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) reports that Apple’s iPhone shipments will “total 210 to 220 million this year, falling as much as 8.6% from 2015,” according to a source at a “major supplier.” This would be the first annual decline in shipments of the smartphone since it launched in 2007. A source told Nikkei that Chairman Terry Gou of Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, warned staff “that the demand for iPhones will remain feeble until at least early next year.” Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Schuetz), AppleInsider Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Fingas), and PC Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Moscaritolo) also report.

Investor’s Business Daily Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Krause) reports however, that a research note from Morgan Stanley predicts that “Apple is working on revolutionary battery and charging technologies, which along with better displays, could drive the next upgrade cycle,” adding that it expects “smartphone unit growth of 6% in 2017 and 8% in 2018,” compared to 3% for 2015 and 2016.

iPhone 7 Rumors Include Touch ID Under Display Glass, New Camera. PC Advisor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Allsopp) rounds up the rumors on Apple’s next iPhone models, including a likely release date in September, with a base 16GB model. PC Advisor notes the new iPhone is expected to have a “Smart Connector and a larger camera module,” as well as the loss of its headphone jack judging from a newly leaked image of the phone. The article also suggests the new iPhone models could come with a Touch ID sensor “built-in to the entire display, eliminating the need for a Home button.” PC Advisor notes that Sonavation announced it had developed a “way to insert ultrasonic biometric sensors underneath a Gorilla Glass display, with it still being able to read a users fingerprints,” with better accuracy for “wet, dirty, or oily” fingers than the current Touch ID set up.

Meanwhile, Ewan Spence at Forbes Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) wrote on some camera-based rumors surrounding the new iPhones, including “advanced dual-lens camera technology” from LG Innotek, which would let Apple “be seen as the first major handset to ship with the technology,” though Samsung’s Galaxy Note 6, expected to launch a month earlier, could also sport the technology. Spence says that dual-lens tech allows for “improved low-light performance, different levels of physical zoom in the lens, and the ability to use depth analysis to improve post-processing on the image.”

Phone Arena Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) reports that the iPhone 7 Pro will feature “a more powerful zoom.”

Higher Education

Virginia Tech Takes Second Place In EcoCAR 3 Competition.

The Roanoke (VA) Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/10) reports that students from Virginia Tech won second place “in EcoCAR 3, an engineering competition in which 16 schools go head to head to build the best hybrid Camaro.” The competition “challenges students to transform a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid electric vehicle. Students must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum usage while maintaining safety, performance and consumer acceptability.” The second year of the competition finished up on May 24.

Dartmouth Students Complain Of A Lack Of Faculty Diversity.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Casey) reports that after Aimee Bahng, an Asian-American English professor at Dartmouth College, was denied tenure earlier this year, a group of students and faculty concerned about a lack of diversity among the school’s faculty, “launched a campaign demanding that Aimee Bahng’s case be reconsidered” and pushing for “answers over the tenure process and launched a petition in support of Bahng that has gathered more than 3,600 signatures.”

Kansas University Ramping Up Tuition Hike Proposal In Face Of State Cuts.

The Lawrence (KS) Journal World Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) reports that Kansas University is increasing its proposed tuition increase for the coming school year from 4% to 5%, with a vote on the issue by the state Board of Regents scheduled for Wednesday. Other schools across the state also asked for higher-than-expected tuition hikes. The tuition proposals come after “Gov. Sam Brownback signed the state budget and ordered additional allotment cuts to higher education, including cuts to KU that were millions more than expected.” The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) also covers this story.

Survey: Student Loan Debt Hurting Housing Market.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Orton) reports that according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors and the nonprofit American Student Assistance, “nearly three-quarters of people who are repaying student loans say their debt is hindering them from buying a home.” The survey found that the improved financial prospects associated with a college degree are being offset by student loan debt obligations.

Commentary: Federal Student Loan Payment Options Counterproductive.

In commentary for The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Salerno) “Pundits Blog,” education economist Carlo Salerno writes about ED’s efforts “to make student loan repayment easier, from letting borrowers extend their payment terms to tying monthly payment amounts to a percent of their income.” Nevertheless, Salerno writes, some 9 million student loan borrowers are in arrears. Salerno refutes the popular notion that student loan servicers are to blame, and likewise says that a lack of ability to pay isn’t to blame. “The problem is people lack incentives to pay,” Salerno writes. He lays out the case that “giving someone who can’t pay their bills the ability to suspend their payments and pretend it never happened…ends up encouraging the very behavior it’s supposed to prevent.”

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

NSF Giving Cornell $500,000 For Telecom Data Compression Research.

The Ithaca (NY) Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) reports that the National Science Foundation is giving Cornell University $500,000 “in new funding for its telecommunications research efforts,” explaining that the money will be used “to research ways to improve telecommunications networks across the country, by boosting speeds of information transmission through compressing data.”

Newberry Volcano Considered As Site For National Geothermal Lab.

The Bend (OR) Bulletin Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, Corrigan) reports a site near the Newberry Volcano could be selected to become a national geothermal research lab. “The possibility of Deschutes County landing the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy has garnered support from federal, state and local elected officials.” The US Department of Energy “wants the proposed lab to serve as a research site for scientists and engineers to develop and test new technologies for enhanced geothermal systems.”

DOE Announces $10 Million For Efficient Lighting R&D.

CNBC Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Frangoul) reports the Department of Energy plans to invest more than $10 million in nine research and development projects on “efficient lighting.” Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said in a statement, “Solid-state lighting research and development has contributed to more than $2.8 billion in US energy cost savings over the past 15 years, and further improvements in the technology will increase those savings even more in the years to come.” He added, “By 2030, solid-state lighting could reduce national lighting electricity use by nearly half—which would equate to the total energy consumed by 24 million American homes today and could save American families and businesses $26 billion annually.”

