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

Leading the News

Trump Win Raises Questions For Researchers.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Kaplan) reports many researchers are concerned about the potential impact of the Trump Administration on their work. The article quotes several scientists voicing their specific concerns based on what Trump has said about scientific ideas such as climate change, as well as his criticism of Federal agencies involved in scientific research.

BuzzFeed Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Hughes, Ghorayshi, Aldhous, Lee) reports that scientists and physicians are “freaking out” about Trump winning the election. The article reports that “Trump has taken many anti-science stances” including his claim that climate change is a “hoax” invented by the Chinese.

Nature Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Tollefson, Morrello, Reardon) reports “many researchers expressed fear and disbelief as Trump defeated former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.” The article quotes several scientists who are concerned that Trump will not support funding for the NIH, NASA, and other agencies engaged in scientific research.

Scientific American Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Mandelbaum) reports some researchers are also concerned “that Trump’s strict anti-immigration views could have a chilling effect on American science in general” by either preventing or discouraging foreign scientists from working in the US.

Higher Education

New York AG’s Trump University Probe Will Continue.

POLITICO New York Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Hamilton) reported that a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said that there has been no change of plans regarding its case against President-elect Trump and the “now-shuttered” Trump University. Spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said in a statement, “The Trump University litigation continues to move through the appellate process.”

Trial In Trump University Case Set To Begin Nov. 28. Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Freifeld, Lin) says a hearing in federal court in San Diego on a lawsuit filed by former Trump University students “who claim they were defrauded by a series of real-estate seminars” is scheduled for Thursday, and “the trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 28, barring any delays or if Trump decides to settle the case.” Presidents are immune from lawsuits “arising from their official duties.” However the Supreme Court has ruled that the shield “does not extend to acts alleged to have taken place prior to taking office.” President-elect Trump is listed as a defense witness and “could be called to testify by the plaintiffs as well.” Reuters says lawyers could recall “no similar situation like the one now involving Trump.”

Higher Education Seen As Fix For Populist Anger That Drove Trump To White House.

The Hechinger Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Marcus) reports that “higher education may be vital to reversing” the economy-driven “anger that helped boost Donald Trump to his victory.” The piece explains that “more than 95 percent of jobs created during the country’s economic recovery have gone to workers with some college education,” and says that according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce,” the recovery ‘has been virtually nonexistent’” for the less-educated workers who supported Trump in great numbers.

WPost Analysis: Trump’s Win Places Obama’s Higher Education Reform “In Doubt.”

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Douglas-Gabriel) reports that Donald Trump’s win places President Obama’s higher education reform “in doubt” and “rais[es] questions about the direction of policies governing financial aid and for-profit colleges.” Education advocates, according to the Post, “fear there is nothing preventing the GOP from overturning those regulations.” The Post says that Trump “spent much of the election season ignoring higher education, even as Clinton touted her college affordability plan on the campaign trail.” Meanwhile, the Post adds, Trump adviser Sam Clovis “provided some insights that reinforced long-standing Republican positions on limiting the government’s role in higher education.” when he told Inside Higher Ed that Trump would have banks take over the government’s role in student lending.

Politico Morning Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Thrush), MarketWatch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9), and the Houston Chronicle Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Ellis) also cover Trump’s likely impact on higher education policy.

NEW Report: “Small Schools” by the Numbers
Smaller engineering schools are often missing from our annual “By the Numbers” summary, because of the way it’s tabulated. We have created a “Smaller Engineering by the Numbers” to feature these schools.

Norman Fortenberry Co-Chairs NASEM Project
ASEE’s ED recently co-chaired a workshop on “Enhancing Teachers’ Voices in Policy Making Related to K-12 Engineering Education.”

Research and Development

Caltech Researchers Create Simulated Corona Loop.

Pasadena (CA) Now Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that physicists at Caltech in Pasadena, California “have experimentally simulated the sun’s magnetic fields to create a realistic coronal loop in a lab.” The piece explains that coronal loops “are arches of plasma that erupt from the surface of the sun following along magnetic field lines.” The article could be used in research on protecting satellites in Earth orbit from solar flares.

