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February 5, 2015




That's the U.S. transportation sector as envisioned in President Obama's budget, to be released on Tuesday. Whether any of it materializes will be up to Congress, where the GOP swiftly attacked the White House proposal to pay for it with a $10-a-barrel oil tax. Still, there's plenty for engineers to think about - if not do - in the 21st Century Clean Transportation System:

  • Nearly $20 billion per year above current spending "to reduce traffic and provide new ways for families to get to work and to school."
  • $2 billion per year "to launch a new generation of smart, clean vehicles and aircraft by expanding clean transportation R&D and launching pilot deployments of safe and climate smart autonomous vehicles."
  • Technology and charging infrastructure for electric cars.
  • Expanded transit systems and high-speed rail as a viable alternative to flying.
  • Support for "high-impact, innovative local projects."
  • $10 billion per year "to transform regional transportation systems by shifting how local and state governments plan, design and implement new projects."
  • A Climate Smart Fund with incentives for states to cut carbon pollution.
  • $400 million a year "to ensure that new and changing technologies are integrated safely into our transportation system."

SHAKE IT UP: The White House says Improved warning systems, better building protections, and informed citizens can help mitigate earthquake loss and injury. A "whole-community approach—including scientists, engineers, public officials, nonprofit entities, and private companies—is the best approach for improving resilience." A summit Feb. 2  explored "how science and technology can improve our ability to detect and respond to earthquakes in the future."

NEXT-GEN ENERGY STORAGE: Cornell's Lynden Archer has found that certain nanocomposites "inspire novel options for rationally designing electrolytes for batteries that utilize energetic metals such as lithium, sodium, or aluminum as the active material" and "blur the lines between batteries and fuel cells both in terms of their operating principles and the amount of electrochemical energy stored per unit mass of active material in the electrodes." He'll talk about it at the National Science Foundation February 22.

GLOBAL R&D: NSF data crunchers calculate that U.S. affiliates of foreign multinational firms performed 14 percent of total U.S. business R&D in 2010, "reflecting little change in their shares since 2004." They employed 155,000 R&D employees - 11 percent of business R&D employees in the United States. See the report.

WELL-FUNDED JOURNEYS: NSF's Expeditions in Computing "represent some of the largest single investments currently made" by the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate: up to $2 million per year for five years, These grants are intended for groups that combine creative talents "to define the future of computing and information." Learn more.

LITTLE NUKES: Increased U.S. energy demand mean we will need "more than 100 new nuclear plants by mid-century to maintain the benefits of a diverse electricity portfolio," ASME's Capitol Update reports. In anticipation, a consortium has formed to accelerate commercialization of small modular reactors. SMR Start includes BWX Technologies Inc., Duke Energy, Energy Northwest, Holtec, NuScale, PSEG Nuclear, Southern Co., SCANA and the Tennessee Valley Authority.





FLINT DEBATE STALLS ENERGY BILL:. Michigan's Democratic senators put up a "major stumbling block" to Senate passage of the Murkowski energy policy overhaul, according to CQ. They're demanding direct federal aid to resolve the lead-in-water crisis in Flint. Republicans want the government to provide mostly loans, CQ reports.

'AN INAUSPICIOUS START' to a fiscal 2017 appropriations season that looks increasingly gloomy." That's CQ's take on the House GOP's refusal to let Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan testify about the administration's upcoming budget. Republicans have signaled that they're moving forward quickly to prepare their own budget, which they hope to have on the House floor in early March.


CHANGE-RESISTANT INDUSTRY: The nation's older sectors - energy, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing – have several qualities that inhibit change, making it harder to address some of our most pressing challenges like climate change, inequality, and growth. So argue William B. Bonvillian, who runs MIT's Washington office, and AAAS visiting scholar Charles Weiss. In their new book, the authors "propose a new policy framework for delivering innovation in these sectors."


ERC REGISTRATION AND HOUSING: The Engineering Research Council's annual conference will be held March 7-9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Silver Spring, Md. Visit this link to take advantage of discounted registration rates. Click here to reserve your hotel room. Find more information, including a preliminary program, here.

NORTHEAST SECTION CONFERENCE: The section, with members from  Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as Eastern Canada, will hold its annual conference at the University of Rhode Island from Thursday, April 28th, 2016 to Saturday
April 30, 2016. The theme will be “Revolutionizing Engineering Education.” See the conference website.


New Navigation Section - Papers Management:
The new section contains upcoming deadlines, guidelines, call for papers, and kits for authors, program chairs, reviewers, and moderators.

Author's Kits are Available:
• The 2016 Annual Conference Author's Kit -- available on the website -- contains extremely important information regarding the submission process as well as all relevant deadline dates.

THE ST. LAWRENCE SECTION CONFERENCE will be held at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.,  April 8-9, 2016. This year the conference will include several workshops. The calls for papers, presentations, posters and workshops as well as  information about the Conference Program, Registration, and Hotel information is available on http://stl.asee.org/conference_2016.html.

eGFI IS HERE: Help inspire the next generation of innovators with the all-new 6th edition of ASEE's prize-winning magazine for middle and high school students: eGFI (Engineering, Go For It). Filled with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, eGFI aims to get teens fired up about learning - and doing - engineering. To purchase copies, go to http://store.asee.org/  For bulk purchases or other inquiries, contact eGFI@asee.org or call 202-331-3500.