6:36am

Tue October 16, 2012
Morning Trail MIx

"We've waited long enough", say fracking supporters

Good Morning and welcome to the Tuesday morning Innovation Trail Mix.

Ahead of tonight's 2nd presidential debate, the candidates outline their policies on tech startups, responding to questions from the New York Tech Meetup. (Tom's Hardware)

As reported by Karen DeWitt yesterday, a couple of hundred proponents of fracking took a leaf out of the protestors playbook and took to the streets of Albany yesterday to argue their case. Their message was, they've waited too long.  

The shortage of skilled workers is not as severe as you've been led to believe says the Boston Consulting Group.

A major conference on the Photonics and Optics industry continues today, we'll be there.

Business

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has put money into three ventures including a biomass energy company, reports James Fink of Buffalo Business First.

For the third month in a row, the October Empire State Manufacturing Survey reports a decline in conditions f0r New York state-based manufacturers.

The October Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to decline for a third consecutive month. The general business conditions index increased four points but remained negative at -6.2.... Employment conditions weakened, with the index for number of employees declining five points to -1.1 and the average workweek index falling three points to -4.3. Indexes for the six-month outlook suggested that conditions were expected to improve, although the level of optimism among manufacturers remained low relative to earlier this year.

RF Communications continues to build its roster of defense contracts with a $15 milllion contract in Latin America.

A new report released by Boston Consulting Group says that only 5 out of the nation's 50 top manufacturing centers are struggling to find workers, and none of them are in New York state. Senior BCG partner Hal Sirkin says:

Shortages of highly skilled manufacturing workers exist and must be addressed, but the numbers aren’t as bad as many believe. The problem is very localized. It’s much less of an issue in larger communities, where supply and demand evens out more efficiently thanks to the bigger pool of workers.

Energy

Is there any more divisive issue in the state than energy at the moment? Hearings got underway yesterday at a hotel  in Tarrytown, New York on whether the operating license for the Indian Point nuclear facility near Peekskill should be extended. 

This report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper argues that the facility is surplus to the state's energy requirements and that a wide range of alternative energy sources are available to replace the output of the aging plant. 

They might not want to be too hasty decommissioning the plant if what U.S. Defense secretary Leon Panetta said to a meeting of Business Executives for National Security late last week. Scroll through to around 8.30 on this video to hear the secretary's preamble on cyber security and at around 12:40 he says:

"…we know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks. They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation throughout this country. We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully…gained access to these control systems. We also know that they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, disruption and even the loss of life."

The New York Times reports on the sale of bogus renewable energy credits.

And it must be that time of the year, because NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), has awarded $250,000 each to eight companies and research centers working on a range of  battery and energy storage solutions. It's a dollar-for-dollar arrangement and is dominated by Central and Western New York companies who are members of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium.

Jobs

The University at Albany's expanding College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has some vacancies, around 300 to be exact and to fill them its holding a job fair on November 7th reports Albany Watch.

Education

Educators across the country agree that schools need more students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math subjects, usually referred to as STEM. Hooking students on these subjects remains a challenge, especially for generally low performing schools with few resources. The Buffalo Public School system has been using some lateral thinking to address the problem, sending teachers back to summer school to sharpen their skills in those fields, as Daniel Robison reports in his feature.