Science & Technology
Quad City Science and Engineering Council Accepting Nominations for 2014 Awards Including Engineer, Scientist & STEM Teacher of the Year PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by David Smith   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 08:48
The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) originally established its awards program in 1966 to pay tribute and recognize engineering, science, and technical professionals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and their profession. This includes helping to promote and raise the awareness of engineering and science in our local communities.

The awards will be announced at the 52nd Annual National Engineers Week Banquet tentatively scheduled for February 20, 2014.

Due Date:

All applications must be received by Friday, January 31, 2014 via e-mail (preferred) or delivered

via normal mail to the PO Box. Nominations forms are available at our website, www.qcesc.org.

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or

Mail: Quad City Engineering and Science Council

Attn: Awards Committee

PO Box 1166

Bettendorf, IA 52722

General Information:

The six award categories are:

a. Junior Engineer (less than 36 years old on December 31, 2013)

b. Junior Scientist (less than 36 years old on December 31, 2013)

c. Senior Engineer (36 years or greater on December 31, 2013)

d. Senior Scientist (36 years or greater on December 31, 2013)

e. Lifetime Achievement Award

f. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Teacher of the Year


Any technical society, business, organization, or individual may submit as many nominations as they wish. Multiple nominations of the same person will not enhance the chances of winning the award. Since points are awarded for each category, it’s important that the nomination be completely filled out with the information requested in the appropriate portion of the form provided in that location. Please avoid the use of acronyms or provide an explanation of each one used. An example nomination is available on the QCESC web site to serve as a guide.

3. The nomination package must include the following:

a. Completed nomination form found at www.qcesc.org . No additional material will be accepted.

b. One color or black and white photograph (head shot) in digital form for potential use with the

press release and for posting on the QCESC website.

4. Nominations for an award will be considered for two additional years if not selected in the initial

year.



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Connect Every Iowan committee releases recommendations in broadband study PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Monday, 02 December 2013 15:16

(DES MOINES) – The STEM Advisory Council’s Broadband Committee today released the findings of its study on how to improve broadband connectivity throughout Iowa as part of the Connect Every Iowan Initiative.

The governor and lieutenant governor launched the Connect Every Iowan effort in September with the goal of increasing the access, adoption, and use of broadband technology throughout Iowa. At that time the governor and lieutenant governor asked the existing STEM Advisory Council’s Broadband Committee to develop legislative recommendations to encourage broadband build-out throughout Iowa, particularly in unserved or underserved areas.

The recommendations can be found at broadband.iowa.gov.

Included among the recommendations are the following:

·       Developing incentives to promote broadband build-out, including tax incentives, loans, grant programs, and regulatory reform.

·       Moving toward “ICN 2.0” by developing a wholesale model which would allow private providers to access unused ICN bandwidth.   Such a model would facilitate broadband build-out to unserved or underserved areas and significantly reduce the level of capital investment that private providers would be required to expend to replicate existing and available infrastructure.

·       Support programs which encourage adoption and use of broadband technology, including digital literacy training, workforce skills training, and continuation of the Connected Communities program.

·       Streamlined responsibility for broadband planning and coordination with the state chief information officer, or another existing agency.

“I want to thank the chairs and committee members for devoting their time and energy to this important project,” said Branstad. “We look forward to our continued work as we expand broadband access for every Iowan.”

The committee members are as follows:

Co-Chair John Carver, Superintendent, Howard-Winneshiek Community School District
Co-Chair Robert von Wolffradt, Chief Information Officer, State of Iowa
Amy Kuhlers, Program Manager, Connect Iowa
Robert Denson, President, Des Moines Area Community College
Dave Duncan, CEO, Iowa Communications Alliance
Philip Groner, Iowa Communication Network
Karl Hehr, Director of Technology Services, Ames Community School District
Galen Howsare, Chief Financial Officer, Iowa Association of School Boards
Karen Randall, Keystone Area Education Association
Michael Sadler, Assistant VP for Public Policy

Larry Siegel, Iowa School Finance and Information System Services

Jeff Weld, Executive Director, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

Josh Byrnes, State Representative, District 14

Steve Sodders, State Senator, District 3


“We will consider these recommendations as we develop our budget and policy priorities,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “We believe the committee outlined some innovative solutions that will increase access, adoption and use of broadband that will allow us to become the most connected state in the Midwest.”

