|Good morning || November 27, 2019|
|In observance of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, we will not publish on Thursday, November 28, 2019 and Friday, November 29, 2019. Service will resume on Saturday, November 30, 2019. We wish our readers a safe and happy holiday.|
Leading the News
FAA Asserts It Will Inspect Individual 737 MAX Jets By Itself
The AP (11/26) reports that the FAA said that it will have sole responsibility for clearing Boeing 737 MAX jets for flight after the agency’s past history of sharing some responsibilities with The Boeing Company.
The Wall Street Journal (11/26, Pasztor, Sider, Subscription Publication) reports that the FAA will inspect every 737 MAX jet before each is delivered. This oversight measure is expected to complicate and extend the return of the 737 MAX. In the past, Boeing had been allowed to perform the safety checks on its own.
Reuters (11/26) reports that the FAA said that the agency “has determined that the public interest and safety in air commerce require that the FAA retain authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all 737 MAX airplanes.” The FAA said that it will not allow Boeing to issue certificates until it believes the company has “fully functional quality control and verification processes in place” and is complying with regulatory standards. Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe wrote in an email, “We continue to follow the lead of the FAA and global regulators.” He added, “They will determine when key milestones are achieved and when the fleet and training requirements are certified so the MAX can safely return to service.”
Bloomberg (11/26) reports that FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson “has been emphasizing that the agency won’t be pushed to move too hastily on decisions related to the [MAX], even as tensions rise between the planemaker and its chief regulator.”
CNBC (11/26, LeBeau) reports that the FAA’s Human Factors Testing “to evaluate the revamped MCAS flight control software” on the MAX “is expected to start next week, according to one person familiar with the...timeline.” In a statement, the FAA said, “Issuance of the Airworthiness Certificate is the final FAA action affirming that each...is airworthy.”
Indian-American Student Becomes First To Attain New Cloud Computing Degree
Voice of America (11/21, Taboh) reports on Dolica Gopisetty who is the first and youngest student “to be certified in [George Mason University’s] newly launched bachelor degree program in cloud computing,” which, “together with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS).” VOA says Gopisetty is a “21-year-old college senior” who “has excelled since arriving in the United States at the age of seven” from India, her country of origin, and is also the “founder and president of the campus Association of Engineers.” VOA says the new program “is designed to help students pursue careers in cloud architecture, cybersecurity, software development and DevOps.”
University Of Texas At San Antonio Hosts Tech Symposium For Senior Engineering Students
The San Antonio Express-News (11/26) reports that at the University of Texas at San Antonio on Tuesday, the College of Engineering held a Tech Symposium for the presentation of senior projects. The Express-News says UTSA seniors “work with professional mentors to identify a local or national problem, said JoAnn Browning, dean of the College of Engineering,” and “then they propose a solution, build it and test it... [and] defend it.” About half the teams “had sponsors that helped with materials and development costs, a process that also required professional maturity.”
Analysis: Colleges Add Support For Autistic Students, But Programs Can Be Expensive
USA Today (11/26, West) reports, “Despite a huge jump in the number of people diagnosed with autism, few higher education institutions have accommodated it,” and “even these reach a limited number of students and can be expensive, costing as much as $7,000 per semester on top of tuition.” According to parents and advocates, colleges “have created special support programs because other campus disability services, to which students with autism are often referred, don’t always meet their needs.” USA Today says that “the transition from high school to college is stressful for any college freshman,” but “the anxiety can be amplified for students on the autism spectrum, who often face difficulties with organization, time management, communication and social interaction.”
Analysis: Student Loan Forgiveness Emerging As Key Electoral Issue
An MSNBC (11/26) segment reports that “some of the more progressive 2020 Democrats” have “outlined plans to wipe out student loan debt” as the problem becomes a “key” issue for the upcoming presidential election. In this segment, “New York Times op-ed columnist Bret Stephens, Vice President and analyst at Moody’s, William Foster, and former Deputy Chief Counsel for the House Oversight Committee Chris Lu join Stephanie Ruhle to discuss the report that says the move would actually help boost the economy.”
New videos from ASEE and NBC News Learn
Watch the new Engineering Your World series here.
