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VOL. 39 | NO. 9 | Friday, February 27, 2015

UT, Vanderbilt scientists are taking the science fiction out of invisibility

Ferris Hall is an unassuming brick building on the edge of the University of Tennessee’s College of Engineering campus and home to the Department of Materials Science Engineering. There, Drs. Ramki Kalyanaraman and Gerd Duscher have opened the door to applying the magic of Hogwarts to military camouflage, cancer treatment or even Halloween costumes for a new generation.

Vanderbilt's Valentine honored for cloaking research

Dr. Jason Valentine, assistant professor of both mechanical and electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University, got his start in cloaking research as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.

The science behind making the visible invisible

Researchers like Dr. Rami Kalyanaraman and Gerd Duscher, associate professors of materials science engineering at the University of Tennessee, could not develop cloaking devices or work to achieve true invisibility without the use of metamaterials. But what are these fancy new materials and how do they work?

Quick history of cloaking devices

Dr. Ramki Kalyanaraman, associate professor of materials science engineering, and his colleague Dr. Gerd Duscher at UT are not the only people working to develop cloaking technologies.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Partly Cloudy
Wind: South at 5.8 mph
Humidity: 47%


Nashville Lawn and Garden Show. This year’s Nashville Lawn and Garden Show will partner with the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance to present a one-day-only Wine Festival during the show’s traditional four-day show, which runs through Sunday, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. The Show will incorporate locally produced wine from more than a dozen of the state’s most celebrated wineries on Saturday, March 7, noon-7 p.m. Wine Festival wrist bands will be available inside the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show. Each wrist band will allow the purchaser to enjoy wine tastings, a complimentary wine glass, and have the opportunity to purchase wine produced in the Volunteer State. Information: 876-7680, www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

more events »


Kelsey’s new voucher plan looks a lot like Haslam’s

Momentum is building this session for voucher legislation that would allow state dollars to follow students from struggling public schools to private and religious institutions.

Bill requiring public vote for city borrowing opposed by cities

Legislation by Sen. Lee Harris requiring local governments to hold a referendum before they take on “extraordinary” debt could run into opposition from his own City Council and municipal leaders across Tennessee.


Mayor’s race exposes unpleasant problems

In six weeks or so, the Greater Nashville area will learn what a snowmegeddon can do to area home sales.


Top January 2015 commercial real estate transactions

Top January 2015 commercial real estate transactions for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.


Bass, Berry & Sims adds public finance attorney

Charles “Chuck” A. Grice has been hired to the Public Finance team of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC.


Lady Vols seem to be slipping off national stage

KNOXVILLE – There is a bronze statue of legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt standing proudly across the street from Thompson-Boling Arena.


Who needs a hybrid when there’s a diesel Jetta?

For 2015, Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle, the Jetta compact sedan, builds on its fine road handling character and adds a nicer interior, freshened front and rear styling, new safety features and a more fuel thrifty diesel engine.


Competing for the attention of reporters, editors

The press release was written with no mistakes, explaining all the virtues of your company’s remarkable product. It was sent to all the newspapers and TV stations, and you even managed to send it to select radio stations and bloggers.


Looking for new job? Market yourself as a brand

When’s the last time you thought of yourself as a brand? If you were a car, would you be a Ford or a Mercedes? Would you be a SUV or a convertible?


‘Parenthood’ wraps up in unconventional style

If there’s one adjective that does not fit “Parenthood,” NBC’s six-season series that shuttered its doors in January, it’s symmetrical. Great show! I hate to see it go. But it was out of balance. Always. And delightfully so.


Fajita nachos a chance to sample tomatillos

Fajitas and nachos. These are two of my favorite Mexican dishes, so why not combine them?


Tennessee conservatives launch group opposing death penalty

NASHVILLE (AP) — A statewide coalition working to eliminate the use of capital punishment is helping establish a conservative group also against the death penalty.


