Leading the News
Perry Says Trump Should Stay In Paris Climate Pact But He Should “Renegotiate” It.
The Hill (4/25, Cama) reports Energy Secretary Rick Perry is encouraging “President Trump to stay in the Paris climate change agreement but renegotiate its terms.” During an interview onstage at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (4/25) event yesterday, Perry said, “I’m not going to say tell the president of the United States let’s just walk away from the Paris accord. … But, what I’m going to say is that I think we probably should renegotiate it.” The Washington Examiner (4/25) reports Perry’s “comments comes as the Trump administration seeks to make a decision by the end” of May “on whether to withdraw from the 2015 deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Among President Trump’s top advisers there are different opinions on the matter, with son-in-law Jared Kushner, among those in favor of staying in the agreement, “while others, such as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, want Trump to withdraw.”
E&E Publishing (4/25, Subscription Publication) reports the US, as part of the pact, is “committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.” Perry “said international action on climate change was a major discussion topic at the Group of Seven energy ministers’ meeting earlier this month in Italy.” He stated, “There was a lot of cheerleading for the Paris accord and keeping the United States involved in that.”
AFP (4/25, Sheridan) reports Perry didn’t offer “details about how he thought it should be renegotiated, but said the United States and China were making a real impact on reducing emissions.” Perry then “questioned the actions” of Germany and France. Perry didn’t give any specifics, “other than to say he gave French and German ministers a look that was meant to imply, ‘What are you all doing?’” during the G-7 meeting. TIME (4/25) reports Perry’s remarks are a reflection of the “thinking of a number of top officials inside the White House as well as certain leaders in the oil, gas and coal industries, who believe the U.S. can remain in the deal while reconsidering the terms of the nation’s commitments.” Renegotiating “the entire deal would be next to impossible given that it entered into force last year after decades of talks.” However, the United States “could unilaterally change its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions without any concrete penalty.”
State AGs Urge Trump To Stay In Paris Accord. Reuters (4/25, Flitter) reports that 14 attorneys general on Tuesday urged President Trump in a letter to not “withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.” The attorneys general “joined a chorus of voices, including major fossil fuel energy companies as well as environmental advocates, condemning the idea of exiting the agreement, which the Republican president has criticized in the past.” The attorney’s general wrote, “Climate change, if left unchecked, will lead to global environmental dislocation and disaster on a scale we likely cannot imagine.” The AP (4/25) reports the AG’s signed the letter “saying the pact was negotiated under American leadership and adopted by the vast majority of the world’s countries.”
Manufacturers Urge Trump To Leave Pact. The Washington Examiner (4/25) reports in a letter to the White House sent on Monday, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America wrote that failure to the leave the Paris accord “would hurt American industry and upset President Trump’s economic goals.” The letter read, “All costs of reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions, whether imposed on the electric generation sector or the oil and gas sectors, are eventually imposed upon us, the consumer. … We are the ones who eventually bear the costs of government-imposed [greenhouse gas emissions] reduction schemes.” The letter added, “At the same time, we are often already economically disadvantaged, as compared to global competitors who are subsidized or protected by their governments.” The group contends “that remaining a part of the 2015 Paris Agreement would harm Trump’s economic goals of spurring manufacturing and jobs.”
University Of Cincinnati Engineering Dean Named University Of Texas At Arlington Provost.
The Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram (4/19) reports University of Texas at Austin President Vistasp Karbhari announced recently that University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Teik C. Lim “will be the next provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington.” The Fort Worth (TX) Business Press (4/20) also covers this story.
Cal Poly Plans Solar Farm To Provide A Quarter Of Energy Needs.
The San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune (4/19) reports Cal Poly has released a statement saying the university plans to build “a campus solar farm that will generate enough power to handle about 25 percent of the university’s needs and will save $17 million in utility bills over 20 years.” Construction is set to begin in the summer and wrap up by the end of the year, and according to a university statement, the project “will be financed, designed, constructed and maintained by REC Solar, one of the nation’s largest solar providers.” The facility “will span 18.5 acres, with more than 16,000 solar panels capable of generating a total of 11 million kilowatt-hours a year. That’s enough to power more than 1,000 homes, according to the university.”
Armstrong State University Engineering Professor Selected For Summer Symposium.
