Leading the News
Administration Announces Plan To Start Regulating Airplane Pollution.
In a move that the New York Times (7/25, Davenport, Subscription Publication) says set off “a battle between environmentalists and the airline industry,” the Obama Administration on Monday announced a plan to “start regulating planet-warming pollution from airplanes.” The “endangerment finding” from the EPA “concludes that the planet-warming pollution produced by airplanes endangers human health by contributing to climate change.” While it does not “include the details of a regulation,” it triggers “a legal requirement under the Clean Air Act for the EPA to establish a rule.” EPA’s acting assistant administrator for air and radiation, Janet McCabe, noted that “E.P.A. has already set effective greenhouse gas standards for cars and trucks and any future aircraft engine standards will also provide important climate and public health benefits.”
The Washington Post (7/25, Dennis) reports that in an interview, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “The good news about the opportunities in the aircraft sector is that it relates to aircraft becoming more efficient. It relates to aircraft engines that will produce less pollution — not just greenhouse gases, but less [nitrous oxide] pollution and potentially noise pollution.”
The Wall Street Journal (7/25, Harder, Ostrower, Subscription Publication) reports that the EPA said it would coordinate any new regulation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a branch of the United Nations, although on Monday the agency indicated it could adopt standards that are even stronger than global standards currently used by the ICAO. The Hill (7/25, Henry) reports that environmental groups have pushed for standards that “go beyond those proposed by the United Nations board,” whereas “Republicans have resisted the regulations.” Meanwhile, the AP (7/25, Biesecker) reports that the aviation industry is pushing the EPA “to U.S. to adopt the more modest reductions proposed for international routes.”
USA Today: Clinton’s College Tuition Plan Costly, Unfair.
USA Today (7/25) editorializes that Hillary Clinton’s proposal to allow anyone from a family earning less than $125,000 a year to attend a public university tuition-free is too costly and “not particularly fair to people who’ve already sacrificed mightily to pay for higher education.” USA Today argues that the plan does not address the main factors contributing to rising college tuition, which are “an indulgence of instructors who don’t spend much time in the classrooms, money-losing sports programs, bloated bureaucracies, and massive building campaigns,” and that instead of spending more money on tuition assistance, politicians should make Pell Grants, Stafford loans, and other forms of federal financial aid conditional on colleges promising to freeze their current tuition levels.
In a response to USA Today’s position, Generation Progress Action executive director Maggie Thompson writes in an op-ed (7/25) that America’s “student debt crisis and spiraling college costs are stifling innovation and opportunity,” and that congressional inaction on college affordability is therefore “reckless.” Thompson says that Hillary Clinton’s plan to allow more students to attend college tuition-free while also assisting current borrowers in paying their students debts will “jump-start our economy.” Thompson adds that Clinton’s plan is well-rounded because it not only focuses on tuition, but includes proposals for year-round Pell Grants and on-campus child care and other programs that would make full-time college attendance more realistic for low- and middle-income students.
More Commentary. Forbes (7/25, Hopkins) contributor Jamie Hopkins writes about Clinton’s plan, which “includes a three-month moratorium on repayment, additional refinancing options, expanded income-based repayment plans, employer assistance programs, and deferment for entrepreneurs.” He concludes that such plans “contain some avenues for student debt relief, but it does not appear that refinancing alone will be enough to fix the issue. Fundamental changes will still be needed at the collegiate level to curb the staggering growth of student debt.”
Meanwhile, New America education policy analyst Alexander Holt writes at The Hill (7/25, Holt) “Pundit’s Blog” that Clinton’s plan to created a three-month moratorium on student loan payments “will likely lead to an increase in delinquencies, increased debt for borrowers, and make a lot of very angry people.” He points out that even those who are making their payments on time will automatically stop having to make payments, and that interest will continue to accrue. Holt says that such forbearance is “an option that is typically recommended for only the most struggling borrowers.”
Clinton’s College Affordability Plan Neglects Non-Tuition Costs.
The Huffington Post (7/25, Kingkade) reports that while Hillary Clinton gained plaudits from the left for her plan to offer “debt-free college,” her plan largely focuses on tuition, ignoring peripheral fees and costs, such as room and board, campus fees, and other costs. Clinton’s plan is “a start, but it wouldn’t cover the majority of the cost of college.” For students at four-year schools, tuition only accounts for 39% of total college costs.
Southern Tier Strem Program Alfred University President.
The Hornell (NY) Evening Tribune (7/25) reports Corning’s Sullivan Park research center will host Mark Zupan, president of Alfred University; Katherine Douglas, president of Corning Community College; Betsey Hale, president of Three Rivers Development Foundation; and Chris Sharkey, director of Community Affairs at Corning Enterprises as part of a panel for the Greater Southern Tier Region’s Summer STEM Academy on Tuesday. The panel will focus on questions concerning “What does it mean to be college or career-ready? What’s changed with STEM this decade? and What’s next for STEM?” The article also notes that Corning’s Christy Pambianchi will also speak at the event.
