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News Clips - July 6, 2007

From June 29 to July 5, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 115 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Where Were You During the Summer of Love?
The Chronicle of Higher Education | July 6
We asked college faculty members and administrators to share their memories and reflections about where they were 40 years ago during the Summer of Love, 1967. Some were flying their freak flags; others were flying missions over Vietnam. Some said they felt part of a pivotal historical moment; others were just trying to survive lousy summer jobs. Deeply felt politics mingled with casually observed spectacle. It was light-years ago. And it was just yesterday. ... Jane Bernstein, professor of English and creative writing, Carnegie Mellon University: I was working as a typist in a drab midtown-Manhattan office, feeling as if the summer would never end and I would live out the rest of my days commuting to a New York that bore no relation to the New York where I would move in September. It seemed as if all I did was breathe bus fumes and roll triplicate invoices onto my typewriter carriage.


Wooing interns to Silicon Valley
The New York Times | July 3
Ben Maurer is one of hundreds of Google interns this summer whose days include free clothes, free meals and free reign to delve into Google's code. "It's like a scuba diver and an interesting coral reef. For a software developer, diving into the code at Google is a comparable experience," said Maurer, an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University who's interning at the search giant for a second summer in a row, following two summer stints at software maker Novell. As if to underscore his appreciation of the tangible perks of his summer gig at Google, Maurer added: "I really can't believe the food. It's amazing. The hardest thing for me is on the weekends and the food isn't there."

Education for Leadership

The master's degree debate: Better to wait?
KLAS-TV (ClassesUSA) | July 2
Enrolling in a master's degree program involves many questions--how do you determine which program to enroll in, where should you pursue it, and what's the rate of return as it relates to career opportunities upon completion. But perhaps the first one you need to answer is when is the right time to take the plunge. ... Laurie Stewart, executive director of master's admissions at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, indicates that approximately 8 percent of its MBA students and 25 percent of its Master's in Computational Finance (MSCF) students enrolled immediately after completing their undergraduate studies. "We look for those individuals [who] are especially strong academically and who have had relevant/meaty internship or co-op experiences," Stewart explains. "They need to articulate specific and realistic short and long-term goals, demonstrate personal/professional maturity, and be able to sell themselves in their application essays and a personal interview."


Apple rings up iPhone sales
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 30
Dan Lin, in sunglasses and a faux-hawk hairstyle, emerged from the Shadyside Apple store grinning, holding a bag that contained the prized possessions he braved rain, hecklers, and a day's worth of sleep deprivation for: Two 8-gigabyte iPhones -- one for himself and another to sell "for about $1,000" on eBay. Mr. Lin, and his friend and fellow Carnegie Mellon University student Jason Ma, were first to set up camp in front of Apple's Shadyside store Thursday evening at 6, a full 24 hours before the first iPhone was to be sold.


Students win green chemistry award
Chemical & Engineering News | June 28
Two Ph.D. students received the 2007 Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Student Award in Green Chemistry on June 26 during the 12th annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The winners are Arani Chanda, who recently received a Ph.D in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and will begin a research associate position at Scripps Research Institute under the direction of K. Barry Sharpless and Valery Fokin, and Jennifer S. Haghpanah, who graduated from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Conn., with a bachelor’s degree in both chemistry and math and is now a first-year Ph.D. student in the lab of Jin Kim Montclare at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.

Arts and Humanities

Onyx Awards honor local theater
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 4
At the fourth annual AACTA Onyx Awards for African-Americans in theater and dance, on Friday at the Radisson Hotel, Monroeville, guest speaker Tamara Tunie noted, "as African-Americans we have a long legacy of being storytellers, so we continue to tell our stories through theater." A native of Homestead and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Tunie is an actress on TV ("Law and Order: SVU"), on Broadway ("Julius Caesar," "Oh Kay!") and on film ("Devil's Advocate"). She is also a Broadway producer ("Spring Awakening" and "Radio Golf"). "I'm here as a missionary to spread the gospel of live theater," she said, encouraging the audience to take someone to a live show who has never been. "I'm not talking about fast-food theater; I'm talking about filet mignon theater. Tell your friends and family they don't have to wait for Tyler Perry to come to town."


Fast Cities 2007
Fast Company | July 2007
You're smart, young, newly graduated from a university with the whole world before you. You could settle in a small town with well-tended lawns, pancake suppers, and life on a human scale. Or you could truck it to the big city, with all its din and dog-eat-dog lunacy. Your choice? ... In other words, there are winners in this battle for the future. We call them Fast Cities. They are cauldrons of creativity where the most important ideas and the organizations of tomorrow are centered. They attract the best and brightest. They are great places to work and live. To find them, we started with data from Carnegie Mellon assistant professor Kevin Stolarick, the numbers guru behind Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class, which helped define what makes great cities tick. We relied on CEOs for Cities' CityVitals survey, authored by Joseph Cortright of Portland, Oregon-based Impresa Inc.; sustainability data from SustainLane; and insights from the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto.