The Savannah (GA) Morning News (4/25) reports the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program in Georgia selected Armstrong State University engineering studies professor Priya Thamburaj Goeser to participate in its two-week summer symposium program. Goeser earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware, a bachelor of technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, and served as a post-doctorate fellow at the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials. She holds two positions with the American Society for Engineering Education, Southeastern Section. Additionally, Goeser “plays a key role on the planning team for the annual Engineering Design Challenge and is the project director for Armstrong’s MATLAB Marina, a Virtual Learning Environment that assists undergraduate students’ understanding of the MATLAB technical computing language.”
Purdue Renames Civil Engineering Graduate Program.
The Daily Southtown (IL) (4/25) reports that on Friday, Purdue University’s Board of Trustees voted in favor of renaming its Lyles School of Civil Engineering graduate program the Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Program. The Burkes recently contributed to the school’s “Ever True” campaign, which seeks to transform the university into a national and international leader. The Burkes are also “major benefactors and supporters of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, including the Christopher and Susan Burke Hydraulics and Hydrology Research and Teaching Laboratory, the Christopher and Susan Burke Undergraduate Hydraulics Teaching Laboratory and funding for the Center for UAV Applications for Physical and Environmental Infrastructure.”
Rosen: Shell Eco-Marathon Shaping Next Generation Of Engineers, Scientists.
Pamela Rosen, general manager for Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, writes in the Detroit News (4/25, Rosen) that Shell’s events are helping to shape the next generation of engineers and scientists. Rosen says that “for dozens of next-generation engineers and scientists, their journey starts today as Shell Eco-marathon Americas returns to the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.” The event “celebrates bright energy ideas and future energy solutions,” and brings in over 1,000 students from several different countries. Rosen notes that “a growing number of student participants are women. Among this year’s 116 teams from across the Americas, 245 participants are women, including 16 team managers.”
Report: Rising Short-Term Rates Could Reduce Access To Student Loan Refinancing.
The Wall Street Journal (4/25, Andriotis, Subscription Publication) reports that the savings potential from refinancing student debt is decreasing as short-term interest rates climb. The article says even borrowers with high credit scores are seeing declining savings recently, and suggests firms that have focused exclusively on student loan refinancing may face challenges.
Study Suggests Higher Education System Growing “Increasingly Stratified.”
MarketWatch (4/25) reports the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education released a report on early Tuesday that found only 16 percent of students enrolled at the most competitive colleges receive Pell grants. It also found that less selective colleges enrolled more low-income students. MarketWatch writes that the findings add “to the growing body of evidence that our nation’s higher education system is becoming increasingly stratified.” Furthermore, since less-selective colleges typically have access to fewer resources than top-tier colleges, students at less-selective colleges face more challenges to graduate. “What’s more,” MarketWatch writes, “this stratification also means selective schools wind up becoming bastions of students from relatively wealthy and educated families, said Margaret Cahalan, the vice president for research of the Pell Institute.”
Fannie Mae Announces New Programs For Homeowners With Student Loan Debt.
Reuters (4/25) reports that in a Tuesday statement, Fannie Mae’s customer solutions vice president, Jonathan Lawless, announced the introduction of several new programs designed to help borrowers with student loan debt. “These new policies provide three flexible payment solutions to future and current homeowners and, in turn, allow lenders to serve more borrowers,” Lawless wrote. One program “allows homeowners to refinance by combining their mortgage with student loans, which may result in a sizable drop in monthly payments.” Another would enable new home buyers to improve their debt-to-income ratios by excluding debts, such as student loans, that are paid by someone else. Lenders would also be allowed to consider student loan payment histories provided on credit reports.
Research and Development
University Of Arizona Hosts CAT Vehicle Challenge Finals.
The Arizona Daily Star (4/25) reports the University of Arizona hosted the final round of the annual CAT Vehicle Challenge on Tuesday. Nearly 100 students from across the world gathered at the campus for the competition. The students tested software they wrote in a 3-D simulated environment to operate the university’s Cognitive and Autonomous Test, or CAT, driver-less vehicle. The National Science Foundation and MathWorks, which produces the Simulink 3-D software used by the student teams, supported the challenge.