Snow delay: Tennessee lawmakers move floor votes to next week

NASHVILLE (AP) - Enough members of the Tennessee House and Senate have braved the winter storm gripping the state to hold their scheduled floor sessions at the Capitol, but decided to move the balance of their bills to next week because of heavy absences.

Tuition equality bill advances in Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislation that would make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition is advancing in the Senate.


TSSAA cancels Thursday's schedule, pushes finals to Sunday

MURFREESBORO (AP) - The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has canceled girls state basketball tournament games scheduled for Thursday because a winter storm has left hazardous road conditions.

Brown-Forman earnings get a kick from Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel's maker Brown-Forman Corp. said Wednesday that its third-quarter profit rose 5 percent, led by strong demand for its pricier American whiskeys and broad sales growth in the U.S. and overseas.


Mayor Dean's morning snow emergency update

NASHVILLE – Nashville residents should avoid driving if possible today as ice and snow have made driving conditions dangerous.

TSU taking biodiesel trailer on the road

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee State University's cooperative extension program is touring the state with its Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration trailer.


Fate of Obama health law subsidies rests with 2 justices

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court argument over subsidies that help millions of people afford their health insurance suggests that the Obama administration has two chances to attract one critical vote.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgage drops to 3.75 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term mortgage rates have fallen for the first time in four weeks and remain near historic lows reached in May 2013.


US stocks edge higher; Pharmacyclics jumps on AbbVie bid

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, led by gains for utilities and financial companies. Pharmacyclics, a pharmaceutical company that makes cancer drug Imbruvica, surged after AbbVie said it would acquire the company for $21 billion.

Americans spent $58 billion to pamper, protect pets in 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A pet industry trade group says Americans spent $58 billion on their pets in 2014.

Mayor to NYC business leaders: Start pay at $13 an hour

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio, promoting his message of income equality and empowering the less fortunate, pressed influential New York City business leaders on Thursday to raise their workers' starting pay to $13 an hour.

European Central Bank raises eurozone growth forecast

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says the eurozone economy is picking up.

US factory orders slip 0.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories fell again in January but a key investment category showed a gain.

US productivity falls at 2.2 percent rate in fourth quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. worker productivity was even weaker than first thought from October through December while labor costs rose at a faster rate.

Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since May, though the pace of applications remains at a level consistent with steady hiring.

Facebook exec, NBA team up to get men to 'lean in' for women

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has enlisted NBA stars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and some of the basketball league's other top players to convince more men to join the fight for women's rights at home and at work.

Ringling Bros. eliminating elephant acts

POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will phase out the show's iconic elephants from its performances by 2018, telling The Associated Press exclusively that growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.


Haslam: Ways to discuss race other than Facebook

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says there should be more open conversations about race and that there are means of discussion other than Facebook.

Group to hold closed-door security briefing at Tennessee Capitol

NASHVILLE (AP) — A private group called the Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security is holding a closed-door briefing for lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Tennessee school voucher bill advancing in House

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee is advancing in the House.


Library and Archives offers free Nashville history workshop

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee State Library and Archives is offering a free workshop on researching Nashville history.


Justices sharply divided over health care law subsidies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sharply divided along familiar lines, the Supreme Court took up a politically charged new challenge to President Barack Obama's health overhaul Wednesday in a dispute over the tax subsidies that make insurance affordable for millions of Americans.


Glen Campbell children fighting wife's control of affairs

NASHVILLE (AP) - Singer Glen Campbell's two oldest children are attempting to wrest control of his medical and financial decisions away from his wife of 32 years, Kim Campbell.


Students challenge Tennessee over voter identification law

NASHVILLE (AP) - A group of Tennessee college students wants a federal court to require the state to accept their school identification cards as valid voter identification.

Judge OKs $415M settlement in tech workers' lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge has tentatively approved a $415 million settlement in a major class action lawsuit by Silicon Valley workers who accused Apple Inc., Google Inc. and other tech companies of making an illegal agreement not to hire each other's employees.


