Leading the News
Siemens USA Providing $357M Software Grant To Clemson To Develop Advanced Manufacturing Engineers.
The Greenville (SC) News (11/4, Eads) reported Siemens USA is providing Clemson with its so-called Product Lifecycle Management platform – a $357 million software grant for the school’s engineering programs – which is used “by BMW, Boeing and more than 140,000 manufacturing customers worldwide to manage product development, inventory and other operations.” Clemson President Jim Clements said the new partnership will make the university’s students “even more attractive to future employers – especially many of the world-class, advanced manufacturing companies operating in South Carolina.” The PLM platform is “a large, adaptable suite of applications used by Siemens’ manufacturing customers to monitor every step of a product’s development and production,” including “people, tools, parts,” and raw materials, according to Joerg Schulte, an executive at BMW and adjunct professor at Clemson. The software also predicts potential defects, failure rates, and other performance data. In an updated version of the article, the Greenville News includes quoted from US Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, who “said the Clemson-and-Siemens partnership should serve as a model for other universities and business.” Mitchell added that advanced manufacturing “requires far more education than the old style manufacturing of the past.” Mitchell was also quoted saying, “It’s quite clear that there’s been a disjunction between higher education and business. … Siemens and Clemson are bridging that divide.”
Business Wire (11/4) reported the software will be “incorporated into student coursework and projects related to computer-aided-design, engineering simulation, industrial design, digital manufacturing and manufacturing management in Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.” Siemens USA President and CEO Eric Spiegel was quoted saying, “By giving students access to this software, we are preparing for the fourth industrial revolution with invaluable real-world experience and equipping them with the skills needed to succeed in the software-driven advanced manufacturing industry.” He added, “We are honored to empower the next generation of digital talent at Clemson University through the largest in-kind grant in the university’s history.”
U Of Tennessee Engineering Program Improves With Help From Alumnus.
The Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel (11/5, Boehnke) reports on John Tickle, a 1965 graduate of the University of Tennessee, now chairman of Strongwell Corporation, and a major contributor to the university. “His name is now on UT’s newest engineering building,” and “the UT Tickle College of Engineering now also bears his name.” Over the past decade the college has seen enrollment grow from 1,600 to 4,300, and “this year’s freshman class has an average GPA of a 4.0 and a composite ACT score of 30.” It has also had an increase in doctoral students from 200 to “about 700,” and in faculty from 130 to 164. It has risen to 32 “among engineering schools at public universities by U.S. News and World Report” and 36 in graduate programs.
CFPB Report: Student Loan Servicers Blocking Borrower Access To Repayment Plans.
The Los Angeles Times (11/6, Delfino) reports that the CFPB recently found that some student loan servicers “are denying borrowers access to income-driven repayment plans or failing to approve those applications.” In a report released the week before last, CFPB ombudsman Seth Frotman said, “Despite [having] the right to an income-driven plan, borrowers still struggle to enroll. … Generally, processing your application should take no more than two weeks. However, many borrowers have told us that their applications sit under review for months at a time.” Other problems highlighted in the agency’s report were “servicers misleading borrowers who pay in advance,” “problematic payment allocation for borrowers,” and “system errors drawing out the repayment process.”
Virginia Tech Trails Other Schools In Number Of Female Engineering Grads.
The Roanoke (VA) Times (11/6) profiles Anna Ross, a Virginia Tech industrial and systems engineering student who never considered studying science or engineering until she discovered an unsuspected talent for higher math in high school. When she aced her AP calculus exam, “suddenly the notion that the subject wasn’t for girls just didn’t add up.” Ross is “outnumbered in her major — there are 222 females to 482 males” in her major program, though “her major is one of the more gender diverse in the college of engineering.” The piece reports that women earned 18% of Virginia Tech engineering bachelor’s degrees last year, compared with “schools like University of Virginia (33 percent), Georgia Tech (26 percent) and Virginia Commonwealth University (24 percent).”
Research and Development
NYTimes Analysis Highlights Role Of Cyberweapons In 2016 Campaign.
In an analysis, the New York Times (11/6, Sanger, Subscription Publication) says the “most lasting historical marker” of the 2016 presidential race may be that it is “the first time that a foreign power has unleashed cyberweapons to disrupt, or perhaps influence, a United States election.” Moreover, “there is a foreboding sense that, in elections to come, there is no turning back.” According to “current and former administration officials,” the intrusions, including “leaks from stolen emails and probes of election-system defenses,” will “embolden other American adversaries, which have been given a vivid demonstration that, when used with some subtlety, their growing digital arsenals can be particularly damaging in the frenzy of a democratic election.”