University Of Notre Dame, Indiana’s South Bend Partner In Wireless Testing Project.
The South Bend (IN) Tribune (4/25) reports the city of South Bend, Indiana, recently partnered with the University of Notre Dame to apply for the National Science Foundation’s Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research program. The program “will award four $25 million grants to small U.S. cities to develop wireless test beds for academic and industry researchers.” The South Bend-Notre Dame project was dubbed South Bend “X” Generation or SBXG, “with the ‘X’ serving as a variable for future generations of wireless technology, from 5G to 6G and beyond.”
Clemson University Professor Receives Grant For Engine Particle Emissions Reduction Research.
The Greenville (SC) News (4/25) reports the National Science Foundation awarded Clemson University assistant professor Simona Onori with a $500,000 CAREER grant in March for research aimed at reducing gasoline direct injection engine fine-particle emissions. Onori will conduct her research at the university’s International Center for Automotive Research. Onori explained, “So, today, we do a good job in filtering out toxic gases, but with this new engine, the problem is soot in the particulate.” She continued, “I’m very excited to be doing this research. This award followed a big project that I started in 2014 with a big automotive company in Michigan, so this is exciting.”
Google’s Brin Building Large Airship In Hangar At NASA Ames.
Bloomberg News (4/25, Vance) reports that Google co-founder Sergey Brin “has secretly been building a massive airship inside of Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, according to four people with knowledge of the project.” According to the sources, former NASA Ames Director of Programs Alan Weston is leading the project. Google unit Planetary Ventures took control of large hangars at Ames in 2015, and, according to the sources, Brin became interested in an airship while visiting the facilities, located next door to Google parent Alphabet’s headquarters. While the airship is being constructed in one of the Alphabet hangars, it is not a company project, and “it’s unclear whether the craft, which looks like a zeppelin, is a hobby or something Brin hopes to turn into a business.”
Shell Wins Engineering Award For Malikai Deepwater Project.
The Borneo Post (4/26) reports the Institution of Engineers Malaysia awarded Shell Projects and Technology Malaysia the highest honor in design and engineering at the 58th IEM Annual Dinner and Awards Night for the design and construction of the Malikai Tension Leg Platform Deepater Project. Momas Modon, Project Manager for Malikai, said, “The safe and successful start-up of Malikai in December 2016 is a highpoint for us. This highest engineering recognition honours the many engineers and workers within the Malikai Project Team from Shell, partners, contractors and subcontractors who have shown remarkable creativity, resilience and the greatest level of professionalism in delivering this historic project.” Datuk Iain Lo, Chairman of Shell Companies in Malaysia, said, “Most importantly, the Malikai project is designed in Malaysia, built by Malaysian fabricators and operated by Malaysians. It supports the country’s aspiration to be a hub for deepwater oil and gas within the region, bringing significant technology into Malaysia to nurture and develop local capability and capacity.”
Uber Plans To Deploy Flying Taxi Services In Dallas, Dubai By 2020.
Reuters (4/25) reports that Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden announced Tuesday that the company plans to deploy fleets of “flying taxis” in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai in 2020. The company has partnered with Bell Helicopter, Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Mooney and Embraer to build the small, electric-powered VTOL aircraft. Bloomberg News (4/25, Huet) reports that Uber said the governments Dallas and Dubai have both signed on to support the project. The “aggressive plan” follows Uber’s hiring of former NASA aircraft engineer Mark Moore to work on the company’s flying car initiative, Uber Elevate, and puts the company on course for a rivalry with two flying car startups – Kitty Hawk and Zee. Aero – funded by Alphabet CEO Larry Page.
Airbnb Introduces React-Sketch Library To Smooth Design Process.
TechCrunch (4/25) reports that on Monday Airbnb’s design team open sourced its internal library for writing React components that easily transfer directly to Sketch in an effort to smooth the development process. The React-Sketch library will allow design to be updated in real time for all Airbnb design teams, and will further allow engineers to “interact with design” in the same way they traditionally work with code. The library is available over GitHub.
Engineering and Public Policy
Chao Visits Ohio Transportation Research Center.
