Leading the News
UC San Diego Computer Engineering Professor Wins MacArthur Award.
The Los Angeles Times (10/10, Netburn) reports UC San Diego professor of computer science and engineering Stefan Savage has “just won a five-year, $625,000 ‘genius’ grant from the MacArthur Foundation.” Savage “and his students have hacked into cars and disabled brakes, used telescopes to make illicit copies of keys from 200 feet away, and joined criminal groups selling counterfeit drugs over the internet.” The Times adds that Savage “works on a wide range of projects designed to protect computer systems from attackers, whether it’s a crook trying to steal credit card information off a laptop or a foreign country gathering intelligence by hacking into a database maintained by Yahoo or Anthem Blue Cross.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune (10/10) reports that the “cybersecurity guru” has “revealed ways to thwart email spammers and showed how hackers could remotely steal cars.” The piece says Savage “has long been a bright light in UC San Diego’s department of computer science and engineering, largely for investigating the economics of cybercrime, creating better ways to defend against the spread of malicious software, and for illustrating that cars are vulnerable to hackers.”
VA Drops Plans To Suspend Law Barring Employees’ Ties With For-Profit Colleges.
The AP (10/11, Yen) reports that on Wednesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs halted plans “to suspend an ethics law barring employees from receiving benefits from for-profit colleges” after receiving “criticism from government watchdogs who warned of financial entanglements with private companies vying for millions in GI Bill tuition.”
Data Show Black Americans Twice As Likely As Whites To Default On Student Debt.
Bloomberg News (10/11, Nasiripour) reports new data from the Department of Education show “nearly half of black Americans who borrowed from the federal government to attend college defaulted on their student loans – more than double the rate among white student debtors.” The figures “are part of a comprehensive report out this month that examines students who first enrolled in college during the 2003-04 academic year and whether they defaulted on at least one federal loan over the next 12 years, or until June 2015.” Seton Hall University professor Robert Kelchen compiled the default rates, and the “differences are stark.” About 48.6 percent of black student debtors “defaulted on a federal loan, compared with 10.8 percent of Asians, 20.4 percent of whites, and 34.7 percent of Hispanics.” Among all races, some 27 percent of all borrowers defaulted.
Californians Want Increased College Aid For Low- And Middle-income For Public Colleges, Poll Finds.
EdSource (10/11, Gordon) reports that according to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll, “California voters strongly support increasing state-funded financial aid for both low-income and middle-income students at public colleges and universities.” The article says, “California already provides some of the most generous financial aid in the nation to cover tuition and, as a result, college students graduate with some of the lowest total education loan debt in the nation.” The article reports, “On a geographic basis, support for bolstered financial aid was strongest in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay area and lowest in other parts of northern California.”
Southern Cal Community Colleges Need To Prepare More Workers For The Region, Report Says.
EdSource (10/11, Zinshteyn) says a report by The Center for a Competitive Workforce found that community colleges need to “educate more students to fill the tens of thousands of jobs that’ll be created in the next five years.” The report says that of the 67,450 projected job openings in the next five years that require a college certificate, “community colleges in the region are on pace to graduate students for just over half.” The article says, “Most of the coming middle-skill jobs will be in health care services – nearly 28,000 openings by 2021 – and in professional and technical services, estimated at 17,000 jobs.”
Research and Development
Panasonic Plans Debut Of Self-driving System By 2022.
ZDNet (10/12, Chadwick) says that as Panasonic “continues to turn its focus to advanced auto parts,” the company projects releasing its autonomous commercial vehicle driving system by 2022, for which it says it is leveraging its TV and camera expertise to enable low- and medium-speed driving and self-valet parking. Panasonic is reportedly the battery supplier for the Tesla Model 3 and moved 350 engineers from consumer electronics divisions to its automotive R&D division upon the unit’s creation in April this year. Shoichi Goto, director of vision and sensing technologies in the division, is cited saying, “We know we are behind our rivals right now, but we have developed key LSI 9 (large-scale integration) chips for advanced image processing and sonar sensing that would give us major advantages.”
Louisiana Cyber Innovation Center Receives DHS Grant.
KTBS-TV Shreveport, LA (10/11) reports, “The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), headquartered in Bossier City, has received a $4 million continuation grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” KTBS says, “The fiscal year 2017 DHS grant supports the CIC’s continued, nation-wide expansion of the its K-12 education and training program designed to provide educators with curricula, resources, and dynamic professional development in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), cyber, and computer science.”
Autonomous Vehicle Push Tests Limits Of Battery Technology.
Bloomberg News (10/11, Coppola, Dey) reports that the push to develop autonomous vehicles quickly is demonstrating that “autonomy and battery power could end up being at odds,” because “self-driving technology is a huge power drain.” The power needs for some prototypes of autonomous vehicles “consume two to four kilowatts of electricity – the equivalent of having 50 to 100 laptops continuously running in the trunk, according to BorgWarner Inc,” which expects the first generation of autonomous cars “will be too energy-hungry to run on battery power alone.” Bloomberg states that the regulatory push towards efficiency will continue to force innovation, “as major markets from California to China ratchet up pressure to curb pollution, automakers and their suppliers will have to find creative new ways to offset emissions produced by feeding the car’s increasingly intelligent brain.”
Northrop Grumman Subsidiary Unveils Experimental Aircraft.
The AP (10/11) reports that Northrop Grumman subsidiary specialty aerospace developer Scaled Composites unveiled a new experimental aircraft for the first time Wednesday. The Model 401, intended for an unspecified “proprietary customer,” is intended “to demonstrate advanced, low-cost manufacturing techniques, and to provide aircraft for research flight services to industry partners and the United States government.” The Model 401 “has a 38-foot wingspan, is 38 feet long and will fly at Mach 0.6, with a service ceiling of 30,000 feet. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney JTD-15D-5D engine.” Scaled Composites is known for “revolutionary aerospace designs” such as the SpaceShipOne rocket, which won the Ansari X Prize in 2004.
Scientists Develop Low-Cost Battery From Waste Graphite.
Nanowerk (10/11) reports that two scientists in the Empa branch of a research group based at both ETH Zurich and in Empa’s Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics have “discovered promising approaches” for the production of inexpensive batteries made from scrap metal and “kish graphite” – which is waste material from steel production that acts as an ideal cathode material for the batteries. The article explains that natural graphite also works so long as it is in “coarse flakes,” allowing the new batteries’ thick anions to “slip into the structure more easily” at the open edges of the flakes. One of the scientists, Kostiantyn Kravchyk, is cited saying, “The aluminum chloride – graphite cathode battery could last decades in everyday household use. … similar demonstrations, but further increased battery voltages, without compromising capacities, and of even lighter elements are on the way and will offer further increase in energy densities.”
Alibaba Plans To Invest $15B In R&D Projects.
The Verge (10/11, Vincent) reports that, according to Quartz, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba announced recently that it plans to invest $15 billion in research and development projects. The investment is part of the company’s Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook (DAMO) Academy and “will include the opening of seven new labs: two in China, with others in Singapore, Moscow, near Seattle, and in Silicon Valley.” The Verge adds that the scope of research conducted at these facilities will include areas like artificial intelligence, data analysis, the Internet of Things, and quantum computing.
Engineering and Public Policy
Pro-Trump Energy Group Criticizes Perry Plan To Aid Coal, Nuclear.
The Hill (10/11, Cama) reports the Institute for Energy Research, “whose political arm endorsed President Trump, is panning the administration’s proposal to mandate higher payments to coal and nuclear power plants.” Director of Policy Kenny Stein wrote yesterday that the proposal by the Energy Department is “excessive and unnecessarily distortive.” The proposal asks the FERC “to require that electric grid operators pay power plants for their costs plus a fair return, as long as the plants have at least 90 days of fuel on-site, a quality only possible in coal and nuclear plants.” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry “said the policy is needed for grid resilience, since coal and nuclear plants are closing down due to the economy.”
The Washington Examiner (10/11, Siciliano) reports the group said, “Putting the government’s finger on the scale in this way will increase costs and stifle innovation in new means of generation and delivery. … What need is there to innovate and to offer more efficient or cheaper electricity if the government is guaranteeing returns for existing processes?”
IECA Wants Lawmakers To Confront Perry On Proposal. E&E Daily (10/11, Subscription Publication) reports “operators of the nation’s factories and industrial plants are trying to enlist Congress’ help to halt” Perry’s proposal. Ahead of his appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, “the Industrial Energy Consumers of America called on Republican and Democratic leaders to ask Perry to withdraw his request for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rulemaking.” The group said the proposal by Perry is “anti-competitive.” E&E Publishing (10/11, Subscription Publication) reports DOE officials contend that the “power grid policy directive” was “necessary to speed up planning for grid restoration after a major disaster.”
Kemp: Trump Attempt To Save Coal, Likely In Vain. Columnist John Kemp writes for Reuters (10/11, Kemp) that “in striving to keep the existing coal units in service, the Trump administration is trying to buck market forces and sustain an increasingly outdated technology.” The Trump Administration “may be able to achieve a few small symbolic victories, but the history of energy shows market forces and technological change always win in the end.”
California Must Enact Reforms To Prepare For Future Earthquakes.
