|Good morning || November 1, 2019|
Leading the News
Qantas Grounds Three Boeing 737 NG Jets Due To Cracks
Reuters (10/31) reports that Qantas Airways “said on Friday it found structural cracks in three of its Boeing Co 737 NG planes after conducting earlier-than-required checks of its aircraft as part of a global issue with the model.” The jets “have been removed from service for repair, the airline said in a statement.”
The Daily Mail (UK) (10/31) reports that “Qantas said the three aircraft would remain out of service until at least the end of 2019, as it worked with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to resolve the safety issue.”
CNN (10/31, Guy, Walsh, Business) reports that the FAA ordered inspections on 737 NG jets in September after The Boeing Company informed the FAA of the problem. Boeing said in a regulatory filing that a “small percentage” of the jets are affected by the issue, and all 737 NG jets with more than 30,000 flight cycles and a third of the jets with 22,600 cycles have been inspected.
The Wall Street Journal (10/31, Sider, Subscription Publication) reports that Boeing had estimated that about five percent of the 686 aircraft that had been inspected by October 9 showed signs of cracking.
The Hill (10/31, Frazin) reports that a Southwest Airlines spokesman said that Southwest had removed three jets from service due to the issue.
Report: Apprenticeships Can Help Alleviate Tech Skills Gap
CNBC (10/31, Hess) reports professional services firm Accenture on Thursday released a report on the “tech-skills gap” arguing that “community college students and apprenticeships can help solve” the issue. The piece quotes the report saying, “The United States job market is failing both employers and workers. While positions are plentiful in industries shaped by technological innovation and other dynamics, many potential workers don’t have the skills companies require, and employers can’t find the people they need. But there’s a potential solution: Community college students, if given broader access to professional apprenticeship programs, would be able to develop the skills, experience and confidence to meet employer expectations, thereby closing the gap in our job market.”
Newark Launches Campaign To Increase Number Of FAFSA Applicants
Chalkbeat (10/31) reports, “More than half of Newark high school seniors completed their applications for federal student aid last year and raked in $45 million in scholarships, according to the district, but the city wants even more students to receive money for college.” Chalkbeat says, “Local organizations, government officials, and school administrators announced a new collaborative effort Thursday called the Newark FAFSA Challenge that aims to increase the percentage of Newark students completing the federal aid application, which makes students eligible to receive grants, work-study, and loans.” Next week, the campaign “will be launching hub sites throughout Newark offering resources and FAFSA assistance to students and families.”
Free Webinar on Increasing URM Recruitment and Retention in the Sciences
Looking to increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities (URM) at your institution? Tune in Dec. 10 at 1:00 PM, ET for a free webinar featuring the NSF GOLD-supported GeoDES and Sparks for Change project teams, who will share insights from their innovative professional development projects developed to increase the engagement, recruitment, and retention of URM faculty in the sciences. Sign up today: http://bit.ly/31nQjPL
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Former ASEE Member Wins Nobel
ASEE is happy to claim Nobel Prize winner John Goodenough as a former member, proof that educators and researchers find value in being an ASEE member.
Research and Development
Reputation Of AVs Could Be Damaged If Cybersecurity Incidents Are Not Addressed
ERPScan CTO Alexander Polyakov writes in Forbes (10/31, Polyakov) that he believes that “among all AI solutions...the cybersecurity of autonomous cars is the most crucial aspect.” Polyakov believes that “the reputation of autonomous cars will be smashed to smithereens if incidents surrounding their cybersecurity don’t stop in the future.” Polyakov provides a rundown of “some AI-driven components of autonomous cars that could be attacked.” These components include: image recognition systems, object detection systems, semantic segmentation systems, voice recognition systems and LiDAR.
Farming, Not AVs, Is Most Likely To Benefit From IoT
Sydney (AUS) Morning Herald (10/30) contributor Alice Clarke writes that the “industry that is most likely to benefit from more robust networks and a more reliable internet of things is actually farming,” not self-driving vehicles. Clarke writes that “self-driving cars are often touted as one of the big advantages of edge computing and better networks.” But, according to Clarke, “even CEO of Waymo believes that autonomous cars which can drive in all conditions without human intervention will never exist.” Clarke adds that “Google parent Alphabet is pursuing self-driving cars through its Waymo subsidiary, but the tech may never be perfect.”
