Leading the News
Report: Number International Students Entering US Colleges Is Down.
The Washington Post (11/12, Anderson) reports that according to the Institute of International Education, the number of new international students entering US colleges and universities “shrank last year and has continued to decline this fall on many campuses, breaking a recent trend of growth.” The report found that “new foreign enrollment fell nearly 10,000 students in fall 2016, to about 291,000,” marking the first decline “in the six years the report has published that statistic.” In addition, the institute “teamed with 10 education groups on a snapshot survey of foreign enrollment this fall. About 500 schools responded, reporting an average decrease of 7 percent of new international students.” The Post says the data “are likely to fuel questions about how the divisive 2016 presidential campaign and U.S. policy shifts since President Trump took office have influenced the global academic market.”
The New York Times (11/13, Saul, Subscription Publication) reports that the “new numbers confirm what the higher education industry had feared: Fewer foreign students are coming to the United States.” Education experts “cited an uncertain social and political climate in the United States as part of the reason for the decline in enrollment.” Meanwhile, “countries like Canada, Britain and Australia” have increased recruiting efforts according to IIE President , said Allan E. Goodman, president of the institute.
The Los Angeles Times (11/13, Watanabe) reports that the decline marks the end of “years of rapid growth,” and comes “amid concerns about political uncertainty, tuition increases, visa delays and reductions in scholarship money, an annual survey found.” Despite the national decline in international students, “California remained the nation’s most popular destination for foreign students, with 157,000 coming to the state in 2016-17.”Newsweek (11/13) and Politico (11/13, Stratford) also cover this story.
ED Begins Negotiated Rulemaking On Protecting College Students From Fraud.
The AP (11/13, Danilova) reports that ED began “formal negotiations on Monday to rewrite federal rules meant to protect students from fraud by colleges and universities.” College and student representatives are negotiating with ED officials “as the department faces criticism for delaying consideration of tens of thousands of loan forgiveness claims from students who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges.” The AP explains the provenance and scope of the borrower defense rule, which “allowed loan forgiveness if it was determined that the college had deceived them.” Use of the rule exploded after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges Inc. and ITT Tech “when thousands of students flooded the department with requests to cancel their loans.”
MarketWatch (11/13) reports that “representatives from a variety of sectors” are negotiating “to develop a rule for how and when these borrowers can have their federal student loans forgiven.” The negotiations will be “essentially a do-over of a similar session that took place last year.” The piece explains that the “Trump administration’s Department of Education took several steps this year to delay implementation of the Obama-era rule” which “was supposed to take effect last summer.”
Politico (11/13, Stratford) reports that the “long, painstaking process” will address “coming up with new rules governing federal loan forgiveness for defrauded students, mandatory arbitration agreements, and the financial standards colleges must meet to receive federal student aid.”
ED Refuses To Let Attendees Live-Stream Negotiations. The Huffington Post (11/13) reports that ED staff “refused to let attendees live-stream its negotiated rulemaking meeting,” during which “the Trump-DeVos department is aiming to roll back Obama-era rules to protect students and taxpayers from predatory practices by for-profit colleges.” The piece reports that “Charlotte Hancock of the Center for American Progress-affiliated Higher Ed Not Debt project began a live-stream as the meeting began,” but “was halted by an Education Department staffer who said that the meetings are public, but live-streaming is not allowed.”
U.S. News & World Report (11/13) reports that “nearly seven hours into the public meeting, negotiators…still hadn’t agreed on whether or not the conference should be recorded or streamed live online – an issue that wasn’t even on the docket for consideration.” This piece reports that the impasse “comes as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department have been criticized for a lack of transparency.”
Puerto Rican Cybersecurity Grad Students Study At Cal State San Bernardino.
The Victorville (CA) High Desert Daily (11/12) reports that four cybersecuirty graduate students from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, which was damaged by Hurricane Maria, are currently continuing their studies at Cal State San Bernardino. For these students, the hurricane left them “with the possibility of being unable to complete their studies and jeopardizing their scholarships through the CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service program.”
