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

Leading the News

FAA Bans Galaxy Note 7 Phones On Planes Over Fire Hazard.

There is extensive coverage of the new Federal ban on bringing Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones onto planes, announced Friday by FAA, mostly neutral in tone and focused on the demonstrated safety risk of bringing the devices aboard aircraft.

ABC World News Tonight (10/14, story 5, 1:35, Muir) broadcast that the announcement of the “emergency ban” came on the same day as a related announcement from airlines that “some planes are now being equipped with an emergency kit if the phone catches fire” after being brought on board by mistake. Furthermore, “anyone who violates this ban could face up $180,000 in fines, or up to 10 years in prison,” ABC World News added. The CBS Evening News (10/14, story 8, 0:10, Quijano) broadcast that Friday’s announcement follows an announcement earlier this week from Samsung that the Note 7 would be “discontinued” due to the defect with the lithium ion batteries. ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) also reported online, along with video posted to the ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) website.

NBC Nightly News (10/14, story 4, 1:35, Holt) broadcast that the ban means “No carrying one on board, not in checked luggage, and not in a carry-on bag.” To date, the broadcast continued, there have been “more than a hundred fires involving the Note 7, including a fire on this Southwest plane last week.” In addition to airlines no longer permitting the Note 7s on board planes, “both UPS and FedEx” also announced they would stop shipping the devices by air. NBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) also reported online, as did another NBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) story. CNBC Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) also reported online.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Tsukayama) reports that Transportation Secretary Foxx stated, “We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” but “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Cameron, Subscription Publication) reports that Foxx commented that passengers violating the ban will face punishment in addition to having their phones confiscated. Although airline staff and TSA agents already saying they will not specifically search for the devices, some in the industry are promising further action will be taken, with Emirates Airline President Tim Clark stating the Note 7s “are clearly dangerous items to carry on airplanes and the industry is moving to ensure that they are not allowed in the cabin, or the hold.”

Airlines Add New Safety Measures To Go With US Flight Ban On Galaxy Note 7s. In continuing coverage of the ban on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones aboard all US flights, the CBS Evening News (10/15, story 6, 1:35, Ninan) broadcast that “those who try to get them on [planes] could face criminal charges,” no matter whether the devices are “off or uncharged.” In addition to the Federal ban announced Friday, “several carriers have stocked their planes with fire-containment bags designed to hold burning devices.”

For its part, Forbes Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Bender) quotes Transportation Secretary Foxx as having said that DOT is “taking this additional step” of the full ban, as opposed to earlier guidance not to turn the phones on if flying with them, “because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.” No matter how much “banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers,” Foxx continued, “the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority.”

The International Business Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Pascaline) reports the joint measure, issued by FAA and PHMSA, means “owners of the troubled smartphone cannot transport the device on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the country.”

Alitalia, Singapore Airlines Ban Galaxy Note 7s From All Flights. The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15) reports that Alitalia on Saturday announced all Note 7 devices are now banned, effective immediately, from its flights. Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Azhar) reports Singapore Airlines announced Saturday that all Note 7 phones would be banned from its flights.

Higher Education

Better Storytelling Will Help Women Get Involved In Engineering.

Carolyn Conner Seepersad, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, writes in The Conversation (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/17) that action is needed to encourage more women to enter engineering fields. In addition to building a “more inclusive engineering community” and “highlighting engineering role models who reflect the true diversity of our population,” Seepersad says one of “the simplest and most effective things we can do differently is something as simple as richer storyteller.” The National Academy of Engineering recommends instead of building interest in math and science, focus on “how engineers make an impact on the world and the need for creativity, communication and teamwork in the engineering profession.”

ARC Donates $10,000 To University Of South Alabama.

The Monroe Journal (10/13) published a photo of Tim McIlwain, general manager of Alabama River Cellulose, presenting a $10,000 check to Dr. John Steadman, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. According to the caption, “ARC, through the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, made the contribution to fund a scholarship program for engineering students.”

ED, DeVry University Reach Settlement On Student Success Claims.

The Christian Science Monitor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Beck) reports in continued coverage that ED and DeVry University on Thursday reached a settlement over DeVry’s “use of post-graduation employment claims in advertisements to lure new students.” The Monitor says the university “got in trouble with regulators for widely advertising that since 1975, 90 percent of graduates had found a job in their field within six months of graduating,” which it was unable to substantiate. Education Secretary John King said, “Students deserve accurate information about where to invest their time and money, and the law is simple and clear: recruitment claims must be backed up by hard data.” The settlement will require it “post a more than $68 million letter of credit, cease advertising with its “90 percent” statistics, and prominently state on its website that the previous claims were unsubstantiated.”

The NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Kennedy) “The Two-Way” blog that ED last year asked DeVry to prove its job placement claim, but ED says the firm was unable to do so. DeVry said in a statement that “it is ‘pleased’ to have resolved the matter and will ‘continue to cooperate with the Department.’”