Under a previous headline, "ASEE Members Honored with Presidental Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring," we omitted two members. Howard Kimmel is at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, is a Life Member of ASEE, and has won numerous awards for his work in engineering education. Amy Freeman is Director of Penn State's Millennium Scholars Program, is a Past-President of WEPAN, and has won multiple awards for her work in expanding access to education. Congratulations to them both.
Coming Jan 2020: Free EER&I Online Workshop Series for Grad Students and Post-Docs
Calling all graduate/doctoral students and post-docs! Interested in engineering education? Want to learn how to communicate the impact of your research? Join us in January 2020 for “From Identity to Impact,” a free two-part online workshop led by Dr. Jeremi London (Virginia Tech). Interested? Space is limited! Learn more and complete the interest survey by Dec. 13.
Research and Development
Questions Remain One Year After Chinese Scientist Creates Gene-Edited Babies
The AP (11/26, Marchione) reports that one year after “Chinese scientist He Jiankui shocked the world by claiming he had helped make the first gene-edited babies,” there still remain questions regarding “his fate as well as theirs.” The AP adds, “He has not been seen publicly since January, his work has not been published and nothing is known about the health of the babies.” Since his work, many “have called for regulations or a moratorium on similar work, but committees have bogged down over who should set standards and how to enforce them.”
Rowan University Launches New Sustainable Facilities Lab
The Gloucester County (NJ) Times (11/26) reports that on November 19, “representatives from the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering in Glassboro...teamed up with members of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the New Jersey Army National Guard to officially cut the ribbon on a new Sustainable Facilities Laboratory at Rowan University.” The lab “provides a new home for the College’s Sustainable Facilities Center” alongside “critical infrastructure and resources” for public and private partners “to sustainably manage facilities by reducing the environmental, economic and social impacts of buildings.” New Jersey’s Veterans Affairs and the National Guard “have committed $6.8 million to the SFC for the work,” which “includes everything from energy outreach and planning to building modeling and optimization.”
Aircraft Parts Maker Plans To Test Blockchain, 3D Printing To Expedite Manufacturing Process
The Wall Street Journal (11/26, Shah, Subscription Publication) reports that Moog Inc., an aircraft component manufacturer, is testing a process that would combine blockchain and 3D printing in order to expedite the replacement of defective parts and comply with aviation regulations. Given that the sale of aircraft parts requires FAA certification, the aircraft parts industry is unaccustomed to speed. The new technologies can reduce paperwork and order delays.
Microsoft, AT&T Reveal Result Of 5G Partnership
GeekWire (11/26) reports that on Tuesday, Microsoft and AT&T “unveiled the first big plan as part of their multi-year cloud alliance: Combining AT&T’s burgeoning 5G network with Microsoft’s edge computing services to speed up Internet of Things devices’ processing power.” The two companies “are working together on new Network Edge Compute technology,” which will “allow high-powered devices, such as augmented reality glasses, autonomous cars and drones to get smaller and more nimble because most of the processing will be done over the 5G network, eliminating the need for big computers to be installed on the gadgets themselves.”
Automakers Adding Sounds To Their Cabins As EVs Become More Popular
USA Today (11/27, Woodyard) reports that, “faced with the utter silence of electric cars,” automakers “are coming up with novel ways to give them their own distinctive cabin sounds.”
BMW, for example, “just teamed movie music composer Hans Zimmer with its own sound expert, Renzo Vitale, to create lush electronic chords to accompany the acceleration of BMW Vision M Next, an electric concept car, on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show through Dec. 1.”
Also, engineers will let drivers of Ford’s Mache-E “add the sound of a gentle growl of a powerful engine, not unlike the one in the traditional sporty coupe, to make the already fast vehicle echo the performance of the sporty coupe.”
USA Today says that, “with electric vehicles yet to catch on in a big way with mainstream consumers, automakers feel compelled to make moves like these.”
Despite “High-Profile” Accomplishments, Women Remain Minority At NASA
The Washington Post (11/26, Davenport) reports that in October, “astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir completed the first all-female spacewalk,” and “Koch also is on her way toward 328 days aboard the International Space Station – the longest single space mission by a woman.” NASA is also “is planning a lunar mission called ‘Artemis,’ named after the twin sister of Apollo, which, the agency says, would put ‘the next man and the first woman on the moon’ by 2024.” Nevertheless, “women remain an overwhelming minority among the rank and file at NASA and in the wider industry. Women make up only about a third of NASA’s workforce,” while “in the aerospace industry, only 24 percent of employees are women, and there has been little change in years, according to a study done by Aviation Week.”