University Of Maryland Dedicates Bioengineering Facility, Leidos Innovation Lab.
GovCon Executive (11/13, Adams) reports the University of Maryland held a dedication ceremony Friday for the A. James Clark Hall “bioengineering facility that will host collaborative research work through the Leidos Innovation Lab.” The 6,800-square feet lab was “supported by a donation from Leidos,” and will “facilitate student collaborations on cross-disciplinary research.” Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone “said the Leidos Innovation Lab will help equip the nation’s future engineering workforce and aid UMD’s Fearless Ideas Campaign.”
University of Maryland – Diamondback (11/13, Andemicael) reports that in addition to the Leidos Innovation Lab, Clark Hall will also “offer a prototyping/fabrication lab, which produces advanced manufacturing and 3-D printing” capabilities.
VA Tells For-Profit College It Is Out Of Compliance With GI Bill Rules.
Politico Morning Education (11/13, Stratford) reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs “last week issued a ‘cure notice’ to Bridgepoint Education-owned Ashford University, telling the for-profit school that it has 60 days to come into compliance with federal rules or else lose its eligibility for GI Bill funding.” The VA says the school’s use of “approval by Arizona state regulators” is “‘legally insufficient’ because the school’s ‘main campus is not located in Arizona.’”
Research and Development
Researchers Designing Drones Based On Albatross Flight.
NBC News (11/13) reports (11/13) that researchers are “taking cues from the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans), an enormous seabird that is uniquely adapted to soar great distances with minimal effort” with the goal of designing “new drones that fly by harnessing power from the wind and sun.” Such devices “would be ideal for missions to remote regions where there is no place to recharge batteries along the way” or for leading “search and rescue efforts” or patrols in “protected marine areas to make sure no one is illegally fishing in them.”
Next Generation Of Apple HomePods May Support Face ID.
TechRadar (11/13, Johnson) reports that according to Inventec Appliances president David Ho, the Apple HomePod smark speaker may support Face ID as soon as 2019. Ho said that trends suggest “engineers are designing smart speakers that will not only come with voice recognition but also incorporate features such as facial and image recognition.” Analysts have said Ho is referring to the next generation of HomePods with this statement. Yuanta Investment Consulting analyst Jeff Pu predicted a HomePod with 3D-imaging sensors will be released in 2019.
Phone Arena (11/13) reports that although Ho didn’t mention the HomePod by name, he said that Inventec Appliances “is also producing a voice enabled smart speaker by the end of the year.” This speaker “could be Apple’s new device, which is expected to launch next month at a price of $349.”
Fort Lewis College Professor Uses Robots To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.
The Durango (CO) Herald (11/13, Rupani) reports that Ryan Smith, professor of physics and engineering at Fort Lewis College, is “the winner of the 2017-18 Fort Lewis College Featured Scholar award for his work to monitor water quality across the region.” The Bureau of Reclamation “recently contacted Smith to gain insight on sending robots into abandoned mine corridors to create 3-D reconstructions.” According o the article, “Smith’s students are studying which types of robots could explore mines, what sensors they would need, and what the risk/reward ratio is.”
Five Technologies That Will Change The Way We Live.
The New York Times (11/13, Metz, Subscription Publication) features an article highlighting “five technologies that will rock your world,” and discusses the rapid evolution of technology. The Times says that “because of the success of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, investment in tech research continues to climb,” and the possibilities of artificial intelligence continue to grow. The article draws attention to the proliferation of AI healthcare, conversational computing, mind control through electroencephalography, the flying car, and the quantum computer. In discussing conversational computing, the Times writes, “Neural networks are not limited to image recognition. Far from it. These same techniques are rapidly improving coffee-table gadgets like the Amazon Echo.”
Airbus Hopes To Test Vahana VTOL By End Of Year.
The Verge (11/13, Hawkins) reports that a full-scale demonstrator of Airbus’ Vahana “electric, autonomous, multirotor VTOL aircraft” is under construction “with the goal of taking flight by the end of the year.”
Report: Carbon Emissions On Pace To Rise In 2017.