“The Connect Every Iowan initiative has reached an important milestone with the on-time delivery of meaningful policy recommendations on broadband access, adoption, and use for the Governor to review.  We are honored to be a part of this committee, have gone to great lengths to obtain input from all sector stakeholders, and believe these to be sound recommendations worthy of support,” said Amy Kuhlers, Connect Iowa State Program Manager.

Currently Iowa ranks 11th out of 12 Midwestern states on the TechNet State Broadband Index, behind neighboring states such as Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois. The index is compiled from three measures: The household adoption rate of broadband, network speeds of available broadband infrastructure, and the amount of jobs in information and communication technology industries that benefit from broadband technology.

Branstad and Reynolds added that they look forward to working with stakeholders throughout the legislative process.

 
Assault on Ethanol Misses Its Mark PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Sen. Charles Grassley   
Friday, 15 November 2013 15:03

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

As its market share dips, Big Oil is doubling down to swat down its perennial piñata.  This time around, petroleum producers and food conglomerates are using environmental groups as political cover to gain traction on efforts to pull the plug on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Despite the ridiculously transparent and self-serving assault by these special interest groups, the relentless campaign to discredit ethanol undermines America’s longstanding efforts to diversify its energy landscape, fuel the economy and strengthen national security.

The predictable efforts to smear ethanol’s reputation ignore the renewable fuel’s valuable contributions to clean energy, rural development, job creation and U.S. energy independence.  The latest round of misguided untruths disregards the plain truth. Ethanol is a renewable, sustainable, clean-burning fuel that helps run the nation’s transportation fleet with less pollution.  Yet, critics continue to hide behind distortions that claim ethanol is bad for the environment.

Let’s talk turkey and separate fact from fiction regarding ethanol’s impact on the environment.

Critics say farmers are putting fragile land into production to cash in on higher corn prices at the expense of soil erosion and clean water.  They point out that five million Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres are no longer enrolled in the conservation program since 2008.  They want to pin the blame on ethanol.

First of all, fewer acres enrolled in the CRP has more to do with federal belt tightening than land stewardship decisions by America’s corn farmers.  The 2008 farm bill built upon other stewardship incentives for America’s farmers and ranchers administered by the USDA, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, wetlands restoration and wildlife habitat programs.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no new grassland has been converted to cropland since 2005.

Fact:    The Wetlands Reserve Program in 2012 had a record-breaking enrollment of 2.65 million acres.  WRP lands cannot be farmed for 30 years.

Farmers must make marketing, planting and stewardship decisions that keep their operation financially sound and productive from crop year to crop year.  Even more importantly, these decisions must be environmentally sustainable for the long haul.  Let’s be clear.  Farmers simply can’t afford not to take scrupulous care of the land that sustains their livelihoods.

Fact:    Fertilizer use is on the decline.  Compare application per bushel in 1980 versus 2010 – nitrogen is down 43 percent; phosphate is down 58 percent; and, potash is down 64 percent.

Fact:    Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline.  According to the Argonne National Laboratory, corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent compared to gasoline.  If the oil industry wants to talk about the environment, let’s not forget the 1989 Exxon Valdez and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spills.

Critics also say the RFS is driving more acres into corn production.  In reality, the RFS is driving significant investment in higher-yielding, drought-resistant seed technology.  This is a win-win scenario to cultivate good-paying jobs and to harvest better yields on less land.

Fact:    The total cropland planted to corn in the United States is decreasing.  In 2013, U.S. farmers planted 97 million corn acres.  In the 1930s, farmers planted 103 million acres of corn.  Farmers have increased the corn harvest through higher yields, not more acres.

Critics contend the nation’s corn crop is diverted for fuel use at the expense of feed for livestock and higher prices at the grocery store.