Research and Development
MIT Researchers Create 3D Movie Screen Without Glasses.
The Christian Science Monitor (7/25) reports that researchers with MIT and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science “say they have developed a prototype of a new 3D movie screen that would allow viewers to jettison the glasses, able to enjoy the same viewing experience from any seat in the theater.” The piece notes that virtual reality technology has eroded some of the popularity of 3D, but the researchers say “the new system represents a step forward for a technology that’s fascinated viewers since Life Magazine published a famous picture of a glasses-wearing audience at a 3D movie in 1952.” The system “uses a series of 50 lenses and mirrors to create a number of slits known as ‘parallax barriers,’ which shows a slightly different set of pixels to each of the viewer’s eyes, creating a sense of depth to the image.”
PC Magazine (7/25, Brant) reports that “MIT researchers are paving the way for a resurrection of glasses-free 3D technology.” The report says that “their design, called Cinema 3D and unveiled today in a research paper, is no less bulky and cumbersome than” some older designs, “but it could overcome another key limitation of the technology: narrow viewing angles.” PC Magazine explains that “Cinema 3D – designed by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science – uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3D movie from any seat in a theater.” The report says that “instead of the parallax barrier found in other glasses-free 3D technology, their design uses physical projectors that can create a 3D experience calibrated for each seat.”
TechCrunch (7/25, Etherington) has a similar report.
Researchers Push Biofuels To Reduce Airliner Emissions.
The Deseret (UT) News (7/25) reports that according to research presented this week at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, “organically produced bio-fuels could be one of the answers to the environmental challenge posed by greenhouse gases emitted around the globe by the commercial aviation industry.” The report contained “recommendations on lowering carbon pollution in commercial aviation over the next several decades.”
UND Dedicating Facility For Aerospace, Drone Studies.
The AP (7/25) reports that the University of North Dakota (UND) is opening a new 66,000-square-foot building dedicated toward “aerospace-related studies and drone research.” The article explains that Robin Hall will host UND’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems and will be managed by the Aerospace Foundation, “the private-sector support arm of UND Aerospace.” The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility will be held on Tuesday morning on the UND campus.
NSF Grant To Promote Drone Education At Virginia Community Colleges.
The Roanoke (VA) Times (7/25) reports the National Science Foundation has given the Virginia Space Grant Consortium a $899,847 grant “to train faculty to teach courses in the burgeoning drone field at all state community colleges.” The first training cohort will take place at Virginia Tech, which last year conducted “the first federally approved unmanned aircraft delivery of medicine in a rural area.”
Research: Fracking Wastewater Disposal Likely Caused Dallas Quakes.
The AP (7/25) reports a study by the Southern Methodist University published in this month’s Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors journal found that “minor earthquakes that since 2014 shook the Dallas area” were “likely caused” by the disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production and hydraulic fracturing.
Bob Mansfield To Lead Apple Car Project.
TIME (7/25, Eadicicco) reports that “Bob Mansfield, a former member of Apple’s executive team who played a role in developing key products like the iPad, is being tapped to lead the company’s car efforts.” TIME says that “before transitioning to the auto initiative, internally called Project Titan, Mansfield worked on special projects at Apple, a division that churns out products in new categories, like the Apple Watch.” Meanwhile, “Apple is also said to have hired other auto industry experts for Titan.”
Also reporting are the Wall Street Journal (7/25, Wakabayashi, Subscription Publication), CNBC (7/25), AppleInsider (7/25), Popular Science (7/25), Mashable (7/25), Motor Trend (7/25), Business Insider (7/25), andTechCrunch (7/25).
Engineering and Public Policy
Without Keystone XL, Canadian Crude Oil Export By Train Expected To Rise.
Bloomberg News (7/25, Tuttle) reports that with the demise of the Keystone XL pipeline, railways will “transport more oil than ever before.” With new oil sands projects and expansions, ARB Midstream LLC research chief Eric Peterson predicted rail exports could double by the third quarter of next year. Bloomberg casts Aprial’s 23 percent increase in exports by train, according to Canada’s National Energy Board, as “a sign of what’s coming.”
Green Groups Urge Cuomo To Move Up LIPA Vote On Offshore Wind Project.
Bloomberg News (7/25, Ryan) reports that the Sierra Club and more than 30 other groups on Friday urged New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to push the Long Island Power Authority to move up a vote on a 90-megawatt offshore wind project. A July 20 vote was canceled at the request of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which asked LIPA to wait until the state releases a comprehensive plan for offshore wind.
Report: Almost A Third Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Food Production.
Christian Science Monitor (7/25, Tozer) writes a report published by the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, with contributions from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other groups found that “food production accounts for approximately 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,” with 21 percent of those emissions due to “deforestation and land use changes that are a result of agriculture.” The report suggests that changing land management will not do “enough to reduce emissions,” instead recommending “minimizing yield gaps via sustainable intensification, reducing food waste, and modifying dietary habits.”