In a piece for Forbes (10/11, Choudhary), Zenith Engineers CEO Nikhil Choudhary proposes actions California cities can take to prepare for a major earthquake, drawing on his firm’s experience assisting “buildings in becoming seismically safer.” Choudhary says California’s legislators should increase funding for the ShakeAlert earthquake warning system to give residents more “time to find safer ground” in the event of an earthquake. Legislators also should “develop a rebate program for seismic retrofit in order to speed up compliance” and allow owners to pass more of the costs of seismic retrofitting on to tenants, a reform that would better incentivize such upgrades. Lastly, “non-compliance penalties” for failing to implement earthquake retrofits “must be immediate and strict in order to ensure timely completion and fairness to the building owners who have completed work within timeline.”
Scott Pruitt’s EPA Targeting Obama Administration-Era Environmental Rules.
PBS (10/11, Amico) reports that the Trump administration has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to delay or rollback more than two dozen environmental regulations. PBS examines how the EPA has targeted federal rules in six broad areas, including power plants, vehicle emissions, the social cost of carbon, oil and gas wells, municipal landfills, and refrigerants. For example, “industry groups…have petitioned the government to scrap” EPA limits on methane emissions; President Trump signed an executive order disbanding the task force working to develop an updated social cost of carbon; and automakers are currently lobbying for the administration to “ease the fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks.”
Bloomberg Gives $64M To Fight Coal.
The Hill (10/11, Cama) reports former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg “is making a new $64 million commitment to environmental groups’ efforts to shut down coal-fired power plants and replace them with cleaner forms of electricity generation.” The announcement was made yesterday by Bloomberg “at the Washington, D.C., office of the Sierra Club.” The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign will receive “$30 million of the money, with the rest going to the League of Conservation Voters and others.”
Bloomberg News (10/11, Dlouhy) reports Bloomberg’s announcement “came a day after the Trump administration began a formal effort to repeal Obama-era curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.” Bloomberg said, “The war on coal has never been led by Washington. It has been led by market forces that are providing cleaner and cheaper sources of energy. … The war on coal is saving tens of thousands of lives, and we won’t stop fighting until we save every last one.” Reuters (10/11) reports Bloomberg also said, “These are the groups that are fighting the war on coal and it’s happening all across America and they are winning.” CBS News (10/11) reports he “slammed the Trump administration for providing ‘false hope’ to those looking to maintain a career in the coal industry, as the business continues to shrink, forcing many to lose their jobs.”
The AP (10/11) reports utilities in the US “have phased out nearly half of their coal plants since 2011, with many switching to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas.” The Washington Examiner (10/11) also provides coverage of this story.
DOD: Only 16 Percent Of Puerto Rico Has Power.
ABC News (10/11) reports “three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall” just “16 percent of Puerto Rico’s residents have electricity, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.” But according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority “the number is more like 10 percent after an outage at one nuclear plant.” The DOD said, “Power restoration crews continue to arrive on the island. Additional priorities remain hospitals and communication, with an increased focus on isolated regions. … The governor is implementing a plan to assign the PR National Guard, augmented by the territorial militia, to support local leaders in each of the 78 municipalities to ensure more commodities are pushed to those in need.”
Bloomberg News (10/11, Malik) reports that “while the vast majority of Puerto Rico remains without power, most of its casinos are back in business, according to the head of Puerto Rico Tourism Co.” Bloomberg adds “thirteen of the island’s 18 casinos are operating again.”
DOE Working With Utilities On Cyber Security.
The Washington Examiner (10/11, Siciliano, Seigel) reports Department of Energy officials “were busy” on Tuesday “working with utilities at private and public meetings on cybersecurity to discuss next month’s cyber war games called GridEx.” The Examiner adds “officials from the energy and homeland security departments told the companies that the threat of cyber attack was real and more industry-government collaboration is needed.” A DOE official “at the meeting said the agency was still analyzing the December 2015 attacks on Ukraine that brought down the grid.”
Montana District Raising Money To Expand STEM Instruction In Elementary Schools.
The Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle (10/11) reports that Bozeman, Montana Superintendent Rob Watson wants to expand STEM lessons to all 3,000 elementary school students in his district. Watson said that many students don’t sign up for high school level STEM courses in the city because “they’re not interested, think STEM classes will be too hard, or think they’re not relevant.” In an effort to give all students a grounding in STEM subjects, Watson is seeking some $350,000 from community and business leaders to train teachers and buy equipment.
Albuquerque School Board Votes To Oppose State Education Proposal For Using Term Climate “Fluctuations.”
The AP (10/11) reports that the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education voted on Tuesday to send a letter to the Public Education Department “opposing the state’s proposed changes to science teaching standards that substitute references to rising global temperatures and climate change with statements about climate ‘fluctuations.’” The article says, “Board member Peggy Muller-Aragon was the sole dissenter” and said, “I have looked and thought these look good to me because they kind of leave things a little bit open for the other side.” The article reports that references to evolution and the age of the Earth are also omitted from the state’s proposal.
Wednesday’s Lead Stories
• Administration Moves To Repeal Clean Power Plan.
• AFL-CIO Calls On SEC To Investigate Large Navient Stock Trades.
• Nvidia Unveils Computer Chips For Full, Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles.
• Women Around The World Report Gender Issues In Tech Firms.
• China To Open A New Quantum Research Supercenter.
• Honeywell To Retain Aerospace, Spin Off Two Business Units.
• Executives Say Energy Sector Resilient To Rising Challenges.
Leading the News
Administration Moves To Repeal Clean Power Plan.
EPA Administrator Pruitt on Tuesday issued a proposed rule that would eliminate the Obama-era climate rule known as the Clean Power Plan. Pruitt said on Fox News’ Special Report (10/10), “The President made a promise to the American people that the EPA would not be an agency that picks winners and losers as we generate electricity in this country. The past administration made a commitment to declare war on coal. And effectively yesterday and today, that war is over. The war on coal is over.” The Washington Post (10/10, Eilperin) quotes a statement from Pruitt, which said, “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate. … Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”
The Hill (10/10, Cama) reports that the action is “a win to fossil fuel companies, business groups and Republicans – including Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general – who fought the climate plan from the start.”
The Washington Times (10/10, Wolfgang) says the move, which follows through on one of the President’s “vows to coal country,” will be “challenged in court, with environmental groups and Democrats quickly vowing to fight any move to repeal the CPP.” But Pruitt “says he’s on solid legal footing, and that repeal will save as much as $33 billion over the next 13 years.” The Washington Free Beacon (10/10, Harrington) likewise cites “senior Trump administration officials” who said the repeal “would save $33 billion in avoided compliance costs by 2030.”
Reuters (10/10, Gardner, Flitter) says the EPA “did not issue a timeline on replacing the plan, only saying it would issue a rule in the ‘near future,’” which “could delay fresh investment in electricity generation, an industry rife with aging plants, analysts said.” The New York Times (10/10, Friedman, Subscription Publication) reports that “those adept at reading between the lines of dense federal documents say the subtext reads more like: ‘Don’t hold your breath,’” adding that “industry leaders and environmental activists predict that…nothing will take its place for possibly years to come.” A New York Times (10/10, Subscription Publication) editorial calls the move “deeply disheartening,” and argues that if Pruitt offers a substitute plan, “it won’t amount to much, surely not the closing of any coal-fired plants.” The Los Angeles Times (10/10, Board) writes in an editorial that “the Trump administration will now have to make the case — eventually in court — that the Obama administration was wrong in declaring” the “necessity” of the Clean Power Plan. “That’s a hard argument to make, and one we believe will ultimately be unpersuasive.”
AFL-CIO Calls On SEC To Investigate Large Navient Stock Trades.
Reuters (10/10, Reuters) reports that the AFL-CIO “on Tuesday called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate a few large trades in the stock of student loan servicer Navient Corp that occurred just before a government announcement favorable to the company was made public.” The confederation of unions “urged a probe into the purchase of shares of Navient made in a series of three trades on the last day of August, hours before a congressional committee disclosed that the U.S. Education Department would no longer share information about the company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
Bloomberg News (10/10, Nasiripour) reports that the “well-timed trades…spurred the AFL-CIO to ask regulators for a review of possible insider trading.” The piece explains that the trades came just before “a letter from the Department of Education to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau marking a critical shift in Trump administration policy” was announced. Bloomberg notes that in February, CFPB Director Richard Cordray sued Navient “accusing it of ‘systematically’ cheating student debtors by taking shortcuts to minimize its own costs.” The piece explains that ED in August accused CFPB of “overreach, saying it would no longer provide the regulator with information necessary to police loan companies such as Navient.” MarketWatch (10/10, MarketWatch) also covers this story.
Increase In Borrowing By Colleges, Universities Could Drive Higher Tuition Costs.
The Hechinger Report (10/10, Marcus) reports colleges and universities have in recent years dramatically increased the amount they borrow, which analysts say is often done “in the hope of shoring up enrollments, but in many cases leav[es] them financially weaker.” According to Moody’s bond-rating service, colleges and universities collectively owe $240 billion, and the annual cost of servicing that accumulated debt has risen to $48 billion as of 2012. “This means 9 percent of college and university budgets, on average, now goes to servicing debt, a cost that has been rising faster than enrollments,” the article explains, and experts believe “it’s reasonable to assume that this is driving increases in tuition.”
