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News Clips - October 19, 2007

From October 12 to October 18, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 500 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Study urges US to better protect river
The New York Times (AP) | October 16
States and the federal government need to coordinate their efforts to monitor and protect the water of the Mississippi River, a new analysis urges. The study released Tuesday by the National Research Council calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate the efforts affecting the river and the northern Gulf of Mexico where its water is discharged. ''The limited attention being given to monitoring and managing the Mississippi's water quality does not match the river's significant economic, ecological and cultural importance,'' said David A. Dzombak, professor of environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


Paulson's credit push earns jeers from free-market adherents
Bloomberg News | October 16
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan to shore up asset-backed commercial paper is drawing criticism from free-market advocates, who say it risks shielding banks from the consequences of poor decisions. ... "I've been surprised by the extent to which the administration has been willing to be involved in markets,'' said Allan Meltzer, who Republican lawmakers commissioned in 1998 for a review of the IMF and World Bank. "Nobody in government is ever as pure as their statements may lead you to believe,'' said Meltzer, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


The little robot that generates big pictures
Wired Magazine | October 16
NASA, Google, and Carnegie Mellon have joined forces to create a $279 consumer robot that uses any old digital camera (and a fancy algorithm) to create ultra high-resolution pictures. ... The still-in-beta robot is called the GigaPan imager, and it's being commercialized by a small Austin company, Charmed Labs. The robot precisely controls where and how many pictures your camera takes, allowing it to systematically capture an entire scene. Then, Carnegie Mellon software uses each image capture as a huge pixel, stitching together a seamless metaphoto like the one at the top of the Burning Man 2006 Waffle.


Health Watch
U.S. News and World Report (HealthDay) | October 12
Chronic on-the-job stress doubles the risk that someone who has had a heart attack will have another major coronary event, a study finds. ... Workplace stress doubled the odds of such heart troubles, the team found. A review published in the same issue of the journal finds that stress also contributes to depression and HIV/AIDS. Sheldon Cohen, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, and his team found the strongest evidence for a link between stress and depression.

Education for Leadership

Bhangra dancers compete for charity
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 18
More than a dozen Carnegie Mellon University students have been staying up nights into the early morning, sweating over a centuries-old tradition. ... The Carnegie Mellon students have organized the region's first bhangra competition, set for Nov. 3-4 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Called "Bhangra in the Burg," it will feature 10 bhangra teams from colleges and the Pittsburgh area competing for $5,250 in cash while raising money for the Homeless Children's Education Fund of Allegheny County.


Sopranos to perform in recital at Corning church
Star-Gazette | October 16
Two operatic sopranos with ties to the Corning area will present a recital at 7 p.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church of Corning. JangMin Kug-Ahn of Painted Post and Colleen McGrath, a native of Corning, will present a program of familiar selections from opera and the classical vocal repertoire. ... McGrath went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a master of music in opera magna cum laude from Boston Conservatory. She is represented by Wade Artist Management in New York City, where she now lives.


Cameo: Cognitive Scientist
The Boston Globe | October 14
It's all about a smarter way to sell, well, you name it: underwear, ketchup, detergent. Or, in Lisa Haverty's case, diet cranberry juice. Haverty is a cognitive scientist who works for Arnold, the ad agency based in Boston, where she is watching an ad for Ocean Spray, trying to decide if the crowd in the cranberry bog should be having a party or exercising - the better to get across the message that if you're dieting, add Ocean Spray diet cranberry juice to your menu. ... For Ocean Spray, Haverty helped revise a commercial to include a group of women who are exercising instead of a group of women having a party - to visually drive home the message of "diet drink." She works on other accounts as well. Haverty, who has a PhD in cognitive science from Carnegie Mellon University, has an academic background, working with artificial intelligence, educational software, and public policy.

Arts and Humanities

Art Review: Carnegie Mellon exhibits produce balance
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 17
Although both trained as architects and both have been guided by a sensibility to their chosen material, the late American woodworker George Nakashima and sculptor Dee Briggs of Pittsburgh and New York would seem an unlikely exhibition match. But the warmth of his organic forms and the cool minimalism of hers provide balance and initiate discussion at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University.


Writer shares battles, triumphs of raising disabled child
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | October 14
Jane Bernstein worried about the same things as any other parent. ... "Rachel in the World" is the sequel to Bernstein's "Loving Rachel," which charted the first five years of her daughter's life. Bernstein, a professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University who lives in Squirrel Hill, describes Rachel -- who is now 24 and legally blind -- as a rather stubborn teenager who doesn't like doing chores, tends to wear the same clothes, is sometimes haphazard about her hygiene and a picky eater.


Schwartz & ASCAP develop new musicals with PCLO & Mellon
Broadway News Baltimore | October 12
Pittsburgh CLO and Carnegie Mellon School of Drama are proud to announce a new partnership with The ASCAP Foundation and composer/lyricist and Carnegie Mellon alumnus Stephen Schwartz to develop new musicals as part of the Pittsburgh CLO/Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama New Works Program.  The ASCAP Foundation and Mr. Schwartz will select musicals for this initiative from participants in the prestigious ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop.