Fact:    In reality, the value of corn increases during ethanol production.  One-third of the corn processed to make ethanol re-enters the marketplace as high value animal feed called dried distillers grain.  Livestock feed remains the largest end-user of corn.  When co-products such as dried distillers grains are factored in, ethanol consumes only 27 percent of the whole corn crop by volume; livestock feed uses 50 percent of the crop.

Fact:    The USDA Secretary has said farmers receive about 14 cents of every food dollar spent at the grocery store.  And, the farmer’s share of a $4 box of corn flakes is about 10 cents.

So what’s at stake when a coalition of special interests tag teams to pull the rug out from underneath the nation’s ethanol policy?

Unfortunately, these flawed attacks on ethanol and next-generation biofuels undermine America’s effort to move forward with an aggressive, diversified energy policy that takes into account global demand, geopolitics and U.S. economic growth.

Friday, November 15, 2013

 
Administration urged to support biodiesel PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 15 November 2013 14:03

BIOFUELS: Murray, Franken, Blunt, Grassley Lead 28 Colleagues Urging Administration to Support American Biodiesel Industry

Growing biodiesel industry supports more than 62,000 American jobs, nearly $17 billion in annual economic impact

Biodiesel and other advanced biofuels increase energy security, reduce American dependence on foreign oil

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Al Franken (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led 28 of their Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter urging the Obama Administration to support the American biodiesel industry in its upcoming 2014 regulatory proposal for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  Current projections indicate that the industry will produce 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2014, continuing its pattern of exceeding annual RFS targets.  In light of the this production estimate, the Senators urged the Administration to carefully consider its 2014 biodiesel targets, which, if decreased or left stagnant at 2013 levels, could cost thousands of American jobs and significantly impact confidence in industry investments.

“Biodiesel has exceeded RFS targets in each year and is clearly poised to do so again in 2013.  The industry has had impressive growth, going far beyond initial expectations just five years ago, and is supporting 62,160 jobs and nearly $17 billion in total economic impact.  Biodiesel is improving our energy security by reducing our dependence on imported petroleum diesel, diversifying fuel supplies and creating competition in the fuels market,” the Senators wrote. “Setting the 2014 biodiesel volume requirement at reduced levels could have severe impacts on the domestic biodiesel industry.  Further, a continuation of 2013 levels paired with any reduction in advanced biofuels targets could similarly negatively impact the industry.”

The following Senators also signed on to the letter: Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Angus King (I-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

 

The full text of the letter can be read here:

 

November 14, 2013

 

The Honorable Gina McCarthy                       The Honorable Tom Vilsack

Administrator                                Secretary

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency                     U.S. Department of Agriculture

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.                                1400 Independence Ave., S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20460                                Washington, D.C. 20250

 

The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20503

 

cc: The Honorable Howard Shelanski, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Dear Administrator McCarthy, Secretary Vilsack, and Director Burwell:

We write to encourage the Administration to develop a 2014 regulatory proposal for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that supports the current-year projected 1.7 billion gallons of U.S. biodiesel production.

Biodiesel has exceeded RFS targets in each year and is clearly poised to do so again in 2013.  The industry has had impressive growth, going far beyond initial expectations just five years ago, and is supporting 62,160 jobs and nearly $17 billion in total economic impact.  Biodiesel is improving our energy security by reducing our dependence on imported petroleum diesel, diversifying fuel supplies and creating competition in the fuels market.

Setting the 2014 biodiesel volume requirement at reduced levels could have severe impacts on the domestic biodiesel industry.  Further, a continuation of 2013 levels paired with any reduction in advanced biofuels targets could similarly negatively impact the industry.

Biodiesel is the only Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated advanced biofuel to achieve commercial-scale production nationwide and the first to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production.  Keeping the targets stagnant, rather than gradually allowing the biodiesel industry to grow, could leave 400 million gallons of biodiesel potentially unused – roughly 25 percent.  Such a cut could result in nearly every small facility shutting down and permanently ceasing production of biodiesel, leading to the loss of some 7,000 jobs.  Additionally, investment and financing for the U.S. biodiesel industry could be severely jeopardized, creating new and possibly insurmountable hurdles for the remaining producers to grow and expand.

