Leading the News
Hyperloop Firm Partners With German Rail Operator On “Innovation Train.”
CNBC (7/28, Kharpal) reports that “Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the companies developing a ultrafast mass-transit system, has partnered with one of Europe’s largest railway operators to test some of its tech on their trains.” HTT is partnering with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, one of Europe’s largest rail operators, to implement some of HTT’s technology in a new train being developed by Deutsche Bahn.
Fortune (7/28, Korosec) reports that so-called “Innovation Train” will be a “conventional train that will use new technologies being developed for the Hyperloop,” and “will be ready for service by early 2017.” Fortune clarifies that “the new technology that HTT will add to this Innovation train will not give it Hyperloop-like speed.” Instead, HTT has developed technology such as augmented windows “that passengers will be able to interact with,” which has “the potential to increase efficiency and deliver more revenue into the coffers of Deutsche Bahn.”
Also reporting on the story are Newsweek (7/28, Cuthbertson), PC Magazine (7/28, Brant), Daily Mail (7/28, Mailonline), The Verge (7/28), Renewable Energy World (7/28), International Business Times (UK) (7/28), andReuters (7/28) briefly.
Hyperloop One Opens First Manufacturing Plant. Engadget (7/28) reports that “Hyperloop One has announced that it’s opening its first manufacturing plant to build the future of high-speed transportation.” Components for DevLoop, the first testbed for the platform, will be constructed at the plant. The location will house the “company’s new propulsion lab” and “will also be used to solve some of the more practical engineering challenges (7/6) the technology faces.” Also reporting on the story are Inc. Magazine (7/28) and The Verge (7/28).
University Of South Carolina Moving Toward Offering Cybersecurity Masters.
The Columbia (SC) Regional Business Report (7/25) reports that the University of South Carolina board of trustees has approved a proposed new Master of Science in information security course, which now awaits approval from the school’s accreditor. The school “has offered cybersecurity education and performed nationally recognized research in the field since 2000.”
ED Gives Virginia College $2 Million Educational Talent Search Grant.
The Norfolk (VA) New Journal & Guide (7/28) reports that ED has given Virginia’s Hampton University a $1.9 million grant for its Educational Talent Search program, explaining that the program “was designed to assist participants in completing high school and pursuing post-secondary educational or training opportunities.” The piece explains that the program is part of ED’s TRIO programs.
Zenith Struggling To Move Forward After Corinthian Takeover.
Inside Higher Ed (7/28) reports that Zenith Education Group, the firm that bought up some 53 former Corinthian Colleges schools after the for-profit firm collapsed 18 months ago, “has a new leader and a new $250 million endowment.” After buying the campuses, Zenith “has hemorrhaged students and money, continuing Corinthian’s struggles, minus the raft of state or federal investigations the controversial for-profit faced.” The article describes reduced revenues, dwindling enrollment, and staffing cuts at the firm.
RAND Economist Addresses Economic Implications Of Clinton Tuition Plan.
In a piece for US News & World Report (7/28), RAND Corporation economist Trey Miller writes that Hillary Clinton’s tuition-free college plan is “a well-intentioned idea that would help ensure students have greater access to higher education.” However, “almost 30 years ago, then-Secretary of Education William Bennett warned that tuition subsidies may also encourage institutions to raise tuition, since the government would foot the bill.” Miller considers ways to “encourage institutions to avoid raising costs in response to increased tuition subsidies while also enabling them to take on an – ideally large – number of new students in a cost-effective manner.” He points to efforts “to develop and implement policies to encourage greater productivity from higher education institutions, that would include faster and more efficient completion of high-quality academic degrees and other credentials.”
Author: Student Loan Crisis Overblown.
NPR (7/28) reports that “financial aid expert” and Urban Institute fellow Sandy Baum says the current student loan crisis is “bogus” and “has been manufactured by the media in search of a spicy story and fueled by politicians pushing ‘debt free college’ proposals.” Baum presents his arguments in his new book, “Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education.” In a Q&A, Baum argues that college graduates without good jobs are “very rare,” and that most graduates “do fine” financially. He says that much of the perception of a student debt crisis stems from those who take out loans but don’t complete school.
New Jersey Student Loan Agency Tells Staff Not To Mention Help Unless Asked.
ProPublica (7/28) reports that according to internal emails, employees at New Jersey’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, “the largest state-based student loan program in the country,” have been told not to tell borrowers they are qualified for “a policy to help some families if the children who were supposed to benefit from the loans die” unless the borrowers “explicitly ask.” The article notes that the program has been the subject of recent media reports because of its stringent terms impacting the survivors of students who have died untimely deaths.
Emanuel, Haslam: Both Parties Should Support Free Community College.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam write in a Wall Street Journal (7/28, Emanuel, Haslam, Subscription Publication) op-ed that Tennessee’s Promise Scholarship and Chicago’s STAR Scholarship have together helped thousands of young people attend community college and attain vocational skills. The authors argue that both major political parties should work together to increase access to higher education and reduce student debt for young people nationwide in order to make Americans more competitive in the global economy.
