|Good morning || October 7, 2019|
Leading the News
Students Of Defunct For-Profit College Ask Judge To Hold DeVos In Contempt
The Washington Post (10/4, Douglas-Gabriel) reported that, “despite a court order barring the Education Department from collecting on the federal student loans of former Corinthian College students,” the agency “continued to pursue the debts.” The Post reported that “some former students of the defunct for-profit college had their paychecks garnished” while others “had their tax refunds seized by the federal government.” Now, those students “are demanding a federal judge hold Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt.” A hearing for the students “is scheduled for Monday.” The Post said that, “in a September court filing,” the Education Department “revealed that more than 16,000 former Corinthian students ‘were incorrectly informed at one time or another...that they had payments due on their federal student loans’ after a federal judge put a hold on collections in May 2018.” The federal agency “said it has since stopped pursuing nearly 15,000 of those borrowers but is still working to resolve the problem with the remaining borrowers.”
Politico (10/4, Quilantan) reported that the Corinthian students “want the judge to order the department to provide weekly updates on its progress in providing refunds,” and “order Secretary DeVos to pay fines to the Court, starting 2 weeks from the date of the order, until she demonstrates that [she and the department] have refunded all illegally seized money and are in full compliance with the Court order.” Politico said, “Justice Department attorneys representing DeVos and the Education Department wrote in the court filing that sanctions were not appropriate because they had made a ‘good faith’ effort to comply with the judge’s order.”
The Hill (10/4, Johnson) also reported this story.
Bill Would Require Accreditors To Flag Failing Colleges Sooner
Education Dive (10/3) reported “a bipartisan bill announced Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives would raise the bar for accreditors in an attempt to prevent college closures and lessen the blow to students when they do occur.” Education Dive added, “Co-sponsored by Reps. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., Peter King, R-N.Y., and Sean Casten, D-Ill., the bill would require accreditors to ask for a teach-out plan or agreement if a college fails to meet certain financial standards, and it stipulates that they must report complaints about institutions to the U.S. Department of Education and state agencies.” Though “not specific to for-profit colleges, the bill comes as Congress raises scrutiny of the sector amid a spate of abrupt closures in recent years.”
ASEE Member Wins NAE's Founders Award
Cato T. Laurencin has been named the winner of the prestigious 2019 National Academy of Engineering Simon Ramo Founders Award. Laurencin was recognized “for fundamental, critical, and groundbreaking scientific advances in the engineering of tissues, guiding technology and science policy, and promoting diversity and excellence in science.”
Editor-in-Chief Search for Advances in Engineering Education
ASEE is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Editor‐in‐Chief for the journal Advances in Engineering Education. The anticipated start date for this volunteer position is July 1, 2020, with applications due this fall. Learn more here.
Engineering Technology Leaders Institute
“Engineering Technology: Connecting, Building & Maintaining Relationships” is the theme of this year's meeting, October 10-11, in Alexandria, VA. The meeting convenes engineering technology educators, industry leaders, and government officials. Learn more.
Research and Development
IIT Guwahati’s AI-Based Tool Uses IBM Watson To Push EVs
The Deccan (IND) Herald (10/5, Karmakar) reported the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati announced Saturday “the development of a ‘Smart Engineer,’ an artificial intelligence-assisted engineering system design tool, that promises to push penetration of Electric Vehicles (EV) on Indian roads.” Built by the e-mobility lab at IIT Guwahati, the Smart-Engineer seeks to address “one of the primary hurdles in indigenizing the EV technology – lack of trained human resources in engineering design and system integration.” In Smart-Engineer, the knowledge base of expert motor designers is “captured and programmed using IBM Watson’s AI platform hosted on IBM Public Cloud.” The system enables “the fresh engineer to learn from the collective knowledge and wisdom of the experts without necessarily having to interact with them.” If the design engineer needs to “seek an answer to their questions, they can consult the Smart-Engineer and get the answers.”
IIT Guwahati, IBM Develop AI-Powered ‘Smart-Engineer’ To Boost EV Culture. Of the development, the Economic Times (IND) (10/5, Singh) observed, IIT Guwahati Professor Praveen Kumar of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (EEE) said, “The current version of Smart-Engineer is able to address the fundamentals involved in the design of induction motors. The early results are very promising, and we now intend to expand the capability of Smart-Engineer to include the finer aspects of motor design. We are compiling the know-why of motor design that we have gathered over the years in the e-mobility lab (EML) and will use this knowledge repository, combined with IBM’s AI & cloud capabilities, to make Smart-Engineer even smarter.”
Silicon Valley Residents Worry Autonomous Vehicles Are Not Safe Yet
The Washington Post (10/3, A1, Siddiqui) reports on a “surprising Silicon Valley paradox” in which “residents believe in the power of technology to change the world for the better, but...are skeptical of the role it might play in their daily lives.” As autonomous vehicles become increasingly common on the streets of the Bay Area, “some residents say they’re confident the technology can work in limited settings, such as test tracks or simulations,” but they worry “the software that controls the cars needs to be trained on real-life situations: left-hand turns, bikers, children running out into the streets,” possibly raising safety concerns. California has granted permission to 63 companies “to test self-driving vehicles on state roads, according to state figures from Aug. 9.” These companies include “a slew of tech companies with a substantial Silicon Valley presence: Lyft, Tesla, Alphabet-owned Waymo, General Motors’ Cruise division, Ford-affiliated Argo AI, and start-ups such as Aurora and Zoox.”