NSF Grant Will Help Midwest Colleges Move Innovations To Marketplace.
The AP (11/6) reports that the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program is giving “a new alliance of Midwest universities” a $3.5 million grant “to move academic innovations into the commercial realm.” The University of Michigan’s Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship “will lead the Midwest I-Corps Node,” which officials say “aims to link technology, market needs, people and money in a way that isn’t possible working individually.” ChicagoInno (IL) (11/2) also covers this story, noting that the other schools include the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Purdue University, and the University of Toledo.
EPA Gives University Of Texas Grant To Research Storm Runoff.
KXAN-TV Austin, TX (11/2) reports the Environmental Protection Agency has given the University of Texas a $3.9 million grant to study “problems within the storm drainage system and the impacts that could have on our water quality.” The school’s Cockrell School of Engineering will “create a center where they can use water infrastructure models to locate flooding problems in drains, as well as handle issues in water quality.”
Sunrise Project Focused On Boosting Speed Of Underwater Communication.
Wired (11/3, Niiler) reports on the Sunrise project, an effort to develop wireless high-speed communication under the sea. The project has involved “more than 40 marine researchers and computer scientists from eight European nations.” They have had several field tests of “networks of underwater modems” and one is planned for this month involving “three autonomous underwater vehicles” which will link to an underwater modem. The system uses a combination of “underwater acoustic modems” and modems that use “visible or infrared light beams.” The project is also attempting to increase the amount of information that can be carried on acoustic modems.
Transparent Sensor Can Detect Changes In Blood Sugar.
The Economic Times (IND) (11/4) reports on transparent sensors that can “detect subtle glucose changes in physiological buffer solutions, such as the tear fluid in eyes.” The sensor, in the form of a contact lens, paired with “a wearable pump” to deliver insulin and glucagon, could work as an artificial pancreas for those with type 1 diabetes. The sensor could also warn a wearer if blood sugar was too high or low.
Cal Poly Gets DOD Grant To Study Stress On Bones, Tissue By Amputees.
The San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune (11/3, Wilson) reports on research at Cal Poly “studying how much stress amputees…place on their knees, hip joints and cartilage tissue.” The research is supported by a $513,000 grant from the Pentagon, focusing on “the impacts of different forms of weight-bearing exercises to the bodies of below-knee amputees.”
Rutgers Researcher Discovers How To Stabilize Nuclear Waste In Glass.
Nuclear Street (11/4) reports that researcher Ashutosh Goel of Rutgers University has discovered ways to package nuclear waste into a stable substance, immobilizing “in glass and ceramics” to render it far less troublesome, according to the college’s press corps. Goel, a professor in the School of Engineering at Rutgers, said, “Glass is a perfect material for immobilizing the radioactive wastes with excellent chemical durability.” Among Goel’s major funding sources is the Department of Energy. The country’s “weapons complex once involved 16 major facilities with a presence in Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.” The article adds that stabilizing nuclear waste into glass would categorically remove leakage from the list of worries about handling or storing the waste.
UPS VP Of Industrial Engineering Discusses Drone Deliveries.
The WXIA-TV Atlanta (11/7) website’s “Atlanta Tech Edge” featured a discussion between UPS Vice President of Industrial Engineering Chuck Holland and 3Ci President Rob MacLane about drone deliveries. In the discussion, Holland explained that UPS sees itself as a “technology company with trucks.” Holland added that UPS recently made a test drone delivery in collaboration with CyPhy Works. Holland also mentioned that UPS is working with drones in Rwanda for the delivery of humanitarian aid, such as blood and vaccines.
GM Slowly Increasing Production Of Bolt Electric Cars.
Reuters (11/5, White) provided an analysis of General Motors’ plans to ramp up production of its Chevrolet Bolt electric cars, with plans for delivery to begin by year’s end. Reuters said the Bolt has features “aimed at making the car attractive to drivers for ride-hailing services.” Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk “has said the company will overhaul its Fremont, California, factory to build as many as 500,000 Model 3 sedans and related models a year.” Reuters called GM’s approach more “cautious,” citing how “sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars represent just 1 percent of the U.S. light vehicle market, despite government efforts to promote cleaner cars.”
