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News Clips - September 28, 2007

From September 21 to September 27, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 270 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


The professor's manifesto: What it meant to readers
The Wall Street Journal | September 27
As a boy, Randy Pausch painted an elevator door, a submarine and mathematical formulas on his bedroom walls. His parents let him do it, encouraging his creativity. Last week, Dr. Pausch, a computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, told this story in a lecture to 400 students and colleagues. "If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it," he said. "Don't worry about resale values."


Men vs. women at the bargaining table
ABC News | September 26
Today, women are better educated than their male counterparts, but they're still getting paid less. On average, women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man gets. One explanation for this discrepancy is that women don't negotiate as often as men do, thereby leaving behind money that could be theirs. We partnered with Carnegie Mellon economist Linda Babcock to create a "Good Morning America" Bargaining Behavior Lab to observe firsthand the differences in negotiation styles between genders.


Bernanke takes the reins
The Washington Post | September 25
It's Ben Bernanke's moment of truth. The Federal Reserve -- the economy's symbolic command center possible -- has truly passed to him. Yes, he replaced Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman in early 2006. But until now, Bernanke had faced no crisis and his policies had shadowed Greenspan's. With the Fed's decision last week to cut its key interest rate to 4.75 percent, down half a percentage point, he's on his own. The cut stirred much excitement; global stock markets jumped sharply. But only history can judge whether he made the right move. ... Sounds sensible, but it could be shortsighted. "The unemployment rate is 4.6 percent. Is that a crisis? Suppose it goes to 5 percent. It's still not a crisis," says economist Allan Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon University. "It sure looks like they're responding to pressures from the markets, from Congress."


Empowering technologies for the developing world
ABC News ( MIT Technology Review) | September 24
Helping the developing world isn't as easy as sending money and experts. Local values and customs have to be considered, and ultimately, the community has to become able to guide itself. M. Bernardine Dias is the director of Carnegie Mellon University's TechBridgeWorld, a group that partners with developing communities to create sustainable technological solutions to problems within those communities. In advance of her appearance at the Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT later this week, Technology Review talked with Dias about the role that technology can play in the developing world.


A beloved professor delivers the lecture of a lifetime
The Wall Street Journal | September 20
Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues. He motioned to them to sit down. "Make me earn it," he said.

Education for Leadership

World business made possible in Fresno
Hispanic Business News | September 25
From his tiny Fresno office, Marc Raygoza helps online retailers sell their products -- everything from a $994 pair of shoes to wedding favors -- to millions of people around the world. ... After earning his graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University in software engineering and working as "chief nerd" -- his words for chief technical architect -- at online retailer in Aliso Viejo, Raygoza returned to Fresno to raise his family and start his business.


Nodding off at work? Enter the napping device ( | September 20
You're hard at work, eyes squinted at a sea of erratically moving numbers, doggedly typing away, but little by little that familiar, dreaded lethargic haze seeps over you. It's that time of day, and try as you might, you can't stay awake without several bitter cups of coffee, a red bull (or five), and on some days even caffeine pills. You would pay for some sleep right now. ... A pilot study during Chowdhury's MBA at Carnegie Mellon allowed the former analyst to deduce that offering well to do sleep-deprived execs the ability to barter some of their hard-earned money in exchange for a few much-needed winks was a golden opportunity. People would pay to nap.

Arts and Humanities

Confessions of a journal editor
The Chronicle of Higher Education | September 28
It's good that people can't hear me when I edit their writing. "Blah blah blah." "Is this a garbled translation from the Cyrolean?" "Did you reread your writing? I'm not your mother." "Urrrh." It wouldn't be polite. ***This article was written by Carnegie Mellon professor of English, Jeffrey Williams.


Stage Preview: Bricolage premiere brings Harris' return
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 21
Call him the gray beard of the avant garde, the veteran, the gray hair. That might seem a contradiction in terms, but not for Jed Allen Harris, who embodies other apparent contradictions as well. ... Partly, that's the fate of directors in general, but mainly, it's because most of Harris' directing record is decades old. For the past 15 years, he has worked almost exclusively within the walls of Carnegie Mellon, focusing on students. But he was at the center of the lively small pro Pittsburgh theater scene in the '70s and '80s, for a while directing up to a third of the shows at City Theatre.

