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March 4, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Robot independently scouts for hidden hazards in icy realms
    A 180-pound, four-wheel-drive robot can independently explore icy terrain to reveal hidden crevasses using its ground-penetrating radar. The Yeti device, developed by researchers funded by the National Science Foundation, has been tested in Greenland and is designed as a scout to help exploratory and resupply teams identify and avoid hazards in Arctic and Antarctic environments. Occupational Health & Safety (3/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Waste plastic to power Australia-U.K. flight
    A technology that turns waste plastic into diesel fuel will power a planned flight in a small plane from Australia to Britain. During the trip, the plane will use fuel that has been generated by heating plastic in an oxygen-deprived environment. This keeps the plastic from igniting, eventually distilling it into hydrocarbons with lower sulfur and higher cetane levels than found in diesel fuel. (Australia) (2/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Energy 
  • Solar alternative to photovoltaics also holds promise
    Concentrating solar power is an often complex and grand-scale way of generating solar energy that nonetheless holds great potential, along with photovoltaics, as a renewable energy for the future. But, as with other forms, cost is the key. "The primary challenge that is driving all the development work on this technology is how to reduce the installation and operating costs to the point where the generated electricity is cost-competitive with other conventional forms of electricity generation," said Scott R. Hunter, senior research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. (2/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • SpaceX Dragon overcomes malfunction to link to Space Station
    A blast of helium to clear what appeared to be a clogged thruster was all that was needed to help the SpaceX Dragon capsule rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday. The scheduled Saturday linkup was delayed by a "stuck valve or a blockage in the thruster's oxidizer line." After the problem was solved, capsule maneuvers were required to ensure the safety of the ensuing linkup via robotic arm. NBC News (3/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Armband taps gestures to guide remote devices
    An armband picks up on gestures to guide remote devices using Bluetooth technology. The armband, developed by Thalmic Labs, uses electromyography to pick up on electrical activity in muscles that in turn serve as signals transmitted to devices such as computers or smartphones. (3/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • "Mechanical lung" to help track emissions from cities
    The Megacities Carbon Project is an initiative that aims to monitor carbon emissions in urban centers. On Southern California's Mount Wilson, scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have installed a "mechanical lung" to sense airborne chemicals and a "unique sunbeam analyzer" to scan the skies over the Los Angeles Basin. The project could one day lead to developing an "eagle-eyed satellite" to find "leaks in natural-gas pipes caused by aging infrastructure, or disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. Then cities could prioritize repair crews accordingly," John Metcalfe writes. The Atlantic Cities (2/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • New survey shows engineering grads receiving good salaries
    Engineering graduates have good job prospects, according to a new salary survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. New hires in professional, scientific and technical fields can expect a starting salary of $62,000, with government agencies paying an average of $67,000 per year. "The demand for engineering graduates remains strong, and that is reflected in the high starting salaries paid to these graduates," said NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration) (3/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The underrated leadership quality of resilience
    Resilience -- physical, emotional and spiritual -- often means the difference between having a great idea and bringing that idea to fruition, writes John McKinley, manager of the Global Fellows Program at Acumen Fund. "We need to remain focused on building leaders who have the resilience to face stubborn problems head on for lasting social impact," McKinley writes. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (2/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
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The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret."
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