New York Governor Instructs State Agencies To Conserve Power.
The AP (7/25) reports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “directed New York state agencies to conserve electricity” by turning off unneeded lights and computers, as well as raising thermostats. The measures “are expected to reduce demand by 60 megawatts” as part of an effort to avoid brownouts during the ongoing heatwave.
Group Seeks To Establish Green Investment Guidelines For Hydropower.
ClimateWire (7/25, Cusick, Subscription Publication) reports nonprofit the Climate Bonds Initiative plans “to develop and publish sector-based criteria for what constitutes ‘climate-friendly’ hydropower development,” similar to those currently available for solar, wind, geothermal, low-carbon buildings, and low-carbon transport. Hydropower can give environmentalists pause due to dams’ impacts on rivers and their ecosystems, methane gas released from the rotting of organic matter in reservoirs behind hydrodams, and how reservoirs displace human and animal communities that are flooded.
Illinois District Holds STEM Camp.
The Chicago Tribune (7/25, Kambic) reports that Illinois’ Libertyville School District 70 recently held an event dubbed “Camp Intervention,” at which young students cycled through several “stations focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as history and the arts.” Stations “involved making small crickets and then attaching miniature solar panels with small motors” and “writing computer code to make motors and lights work and creating an environmentally-friendly community.”
Eatonville School District Gets Funding For STEM Education.
The Eatonville (WA) Dispatch (7/25, Jenkins) reports that Eatonville School District is one of several “recipients of a combined $4 million worth of state-affiliated grants for STEM education.” According to the Dispatch, “the grants help pay for training teachers in computer science, acquiring and upgrading technology for computer science instruction, and expanding access for students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” and recipients are required to “have a partnership with private organizations for a 1-1 match of funding, effectively doubling the state investment in computer science education from $2 million to $4 million.”
MIT News Editor Proposes Women In NASA Lego Set.
The Huffington Post (7/25, Mosbergen) reports that deputy editor of MIT News deputy editor of MIT News “has proposed a new Lego set celebrating the women of NASA” that would include five female characters “representing five notable NASA pioneers” such as Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Nancy Grace Roman, Mae Jemison, and Sally Ride. According to the Huffington Post, “in addition to the Women in NASA set, there are currently also proposals for an Amelia Earhart set, a Girls in STEM set and a number of other science-related sets featuring female characters.”
Meadowcreek School Cluster In Gwinnett County Gets $40K STEM Grant.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/25, Estep) reports that the Meadowcreek cluster in Gwinnet County has been awarded a $40,000 grant from FIRST, a STEM advocacy group, to provide “better science, technology, education and math services to underserved students.” According to the Journal-Constitution, the press release stated that “the grant will help the cluster expand its robotics and computational thinking programs, as well as Meadowcreek High’s ‘Colts to Mustangs’ program, where student interns specializing in robotics mentro elementary and middle school ‘First LEGO League’ teams.”
Also in the News
Solar-Powered Plane Completes First Round-The-World Journey.
The AP (7/25, Batrawy) reports the Solar Impulse 2 completed the world’s first round-the-world fight by a plane powered exclusively by solar power Tuesday as it landed in Abu Dhabi, where it took off in March 2015 on its 25,0000 mile journey. The Swiss-engineered plane made 16 stops across the world “without using a drop of fuel to demonstrate” the potential of the plane’s clean technologies. The plane is “uniquely powered by 17,248 solar cells that transfer energy to four electrical motors that power the plane’s propellers” and “runs on four lithium polymer batteries at night.” The plane is a single-seater aircraft, meaning its two pilots “had to take turns flying solo for long days and nights.” Pilot Bertrand Piccard said after landing the plane, “The future is clean. The future is you. The future is now. Let’s take it further.”
USA Today (7/25, Miller) notes pilot André Borschberg completed the world’s longest non-stop solo flight last July when he flew the Solar Impulse 2 on a “four-day, 21, 52-minute trip from Japan to Hawaii.”
Reuters (7/25, Carvalho) adds that the pilots occasionally braved “unfavorable weather” that “hindered smooth flying, causing the plane to be grounded for months in some countries.” The plane “cruised at altitudes of up to 9,000 meters and at an average speed of between 45 and 90 km (12.5 and 25 miles) per hour.”
Monday’s Lead Stories
• Volkswagen Suspends Sales In South Korea.
• University Of Michigan Engineering Students Defending Champs In American Solar Challenge.
• University Of Florida Engineering Student Creates Foldable Shield For Mass Shootings.
• Survey Indicates Laid-Off Energy Workers Found New Jobs, Won’t Return.
• Day: Firms Envisioning Satellite Constellations Should Read New Book.
• University Of Minnesota Conducting Science Outreach For Kids At Local Farmers Markets.