Mining firm gets permission to search for rare earths elements

Mining company Molycorp reported that the company has permission from
the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to look for rare earths metals at a
location near its mine at Mountain Pass.

“This is an important milestone in our heavy rare earth strategy, and
we expect to begin drilling immediately,” Molycorp CEO Mark A. Smith
said in a statement. “We anticipate results from the drilling program
in the second quarter of 2012.”

Mountain Pass is near the 15 Freeway on San Bernardino County’s side of
the Nevada State Line. Molycorp’s mine there is the only place in the
United States where rare earths metals are extracted from the earth.

Molycorp’s preliminary exploration of the site shows a relatively high
percentage of heavy rare earths metals including terbium, dysprosium,
europium and samariam. Rare earths metals have a variety of high-tech
applications.

Redlands tech company reaches agreement with IBM

ESRI, a Redlands-based developer of mapping software, announced a deal to integrate its technology with IBM products.

The agreement will allow ESRI’s ArcGIS geographic information software to be integrated with IBM’s Netezza data storage products. Integrating the products will allow the companies’ customers to geospatially analyze large amounts of data at high rates of speed, ESRI reported.

The ESRI-IBM product is scheduled to be released in early 2012.

Mojave Desert mining firm signs labor deal

Molycorp, Inc., the mining firm that operates a rare earths metals mine in the San Bernardino County desert, announced Monday that the company has agreed to a three-year contract with United Steelworkers members working at the mine.

Molycorp’s mine is at Mountain Pass, near the Nevada state line. The mine is the only place in the United States where the natural elements known as rare earths metals are extracted from the ground.

China leads the world in rare earths production. The elements are used to manufacture powerful magnets and components in many products, such as smart phones and missiles.

Molycorp is headquartered in Colorado.

UC Riverside professors to study social media, happiness

UC Riverside marketing professors Donna Hoffman and Tom Novak
have received a $414,000 National Science Foundation grant to study
people’s use of social media and how it affects their happiness.

“Social media” refers to myriad Internet services, including
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yelp, in which users make connections to
friends and businesses. Many businesses use social media to market
products and services.

“With social media invading our lives, we want to know why
people are using it and implications of that, particularly with regard
to people’s well-being and psychological health,” Hoffman said in a
statement.

Hoffman and Novak are co-directors of the Sloan Center of
Internet Marketing. They plan to survey thousands of web users over two
years for the study.

Netflix splits mail services into new brand called “Qwikster”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a letter to subscribers Monday that the company will split its DVD-by-mail service into a new service called “Qwikster.”

The company will continue to offer streaming video services under the Netflix moniker.
 The split follows a recent — and unpopular — price hike in which Netflix raised subscription fees for customers who pay for both DVD-by-mail and streaming video services.

The Qwikster name change is scheduled to happen in a matter of weeks. The company will use separate websites for both services, and Netflix plans to add video game rentals, for an extra fee, to Qwikster customers.

No additional pricing changes are planned, Hastings wrote.

Energy Department gives UC Riverside $1.2 million for emissions research

UC Riverside researchers will employ $1.2 million in Department of Energy money in a three-year project to research technology aimed at helping drivers reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Researchers are seeking to develop technology that would provide feedback to drivers to aid in trip planning and more efficient driving habits.

“This grant allows us to go beyond small, anecdotal studies to show, on a large scale, the significant positive economic and environmental impacts of eco-driving principles and the value of feedback systems,” said researcher Matthew Barth said in statement.

Barth is the project’s principal investigator and director of UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the Bourns College of Engineering.

Harvey Mudd president named to tech firm’s board

Harvey Mudd College president Maria Klawe now serves on semiconductor firm Broadcom’s board of directors.

Klawe has served as Harvey Mudd’s chief executive since 2006. She holds a doctorate in mathematics from University of Alberta and has previously served as Dean of Engineering at Princeton University, where she also held a professorhisp in computer science.

Harvey Mudd College is one of the Claremont Colleges.

Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine. The firm’s chief technical officer and co-founder, Henry Samueli, was also elected to the firm’s board.