To Preserve Aerospace Cluster San Antonio Needs to Revisit Its Value Proposition

first_imgSan Antonio needs to think strategically about the advantages it offers the aerospace industry to ensure it doesn’t lose a chunk of the sector to other places, a senior executive with Port San Antonio said at a chamber of commerce event last month.Officials should consider further investment in facilities and the workforce, expanding the components of the aerospace industry the region excels in and competing on qualities other than price, according to Jim Perschbach, executive vice president for business development at Port San Antonio, the reuse project at the former Kelly Air Force Base.The city specializes in maintenance, repair and overhaul, with a core competency in servicing aging types of airframes and engines, reported San Antonio Express-News. But it could strengthen its aerospace cluster by branching out to commercial paint application, satellite communications, landing gear and navigation, Perschbach said. The port is home to nearly 12,000 workers in the aerospace, manufacturing, logistics and DOD sectors.“We have a skill set that I would put up against anywhere in the world for working on those platforms,” he said. “But when you look at newer aircraft coming online, newer engines coming on line, it’s an entirely new technology. And it’s going to require that we maintain that edge.”Perschbach also highlighted the need for San Antonio to review the incentives it offers major employers, a tool that continues to play an oversized role in attracting aerospace companies.“What are others doing? It’s big cash incentives, big infrastructure incentives, all targeted to employers who do three things: pay well, attract other employers and are in it for the long haul,” he said.  Through continued investment in its aerospace facilities and workforce development programs, the city could be in a position to guarantee the industry cluster never leaves the region.  “There is such a thing in industry as being too big to fail; and we need to make sure that whatever industry it is, whether it’s aerospace or cyber, whatever, it just can’t afford to pick up and leave,” Perschbach said. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Scientists suggest Mars still has an active underground water system

first_imgNASA/JPL/University of Arizona First we learned that Mars may be hiding a lake under its southern ice cap. Now a new study points to an active groundwater system that may be lurking deep below the planet’s equatorial regions, feeding a mysterious phenomenon on the Martian surface.  If the study holds water, it would be a huge paradigm shift for the dusty, barren planet. And it could open up new avenues of exploration.  Two researchers at the University of Southern California, Abotalib Z. Abotalib and Essam Heggy, posit that “recurring slope lineae” (RSL), dark streaks that periodically appear on the side of Martian craters, are being created by an active, deep reservoir of salty water.    The study, published Thursday in Nature Geoscience, used images provided by HiRISE, a high-resolution camera aboard the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling the red planet, to analyze distinct surface features.  The duo examined images of Palikir crater, which has previously been shown to harbor RSL and is a prime location for present-day water flows, to come up with their new hypothesis. They discovered that RSL most commonly emanate from fractures and cracks in Palikir’s surface.  “Mars is not hydrologically dead,” says Heggy. “There is an active groundwater system on Mars that is causing the recurring slope lineae.” 4:38 In the past scientists, have hypothesized a number of reasons the RSL appear on the side of Martian craters, including the idea that they may just be sand flows rather than a phenomenon caused by water. Other groups have suggested they’re caused by seeping salt water that originates from just below the surface. However, radar experiments imaging the Martian surface have not been able to identify any shallow pools of groundwater. Heggy and Abotalib’s background, studying aquifers and groundwater flow in Earth’s desert environments, prompted them to look at the Mars RSL hypothesis from another angle — and they began to see similarities with our planet’s deserts. Their proposal suggests that the water originates from about half a mile below the surface (approximately 750 meters) and that high pressure forces the liquid up through the soil and eventually through cracks and fractures on the surface — resulting in the RSL. “We have seen the same mechanisms in the North African Sahara and in the Arabian Peninsula, and it helped us explore the same mechanism on Mars,” says Abotalib. An important feature of the Mars’ RSL is seasonality. Typically, they appear during the Mars summer and disappear in the fall. Heggy suggests that in the fall, when it’s cooler, the water freezes over the fractures, preventing the RSL from forming. In summer, warm weather allows the pressurized water to flow up and out through the cracks, seeping down the slopes. But with all this high-resolution imaging, why haven’t we spotted the liquid flows before? Tags Stunning images of Mars from the European Space Agency 17 Photos Originally published 9 a.m. PTUpdated 2:10 p.m. PT: Adds Nature Geoscience paper Post a comment “They last for a very short amount of time due to the condition of the surface and pressure on Mars,” explains Heggy. “We don’t have sufficient temporal coverage on Mars to witness that happen in real time.” The tantalizing prospect of water on Mars has long been discussed and researched because of the opportunities it presents to discover life or provide a means for colonization. But for Heggy, this study is less about proving Mars is somewhere humans may one day set up shop and more about our own planet.  “Water on Mars is very important, not to colonize Mars, but to understand how our own planet is evolving,” he says. “The importance of groundwater is never about using it as a sustainable resource for humans on Mars.” The mystery of the Mars’ RSL now has another viable theoretical candidate, but there’s still work to be done. NASA Mars rover Curiosity has been exploring regions close to where the RSL form but has not studied them, and direct evidence of an active groundwater system still eludes areologists. Heggy and Abotalib will focus on rectifying that. “We’re going to be trying to see what are the best ways to find direct evidence or map these groundwater systems, potentially using future probing experiments,” he says.    It’s been a bumper year for Mars water discoveries. In February, researchers at the University of Utrecht suggested they’d discovered evidence that a deep groundwater system had once existed on Mars, given the features they’d observed in craters. On Wednesday, scientists from the University of Chicago suggested that rivers still raged less than 1 billion years ago.  With NASA and the European Space Agency sending rovers to Mars in 2020 — and researchers scouring the planet for signs of groundwater — it might not be long before we have definitive evidence that Mars isn’t as dry as we once thought.  center_img RIP Mars Rover Opportunity Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: 0 NASA’s history-making Mars rover Opportunity declared dead Opportunity leaves us with one final, glorious panorama The Red Planet won’t stop killing our rovers NASA Opportunity rover witnessed the wild side of Mars Sci-Techlast_img read more