5 cars getting most attention at the Geneva auto show

GENEVA (AP) — Volkswagen's functional Passat family car may have taken top honors as car of the year at the annual Geneva motor show, but there is no doubt what visitors come to see at this glitzy gathering: high-end supercars.

Honey, we shrank the SUV – and Europe loves it

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — In Europe, SUV now stands for: Shrinking Utility Vehicle.


US stocks fall, pulling market further below record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks sank Wednesday, pulling indexes further below record highs hit earlier in the week. The drop was modest but broad: nine of the 10 sectors in the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost ground.

Fed survey finds US economy growing at moderate pace

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy was growing at a moderate pace through mid-February despite severe winter storms that had disrupted activity in some regions, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.

Exxon CEO: Get used to lower oil prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson expects the price of oil to remain low over the next two years because of ample global supplies and relatively weak economic growth.

US services firms grow at faster pace in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services firms' activity rose at a slightly faster rate in February, powered by hotels, restaurants and wholesalers.

Survey: US businesses add 212K jobs in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses added more than 200,000 jobs in February for the 13th straight month, a private survey found. It was the latest sign that strong hiring should boost the economy this year.

AP survey: Why the outlook for global economy has brightened

WASHINGTON (AP) — From the United States to Asia to Europe, a global economy that many had feared was faltering appears poised for a resurgence on the strength of cheap oil and falling interest rates.


Senate fails to override Obama's veto of pipeline bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday failed to override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, the first of many confrontations between the Republican-controlled Congress and the White House this year over energy policy.

Senate votes to kill a labor board rule that unions backed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate Wednesday voted to kill a National Labor Relations Board rule reducing the time between a union's request for representation and a vote by workers on it.


Former Vice President Al Gore reports for jury duty

NASHVILLE (AP) - Even former vice presidents get called for jury duty.

Likely presidential candidates to speak at NRA meeting

NASHVILLE (AP) — Several potential Republican candidates for president are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville in April.


Bill would restrict where CCA inmates could file lawsuits

NASHVILLE (AP) - Corrections Corporation of America could not be sued anywhere in Tennessee except for the county where the private prison targeted by the lawsuit is operated, under a bill filed in the state legislature.

Tennessee lawmakers: Block FCC ruling on municipal broadband

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Federal Communication Commission ruled last week that cities like Chattanooga may expand their municipal broadband service, but Tennessee officials who oppose the decision are lining up to block the move.


Panel to develop teaching aids based on Tennessee Blue Book

NASHVILLE (AP) — A committee has been formed to develop lesson plans and teaching aids based on information contained in the Tennessee Blue Book.


Corizon execs, NYC officials questioned in Rikers Island probe

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City lawmakers have peppered city officials and company executives with questions about the quality of health care at Rikers Island jails.


Nissan sets February sales record

DETROIT (AP) — Freezing temperatures and drifts of snow took a small bite out of U.S. auto sales in February, but most automakers still reported gains thanks to the strong economy.

Automakers vow not to give up on weak-selling electrics

GENEVA (AP) — Top automakers are vowing not to give up on weak-selling electric vehicles — even as they unveil an array of powerful luxury cars with conventional engines aimed at a growing global market.

Volkswagen CEO stands by cautious outlook

GENEVA (AP) — The CEO of Volkswagen AG is staying with his cautious outlook for this year, saying it's a "balanced statement" based on growth in the U.S., Europe and China versus trouble spots such as Russia and Brazil.


New phones, new ways to connect

NEW YORK (AP) — High-end smartphones from Samsung and HTC have gotten much of the attention at this week's wireless show in Barcelona, Spain, but cheaper options are coming from Microsoft, Lenovo and others too. Meanwhile, Google and Facebook are working on giving people more ways to use those devices.

BlackBerry to offer 4 new phones, speeds shift to software

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — BlackBerry will launch four new smartphones this year and a new package of cross-platform applications as it continues its "philosophical" shift to making software.


A complication for the Fed: Rate cuts by other central banks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's central banks are injecting a new complication into the Federal Reserve's decision on when to raise interest rates from record lows:

US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next?

