southern tier


Tue September 25, 2012

Sikorsky Aircraft to close Big Flats plant

The Sikorsky plant was fitting special mission equipment to Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters
License Some rights reserved by The U.S. Army Creative Commons License

The Connecticut-based helicopter maker Sikorsky announced on Monday that it will close its Southern Tier plant at the end of the year.

In a statement, company spokesman Paul Jackson says planned cutbacks at the Pentagon were the reason for the closure:

Due to declining defense budgets and the continuing economic weakness in many markets, Sikorsky yesterday informed employees of its intent to close the Sikorsky Military Completions Center (SMCC) in Horseheads as of December 31, 2012, and transition the work to our West Palm Beach, Fla., facility. 

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Thu August 23, 2012

Both Sides, Awaiting Fracking Decision, Air Competing Ads

License Some rights reserved by Jeremy Buckingham MLC Creative Commons License

Groups for and against fracking are gearing up for an announcement by Governor Cuomo’s environmental officials  on whether the natural gas drilling process will be permitted in New York on a limited basis. But the  organizations, who are running ads, may have to wait a little longer.

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Fri August 17, 2012

Radical hearing aid design draws on an unlikely inspiration

Ron Miles holds prototypes of his hearing aid microphone.
Matt Richmond WSKG

While the majority of us would be very happy to see out the summer without flies ruining our outdoor dining experience, one particular species of fly has provided the inspiration for a potential breakthrough in the technology of hearing aids. It's not just any old house-fly we're talking about, though.

Binghamton University engineering professor Ron Miles says this particular fly, called the ormia ochracea, is special because it’s as good as a human at locating the source of a sound.

“The female fly, when she’s pregnant and needs to have her babies, she listens for crickets to sing," says Miles. "And when she hears the cricket, she’ll fly to the cricket and have her babies and these maggots then burrow into the cricket and a few days later, they’ll emerge and leave a hollow shell.”

So the fly’s behavior isn’t pretty. The way most animals locate sound doesn’t work for ormia ochracea, and it's useful to know how this tiny parasite can locate its host.

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Fri July 13, 2012

Resolutions supporting DEC's fracking decision spread

All eyes were on the Windsor Town Board on Wednesday as they took public comments on a resolution in favor of the DEC's authority over fracking.
Matt Richmond WSKG

Outside Wednesday’s town board meeting in Windsor, drilling advocates handed out pro-drilling stickers. About 150 people showed up and most of them put a sticker on.

The issue on that night was Resolution 24 - the town board’s May declaration of support for state, not local government, power decide whether fracking comes to New York.

The Town of Windsor passed its resolution on May 2, one of 30 or so passed by town boards mostly in the Southern Tier, says Binghamton lawyer Scott Kurkoski. He says they were meant as a way to counteract the spread of local drilling bans.

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Mon July 9, 2012

Climbing robots take on dangers of high-elevation work

International Climbing Machines president Sam Maggio demonstrates his company's climber.
Matt Richmond WSKG

International Climbing Machines (ICM) has its headquarters in a shabby warehouse on the outskirts of Ithaca.

The workshop is hardly bigger than a three-car garage. Metal shelves filled with spare parts line the walls, and in one corner there’s enough space for company president Sam Maggio to show off his device.

It’s called a climber.

“We simply put a vacuum motor, a standard industrial vacuum motor, on the body of the climber and that establishes a vacuum in the chamber that’s in the center of the climber,” says Maggio.

That vacuum keeps the 25-pound robot stuck to the wall while it climbs, just like Spiderman. But the robot doesn’t look like Spiderman. It looks like a sump pump with a two-foot long metal body and rubber tracks on either side.

Workers operate it with a Playstation controller.

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