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


Leading the News

US Army To Begin Testing GM Hydrogen Fuel Cell Battery-Powered Pickup Truck.

Popular Mechanics Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Thompson) reports General Motors on Monday unveiled its Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered pickup truck developed by GM and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center for the US Army’s field operations. The Army will over the next year test the pickup in various conditions.

TechCrunch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Etherington) says the testing conditions will include “near-silent operation,” “reduced acoustic and thermal signatures,” “high wheel torque at all speeds,” “low fuel consumption across operating range,” and “water by-product for field uses.” The Army’s goal is to determine the extent to which hydrogen fuel cells improve real-world military operations situations and will examine the vehicle’s quietness, coolness, and ease of detection by both humans and instruments.

PC Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Moscaritolo) explains that the ZH2 has an Exportable Power Take-Off unit that grants the fuel cell the ability to power away activity from the vehicle in remote areas where electric power is scarce. In a statement, TARDEC Director Paul Rogers explained, “Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further.”

Higher Education

ED Scheduled To Issue Guidelines For Loan Relief For ITT Students.

The Indianapolis Star Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Briggs) reports that ED is scheduled to release guidelines on how former students who were defrauded by their colleges can get Federal student loan relief on November 1. The piece explains the borrower defense to repayment process and says “new rules could open a door to loan forgiveness for students who graduated from or dropped out of” ITT Educational Services schools that were recently shuttered, though ED is “offering no assurances.” The piece quotes Under Secretary Ted Mitchell saying, “Our first priority is to protect students and to help students displaced by ITT’s closure find a path forward.”

Politico Morning Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3) reports that ED officials are working “to finish a new system of loan forgiveness aimed at better handling a flood of claims by students who say they were conned by massive for-profit colleges,” adding that the department faces “mounting pressure to provide quicker relief after two of the largest college chains have crumbled.”

NSF Awards $1.1 Million Grant To Murray State University.

KY Forward Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3) reports that the National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.1 million grant to Murray State University called “Upper Delta Region Biodiversity Scholarship Program.” The granted is for supporting “graduate and undergraduate students with stipends/scholarships and travel to research sites, professional meetings and a multi-day summer institute in biodiversity science and natural history collections management.” The students conduct research at the University’s herbarium, which has about 34,000 specimens. They will “will work in teams on biodiversity-related research projects in the upper delta region, which includes the greater Mississippi Valley from central Arkansas through southern Illinois, including western Kentucky.”

NSF Awards $3.5 Million Grant To STEM-Based University Alliance.

The Hartford (CT) Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Daddona) reports that the Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NELSAMP), which includes UConn, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, University of Rhode Island, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, have received a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation “to continue developing a pipeline to increase the number of underrepresented students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.”

NSF Awards $1 Million Grant To Canisius College.

The Buffalo (NY) News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3) reports the National Science Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Canisius College in support of the school’s “Science Scholars program, which provides financial, academic and social support to students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

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Research and Development

Lenovo Teams With Intel, Synaptics, PayPal To Develop Biometric Security.

The Upstart Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Ohnesorge) features an interview with Joe Pennisi, the engineer leading security strategy for Lenovo’s PC group in the Research Triangle in North Carolina. The article explains Lenovo has partnered with Intel to use its on-chip hardware security to develop “Synaptics’ biometric fingerprint sensors to replace passwords for logging onto certain services such as PayPal.” Pennisi highlighted cybersecurity concerns, saying, “The password problem has continued to get worse. And even without hackers,” passwords are “hard to remember and you have to remember so many of them. But it’s hard to forget your finger.”

Europe, US Making Progress On Harmonization Of Air-To-Ground Aircraft Data Comm.

Avionics Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Bellamy) reports officials with the FAA and the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) attended the Avionics for NextGen 2016 conference where they discussed the progress being made in trying to harmonize commercial air-to-ground aircraft data communications for operators flying between the US and Europe. Brent Philips, a senior systems engineer for the FAA, said that their strategy centers around “three major principal elements, including” the applications, the networks, and the physical links. Avionics Magazine adds that Philips expects “to have the air-to-ground data communications harmonization strategy finalized by the end of the year.”

NBC News Analysis: Satellites May Be Next Cybersecurity Battleground.

NBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Newcomb) analyzes the possibility that space may be the next cybersecurity battleground. Jeff Matthews, director of venture strategy and research at the Space Frontier Foundation, says, “Space allows for some very unique business-use cases and opportunities,” but “we have to be very aware about the information security side up in space and down here.” NBC News says that many of the “mundane…things we rely on, from GPS to making a credit card transaction,” could be affected if hackers targeted satellites. Chatham House recently released a report on space cybersecurity, saying the issue has “remained largely unrecognized as a potentially significant vulnerability.” The report recommends the creation of a “international space and cybersecurity regime” to defend space structures from cyberattack.

Tech Giants Join Together To Advance Public’s Understanding Of AI Technologies.

Entrepreneur Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Kochar) provided additional coverage on a non-profit research organization – led by Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft – whose goal is to “advance public understanding of artificial intelligence technologies and formulate best practices on the challenges and opportunities within the field.” Entrepreneur Magazine adds that the “organization’s founding members will each contribute financial and research resources to the partnership and will share leadership with independent third-parties, including academics, user group advocates, and industry domain experts.”

