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News Clips - March 2, 2007

From February 23 to March 1, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 226 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Diving deep: Robosubmarine going down
CNET | February 28
How low can you go? A freewheelin' robotic submarine developed by NASA and Carnegie Mellon may soon find out. The untethered sub will dive into a water-filled sinkhole in Tamaulipas, Mexico. How low will it go? So far sonar's reached a depth of 270 meters. But then human divers have gotten down to 282 meters below the surface. No bottom in sight at the Zacaton sinkhole. ... Scientists and engineers at Carnegie Mellon developed the sub and its guidance and control software. So far they've been testing it in a known, 115-meter-deep sinkhole called La Pilita, five hours south of Brownsville, Texas. They plan to do the deep dive at Zacaton in May. The submarine's official name is DEPTHX. That's a catchy acronym for Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer.


Educating engineers for the new market
BusinessWeek | February 27
While debate heats up again over immigration and the movement of jobs offshore, U.S. schools are starting to come to grips with the challenges of preparing new engineers for the realities of globalization. ... This presents a major challenge to U.S. engineering schools, many of which continue to pump out graduates who lack the multidimensional skills required to stay at the top of the global design food chain. "You have to ask what engineers will be doing if low-end analysis is off-shored," says Pradeep Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering. "Engineering processes change so fast, that unless you are able and willing to move into management roles, one cannot justify the really high salaries." ... Programs at Carnegie Mellon illustrate the new thinking. In January, the engineering school launched a one-year master's degree in innovation management as a first step. It now has seven students, but aims for as many as 30 in a few years. One course is taught by Professor David Gerard, an economist. ... Carnegie Mellon is developing a number of other courses on globalization. In a new course taught by Associate Professor Lucio Soibelman, a former Brazilian contractor, students are learning to work in teams on live projects with students at foreign universities.


Millions of videos, and now a way to search inside them
The New York Times | February 25
The World Wide Web is awash in digital video, but too often we can’t find the videos we want or browse for what we might like. That’s a loss, because if we could search for Internet videos, they might become the content of a global television station, just as the Web’s hypertext, once it was organized and tamed by search, became the stuff of a universal library. ...  Today, owing to the proliferation of large video files, video accounts for more than 60 percent of the traffic on the Internet, according to CacheLogic, a company in Cambridge, England, that sells “media delivery systems” to Internet service providers. “I imagine that within two years it will be 98 percent,” says Hui Zhang, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


Coming soon: The number 24
The Wall Street Journal | February 23
All numbers can be shown to have interesting properties and to emerge in unexpected places, if we look hard enough. That makes any one number's claim of enigmatic properties rather suspect. "Human beings are not as good as we imagine at discerning which events are random and which ones fall into a pattern," Sylvain Cappell, professor of mathematics at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, told me. For a graphical representation of this concept, I recommend a Web project by Golan Levin, who teaches electronic art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Education for Leadership

Buy! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! Sell!
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 1
A timely article titled, "The 6 New Rules of Rich" by Oliver Broudy in Men's Health magazine, has this fetching beginning: ... "Emily Haisley, a grad student at the Center for Behavioral Decision Research at Carnegie Mellon University, is collecting data on why people buy lottery tickets. This is an important question, because buying lottery tickets is not rational. You know this, of course. Just as you know that starting to save for retirement in your 20s instead of your 30s is the difference between a seven-and six-figure nest egg. And that you should pay off your credit cards each month. Yes, you know this. But then ... "'People cannot be counted on to do what's best for themselves.' So says professor George Loewenstein, Ph.D., Haisley's adviser and a trailblazer in the budding field of behavioral economics . . ." To learn the path to wealth, you'll have to go to We just wanted to share the local angle.


Carnegie Mellon allows men, women to share rooms
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 27
Students at Carnegie Mellon University may not think twice about housing that is coed by building, by floor or even by wing. But this fall, the school with 10,000 students will take gender mixing to a whole new level by allowing opposite sex students to share a room. The pilot program will involve one building with 25 apartments, officials confirmed yesterday. It will put Carnegie Mellon among roughly 30 schools nationally, public and private, that have instituted some form of gender neutral housing. The school has weighed the idea for several years, said Tim Michael, assistant vice president for campus services. After students submitted a formal proposal last fall, administrators benchmarked what other schools do and deemed it feasible to implement a program that they expect will attract a limited number of students.

Arts and Humanities

Politics, resilience drive exhibit by Northern Irish
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 25
Since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, many of Northern Ireland's major paramilitary campaigns have been on ceasefire or their leaders have declared their war to be over. ... Gone is the devastating violence that once shook Northern Ireland to its core, but for most who live there, the memory will never die. That's something to keep in mind when viewing "Tides," an exhibition of new works by nine artists from Northern Ireland that fills all three floors of Carnegie Mellon's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. "These artists address a variety of subjects, in many different mediums, to explain the range of issues still permeating Northern Ireland -- and also what it might mean to be an artist in a place undergoing political transition," says Hilary Robinson, the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts.


