Penn State University Engineering Capstone Showcase, Fall 2018.

Penn State University Engineering Capstone Showcase, Fall 2018.

Thursday, two days before finals was the PSU Engineering Capstone showcase. Even though I have been a lecturer there for the last six years I didn’t realize it is by far the largest Capstone showcase of this type in the world, and it is growing year by year. This year there were over 88 Capstone teams competing, mostly graduating seniors, but a good number of freshmen in engineering, in all around 1000 participants.

The set-up began at 10:30 a. m. in the Bryce Jordan main Arena, with 88 senior Capstone projects displaying their results.

The success of the showcase is in part because of a large number of corporate sponsors, many who sponsor multiple projects. Some of these projects are the very cutting edge of  science, and provide a real challenge for the students.

My role as an instructor is quite simple: To convert the engineering students from students to world class engineers in 17 short weeks. The engineering students are organized in teams of 4 or 5 persons. Most of the teams consist of engineers from more than 2 engineering majors. So the teams must get to know each other, work together as a functioning team, do the research, build a prototype or a final product as a team, with deadlines to meet. This is quite different from cramming for an exam.

The projects are quite different: This fall I had the opportunity to coach 5 teams:This team was a delight to work with from beginning to end. From the first meeting with the sponsors (fig above) they worked together as a team, met all deadlines with ease, produced a high quality report on how to improve and automate the report of the inspection of parking garages and other concrete structures.

For their efforts they won the overall first prize for best project in the showcase.

this project attempted to use the internet of things to make public restrooms smarter by reporting over the internet the soap dispenser being empty, paper running low, overflowing waste containers, and the likes and report the results to the central janitorial staff for better and more efficient maintenance. They won second prize for best poster.

Then there were two projects with Siemens and their forage into Industrie 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. One project

showed how to improve security in the Penn State Learning Factory yet to be built by having more secure personnel and equipment procedures using badge scanners, making sure who is in a specific room at all times.

The other team used the Siemens MindConnect to monitor equipment functioning and facilitate preventive maintenance through monitoring automation

And finally the robot competition, used as a recruitment tool for Boeing and Lockheed, who like most companies are looking for the most talented and best student graduates.

A good time was had by all, and at 3 o’clock it was time for the presentation of the awards. Free Penn State Creamery ice cream for everyone!

Another successful Showcase at Penn State University, making yet another batch of world class engineers. Yes, they come from all over the world, two of my teams had students from 4 different countries! (including U.S.)

A cold and snowy winter ahead? The signs (Ice and snow) are accumulating

It’s snowy and cold here up north.

True Climate Change starts to come forth.

It’s more clouds and more snow

Chills us down, just to show

it’s negative feedback henceforth.

This picture was taken Nov 15 from our porch in Boalsburg, PA. It was a very early snowfall.

Last night it was 11 F in Boalsburg, a new low for this date, and tomorrow night may set a new all time low for November since records begun.

This is of course local weather, but looking at the whole picture it seems to get colder in the Northern Temperate Region and in the Arctic in spite of temperature readings showing higher than average temperatures.

Let me explain: Everybody knows that in the Summer clouds cool by day and warm by night. Up North in Winter clouds containing snow, warm the atmosphere both day and night, and yet they cool down by depositing snow.

We are having earlier snowfalls in the Northern Hemisphere

This chart is from yesterday and is from the Canadian department of  ‘Environment and Climate Change’, so we can rest assured that the amount of snow cover is not over-estimated.

From Rutgers University climate lab comes this chart of fall snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. This year’s snow cover is about 5% larger than last year at the same day, so we can clearly see that the increasing trend is not broken; if anything, it is accelerating.

From comes this chart, showing the Arctic ice cover has grown from being the lowest on record in October to the highest in the last seven years for Nov 21.

This is confirmed by the Danish Ministries for Energy, Utilities and Climate. The charts can be found at


confirms that it was not just a flash-over of ice on a calm ocean, but real ice accumulation at a record clip since October.

This trend of increasing Fall snow and ice accumulation has not been well published. The earlier Spring arrivals with heavier than normal snow-melts have, but the reason for early Springs is not primarily increasing CO2. A bigger impact comes from the brown clouds emanating from mostly China.

The soot from these clouds make its way all the way up into the Arctic and is deposited on the snow, changing the albedo, leading to an earlier snow-melt.

When it comes to reporting of results from valid research, what is published is often cherry-picked to satisfy political agenda. True climate research is by no means settled, and the future is, at some time we will enter into the next ice-age, which is the normal state of the Earth. The negative temperature feedback from clouds limits the temperature rise. The Tropics has found its temperature, no amount of increasing CO2 will change that, the lack of increase in the tropospheric hot-spot in the tropics as the CO2 level increased from 320ppm to 410 ppm proves that. The insrease, if any is less thas 1/7 of what the models predict. In the Arctic there will be a winter temperature rise, mostly because of increased snowfall, and to a minor degree from increased CO2. The increased snowfall in the Arctic make the winters warmer (about 5 C), but the Summers cooler (about 1/2 C)

(From the Danish Meteorological Institute)

Climate Studies are fascinating, the Science is far from settled, we are still at the beginning of understanding the major temperature regulator of the world: Clouds.





Amazon is moving its Headquarters to Long Island City. No more worries about Climate Change, New York City taxpayers pay the bill.

The Headquarters move: Is it sane? (1)

Are Climate Change worries in vain? (2)

But Jeff Bezos got cash (3)

to amass to his stash (4)

and move it to Queens’ worst floodplain. (5)

(1) Amazon  is moving its headquarters from Seattle to Crystal City, Virginia, next to the Reagan airport, and to Long Island City, Queens, New York. This makes eminent sense from a business standpoint,  Washington D.C. to maximize its influence on lawmakers, and New York City to maximize its influence on world business. The cost of living is comparable, all 3 cities are among the most expensive in the world. Here is where it makes no sense:

(2) In a letter to Washington Post employees, Jeff Bezos promised to “follow the truth” wherever it leads. If he is serious about that commitment, his first order of business should be to ensure that climate denial no longer has a place at the paper, including the editorial pages.  Join us to make sure Jeff Bezos makes strong climate coverage a top priority at TheWashington Post. (From “forecast the facts.”) (Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post through Nash Holdings).

(3) The cost to Virginia taxpayers 1 Billion, to New York City taxpayers 1.2 Billion.

(4) Jeff Bezos’ net worth today: around 90 Billion Dollars.

(5) This is probably the most puzzling aspect of the move. The proposed property sits next to the East River in the floodplain. It and all joining streets were flooded in Hurricane Sandy. According to U.N. it is sure to be flooded occasionally in 2020, frequently in 2030, and constantly in 2080.

RT: Long Island City Amazon 181109

Where the trees are, there is where the new headquarters are to be built. Flooding risk, anyone?


The Bible in Power-Point Slides, commented.