|Good morning || July 10, 2019|
Leading the News
University Of Texas Give Full Scholarships To Low-Income Students
The Austin (TX) American Statesman (7/9, Jankowski, Subscription Publication) reports the University of Texas has announced that it will “give full scholarships for tuition and fees to in-state students with household incomes of $65,000 or less a year beginning in fall 2020.” The system’s Board of Regents established a $160 million endowment on Tuesday, through which “an estimated 21% of new and enrolled undergraduate students will automatically be given free rides at the state’s flagship public university. ... Further, the endowment will provide tuition assistance to any in-state student with a family income of $125,000 or less – an estimated 5,700 additional students.”
The Dallas Morning News (7/9, Allen) reports the policy “will more than double the number of students getting a free ride” at UT-Austin. “The move will build on UT-Austin’s Texas Advance Commitment program, which started in fall 2018 and covered full tuition and fees for students with families earning up to $30,000 a year. That program covered about 4,000 students.”
The Houston Chronicle (7/9) quotes UT-Austin President Gregory L. Fenves saying, “I am grateful to the UT System Board of Regents and Chairman Kevin Eltife for prioritizing students and investing in the future of our great state. Chairman Eltife understands that college affordability is one of the most critical issues affecting all Texans. Thanks to his leadership and the board’s action, this new endowment will go a long way toward making our university affordable for talented Texas students from every background and region.” USA Today (7/9, Ravikumar) and Fox Business (7/9, De Lea) also cover this story.
Analysis: Low-Income Students, Non-Degree Holders, African Americans Struggle The Most With Student Debt
NPR (7/9, Nadworny) reports that “more than 45 million people” have student loans, and “they collectively owe about $1.6 trillion.” But, NPR writes, “the people who are really struggling, experts say, are the roughly 1 million borrowers who default on their student loans each year – about 7 million borrowers in total at the end of 2018, according to the latest numbers from the US Education Department.” Some policy experts say low-income students, African Americans, and those who only complete some college are hit the hardest by loans, and these groups have higher-than-average default rates.
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Research and Development
Stony Brook University Sponsors Program On First Moon Voyage
Newsday (NY) (7/7, Ricks) writes, “The summer trip to end all summer trips – the first voyage to the moon and back – will be the subject of a special five-hour Long Island program later this month, featuring lectures, displays and a roundtable discussion with the moonshot-era engineers who helped make the round trip possible.” The program is “sponsored by Stony Brook University and the Montauk Observatory.”
Arizona University Scientists Contributed To Apollo Moon Landings
The Arizona Republic (7/9) reports on the contributions of “scientists at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University” to NASA’s Apollo program. “Arizona-based astronomers, geologists and other scientists in and around Tucson and Tempe conducted vital research that made the historic accomplishment possible.” The piece profiles UA’s Gerard Kuiper, “who is sometimes referred to as the father of modern-day planetary science. Kuiper established the university’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Using the best available photographs of the moon, Kuiper and his team put together four atlases that were instrumental in planning the moon missions.”
Kennesaw State University Professor Receives NSF Grant For Plasma Physics Research
The Marietta (GA) Daily Journal (7/9, University) reports, “Kennesaw State University’s Jeremy Gulley, associate professor of physics, has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation/Department of Energy Partnership in Plasma Science and Engineering to study nanoscale laser optics.” The Daily Journal writes, “Totaling more than $116,000, this is Gulley’s first NSF grant, which will cover his research to bridge the knowledge gap between two fields in optical physics – laser light propagation and the interaction between laser light and semiconductor nanowires,” which “are wires that are not visible through a conventional microscope.”
NSF Grants $10 Million For New Pittsburgh Supercomputer
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (7/9, Martines) reports, “The National Science Foundation awarded a $10 million grant to fund the construction of a new supercomputer at the Monroeville-based Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, a joint research facility run by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, according to a statement from the center.”