Former Education Secretary Spellings Discusses Rising Cost Of Higher Education.
Diverse Education (10/10) reports University of North Carolina system president and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Tuesday that for most American families, “the single most important fact about higher education is it’s not affordable.” Spellings, speaking at an Urban Institute event “meant to forge a more bipartisan approach to federal higher education policy,” said most families cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for even one year of higher education at a public institution. She lamented, “We have sold college as the golden ticket to middle class opportunity, then priced average families out of that market.” She warned that while the rest of the world grows more competitive, the US risks allowing “inequities in access harden into [an] unbridgeable economic divide.” Spellings, in “an apparent reference to protests over confederate monuments at UNC Chapel Hill,” also criticized how American colleges “have become unwilling participants in the nation’s culture wars, which she said in turn impedes their ability to serve students well.”
Research and Development
Nvidia Unveils Computer Chips For Full, Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles.
Reuters (10/10, Auchard) reports that “Silicon Valley graphics chipmaker NVIDIA unveiled on Tuesday the first computer chips for developing fully autonomous vehicles and said it had more than 25 customers working to build a new class of driverless cars, robotaxis and long-haul trucks.” Deutsche Post, DHL Group, and ZF plan to roll out a fleet of autonomous delivery trucks with the new chips beginning in 2019. The Drive PZ multi-chip platform, called “Pegasus,” is the size of a license plate and “can handle 320 trillion operations per second, representing roughly a 13-fold increase over the calculating power of the current PX 2 line.”
Bloomberg News (10/10, King) reports Nvidia Automotive Chip Business Senior Director Danny Shapiro said, “These are going to be the highest performing and most energy efficient for a Level 5 vehicle.” Shapiro added, “The technology is going to be ready before the laws are in the United States.”
The Silicon Valley (CA) Business Journal (10/10, Stangel, Subscription Publication) reports, “Santa Clara-based chipmaker Nvidia Corp. on Tuesday said it’s building a new AI computer that it believes will deliver fully autonomous, Level 5 driving within the next 14 months.” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said, “In the old world, the more powerful your engine, the smoother your ride will be.” Huang added, “In the future, the more computational performance you have, the smoother your ride will be.”
Car and Driver (10/10, Bigelow) reports, “The advent of the Pegasus specifically, along with advances in self-driving technology in general, comes at a time when rates of traffic fatalities and injuries continue to climb on U.S. roads.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released new statistics last week, reporting “37,461 people died in traffic crashes in 2016, a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.” Ars Technica (10/10, Gitlin) also reports on the new chips.
In an op-ed for MarketWatch (10/10, Shrout) Shrout Research Founder and Lead Analyst Ryan Shrout states, “Already a leader in mind share around artificial intelligence and self-driving technology, Nvidia unveiled at its GPU Technology Conference a new platform it promises will power fully autonomous vehicles.” Shrout adds that while some companies “may decide to vertically integrate, like Google and Tesla…Nvidia has created a significant lead over its competition with partnerships, development and the first true integrations in consumer products.”
Failing Plans To Cut Emissions, “Carbon-Sucking” Projects Would Be Needed By 2030s, Scientists Say.
Reuters (10/10, Goering) reports that scientists at Climate Analytics, “a science and policy institute,” said Tuesday that if “efforts to cut planet-warming emissions fall short, large-scale projects to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere will be needed by the 2030s to hold the line against climate change.” The article quotes Climate Analytics’ Bill Hare saying “if you’re really concerned about coral reefs, biodiversity (and) food production in very poor regions, we’re going to have to deploy negative emission technology at scale.” Meanwhile, scientists at the UK think tank Chatham House said that “carbon-sucking technologies may even be needed to hold the planet to a less ambitious 2 degrees Celsius of warming.” Some carbon-abatement ideas “include planting carbon-absorbing forests across large areas, then harvesting the wood for energy and pumping the emissions produced underground – a process likely to feature in an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report next year.” In addition, “machines might also be developed to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air and pump it underground or otherwise neutralize it,” Reuters writes.
Researchers Convene In Boston To Discuss Creating Organs For Human Use.
The Boston Globe (10/10, Nanos) reports at a meeting at the Harvard Club of Boston, researchers and scientists gave a HUBweek presentation titled, “The Organ Generation,” which discussed the possibility of creating organs and tissue in a laboratory for use in human patients. Researchers discussed using technology such as 3-D printers to build vascular networks in a kind of biological “architecture.” They also considered “personalized organ engineering” for particular patients’ needs based on new innovations using CRISPR gene-editing technology to “engineer the genetic makeup of cells so that they better match an organ recipient.”
Dell To Create Division That Will Focus On Internet Of Things.
Bloomberg News (10/10, Womack) reports Dell Technologies Inc. plans to spend a billion dollars over the next three years to create a division that will focus on developing products, research and partnerships in the IoT field. The company said in a statement that the new unit will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell.
Team Investigates Photoluminescence Of Under-Researched Perovskite Crytal For Various Applications.
Nanowerk (10/10) reports that Michele De Bastiani, a postdoctoral researcher in Osman Bakr’s group at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and his colleagues, are researching an often ignored member of the A4BX6 branch of perovskite crystals. Cs4PbBr6 is “noted for its strong photoluminescence” and has potential applications in color-converting coatings on LED light bulbs, lasers, and photodetectors. The group’s research has found bromine vacancies in the crystal “act as traps for passing excitons. Confined in these traps, the excitons are much more likely to recombine and emit light.” De Bastiani explains, “Now that we have this fundamental understanding, our next step is to move on to potential applications. … The unique photoluminescence manifested by Cs4PbBr6 makes these perovskites compelling materials for electroluminescence devices, lasers and light converters.”
North Dakota One Of Nation’s “Leading Spaces” For UAV Research.
USA Today (10/10, Hughes) reports that North Dakota has “quickly become one of the leading spaces for drone research, experimentation and testing,” partially due to a state waiver allowing pilots wider latitude to fly at night and beyond pilot line of sight, as well as the presence of “the nation’s first commercial unmanned aircraft systems business park, Grand Sky.” Federal UAV rules, designed to minimize the potential of UAV and piloted aircraft collisions, are well-suited for states with open spaces such as North Dakota. However, Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site Director Nick Flom said that the industry “is moving at the speed of technology, not bureaucracy.”
Women Around The World Report Gender Issues In Tech Firms.
The New York Times (10/10, Tugend, Subscription Publication) reports that women in Europe in the tech sector “are very familiar with the concerns expressed by their counterparts in the United States — too few girls and young women studying science and technology in school, gender bias and sexual harassment in the workplace.” The Times reports that there are some cultural differences from country to country, but says that the issues in American companies “they have a global reach, not just because of their size, but because of the ways their actions resonate around the world. And even if gender issues elsewhere don’t make headlines, women on both sides of the Atlantic point to similar problems — although political and cultural disparities create different challenges and opportunities.”
Infosys Using Pilot Training Philosophies To Teach New Recruits.
Bloomberg News (10/10, Rai) reports that Indian outsourcing giant Infosys recently revamped its internal training program, sending instructors to visit “flight schools to see how professional pilots are taught to deal with fast-changing situations.” This led the firm “to model classes on flight simulators that teach recruits to work faster, think for themselves and anticipate corporate customers’ needs.” The new program “reflect[s] new thinking at Infosys as the company tries to move beyond the commoditized work of building and managing corporate computer systems.” The piece explains that CIOs “want projects to go live in weeks, rather than months, and expect engineers to solve problems on the fly.”
Iowa Employers Struggle To Recruit STEM Workers As Pay Lags National Average.
The Des Moines (IA) Register (10/10) reports that employers in Iowa are “reporting trouble filling jobs requiring” STEM education, even as “the state’s average pay for high-tech positions is 15 percent below the national average, federal statistics show.” Meanwhile, other reasons state tech firms are having trouble filling positions range from the fact that “Iowa doesn’t have a Silicon Valley, which offers a wealth of high-tech firms with well-paying jobs, to the state’s chilly winters and lack of natural amenities to attract and retain college-educated millennials, some experts say.”
Op-Ed: Don’t Fear Automation; Amazon Continues To Hire Despite Use Of Robots.
In an op-ed for The Hill (10/10), Chevy Chase Trust research analyst Bobby Eubank argues in favor of automation. While the term frequently is “associated with job loss,” he mentions that “Amazon, despite rapidly increasing its robotics usage, announced in July that it was looking to hire an additional 50,000 people for its fulfillment centers and also announced plans for a second headquarters with 50,000 jobs, each paying over $100,000.”
China To Open A New Quantum Research Supercenter.
Popular Science (10/10, Lin, Singer) reports that China is building a new $10 billion quantum applications research supercenter in Hefei, Anhui Province. The National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences, which is scheduled to open in 2020, will focus on quantum metrology and building a quantum computer – both of which contribute to “military and national defense efforts, as well civilian innovators.” Popular Science says, “This news comes on the heels of the world’s first video call made via quantum-encrypted communications and the completion of a quantum-encrypted fiber optic trunk cable.”
Honeywell To Retain Aerospace, Spin Off Two Business Units.
