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Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(06):26-31. doi:10.1115/1.2012-JUN-1.
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This article focuses on the introduction of advance security checks to counter negative publicity of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. The SCADA security concerns have come to be seen as a big deal because the systems can be found within power plants, refineries, pipelines, water treatment plants, and the telecommunications industry, where hackers could do great damage that would affect the public. In light of SCADA security concerns, security researchers have stepped up efforts to find and to call attention to the systems’ vulnerabilities. As national attention has only recently turned to SCADA security, system users have few regulatory specifications by which they must abide. In 2006, the federal government charged the North American Electric Reliability Corp., or NERC, with defining and implementing standards for critical infrastructure protection within the industry. A number of pieces of legislation have been passed and proposed to address software security. The big one right now is the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which has been introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(06):32-35. doi:10.1115/1.2012-JUN-2.
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This article discusses the shift to product lifecycle management (PLM) systems by various mechanical engineering companies. Systems engineers and information-handling experts are joining forces to get a grip on the information explosion, thanks primarily to the timely convergence of systems engineering with digital design and development. PLM supports the extended enterprise. The rationale behind using PLM is to ensure that the ideas and information driving the development of today’s products incorporate best practices and everything learned right up to the product-release date. The rapid increase in electronic controls and software that are being built into key auto components requires that mechanical engineers and electrical engineers work ever more closely together. This highlights the need to integrate the very different approaches to development that the two disciplines use. One of the key functions of PLM is to make sure all the data in those analyses are retained, not just the conclusions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(06):36-41. doi:10.1115/1.2012-JUN-3.
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This article reviews the use of mechanical engineering techniques in the field of nano-engineered medicines. Nano-engineered solutions now exist for a range of medical diagnostics, therapeutics, and imaging, and are at the core of many of the current generation of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering strategies. Nanoparticles can be developed to absorb energy with high efficiency from photons of certain frequency ranges. The ability to understand specific diseases such as osteogenesis imperfecta based upon such fundamental analyses has been demonstrated by ASME member Sandra Shefelbine of Imperial College London in collaboration with the Buehler group. The tools of nanotechnology have enabled mechanical engineers to engineer the beginnings of an entirely new generation of cures and therapies, and this article has discussed just a sample. In order to serve as a forum for discussion of these advances ASME is recommissioning the Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(06):42-47. doi:10.1115/1.2012-JUN-4.
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This article is adapted from the Introduction of Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization, written by Adrian Bejan and J. Peder Zane. This law sweeps the entire mosaic of nature from inanimate rivers to animate designs, such as vascular tissues, locomotion, and social organization. The constructal law tears down the walls that have separated the disciplines of science by providing a new understanding of what it means to be alive. The constructal law defines life in physics terms, and it covers all live-system phenomena. The author believes that the constructal law also challenges another idea that has become dogma since Darwin—that there is no overarching direction to evolution. The constructal law, by contrast, predicts that evolution should occur because of the tendency of all flow systems to generate better and better designs for the currents that flow through them.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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