Analysts Say Increase In Bolt Production Will Have Minor Market Impact. The AP (11/4, Krisher) commented, “But in an era of $2 per gallon gasoline, the Chevrolet Bolt probably won’t do a whole lot to shift America from gasoline to electricity.” Although “analysts say the Bolt’s 238-mile range on a single charge, plus a net price of around $30,000, should make it an attractive alternative to cars with internal-combustion engines,” analysts “…don’t expect a seismic shift to electricity yet.” IHS Markit industry analyst Stephanie Brinley predicted “GM will sell just under 30,000 Bolts in the first year” and “there will be small growth” in the market.
Engineering and Public Policy
Colonial Pipeline Cleaning Up Accident, Will Resume Operation On Sunday.
The Wall Street Journal (11/4, Sider, Subscription Publication) reports that the Colonia Pipeline will resume operations as early as Sunday. The pipeline ruptured during routine maintenance last week, killing one worker and injuring four others. The AP (11/4, Press) reports that “a piece of excavation equipment hit the pipeline,” causing an explosion that ruptured the line. A nearby line that carries jet fuel was not damaged in the explosion. Reuters (11/4, Shepardson) reports the US National Transportation Safety Board has “opened an investigation into the Colonial Pipeline Co accident.” Five NTSB investigators conducted interviews and collected evidence at the site on Thursday, and will be visiting Colonial Pipeline’s offices for additional interviews and data collection.
CARB Regulators Discover Emissions Test-Defeating Software In Some Audis.
Reuters (11/5, Sheahan) reports that the California Air Resources Board found software in certain Audi vehicles that dials down the vehicles’ carbon dioxide emissions when the vehicle sense it is in test conditions. According to the story, CARB first discovered the software last summer while testing an Audi with automatic transmission, but it is not the same as the defeat devices installed in vehicles involved with the greater emissions scandal of Audi parent company Volkswagen.
Air Force Plans To Spend $2 Billion To Clean Up PFC-contaminated Water.
The Denver Post (11/2, Finley) reports a Pentagon team “met leaders of Colorado communities whose water has been contaminated with a toxic chemical used to fight fuel fires – and a top official on Wednesday declared the Air Force will move aggressively nationwide, expecting to spend $250 million on studies and $2 billion for cleanup.” Meanwhile Environmental Protect Agency officials “said the agency will back increased testing of groundwater in Colorado.” Under the Air Force plan, residents “whose municipal well water tested bad will receive reverse-osmosis water treatment systems.”
Report Recommends Oklahoma Cut Wind Tax Credits Sooner Than Planned.
Relying on information in the Oklahoman (11/4), the AP (11/5) said a new report by consultant Public Financial Management recommended that “an Oklahoma tax credit that provides millions of dollars to the wind industry should be trimmed sooner than planned” because it “is overly generous” given the state’s “huge budget shortfall for core public services.” While “the tax break closes for new recipients on Jan. 1, 2021,” the report “recommended moving the date to Jan. 1, 2018, for wind-generating facilities, or putting a cap on the credit to reduce state expenses.” The AP pointed out “the largest credit under consideration is for emission-free energy production facilities, especially wind power, which had a financial impact of more than $113 million in 2014.” On Friday, members of a legislative committee reviewed the report.
California Education Officials Approve New Science Curriculum.
The San Francisco Chronicle (11/5) carried a Los Angeles Times article reporting that California’s state education board on Thursday approved the Next Generation Science Standards, a new science “curriculum framework” that prioritizes “hands-on science or investigations – and not simply memorize information to regurgitate.”
Washington Transforms Decommissioned Naval Destroyer Into Classroom.
The AP (11/5, Henry, Sun) reports the nonprofit Bremerton Historic Ships Association has transformed the mess hall of the USS Turner Joy, a decommissioned Vietnam-era destroyer, into a classroom for use in tours of school children, “adding a twist to the usual ship tour and history lesson: hands-on lessons in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).” The AP credits the “opportunity” for students in Kitsap, Washington to “a partnership between the Navy and the Naval Historical Foundation…along with local sponsors’ support.” The AP reports that “the Turner Joy is one of three historic Naval ships on the West Coast to add STEM education to their mission, according to” John Hanson, the president of the Bremerton Historic Ships Association and a retired Navy officer.
Friday’s Lead Stories
• Obama Supports Native Americans In Dakota Access Pipeline Issue.
• DeVry Aims To Lead For-Profit Sector Reforms.
• Engineers Develop New System For Manufacturing Airplane Wings.
• Google’s Android Hits Market Share Milestone, To Apple’s Detriment, But Still Faces Challenges.
• Ballot Measure Would Ban Fracking In Monterey County.
• California Implementing Next Generation Science Standards.