Reuters (10/10) reports that Honeywell International will reduce its operations to “four business lines, including aerospace, and spin off two businesses with $7.5 billion in revenue to help fund acquisitions.” Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk said that the reorganization will reduce revenues by about 18 percent, but will simplify the company’s portfolio as well as boost growth. The company’s “home and ADI global distribution businesses” will be sold, while the four remaining Honeywell businesses will focus on “aerospace, commercial building products, performance materials and safety products.” Adamcyzk said that he is “very excited” about merger and acquisition possibilities within the remaining units. However, some analysts said that Honeywell’s aerospace unit “may need to merge” to effectively “compete with larger rivals,” and that the company’s “poor record” on parts quality and delivery “could hamper its ability to win new orders.” Melius Research Analyst Scott Davis said that a potential merger with General Electric’s aerospace unit would greatly enhance Honeywell’s competitiveness against United Technologies and make it a “more powerful supplier to Boeing Co and Airbus SE.” Adamczyk has downplayed this idea, however, arguing, “The way we compete in aerospace is not through scale. We are going to compete through technology differentiation.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Executives Say Energy Sector Resilient To Rising Challenges.
The San Antonio Express-News (10/10, Hiller) reports the energy industry is facing challenges from low commodity prices, the rise of electric vehicles, and the sheer amount of data that needs to be tracked, but executives speaking at the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition said the industry is resilient. Executives pointed to advances in technology and efficiency that have driven well costs down, ensuring the sector can be economically competitive. Devon Energy CEO Dave Hager said, “The way we’re doing it now is dramatically different than the way we did it in the early 2000s,” while Baker Hughes CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said, “People forget that electricity needs to created by something. … We’re here for numerous decades to come.”
DOE Investing In Biofuel Potential Of Seaweed.
NBC News (10/10, Caughill) reports on its website that the DOE “has invested nearly $1.5 million in projects that will help establish large-scale seaweed farms for the purpose of making biofuel.” Seaweed “can be processed into a biofuel that could be used to power our homes and vehicles. The DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program is funding projects across the country to make the large-scale cultivation of seaweed a reality, supporting another alternative to fossil fuel use.”
Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule Opposed By Diverse Coalition.
The Houston Chronicle (10/10, Osborne) says, “add the nation’s factories and industrial plants to the list of groups fighting Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to save the coal and nuclear power industries.” The trade group Industrial Energy Consumers of America, which opposes the plan, “claims to represent companies consuming 26 percent of the nation’s power supply, [and] is a particularly important voice for the Trump administration, which has made growing domestic manufacturing a priority in his first term.”
Forbes (10/10, Adams) contributor Rod Adams says that some energy business observers were surprised when solar and wind industry trade groups joined with oil and gas lobbying groups, like the American Petroleum Institute, to oppose the proposed rule. He says, “others already knew the seemingly diverse trade groups shared similar strategic goals” and have a “vested interest” in pushing coal and nuclear power plants out of the competitive market so that renewables and natural gas have “room to grow and to restore profitable pricing.”
House Subcommittee To Consider Offshore Drilling Revenue Bill.
E&E Daily (10/10, Subscription Publication) reports that a House subcommittee will meet on Wednesday to review a draft bill that would “ease offshore drilling in federal waters while also steering revenues to certain coastal states.” Known as the “Accessing Strategic Resources Offshore (ASTRO) Act,” the bill would direct “50 percent of the revenue from offshore oil and gas production to the general treasury, with another 50 percent directed to a separate account to be distributed to certain coastal states.”
House Subcommittee To Hold Hearing On Draft Revising Federal Energy Regulations. E&E Daily (10/10, Subscription Publication) reports the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on Friday to discuss draft legislation that would ease federal regulations on oil and gas development in order to foster “domestic energy independence.” The legislation would revise restrictions on drilling in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, hydraulic fracturing and federal oversight of general drilling activity.
Three North Carolina Legislators Warn That Industry Fight Could Hurt Renewable Energy.
The Charlotte (NC) Business Journal (10/10, Subscription Publication) reports that three North Carolina state legislators are warning that Duke Energy and the state’s “growing solar industry could squander hard-won compromise legislation on the state’s renewable energy future in a deepening dispute over its implementation.” Duke’s “utilities, solar developers, renewable energy advocates and others worked – and occasionally fought – to hammer out a policy for solar and other renewable energy sources in the state,” but solar developers “and their supporters were wary of giving Duke…too much power over the bidding process.” The legislators warned that a fight over the matter could hurt the agreement.
STEM Education Advocate Warns Against ED’s Proposal To Stop Collecting AP Data.
National Math and Science Initiative chief executive and 2016-17 Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow Matthew Randazzo, in a piece for The Hill (10/10, Randazzo), calls ED’s proposal to stop collecting Advanced Placement exam performance data “dismaying, disheartening and wrong.” Randazzo argues, “This is the very time we should be expanding access to data and increasing transparency, not limiting its collection, analysis and action.” In light of the “massive gap in girls and minorities striving in the growing fields of STEM studies and professions,” Randazzo stresses this “AP testing data help identify STEM deserts.” He calls on groups and education leaders “to join our effort to eradicate STEM deserts in the next decade,” and “on parents, teachers, business owners and others to contact the department and Congress in support of the continued collection of AP exam performance data and in support of public policies that put our collective dollars to effective use where they are most needed.”
National Lab Scientists Criticize New Mexico Science Standards.
The AP (10/10, Lee) reports 61 scientists and engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico “are voicing disagreement with public school science standards proposed by the state, cautioning that the guidelines could weaken the study of climate change, evolution and earth sciences.” In a letter published in a full-page newspaper ad on Monday, the senior technical staff “wrote to the New Mexico Department of Education to express their disagreement” and “said the proposed standards suggest the denial of human-caused climate change as well as possibility of an alternative scientific explanation for the history of life on earth other than evolution.”
Tuesday’s Lead Stories
• Pruitt Announces Repeal Of Clean Power Plan.
• Researchers Develop AI To Detect Objects Hidden By Blind Corners.
• Sephora Uses Simple Approach To Create Majority-Female Technology Team.
• NYTimes Analysis: China Working Towards A Future Of Electric Vehicles.
• 3D Printing Technology Pushes Deeper Into Manufacturing, Enabling More Complex Products.
• Perry Defends Financing Proposal To Benefit Nuclear, Coal Plants.
|Inspirata collaborates with Elsevier to integrate Expertpath and Immunoquery in its diagnostic cockpit and consultation portal|
Cancer informatics and digital pathology workflow solution provider Inspirata®, Inc. has collaborated withElsevier, the information analytics business specializing in science and health, to integrate Elsevier’s ExpertPathTM and ImmunoQuery® diagnostic decision support tools into its Digital Pathology Cockpit and cloud-based telepathology Consultation Portal. ExpertPath and ImmunoQuery empower pathologists to deliver superior diagnoses and patient care recommendations by providing rapid access to the leading source of trusted, current and high-quality clinical content.
|BMJ adopts River Valley’s ReView for its new Open Science journal|
Medical knowledge provider BMJ has adopted ReView, River Valley’s submission and peer review system, forBMJ Open Science . The new journal applies open science principles to preclinical research, and incorporates several innovative features in peer review.
|Brill appoints Peter Coebergh as CEO and Olivier de Vlam as CFO, effective May 2018|
International scholarly publisher Koninklijke Brill N.V. (Brill) has announced that its Supervisory Board intends to appoint Peter Coebergh as CEO. He will succeed Herman Pabbruwe following his scheduled retirement at the AGM on May 17, 2018. At the same time, the Supervisory Board intends to appoint Olivier de Vlam to the Management Board as CFO and COO. In order to ensure continuity in publishing policy, Brill furthermore intends to appoint a Chief Publishing Officer in early 2018.
|HighWire Press appoints Chris Aiello as Director of Business Development|
HighWire Press Inc., the premier technology platform provider for world-leading publishers and societies, has announced the appointment of Chris Aiello as Director of Business Development. In his new position, Chris will be responsible for contributing to HighWire’s continued international growth.
|International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare marks 10th anniversary with special launch at the House of Commons|
The International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare (IJHRH) will mark its 10th anniversary with the launch of a special issue on the topic of ‘Physical and Mental Health of Children and Young People’ at an event hosted by Rt Hon MP Norman Lamb at the House of Commons on October 12, 2017. IJHRH is an international, peer-reviewed journal with a unique practical approach to promoting equality, inclusion and human rights in health and social care.
|NISO publishes new American National Standard, STS: Standards Tag Suite|
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has announced the publication of a new American National Standard, STS: Standards Tag Suite, ANSI/NISO Z39.102-2017. The purpose of this ‘standard for standards,’ which will be known as NISO STS, is to define a suite of XML elements and attributes that describes the full-text content and metadata of standards. NISO STS provides a common format that preserves intellectual content of standards independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered.
|RedLink announces new release of Remarq, enhancements significantly increase collaborative aspects of the decentralised scholarly network|
RedLink has announced the latest release of Remarq, which includes three levels of group collaboration: Private Groups – only those invited by the host are aware of the group and can participate; Protected Groups – publishers can create these groups, which anyone can find and request to join; Public Groups – these groups are open to anyone at any time. Remarq is a collaboration tool supporting highlighting, private notes, commenting, and article sharing, all on the publisher’s site and utilizing the version of record.
Leading the News
Pruitt Announces Repeal Of Clean Power Plan.