Research and Development
Clemson Researcher Working On Tree-Based Composites For Car Bodies.
The Greenville (SC) News (7/27) reports that Clemson University automotive engineering professor Srikanth Pilla is working with US DA Forest Service researchers on a project that “could create new biorenewable composite materials for car bumpers and fenders that could be stronger than the materials currently used.” Researchers plan to “convert trees removed during forest restoration projects into cellulosic nanomaterials — tiny strands of material, ‘20,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.’”
Florida International Researchers Test Hurricane Upgrades With Huge Wind Generator.
The Palm Beach (FL) Post (7/28) reports Florida International University researchers used the school’s Wall of Wind to “put a model home to the test Wednesday to see if hurricane fortifications make a difference when a tropical cyclone blows through.” The article calls the school’s hurricane simulator “the largest and most powerful research facility of it’s kind in the world.” The model home “didn’t even get to Category 5 winds before it blew to pieces.”
New Mexico Universities To Join Lockheed On Sandia Contract Bid.
El Defensor Chieftain (NM) (7/28) reports that Lockheed Martin will partner with several New Mexico universities in its competing bid for the Sandia National Laboratories Management and Operating contract. The partners will “play key roles in Sandia’s specialized research and development and technology transfer initiatives.” Lockheed Martin Space Systems vice president and Sandia Corp. Board chairman Rick Ambrose said that the “goal is to help the National Nuclear Security Administration further solidify Sandia’s role as a national asset by bringing in even stronger R&D partnerships, improving the national security talent pipeline and sparking small business growth through a robust commercialization program.”
Research Project Seeks To Turn Papermaking Waste Into Products.
The University at Buffalo (NY) Reporter (7/28, Nealon) reports on “five research projects funded by the University at Buffalo Community of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART).” One of the projects will explore how papermaking byproducts “can be used to create thin-shelled structures known as monocoque structures (egg shells are an example).” The article says the University of Buffalo “will partner with Georgia-Pacific, an Atlanta-based pulp and paper company with operations in Batavia, New York for this work.”
Apple Hires QNX Software Systems Founder For Project Titan.
Bloomberg News (7/28, Gurman) reports Apple has hired Dan Dodge, formerly head of BlackBerry Ltd.’s automotive software division, as part of the automobile initiative team under Bob Mansfield. Dodge’s hire signifies Project Titan’s shift in focus from designing Apple’s own vehicle to “the development of an autonomous driving system.” The company has not abandoned the effort, however, allowing options should it “eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than building a car itself.” A journalist for Next Web (7/28, Swanner) writes the Bloomberg piece affirms Project Titan is “more software than hardware,” indicating any Apple car design “would likely be a ‘proof of concept’ rather than an upstart Tesla competitor.” The writer believes “software is a smarter play” citing Apple’s CarPlay as a sign of any Apple cars’ capability. According to TechCrunch (7/28, Burns), if Apple is now prioritizing self-driving software, which the company has not yet confirmed, “Apple will be entering a field quickly gaining more players.” OEMs like Tesla and Ford are already developing autonomous platforms.
Mining Turns To Technology To Save Costs.
The Wall Street Journal (7/28, Hoyle, Subscription Publication) reports on plans to modernize mining operations through the use of motorized conveyer belts, the use of sensor-fitted UAS to create three-dimensional maps in real time, and supercomputers, according to former Boeing engineer Diane Jurgens. High-tech automations promise to lower the cost of operations by enabling companies to downsize their staff. UAS can be used to gather information on mining sites, saving expenses incurred when workers are sent by vehicle or charter plan for inspections.
Engineering and Public Policy
US To Get First Offshore Wind Farm.
Wired (7/28, Cole) reports Deepwater Wind and General Electric Renewable Energy have partnered to “build the first offshore wind farm in the United States” off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. The system, which is slated to hook up to they grid by year’s end, “could supply 90 percent of the tourist destination’s power within the next few years.” The turbines, which have taken three years to design, are built to “deal with widely variable wind conditions.” Once the Block Island wind farm is complete, Deepwater Wind plans to “push even farther out to sea with a larger wind farm called Deepwater ONE, which will provide 30 times the power of the Block Island Wind Farm.” Several other companies are moving to take advantage of the Department of Energy’s pledge of “up to $40 million to help coastal city-dwellers get their power from closer to home,” including “a floating wind farm company in Oregon.”
Potential Wind Farm Site Generates Concern Among Leaders In The Hamptons. Newsday (NY) (7/28, Harrington) reports the Deepwater Wind proposal “was to be voted on by LIPA trustees last week” but the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority “requested that LIPA cancel the meeting to complete a draft offshore wind energy blueprint in coming weeks.” Newsday adds that LIPA and NYSERDA have designated six potential wind energy areas off the New York coast, “including one that would stretch across the length of the Hamptons.” However, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he “reached out to the state to express our concerns” upon learning of the potential South Shore site. Similarly, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said, “I’m not against wind power, but they have to do it in a way that doesn’t have visual impacts to a really important scenic resource.”