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

US stocks fall broadly a day after Nasdaq passes 5,000 mark

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks fell from record highs on Tuesday and the Nasdaq dropped below 5,000 a day after passing that milestone for the first time since the dot-com era 15 years ago.


Senate GOP tries to repeal NLRB rule on union elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans controlling the Senate have moved to try to reverse a new National Labor Relations Board rule that would shorten the time between a union's request for representation and the vote on whether to certify a union.


Black Caucus renews call for apology from state GOP lawmaker

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus is continuing a call for action to be taken against a Republican state lawmaker they say made a racist Facebook post.


270 Tennessee supermarkets expected to sell wine in 2016

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee regulators expect 270 stores across the state to be among the first wave of supermarkets to sell wine under a new state law going into effect in July 2016.

Panel formed to review student testing, assessment in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - A new task force will review student testing and assessment amid concerns that students are being overtested, the state Education Department announced Monday.


Tennessee office that defends death row inmates comes under fire

NASHVILLE (AP) - A state agency that defends death row inmates is being criticized for using taxpayer dollars to pay for a legal battle that seeks information on the drugs and people involved in executions while also challenging a law that says electrocution can be used as an alternative to lethal injection.


Home of Grand Ole Opry earns spot on National Register

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Grand Ole Opry House has been honored with a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its impact on popular culture and the entertainment industry.

Next Google Maps adventure: Soaring through Amazon jungle

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For its next technological trick, Google will show you what it's like to zip through trees in the Amazon jungle.


Google, Facebook update contrasting plans to connect world

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Sci-fi solutions or making friends one at a time? Google and Facebook are taking different routes to expanding Internet use and access among the unconnected in developing countries.

Google to offer own cellular network plan

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Google will soon be offering cellular network plans in a bid to bridge the gap between the realms of Internet services and mobile device software it dominates.

Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone

NEW YORK (AP) — Samsung, locked in a tight race with Apple to be the world's biggest smartphone maker, has unveiled an important new phone that ditches its signature plastic design for more stylish metal and glass.


US construction spending down 1.1 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending fell in January, reflecting weakness in spending on office buildings and other nonresidential projects and in government activity.

Construction picks back up, but it's a different gig now

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — As Florida's housing market tanked seven years ago, construction worker David Rager saw jobs dry up. So he left construction, along with 2.3 million others nationwide during the economic downturn, and got a job installing traffic signals and street lights.


Nasdaq closes above 5,000 for first time in 15 years

NEW YORK (AP) — The Nasdaq composite closed above 5,000 for the first time since its dot-com era peak nearly 15 years ago after merger news and an encouraging economic report helped push U.S. stocks broadly higher on Monday.

Dot-com deja vu: Nasdaq tops 5,000, approaching record high

NEW YORK (AP) — The last time the Nasdaq was this high, Bill Clinton was president, your Internet was probably still dial-up, Microsoft dominated the tech world and the iPod, iPhone and iPad didn't exist.

Costco strikes credit card deal with Citi, Visa

NEW YORK (AP) — Costco says it struck a deal for Citi to be the exclusive issuer of its co-branded credit cards, with Visa replacing American Express as the card network.

US manufacturing slows as output and hiring weaken

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories expanded last month at their weakest pace in a year, with orders, hiring and production all growing more slowly.

Bill Gates repeats at top of Forbes' list of billionaires

NEW YORK (AP) — The world's richest person got even richer this year.

Consumer spending drops 0.2 percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer spending fell for a second consecutive month in January, weakness that was expected to be temporary. Income rose, reflecting strong job gains during the month.

Buffett declines to clarify plan to eventually replace him

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire Warren Buffett won't end speculation about his eventual successor, but he reiterated that Berkshire Hathaway's board has a plan in place.


Homeland Security not the only area of Congress' dysfunction

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress' dysfunction isn't limited to the struggle to keep a Cabinet department running without interruption.