The Hill (11/13, Cama) reports that according to research released yesterday by the Global Carbon Project “carbon dioxide emissions are on track to rise slightly this year after three years of staying flat.” The report “provides fuel to environmentalists to argue that the slowdown in emissions growth was more of a fluke than the start of a pattern.” The New York Times (11/13, Subscription Publication) reports carbon emissions “are on track to increase roughly 2 percent over last year’s levels, driven in part by a rebound in coal use in China.” The AP (11/13, Seth Borenstein) reports the research “dashed hopes that emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas had peaked.” Stanford University earth scientist and co-author of the study Rob Jackson said, “We hoped that we had turned the corner… We haven’t.”
Study Shows Comparison Of Countries’ Indirect Emissions From Battery-Electric Vehicles.
The Detroit Free Press (11/13, Lawrence) reports a new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute “finds that gas-powered vehicles need to average 55.4 miles per gallon in the United States or 51.5 mpg worldwide in order to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a battery-electric vehicle.” Most electric cars “aren’t oil or coal free” – their batteries “are charged by electricity generated at powerplants” using mostly oil or coal. The disparity “between electric vehicles and conventional gas-powered cars depends on what is used to make the electricity that charges a battery.” Michigan researcher Michael Sivak said, “The reasons for conducting such a country-by-country comparison are that the indirect emissions from (battery-electric vehicles) depend on the mix of fuel sources used to generate electricity and countries differ widely in their fuel-source mix.”
Florida Officials Lobby To Bring Autonomous Vehicle Companies To Miami.
The Miami Herald (11/13, Robertson) reports “Florida is beckoning” automakers developing autonomous vehicles to come to Miami as the state has “the country’s least restrictive laws regulating their operation.” Ahead of the annual Autonomous Vehicle Summit starting Tuesday in Tampa, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said, “Florida is in position to be an early deployment state. … My goal is to have multiple rollouts in the next 24 months. It’s going to change the way we think about mobility and reshape the conversation about transportation.”
Engineering and Public Policy
AECOM To Be Paid $110,000 For Wind Energy Study On Military Operations.
The Raleigh (NC) News & Observer (11/13) reports engineering firm AECOM “will be paid $110,000 in state money for a study of the impacts of wind energy projects on military operations.” The contract “between the company AECOM and legislative staff members on Nov. 7; it was finalized shortly after a Nov. 1 deadline in the law requiring Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble to award the contract.” The company’s “proposal notes that it has strong relationships with the military as a result of its previous work.”
Seip: Proposed Tariffs On Imported Solar Panels Would Hurt National Security.
Norman R. Seip writes in the Washington Post (11/13, Seip) reports the US International Trade Commission “is proposing tariffs on imported solar energy panels for Trump to approve.” That “may be tempting for the president, who has put forth an ‘America First Energy Plan’ and could see tariffs as a way to enact it.” But it “would be a grave mistake – one that would hurt our national security, cost veterans their jobs and increase power bills for everyday Americans.”
Puerto Rico Governor Sends $94.3 Billion Disaster Relief Request To Congress.
McClatchy (11/13, Daugherty) reports that Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló “unveiled a $94.3 billion disaster relief request to Congress on Monday.” The biggest piece of the request, “$31 billion, would go to housing assistance, with another $17.7 billion to rebuild the island’s power grid and $14.9 billion for health care.” Rosselló said, “This is a critical step forward in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico, where we’re not only looking to rebuild as was before but we want to make it much stronger and much more resilient and make Puerto Rico a model for the rest of the Caribbean.” McClatchy adds that Congress and the Administration are likely to pare down the request.
Documents Show PREPA’s “Troubled Relationship” With Whitefish Energy. The Washington Post (11/13, Davis, Mufson) reports that more than 2,000 pages of internal Whitefish Energy documents turned over to congressional investigators last week “capture the troubled relationship between [Puerto Rico’s] bankrupt state-run utility and Whitefish Energy as they confronted a staggering electricity crisis that is now in its 54th day.” The documents show that the company “struggled from Day One to live up to promises it was making to utility officials on the island. Even so, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, agreed repeatedly to requests for higher and higher prices for restoration work.” The Post adds that PREPA “appears likely to continue paying the firm millions of dollars a week into December, according to documents and interviews.”