Researchers Developing Novel Medical Device Alarm Sounds
The New York Times (7/9, Rueb) reports that researchers are developing innovative alarm sounds for medical devices in hospitals. Current alarms can lead to “sonic hellscapes, which studies have shown regularly exceed levels set by the World Health Organization.” Alarms can also be difficult to trace to a specific machine or lead to false alarms and “alarm fatigue,” the Times says, adding that FDA data found that “from 2005 to 2008, more than 500 patients in the United States had adverse outcomes, mostly death, because an alarm was ignored, a device was silenced or mismanaged in some way.” The novel device sounds use “tones that replace the anodyne blare of the current alarms with signals that mimic electronic dance music...or a heartbeat.”
Analysis: Large Companies Hold Advantage Over Startups In AI Race
In a piece for TechRadar (7/9), Sergey Sviridov, head of R&D for ZYFRA, writes that major companies like General Electric, Siemens, and Mitsubishi still hold an edge over smaller competitors in the AI space “because they have experience of developing and implementing production standards, as well as manufacturing their own equipment.” Sviridov expects that “young technology companies will have to either be satisfied with a ‘piece of the pie’ and try to share it among themselves, or become a part of some of the world’s largest corporations, as has already happened with a whole range of promising companies.” As an example, Sviridov notes that “in 2017, Ford Motor invested $1 billion in Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle startup that was practically unknown then,” and “in February 2019, Argo AI announced that it will spend $15 million to form a self-driving car research center.” In conclusion, Sviridov advises “young tech players” to “focus on innovative industries such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and additive manufacturing because large vendors have so far concentrated their efforts on more profitable markets.”
US Air Force Begins Data Architecture Work For ABMS
Air Force Times (7/9, Insinna) reports that the US Air Force has “started work on a data architecture for its Advanced Battle Management System, the family of platforms that will eventually replace the E-8C JSTARS surveillance planes.” Service acquisition executive Will Roper said that the decision on which platform to put the systems on will only come at the end, adding, “it is so easy to start talking about satellites and airplanes and forget what ABMS is going to have to uniquely champion, which is the data architecture that will connect them.” Roper said that he is “actually glad we don’t have big money this year because we can’t go build a drone or a satellite” and instead will “focus on the part that’s less sexy, which is that data architecture.”
Opinion: NASA Should Continue To Close “Gender Gap In Space”
In an opinion piece for The Conversation (7/9), US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies professor Wendy Whitman Cobb writes that the name of NASA’s 2024 Moon mission, “Artemis,” signals “a new focus on the role of women in space exploration,” which “is an important message for NASA to send” to women as it garners support to put a woman on the moon. Cobb writes, “Women have been historically excluded from the space program, especially early on,” and “while women have made inroads both as astronauts and more generally within the NASA ranks since, there remains a significant gender gap in support for space exploration.” Cobb says, “It is admirable of NASA to make these efforts, but more work and time will be needed if the gender gap in space is to be fully closed.”
Analysis: Washington’s Tech Industry Groups “Increasingly Led By Women”
The Hill (7/9, Gangitano) reports, “Male-dominated Silicon Valley has long faced criticism over gender diversity issues, but in Washington the tech industry’s most prominent groups are increasingly led by women.” The Hill says that for women in the tech industry, “those changes are a promising trend and long overdue – and come at a critical time for tech businesses.” The article offers anecdotes from DC’s female CEOs in tech, including NTCA’s Shirley Bloomfield, BSA’s Victoria Espinel, and CTIA’s Meredith Baker.
Engineering and Public Policy
Governors From 23 States Urge Trump To Abandon Fuel-Efficiency Freeze
Reuters (7/9, Shepardson) reports that “nearly two dozen U.S. state governors, including those of California and New York, urged the Trump administration on Tuesday to abandon a proposal to freeze fuel-efficiency standards at 2020 levels through 2026.” The governors, which represent over half of the U.S. economy, “said they want ‘continuous, meaningful annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants while saving consumers money,’ and that they ‘support preserving state authority to protect our residents from vehicle pollution.’”