Information Technology

Is securing your network worth the money?
Network World | July 3
We often hear corporate IT pros complain that justifying security expenses is tough because they don’t necessarily generate revenue or enable new business opportunities. In fact, figuring out the economics of IT security is so challenging for customers and vendors that lots of the world’s best researchers are putting their minds to the task. They recently shared results at a conference hosted by Carnegie Mellon University.


AOL's AIM update alert bothers upgrade holdouts
InfoWorld | July 3
Some AIM users are angry about a recent alert message AOL displays on their screens urging them to upgrade to the newest version of the instant messaging software. The alert, delivered in a rectangular box that appears on the screen's lower right hand corner, can't be turned off. If a user closes the box, the alert will pop back up minutes later. If left alone, the alert will periodically position itself as the primary active window, interrupting the user's current activity. AOL acknowledges that, unless users go through the upgrade process, there is no way to get rid of the alert. ... Beyond the specific AIM situation, it's recommended that end users in general get into a habit of updating their PC software, said Chris Taschner, a vulnerability analyst at the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute.


Climbing the walls
Pittsburgh Business Times | June 29
By emulating the sticky feet of a gecko lizard, a Carnegie Mellon University professor hopes to enable robots -- and someday humans -- to walk on walls. Metin Sitti, an assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon's department of mechanical engineering and robotics institute, is working with other researchers on commercial applications for gecko tape, a technology that uses nanoscopic hairs to allow devices to stick to and then unstick from surfaces by copying the way gecko lizards climb walls.


Robot researchers think big, take small steps to market
Pittsburgh Business Times | June 29
Robotics researchers are thinking small. Small enough to fit inside the human body. A group of Pittsburgh researchers are working to commercialize technology for robotic medical devices for minimally invasive surgeries ranging from cardiac emergencies to knee replacements. "It's an emerging industry in the whole world," said Howie Choset, associate professor in the robotics institute at Carnegie Mellon University and acting chief technology officer of Innovention Technologies LLC. "This is the No. 1 place where this can take traction and become a real enterprise." The researchers have formed a group, called Pittsburgh BIG, or the Biomedical Information Group, to help build collaboration with the industry, and to brainstorm. The group has met five times. "There's great raw talent, but as a group, we haven't figured out how to coalesce that talent," Choset said. "The group will map out what ... the future is going to be."


Region bears Ivan's scars
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | July 2
On Sept. 22, 2004, while storm-shocked residents scraped away the stinking muck dumped by remnants of Hurricane Ivan, President Bush stood at the Millvale Fire Station and promised help. Nearly three years later, and one month into Atlantic hurricane season, life in Millvale is back to normal -- almost. The borough hauled the worst of the debris from Girty's Run, the stream that transects the town, but the creek still bears scars. Its battered floodwalls haven't been repaired, and silt deposited by the storm remains. ... Although the dangers are well-documented, safeguarding flood-prone communities is no simple matter. The region has layers of overlapping government bodies, and there is no penalty if they don't design a plan for an entire watershed. "It's a long-term problem that needs a long-term solution. It's hard to get the political system focused on that," said David A. Dzombak, a professor of environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.


Audio Interview: Chemists Advance Organic Semiconductor Processing
Semiconductor International Magazine | June 30
Senior Editor Alexander E. Braun interviewed Professor Richard McCullough, who leads a chemical research effort focused on organic semiconductors at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh). McCullough and his team of chemists have developed ways to make certain plastics excellent electrical conductors for applications such as RFID and flexible e-book displays. "We've come up with a new process for conductive polymers, which are attached to typical commodity plastics used in everyday life," he said. "By attaching these plastics together, we have demonstrated the very good physical properties of typical plastics for processing, shaping and molding. At the same time, they have excellent electronic properties, making them useful as transistors that can be printed. The process also drives self-assembly."


Scientists Grease The Next Generation Of Organic Semiconductors
Electronic Design | June 29
Carnegie Mellon University chemists have found that grease can make some innovative plastics vastly better electrical conductors. This discovery, published June 25 in Advanced Materials, outlines a chemical process that could fuel the next generation of tiny switches for transistors in RFID tags, flexible screen displays, and debit or key cards. "This research brings us closer to developing organic semiconductors with electrical and physical properties far superior to those that exist today," principal investigator Richard D. McCullough, professor of chemistry and dean of the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement. The new process involves adding "grease" by either chemically combining an inherently-conducting polymer (ICP) with a grease-like chemical, or by depositing hybrid material called a block copolymer onto a greased platform.