'Aging in place' trend ramps up for elderly homeowners
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 25
Joanne Smith isn't planning to pack up and move to a house on a Florida beach when she retires. ... The ranch house she has lived in for two decades now includes a handicapped-accessible master bathroom and a new kitchen -- all designed to allow Smith to "age in place." ... An AARP study found that more than 80 percent of people over 50 want to grow old in their own homes. ... The aging in place concept isn't limited to home remodeling. A host of products are being developed to allow seniors to stay in their homes after they retire. Mark Baskinger, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Design, has been working with GE Appliances for about four years on developing a line of appliances for aging baby boomers. "They will experience a different set of problems than their parents," he said.


Costume designer uses hip-hop in Shakespeare to further understanding
The Ranger | February 23
Changing perceptions every once in a while is important, a costume designer and professor said. "Even when you or I, today, look at the person right next to you, you make a certain number of assumptions about that person and that person's character by how they're dressed," Paul Tazewell said. Tazewell, who is on leave from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, lectured Feb. 8 at the McNay Art Museum on "The Hip-Hop in Shakespeare." Placing Shakespeare's work in a setting outside its original context helps the audience to understand the meaning from a different perspective, Tazewell said.


A children's Museum design competition proposes remaking the North Side as a "Charm Bracelet"
Pittsburgh City Paper | February 22
Jane Werner, executive director of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, points with pride to the giant window in the east wall of the former Buhl Planetarium (now part of the Museum). Light pours in and, through the frame, the historic Carnegie Library looms gallantly. The perfectly placed aperture, however, is actually a recent alteration to the historic fabric, opened at the insistence of design architects Koning Eizenberg, who sensed that a visual connection to the greater neighborhood would have many benefits. ... Significantly, faculty and students from the Urban Lab at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture (where I am an adjunct faculty member) conducted community meetings, provided research assistance to the competitors and produced their own design schemes, which are also part of the exhibition.

Information Technology

The smiley gets a milk mustache :-{)
InformationWeek | February 27
The electronic emoticon was born on Sept. 19, 1982, when Scott E. Fahlman, now a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, first proposed the smiley :-) as a diacritical mark for jokes, which aren't always obvious in e-mail. Almost a quarter century later, the smiley has grown a mustache :-{) in the service of marketing. MilkPEP, a dairy industry promotional group funded by the nation's milk processors, has begun a campaign to evoke its distinctive milk mustache TV ads through the medium of text messaging by adding a milk mustache to the smiley emoticon. ... "The whole idea of emoticons/smileys is out there in the public domain, where it belongs, and I've certainly got no issue with companies using smileys in ads," Fahlman says in an e-mail. "It's kind of fun for me to see these things spreading inexorably through the culture.


Carnegie Mellon team gives NASA's Mars rover a new sense of direction
Pop City Media | February 21
The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, only expected to last about three months, have explored Mars’ bumpy terrain for four years and counting. Recently, this gave NASA an opportunity to test drive software developed by Tony Stentz, research professor in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and Dave Ferguson, Stentz’s former student and now a research scientist at Intel Research Pittsburgh. Their FieldD* adapted software will help these and future rovers see the big picture. “The big difference is the previous software would take a snapshot, very localized, and then place it into a terrain assessment,” said Ferguson, a native of New Zealand. “The new stuff will still take that snapshot of the local region, but it remembers what the robot has seen up to then. Previously, it was like driving along with your eyes closed. You suddenly open them and see a rock and move around it. Compare that to remembering where you are and where you’ve been.


Robot Asimo learns how to jaywalk
New Scientist Tech | February 2007
What do the classic computer game Frogger and the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark have in common? They are both being used to demonstrate software that tells humanoid robots where to plant their feet. At Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, James Kuffner and his team have developed software that can plan a route through a constantly changing environment. It is used to control an Asimo robot on loan from its Japan-based manufacturer, Honda.


Barnyard emissions blames for poor health
United Press International | February 27
U.S. scientists say reducing barnyard emissions can help reduce such maladies as severe asthma in children and lung cancer and heart attacks in adults. A team led by Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor Peter Adams argued that improved control of ammonia emissions from farm barnyards is more economical and efficient than trying to control the effects of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution from some industrial plants. "In most farms, handling of animal manure is a major source of ammonia being released both to air and water," said Adams. "Our research shows increased control of livestock feed, efficient use of nitrogen on farms, low-emission fertilizers and other improvements to manure handling on farms are cost-effective ways to reduce ammonia emissions and airborne particles.


Forum: Carbon Culprits
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 25
The United States has put more CO2 into the atmosphere than anybody else, but without too much trouble we now can take the lead in slowing climate change, argue Carnegie Mellon professors Jay Apt and M. Granger Morgan. ... The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of climate scientists from around the world, recently released the summary of its fourth assessment report on climate science after six years of new work. The report makes it plain that carbon dioxide released by humans is changing the climate but that there are practical ways to control CO2 emissions.