ABC World News Tonight (10/9, story 7, 0:20, Muir) reported EPA Administrator Pruitt said Monday he would repeal the 2015 Clean Power Plan – President Obama’s “signature climate policy” – starting Tuesday. Before the repeal of the plan, which aimed to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, there will be a public comment period.
The New York Times (10/9, Friedman, Plumer, Subscription Publication) reports that at an event in eastern Kentucky, Pruitt “said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan.” He added, “The war on coal is over.” The repeal proposal, set to be filed in the Federal Register Tuesday, “fulfills a promise President Trump made to eradicate his predecessor’s environmental legacy” and “makes it less likely the United States can fulfill its promise as part of the Paris climate agreement to ratchet down emissions.”
USA Today (10/9, King) reports that according to climate change expert David Doniger, the repeal of the Clean Power Plan will not be a rapid process. In a Monday blog post, Doniger wrote, “Today’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan just begins the battle. … Pruitt’s EPA must hold hearings and take public comment, and issue a final repeal – with or without a possible replacement. He must respond to all legal, scientific, and economic objections raised, including the issues we lay out here.”
Reuters (10/9) reports that the National Association of Manufacturers and other trade organizations “praised” Pruitt’s announcement. Environmental groups, however, “criticized Monday’s announcement and praised” the Clean Power Plan. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said, “No matter who is in the White House, the EPA is legally required to limit dangerous carbon pollution, and the Clean Power Plan is an achievable, affordable way to do that.”
The AP (10/9, Biesecker, Beam) reports that a “coalition of left-leaning states and environmental groups” are promising to fight the Administration’s plans to end the Clean Power Plan. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – among those who have said they will sue – said, “The Trump Administration’s persistent and indefensible denial of climate change – and their continued assault on actions essential to stemming its increasing devastation – is reprehensible, and I will use every available legal tool to fight their dangerous agenda.”
Pruitt Calls For End Of Tax Credits To Wind Industry. Bloomberg News (10/9, Natter) reports Pruitt on Monday also called for the elimination of tax credits to the wind industry. Responding to a question about the effectiveness of renewable energy, Pruitt said he would let wind energy companies “stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources.”
China Invests In Solar. The CBS Evening News (10/9, story 4, 2:05, Quijano) reported that as Pruitt announced Monday that the US would repeal Obama-era limits on carbon emissions from power plants, China “is doing the opposite.” China recently launched the world’s largest floating solar installation, built on top of a lake, “created by an abandoned coal mine” – a project, like many others, that has helped China double its solar capacity in the past year. According to Panda Green Energy Executive President Maggie Qiu, 28 solar power plants now operate in China. Additionally, the government is “spending hundreds of billions of dollars to subsidize renewable energy as China tries to wean itself off coal, still its dominant power source and the reason for it’s notoriously toxic air.”
WSJournal Backs Repeal Of Clean Power Plan. In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal (10/8, Subscription Publication) backs EPA Administrator Pruitt’s expected proposal to repeal the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, arguing that the move will restore federalism and increase competitiveness.
Research and Development
Researchers Develop AI To Detect Objects Hidden By Blind Corners.
Newsweek (10/9, Cuthbertson) report researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed CornerCameras, an artificial intelligence system “that allows self-driving cars to detect people and objects hidden around blind corners.” An MIT spokesperson told Newsweek, “The technology has a range of applications, from firefighters finding people in burning buildings to self-driving cars detecting pedestrians in their blind spots. … What’s impressive is that this approach works using footage from a smartphone camera, such as an iPhone 8.”
AI Researcher Says Machines Will Do All Of Our Jobs.
Max Tegmark, professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writes at NPR (10/8, Tegmark) on artificial intelligence, arguing that in the not-too-distant future machines “will be able to do not merely some of our jobs, but all of our jobs, forever transforming life on Earth.” He offers four suggestions for AI to ensure that it is developed and deployed in ways that will benefit rather than harm us. They are: “Invest in AI safety research”; “Ban lethal autonomous weapons”; “Ensure that AI-generated wealth makes everyone better off”; and “Think about what sort of future we want.”
University Of Illinois Leading Effort To Develop Military Internet Of Things.
The Urbana/Champaign (IL) News-Gazette (10/6) reports that the University of Illinois is leading a group of other universities and institutions in a “five-year, $25 million initiative to develop an ‘internet of battlefield things.’” The goal is “to have humans and technology work together in a seamless network, giving soldiers a competitive edge, and keeping troops and civilians out of harm’s way.” Officials said the school “will lead the effort to develop the scientific foundations for battlefield analytics and services.”
Harvard Scientists Develop Zero-Index Waveguide.
Nanowerk (10/9) reports that a team of scientists from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have built on a 2015 project that resulted in “the first on-chip metamaterial with a refractive index of zero, meaning that the phase of light could be stretched infinitely long,” to now create “a zero-index waveguide compatible with current silicon photonic technologies.” Nanowerk explains that “in doing so, the team observed a physical phenomenon that is usually unobservable – a standing wave of light.” postdoctoral fellow Camayd-Muñoz, who contributed to the breakthrough, is cited saying “This adds an important tool to the silicon photonics toolbox. … There’s exotic physics in the zero-index regime, and now we’re bringing that to integrated photonics. That’s an important step, because it means we can plug directly into conventional optical devices, and find real uses for zero-index phenomena. In the future, quantum computers may be based on networks of excited atoms that communicate via photons.”
Eighty Five Percent Of Puerto Rico Still Without Power.
Bloomberg News (10/9, Chediak) reports it has been nearly “three weeks since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and most of the island is still without electricity.” On Monday, the Energy Department said 85 percent of the island is still without power. DOE said that “some portions of feeder lines have been restored and about 30 percent of the island’s substations are back online.”
The Hill (10/9, Marcos) reports Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has asked “Congress to consider providing about $1.4 billion in funding beyond the Trump administration’s request last week to help the U.S. territory recover from Hurricane Maria.” In a letter to congressional leaders, “Rosselló requested funding for federal grant and loan programs ‘to meet the immediate emergency needs of Puerto Rico.’”
E&E Publishing (10/9, Subscription Publication) reports Ricardo Ramos, CEO of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, “says he did not ask for help from mainland U.S. utilities before and immediately after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s grid because the utility couldn’t afford to pay anybody back for equipment and manpower.” Ramos “in an interview with E&E News on Saturday said the specter of running out of cash in 60 days made him instead turn to the Army Corps of Engineers, which will fund and control the territory’s electrical recovery.” Ramos stated, “The day that the Corps of Engineers showed up and offered the assistance, we immediately accepted because we knew that financially it was a better model … The benefit is that I don’t have to spend the remaining dollars that are needed for recuperating the system.”
Photodetecotors Could Yield New Solar Energy Collection, Improved Efficiency.
Nanowerk (10/9) explains that photodetecors, the light-detecting units found in everything from cameras to phones, are a combination of two inorganic materials, measure just microns across, and convert light into electrons. The article says physicists at the University of California, Riverside have created a photodetector that “could revolutionize the way solar energy is collected.” Nathaniel M. Gabor, an assistant professor of physics, who led the research team, explains, “Normally, when an electron jumps between energy states, it wastes energy. In our experiment, the waste energy instead creates another electron, doubling its efficiency.” Nanowerk says, “In existing solar panels models, one photon can at most generate one electron. In the prototype the researchers developed, one photon can generate two electrons or more through a process called electron multiplication.” Furthermore, the researchers are reportedly finding that increased temperatures are helping to more than double electron output. This discovery stands to increase the efficiency of light-to-electricity conversion, something that has reportedly “been one of the primary aims in photodetector construction since their invention.”
Sephora Uses Simple Approach To Create Majority-Female Technology Team.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal (10/9, Simons, Subscription Publication), John Simons reports that makeup retailer Sephora has managed to create a technology team where women make up 62 percent of the personnel, a feat that other Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple have failed to achieve. Simons says Sephora has achieved the majority female team by encouraging hiring managers to choose new employees based on potential rather than existing concrete skills, in addition to encouraging not only innovation but also failure. Veteran recruiter with Harvey Nash Group PLC Jane Hamner, whose clients include Amazon, Expedia, and Uber says Sephora’s approach is a departure from the norm among large technology companies.
NYTimes Analysis: China Working Towards A Future Of Electric Vehicles.
The New York Times (10/9, A1, Bradsher, Subscription Publication) reports as it has received “vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies,” China has become the world’s greatest supporter of electric vehicles. The Chinese government has set a goal that one in every five cars sold in China will run on alternative fuel by 2025. Additionally, last month, China “issued new rules that would require the world’s carmakers to sell more alternative-energy cars here if they wanted to continue selling regular ones.” The Times observes that if China succeeds in its electric vehicle promotion efforts, Beijing’s policymakers “will be front and center reimagining the global auto industry, a business that has helped define communities, industries and people’s aspirations for more than a century.”
3D Printing Technology Pushes Deeper Into Manufacturing, Enabling More Complex Products.
