Leading the News
Boston College To Add Engineering Program.
The AP (11/3, Binkley) reports Boston College announced plans “for a $150 million science facility that will bring a new engineering major” to the school. The building will include “research laboratories, classrooms and space for students and faculty to collaborate across disciplines.” The Schiller Institute, as the project is named, “aims to tackle projects ranging from the development of clean energy to technology that can diagnose and treat humans in poor areas around the world.”
Ivanka Trump Urges Efforts To Increase Women’s Participation In STEM Fields.
Reuters (11/2, Wilson) reports Ivanka Trump, speaking at the World Assembly for Women summit in Tokyo, said that “the world must boost women and minority participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).” She said, “Female and minority participation in STEM fields is moving in the wrong direction.”
Bombardier Searching For Partner In Rail Business.
Bloomberg News (11/2, Tomesco) reports, “missing out on a partnership with Siemens AG of Germany hasn’t derailed Bombardier Inc’s ambitions for a deal to bolster its train business.” The article quotes a statement from Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare Thursday, in which he said the company “will continue to assess opportunities to make our rail business even stronger. Everything is possible, but it needs to make some good strategic sense.” Bloomberg adds that Bombardier “spent several months discussing a rail combination with Siemens before the German company picked Alstom.”
Bombardier Announces New Order For CSeries Jets, Delays Deliveries. Reuters (11/2, Lampert, Bhattacharjee) reports, “Bombardier Inc scaled back CSeries jet deliveries by around a third because of engine delays, but said on Thursday it received its first order for the narrowbodies in 18 months, helping send shares up 4 percent.” Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare called the delays, due to engine problems, a “short-term issue” that engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is addressing. Bloomberg News (11/2, Tomesco) reports, “Bombardier Inc. won the first major sales agreement in 18 months for its beleaguered C Series jet, as it prepares to hand control of the aircraft program to Airbus SE,” and the deal “underscores the brighter outlook for the C Series after production delays and cost overruns marred Bombardier’s $6 billion investment and forced the company to rely on government assistance.” Bloomberg quotes William Blair & Co. Analyst Nick Heymann saying, “This order is definitely getting the market’s attention. Their ability to bring home the big orders has been enhanced by the Airbus partnership. People are starting to understand this deal with Airbus has completely changed the market.”
Waymo, AutoNation Announce Autonomous Vehicle Partnership.
The AP (11/2) reports, “Google spinoff Waymo is partnering with AutoNation Inc., the country’s largest auto dealership chain, in its push to produce self-driving cars for wide use.” In the announcement, made Thursday, AutoNation said “its dealerships will provide maintenance and repairs for Waymo’s self-driving fleet of Chrysler Pacifica vehicles,” and that “the agreement will include additional models of vehicles when Waymo brings them on line.” AutoNation Chief Executive Mike Jackson is quoted saying, “As Waymo moves to other markets and also puts other brands in service, we have expertise on any vehicle they want to put into service.” Reuters (11/2, Carey, Ajmera) reports that it is “a multi-year partnership,” and that the announcement sent AutoNation “shares up 13 percent to a high for the year.” Reuters quotes Jackson saying, “The ambition is to grow with Waymo. The only way to get a return on a truly autonomous system is on a shared vehicle, where there is an extended life cycle.”
Superior Graphite Investing $22M In Expansion Of Kentucky Facility.
WKDZ-FM Hopkinsville, KY (10/30, Catron) reports that Superior Graphite is investing $22 million in a third addition to its Hopkinsville, Kentucky Facility. President and CEO Edward Carney says the investment “will create 20 new jobs.” The article adds that ground work for the expansion “is already underway and Carney expects the construction to take about a year to complete.”
AXISCADES Announces Indiana Location.
The Indianapolis Star (11/2) reports Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, in India, announced that “Bangalore-based product engineering firm AXISCADES plans to invest $10 million over the next five years to set up operations in Indiana.” The company “employs more than 1,900 people worldwide, including about 250 engineers based in Peoria, Ill., and Montreal, Canada.” And “hiring for engineering jobs in Indiana is expected to begin next spring.”
Engineering and Public Policy
President Trump: Tax Reform “Rocket Fuel” For Economy.
The AP (11/2, Gordon, Taylor) reports that the House Republicans’ plan “would slash the corporate rate and lower the personal taxes of most Americans,” adding that “President Donald Trump and the GOP seek to deliver on the first tax revamp in three decades.” In a statement, the president said his Administration “will work tirelessly to make good on our promise to the working people who built our nation and deliver historic tax cuts and reforms – the rocket fuel our economy needs to soar higher than ever before.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said, “Today is the day. We are introducing legislation that will cut your taxes & make the entire system more simple. This will be a game-changer.” Bloomberg News (11/2, Asseo) reports that the tax proposal “would cut the US corporate tax rate to 20 percent, reduce most of the individual tax brackets, and cap the mortgage-interest deduction on new purchases of homes.” It would also “phase out the estate tax over five years and impose a tax of as much as 12 percent on multinational companies’ accumulated offshore earnings.” In addition, individual income tax rates “would be consolidated from seven to four, while setting a $24,000 standard deduction for joint filers and keeping the current top bracket of 39.6 percent.”
