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Women Studying Civil Engineering Up Nearly Seven Percent Since 2007, UCAS Data Show.

New Civil Engineer (UK) (1/18, McIntyre) reports UCAS data show the percent “of women starting civil engineering degrees has jumped” from 13.5 percent in 2007 to 20.3 percent in 2016. However, “the number of female students still remains below the 1,000 mark at 875 – the highest for any year in the reporting period.” Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) education and skills lead Stephanie Fernandes said, “It is welcome news to see more female students starting civil engineering degree programmes but much more needs to be done to ensure that students take up the hugely diverse and creative range of engineering jobs when they finish their studies.” Fernandes added, “Overall, the engineering profession needs to work together to get the message out that it is a great time to be an engineer: Demand far outstrips supply, salaries are rising and there are many exciting and cutting-edge career prospects for tomorrow’s engineers.”

Article posted: 01/19/2017

Military UAV Swarm Demonstrates Collective Decision-Making, Adaptation.

The Washington Post (1/9) hosted a video showing a swarm of 103 Perdix UAVs executing several missions which “demonstrated collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing.” The drones were launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets, according to Aviation International News (1/9, Carey). The US Defense Department said the demonstration was one of the largest on record and was carried out in October at California’s Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake facility. Pentagon Strategic Capabilities Office Director William Roper said the Perdix units “are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature.”

The Military Times  (1/9) reports the drones were “developed by engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department” and modified for military application at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.

Article posted: 01/10/2017

Pentagon Exploring Having Deep-Sea Underwater Drones.

The Tampa Bay (FL) Times (11/27) reports the Department of Defense “is now looking to deploy autonomous robots underwater, patrolling the sea floor on what one top Navy official called an ‘Eisenhower highway network,’ complete with rest stops where the drones could recharge.” Such devices would have to contend with corrosive salt water, high pressure, and limited communications. Navy researchers have “been testing and fielding several new systems designed to map the ocean floor, seek out mines, search for submarines and even launch attacks.”

APH Test Version Arrives At Kennedy Space

Article posted: 11/28/2016

Genetically Modified Mosquito Trial Moves Forward In Florida.

STAT (11/19, Joseph) reported that the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board voted 3-2 to move forward with a “proposal to release genetically engineered mosquitoes for the first time in the United States.” Before the trial can begin, “officials need to find a new site after two-thirds of voters in the proposed location – a community called Key Haven – opposed the trial when asked on a nonbinding ballot measure earlier this month if it should move forward or not.” The Food and Drug Administration would then need to approve the new site.

Article posted: 11/21/2016

NASA Science Chief Zurbuchen To Prioritize Innovation.

Space News (11/7, Subscription Publication) reports that at an October 31 roundtable at NASA Headquarters, new NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen discussed how to incorporate innovation such as “so-called ‘disruptive’ technologies, like small satellites” into science missions. Zurbuchen is Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he has done research on innovation, and also has chaired “a National Academies study on the potential use of cubesats for science missions.” Commenting on NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), which “consists of a constellation of eight smallsats” for weather data collection, Zurbuchen said, “This kind of disruption is what I’m looking for. ... How can we develop new technologies, how can we invent new architectures of missions that can go in and really do science that otherwise we can’t do?”

Article posted: 11/08/2016