The Columbus (OH) Dispatch (4/25) reports in continuing coverage that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao visited the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio on Monday. During her visit, Chao observed tests of Volvo cars with automatic braking systems designed to avoid collisions with pedestrians. The Dispatch reports that Chao said, “Innovation is one of America’s greatest strengths, and this center here embodies all of that.” WTTE-TV Columbus, OH (4/24) reports she was “impressed” with the facility’s work. Chao also discussed President Trump’s focus on job creation and infrastructure, adding that he “is very interested in autonomous vehicles.”
A paywalled article in the Bellefontaine (OH) Examiner (4/25) quotes Chao saying, “I’m here with (Sen. Portman) today to talk about the future, to talk about emerging technology and to talk about the jobs that will be created.” Chao added, “Job creation is a very important subject for me as well as transportation infrastructure of this country.”
The Marysville (OH) Journal Tribune (4/25, Cordell) also briefly reported. Broadcast coverage of the story is provided by WTVG-TV Toledo, OH (4/25, 11:08 p.m. EDT), KIFI-TV Idaho Falls, ID (4/25, 12:25 p.m. MDT), WYFX-TV Youngstown, OH (4/25, 8:51 a.m. EDT), KVIA-TV El Paso, TX (4/25, 6:22 a.m. MDT), WZTV-TV Nashville, TN (4/25, 6:55 a.m. CDT), and WTAT-TV Charleston, SC (4/25, 8:18 a.m. EDT).
DOE Report Shows Renewable Power Fueling New Energy Job Creation.
The New York Times (4/25, Subscription Publication) reports despite President Trump’s campaign pledges to create “so many energy jobs” and revive the coal industry, “he has not focused on the increasingly important role of renewable power in America’s energy economy.” According to an Energy Department report on American energy employment, “more than 373,000 Americans worked part or full time in solar energy,” while the coal industry only supports about 54,000 jobs.
Bloomberg News (4/26, Randall) reports that President Trump’s “energy plan is to cut regulations to resuscitate the one sector that’s never coming back: coal,” despite the fact that “wind and solar are about to become unstoppable.” Economics of scale are beginning to enable unsubsidized wind and solar “to outcompete coal and natural gas in an ever-widening circle of countries.” While the US is not leading the world in renewables as a percentage of the grid, “a number of states are exceeding expectations.”
Iowa High School Team Qualifies As Wildcard For FIRST Robotics World Championship.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls (IA) Courier (4/25) reports Iowa students on Union High School’s Fiercely Uknighted Nation robotics team qualified to compete in the FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, Robotics Competition world championship in St. Louis “as a wildcard after being picked to join the alliance that won the Iowa regional.” The team received grants from John Deere and the Leighty Fund. The students launched fundraisers in the summer and through the school year to raise the nearly $20,000 they needed for competition fees, robotics materials, and travel expenses.
New York University Researcher Highlights Difference In NGSS, CCSS Standards For “Arguments” Versus “Opinions.”
Education Week (4/25, Zubrzycki) reports on a new article published in Educational Researcher by New York University education professor Okhee Lee about the “convergences and discrepancies” in Common Core State Standards for English language arts literacy and the Next Generation Science Standards, which “disagree about when and how students learn to form arguments.” According to the story, Lee’s research highlighted the fact that NGSS standards use the discourse of “arguments” and “evidence” over “opinions,” whereas “in the common core’s standards for English/language arts, students aren’t asked to form arguments” – only express opinions – “until middle school.”
Virginia High School Takes Home 4th In World Robotics Championship.
The Arlington (WA) Times (4/25, Buell) reports the NeoBots robotics team of Arlington High School came in 4th place overall at the FIRST Robotics World Championship over the weekend. Commenting on the performance by the 14-student team, mentor Mark Ehrhardt said “It’s a very student-led and run experience,” and the 4th place showing “is more of a testament to their perserverance and ingenuity.”
Tuesday’s Lead Stories
• Engineer Named New SUNY Chancellor.
• State AGs Call On DeVos To Reinstate Obama Student Loan Consumer Protections.
• Oklahoma State Startup Team Wins Pitch Competition.
• Report Suggests Russia Lacks STEM Field Gender Gap.
• Apple Hires Former NASA Employees As Part Of Autonomous Vehicles Plans.
• White House Planning Active “Hunt And Destroy” Cyber Strategy.
• Johns Hopkins Engineering School Partners With Baltimore School For STEM Program.