Banks may resist RBI pressure to cut lending rate despite repo rate

first_imgEven though Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is putting pressure on banks to transfer the recent repo rate cut benefit to customers, banking circles believe the general liquidity crunch is making it difficult to ensure full transmission.RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das will be meeting bankers on Thursday in an attempt to ensure conversion of the recent rate cut into cheaper loans, media reports say.The RBI slashed repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends money to banks, by 25 basis point, to 6.25 percent, earlier this month responding to the subdued inflation figures and the need to add liquidity to push growth in a slowing global economy.However, industry experts believe the current liquidity situation of the economy does not favour a viable reduction in the lending rate by banks. They point out the marked mismatch between credit growth and deposit growth. Credit growth has taken off to 9.3 percent, bank deposits have growth only by 6.1 percent, according to estimates. Tinkering with the interest rate on deposits will further affect the deposit growth and hamper banks’ ability to extend more credit widening the marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR).Aditya Puri, HDFC Bank CEO, has said that lending rates can’t come down unless deposit rates brought down. “Banks are finding it difficult on the funding side,” the Times of India quoted Puri as saying. “Transmission of RBI’s rate cuts will depend on the time frame in which deposit rates go down. As long as there is a scarcity of deposits, and banks raise deposit rates, they cannot bring down lending rates.”Media reported in the last quarter that many banks increased deposit rates fearing a liquidity crunch in the system, pushing up their MCLR. Lenders are finding it difficult to mobilize deposits because of the rise in cash in circulation and mutual fund investments, Puri said. Falling bank interest rate will drive more investors to public provident fund (PPF) and post office deposits where the rates remain high.Puri wants the RBI to bring down the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) or cash reserve ratio (CRR) to bring down the cost of funds of banks without a reduction in deposit rates.The RBI governor had told a press conference with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in attendance that the “transmission of rates is very important, especially after the central bank announces a rate cut.””As already stated in our post-Monetary Policy Committee press conference, I am having an interaction with the CEOs and MDs of the banks, both public and private sector, which is now scheduled to be on February 21,” Das said. “We will discuss that issue with the banks and see what needs to be done.”The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to infuse more liquidity into the economy to general more jobs in as it is facing the general election 2019 in a few months. Credit growth is a primary necessity to ensure that the system regains liquidity.last_img read more

Prince Georges County Honors Excellence in Business

first_imgBy Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFROThe titans of Prince George’s county were gathered at the Gaylord National Harbor to honor new, innovative and community legends during the 2018 Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awards Gala.Rep. Steny Hoyer, County Executive Rushern Baker and State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, and many new and veteran leaders were among those honored at an event that celebrated business in the county.County Executive Rushern Baker and State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks stand on stage at the 2018 Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awards Gala. (Photo by Hamil Harris)“Tonight we are honoring the best of the best,” said NBC 4 anchor Leon Harris, who joined Praise 104’s Cheryl Jackson to host a three-hour event that honored business and civic leaders who have been transforming the county into a vibrant example of economic prosperity.Looking across a room filled with lawmakers and business leaders dressed to the nines, David C. Harrington, president and CEO of the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce exuded so much pride as he welcomed people to an event in the RiverView Ballroom.“Tonight is about you! Your accomplishments, your persistence and your service on enhancing Prince George’s quality of life,” Harrington wrote in the gala program presented by Kaiser Permanente.Brunson Cooper, managing director of Corenic Construction, received the Millennial Entrepreneur of the year; Donna Cooper, president of Pepco, was named Business Woman of the Year; 2U was named Business of the Year, J.D. Clark Professional Services was named Small Business of the Year and Tonia Wellons, vice-president of Community Investment was named Community Leader of the Year.The night was a time to celebrate as well as a time to remember. Baker and Alsobrooks joined the Prince George’s County Police to honor Sgt. MuJahid A. Ramzziddin, who gave his life trying to help a victim of domestic violence. His widow accepted the award.NGEN received the IT Company of the Year; Dewberry was honored as Innovative Business of the Year; and two firms, Team Durant and the Metro Points Hotel, received Community Partner Awards.Inducted into the Chambers Hall of Fame was Dr. Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George’s Community College; Thomas Graham, the retired president of Pepco Holdings and B. Doyle Mitchell, CEO of Industrial Bank.Hoyer, who is in his 38th year in Congress, received the Trailblazer Award and he used the occasion to tell people wherever he goes that he is, “from Prince George’s County,” and not “PG,” he said.  “You don’t call Prince William County PW County.  We are a model for the rest of the country.”Baker also received a “Special Award,” and used the occasion to praise “the best wife in the world,” and to talk about how far the county has come since he took office.Baker said that he was confident that with the election of  Alsobrooks as the county executive the county is being  put into good hands.  “I am so happy,” Baker said.last_img read more