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Engineering and Public Policy
FAA Announces Expansions To LAANC Program
Aviation International News (11/26) reports that the FAA “announced two important expansions of its automated drone flight application and airspace approval process for” UAS. Under the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC) program, the agency “added...Baltimore BWI, Washington Dulles, Houston Hobby, and Newark Liberty” as designated airports. The four major airports “join the list of 400 air traffic facilities covering 600 airports where LAANC is available.” Additionally, the FAA “added seven UAS service providers approved to provide access to LAANC – Airspacelink, Avision, Botlink, Collins Aerospace, Drone Up, Simulyze, and Skygrid – bringing the total number of approved UAS service providers to 21.”
Aviation Industry Groups Oppose Three Bills That Would Restrict Operations
Aviation International News (11/26) reports, “Six business and general aviation and helicopter organizations have joined forces to oppose three recently introduced bills that would restrict operations.” The organizations “collectively wrote House leaders objecting to a bill that would essentially ban helicopter operations over New York City.” That legislation, “the Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2019 (H.R.4880), ‘attempts to restrict general aviation’s access to airspace and undermine the federal preemption,’ the organizations said.” Additionally, the groups “expressed opposition to the Safe and Quiet Skies Act (H.R.4547), which would restrict air tour operations, including over national parks and other areas of interest, and facilitate the prohibition of specific flight routes, altitudes, and common procedures.” In a separate letter to the Senate, the organizations “expressed strong opposition to S.2607, the Drone Integration and Zoning Act, saying it ‘compromises safety in the NAS and jeopardizes the growth and success of the commercial unmanned aircraft system (UAS) industry.’”
San Jose Mayor Says More Cities Considering Gas Ban
Axios (11/26, Harder) reports “a couple dozen cities across the Bay Area in California could soon move forward with bans on natural gas in new buildings, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Monday.” San Jose has already passed such a measure, and other cities could soon follow. Liccardo said, “Over the next weeks and months, a couple dozen cities are likely to move forward with similar ordinances. We’ve been in active conversations with all those [Bay Area] cities in how we can do that together.”
California Utilities Testing Wildfire-Prevention Technology
The Sacramento (CA) Bee (11/26, Sheeler) reports that California utilities, including SoCal Edison, “are experimenting with a new technology that proponents say could help prevent both electricity shutoffs and equipment failure-related wildfires.” Distribution Fault Anticipation “uses a predictive algorithm to assess electric systems and identify potential equipment failures, not unlike how a modern vehicle’s onboard computer works by ‘telling you everything there is to know of what’s wrong with the car,’ said B. Don Russell,” a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University who “helped develop the technology as part of the Power System Automation Laboratory.”
Solar Customers Also Need Backup System During Power Outages
The San Gabriel Valley (CA) Tribune (11/26, Smith) reports that “when wind-driven wildfires whip across California, some homeowners with solar systems might assume they’ll still have electricity if the utility company cuts power to prevent blazes sparked by damaged equipment.” California Solar & Storage Association Policy Director Brad Heavner says that’s not the case, however. Homeowners who rely on solar power “need a backup system that can store electricity for use when the power goes out, Heavner said, and the most efficient, clean and cost-effective systems are tied to solar power.” The Tribune adds that SoCal Edison “initiated five power shutoffs” last month. The utility “has created a $582 million Grid Safety and Resiliency Program that’s designed to protect customers and communities from the growing risk of wildfires.”
National Grid Finds Short-Term Solution To NY Natural Gas Supply Problem
Newsday (NY) (11/26, Harrington) reports in continuing coverage that National Grid said in a filing with the New York Public Service Commission on Tuesday that it can use a “previously unknown” source of natural gas to resolve New York’s short-term natural gas supply problem. This filing is part of the company’s agreement with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for ending its moratorium on new natural gas hookups. The filing “says National Grid found a ‘previously unknown’ source of peak gas supply on the Iroquois Gas Transmission System for this winter ‘and potentially winters beyond.’” Also in the PSC filing, National Grid “said it was also able to end the moratorium by achieving ‘greater than previously anticipated’ savings from demand-reduction programs and energy efficiency initiatives this year.”
Tuesday's Lead Stories
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