The San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune (10/6, Freeman) reported that HP’s newest 3D printing technologies are a prime example of the production method becoming more applicable and prevalent in manufacturing. The Union-Tribune said, “The company claims its machines can produce dense, intricate parts from engineering grade thermal plastics up to 10 times faster than existing technologies.” the article also explains that with 100 workers, Forecast 3D expects sales of around $15 million for 2017 as it “uses 3D printing – including metal – to serve customers in healthcare, automotive, aerospace and consumer goods,” given “an advantage over injection molding” through HP Multi Jet Fusion machines. Jesse Lea, president of 3D printing company GoProto, is cited saying, “We are truly on the cusp of a sea-change shift in manufacturing. Additive technology innovations are altering the traditional landscape, offering designers and engineers opportunities that haven’t previously existed.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Perry Defends Financing Proposal To Benefit Nuclear, Coal Plants.
The Hill (10/6, Cama) reports Energy Secretary Perry at a meeting of the group Veterans for Energy on Friday “defended his proposal for high payments to nuclear and coal plants” and he also rejected “the idea that his new proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would disrupt a competitive market.” Perry said, “I think it’s really important for people to understand, in general terms, there is no free market in the energy industry.” Perry added, “Anybody that gets up and says that is lying – is not, with all due respect, educated as to what the reality of the market is.”
Study: Harnessing Wind Energy Over Oceans Could Power Human Civilization.
The Washington Post (10/9) reports “there is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate ‘civilization scale power,’” according to new research published by the Carnegie researchers on Monday. Harnessing that energy would require developers to “cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines.” The study’s lead author, Ken Caldeira, said he views the study’s conclusion as “kind of a greenlight for that industry from a geophysical point of view.”
Wind Generation Expected To Expand After Successes Of Block Island Wind Farm.
Newsday (NY) (10/9, Guzik) reports that members of the Newsday editorial recently visited the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Long Island, the first deepwater wind farm in the U.S. There are already two federal leases for offshore wind farms in that area, and New York officials recently “recommended more than 1 million acres for wind power arrays.” If new projects in the region move forward, they could ultimately be producing up to 2,000 megawatts by 2022.
Pruitt Calls For End Of Tax Credits To Wind Industry.
Bloomberg News (10/9, Natter) reports EPA Administrator Pruitt on Monday called for the elimination of tax credits to the wind industry. Responding to a question about the effectiveness of renewable energy, Pruitt said he would let wind energy companies “stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources.” The Hill (10/9, Cama) reports he did concede “that any move to end the credits would be a ‘policy decision’ for Congress, ‘not an EPA decision.’”
Friday’s Lead Stories
• Ninety-One Percent Of Puerto Rico Remains Without Power.
• Pennsylvania AG Sues Navient Over Student Lending Practices.
• NSF Gives Notre Dame Engineers Funding For Hurricane Research.
• Ford CEO Unveils Five-Year Growth Plan To Transition Into Electric, Autonomous Vehicles And Mobility.
• DHS Creates Voting System Cybersecurity Task Force.
• California Schools See Shift In Science Curriculum.
Your search alert called “UCD/UCDMC” has found 65 new results.
|1.||A bonded sphero-cylinder model for the discrete element simulation of elasto-plastic fibers||Guo, Y., Wassgren, C., Curtis, J.S., Xu, D.||2018||Chemical Engineering Science, 175, pp. 118-129.|
|2.||Imaging glutamate with genetically encoded fluorescent sensors||Broussard, G.J., Unger, E.K., Liang, R., McGrew, B.P., Tian, L.||2018||Neuromethods, 130, pp. 117-153.|
|3.||Defective GABAergic neurotransmission in the nucleus tractus solitarius in Mecp2-null mice, a model of Rett syndrome||Chen, C.-Y., Di Lucente, J., Lin, Y.-C., (…), Maezawa, I., Jin, L.-W.||2018||Neurobiology of Disease, 109, pp. 25-32.|
|4.||Microchamber Cultures of Bladder Cancer: A Platform for Characterizing Drug Responsiveness and Resistance in PDX and Primary Cancer Cells||Gheibi, P., Zeng, S., Son, K.J., (…), Pan, C.-X., Revzin, A.||2017||Scientific Reports, 7(1), art. no. 12277.|
|5.||Fermiology and electron dynamics of trilayer nickelate La4Ni3O10||Li, H., Zhou, X., Nummy, T., (…), Mitchell, J.F., Dessau, D.S.||2017||Nature Communications, 8(1), art. no. 704.|
|6.||Adaptive variation in natural Alpine populations of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst) at regional scale: Landscape features and altitudinal gradient effects||Di Pierro, E.A., Mosca, E., González-Martínez, S.C., (…), Neale, D.B., La Porta, N.||2017||Forest Ecology and Management, 405, pp. 350-359.|
|7.||Chemoenzymatic synthesis of Neu5Ac9NAc-containing α2–3- and α2–6-linked sialosides and their use for sialidase substrate specificity studies||Li, W., Xiao, A., Li, Y., Yu, H., Chen, X.||2017||Carbohydrate Research, 451, pp. 51-58.|
|8.||Altered expression of the FMR1 splicing variants landscape in premutation carriers||Tseng, E., Tang, H.-T., AlOlaby, R.R., Hickey, L., Tassone, F.||2017||Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Gene Regulatory Mechanisms, 1860(11), pp. 1117-1126.|
|9.||“She Gave Me the Confidence to Open Up”: Bridging Communication by Promotoras in a Childhood Obesity Intervention for Latino Families||Falbe, J., Friedman, L.E., Sokal-Gutierrez, K., (…), Tantoco, N.K., Madsen, K.A.||2017||Health Education and Behavior, 44(5), pp. 728-737.|
|10.||Pharmacokinetics and selected pharmacodynamics of trazodone following intravenous and oral administration to horses undergoing fitness training||Knych, H.K., Mama, K.R., Steffey, E.P., Stanley, S.D., Kass, P.H.||2017||American Journal of Veterinary Research, 78(10), pp. 1182-1192.|
|11.||Responses of Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) to Predator Calls and Their Modulation by Coat Color||Bohls, P., Koehnle, T.J.||2017||American Midland Naturalist, 178(2), pp. 226-236.|
|12.||On the Sum-Rate Capacity of Poisson MISO Multiple Access Channels||Ain-Ul-Aisha, Lai, L., Liang, Y., Shamai Shitz, S.||2017||IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, 63(10), art. no. 7918535, pp. 6457-6473.|
|13.||Utility of antigen testing for the diagnosis of ocular histoplasmosis in four cats: a case series and literature review||Smith, K.M., Strom, A.R., Gilmour, M.A., (…), Sykes, J.E., Maggs, D.J.||2017||Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 19(10), pp. 1110-1118.|
|14.||The Role of Epigenomics in Aquatic Toxicology||Brander, S.M., Biales, A.D., Connon, R.E.||2017||Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 36(10), pp. 2565-2573.|
|15.||Three-dimensional assessment of curvature, torsion, and canal flare index of the humerus of skeletally mature nonchondrodystrophic dogs||Smith, E.J., Marcellin-Little, D.J., Harrysson, O.L.A., Griffith, E.H.||2017||American Journal of Veterinary Research, 78(10), pp. 1140-1149.|
|16.||Use of a combination of routine hematologic and biochemical test results in a logistic regression model as a diagnostic aid for the diagnosis of hypoadrenocorticism in dogs||Borin-Crivellenti, S., Garabed, R.B., Moreno-Torres, K.I., Wellman, M.L., Gilor, C.||2017||American Journal of Veterinary Research, 78(10), pp. 1171-1181.|
|17.||Efficacy of the early administration of valacyclovir hydrochloride for the treatment of neuropathogenic equine herpesvirus type-I infection in horses||Maxwell, L.K., Bentz, B.G., Gilliam, L.L., (…), Goad, C.L., Allen, G.P.||2017||American Journal of Veterinary Research, 78(10), pp. 1126-1139.|
|18.||FRT – FONDATION RENE TOURAINE: An International Foundation For Dermatology||Carstens, E., Schmelz, M., Hunter, H.J.A., (…), Yosipovitch, G., Ständer, S.||2017||Experimental Dermatology, 26(10), pp. 972-985.|
|19.||Approximating the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev model with Majorana wires||Chew, A., Essin, A., Alicea, J.||2017||Physical Review B, 96(12), art. no. 121119.|
|20.||Increased risk of leukemia among sickle cell disease patients in California||Brunson, A., Keegan, T.H.M., Bang, H., (…), Paulukonis, S., Wun, T.||2017||Blood, 130(13), pp. 1597-1599|
|Springer Nature’s Bookmetrix to launch a new metric for eBook collection performance at Frankfurt Book Fair|
Bookmetrix, a platform that brings together citations, downloads and altmetrics for books and chapters, is extending its scope by providing better insights into the reach and impact of Springer Nature’s various eBook collections. With these new, innovative features, Bookmetrix is adding value by offering detailed information for authors and readers as well as librarians.
|SAGE Publishing launches new OA journal – Journal of Textiles and Fibrous Materials|
Academic publisher SAGE Publishing will begin publishing the Journal of Textiles and Fibrous Materials, a new open access (OA) journal exploring fibrous structures and fiber based materials. Prof. Yordan Kyosev from Hochschule Niederrhein – University of Applied Sciences, Germany, will serve as the Editor-in-Chief for the journal.