Regional Impact

Regional economy to trudge along on slow track
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | February 25
The Pittsburgh area is on track to produce about 9,400 jobs in 2007, the third consecutive year of gains but 1,000 shy of last year's increase, say projections from PNC Financial Services Group. ... Why is it so difficult for the area to hit its stride for job creation? Economists and policy analysts point to several factors, including an aging population, the long transition from the region's past as a steel mecca and state taxes and laws that businesses find less than friendly. "Believe it or not, the transition away from the heavy-industry economy that so dominated our region toward a more dynamic, service-oriented, entrepreneurial economy is still not complete yet," said Donald Smith, director of economic development for Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.


Newsmaker: James H. Garrett Jr.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 27
Residence: O'Hara. Age: 46. Family: Wife, Ruth Ann; daughter, Ellen, 18; son, Patrick, 16. Education: Bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in civil engineering, all from Carnegie Mellon University. Occupation: Civil engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon. Background: Joined Carnegie Mellon's department of civil and environmental engineering in 1990 and was named department head in 2006; served as associate dean for academic affairs in the university's College of Engineering, 2000-06; co-founded the Center for Sensed Critical Infrastructure Research; developed mobile hardware and software systems used in construction management and bridge inspections; won the 2006 ASCE Computing in Civil Engineering Award and the 1990 Moisseiff Award for a paper he co-authored; spent six months in Germany in 1994 as a Humboldt fellow.


Newsmaker: Larry Heimann
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 24
Residence: McCandless. Age: 43. Family: Wife, An; twin sons, Alex and Mark, 14. Occupation: Associate teaching professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University. Education: Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master's and a doctorate, both in political economy, from Washington University in St. Louis. Background: Heimann came to Carnegie Mellon from Michigan State University in 1998 as a visiting professor of political science. He was invited to join the faculty for a major now called information systems.


State of Art
Pittsburgh City Paper | February 22
In almost every way, the house is an ordinary, two-story Pittsburgh dwelling. ... Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of Carnegie Mellon University's Doherty Hall, the eyes themselves are being watched. Osman Khan's computer is projecting a film of this house onto the wall of his darkened classroom. ... New media is a different breed of art, one that uses digital technology the way some artists might use a paintbrush. But Carnegie Mellon has become well known in the field: From new-media superstar Simon Penny's tenure in the 1990s, to a more recent stay by pioneering robotics artist Frank Garvey, Carnegie Mellon has always had one or two new-media "rock stars" on campus. ... Despite the icy weather outside, Lawrenceville hipster haven Brillobox is packed on a recent Thursday night in January. But what commands the attention of the standing-room-only crowd is not some indie-rock band's hirsute posturing: It's mild-mannered Carnegie Mellon professor and computer-music pioneer Roger Dannenberg.


NASA's DEPTHX ready for exploring Earth's deepest sinkhole
Malaysia Sun | March 1
The NASA funded DEPTHX underwater robot has successfully passed its test for exploring the Earth's deepest sinkhole. The 2.5 metre diameter underwater robot, shaped like a flattened orange, manoeuvred un-tethered and autonomously within a 115-meter-deep sinkhole during tests in a geothermal sinkhole or cenote, known as La Pilita, this month in Mexico. A team of engineers led by David Wettergreen, associate research professor in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, developed the software that guided the DEPTHX craft during its dive.


The Norges Bank watchers
Innovations Report | February 28
The Norwegian economy presents some unique challenges for monetary policy, conludes Norges Bank Watch 2007, an independent review of monetary policymaking in Norway, published by BI Norwegian School of Management. Anzeige Centre for Monetary Economics (CME) at the BI Norwegian School of Management has for the eight time invited a committee of leading economists for Norges Bank Watch with the objective of evaluating monetary policy in Norway. The Norges Bank Watch 2007 which this year has been undertaken by a trio of experienced macroeconomists, Marvin Goodfriend of Carnegie Mellon University, Knut Anton Mork of Handelsbanken Capital Markets, and Ulf Söderström of Bocconi University, was released on 19 February 2007.


Top architecture design expert to give lecture
Gulf Times | February 27
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar will host a lecture tomorrow by Vivian Loftness, renowned researcher, author and professor in the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture, US. Entitled ‘The Future of our Built Environment: High Tech and Sustainable,’ the lecture is to focus on how the rapid development of the built environment raises both challenges and opportunities for sustainable design and engineering.


Quantum dots detect metastatic lesions
AZoNano | February 27
By injecting quantum dots into tumors, investigators at Carnegie Mellon University have been able to image sentinel lymph nodes in animals using near-infrared light. These results could lead to a simple, non-invasive method for detecting metastasis. Reporting its work in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, a research team headed by Byron Ballou, Ph.D., used polymer-coated, water-soluble quantum dots to map the lymph nodes that drain tumors in mouse models of human cancer. In many types of cancer, metastatic lesions first appear in these lymph nodes, which are why they are known as sentinel lymph nodes.


Terry Collins radio interview
Radio New Zealand | February 24
While Chemistry Professor Terry Collins was in New Zealand receiving a Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, The University of Auckland, he sat down with Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill to talk about what inspired him to become a green chemist, how and why he developed Fe-TAML activators®, and what the world needs to do to achieve a more sustainable civilization. Collins, head of the Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry at the Mellon College of Science, is credited with creating a new class of oxidation catalysts – Fe-TAML activators® – with the potential for enormous, positive impact on the environment.