Information Technology

The advantages of amnesia
The Boston Globe | September 23
Imagine carrying around an entire research library on an iPod. Such a feat suddenly seemed feasible as of earlier this month, with the news that IBM physicist Stuart Parkin is close to perfecting an advance called "magnetic random access memory," or MRAM, which will enable us to store exponentially more data on the tiniest of hard drives. ... Alessandro Acquisti, an assistant professor of information technology and public policy at the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University, points out that as digital memory accumulates, the problem of over-remembering might take care of itself.


Gibson discusses learning from storage failures | September 20
Last October, spoke with Garth Gibson — the Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist who pioneered RAID technology and leads an initiative called the Petascale Data Storage Institute (PDSI) — about the challenges of storing very large amounts of data. Chief among the challenges the PDSI researchers were exploring was why computers fail. Now, a year later, we checked in with Gibson to see if PDSI is any closer to discovering why computers fail and to learn the latest developments in petascale storage.


Your data's safety net
IBM Systems Magazine | September Issue
If a bitter employee sabotages your computer system and makes off with your customers’ personal data, would it cripple your business? Once you’ve brought your operations back online, reimbursed victims for losses, and hired a public relations firm and a computer forensics team, could your business bounce back? This seems like the sort of scenario a good disaster-recovery plan would allow for, but as the latest numbers from the Computer Security Institute (CSI) say less than one-third of businesses have insurance against cyber losses. ... “Both things can happen, because in a classical sense the market hasn’t started functioning yet,” says Gaurav Kataria, a doctoral candidate in management science and information systems at Carnegie Mellon University. “Cyber insurers don’t know what they’re insuring people against. They don’t have a clear understanding of the risk."


Carnegie Mellon's solar house a glimpse of the future
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 22
Carnegie Mellon University students in steel-toed boots and carrying utility knives have completed construction of a solar house in time for a national competition. But now they must take the whole thing apart. Carnegie Mellon students soon will begin disassembling the almost 800-square-foot house featuring a wood and corrugated-steel exterior, then haul it and its solar-powered work station to Washington, D.C., where they will rebuild it on the National Mall and compete Oct. 12-20 in the Department of Energy's 2007 Solar Decathlon.


Carnegie Mellon solar housing a contender
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 21
Carnegie Mellon University is banking on plug-and-play housing to bring home the gold in the U.S. Department of Energy's third Solar Decathlon competition next month. ... "The students do all the work themselves, all the mistakes and all the successes are owed to the students," said Hilary Robinson, dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts.


Carnegie Mellon device brings world into focus
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 27
If NASA could link thousands of photographs to study Mars in greater detail, why not make the same technology available for people to see the Earth? Illah Nourbakhsh and Randy Sargent pondered that question while working for the space agency three years ago, and the GigaPan project was born. "We knew we could apply it to the Earth and to global understanding of the Earth," said Mr. Nourbakhsh, now an associate professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.


Violent crime rising in U.S. - especially robbery
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 25
Violent crime in the U.S. rose slightly in 2006 for the second year in a row, according to a report released yesterday by the FBI. The annual Uniform Crime Report, which this time includes a warning against using the figures to rank various cities and regions, shows that violent crime increased 1.9 percent from 2005 to last year. ... "What we've seen in the last few years is a very flat national trend," said criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University. "These are relatively minor fluctuations, except for robbery, and that's a cause for concern."


Carnegie Mellon prof wins major European science award
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 24
Anastasia Ailamaki, associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of 20 scientists chosen for this year's European Young Investigator Awards, Carnegie Mellon announced today.


