Archive for August, 2013

Infusing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exercises and assignments into a teaching curriculum is essential for preparing more students for higher education, especially when data reveal that less than half of the nation’s high school students are college-ready. Fortunately, there are STEM-related teaching resources which educators might consider examining during the back-to-school season.
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Do you trust me?


Complex supply chains can lead to unwanted or prohibited materials in your product. In this episode of Product Design Show, Vince Penman and Allison Toepperwein review how product design teams can meet regulatory and company goals for complex global products.  Read more

Credit: Michael Mellinger.

Smart City Apartments at Night in Daejeon, South Korea. Credit: Michael Mellinger.

When we talk about sustainability, it’s important to talk about cities. Right now, half the people on the planet are living in cities. By 2050, that number is expected to grow to nearly 70 percent. And by 2100, according to the UN, 84 percent (of a projected population of 10.8 billion) will be city dwellers. Already, cities emit 80 percent of all greenhouse gases. So it’s important to learn how to build cities right. As Mike Calise, director of electric vehicles, partner business at Schneider Electric, put it, “The battle for our future is going to be won or lost in the cities.”

I spoke with Calise about some of the challenges and opportunities associated with making cities smarter and the role that electric vehicles, something that Schneider Electric is keenly interested in, will play in turning this idea of a smart city into a reality.  Read more


Most of the nation’s largest manufacturing areas show no evidence of a substantial shortage of skilled workers, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The most serious gap is localized to a few key manufacturing areas, and most concerns are overblown for the near-term.
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Frack1Oil companies now have access to technology that enables them to recycle water used for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), according to a recent report from the Forum News Service. This is good news because disposing wastewater from fracking, in many instances, is expensive.

However, implementing the technology in the Bakken, a prominent region for fracking that covers parts of Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, “will take time as operators adjust to the new methods and regulators respond with new permitting rules,” the report says.

The process of fracking typically  involves shooting a highly pressurized mixture of water and sand or ceramics into an oil or gas reservoir several thousand feet underground, “often with the help of a small percentage of additives that aid in delivering that solution down the hatch,” explain officials from Halliburton, which drilled the first fracked well in the 1940s. Read more

Credit: Tech-E Blog.

While the nation frets over the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones), the market is expanding for unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), their seagoing counterparts. Advancements in communications and automation technologies are helping to reduce the cost of USVs, which are being sought to decrease reliance on manned crews for specific applications.  Read more

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