EQT Smart Sensors “Listen” To Hydraulic Fracturing Pumps.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, Litvak) reports that EQT has started implementing KCF smart sensors on FTS International’s hydraulic fracturing pumps. The sensors “monitor vibration and crunch the data to predict when something is about to go wrong, sending out a warning before the equipment malfunctions.” Bryan Dickson, FTS’s Northeast engineering and operations associate, said, “We describe (KCF’s) technology as a remote ear. … We can hear things in areas that we typically wouldn’t be able to put a human. We need to hear these things to try to predict failures.” By listening to the pumps, “FTS was able to cut the wear and tear on its equipment by more than 50 percent.”

USAF Looking To Build Better Networks For Securing Nuclear Weapons Computer Systems.

National Interest Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Osborn) reports in its “The Buzz” blog that, according to USAF officials, the service “is seeking more interactions with private sector firms to build better networks for securing nuclear weapons computer systems.” According to National Interest, “Air Force engineers say protection of computer networks is well established in many ways, but that the service needs to widen its scope with greater focus on IT dimensions to its nuclear arsenal’s command and control apparatus.”

AARP’s Terry Bradwell: Investment In Senior Tech Could Yield Significant Returns.

AARP CIO Terry Bradwell writes for CIOReview Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) on the transformative “confluence” of the increase in both the older adult population and the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. This significant market, Bradwell argues, has been “routinely bypassed” – a state which “needs to change” to benefit not only older adults, but also “engineers, entrepreneurs, and investors.” An AARP strategic analysis in partnership with market research firm Parks Associates identified “prime areas of opportunity” for investment in a variety of different areas, all “rooted” in the desire by the “overwhelming majority of older adults” to age in place. Bradwell says that new product adoption could generate “over $20 billion in revenues by 2019.”

GE Partners With DOE To Develop Flexible Pipe For Ultra-Deep Water Use.

Roy Long of the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory writes in Offshore Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) , that “ultra-deepwater (greater than 5,000 ft or 1,500 m) discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore Brazil and Angola, present enormous development opportunities but also technical challenges. Specifically, the combination of ultra-deepwater and relatively large pipe diameter is outside current flexible pipe qualification scope, and imposes severe engineering challenges to both rigid and flexible pipe technologies.” He writes that GE, with funding from the DOE and “the support of the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America,” has “embarked on a development program to qualify flexible pipe with an internal diameter of eight inches for ultra-deepwater applications.”


Women In STEM Tend to Have More Collaborators But Are Underrepresented, Study Suggests.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Doyle) reports women in STEM departments “tend to have a wider range of collaborators than men, but are still significantly underrepresented, especially in genomics, according to a new study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/4)” published in PLoS Biology. Jevin West, a “science of science” researcher at the University of Washington, said, “If indeed there is a difference by gender in collaborative patterns and behavior, this is something not to be ignored. The infrastructure of science depends on these collaborations and if women are being excluded for institutional or cultural reasons, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health needs to address this issue head on.”

Industry News

Apple’s Project Titan Scaled Back Over Auto-Industry Complexities.

TechRepublic Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Gray) reports Apple’s excessive confidence in its ability to engineer and mass market a vehicle through Project Titan led to “dramatically scaled back expectations,” and a replacement plan of developing “some sort of software product that could be sold to other automakers by 2017,” rather than a “full-fledged Apple Car.” Project Titan began under the assumption that Apple could meet production requirements “and that software would easily differentiate what was assumed to be an otherwise easily replicated commodity product.” However, Apple learned that software and innovation cannot simply “overcome any obstacle and mitigate flaws in physical products or complex processes.” The company listed the intricacies of the auto supply chain as a key factor in “scaling back Project Titan.” Additionally, Apple’s insistence on assimilating “itself more deeply into vehicles with its CarPlay project” produced “a strained relationship between Apple and the automakers, as consumers demand familiar, high quality software in the vehicles, but automakers hesitate to cede full control of the experience and data to a third party.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Implications Of Trump Win On Energy, Environmental Priorities.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Mufson, Dennis) reports Donald Trump as president would “rearrange domestic energy and environmental priorities” by opening federal lands to drilling and scrapping proposed methane regulations. Trump also wants to “shrink the role of the Environmental Protection Agency to a mostly advisory one and pull back the Clean Power Plan.” Stephen Brown, vice president of government relations for Tesoro predicted that the Paris climate accord “will be scrapped quickly,” obstacles and “procedural hurdles” to pipelines would be reexamined, and regulations about the social cost of carbon and other environmental impacts would be “gone.” Platts Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) quotes Megan Berge at Baker Botts saying that the Clean Power Plan “might be dead in the water.” The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Harder, Subscription Publication) reports that for a long time most action will involve rolling back regulations. The process for undoing regulations is a lengthy one, but the Journal reports that Trump can being the formal processes and relax compliance requirements.