Politico (11/2, Becker) reports, “House Republicans repeatedly said Thursday that an average family of four making $59,000 a year would get a $1,182 tax cut under the GOP plan.” Reuters (11/2) publishes an analysis of the provisions in the “429-page tax bill that calls for slashing taxes on corporations, along with many other changes affecting individuals, families and businesses.” It writes that the measure “permanently reduces the US corporate income tax rate to 20 percent from a current statutory rate of 35 percent, a change that is in line with initial Republican proposals,” and it “dramatically reshapes the tax system for US multinational corporations,” as “worldwide taxation of their foreign profits would end,” and “a territorial tax system exempting those foreign profits from the corporate tax would be imposed.”
DOT Launches Drone Program For Package Deliveries.
The Hill (11/2, Zanona) reports the Transportation Department “officially launched a pilot program” Thursday to “allow states to test new types of drone operations, including package deliveries.” The move follows President Trump’s directive last month that the FAA “create a pilot program to allow state and local governments to propose expanded drone operations that can include flights over people, nighttime operations and flying beyond the visual line of sight – all of which are currently prohibited.” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said, “These partnerships will allow local communities to experiment with new technologies like package deliveries, emergency drone inspections, and more, on terms that work for them and in ways that support a unified and safe airspace.” The pilot program, which is scheduled to last three years, encourages localities to “partner with the private sector to propose a wide range of drone operations, such as allowing package deliveries, and the FAA will determine whether to accept them into the pilot program on a case-by-case basis.” The Hill mentions that “companies including Amazon and Google have been vying to use drones for commercial deliveries.”
State Department Cybersecurity Center Discussed.
CNN (11/2, Koran) reports Foreign Affairs Cybersecurity Center personnel “are working around the clock to protect some of the country’s most sensitive information from cyber attackers, their already daunting task further complicated by the State Department’s aging and obsolete technology.” Center personnel “sift through five terabytes of information…looking for abnormalities that could indicate an attempted intrusion into the State Department’s vast communications network.” Lonnie Price, the Assistant Director for Cyber and Technology Security in the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, “hosted reporters for a rare tour of the facility this week” and is quoted saying, “We’re quite proud of the place.”
Trump Administration Updating Driverless Vehicle Guidance.
The Hill (11/2, Zanona) reports Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said on Thursday that the Trump Administration is working to update its guidance on driverless vehicles. The Hill reports the US Department of Transportation “unveiled a new framework in September designed to pave the way for autonomous vehicles and build upon” the framework released by the Obama Administration last fall. Chao said, “Work is advancing so quickly, however, that an updated version is already in the works,” adding, “That’s how fast technology is changing.”
House Science Committee Chair Smith Won’t Seek Reelection In 2018.
The Dallas Morning News (11/2, Gillman) reports that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), “an immigration hardliner and climate change skeptic,” on Thursday announced that he won’t seek reelection in 2018. Smith, chair of the House Science Committee, “would hit a six-year term limit for chairmen at the end of 2018.” Said Smith, “I love my job. If I were able to continue as chairman of the science committee…I would be running for reelection.”
Politico (11/2, Dixon) reported, “In a letter to constituents, Smith said there were several reasons he is choosing not to seek reelection next year, including that he will complete his term as chairman. … Smith said he is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, and ‘I hope to find other ways to stay involved in politics.’” On its website, CNN (11/2, Walsh, Diaz) reported that Smith’s “seat is considered safely Republican.” The Huffington Post (11/2, Fang) reported that Smith, “first elected to the House in 1986, is now the 20th Republican in the House to either resign this year or announce that they will not seek re-election in 2018. Earlier this week, fellow Republican Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, also announced his retirement after eight terms in Congress.”
Thursday’s Lead Stories
• College Admissions Reporter Says Admission Process Is “Out Of Whack.”
• California Survey Finds Race, Income Differences In Views On Higher Education.
• Research At Brown Finds Patterned Metal Resistant To Fatigue.
• Computer Skills Lead Demand In STEM Fields.
• NHTSA Seeks Commentary On Removing Automated Vehicle Barriers.
• Pennsylvania High School Credits Blue Ribbon To Focus On AP, STEM.
• ISM Manufacturing Index Dipped In October, But Manufacturing Expansion Continues.