Friday, May 29, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State finalizing R&D deal with Boeing
The Boeing Co. has chosen Mississippi State University as the host for a research center that will lead development on composites the company will eventually use to build its aircraft. The Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center will be housed within the university's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory. The company and MSU still have to finalize an agreement before the center opens. The school was selected through a competition with other universities. The center would provide students with research opportunities and is intended to aid in accelerating advances in stitched resin infused composite structures and manufacturing technologies.
Boeing picks Mississippi State for Composite Research Center
Mississippi State University and the Boeing Co. have announced the school will be the host for a research center that will lead development on composites the company will eventually use to build its aircraft. The Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center will be located at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory. The University of Southern Mississippi will serve as a technology incubator of next-generation composite material systems. The announcement was made Thursday in a news release from Boeing, MSU, Gov. Phil Bryant and U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both R-Miss.
Mississippi State, Southern Miss Chosen for Boeing Research
U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday jointly announced that two Mississippi research institutions have been selected by The Boeing Company to lead research and development on composites, with Mississippi State University hosting a Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center. Boeing has informed the Mississippi leaders of its decision to relocate its stitched resin infused technology efforts to MSU, representing the second major research win for the school after its selection this month to lead the Federal Aviation Administration's National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
Boeing selects Mississippi State, USM for materials research
Mississippi State has landed another research project tied to the aerospace industry. Thursday morning, U. S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker joined Gov. Phil Bryant to announce the school would host The Boeing Company Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center. It would create opportunities for students to conduct research and is intended to aid in accelerating advances in stitched resin infused composite structures and manufacturing technologies. As part of a final agreement, Boeing would provide equipment valued at $3 million for the center and fund two full-time engineers who are experts in this technology.
Boeing chooses two Mississippi universities for composites research
The Boeing Co. is relocating its Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center to Mississippi State University and has signed a new master agreement with University of Southern Mississippi to serve as a technology incubator of next-generation composite material systems. U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Gov. Phil Bryant jointly announced the agreements Thursday. "Every commercial airplane in the world has at least one part made in Mississippi," Bryant said, "and with Boeing's increased presence in our state, we will help innovate the next generation of technology."
Mississippi land values not falling like Midwest's despite lower grain prices
Farmland prices in Iowa and Illinois were the envy of the rest of the country in 2012 and 2013. For a while, it seemed like every other day a parcel of land in one of the two states was bringing yet another record price. Most producers knew in their heart of hearts such sales wouldn't continue forever, and those fears were confirmed when corn and soybean futures lost nearly 50 percent of their value due to the large grain crops in 2013 and 2014. The decline in land values hasn't been as steep in Mississippi and other southeastern states, which never saw quite the explosion in prices that occurred in the traditional Corn Belt states in the Midwest, says Bryon Parman, assistant Extension professor at Mississippi State University.
Gov. Phil Bryant visits South Mississippi ahead of hurricane season
Gov. Phil Bryant was on the Coast with other state officials Thursday to speak at the 2015 Mississippi Partners in Preparedness Summit ahead of Monday's start of hurricane season. "We've had more experience than any other state in dealing with disasters," Bryant said. Emergency managers from Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties attended the summit, along with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham, Department of Health Director of Health Protection Jim Craig, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz and Ken Graham, meteorologist in charge of National Weather Service in Slidell.
Lockheed Martin meets with local contractors
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics sponsored a luncheon at Union Station in downtown Meridian Thursday to reach out to small business owners who may be interested in contract work at its plant located in the Sonny Montgomery Industrial Park in Marion. Karmyn Norwood, Lockheed Martin C-130 Production Operations director and Meridian site general manager, said the plant will undergo renovations to install new auto drilling used in airlines manufacturing. According to Norwood, vendors needed are general contractors, electrical, mechanical, painters, custodial, yard and garden and food services. How many vendors will be needed will depend on the scope of work, she said. Natalie Purvis, procurement advisor for the Mississippi Development Authority, said vendors would benefit from doing business with a large company like Lockheed Martin.
Gov. Phil Bryant signs $20 million bond bill for Ingalls Shipbuilding 'shipyard of the future' project
Gov. Phil Bryant and other state leaders gathered at Ingalls Shipbuilding Thursday to sign a $20 million bond bill that'll help Ingalls build the "shipyard of the future." The investment, which will be paired with a $40 million investment from Huntington Ingalls Industries, will go toward building improvements, a new dry dock and additional covered facilities. The Pascagoula yard has a public-private partnership dating back 75 years with the state, Ingalls President Brian Cuccias said, and this latest partnership will help ensure it is a more "modern, capable, efficient" shipyard. Bryant said the state is proud to support the modernization work.