|Wolters Kluwer celebrates 25th anniversary of UpToDate, launches 25th specialty, Anesthesiology|
Wolters Kluwer Health has announced that UpToDate, the acclaimed evidence-based clinical decision support resource, is commemorating the 25th anniversary of its founding with the launch of its 25th clinical specialty, anesthesiology. This new specialty covers anesthesia topics related to surgical procedures and other interventions, pain management, opioid avoidance, blood transfusion, and postoperative critical care.
|SPARC launches pilot of first-of-its-kind professional development program for open education librarians|
SPARC has announced the pilot of the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, a first-of-its-kind intensive professional development initiative aimed at empowering open education leaders within academic libraries. Over two semesters, the program offers training for library professionals to support the use, development, and advocacy of open educational resources and practices in North American higher education, with emphasis on leadership skills.
|ARL membership elects ARL Board of Directors 2017–2018|
Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost and the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly dean of the University of Rochester Libraries, began a one-year term as president of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) on October 4, 2017, during the Association’s Fall 2017 Meeting in Washington, DC. Mavrinac succeeds Mary Case, university librarian and dean of libraries at University of Illinois at Chicago, as ARL president. Case continues to serve as a member of both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee as past president.
|ACCUCOMS and Wageningen Academic Publishers in deal to include seven journals in Aggregagent|
ACCUCOMS and Wageningen Academic Publishers, an independent STM publisher in the field of Life Sciences, have signed an agreement to include seven journals in ACCUCOMS’ Aggregagent. With the addition of these titles, there are now 11 publishers within the ALPSP Collections in Aggregagent. Wageningen Academic Publishers publishes scientific journals as well as books on topics like animal & veterinary sciences, food sciences, environmental sciences and plant sciences.
|Reprints Desk signs document delivery agreement with VIVA Academic Library Consortium|
Reprints Desk, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Research Solutions, Inc., has entered into an agreement with the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) to provide access to essential scholarly content with Article Galaxy – Reprints Desk’s online research intelligence and retrieval platform. VIVA is a consortium of more than seventy non-profit, academic libraries within the Commonwealth of Virginia, including all of Virginia’s state-assisted colleges and universities.
Leading the News
Ninety-One Percent Of Puerto Rico Remains Without Power.
David Begnaud Mason reported on The CBS Evening News(10/5, story 5, 2:00, Mason) that 91 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power following Hurricane Maria. One hospital had to be evacuated when “the power grid went down.” Officials are now “assessing all the hospitals to make sure the power grids are up to date, and they’re pre-planning for possible evacuations of other hospitals if need be.” Begnaud added that in the interior of the country, the situation is “much worse,” as people “are drinking and bathing with stream water.” The governor “has said some people could be without power for up to a year.”
Statistics On Drinking Water, Electricity Removed From FEMA Web Page. The Washington Post (10/5, Johnson) reports that on Wednesday the FEMA web page documenting the federal response to Maria showed that “half of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water and 5 percent of the island had electricity.” However, by Thursday morning, both of those figured had been removed from the page. A spokesman for the agency “noted that both measures are still being reported on a website maintained by the office of Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, www.status.pr,” but “didn’t elaborate on why they are no longer on the main FEMA page.” The Hill (10/5, Delk) reports “the official federal site still shows other vital statistics on Puerto Rico, such as the roughly 65 percent of grocery stores that are open, along with 64 percent of its wastewater treatment facilities.”
Musk Says Tesla Can Rebuild Puerto Rico Power Grid. The Hill (10/5, Breland) reports founder of Tesla Elon Musk “believes he can rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid with batteries and solar power.” On Thursday, he tweeted, “The Tesla team has [built solar grids] for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. … Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.”
Solar Power Equipment Being Sent To Puerto Rico. E&E Publishing (10/5, Subscription Publication) reports “a network of mainland-based Puerto Ricans” have “plans to ship solar power equipment to the U.S. territory for a volunteer squad to install at community hubs, in what they hope will seed a larger outgrowth of solar generation in coming months.” Jonathan Marvel of Marvel Architects said, “These are existing community centers, places that distribute food and water, where people can meet to power up cellphones — the most underserved, but also the ones at the bottom of the list for getting power back.” A “team of expert volunteers” will “train locals on how to install the generators.”
Case Made For Stronger Electric Grid In Puerto Rico. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (10/5, Subscription Publication), Mark P. Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, argues that despite calls from environmentalists to rebuild a greener electric grid for Puerto Rico, what the island needs is a harder grid including stronger poles and wires, waterproofed substations, pre-emptive tree removal near wires, and buried wires.
Pennsylvania AG Sues Navient Over Student Lending Practices.
The AP (10/5, Scolforo) reports that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit in federal court on Thursday accusing Navient Corp., the largest student loan company in the US, and subsidiary Navient Solutions of engaging in abusive practices improperly imposed billions of dollars in extra costs for student borrowers. The complaint said Navient “sold ‘risky and expensive’ subprime loans and damaged borrowers and co-signers by failing to perform core loan servicing duties.” Shapiro’s suit “claims Navient makes loans for schools with low graduation rates, knowing many will not be able to repay them, and pushes borrowers into short-term ‘loan forbearances’ that add costs rather than helping them enroll in repayment plans linked to income levels and family size.” In addition, the lender’s customer service representatives “are given average-call-time financial incentives that encourage them to enroll people in forbearance rather than the income-driven repayment plans.”
Bloomberg News (10/5, Nasiripour) reports Navient has come under this kind of scrutiny before. In January, the CFPB and Washington and Illinois attorneys general made similar accusations, and “judges in those cases have rejected the company’s attempts to dismiss the complaints.” However, Shapiro’s case stands out because his office “oversees companies that handle about half of the nation’s student loans,” it “represents a larger attempt by Democratic state law enforcement authorities to police companies and contractors they believe have run afoul of the law during the Republican administration of President Donald Trump,” and it “reflects the power of the CFPB.” Also reporting are the Washington Post (10/5, Douglas-Gabriel), Philly (PA) (10/5), CBS News (10/5, News), Investor’s Business Daily (10/6, Peters), and MarketWatch (10/5).
NCES: For-Profit College Students Twice As Likely To Default Than Those At Public Colleges.
The AP (10/5, Danilova) reports that according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics, for-profit college students “were twice as likely or more to default on their loans than students who attended public educational institutions.” The report looks at students who started college “in 2003 and defaulted on at least one loan over the next 12 years.” NCES also found “that the for-profit students defaulted on their federal student loans in greater numbers than their predecessors eight years before.” The AP reports the data comes “as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rewrites rules that had been put in place by the Obama administration to protect students who said they were defrauded by their for-profit colleges.”
NCES: Certificate Program Default Rates Match Those Of Traditional Colleges. The Wall Street Journal (10/5, Korn, Subscription Publication) reports that according to new National Center for Education Statistics data, students who take out loans to complete certificate programs default on their payments at roughly the same rate as those who take out loans for traditional college degrees. The amounts for certificates are substantially lower, but default rates are 44% compared to 45% for bachelor’s or graduate degrees.
Students From Poor Families Have More Student Loan Defaults. MarketWatch (10/5) reports that according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics, the loans being taken out by students from poor families “may be helping to widen the gaps between the haves and have-nots.” The piece explains that the report shows that “students from poor families who entered school in the 2003-2004 academic year still had 91% of their debt remaining on average 12 years later,” while that number fell to 59% for students from wealthier families. These rates were closer to the same in years past, MarketWatch reports.
Cuomo Calls For Reduced Tuition For Students From Puerto Rico, USVI.
Politico Morning Education (10/5) reports, “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday called on both the SUNY and CUNY boards to provide in-state tuition to Puerto Rican and US Virgin Island college students” whose education has been interrupted by this year’s hurricanes. Cuomo cited close ties between the islands and New York and pointed to past support for students affected by disasters overseas as a precedent.
Johns Hopkins Students Using Satellite Images To Help Puerto Rico Rescuers.
The Baltimore Sun (10/5) reports that Johns Hopkins University students held a “mapathon” on Thursday “to help aid workers navigate the battered island” of Puerto Rico. Volunteer groups have been using satellite images to provide “missing details on existing maps that, particularly in more remote areas, may have had only the barest of outlines, organizers said.” Organizers say that “as many as 6,000 people have joined the effort to map countries struck by Hurricanes Irma and Maria” using the OpenStreetMap website.
Research and Development
NSF Gives Notre Dame Engineers Funding For Hurricane Research.
WSBT-TV South Bend, IN (10/5) reports that the National Science Foundation has given engineers at the University of Notre Dame a grant for “close to a million dollars” “to pursue life-saving storm surge research.” The researchers “are working to create a new model that will help forecasters better predict storm surge, faster.” The funding will support research on “new software that’s faster and more accurate than current technology to forecast storm surge.”
Illinois Launches Study Of Power Grid “Platform” Concept.
Midwest Energy News (10/5) reports that officials in Illinois have launched NextGrid, an 18-month study of “the concept of the power grid as a ‘platform’ — a hub that coordinates energy transactions between various producers and consumers rather than a one-way delivery system.” The study “kicked off last week when hundreds of company representatives, regulators, academics and other industry insiders convened in Chicago.” Attendees at the launch “explored how advancing technologies and shifting consumer preferences are driving a profound change in the power grid.”
NASA Space Radiation Laboratory Upgraded For Mars Mission Research.
