Leading the News
Keaton Jones, Mother Speak Out About Viral Bullying Video.
In continuing coverage of Tennessee middle-schooler Keaton Jones’ heartfelt viral video on bullying, the Los Angeles Times (12/12, D’Zurilla) reports the boy’s mother, Kimberly, addressed concerns over apparently racist photos on her Facebook page and “accusations of opportunistic and fraudulent fund-raising” Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” and “Good Morning America.” Discussing the outpouring of support for Keaton, along with “cruel social media commentary that portrayed Keaton as the character Sloth from ‘The Goonies,’” Kimberly said, “I knew that it could be great, and I knew that it could be awful. And it has been.” Keaton spoke to “Good Morning America” about his experiences since the video has gone viral, “while Kimberly offered context to images of the family with the Confederate flag that were found on her Facebook page.” She said the flag photos are “the only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag” and were “meant to be ironic and funny and extreme. … I am genuinely, truly sorry. If I could take it back, I would.”
Newsweek (12/12, Ahmed) reports Keaton Jones’ sister, Lakyn Jones, took to Twitter to defend her family “after photos emerged of Keaton, his siblings and his mother, Kimberly Jones, posing with Confederate flags.” She also “denied in a tweet that an Instagram page attributed to her mother belongs to Kimberly,” though Newsweek reports the “account was deactivated Monday after MMA fighter Joe Schilling posted a screenshot of a conversation with a person claiming to be Kimberly, who wrote to him, ‘What happened to us whites sticking together…?’”
Also reporting are the AP (12/12), Mic (12/12), the Independent (UK) (12/12, Oppenheim), the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel (12/12), the New York Post (12/12), the Independent (UK) (12/12, York), the Telegraph (UK) (12/12, Molloy), the Los Angeles Times (12/12), Newsweek (12/12, Menta), TIME (12/12), Newsweek (12/12, Dupuy), the Telegraph (UK) (12/12, Urban), ABC News (12/12), and the Arizona Republic (12/11).
GVSU Awarded $1 Million Grant For STEM Scholarships.
The Holland (MI) Sentinel (12/10) reported Grand Valley State University has been awarded “a $1 million grant National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program to form a financial help program for low-income science and engineering students.” The university’s “RISE program – Retaining and Inspiring Students in Science and Engineering – will create a set of progressively increasing four-year scholarships for at least 50 Grand Valley students who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education” and will “immerse scholarship recipients in a cohort with faculty mentors, and provide them with experiential learning opportunities, such as summer research and internships, and career preparation tactics.”
US Commerce Dept. Grants $1 Million To Embry-Riddle For Engineering Research Hangar.
Aviation Today (12/12, Fuller) reports that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has received a $1 million grant from the US Commerce Department that will be used to build the new “Applied Aviation and Engineering Research Hangar” in Daytona Beach, Florida. The grant from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration is expected to “create 387 jobs and attract $1.6 million in private investment.” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross anticipated that the “completion of this project will help strengthen the region’s aeronautical sector, making the community a potential destination for both domestic and foreign investment.” Center Director Richard Anderson said that the center will perform research into “aviation innovation projects such as alternative propulsion systems, electric and hybrid-electric aircraft, and electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, aircraft as well as new fuel.”
Accreditation and Professional Development
Local Kids Enjoy Holiday Story Night At McDaniel College In Maryland.
The Baltimore Sun (12/12, Chappell) reports the Kappa Delta Pi education honors society at McDaniel College invited kids from William Winchester Elementary School to a Winter Story Night event featuring a variety of holiday themed books, crafts, “a trip to the college’s holiday light show and even a visit from Santa.” “Robin Townsend, McDaniel’s coordinator of Teacher Professional Development, said she thought it was the first time KDP had done something like this event. KDP partnered with William Winchester because they have some student teachers there, and it’s close to the college, she said.”
Most US States Fail To Adequately Teach School Students About Money.
The Street (12/12, Powell) reports that many US states do poor jobs of teaching high school students financial literacy, with just Utah, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama earning an A grade in the 2017 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. The Street reports that Utah “stands out from all other states” because it “requires that all high school students take a half-year course exclusively dedicated to personal finance topics, and students are required to take an end-of-course assessment examination created and administered by the state.” State law “also requires that educators teaching this course obtain a specific endorsement in general financial literacy that includes coursework on financial planning; credit and investing; and consumer, personal and family economics.” The state “provides its educators with tools, resources and many professional development opportunities.”
Australian Teacher Training Program Strengthens Student Financial Literacy. Independent Financial Adviser (AUS) (12/13) reports EY Sweeney evaluated ASIC’s MoneySmart Teaching Program and found that it “has led to a stronger financial literacy among students across school communities.” According to the evaluation, “82 per cent of students are showing interest in learning about money, while 96 per cent of students are saying that it is important to learn about money.” ASIC acting chair Peter Kell said, “Many teachers reported a positive impact on their own financial decisions in relation to credit cards, budgeting and borrowing in response to engaging with the teacher professional development program. We will continue to look for more opportunities to influence and strengthen the financial capabilities of teachers and students to make a real difference in the financial wellbeing of communities.”