Environmentalists Urge New Mexico To Adopt Renewable Energy Standard.
The AP (11/13) reports New Mexico has a chance “to adopt policies that will encourage the development of more renewable energy to meet the needs of utility customers around the state, environmentalists and advocates told state lawmakers Monday.” The green advocates “presented their case for boosting the percentage of electricity that New Mexico utility customers get from renewable resources from 20 percent in 2020 to 50 percent by 2030 and more in subsequent years.” The effort “would place New Mexico on a similar trajectory to California and New York, which are planning for 50 percent by 2030. Hawaii aims to shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.”
Houston Schools Struck By Hurricane Harvey Offered Free Year Of Elementary-Level STEM Program.
The Houston Chronicle (11/13, KesbehDina.kesbeh@, chron.com) reports many Houston area schools, including Spring Branch ISD’s Horn Elementary, are using at no cost GameSalad, “a program that districts all over the country could use to teach computer science.” Horn Elementary’s Alex Jones “said the school principle has requested the focus be on coding and anything STEM related to help motivated children to follow an engineering or computer science career path.” When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, Jones “jumped on the chance to use the program the first year for free and contacted GameSalad.” Jones commented, “When you think of STEM you don’t normally think of girls or they are pushed to the back, I want to inspire girls and let them know that they are just as valid as boys.” Chief executive Brent Dusing said offering GameSalad at no cost was a duty because, “We want to make sure those children’s computer science education has no setback” because of the hurricane.
Oregon District Centers Curriculum On Construction Of New School.
The Walla Walla (WA) Union-Bulletin (11/13) reports Milton-Freewater Unified School District administrators are developing curriculum and experiences centered around the construction of a new elementary school to introduce students “to the construction industry and the many skills and workers needed in it.” Oregon Business Congress executive director Tom Goodhue described the program as “remarkable,” commenting, “This is unique, that a school district would take the time and trouble and effort to do that.” Goodhue’s organization works with Oregon schools to introduce children to the trade. The mission is particularly critical “in a time when schools have cut industrial art programs and fewer kids get the opportunity to learn some manual labor before they hit the job market, Goodhue said Friday.”
Florida Coding Groups Seek To Recruit Young Children Into STEM.
The Miami Herald (11/13) profiles Florida coding groups hoping to fill the anticipated shortage of STEM-field employees. These groups are especially reaching out to “minority and low-income students who might not otherwise be presented with these opportunities,” as well as “girls, who are underrepresented in the computer universe.” Amy Renshaw, Marina Ganopolsky, and Lander Basterra co-founded a local Florida nonprofit called CodeArt, which transforms “computer science into a creative endeavor.” Pine Crest School senior Rachel Auslander formed CoderGals, through which female high school mentors teach “computer sessions at area elementary schools, Boys & Girls’ Clubs, community centers and libraries.” In Miami, “Felecia Hatcher and her husband Derick Pearson launched the group Code Fever to reach African American and Caribbean youths.” Also reaching out to “under-resourced” youths is “Breakthrough Miami, which offers a six-week summer institute, a year-round Saturday school program and several other programs.”
Also in the News
Bloomberg Profiles NASA Computer Engineer Victor Luo.
Bloomberg News (11/13, Popescu) profiles Victor Luo, lead project manager for the OpsLab at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Luo works on the space agency’s virtual- and augmented-reality projects, enabling engineers here on Earth to design virtual space shuttles in 3D and then assist astronauts on the real shuttles orbiting outside the atmosphere.” The article says Luo found space “endlessly fascinating,” but was less enamored of aerospace engineering. The piece quotes Luo saying, “I switched to aerospace for a semester—I thought I needed that for NASA. The chair of the department said, ‘You don’t have to be in aerospace to be in the space industry.’ It was a lightbulb moment, and I went back to computers.”
Monday’s Lead Stories