Bloomberg Analysis: Trump May Have Trouble Getting Energy, Environment, Climate Measures Through Senate.Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Roston) reports in an analysis that the Senate make-up which limited the President’s ability “to enact energy and environmental policies” may “to a lesser extent” cause similar problems for President-elect Trump. While Republicans will retain a 51 to 47 seat majority, Senate rules “make it difficult for legislation to pass – or even reach a vote – without at least 60 senators okaying the procedure.” As a result, if Democrats “remain unified in their opposition,” Trump will have trouble “passing legislation on matters related to energy, environment, and climate change.” He can, however, “issue and rescind executive orders” and “control the technocratic rule-making process across relevant federal agencies.” Bloomberg goes on to list signature programs of the President “that are likely to face Trump’s scrutiny or wholesale reversal.” Among them: The Paris Agreement, the Clean Power Plan, and “Soft” Energy and Climate Policy Issues.

Kemp: Trump’s Energy Policies Not Yet Fully Formed. John Kemp writes for Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) that president-elect Trump “does not yet have clearly formed policies on most energy issues so the implications will become clear only in the weeks and months ahead as he starts to build an administration.” Kemp outlines the “broad contours of Trump’s energy agenda,” calling it a shift from climate change to energy security and affordability.

LATimes Analysis: Critics Seek To Reform Fast-Track Pipeline Permitting Process.

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Yardley) reports in an analysis that “the bitter fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline seemed to erupt out of nowhere this summer,” because “relatively few people knew the pipeline was being built.” The permitting process for the pipeline took “barely 18 months,” because “domestic oil pipelines built largely on private land often do not require an overarching permit from the federal government.” The Army Corps of Engineers issues permits for the parts of the pipeline constructed near waterways, typically assessing “big pipelines as a series of much smaller ones.” This process, known as Nationwide Permit 12, has faced criticism. “So far, courts have upheld its use, but the policy is revised every five years, and environmental groups – many that paid little attention before Keystone XL and the boom in domestic oil production – have zeroed in” on reforming it.

Solar Power Amendment Defeated In Florida.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/8, Cama) reports voters in Florida “are projected to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that opponents say” would have been detrimental to “the rooftop solar power industry.” The amendment “would have given Floridians a constitutional right to use rooftop solar power and mandated that government agencies protect customers both involved and not involved with rooftop solar.” But environmentalists and solar industry “charged that the amendment was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, misleadingly designed by electric utilities to restrict rooftop solar.” E&E Publishing Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Subscription Publication) reports “the measure needed 60 percent of the vote to pass” but it only “received roughly 51 percent.”

Colorado PUC Clears Xcel Energy Agreement Allowing More Distributed Solar.

The Denver Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Svaldi) reports the Colorado Public Utilities Commission “approved a sweeping settlement between Xcel Energy and two dozen parties on Wednesday, paving the way for more flexible electricity rates and a bigger role for solar generation.” The settlement, “resolves Xcel’s 2017 Renewable Energy compliance plan, a solar subscription program and the company’s phase II electric rate case.” The Post reports the settlement “provides for an additional 225 megawatts in rooftop solar, 117 megawatts in community solar gardens and 60 megawatts in power generated from industrial waste heat over a three-year period.”

Two Towns In Southern Vermont Reject Wind Power Project.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports southern Vermont voters in “Windham and Grafton have rejected a proposal to build 24 wind turbine towers on a mountain ridge in the two towns.” In the community of Grafton, “it was 235 to 158 and in Windham it was 181 to 101, both against the Stiles Brook Wind Project.” Iberdrola Renewables, the project developer, had promised “to honor the town’s wishes.”

Wednesday’s Lead Stories

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