NSA Researches IoT.

Popular Mechanics Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Thompson) reports that the NSA is “researching ways to collect intelligence, of course, and the latest target is the ‘Internet of Things,’ up to and including biomedical devices like pacemakers, according to NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett during the Defense One summit on Friday.” Ledgett “did not go into detail about how exactly the NSA will be collecting that information, and only said that the agency would be ‘looking at it… from a research point of view.’”


National Society Of Blacks In Computing Pushing For More Black Computer Science Workers.

Diverse Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) reports that the National Society of Blacks in Computing has held its first conference in Atlanta, “with the goal of increasing the numbers of Blacks in the computer science field within the academy.” The article says experts say “a lot more work still needs to be done” despite rising numbers of black computer science workers in recent years.

Global Developments

Afghanistan’s Women-Only Coding School Breaks Gender Barriers.

The Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Samadi) reports that a “new female-only coding school is helping launch a quiet revolution in Afghanistan, where computers are opening up the world to women and allowing them to escape decades of repression.” Fereshteh Forough founded Code to Inspire (CTI) in after studying at the Technical University of Berlin. The article goes on to point out that a “survey by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) found that 80 percent of Afghan women now have access to mobile technology, either through their own phone or one belonging to a family member.” And Forough is “one of the few women to join Afghanistan’s emerging technology sector.”

Industry News

Daimler Exec Promises Annual EV Sales To Reach 100,000 By 2020.

Autoblog Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Snyder) reports that Daimler’s Head of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development Dr. Thomas Weber revealed in an interview that the automaker has “plans for a wide variety of powertrains” as it prepares to invest upwards of “$8 billion in green technologies over the next two years alone.” The company’s plans include electric versions of “every single model series” of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles and a new EV with a 300-mile range to debut at the Paris Motor Show. According to Weber, a variety of powertrains, including gas, diesel, plug-in hybrids, battery electric, and hydrogen, are “a necessity.” He added that “electric mobility [sales] at Daimler will be in the six figures by 2020.”

Engineering and Public Policy

California’s Cap-And-Trade Program Faces Multiple Challenges.

In a 1,500-word analysis, the Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, Megerian, Vartabedian) reports that California’s cap and trade program “has become mired in legal, financial and political troubles that threaten to derail the state’s plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.” Unless the state acts, “the whole system could fail,” said state Senate leader Kevin de León. The Times recaps the ongoing legal dispute over the program and reports that “analysts suggested that legal uncertainty around cap and trade has damaged faith in a system that, like other markets, requires investors’ confidence to operate smoothly.”

Oregon Exploring Carbon Trading Across North America.

ClimateWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Kahn, Subscription Publication) reports that Oregon regulators are studying how to design a carbon cap-and-trade system that would link with similar programs in neighboring US states and Canadian provinces. The state Department of Environmental Quality was directed by lawmakers to study “a market-based approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions,” and the agency will begin that study with the assumption it would be compatible with the Western Climate Initiative platform. DEQ climate change policy lead Colin McConnaha said, “We believe that’s the most obvious linkage.”

Utah Governor Not Satisfied With California’s Outline For Managing Regional Power Grid.

The Salt Lake (UT) Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Penrod) reports that Utah leaders remain concerned that a “plan to centralize the management of the Western US electrical grid” would “give California undue influence over energy policy” in the region, despite a California proposal for “[guaranteeing] individual states’ authority over energy policy.” The proposal would grant the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) – “a nonprofit whose board is appointed by California lawmakers” – control of the regionwide grid with “general principles for the management of the proposed 11-state regional system operator and proposes to modify the structure of CAISO’s board” – including adding “four new members selected by other states participating in the regional system.” But Laura Nelson, energy adviser for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, said in a release, “We’re not satisfied with any of the particulars, which continue to demonstrate an unacceptable retention of control by California entities, and a discounting of the requests and needs of Utah and others states.”

Minnesota Regulators To Review Co-Ops’ Residential Solar Fees.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Hughlett) reports that complaints about high fees on residential solar systems have the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, shooting “down the co-ops’ argument that it had no jurisdiction over” the fees the state’s electric utility co-ops charge to connect to the grid, will review those charges. While the fees are intended to cover fixed costs in serving customers, the solar energy argues “the co-ops are trying to recover lost revenue, not just cover fixed costs.”

Chamber Urges Senator To Advance Conference On Energy Bill.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13, Henry) reports the US Chamber of Commerce is “encouraging senators to join a conference committee with the House on an energy overhaul bill,” saying that the bill is “crucial” and would “maximize and prolong the benefits the recent energy renaissance is producing.” The Hill adds that “the only way to overhaul those energy laws is to merge the rewrite packages already passed separately by the House and Senate,” and while the House voted to create a committee to do so, the issue “remains open in the Senate.” The Chamber’s executive vice president of government affairs, R. Bruce Josten, wrote in a letter: “The Chamber urges the Senate to move to formal conference and begin work resolving differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of S. 2012 so that Congress can expeditiously approve legislation to improve energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, overall American energy policy, and energy policy involving tribal lands.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Program Trains Teachers To Engage Students In STEM Topics.

THE Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/13) reports that the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust has partnered with CITGO Petroleum to “deliver training to teachers on how to engage their students in related STEM topics.” The Nautilus project delivers “a day of teacher professional development related to the ship’s deep ocean exploration work.”

Monday’s Lead Stories

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