Archive for April 19th, 2010

Pig Poop Pavement

Missouri Company Converts Hog Manure Into Asphalt.

The AP (4/16) reports, “The outer road along Interstate 44 near Six Flags St. Louis is freshly paved – with asphalt made from recycled swine manure.” Two local companies, “road contractor Pace Construction Co. and the engineering firm Innoventor, joined together on the project,” which “is believed to be the first” of its kind. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Innoventor perfected the process of converting the animal waste into a bio-oil used in asphalt binder.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 16, 2010

The Honorable Justice Mr./Ms Engineer…

Trade Group Suggests Lawmaker With Tech Background For Supreme Court.

IDG (4/15, Gross) reports the Computer and Communications Industry Association is calling on President Barack Obama to “appoint a justice with a background in technology issues to fill an upcoming opening at the Supreme Court.” According to the CCIA, the Supreme Court “may face a number of tech-related issues in the coming years, including cases involving privacy, free speech, net neutrality and antitrust.” In his letter to President Obama, CCIA President and CEO Ed Black wrote that “US Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat who represents part of Silicon Valley in California, would make a strong nominee,” as she “understands where the law and technology intersect,” and “has also acted as a watchdog when the government or others infringed on the privacy of Internet users.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 15, 2010

Ceramic Printing and Folding

New Ceramic Printing, Folding Process Could Lead To Lightweight Parts.

Technology Review (4/15, Bourzac) reports, “A new way of printing and folding ceramic and metal lattices into miniature structures could lead to novel lightweight engineering structures. The technique involves making latticed sheets from ceramic ink, then folding and heating these sheets to create intricate shapes.” The researchers, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University, say the method “fills a need for a way to fabricate complex structures on the centimeter scale–too small for conventional molding or machining, and too big for lithography or similar techniques.” Among the noted potential applications for the process are aerospace, tissue engineering and industrial chemical production.

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 15, 2010

Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences…

Lawn-Watering Rules Tough On Los Angeles Water Mains

The Los Angeles Times (4/14, Zahniser, Garrison) reports, “A blue-ribbon panel of scientists said Tuesday that the high-volume water main breaks that bedeviled Los Angeles last summer and fall were caused in part by the city’s restrictions on lawn watering, and their findings could force the city to remake its strict water conservation policy.” The city’s “restrictions have proved highly successful,” dropping the city’s water use to a 31-year low, but the “policy was too much for the city’s aging network of cast-iron pipes, causing fluctuations in water pressure that strained them to the bursting point, the panel’s long-awaited report found.” The report’s “conclusions appear to put to rest other theories about the cause of the mystery, including increased seismic activity.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 14, 2010.

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April 2010