DOE Awards Georgia Tech’s Rohatgi Funds To Develop Efficient Solar Cell Technology.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Subscription Publication) reports Georgia Tech’s Ajeet Rohatgi has received a $1.25 million award from DOE to develop manufacturable silicon cell technologies to above 22 percent efficiency through the “use of passivated selective emitter and selective back surface field contact geometries,” according to a statement. “Rohatgi was named one of the 19 funding recipients in the Photovoltaics Research and Development Program as part of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s SunShot Initiative, according to a Georgia Tech statement.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Deal Being Neared On Global Aircraft Emissions Rules.

The “Morning Energy” blog of Politico Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3) reported international negotiators are nearing “the first-ever global rules for carbon emissions from commercial aircraft.” This week at the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, “delegates are pushing a multi-pronged approach that includes promoting the development of aviation biofuels and more efficient aircraft operations, setting a carbon standard for aircraft built after 2020 and creating a cap on emissions at 2020 levels that would require airlines to buy offsets in a global market if they exceed that threshold.” The blog added “a draft carbon standard for engine emissions that emerged in February is expected to be finalized” in March of next year, “and market-based measures to further curb emissions growth are likely to be approved this week at the ICAO assembly.”

Oklahoma, Arkansas Governors Discuss Wind Energy Transmission Project.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3) reports Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin “agreed when they spoke Monday at the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission’s annual conference that energy policy needs to be included in the national political debate.” The two governors, however, disagree on the “controversial” Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project, which “is designed to move wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to western Tennessee.” Fallin supports the project. The congressional delegation from Arkansas “came out against the transmission line plan earlier this year, saying the federal approval through the infrastructure-improvement Energy Policy Act of 2005 bypassed state regulators.” Hutchinson has yet “to take a position on the project, saying he would work to make sure Arkansans received some energy production benefit from it.”

Rooftop Solar Projects On The Rise In Some NYC Neighborhoods.

E&E Publishing Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Subscription Publication) reports New York City has seen an increase “in the number of both solar projects and installers.” The number of “solar installers in the city increased to about 55 in 2015 from five in 2005.” According to state officials, “the number of residential projects across the five boroughs has risen to more than 5,300 this year from 186 in 2011” and another 1,900 are in the pipeline.

DOE Report: Costs Fell For Five Key Clean Technologies.

The Guardian (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Nuccitelli) reports, in continuing coverage, on a new DOE report on development of five clean energy technologies, which “paints a bright picture for our prospects to cut carbon pollution and prevent the most dangerous levels of climate change.” According to the report, recent changes in costs and deployment of wind, residential solar, utility-scale solar, batteries, and LED bulbs costs fell between 41% and 94% from 2008 to 2015. “The report finds that due to its low cost, US wind energy capacity has nearly tripled since 2008. Wind now supplies nearly 5% of total US electricity generation.”

Oklahoma Limits On Disposal Wells Reduce Earthquakes, Affect State Economy.

The Norman (OK) Transcript Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Stecklein) reports that while “limits on disposal-well operations” have reduced the number of earthquakes in Oklama by 40 percent since June 2015, the state’s economy is feeling the effects. Kim Hatfield, a member of Gov. Mary Fallin’s Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity and president of Crawley Petroleum observed that “oil and gas companies are shutting rigs, cutting jobs or turning to new locations inside and outside the state.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

National Academy Of Engineering Official Praises Virginia School’s Unique Take On STEM.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/30), National Academy of Engineering Director of Communications Randy Atkins laments that the presidential candidates are ignoring “a new and slowly building educational movement…aimed at creating leaders who focus on goals such as securing cyberspace, preventing nuclear terrorism, engineering better medicines and developing clean energy.” Atkins says that schools should be encouraged to “come on board” to “create not only the engineers we need to shape our future but also the thought leaders who can move our country forward in the tradition of American innovation and change the generally sorry state of today’s political discourse.” Atkins singles out Fairfax County Public Schools’ Edison High School for praise, writing that “an eager group of ninth-graders is just starting a potentially revolutionary program” based on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges for Engineering. Students, he writes, “are using a groundbreaking interdisciplinary approach to focus on access to food.”

Oklahoma District Among First In State To Launch Maker Spaces.

The Oklahoman Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3) reports that Ohio’s Clinton Public Schools is among the first districts in the state “to equip its sites with maker spaces — and in the process, redefine how children approach learning.” The piece describes the maker space lab at a local elementary school, and explains that “maker spaces are creative laboratories that stress the value of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), where children are encouraged to build, tinker and explore.”

Boston Middle Schoolers Spend Week Immersed In STEM Topics.

The Boston Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/3, Quintana) reports that “36 Boston schools being transformed this week into learning labs focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math.” The Globe says that “6,500 middle schoolers in the city’s public schools are immersing themselves in STEM study, at a time of increased demand for proficiency on those fields in the working world.” The paper explains that the program, developed by leading STEM organizations, including MIT, “i2 Learning, and MathWorks, focuses on hands-on activities so students can learn in a way they wouldn’t ordinarily experience in a classroom.” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “Our students are going to be tackling real-world problems, experiencing how STEM education can help their day-to-day lives. … We’re committed in Boston to be leaders of STEM education for all our students in our city.”

Monday’s Lead Stories

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