The AP (7/9) reports the move, by mostly Democrats, “comes as the Trump administration moves to freeze tougher mileage standards laid out by former President Barack Obama, in one of the previous administration’s key efforts against climate change.”
SC Regulators Deny WesternGeco’s Bid To Conduct Offshore Seismic Testing
The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier (7/8, Petersen) reports the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control denied WesternGeco’s application “to conduct seismic blast tests for oil and natural gas offshore.” The Department informed the company, which is “one of six...seeking federal permits to conduct” the tests, as well as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, that the seismic blasts could put the state’s coastal environments at risk, saying the tests are “not consistent” with South Carolina’s coastal protection policies. WesternGeco can appeal to the Department of Commerce.
WBTW-TV Florence-Myrtle Beach, SC (7/9) reports the decision came “one week after 16 coastal communities and small businesses sent a joint letter of concerns to DHEC about seismic activities off South Carolina’s coast.” SC Environmental Law Project Executive Director Amy Armstrong said, “Today’s objection letter is an important step because the state regulatory agency has gone on record rejecting WesternGeco’s request for consistency with its seismic testing proposal.”
Agencies Warn Of Water Shortages During Power Shutoffs
The San Francisco Chronicle (7/9, Alexander) notes that PG&E’s plan to shut off power during wildfire conditions could mean “limited use of toilets and taps, an inconvenience that water and sewer districts across the state are scrambling to address before a blackout comes and nature calls.” The state’s major utilities “simply don’t have the backup power to replace the electricity that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. normally provides for water delivery and sewage treatment.” Agencies, therefore, “are warning customers of possible water shortages and sewer backups.”
FERC Revises Energy Forecasts, Suggests Positive Growth For Renewables
North American Windpower (7/9, Lillian) report that within the past month, FERC “has dramatically revised its three-year forecast for changes in the U.S. electrical generating capacity mix, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of newly released FERC data.” Notably, sharp “declines are foreseen for fossil fuels and nuclear power, accompanied by even stronger growth in renewable energy – biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind – than earlier projected, says the nonprofit SUN DAY.” FERC’s latest Energy Infrastructure Update forecasts that renewable capacity, primarily wind and solar, will grow more than 45 GW by 2022.
Editorial: Virginia Should Move Forward Methodically On Offshore Wind Projects
In an editorial, the Newport News (VA) Daily Press (7/9, Board, Subscription Publication) applauds Dominion Energy’s offshore wind project in the waters off Virginia Beach. The board argues that this project should serve as a test case for similar projects in Virginia. The Newport News says, “Before Dominion jumps ahead, Virginia must adopt a slow, measured pace with this project rather than heeding calls from some environmental activists to move at full throttle building alternative energy sources.” The board says the turbines’ impact on the surrounding waters, impact on naval operations in the area, and the need for maintenance once the project is complete must be considered before Virginia authorizes future offshore wind projects. The Newport News concludes that the “prospects of cleaner energies are promising,” but adds that “there’s no sense in sailing beyond a distant horizon with no charted course in mind.”
Analysis: CTE Can Foster Student Engagement In STEM
Education Week (7/9, Singmaster) reports on the importance of career and technical education (CTE) programs in engaging students in STEM. Education Week says, “A hands-on, problem-solving pedagogical approach, like that utilized in many CTE classrooms, not only engages students in STEM learning, it also gives them the 21st-century skills needed for success.” CTE programs “more deeply engage students in their coursework as shown by the fact that students who concentrate in CTE have a high school graduation rate of 90 percent – much higher than the national average.” CTE pathways “already prepare students for the rigors of STEM careers by giving them foundational skills and allowing for a broader interpretation of STEM – not just as a pathway for engineers as it is often defined.” The article also covers a handful of free resources aimed at helping students with project-based learning.
Tuesday's Lead Stories
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