NYTimes Contributing Op-Ed Writer Discusses Danger Of Cars To Pedestrians
Allison Arieff, a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times (10/4), presents the results of “an experiment on Twitter this summer” where Arieff asked “people to share my tweet if a car had hit them, or anyone they knew,” in order to confirm or deny whether cars are “death machines.” Arieff argues that “many so-called advances in car design may, thus far, be making things much worse,” as “increasingly large and complicated dashboard screens take cognitive resources away from the task at hand, which is driving, and have the potential to be as dangerous as texting while driving.” Moreover, Arieff is not convinced autonomous vehicles will automatically end the pandemic of pedestrian deaths in the US, although she proposes some solutions to vehicle design and traffic laws to reduce risk for pedestrians.
LSU Earns $773K Grant For Traffic Camera Study Of Commercial Vehicle Crash Causes
The AP (10/6) reports Louisiana State University has won “a $773,500 [FMCSA] grant to use streaming traffic camera video to study commercial motor vehicle crashes.” The lead researcher “is Professor Helmut Schneider at Louisiana State University’s Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety.” A news release Friday “said Schneider and Supratik Mukhopadhyay in LSU’s Division of Computer Science will use advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to analyze video as it comes in from multiple cameras.”
H-1B Visas “On Table” During US-India Talks
The Hindustan Times (IND) (10/4, Raj) reported India has “put the H-1B temporary visa programme for high-skilled professionals firmly back on the table for discussions with the United States” after avoiding the issue “as the Trump administration put an unprecedented squeeze on it and its chief beneficiaries, Indian companies and IT professionals.” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised the issue in a meeting with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan “at their meeting earlier in the week, along with other issues of legal immigrations and the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of Indian students enrolled in US colleges.” Jaishankar wrote in a tweet that the two discussed “promoting lawful travel, ensuring flow of talent and protecting the interests of students.” Those familiar with the talks said that the phrase “ensuring flow of talent” referred to the H-1B visa program specifically.
Rich Foreigners “Prefer EB-5 Over H-1B”
The Economic Times (IND) (10/5, Sangani) reported that in the past several months, “EB-5 visa consultancies have reported a sharp spike in interest from wealthy Indian parents” seeking to make investments in the US in order to obtain visas on behalf of their children. Rogelio Caceres, co-founder of LCR Capital Partners, said, “Education-minded Indian parents are concerned that their children might not get a job or work visa in the US after spending years studying there. This is the key reason for the increased interest we’re seeing. They want to maximise the value of their US education.” The Times says that for parents, the “biggest attraction is that by the time the child graduates, he would have received his green card or permanent residency, making him eligible to apply for jobs without needing any additional documentation.”
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UPS Receives Approval To Begin UAS Deliveries In North Carolina
Vision Systems Design (10/4) reports with continuing coverage of the approval granted to UPS Flight Forward to begin UAS deliveries of medical supplies in North Carolina. The approval of the “first full Part 135 Standard certification to operate UAS airline” from the Federal Aviation Administration means UPS can “expand its drone delivery service to further support hospital campuses around the country and provide customers outside of just the healthcare industry with delivery options.” The 135 Standard allows UPS to operate its UAVs out of line of sight and at night. In a statement, UPS CEO David Abney said, “This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet. Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”
WBUR-FM Boston (10/4) also reports online, with reporter Noah Glick taking a closer look “at some of the hurdles” to commercial UAS delivery in the US.
Volvo, Geely To Merge Combustion Engine Operations
Reuters (10/7) reports, “Volvo Cars will merge its engine development and manufacturing assets with those of parent Geely, creating a division to supply in-house brands Lotus, LEVC, Lynk and Proton, and also potential rivals with next-generation combustion and hybrid engines.” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters: “As a general business, combustion engines is most probably not growing. It is important to consolidate and seek synergies. It is another step transforming our company in the direction of electrification.” He added, “On a component level, I see considerable cost savings. Most important is the development side. The engineers will get the resources to take the next step to develop top-notch hybrid engines.”
Engineering and Public Policy
Corning Presents At Manufacturing Day For Local Middle School Students
The Corning (NY) Leader (10/5, Post) reports Corning-Painted Post Middle School eighth-graders, along with STEM Academy ninth-graders, saw several presentations and demonstrations on the middle school campus as part of national Manufacturing Day. For instance, student Amanda Hakes said, “People at Corning Inc. talked about how to use (computer-aided modeling) software. They can make things in the computer first and see if there are any complications.”
Also in the News
Analysis: Tesla’s Acquisition Of DeepScale May Help In Developing Fully Autonomous Vehicles
In an analysis, Forbes (10/4, Taulli) contributor Tom Taulli argued Tesla’s acquisition of “computer vision” technology startup DeepScale “appears to be a part of the company’s focus on building an Uber-like service as well building fully autonomous vehicles.” He concluded DeepScale “could move the needle for Tesla and represent a shift in the industry.”
TPRC To Discuss Thermoplastic Composites On 10th Year
Technical Textile reports that “the ThermoPlastic composites Research Center (TPRC) in Enschede will celebrate its tenth anniversary on October 8, 2019 at the University of Twente with a conference on ‘The Future of Thermoplastic Composites.’” The conference will “reflect on the most important milestones of the consortium, the future, and the applications of thermoplastic composites.” TPRC General Manager Harald Heerink explained, “The large aircraft manufacturers indicated that they want to employ thermoplastic composites on a large scale, so they need the help of the suppliers. Large American companies, such as Spirit AeroSystems,” who are “major Tier I suppliers of the aviation industry, were quick to join the TPRC.” Full text (10/3)
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Friday's Lead Stories
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