Regional Impact

Just to be sure, diocese is checking all volunteers everyone
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 1
When the 17 lectors at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shadyside learned they would have to undergo national criminal background checks to continue reading the Bible aloud at Mass, two quit. Dr. Mark Stehlik, the lector coordinator, says he doesn't think the two were hiding anything. They simply resented the intrusion into their privacy and were hurt by the church's lack of trust, he says. In 2004 Dr. Stehlik cheerfully submitted to a state background check in order to coach at the parish school. But now he wonders whether expanding the requirement to volunteers with little official interaction with minors is wise or even helpful in preventing child sexual abuse. "For a community, meaning the Catholic community, that has been built up on the backs of willing parish volunteers, there had better be a really good, verifiable return to justify putting anything onerous in the way of that volunteerism. In my mind, that return is just not there," said Dr. Stehlik, 49, a father of two and a lector since eighth grade. ... Nationally, 1.6 million Catholic Church staff and volunteers have been screened, said Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection. Still, Dr. Stehlik asks if the money spent on screening lectors and ushers could be better used elsewhere. A professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, he also believes the diocese is too confident about the security of its database in Texas. "It's precisely because I'm a computer scientist that I find this troubling. Despite our best efforts, these databases cannot be safeguarded," he said. "The world is a dangerous place. We'd like to protect everybody from everything, but we can't."


A conversation with Nina Marie Barbuto and Carrie Nardini
Pittsburgh City Paper | July 5
Nina Marie Barbuto, 23, fresh out of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture, and Carrie Nardini, 31, who has an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, teamed up earlier this spring to create an outlet for young, entrepreneurial-minded artists and other creative types. Called “I Made It!,” the roaming Sunday market aims to encourage artistic exchange and showcase eclectic creations. The next market is planned for September on the South Side.


Criminals' ATM trick: Reprogram, swipe cash
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 30
It can be surprisingly easy to rob an ATM, no violence necessary, as two thieves demonstrated last week in Derry Borough. On June 19 and 20, a man and a woman reprogrammed the automated teller machine at Mastrorocco's Market so that it thought it was dispensing dollar bills when it was actually spewing twenties. The theft netted $1,540 over the course of two days. ... Thieves don't always target the money contained within the machines themselves. Sometimes they go for the money in the accounts of the ATM users. Jon Piha, a professor of computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who has worked for ATM manufacturers, said that one method that he found particularly clever was to put an external device on the ATM that mimicked the card slot of the regular machine.


Workshop explores ways to develop Arabic search engines
The Peninsula | July 3
A workshop organized by the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar recently explored the possibility of establishing an Arabic Language Technologies Center in Qatar and developing a high-quality Arabic Web search engine. Representatives from leading local and regional organizations took part in the two-day workshop, which sought to identify concrete strategies for Qatar to emerge as a leading commercial and research center for advances related to Arabic language technologies. "The workshop investigated the possibility of creating an Arabic Language Technologies Centre in Qatar and, more specifically, developing a high-quality Arabic Web search engine," said Jaime Carbonell, Allen Newell Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Newell served as moderator for the workshop.


Yahoo Messenger conducts survey to mark 25th anniversary of emoticons
Indian Television | July 2
Yahoo Messenger is celebrating the 25th anniversary of emoticons, the popular feature on the messenger service. As part of the emoticon celebration, Yahoo conducted a survey of 40,000 Yahoo! Messenger users, to reveal where and how emoticons play a role in everyday communication. The major findings of the survey say that 82 percent of those who use Yahoo! Messenger daily use emoticons in their IM conversations. ... Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University was the first person to bring in to use his form of non verbal communication, states an official release. "For 25 years, the 'smiley' :) and his happy parenthetical-powered friends have added a critical layer of expression to our daily online conversations. When you can't hear someone's voice or see their face, emoticons are there to help us express what simple words can't," said Yahoo! Messenger VP Jeff Bonforte.


Blackholes make simulated universe debut
The Register | June 29
Scientists have a better understanding of the role black holes have played in the evolution of galaxies in our cosmos, thanks to a new and unprecedentedly detailed simulation of the universe developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. Black holes were once thought to be rare beasts. Still elusive, they are now thought to be ubiquitous in our universe. Despite this, they have not been included in previous universe simulations because on such a grand scale of cosmic structure, they are just too small to figure. Now a team of scientists, led by theoretical cosmologist and associate professor Tiziana Di Matteo, incorporated the physics of black holes into a universe simulation for the first time. "It is very computationally challenging, involving more calculations than any prior similar modeling of the cosmos, and the result offers us the best picture to date of how the cosmos formed," she said.