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Solar Industry Growing, But Uncertainty Remains.

USA Today (1/13, Hughes) reports that while American workers are “flocking into the solar-energy industry,” there are signs of a slowdown. Nationally, solar companies are adding workers nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy, according to a report by the Solar Foundation. USA Today highlights SolarCity’s and Sunrun’s announced exit from Nevada, costing an estimated 750 jobs, and points out that solar power generates a small fraction of US electrical supply. Frank Marshall, the director of policy for solar developer FLS Energy, says the historic boom-and-bust cycle of tax incentives has led to long-term inconsistency in the industry. “We often call it the solar coaster,” Marshall said.

Article posted: 01/14/2016

Maryland District Women In STEM Club Hears From Female National Science Leader.

The AP (1/14) reports the National Institute of Standards and Technology Acting Deputy Director Joannie Chin visited with high school girls in Frederick, Maryland to talk about STEM careers. The event was organized by Women in Science and Engineering, an extracurricular program in Frederick County Public Schools.

Article posted: 01/14/2016

Climate-Modeling Supercomputer To Be Replaced By More Powerful Machine In 2017.

Citing an announcement by the National Center for Atmospheric Research on Monday, the AP (1/12, Gruver) reports that the Yellowstone supercomputer in Wyoming, “one of the most powerful computers in the world dedicated to climate change, weather and other earth science research,” will be replaced in 2017 by a new machine called Cheyenne. The Cheyenne supercomputer will be about three times as efficient as Yellowstone, “using 90 percent as much electricity but taking up to a third as much space.” California-based Silicon Graphics International Corp. will build the machine.

Article posted: 01/12/2016

Toyota Leads Charge In Development Of Self-Driving Cars.

Reuters (1/5, Ingrassia, White) reports that automakers, rather than Silicon Valley tech companies, are leading the charge in the development of self-driving cars, according to patent data reported by Thompson Reuters’ Intellectual Property and Science Division. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp is the global leader in self-driving car patents with twice as many as any other automaker or tech company, reports Reuters.


Ars Technica (1/5, Geuss) cautions that a company with more patents will not necessarily “have success in the autonomous driving market,” adding that the quality of these patents is also important.


CNET News (1/6) reports that Toyota will invest $1 billion dollars to fund the Toyota Research Institute dedicated to the development of artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

Article posted: 01/06/2016

BLS Expects Rising Demand For Biomedical, Civil Engineers.

The Houston Chronicle (1/5, Burns) reports that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “two engineering disciplines that are expected to offer substantial growth in the coming years are biomedical engineering and civil engineering.” The Bureau is projecting a 27% increase in employment of biomedical engineers by 2022, owing to the fact that “an aging population is likely to need more medical care, and also because of increased public awareness of biomedical engineering advances and their benefits.” Meanwhile, there is expected to be a 20% increase in the number of civil engineers over the same period, given aging infrastructure and rising water needs.

Article posted: 01/05/2016