Tennessee public television stations to air legislative show

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee public television stations are airing a new show about the happenings in the state Legislature.

Bid to block health exchange in Tennessee seen as 'overkill'

NASHVILLE (AP) - Some Republican lawmakers still reveling in the recent defeat of a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans are now setting their sights on 230,000 people enrolled through the federal health insurance exchange.

Tennessee GOP leader questions GM incentives amid VW union talks

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Thursday that it may have been "a mistake" for Tennessee to subsidize the development of the General Motors plant outside Nashville because it has a United Auto Workers union contract.

Tennessee Black Caucus seeks apology from GOP lawmaker

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday called on Republican Rep. Sheila Butt to apologize for what they said was a racist Facebook post, and said she should be removed from her leadership position.


Tennessee exported record $33 billion in 2014

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee exported $33 billion worth of goods and services last year — a record amount for the fifth year in a row.

Potential GOP candidates for president head to Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee is kicking off a steady stream of visits from potential Republican presidential candidates.

Tennessee Literacy Coalition closing in June

NASHVILLE (AP) — The director of the Tennessee Literacy Coalition says the nonprofit organization that has promoted reading education for over three decades will close this year.


Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rose at a healthy pace in January, a sign that home sales are poised to accelerate after a slow start to the year.


Volkswagen profits up 21 percent for full year

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen says after-tax profits rose 21 percent for last year, to 11.1 billion euros ($12.4 billion).

Fiat Chrysler adds 467K SUVs to recall for possible stalling

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is adding more than 467,000 Dodge and Jeep SUVs worldwide to a recall from last year to fix a potential stalling problem.


'House of Cards' dealt Netflix a winning hand

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Even if it never wins another award, "House of Cards" already ranks among the most influential series in television history.

5 things to know about 'net neutrality'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Netflix, Twitter and Internet activists have won. Big cable has lost. At least until the federal courts get involved, when everything could change. Five things you need to know about the Federal Communications Commission's vote Thursday to enforce "net neutrality" rules for the broadband industry:

Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Internet activists declared victory over the nation's big cable companies Thursday, after the Federal Communications Commission voted to impose the toughest rules yet on broadband service to prevent companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from creating paid fast lanes and slowing or blocking web traffic.

FCC allows Internet providers owned by Chattanooga, other cities to expand

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission says city-owned broadband companies can expand and compete with commercial Internet providers.


If Supreme Court says no: Losers in health insurance fight

CHICAGO (AP) — Millions of Americans have a big personal stake in next Wednesday's Supreme Court challenge to the nation's health care law: Can they legally continue to get subsidies to help pay for their insurance? If the court says no, people across more than 30 states could lose federal subsidies for their premiums.


Stocks slip after weaker growth, end best month since 2011

February proved to be a strong month for U.S. stocks, even though it ended in downbeat fashion.

US consumer sentiment slips in February on icy weather

WASHINGTON (AP) — Harsh winter weather left U.S. consumers feeling a bit less confident this month, the University of Michigan says. But confidence levels still remain at the highest level in eight years.

US economic growth in Q4 revised down to 2.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed more sharply in the final three months of the year than initial estimates, reflecting weaker business stockpiling and a bigger trade deficit.

Ag secretary: Smartphones could tell buyers what's in food

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the ever-complicated debate over labeling of genetically modified foods, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offers this idea: Use your smartphone.


Some in GOP say DHS funding lapse not a big deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders eager to avert a partial government shutdown are getting heat from conservative colleagues who ask what the fuss is all about.

Senate panel greenlights Obama's attorney general pick

WASHINGTON (AP) — Loretta Lynch won approval from a key Senate committee Thursday to serve as the nation's next attorney general, as divided Republicans clashed over her support for President Barack Obama's immigration policies.

Boehner mum on DHS bill as partial shutdown approaches

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two days before a partial agency shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner repeatedly refused Thursday to say if the House will vote on pending Senate legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security without challenging President Barack Obama's immigration policy.

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