Michigan AG To Bring More Charges In Flint Water Case.
The Detroit News (7/28, Livengood) reports that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette plans to announce new criminal charges today “as part of his investigation into Flint’s water contamination crisis.” Schuette’s office issued a media advisory on Thursday “to make notice that the attorney general and his special prosecutor, Todd Flood, will ‘announce criminal charges relating to the Flint water crisis’ at an 11:30 a.m. Friday news conference at the University of Michigan – Flint.” The News notes that it has been more than three months since Schuette charged Michigan Department of Environmental Quality water regulators Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby and Flint water utility administrator Michael Glasgow “with various crimes related to Flint’s water not being treated to prevent lead contamination.” Glasgow “struck a plea deal with Schuette’s office in May,” pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty “after agreeing to cooperate with state and federal investigators.”
Tribe Sues Corps Over Dakota Access Pipeline Permits.
The AP (7/28, MacPherson) reports that North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is suing federal regulators for approving part of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline between North Dakota and Illinois. The lawsuit filed Wednesday “challenges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision a day earlier to grant permits at more than 200 water crossings in four states for the Dakota Access pipeline.” The tribe argues that the pipeline would impact drinking water and sacred sites on its reservation
North Carolina Teens Compete For Scholarship Money At Navy Hackathon.
The Fayetteville (NC) Observer (7/28) reports that two dozen North Carolina teens competed for $17,500 in scholarship money yesterday in the second annual Navy Next Generation Outreach and Recruitment Initiative Hackathon at Fayetteville State University. Students competed in teams to “design a part that a malfunctioning deep space probe can manufacture on board and use to repair itself” and separately “write a computer program to help an engineer figure out how many solar cells to install in an array of solar panels to meet his power needs at a remote research station.”
Escambia County Students Take Robotics To New Levels.
WKRG-TV Mobile, AL (7/28, Nolan) reports on its website that “10 high school students from across Escambia County are taking on the tough subjects – science, math, and engineering,” and are helping “with the innovation center at O.J. Semmes Elementary, specifically, the Kid Bot Lab.” WKRG-TV reports that “later this year, these students will become the teachers, using lesson plans and experiments they came up with to teach at the elementary school.”
South Dakota Career And Technical Education Conference To Be Held At Sioux Falls.
The Hastings (NE) Tribune (7/28) reports that according to the South Dakota state Department of Education, “the 2016 South Dakota Career and Technical Education Conference will be held in Sioux Falls” beginning Sunday. The Hastings Tribune reports that during the event, sponsored by the Department of Education and the South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education, “over 300 teachers, counselors and administrators” will have the opportunity “to meet other educators and explore the best ways to prepare students for college, careers and life.”
Teens Learn Cybersecurity Using Robots.
The Lower Hudson Valley (NY) Journal News (7/28, Wilson) reports that the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation awarded a $161,000 grant to Pace University “to host a two-week cybersecurity training this summer called GenCyber for 25 high school teachers and 30 students.” According to the Lower Hudson Valley Journal News, the program aims “to expose educators and soon-to-be college students to the importance of cybersecurity in an age where companies and government agencies are becoming more susceptible to computer hacking,” and “students from five states were chosen from a pool of 130 applicants to participate in the program that requires the teens to work in teams to design and build remote-controlled water robots wired with a camera.”
Free CodeMasters Camp Introduces Minority Students To STEM.
The Miami Herald (7/28, Smith) reports that CodeMasters, sponsored by the Florida Education Fund, Opa-Locka Community Development Corp., and The Children’s Trus, this summer “offered free after-school and summer camp programs to teach middle and high school students coding and robotics” at four schools. According to the Herald, the “Florida coalition of state and local educators and business people is addressing the underrepresentation of minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”
Meadowcreek High School Receives $40,000 Grant To Expand Robotics Program.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/28) reports that For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) has awarded the FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant in the amount of $40,000 to Meadowcreek High School “to increase access for underrepresented and underserved students to STEM (science, technology, education, and math) fields.” According to the Journal-Constitution, the grant will allow Meadowcreek to “expand its robotics and computational thinking program,” as well as “the Colts to Mustangs program where student interns specializing in robotics mentor elementary and middle school First LEGO League teams.”
Thursday’s Lead Stories
• California Grid Operator Urges Power Companies To Restrict Work, Consumers To Conserve During Heat Wave.
• Moniz To Visit University Of Rochester.
• University Of Wyoming Researcher Gets NASA Grant For Combustion Research.
• Israeli Navy Prepares Third Generation USV.
• New Study Says Blind-Spot Monitoring, Collision-Avoidance Technologies Have High Consumer Ratings.
• GAO Report: FEMA, Corps Of Engineers Failed To Implement Levee Safety Guidelines.
• Tennessee Students Stress Importance Of Computer Science At NGA Conference.