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Wind Energy To Power Sound Transit Light-Rail Trains.

The Seattle Times (4/19, Lindblom) reports, “Sound Transit is trading some fossil-fuel energy for wind power starting in 2019, for light-rail trains running through SeaTac.” Sound Transit will purchase “10 years of wind power to replace a dirtier mix of electricity where its trains run in SeaTac, the agency announced Tuesday.” The light rail’s power supply “currently comes from Puget Sound Energy, where coal and natural gas together provide 59 percent of the portfolio.” However “the contract for 2019-28 will replace those fossil fuels under PSE’s new Green Direct program.”

Article posted: 04/20/2017

Companies Propose Solutions For Orbital Debris Threat.

Space News (4/3, Subscription Publication) reports that on Monday at the 33rd Space Symposium, companies provided updates on solutions designed to address the threat of orbital debris to US satellites. Ball Aerospace & Technologies has developed a simulation tool called Proximity Operations and Rendering (PROXOR), which Staff Consultant Susan Hagerty explained “enables the evaluation of performance of various architectures and algorithms” for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) functions. Launchspace Technologies proposed sending debris-collection units equipped with SSA sensors into low Earth orbit to help remove the millions of pieces of debris too small to be tracked with ground sensors. Also providing upgrades were Cosmic Advanced Engineering Solutions and Astra LLC

Article posted: 04/11/2017

Percentage of Women Majoring In Engineering Growing, But Still Low In Workforce.

The Charlotte (NC) Observer (4/4, Carballo) reports on the various struggles, and moments of growth, female engineers at all levels currently face in the male-dominated profession. The Observer highlights a range of women, from young female college students majoring in engineering, all the way to Marquette University’s first female dean of engineering. The Observer adds that according to a 2016 report by the National Science Foundation, the national average of women majoring in engineering is close to 20 percent, with that number falling to 15 percent in regards to the percentage of college-educated women working in the engineering industry.

Article posted: 04/05/2017

Federal, State Officials Increase Focus On K-12 Cybersecurity Education.

Education Week (3/22, Herold) reports “a stead drumbeat of reports” addressing cybersecurity issues prompted “new attention for nascent efforts to support cybersecurity education, including in K-12 schools.” President Trump was expected to sign an executive order that would direct several Federal agencies to review the nation’s cybersecurity education endeavors and recommend improvements, but he placed the order on hold. A later draft of the order “eliminated altogether the provision related to education and workforce development.” ED and several other departments support cybersecurity education and workforce-training initiatives, and leaders at the state level “have also pushed forward their own cybersecurity initiatives.” Meanwhile, the Cyber Innovation Center launched in 2007, and its founders established the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center because they “quickly realized” that their efforts to prepare a cybersecurity workforce “would ultimately depend on K-12 schools.” Seventeen states have thus far approved the center’s curricular materials; however, “the scale and quality of K-12 cybersecurity education remains spotty.”

Article posted: 03/22/2017

Ford Engineer Discusses Largest Hurdles To Self-Driving Cars.

TechCrunch (3/9, Etherington) reports Ford said it is still committed to its goal of releasing “a fleet of self-driving vehicles in operation by 2021,” but acknowledged there are “significant technical hurdles to overcome between now and then.” Ford’s Chief Program Engineer for Autonomous Vehicle Development Chris Brewer discussed the largest challenges the team is required to overcome before autonomous vehicles are made available to consumers. Brewer highlighted the first issue as “making sure the car components of the self-driving vehicle are still a car in terms of safety, redundancy and reliability.” He said “there has to be some kind of steering control system that relies on simple mechanical control in case a power-steering system in a self-driving car fails.” The other key challenge Brewer outlines is “rigorous testing for endurance in a range of environmental conditions.”

Article posted: 03/10/2017