SPACE (10/5, Howell) reports that the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory has been upgraded to “help researchers better understand space radiation and its effect on biology,” allowing the lab, located at Brookhaven National Laboratory, to “better simulate galactic cosmic radiation.” As one of the only labs in the US able to create heavier ions, research conducted at the facility will not only assist “cancer research, where heavy ion therapies can help eliminate tumors, but also for generating realistic exposures for an astronaut on a two- to three-year mission to Mars.”
Ford CEO Unveils Five-Year Growth Plan To Transition Into Electric, Autonomous Vehicles And Mobility.
Reuters (10/5, Carey) reports that following Ford’s announcement to investors earlier this week that it will cut spending by $14 billion over the coming five years and devote more resources to developing electric vehicles and hybrids over internal-combustion-engine vehicles, the UAW is working with the automaker to preserve jobs. UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said, “We’ve been doing our due diligence to find out how much it (electrification) means to us,” and “up to this point they (Ford) have been agreeable that it’s in the best interest of the company and also our members for us to be part of the process.” Additionally, speaking of Ford CEO Jim Hackett, Settles said, “The assembly” of electric vehicles “may be different, but he’s not looking to eliminate any jobs. He’s been consistent in what he’s saying and I’m optimistic he means it.”
The Economist (10/5) reports Hackett’s “checklist of repairs to present to investors” in Ford “is short but the engineering is complicated: restore Ford’s competitiveness while preparing for a future of electric vehicles (EVs), self-driving cars and transport services.” The Economist says “investors will doubtless welcome the attack on costs but [Hackett] has no revolutionary scheme that might make them love Ford again.”
Amazon Tests New Delivery Service, Analysts Downplay Threat To FedEx, UPS.
A Bloomberg report on Amazon testing a service called “Seller Flex” generated broad coverage on Thursday. Outlets tended to report the news in a relatively positive light for Amazon, focusing on the pilot delivery service as a way to cut costs. While shares of FedEx and UPS fell on the news, analysts offered mixed opinions about whether Amazon is a threat to the traditional carriers.
The Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal (10/5) reports that according to a Bloomberg report released yesterday morning, Amazon is working on a new delivery service, reportedly called Seller Flex, that aims to “make more products available for free two-day delivery and relieve overcrowding in its warehouses.” According to the article, the Bloomberg piece suggested that the service will push Amazon “deeper into functions handled by longtime partners United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp.”
GeekWire (10/5, Levy) says its not surprising “that Amazon might want greater control over the delivery process,” given that “the convenience of rapid delivery has played an important role in Amazon’s rise in the retail world, so much so that other retail giants are building out similar networks.” The e-commerce giant “has invested heavily in its logistics network over the years and taken on losses to build it out.” For example, in 2016, the company “recorded an all-time high of nearly $7.2 billion lost on shipping.” GeekWire explains, citing Amazon’s year-end earnings release, that the result of this spending is that more than 50 million products are Prime eligible, up 73 percent year over year.
Engineering and Public Policy
DHS Creates Voting System Cybersecurity Task Force.
ExecutiveGov (10/5, Nicholas) reports DHS cybersecurity and critical infrastructure division acting undersecretary Christopher Krebs “has said that DHS created a task force that will oversee the security of state and local voting systems, Nextgov reported Tuesday.” Krebs “told the House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity subcommittee during a hearing held Tuesday the task force will gather expertise and resources from various DHS units such as the intelligence and analysis division.”
NIST, DHS Establish Internet Routing Security Standards. ExecutiveGov (10/5, Adams) reports that NIST “has worked with the Department of Homeland Security and the internet industry to develop standards for the protection of electronic messages from data theft,” and “the Internet Engineering Task Force published the Secure Inter-Domain Routing framework in an effort to establish a uniform approach for protecting the internet’s routing system, NIST said Tuesday.” SIDR “also offers a defense mechanism for the Border Gateway Protocol system that works to help routers determine the path of data as it travels across the internet.”
Hack DHS Act Approved In Committee. ExecutiveGov (10/5, Nicholas) reports, “The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved a bill…that would establish a bug bounty pilot program at the Department of Homeland Security.” The Hack DHS Act would allow the department to “enlist the help of ethical hackers to find previously undiscovered vulnerabilities within the department’s information technology and networks.”
DHS Not Offering New Cyber Information Sharing Incentives. Inside Cybersecurity (10/5, Miller) reports that DHS “is not offering any new incentives for industry to share information about cyber incidents and threats with the government, said Jeanette Manfra, who oversees the department’s info-sharing system, while acknowledging that sharing has not been as robust as the department would like.” Manfra is quoted saying, “I don’t think, based on my conversations, that people are necessarily looking for further incentives.”
Senators Introduce Startup Act For More STEM Visas.
MeriTalk (10/5) reports a bipartisan group of senators “on Sept. 28 reintroduced the Startup Act, which would grant more visas to immigrants in the STEM field.” The act “includes provisions that would accelerate the commercial use of academic research that can lead to new businesses, improve the regulations at the Federal, state and local levels, and modernize the Economic Development Administration (EDA) program to promote innovation and spur economic growth.” The bill “also creates a new limited STEM visa so that 50,000 U.S.-educated foreign students who graduate with a master’s or Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics can receive a green card and stay in the United States.”
EPA’s Clean Power Plan Withdrawal To Include Big Changes To Cost Calculations.
Politico (10/5, Holden) reports that the EPA is expected to release its proposal to officially withdraw from the Clean Power Plan, former President Obama’s signature climate regulation, in the coming days. No details have been released, but experts say that the rule would likely eventually be replaced by one “that would pose minimal costs but provide few climate benefits.” In addition, Trump’s EPA is expected to “drastically alter how it uses the social cost of carbon, a metric for assigning a monetary value to curbing emissions.” Sources say that taken together, these recalculations “eliminate tens of billions of dollars of the rule’s benefits, which Obama’s EPA had contended would outweigh the costs of enforcing a faster shift away from coal-fired power.” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman defended the pending changes in a recent statement, saying that “the facts are that the Obama administration’s estimates and analysis of costs and benefits was, in multiple areas, highly uncertain and/or controversial.”
The Washington Post (10/5, Dennis) reports that the White House claims the Obama administration “overstepped its legal authority” by implementing the Clean Power Plan. In a copy of the Trump’s administration’s proposed repeal, there is no alternative plan offered to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide.
Facebook, Dominion Energy Partner To Power Planned Data Center With Renewable Energy.
The AP (10/5, Suderman) reports Facebook said Thursday that it will build a $750 million data center in Henrico County, which will feature “an energy-efficient design and a plan to boost the state’s adoption of renewable power.” The article reports that Facebook is partnering with Dominion Energy “to offset the energy used by the data center with power produced by new solar installations around the state.” Dominion Energy plans to “file a new energy rate with state regulators later this month,” but “did not immediately say how many megawatts of new solar capacity would be built, nor how the new renewable energy rate would compare to conventional rates.” Bloomberg News (10/5, Ryan) reports the sites of the solar projects are “yet to be determined, and the companies did not disclose how much energy the data center in Henrico County will require.”
Likewise, the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (10/5, Martz) reports the “renewable facility” tariff “is a critical part of the package that persuaded Facebook, based in Menlo Park, Calif., to choose the Virginia site for its eighth data center.” According to Dominion Energy Power Delivery Group President and CEO Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy will file the proposed tariff with the SCC in the next few weeks. Blue said, “Our customers will benefit from clean energy on the (electric) grid.” The article adds that Dominion Energy “expects Facebook to need 25 to 30 megawatts of power for each of the five buildings it plans to construct eventually on the 328-acre site within White Oak Technology Park,” although “Blue said the company has not yet identified the sites for the proposed solar facilities to compensate for that use.”
California Schools See Shift In Science Curriculum.
The Ventura County (CA) Star (10/5) reports that teachers in California are seeing a shift in science curriculum. The shift “is part of the school’s implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which has overhauled the way students learn science – and the way instructors like Litten teach the course material – throughout Ventura County school districts.” One science teacher said, “It made science a verb. … It’s a complete paradigm shift in how you do science.”
Student Speaks Out Against New Mexico’s Proposed Science Standards At Los Alamos Event.
Santa Fe New Mexican (10/5) reports that Los Alamos High School senior Zoe Hemez “says she feels ‘betrayed’ by the state Public Education Department’s elimination of any direct reference to climate change, global warming or human impact on the environment in proposed new standards for teaching science in New Mexico classrooms.” Hemez “told a Wednesday night gathering of about 25 people at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center in Los Alamos that the omission could ‘change the way that I or other students think about the environment.’” The Environmental Educators Association of New Mexico “organized the event…in an effort to solicit public input on the new standards so the association, in turn, can present a response to the Public Education Department next week.”
Thursday’s Lead Stories
• Foundation Makes Record-Breaking $219 Million Donation To University Of Maryland.
• Alum Gives Creighton University $10 Million To Support STEM Education.
• NSF Gives University Of Wisconsin-Madison $15 Million Grant For Materials Research.
• Environmental Engineers Design Sustainable Farm In Jordanian Desert.
• Senate Commerce Committee Approves Self-Driving Car Bill.
• New Mexico Officials Will Not Discuss Origins Of Proposed Science Standards.