NASA test fires second RS-25 rocket engine at Stennis in Hancock County
NASA conducted a successful 450-second test of the RS-25 rocket engine Thursday at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. The "hotfire test" was conducted on the historic A-1 test stand, where Apollo program rocket stages and Space Shuttle program main engines were tested. RS-25 engines tested on the A-1 stand will power the core stage of NASA's new rocket, the Space Launch System, which is being developed to carry humans deeper into space. One of the objectives being evaluated in Thursday's test was the new engine controller, or "brain." The RS-25 is designed to automatically runs through its cycles and programs.
1st District candidates welcome endorsements leading up to election
As the runoff election for the 1st District Congressional seat nears Tuesday, the two candidates running to represent North Mississippi have welcomed endorsements from national and statewide organizations. Republican Trent Kelly of Saltillo and Democrat Walter Howard Zinn Jr. of Pontotoc are running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat. In the last few weeks, the two remaining candidates have received endorsements by a number of groups and organizations. Apart from a rounding endorsement from the state Republican party and Gov. Phil Bryant, Kelly also received endorsements from the National Rifle Association, the National Right to Life Committee, the National Federation of Independent Business and Don Wildmon, retired United Methodist minister and founder of the American Family Association. Zinn, who has publicly criticized the Democratic party for a lack of support, welcomed an endorsement Thursday from the Mississippi Association of Educators.
U.S. economy shrinks in first quarter, raising questions about underlying strength
The U.S. economy shrank at an annualized pace of 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to government data released Friday morning, a tumble for a recovering nation that until recently seemed poised for takeoff. The contraction, the country's third in the aftermath of the Great Recession, provides a troubling picture of an economy that many figured would get a lift from cheap oil, rapid hiring and growing consumer confidence. Instead, consumers have proved cautious, and fracking companies have frozen investment -- all while a nasty winter caused havoc for transportation and construction and a strong dollar widened the trade deficit. Few economists believe the nation is in danger of recession -- two consecutive quarters of negative growth -- but they do warn that cheap oil and a strong dollar are acting as heavy drags on the economy.
Army studies new vehicles, capabilities for the future
The Army is working to develop new vehicles and more capability based on what soldiers need to fight in the future, the service's top officer said Thursday. Using the new Army operating concept as a base, the service is running 20 warfighting challenges to identify "gaps and seams" in capability and determine how to fill those spaces, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. "It's an integrated look across all of our branches and all of our centers of excellence, and we're saying, 'this is where the gap is,'" Odierno said. This new process also will enable the Army to develop materiel more rapidly and work more closely with industry, Odierno said.
Inside America's secretive biolabs
A USA TODAY Network investigation reveals that hundreds of lab mistakes, safety violations and near-miss incidents have occurred in biological laboratories coast to coast in recent years, putting scientists, their colleagues and sometimes even the public at risk. Oversight of biological research labs is fragmented, often secretive and largely self-policing, the investigation found. And even when research facilities commit the most egregious safety or security breaches -- as more than 100 labs have -- federal regulators keep their names secret. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, has issued repeated warnings since 2007 that the proliferation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories has increased the aggregate risk of accidental or intentional releases of viruses, bacteria or toxins.
Deadly viruses lurking in Tennessee labs
Dangerous disease pathogens for which there are no cure are housed in biolabs in Tennessee's two largest cities. Scientists in Memphis and Nashville conduct experiments with emerging disease threats like strains of bird flu, MERS and SARS. The biolabs are among a nationwide network given clearance by the federal government to do research with these pathogens and required to follow strict safety protocols. But lapses have occurred in Tennessee and across the nation, according to a USA TODAY investigation. In Memphis at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, a researcher's work was shut down in December 2012 --- work that was being done without the knowledge or approval of the university's Institutional Biosafety Committee. A mile away from that Memphis biolab at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, five ferrets infected with a deadly strain of bird flu escaped from their cage in May 2014.
Moeller named director of external relations at Gulf Coast Research Lab
The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory has named Pam Moeller the new Director of External Relations. Moeller, who previously served as the assistant to the Director of GCRL for 8 years, will be in charge of developing and fostering relationships with local and regional businesses, governmental groups, non-governmental associations, and residents to promote the research and educational capabilities of the GCRL. Moeller has a bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University.