Two Studies Show Consumers Not Ready For Autonomous Vehicles Or Shared Mobility
Forbes (10/31) contributor Peter Lyon says that “according to recent studies carried out in the U.K., there is a serious disconnect between what automakers are developing and what the motoring public actually wants.” In one study by Neckermann Strategic Advisors and 7th Sense Research UK Ltd, the results show “the vast majority of motorists and public transport users are today not ready to make a ‘double leap’ of faith with autonomous technology and shared mobility.” The co-author of the Neckermann study, Frederic John, said, “Globally, we’re becoming less resistant to change. Electricity and radio took 40 and 20 years respectively to cross the 80% penetration threshold, whereas smartphones and social media took under a decade,” but in order “for consumers to detach themselves from this emotional connection with their cars in favor of the unknown, they first have to understand how AVs can enhance their travel experience.”
NASA Selects Trio Of Universities For Aerospace Production Funding Effort
ExecutiveGov (10/31) reports that NASA has selected Tuskegee University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Virginia State University “to receive hands-on experience and support in aerospace manufacturing capacities to address industry gaps.” The minority-serving universities “will create learning opportunities in the design, construction and supply chain management of aerospace components within two years.” NASA “said Wednesday its aeronautics research mission directorate has teamed up with the Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Engagement to provide...training, research, learning, apprenticeship and internship efforts in high-volume aerospace production under a $1.5M funding opportunity through the Minority University Research and Education Project.”
Wearable Devices Using Machine Learning May Accurately Detect, Rate Parkinson’s Disease Tremors, Research Indicates
McKnight’s Long-Term Care News (10/30, Lasek) reported, “Wearable devices using machine learning can accurately detect and rate Parkinson’s disease tremors as people go about their normal activities,” research indicated. People taking part in the study “wore sensors on the wrist or ankle,” and data were “collected while they performed a variety of activities such as walking, resting, eating and getting dressed.” What’s more, in the majority of “cases, results from the machine learning test matched results of the standard assessment currently used by neurologists.”
Engineering and Public Policy
American Airlines Flight Attendants Question Safety Of 737 MAX
Reuters (10/31, Rucinski) reports that a union representing American Airlines’ flight attendants sent a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg highlighting the union’s concerns with the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX. Association of Professional Flight Attendants President Lori Bassani asserted in the letter, “The 28,000 flight attendants working for American Airlines refuse to walk onto a plane that may not be safe and are calling for the highest possible safety standards to avoid another tragedy.” Bassani wants her union to have all of the information about the MAX before flight attendants fly on the plane when it returns to service. Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe responded in an email statement, “We are committed to providing flight attendants, pilots and our airline customers the information they need so we can re-earn their trust and that of the traveling public that counts on them.”
The Wall Street Journal (10/31, Sider, Subscription Publication) reports that the letter is the most recent result of the congressional hearings in which Boeing executives were questioned about documents related to the 737 MAX crashes. Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson also said that her union’s flight attendants will not fly on the 737 MAX until it is proven to be safe by regulators, pilots, airline officials, and engineers.
Experts Question Corporate Governance Of 737 MAX. CBS News (10/31) reports that when the Lion Air crash occurred, 62 percent of The Boeing Company’s board members served on three or more company boards. However, that number fell to 43 percent last week. Currently 12 of Boeing’s 14 board members still serve on at least one other board, and nine of those 12 board members have a full time job with another company. Corporate governance expert Nell Minow asserted that board members should expect to spend about 240 hours per year on board-related work, and “that quickly becomes exponentially higher if there is a problem.” Minow added, “Boeing is the dictionary definition of a problem.”