In setting 2014 targets for biodiesel, the EPA should avoid outcomes that could lead to plant closures, worker layoffs, and uncertainty over future investments in the biodiesel industry.  We urge you to continue to support this fragile and growing industry with a reasonable increase in the RFS volume requirement for 2014.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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3 Signs Leaders Need to Upgrade their ‘Software’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Richard Martin   
Thursday, 07 November 2013 15:38
In an Increasingly Globalized World, Cooperation is an
Imperative, says CEO & International Speaker

Whether we like it or not as Americans, the world is changing. Berny Dohrmann, an entrepreneur and international speaker, says we should like it.

“Embracing change is at the heart of the spirit of cooperation, which I believe to be at the heart of a solution to the problems plaguing humanity,” says Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space International, and author of “Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution,” (www.ceospaceinternational.com).

“Many of us have been taught that competition is the primary feature of our economic system; however, the most salient common denominator for all successful human interaction features is just the opposite – it is cooperation.”

Removing competitive thinking and replacing it with cooperative thinking opens us up to developing alliances that elevate what we do, rather than strategies that aim to take down our competitors, Dohrmann says.

“Cooperative thinking is the ultimate virus-removal program for the mind,” he says. “Cooperative action helps resolve individual problems and, in the long run, can resolve the problems of the entire world.”

Dohrmann describes some issues we face that would benefit from cooperative thinking:

• Republicans versus Democrats – a stalemate. We face massive problems -- terrorism, poverty, climate change, to name just a few. But our biggest problem lately has been agreeing upon the most basic functions of government, including paying our bills on time. Why? Because our federal congressional leaders view their roles as competitors, which demands that one group of them win and the other group lose. They value their competition over the welfare of their country and its citizens, who suffered lost wages, lost business, and lost access to crucial services.

• How will we deal with the major emerging economies that are developing? China, India and several countries in South America are among many emerging economies worldwide, which is why government and corporate leaders in America require a sea change in worldview. As Dohrmann puts it: “Cooperation produces speed in distribution of goods and services (social capital). Competition produces three speeds: slow, slower and damn near stopped. Cooperative investment rewards direction. Competition punishes it. Cooperative accounting rewards planning and this is in contrast to manipulated near-term profit illusions. Competition rewards hype. Cooperation rewards integrity. Competition rewards error. Cooperation rewards truth.”

• The largest growing city in the U.S. is prison. By a large margin, America has the highest incarceration rate of any country on Earth. In 2009, the number of adults under correctional supervision – including probation, parole, jail or prison –was 6,977,700. The prison population has quadrupled since 1980, mostly due to mandatory sentencing since the “war on drugs.” Almost 60 percent of America’s prison population, an industry in itself, is related to minor marijuana offenses, which is a drug that’s “far less harmful than over-the-counter meds or alcohol,” Dohrmann says. He cites the recent case of a Utah woman who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession of $32 of marijuana.

“This is a staggering dynamic of stupidity in our society,” he says. “Whether we like it or not, humans have taken chemicals to alter their experience since recorded history; it’s like we’ve declared war on human nature. There is certainly a better cooperative solution to this problem, and others.”

About Berny Dohrmann

Berny Dohrmann is chairman and founder of CEO Space International, one of the largest support organizations for business owners. He is the inventor of Super Teaching, a Title I technology that accelerates retention for public schools, and speaks on it around the world, at conferences and on TV programs. As a member of the Dohrmann family, which operated the largest global resort-outfitting firm as Dohrmann Hotel Supply for several generations, he grew up with several business mentors, including Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Walt Disney, Warner Earnhardt, Bucky Fuller, Dr. Edward Deming and Jack Kennedy. He has learned from both success and adversity: Indicted for criminal contempt for a $86,000 junk bund from an investment banking firm he had sold, he fought the charge in court, but lost in 1995 and went to prison for 18 months. He has since made a documentary about the experience.

 
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