William Carey University, New Hope Foundation to establish autism center
William Carey University and the New Hope Foundation will establish a center on the school's Biloxi campus to provide specialized educational services for youth with autism as well as training for local teachers, officials announced. Officials with the university and the foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to create the New Hope Center on William Carey's Tradition campus. The two institutions will collaborate to secure grants and will provide local communities with educational resources to increase autism awareness. They will also work to promote professional development, research and scholarly exchange in the field of autism through conferences and workshops.
East Mississippi Community College Connects with Alumni and Friends in Lauderdale County
Representatives from East Mississippi Community College came to Meridian Thursday for "Alumni and Friends Night." The speakers for the event included outgoing President Dr. Rick Young, head football coach Buddy Stephens, director of bands Steve Stringer, and Dr. Raj Shaunak of workforce development. EMCC's workforce development program has helped to create 5600 new jobs over the past ten years. Shaunak says that the success of industry in the Golden Triangle area can be duplicated in Lauderdale County. Speakers also discussed the plans for the new dormitories and the athletic operations center on campus.
A month later, Auburn University professors remember Nepal quake
Little more than a month after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, Western news has moved on from the images of cultural monuments reduced to rubble and the newly-homeless lined up for a cell phone charge. But for two area fisheries experts who were in Nepal during the April 25 quake, the story is far from over. "It was amazing to come back just a few days later and it was not the top news story. We're just going on ...and it was still very much a crisis for those folks," said Dr. David Cline, an Extension Aquaculture Specialist at Auburn University. Cline, along with School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences Director Emeritus Dr. David Rouse, visited Nepal April 15 through May 2 with farmer-to-farmer volunteer organization Winrock International.
UGA soon to pick new chief technology officer
The University of Georgia is looking for someone to become its chief technology officer -- a newly created position in the Office of the UGA Vice President for Information Technology. The fourth and last finalist for the new job made his public presentation Wednesday in UGA's Tate Student Center. Michael Lucas, who is now UGA's associate chief information officer for infrastructure and research computing, said he loves technology and has since an early age. But the job is not foremost about technology per se, but about people and how they use technology, Lewis told a crowd of about 40 people Wednesday. Three other finalists from outside UGA already visited the campus for interviews and to make similar public presentations.
U. of Arkansas' Food Sustainability Project Wins Two National Awards
The University of Arkansas Community Design Center won two awards for its project, "Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario," a program that seeks to build food sustainability by promoting local agriculture. The project won a 2015 Great Places Award in the Planning Category from the Environmental Design Research Association and a 2015 Green Good Design Award from The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. The team from the Community Design Center speculated what Fayetteville could be like if the city's growth included enough local urban food to create self-sufficiency. The city's population of 75,000 is expected to double in the next 20 years and the region has one of the state's highest child hunger rates.
Mizzou Motion Analysis Center engineers techniques to enhance therapy
In the basement of Clark Hall at the University of Missouri, biomechanical engineers spend their days in the "gait lab" in Room 6. It looks like a typical lab, with its windowless white walls and fluorescent lighting -- except for the infrared cameras strategically aimed at four blue tiles in the middle of the floor. That's where the action happens. Two computers are ready to track movements, and a monitor behind them is ready to display them. For Columbia resident Josh Tucker, 15, the monitor helps him pretend he's a video game character, said his mother, Donna Tucker. But there's a serious side to the technology.
Class of 2015 Is Summa Cum Lucky in the Job Market
Labor market research shows that the lower the U.S. jobless rate at graduation, the better the career prospects for grads, yielding significantly higher wages compared with those who finish school amid higher unemployment. With the unemployment rate now at 5.4%, this year's graduating class is among the luckiest in decades. They will be starting first jobs with an unemployment rate below the average of the past 40 years, foretelling career success, according to labor economists. "There really is something special about that first year," said Jamin Speer, a University of Memphis economist who has published research showing that students who graduate during a time of elevated national unemployment often have their earnings crimped for years.
Stanford political science department overhauls undergraduate major
What are the roots causes of inequality? Why does war break out? What stories can data tell about politics? These are some of the big questions many undergraduates hope to tackle in introductory level political science, only to find that departments on the vast majority of campuses ask them to choose specialized subfields -- heavy on theory and modeling -- early on. Disappointed, some students abandon the discipline before they ever get to those issues. Political scientists at Stanford University want to change that. They're overhauling the undergraduate major to make it less like the graduate curriculum and more immediately relevant to students' lives and interests, adding a new introductory course that isn't based on any one subfield and an additional concentration track for data science enthusiasts. Whether the changes will stem the steep drop in numbers of majors in the department remains to be seen. But they're already notable for how they align with ongoing internal criticism of the discipline's approach to undergraduate education. Will other departments follow suit?