FAA To Place New UAS Restrictions Over 60 Facilities Due To National Security Concerns
Drone Life (10/31, McNabb) reports that due to “concerns about ‘malicious drone activity’ the FAA has announced new airspace restrictions over 60 facilities – most of them federal prisons.” In a press release, the FAA “announced Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) airspace restrictions over additional national security sensitive locations, effective November 7.” The press release adds, “In cooperation with its federal partners, the FAA will restrict UAS operations in the airspace over 60 additional Department of Defense and Department of Justice facilities to address concerns about malicious drone activity. An FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), FDC 9/7752, defines these special security instructions.”
Power Restored To Most PG&E Customers After Consecutive Shutoffs
The San Francisco Chronicle (10/31, Ho) reports PG&E “said Thursday it has restored power to the vast majority of people in 38 counties who lost electricity in back-to-back outages as part of PG&E’s fire-prevention efforts.” Power was completely restored to customers in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties, while “workers are still completing power restoration in Marin, Napa and Sonoma.” Approximately 37,000 homes and busineses “remained blacked out as of Thursday morning, PG&E said.”
Bloomberg (10/31, Doan) reports that power was restored to 328,255 PG&E customers Thursday.
The Los Angeles Times (10/31, Chabria) reports that “amid what was effectively the longest planned power shut-off in California, the toll of the blackout – both immediate and existential – took shape Wednesday for PG&E customers who have weathered back-to-back outages, lasting up to five days for nearly half a million people.”
Firefighters Continue To Gain Upper Hand On Kincade Fire. The San Francisco Chronicle (10/31, Cabanatuan) reports “firefighters continued to gain control of the massive Kincade Fire” Wednesday night “as wind speeds dropped, Cal Fire officials said Thursday.” The fire did not grow overnight, and “many of the 140,000 residents still under an evacuation order were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday.”
KGO-TV San Francisco (10/31) reports on its website that “the Kincade Fire has burned more than 76,000 acres and is now 60-percent contained.”
The Los Angeles Times (10/31, Branson-Potts) reports Sonoma County officials have issued an “unprecedented mandatory evacuation order that stretched all the way to the coast, forcing nearly 200,000 people out of their homes.” The Kincade fire has not resulted in any deaths, “but many residents questioned whether officials overcorrected, pulling far too many people into the evacuation zone.”
Long Island Developers, Business Owners Call For Investigation Of Natural Gas Service Moratorium
Newsday (NY) (10/31, Madore) reports Long Island developers, business owners, and union leaders called Thursday for an investigation of the New York Public Service Commission over National Grid’s moratorium on new natural gas service. The moratorium “was imposed because National Grid said it couldn’t guarantee reliable service to additional natural gas customers after the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied the necessary permit to expand a pipeline under New York City’s harbor.” Association for a Better Long Island Executive Director Kyle Strober said during a news conference that the PSC “hit the pause button on every current and future project, from home renovations to transit-oriented developments, no exceptions. An external review of the commission’s protocols must be initiated.” PSC spokesman James Denn said, “The commission has already taken strong enforcement action against National Grid for its improper denial of service to customers, lack of fair process and appropriate notice, and we intend to do more.”
Report: US Now Has 100 GW Of Installed Wind Energy
CNBC (10/31, Frangoul) reports the US now has more than 100 GW of installed wind power capacity, according to a report by the American Wind Energy Association released Thursday. The report said about 2 GW was installed in the third quarter of 2019, a record high. Texas has the most installed capacity of any state with 27 GW. While the onshore wind market in the US “has undergone significant development in recent years, its offshore sector is still nascent.”
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Advertiser Supplied Content
Co-Ops And Capstones At UMass Lowell Show That Experience Is The Best Teacher
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Arkansas Governor Announces 22% Rise In Computer Science Enrollment
Talk Business Arkansas (10/31) reports that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) “said the number of high school students enrolled in computer science courses has risen 22% from the previous year.” Now, 9,813 students are “taking computer science courses in the 2019-2020 school year” compared to 8,044 in 2018-2019. Talk Business Arkansas says Hutchinson “campaigned in 2014 on an initiative to expand computer science courses in school districts across the state,” and “in his first legislative session, he successfully passed legislation to expand offerings in school districts statewide.”
Also in the News
Thursday's Lead Stories
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