Archive for November 3rd, 2010


First crush at UC Davis research winery

After three years of planning, the new teaching-and-research winery at UC Davis’ Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is crushing its first grapes.

For would-be winemakers, the $15 million winery will provide some high-tech and hands-on experience before launching their careers.

If terms such as “automated electro-polished stainless steel fermentors” and “clean-in-place tanks” get you giddy, the The Sacramento Bee reports, this research facility is the perfect place to get nerdy in the name of wine.

The winery was also designed to be a model of sustainability, using solar power generation, recycled building materials and recycled rainwater to keep the winery especially environment-friendly. For more details, click here.


Oregon to help Iraq universities on sustainability

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said that the state, along with Oregon State University, will help Iraq universities develop energy and water conservation, green construction and other sustainable engineering and design programs.

The governor said that the state and OSU will be signing an MOU with Iraq’s minister of higher education and scientific research to help Iraq universities in a five-year agreement that will include faculty and student exchanges.

“The nation of Iraq can begin to train their own engineers in sustainable growth and development,” Kulongoski said in a prepared statement. “And Oregon students and faculty get on-the-ground training, strengthening their base of knowledge, planning and implementation.” Click here for more information.


U.S. manufacturing expands

The Institute for Supply Management said today that U.S. manufacturing expanded in October for the 15th consecutive month.

The Purchasing Manager’s Index, which measures overall business activity, expanded at a faster pace than September with sharp gains in new orders and production and a slight gain in employment, according to the research group. Click here for more information.


shuttle gets facelift for its last voyage

When the space shuttle Discovery finally gets off the ground (the latest estimate, as of this writing, is tomorrow) for its last voyage, it will be cleaner, tougher and much improved than the one that rolled of a California assembly line back  in 1983.

NASA says that for its upcoming mission to the International Space Station, Discovery will feature 33 new and improved heat-protection tiles placed over critical areas of the ship and new ceramic bolt covers that won’t come undone in flight. Additionally, it will be equipped with instrumentation and controls to measure heat buildup when the orbiter makes its return back home in about two weeks.

What is interesting is that these upgrades were installed for the spacecraft’s final flight. Discovery will be the first of NASA’s remaining three orbiters to be decommissioned when it returns to Earth.

NASA said it has made improvements on the shuttles before every flight, including installing harder heat-protection tiles in critical areas of the orbiter’s underside. This flight is no different, NASA said, even it if is Discovery’s last voyage.

The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

November 2010

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