Look for a pronounced slowdown in economic growth in 1998. That's the prediction presented by Reed Elsevier Business Economics (formerly Cahners Economics) in its "Economics Outlook for 1998." The report sees GDP rising by an inflation-adjusted 2.3% in 1998 from the heady 3.7% 1997 level. Moreover, interest rates should be somewhat higher this year, as the Federal Reserve Board "pursues a marginally tighter monetary policy." Three major trends bear watching during 1998, the report warns. All will have some moderating influence on the U.S. economy's growth potential: a pronounced slowdown in the growth rate of business investment spending; high levels of consumer debt, particularly installment debt; and an uptick in inflation brought about by increased average wage demands resulting from historically low levels of unemployment. On the industrial front, Reed Elsevier expects only moderate growth in 1998. Output gains will increase 3.4%, with capacity utilization declining modestly to 82.7% (from 1997's average of about 83%). U.S.-based international trade should continue to make an important contribution to the overall growth in GDP, say the Reed Elsevier economists, expanding by a solid 8.3% this year. To obtain a copy of the report, phone (800) 662-7776.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.