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Friday's Afternoon Update

Florida has a baby problem -- there aren't enough of them

Americans aren’t having enough babies to sustain the population, and that could lead to big problems down the road, a prime one being that fewer workers will struggle to produce enough tax revenue to fund social programs for an increasingly elderly society. Only two states – Utah and South Dakota – had fertility rates above replacement level. Florida had the 13th lowest rate. See the report here and read more from the Orlando Sentinel.

Column: Florida the pacesetter on adoption of autonomous vehicles

In addition to the forces that we are familiar with, Florida is leading the charge on the adoption of autonomous vehicles. With our good laws on the books and openness to innovation, Florida has already welcomed six self-driving vehicle deployments across the state in places like Miami, Gainesville, Babcock Ranch in Lee and Collier counties and the Villages. More from the Fort Myers News-Press.

Mayport prepares to welcome a new ship to fleet

When the USS Wichita ’s commissioning ceremony ends Saturday, it will be the sixth warship of its kind to join the squadron based in Mayport, which is home to the East Coast’s littoral combat ship fleet. The soon to-be commissioned ship, part of the Navy’s new generation of stealthy, fast and agile warships that can execute aggressive shallow water missions and still hold their own in the open seas, is manned by roughly 70 people. More from the Florida Times-Union.

Tampa Bay’s much-needed road projects aren’t all win-win for businesses

Even much-needed road projects aren’t all win-win. Some businesses can’t weather the construction phase. Others hang on through all the paving and orange pylons, only to find that the new traffic patterns torpedo their business. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Hill York, one of South Florida's first air conditioning contractors, acquired by Fortune 500 company

If you walked into an air-conditioned South Florida home or business in the 1940s or 50s, chances are Hill York made it cool. The air conditioning company, created in 1936, grew with the region’s population, making Florida tolerable for year-round work and life. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Space Technology
Steam-propelled spacecraft prototype can theoretically explore celestial objects "forever"

 Using steam to propel a spacecraft from asteroid to asteroid is now possible, thanks to a collaboration between a private space company and the University of Central Florida. UCF planetary research scientist Phil Metzger worked with Honeybee Robotics of Pasadena, California, which developed the World Is Not Enough spacecraft prototype that extracts water from asteroids or other planetary bodies to generate steam and propel itself to its next mining target.

» See the announcement from UCF and more from Phys.org.


Health Trends
Training cardiac specialists

floridaWith its first university-sponsored fellowship last year, Florida Atlantic University's med school chose to train cardiovascular specialists. “Training the next generation of cardiologists is critical to addressing the immense and growing need for this specialty both locally and nationally,” says med school dean Dr. Phillip Boiselle.

» Read more from Florida Trend.