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News Clips - April 18, 2008

From April 11 to April 17, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 1,000 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


DARPA pushes machine learning with legged LittleDog robot
Scientific American | April 15
Phase two of LittleDog's development recently wrapped up, and phase three is set to begin this summer. In the first phase, which began in late 2005, DARPA asked six teams of roboticists—from Carnegie Mellon University, the Florida University System's Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania—to improve on the same basic quadruped robot platform, which DARPA paid Boston Dynamics more than $1.6 million to design, build and support. To successfully complete this phase, each team's LittleDog needed to move at the rate of at least a half an inch (1.3 centimeters) per second over terrain that included obstacles 1.9 inches (4.8 centimeters) in height.


McCain proposes break in gas taxes
ABC News | April 15
The four-term Arizona senator was presenting his proposals — and blistering his Democratic rivals — in a wide-ranging economic speech at Carnegie Mellon University. It's part of an ongoing effort to counter the notion — fueled by his own previous comments — that he's not as strong on the economy as he is on other issues. He's also seeking to fend off criticism from Democrats, including Obama and Clinton, that his small-government, free-market stances don't mesh with people feeling the pinch — particularly those hurting now.


The crime conundrum
Newsweek | April 14
Al Blumstein, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of "The Crime Drop in America," says that if Hillary Clinton reaches the White House and her administration is willing to pour enough resources into the cities it targets, she could achieve dramatic declines. But he also cautioned that the cuts in violent crime rates in the '90s were more a result of a strong economy and the end of the crack era than of policy initiatives.


'Smart People' gives brainy tale a dose of heart
The Wall Street Journal | April 11
The professor's lofty indifference to the life around him is foreshadowed by the very first shot, when he parks his aging Saab on a diagonal across two spaces on a Carnegie Mellon parking lot. (There's another familiar trope: must academics drive only Saabs or Volvos?) The car figures in the plot. Forbidden to drive it after suffering a trauma during a major pratfall, Lawrence reluctantly hires his no-account adopted brother, Chuck -- Mr. Church's marvelous buffoon -- as a pro-tem chauffeur.


A disagreeable academic, and a tonic named Sarah Jessica Parker
The New York Times | April 11
Mr. Quaid, his handsomeness distorted and obscured by stooped shoulders, a sagging belly and wayward facial hair, plays Lawrence Wetherhold, an English professor at Carnegie Mellon whose general unpleasantness seems less like a personality trait than like a belief system. His narcissism is a seamless coat of many colors, a weave of grief for his dead wife, resentment at how much the world demands of him and the conviction that he is smarter than everybody else.


10 questions for Randy Pausch
Time Magazine | April 10
Do you believe that you were chosen to deliver a message of hope? Catherine Pilie, New Orleans – Well, gosh, I've never really thought about that. I attribute it to bad luck and nothing else. Certainly if I had the choice, I'd give it all back if I could give the cancer back with it. I'm glad I am making the best of a bad situation, but I certainly would rather have not been in a bad situation to start with.,9171,1729708,00.html

Education for Leadership

The 15-minute tip: Two simple steps for big savings on gas costs
Fox Business News | April 16
The Carnegie Mellon University Sustainable Earth Club studied 81 random vehicles in a parking lot and found that 80 of the 81 had under-inflated tires. The average rate of under-inflation was 20% -- soft tires, indeed.

Arts and Humanities

Finding real toads in the Miller Gallery’s make-believe garden
Pittsburgh City Paper | April 17
Based on the poster for the Miller Gallery's Moratorium on Make-Believe show -- a red toy trolley arcs off a grassy cliff in a colossal display of flames -- visitors might expect a creative assault on Mr. Rogers. Instead, this showcase for six Carnegie Mellon MFA candidates offers broad-spectrum commentary on fantasy. And while the title promises an overall suspension of the pretend, the artwork itself -- paradoxically -- frankly engages it.


Carnegie Mellon to take classic comedies outdoors
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 11
The Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama is taking its latest production out of the theater and into the open air. From today through April 26, the student company will perform two classic comedies of the 17th and 18th centuries -- Carlo Goldoni's "Servant of Two Masters" and Moliere's "Scapino." The plays will be performed in revolving repertoire at outdoor locations at Hartwood Acres Park, SouthSide Works and Station Square as well as on the Carnegie Mellon University campus in Oakland.

Information Technology

Game developers not playing when it comes to recruiting staff
IT Business Edge | April 16
Unlike some other IT positions, game developers don’t necessarily need formal training. Still, more students are showing interest, leading to the development of specialized programs at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University.

Regional Impact

Regional insights: What can keep people from leaving Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 13
Harold D. Miller is president of Future Strategies LLC, a management and policy consulting firm based in Pittsburgh, and adjunct professor of public policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University. He also publishes an Internet resource on regional economic development issues:


With demand high, western Pennsylvania universities churning out engineering students
Pittsburgh Business Times | April 11
Four of the largest regional universities for recruitment -- the University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia University, Penn State University and Carnegie Mellon University -- will award about 1,867 undergraduate engineering degrees this spring, an 11 percent increase from last year.


Pittsburgh’s roboWorld will be nation’s largest permanent robotics exhibition
Pop City Media | April 16
A celebrity cast was on hand to induct four new robots into the Carnegie Mellon University Hall of Fame, which will now call the Science Center home. Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO in all six Star Wars movies, was joined by Zachery Quinto, a Carnegie Mellon alumnus who will play Spock in the upcoming Star Trek movie for the announcement.


Gore to speak at Carnegie Mellon commencement
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 16
Former Vice President Al Gore, co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming, will speak at Carnegie Mellon University's 111th commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 18, in Gesling Stadium on the university's Oakland campus. Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon described Mr. Gore as the nation's leading advocate for the environment and said he is pleased the university's graduates will have an opportunity to hear from him.


Chelsea Clinton back in town, kicks off campaign tour
WTAE | April 14
In the closing days before Pennsylvania’s presidential primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s daughter is in the Pittsburgh area yet again campaigning for her mother. Chelsea Clinton is kicking off the “Your Future. It’s Bright” tour Monday during a stop at Carnegie Mellon University. Chelsea Clinton is also scheduled to make a stop at her mother’s campaign headquarters on Smithfield Street before Carnegie Mellon.


Former Vice President Al Gore to speak at Carnegie Mellon University commencement
International Herald Tribune | April 16
Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore will speak at Carnegie Mellon University's 111th commencement ceremony May 18. University president Jared Cohon says Gore is the nation's leading environmental advocate and welcomes Gore's address to the Pittsburgh university's graduates, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.


Brilliant professors
Conde Nast Portfolio | May 2008 Issue
Tuomas Sandholm. Carnegie Mellon University. Biggest contribution: Combinatorial optimization. Cocktail-party definition: The algorithms behind enhanced business-to-business auction sites, which match buyers and sellers using more complex factors than just price (like shipping times, legal issues, and insurance limits). Who's listening: Procter & Gamble, Siemens, the United States Postal Service, and Whirlpool have all bought goods and services through CombineNet, Sandholm's auction platform.