Research and Development
Researchers Outline Processes To Boost Range Of Lithium Battery Cathodes.
Nanowerk (12/12) reports “researchers from Stanford University, two Department of Energy national labs and the battery manufacturer Samsung [have] created a comprehensive picture of how the same chemical processes that give cathodes” that have been “overstuff[ed]” with lithium “their high capacity are also linked to changes in atomic structure that sap performance.” William Gent, a Stanford University graduate student and the Siebel Scholar who led the study, said the findings provide “a promising new pathway for optimizing the voltage performance of lithium-rich cathodes by controlling the way their atomic structure evolves as a battery charges and discharges.”
Wind Power May Become Less Viable In Northern Hemisphere As Climate Changes.
The Denver Post (12/12, Brennan) reports a new study by a University of Colorado researcher says changes in climate brought about by carbon emissions may result in less wind available for power generation in the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitudes, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. At the same time, the study suggests winds may increase substantially in tropical areas and in the Southern Hemisphere. A number of other regional studies around the world have produced results indicating “the amount of wind available for conversion into energy through the use of turbines can fluctuate in a changing climate.”
Full Employment In The US? Not For Many Women.
The recent S&P Global Ratings report on women in the US workforce was covered by AFP (12/13) as it looked at challenges women face in employment. S&P said in its research, “If women entered and stayed in the workforce at a pace in line with, say, Norway, the US economy would be $1.6 trillion larger than it is today,” noting that the US was 20th in the OECD ranking of prime working-age women’s participation in the labor force.
ThinkAdvisor (12/12) reports S&P believes “a dual-pronged effort to encourage women to enter the workforce and stay there, particularly in professions traditionally dominated by men, would present a substantial opportunity for growth of the world’s principal economy, with the potential to add 5-10 percent to nominal GDP in just a few decades.” With the labor participation rate near a 40-year low, S&P recently lowered its long-term average annual GDP expansion forecast to just 1.8 percent annually, down from 2.75 percent 15 years ago.
Google To Open New AI Research Center in Beijing.
Bloomberg News (12/12, Banjo, Ramli) reports Google is planning to open a new China-based research facility in order to “formalize its AI presence in the country.” The Google AI China Center will include “a small team focused on advancing basic AI research in publications, academic conferences and knowledge exchange,” according to Google’s cloud unit chief scientist Fei-Fei Li. Reuters (12/12) reports the research center will “target the country’s local talent” amid the Chinese leadership affirming their “strong support for AI research and development in the country.”
Experts: China In Position To Lead Autonomous Vehicle Industry.
The South China Morning Post (HKG) (12/12, Yeung, Ng) reports “China, the world’s largest market for electric cars, is predicted to be in pole position to shape the future of” autonomous vehicle and other “mobility” services as well as to “transform global business models, improve road safety conditions and cut pollution, according to industry experts.” Jim Burkhard, head of crude oil markets at IHS Markit, said, “The combined impact of mobility services, driverless technologies, electric cars and government policies [promoting their adoption in China] will propel a national transformation in personal mobility,” but he acknowledged that “the mass use of driverless cars could still be five years off.” The SCMP says Andrew Dinsdale, managing director at Deloitte Digital, was “slightly more optimistic about China’s adoption of self-driving cars, however, as according to its own research, customers [in the country] are enthusiastic about their imminent arrival into everyday life.”
Northrop Grumman Expects To Deploy MQ-8C Fire Scout In 2020.
Inside Defense (12/12, Katz) reports Northrop Grumman officials expect the MQ-8C Fire Scout UAV to reach initial operating capability (IOC) and see its first deployment in 2020. Northrop Grumman director of mission engineering for tactical autonomous systems Jack Thomas told Inside the Navy in a December 7 interview that the IOC definition “for the Navy is a first deployment, so that’s when we think you’ll see the first deployment of the MQ-8C with a fully integrated” active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. In a December 11 email, Navy spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove “confirmed the radar is expected to reach IOC in 2020.” Northrop Grumman Fire Scout program director Melissa Packwood said the company will perform “lab integration and software testing for the radar in the middle of 2018,” while, “At the tail end of 2018, we will be doing physical integration of the radar into the MQ-8C.”
The US Naval Institute (12/12, LaGrone) reports the UAV “is set to be upgraded with a Leonardo Osprey 30” AESA radar “radar and the Link 16 datalink.” Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems director of Tactical Autonomous Systems Mission Engineering Jack Thomas said that the Fire Scout is a “key enabler” of distributed maritime operations capability “and requires no additional modification to any of the other platforms.” He added that the company sees Fire Scout “as the long-range, high-endurance sensor” that will shorten the cycle “from initial detection through to managing that track where we see the incorporation of Link 16 into that program.” Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Fire Scout program director Melissa Packwood said the current “focus is on the sensors which are the advanced radar on the aircraft and continuing that integration effort.” The aircraft is currently operation on a Littoral Combat ship, “and will be a key component” of the FFG(X) frigate program, according to the Navy’s published requirements for the ship. The Navy “has so far bought 30 MQ-8Cs for the LCS program, Packwood said.”
Corning To Buy 3M’s Optical Business.