Information Technology

Comp sci researchers use economic theory to disrupt malware black markets
Ars Technica | October 17
As we've come to learn, the Internet is a great way to buy and sell various products. Unfortunately, sometimes the products on offer are a bit more nefarious than your average eBay auction, and include stolen credit card numbers, identity data, viruses, and even botnets for denial-of-service attacks. Fortunately, two Carnegie Mellon University researchers are collaborating with colleagues at the International Computer Science Institute and the University of California, San Diego in order to analyze and disrupt online "black markets" for illegal goods.


In Washington, D.C. it takes a village to build a solar house
CNET | October 16
I just returned from the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy where 20 universities build houses powered entirely by the sun. That's right, off the grid on the National Mall for almost two weeks. ... Things have gotten a bit more high-tech. Many of the homes featured networks of sensors and control systems to regulate light or heating and cooling. Carnegie Mellon University and Santa Clara even developed software for the residents to track energy usage in real time and centrally control home appliances. ... Many of the homes had a "core" where plumbing and electrical wiring are housed. Other rooms are bolted on to the core. This approach, which Carnegie Mellon University called "plug and play," gives homeowners and builders more flexibility. If you want to expand with another bedroom, you attach that room to the core structure.


eWatch to measure psychosocial stress
United Press International | October 17
U.S. scientists have announced plans to study psychosocial stress by measuring people's exposure to daily life stressors using a new technology. ... The eWatch, a multi-sensor package about the size of a large wristwatch, was developed by Daniel Siewiorek, director of Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute, and Professor Asim Smailagic. Both are co-investigators in the new study.


India's ex-president lauded by Carnegie Mellon
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | October 18
A man who recently led the world's largest democracy lauded Pittsburgh for its industrial heritage Wednesday while encouraging leaders to realize the potential of the region's universities and schools. "Pittsburgh is, as far as India's concerned, a historic city," said Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, whose five-year tenure as India's president ended in July. "The youth of Pittsburgh is a big, powerful resource (and) this power, we should utilize, we should harness for the good of America and also the world." Kalam tapped into that resource yesterday when he addressed more than 600 students, faculty and Indian-American families at Carnegie Mellon University.


College application process goes paperless
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 16
The college search and application process today is hardly recognizable from what it was even a decade ago, when students were still securing applications by mail and using typewriters to pound out their essays and lists of extracurricular activities. ... As information becomes more accessible, colleges are also hearing from students earlier in the process. It's not unusual now to get information queries from students in their freshman year, said Jason Nevinger, associate director of admission at Carnegie Mellon University. "It's moved the whole timeline of how a student approaches his college search," said Mr. Nevinger. "It doesn't start junior year -- it starts freshman and sophomore year."


Carnegie Mellon prof recognized by Smithsonian magazine
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 15
Computer scientist Luis von Ahn, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named one of "America's Young Innovators" by Smithsonian magazine. ... The distinction is one of several that recently have come to Dr. von Ahn, 29. Last year he was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur "genius" grant, and Popular Science magazine named him one of its "Brilliant 10."


Trail improvements planned for city parks
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 12
Walk along the trails around Schenley Park's Panther Hollow, and you'll find a lot of nature, combined with a lot of need. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy today plans to announce a $3 million parks improvement effort that will try to improve the nature and address the need. ... That's part of what she calls an eventual "soup-to-nuts restoration of that valley." The conservancy is working with Carnegie Mellon University biomedical engineering professor Jeanne Van Briesen on a study of the hollow's ecology.


Alchemy in the academy
The Australian | October 17
I have edited a literary and cultural studies journal for the past 15 years and it's hard not to feel some irritation when it seems I pay more attention to other people's words than they do. Of course, some academic writing is as elegant as the drape of Armani, and one can't expect everyone to write as well as Louis Menand. But if you pick up a typical article in an academic journal, what happens? Does it put the ding in plodding? ***This article was written by Carnegie Mellon professor of English and literary and cultural studies, Jeffrey J. Williams.,25197,22597362-27702,00.html


Boffins plot to disrupt underground black markets
The Register | October 17
Academic researchers are developing techniques to disrupt underground black markets frequented by malicious hackers and virus writers. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed two approaches to interrupt the operation of black market sites that hawk viruses, stolen data, and attack services. ... The project involved monitoring the black market for seven months and developing automated tools to make sense of the data. The researchers estimate trades in illegal materials worth an estimated $37m took place during the monitoring period. This involved the trade in 80,000 credit card records, though how many of these were valid was outside the scope of the project.


Kalam to visit US
The Hindu (PTI) | October 14
The Indian American community, especially students and academicians, are eagerly awaiting the visit of former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who will be touring the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas and Arkansas starting on Monday. ... Kalam will also give a lecture at the Carnegie Mellon Campus in Pittsburgh beside visiting the Robotics laboratory and meeting members of the Indian Community.