Carnegie Mellon rover built for trip to dark side of the moon
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 21
It started with a backhoe and could end up on the moon. On Thursday, Carnegie Mellon University showed off its latest robot -- a four-wheeled rover called Scarab. The rover that resembles a beetle was developed for NASA to test technology that might someday be used in lunar rovers. ... The robot's curvy body -- designed by mechanical engineering graduate student John Thornton and Grant Cobb, an undergraduate industrial designer -- is novel when compared to the boxy rovers of the past, said William "Red" Whittaker, a Carnegie Mellon robotics professor and principal investigator of the project.


Couple gives $5M to Carnegie Mellon for new center
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 21
Carnegie Mellon University has received a $5 million gift from Ray and Stephanie Lane to establish the Ray and Stephanie Lane Center for Computational Biology, the school announced Thursday. ... Robert F. Murphy, professor of biological sciences and biomedical engineering, will be the director, and has been appointed the first Ray and Stephanie Lane Professor of Computational Biology.


Can you spot a phish? Play Carnegie Mellon's game and see
Computer World Malaysia | September 27
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an online game designed to teach Internet users about the dangers of phishing. Featuring a cartoon fish named Phil, the game, called Anti-Phishing Phil, has been tested in Carnegie Mellon’s Privacy and Security Laboratory. Officials with the lab say users who spent 15 minutes playing the interactive, online game were better able to discern fraudulent Web sites than those who simply read tutorials about the threat. ... While security experts argue the effectiveness in educating users to be aware of phishing scams, the Ph.D. student who developed Anti-Phishing Phil, Steve Sheng, this summer presented results of a study showing that training improved Internet users’ ability to tell a legitimate Web site from a fraudulent one. According to Sheng’s research, users in the study improved their accuracy in spotting fake sites from 69% before playing the game to 87% after.


Carnegie Mellon University Qatar pupils hone business skills through reality show
Gulf Times | September 27
Students at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (Carnegie Mellon University Qatar) spent 48 hours recently racing against the clock trying to turn QR300 into as much money as they could in the campus’s first version of the American reality show ‘The Apprentice’. A group of 35 students were split into seven-member teams, given QR300 seed money and 20 white T-shirts.


Sketching out a better gaming future
BBC News | September 26
Developed by students at Carnegie Mellon university in Adelaide, Australia, game sketching is designed to replace game elements that usually take months of design and developer work with puppets, actors and basic virtual characters. "This is a technology that is useful for companies that are exploring new intellectual properties and new games," John Buchanan, Director of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center, told BBC World Service's Digital Planet program.


Half of Carnegie students learn foreign languages
The Korea Times | September 26
A large number of international students among their student body is a common factor in the world's top universities. Among them, Carnegie Mellon University has another reason to welcome and draw more foreign students apart from globalization. Jared L. Cohon, president of the school, said Carnegie Melon boasts the biggest number of students in the world learning foreign languages in an interview with The Korea Times.


Carnegie Mellon offers practical studying environment
The Korea Times | September 26
Its practical studying environment was the deciding factor for Chae Han-joo to choose Carnegie Mellon University as the place to prepare for his future career in engineering. ... Chae was convinced Carnegie was the best school for students who want to study electrical and computer engineering. "The thing I like the most about Carnegie is that it actually uses programs, tools and equipment that are actually used in real companies and labs,'' Chae said. ``All the companies in the U.S. know about this and that is one of the main reasons that Carnegie students have such a high rate of getting hired and are very well paid after graduation,'' he added.


Taiwan: Taiwanese web users take emoticons to another level
Taipei Times | September 24
Smilies are so 1990s. Emoticons have evolved to another level in Taiwan after users started making their own animated GIF files and swapping them through chat programs such as the popular MSN Messenger. ...  Indeed, it's been more than 25 years since US computer scientist Scott Elliot Fahlman came up with the idea of stringing together a colon, a dash and a parenthesis sign to make a "smiley face." According to Fahlman's original post on the Carnegie Mellon online bulletin board on Sept. 19, 1982, he thought the sequence of characters could function as a "joke marker" for online conversations that get too heated.