In continuing coverage, CFO (12/12, Heller) reports that “Corning has agreed to acquire substantially all of 3M’s Communication Markets division for $900 million to expand its portfolio of high-bandwidth optical communications products.” CFO says that “the 3M unit will become part of its optical communications business, which accounted for more than a third of its sales in the third quarter.” Corning “said the acquisition will add to its array of high-bandwidth optical connectors, assemblies, hardware, and accessories for carrier networks, enterprise LAN, and data center solutions.” According to Corning Optical Communications Executive Vice President Clark S. Kinlin, “This transaction expands both our global market reach and our high-bandwidth portfolio. It also provides new co-innovation opportunities and enhances our ability to serve customers globally. … As the industry’s only true end-to-end manufacturer and supplier of optical solutions, we look forward to bringing these two strong organizations together and welcoming a group of outstanding employees.”
Reporting similarly are RCR Wireless (12/12, Kinney), Optics (UK) (12/12), Zacks Investment Research (12/13), Zacks Investment Research (12/13), Light Reading (UK) (12/12), Investor’s Business Daily (12/13, Elliott), the Austin (TX) Business Journal (12/12, Subscription Publication), Zephyr – Bureau van Dijk (12/12), Bloomberg News (12/12, Clough), Dow Jones Newswires (12/12, Lombardo, Subscription Publication), Ticker (12/12), Proactive Investors US/CAN (12/12), Industrial Distribution (12/12), and Mobile Europe (UK) (12/12).
Vanguard Plans To Launch Blockchain Network.
American Banker (12/12, Subscription Publication) reports that Vanguard Group is preparing to launch a blockchain network in partnership with smart-contracts startup Symbiont and the Center for Research in Security Prices. JPMorgan, Bank of New York Mellon, and State Street “are all developing blockchain projects, drawn to blockchain’s potential for more transparent custody and faster transactional capabilities.” This, the article says, is the “idea behind Vanguard’s effort: By automatically ingesting index data being shared on a decentralized database, the mutual fund provider, which manages $4.8 trillion in assets, will obtain a more complete and up-to-date picture of the market, an improvement that could yield better returns for clients.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Indiana Governor Announces $7B In Investment, Over 30,000 New Jobs In Indiana In 2017.
The Clinton County (IN) Daily News (12/12, Hartman) reports that Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb (R) announced Tuesday that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) had “a record-breaking year” in 2017, “securing 293 commitments from companies across the country and around the world to locate or grow in Indiana.” These businesses plan to invest “more than $7.04 billion in their Indiana operations and create up to 30,158 new Hoosier jobs in the coming years – the highest annual commitment in IEDC history.” Holcomb is quoted saying, “Our efforts to diversify Indiana’s economy and share the Hoosier story with a global audience paid off with a record-setting year for job commitments in 2017.” He adds, “From home-grown small businesses to international Fortune 500 companies, organizations of all sizes are choosing to invest in Indiana because of our best-in-the Midwest job climate and a Hoosier workforce that’s second to none.” The article announces the larges investment commitments of the year.
Trump Meets With Chao, Shuster On Infrastructure.
In continuing coverage, the Politico (12/12, Snyder) Morning Transportation rundown reports the White House said President Trump’s infrastructure meeting with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), and National Economic Council Gary Cohn was “productive.” The White House said it “looks forward to working with Rep. Shuster and his colleagues in Congress to turn this vision into legislation next year.” Politico says it is “disappointed” by the lack of specifics on the meeting.
The Chambersburg (PA) Public Opinion (12/12, Hook) reports Shuster said the meeting with Trump “was a very positive step forward as we begin to work towards improving America’s infrastructure.” He praised Trump’s “strong leadership on this issue” as “critical to improving our economy and creating jobs – something that matters to every American.” Shuster said he will “look forward to working with the President, the Administration, and my congressional colleagues as we move into the new year to identify specific proposals and priorities.”
Texas Students Design Flood-Prevention Projects.
The Cypress Creek (TX) Mirror (12/12, Bradley) reports on Klein ISD’s inaugural Day of Design and Water Warriors Innovation Challenge, which challenged elementary school students to design flood-prevention projects using Legos and foil. Beth Gilleland, executive director for College and Career Pathways, said, “Many in the Klein ISD community experienced loss during the floods of 2016 and Hurricane Harvey. We believe this challenge is an opportunity to serve the community as well as to provide a unique, challenging learning opportunity for our students. Water Warriors allows students to be both think critically and become goal oriented problem solvers as they research, plan, and develop solutions to this difficult problem which plagues our city.”
Tuesday’s Lead Stories
• France Awards Research Grants To US Climate Change Scientists In Rebuke To US Withdrawal From Paris Accord.
• University Of Maryland UAS Test Site Gets Eleven TigerShark UAS.
• CA School District Leads On New Science Standards.
• New NOAA Texas Rainfall Maps Redefine “100-year Flood.”
• Banks Need Big-Tech Talent To Compete With Big Tech Firms.
• US Software Company Sues HNA Over Takeover Failure.
• Apple Patent For In-Display Fingerprint Scanner May Be For Other iDevices.