15 Chinese Nationals Accused of Using Test-Taking Impostors for College Entrance Exams
Fifteen Chinese nationals have been accused of cheating the college entrance examination system with a scheme that involved fake passports and test-taking impostors, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Thursday. The 35-count indictment, which was returned on May 21 in the Western District of Pennsylvania, sketches out a complex scheme in which certain individuals are accused of paying impostors using fake Chinese passports to take college entrance exams, mostly at testing sites in the Pittsburgh area, including the SAT and the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or Toefl, in the hope of using them to gain admission to American colleges. David J. Hickton, the United States attorney for the District of Western Pennsylvania, said some of the defendants were admitted to universities around the country, which would have helped them qualify for student visas necessary for entrance into the country.
JOHN HARDIN (OPINION): The Campaign to Stop Fresh College Thinking
John Hardin, the director of university relations at the Charles Koch Foundation, writes in The Wall Street Journal: "College should be a place where students encounter a diversity of ideas -- just ask many of the more than 1.8 million students who are graduating this year. That diversity often relies on charitable foundations, which support countless educational programs across the country. For example, the Charles Koch Foundation, where I work, has responded to hundreds of grant requests from colleges and universities. These requests have led us to support educational initiatives in economics, philosophy, entrepreneurship, criminal justice and other disciplines at more than 250 institutions of higher learning. Yet student access to a broad range of ideas is under assault. Across the country, political groups from outside the academy are organizing campus crusades to silence those with whom they disagree. Look at what's taking place at Mississippi State University."

SEC announces new basketball scheduling format
Mississippi State and Ole Miss are guaranteed to meet twice on the hardwood each season after new a Southeastern Conference scheduling format was announced on Thursday. The scheduling model will begin this season (2015-16). The format calls for each program to play the13 other teams at least once during league play. They will then play their three permanent opponents a second time and the remaining two games will be scheduled on a rotating basis. Mississippi State's permanent opponents include Ole Miss, Alabama and South Carolina. In addition to MSU, Ole Miss will play Auburn and Missouri every season.
SEC raises hoops profile with new coaches
When Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings first stepped into the meeting room this week in Destin, he immediately noticed four new faces. And one familiar one missing. With longtime Florida coach Billy Donovan leaving college for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this month, Stallings has become the dean of Southeastern Conference basketball coaches. The elder statesman felt the void at the league's annual spring meetings. But with new and experienced coaches Rick Barnes, Ben Howland and Avery Johnson in the room, Stallings also sensed that the league could be better positioned for bigger things. Howland, who led UCLA to three straight Final Fours and the Pac-12 regular-season title last season, replaced Rick Ray at Mississippi State. And Howland already signed one of the nation's top recruits in guard Malik Newman. The Jackson, Miss., standout chose the Bulldogs over Kentucky.
New lower seam baseball has given LSU, college baseball home run power surge
"You can pucker up," Lyn Rollins says on the broadcast, "and kiss that baby good-bye." By the time the words left Rollins' mouth, Danny Zardon's home run had just -- and we do mean just -- cleared the left field wall at Alex Box Stadium. In fact, the solo shot didn't even make it to the first row of the left field landing bleachers. The ball smacked onto the metal walkway along the top of the wall, banging around as fans scrambled for the soon-to-be souvenir. All of the above would not have unfolded if Zardon had hit a baseball in the same direction at the same time on the same pitch just one year ago. "New ball homer for sure," LSU director of baseball operations Nolan Cain tweeted moments after Zardon's shot. The ball came off Zardon's bat at a speed of only 96 miles per hour. Only? Yes, only. A ball's exit speed with the old balls normally had to hit the triple digits to soar over any walls. The game has completed its first regular season with the new lower seam baseballs, and the results are in: Home runs are up.
Louisiana puts some 'skin in' for college football playoff, other events
Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature this week rushed to establish a new law for using state public funds to attract the college football playoff and several other major events to the state. "This whole thing has changed from just being able to say 'I want the event. I have 5,000 hotel rooms. Come to my city.' It has changed an awful lot. You have to put a lot of skin in this thing to attract these events,," said Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, who authored the measure. Jindal and lawmakers pushed Murray's "qualified event" bill (SB 218) through the spring legislative session as quickly as possible so New Orleans could use it in the city's pitch for the 2019 and 2020 college football playoffs. Bids for those rounds of championship games were due Wednesday, though the selected sites won't be announced until next fall.

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