The Chicago Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Nasiripour) reports despite the settlement, DeVry “is still on the hook over potentially costlier accusations,” adding that the settlement could be “a sign that the feds intend to take broader action, higher education analysts said.” Moreover, “the settlement agreement doesn’t resolve the pending FTC lawsuit or a related pending investigation by the Education Department into whether the company duped students into enrolling and taking out federal student loans with misleading employment-related statistics.” Diverse Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/13) also covers this story.

Mitchell: ED Bracing For More College Shutdowns. BuzzFeed Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) reports Under Secretary Ted Mitchell says that ED “is preparing for more colleges to be forced to shut down” because of the department’s move to withdraw recognition from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The piece quotes Mitchell saying, “We’re working hard on contingency plans about more school closures. We want to be able to reach out directly to students immediately, help to secure student records and offer teach-out plans. And we’re working with states so that they can help too.”

North Dakota University Students Learning To Start Drone Businesses.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/16, Kolpack) reports that students at the University of North Dakota are learning to start a drone business. During the one semester course, students will learn to fly drones, learn about the drone business, including the regulations governing the sector, and develop a business plan.

CFPB Expresses Concerns Over Student Loan Servicers’ Redisclosure Practices.

The Waterbury (CT) Republican-American Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15) reports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “recently expressed concern over a practice used by student loan servicers known as ‘redisclosure’ of payment terms,” which “causes a borrower’s monthly bill to fall when extra payments are made.” This can extend the life of the loan, resulting in a higher overall interest return.

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Research and Development

Obama Promotes Benefits Of Innovation For The US Economy.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Hensch) “Briefing Room” blog reports President Obama in his weekly address Share to FacebookShare to Twitter “said Saturday that scientific research remains a key component of America’s future success,” asserting, “Innovation is in our DNA. And today, we need it more than ever to solve the challenges that we face.” Obama explained, “Only through science can we cure diseases, and save the only planet we’ve got, and ensure that America keeps its competitive advantages as the world’s most innovative economy.” The President also “criticized lawmakers who voice skepticism of scientific consensus, citing climate change as one example.”

The Washington Examiner Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Lawler) reports Obama said lawmakers “choose to stick their heads in the sand about basic scientific facts” are “backward,” not only when “they’re saying that Climate Change a hoax or trotting out a snowball on the Senate floor.” He explained, “they’re also doing everything they can to gut funding for research and development, the kinds of investments that brought us breakthroughs like GPS, and MRIs, and put Siri on our smartphones.”

“In one of the many scientific programs that have been established since Obama took office, more than 80 federal agencies have engaged 250,000 Americans through more than 700 challenges on Challenge.gov to address problems ranging from fighting Ebola, to decreasing the cost of solar energy, to blocking illegal robocalls,” Voice of America Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15) explains, as the competitions “made more than $220 million available to entrepreneurs and innovators and have led to the formation of more than 275 startup companies with over $70 million in follow-up funding, creating several hundred new jobs.”

White House Begins Open-Sourcing Chatbot Code. The Christian Science Monitor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Beck) reports the White House on Friday “announced that the code for that first-ever government bot for Facebook Messenger would become available to all digital developers.” In a blog post, Jason Goldman, the White House chief digital officer, explained, “We’re open-sourcing this White House technology, with the hope that other governments and developers can build similar services – and foster similar connections with their citizens – with significantly less upfront investment.” Goldman also hailed the White House chatbot as “an important part of furthering our mission to ‘meet the public where they are.’”

Obama Shook Robotic Hand Of Paralyzed Man.

On the CBS Weekend News (10/16, story 10, 2:15, Quijano), Jon LaPook reported that President Obama “shook the robotic hand” of 30-year-old Nathan Copeland at an event in Pittsburgh last week. Copeland is paralyzed from the chest down following a 2004 accident, LaPook said, but “four tiny arrays of electrodes were implanted in [his] brain” allowing for him to feel sensation in the robotic hand. Biomedical engineer Robert Gaunt is shown saying, “This is the first time these sorts of devices have been implanted in the brain to try and generate these sensations.”

Commentary: Apple Not Likely To Develop Ceramic-Based iPhone Anytime Soon.

Mac Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) said Ewan Spence recently wrote in Forbes, “Following on from the use of ceramic materials in the premium Apple Watch Series 2 and the discovery of a number of design patents using the material, there has been an air of anticipation in the geekerati that the presumptively titled iPhone 8 will be built out of ceramic,” but cautioned, “Not so fast, fabrication fans!” Spence explained that the transition to ceramics would require engineers to start “again from scratch,” not only with machinery, but also with ceramics part volumes and factory floor space. He added, “All of this is not to say that there will never be a ceramic-focused iPhone in the future, but the requirements to do so at the scale required for the full run of the iPhone 8 appear beyond even Apple,” and Apple is more likely to approach its design updates with the use of sapphire crystal for its OLED displays.

Global Developments

Researcher’s Microchip Implant Could Deliver Birth Control, Osteoporosis Treatment.

The Guardian (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/17, Fleming) profiles the drug delivery research of Robert Langer, a recent winner of the Queen Elizabeth award for engineering who is also backed with funding from the Gates Foundation. The article covers several of Langer’s innovations, including “an invisible ‘second skin’ for conditions such as eczema (with the cosmetic side effect of rendering skin smooth and elastic).” Langer’s lab is also developing a microchip implant for contraception which “could also be useful for osteoporosis.” Langer says an implant would help retain patients who often discontinue needed hormone injections.

Industry News

Companies Pitch Plans For Commercial ISS Modules.

Space News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/13, Subscription Publication) reports that at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS), just a day after NASA indicated it’s open to adding a commercial module to the International Space Station (ISS), “Axiom Space and Bigelow Aerospace said they’re proceeding with development of modules that could be added to the ISS as soon as 2020.” Michael Baine, lead design engineer at Axiom Space, said that the company plans to start a preliminary design review in December for a module that would later detach from the ISS and form the core of a commercial space station. Bigelow Aerospace is moving ahead with previously announced plans for B330 expandable modules, one of which could be installed on the ISS. Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said in a speech at ISPCS, “We’re honestly struggling with” the challenge of determining how to best deal with the interest from several companies in the single available docking port.

Newer Cars With Hundreds Of Millions Of Lines Of Code Require Software-Driven Design Solutions.

Digital Trends Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Zurschmeide) reports on the continuously developing autonomous vehicle industry, which Secretary Foxx said this month “raises more possibilities and more questions than perhaps any other transportation innovation under present discussion.” In the end, Foxx continued, “Possessing the potential to uproot personal mobility as we know it, to make it safer and even more ubiquitous than conventional automobiles and perhaps even more efficient, self-driving cars have become the archetype of our future transportation.” The story highlights and focuses on “the software that never makes it into the car, but which allows the engineers to design the systems that make your new car work properly and meet a phonebook-thick set of technical requirements.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Opponents Say EPA Went “Far Beyond Its Authority” In New Carbon Regulation.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Cama) reports that “a coalition of conservative states, energy companies and business interests” are arguing in court that an EPA regulation limiting carbon dioxide released from new coal- and gas-fired power plants “went far beyond its authority.” If the regulation is found unconstitutional, the Clean Power Plan cannot be enforced.

150 Megawatt Solar Array Opens In Arizona.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14, Mooney) reports that the “largest procurement ever of renewable energy by the federal government” opened on Friday in Maricopa County, AZ. The 150-megawatt solar array will provide power to California’s electric grid “and will power roughly one-third of the electricity needs of 14 naval installations in the state.”

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University is solving the Grand Challenges of the 21st century while producing outstanding engineering graduates and supporting our state economy. With more than $180 million in annual research expenditures, the College leads major research initiatives sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense, including the lead role in two NSF Engineering Research Centers, FREEDM and ASSIST. The College is investing $250 million in infrastructure and faculty hiring over the next five years, including construction of a new marquee building calledEngineering Oval that will continue the College’s move to NC State’s innovative Centennial Campus.

Elementary/Secondary Education

Chevron Donates $150,000 To Mobile County Schools.

The Mobile (AL) Press-Register Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/13, Sharp) reports that Chevron donated $150,000 to Mobile County Public School System through its “Fuel Your School” program, the third time the company has donated to the school system since 2010. The company “has donated a total of $300,000 to the Mobile County Public School System for programs bolstering science, technology, engineering and math education that helps prepare students who are interested in advanced technical jobs.” WJTC-TV Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Mobile, AL (10/13) reports similarly online.

Bay Area Students Receive Lessons In Robots And Programming From MOSI Educators.

News 13 (FL) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/16) reports that educators participating in the “Robot Roundup outreach program,” launched under a collaboration between the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and the GiveWell Community Foundation’s George W. Jenkins Fund (GiveWell), visited 15 struggling elementary schools in Tampa’s Polk County, “and taught hundreds of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders how to program robots.” The program is aimed at providing students with “hands-on experience with not just building robots, but also the science behind how the machines operate.”

Google Grants $1M To Groups Creating Diversity In Silicon Valley Students.

FOX News Latino Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/14) reported that on Friday, Google announced it will give “a $750,000 grant to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping high school students on track for college and finding tech careers, and $250,000 to the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that helps Latino students and their families reach their educational goals and achieve their success in tech industries.” The grants are a bid for Google “to create the sort of diversity in its workforce that the company has been criticized for lacking.” Hispanic Foundation’s president and CEO Ron Gonzales said he hopes the grants “will encourage more Latinos to enter science, technology, engineering and math careers and for tech companies to begin to diversity their work force.”

Oregon School District Introduces New CTE Diploma.

The Klamath Falls (OR) Herald And News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/15, Owens) reports that the Klamath County School District has created a diploma based on Career Technical Education (CTE) for “students who want to go straight into the workforce after” graduating from high school. The goal of the diploma is to encourage these students to complete high school, and prevent them from dropping out since they have no interest in going to college. During a presentation to the Klamath County School Board, secondary curriculum director Jeff Bullock said, “One of our primary goals is to recapture a significant number of our current non-graduate population and keep them engaged in our traditional high schools.” Students earning the diploma will be considered as having graduated from high school by the Oregon Department of Education. They will also “be eligible for the Oregon Promise and most community colleges with the appropriate GPA.”

Friday’s Lead Stories

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