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News Clips - August 1, 2008

From July 25 to July 31, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted more than 1,000 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Mascot watch
The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) | August 1
Carnegie Mellon U. Nickname: Tartans New mascot: Scotty, a Scottie dog What's happening: A professor has opened his home to the frisky pup. The details: After delivering the commencement address in 2007, the comedian Bill Cosby decided to give the Tartans a Scottish terrier to be their first live mascot. The gift would celebrate the Scottie dog's ascension to official mascotdom, ending years of unofficial mascot status.


Scientists make pattern recognition more human
Wired News | July 29
The founding insights into organizational systems like the biological tree of life and periodic table of elements could only occur to a person, not a computer. "Most common machine learning algorithms can only learn representations of a single kind," said study co-author Charles Kemp, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist. "We wanted to develop more human-like methods that automatically figure out what kind of representation is best for a given problem."

Education for Leadership

Hooman Radfar builds a better widget
Washington Business Journal | July 28
Q: What was in place at Carnegie Mellon, where you got your master’s degree, to put Clearspring into play? A: It was a confluence of factors. I’d known that I wanted to start a tech company when I was at [the University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad]. And I went to grad school with the hope that the spark would be there. Carnegie Mellon is so good because it’s probably one of the most hard-core engineering schools in the country. We were on the edge, we were passionate, and there was a healthy dose of ignorance as idealistic grad students.

Arts and Humanities

Poverty leads to playing lottery, study says
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 25
Do you believe that playing the lottery can make you rich? If you do, there's a good chance you're poor. At least, that's according to a Carnegie Mellon University study published in the July issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. "The conclusions [of the study] are that the thoughts, feelings and cognitions related to poverty lead people to purchase lottery tickets," said Emily Haisley, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in the department of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business.


Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP) opening
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | July 31
This 98th annual exhibition features artists who live within 150 miles of Pittsburgh and are creators of all media visual arts. This year, John Carson, Professor and Department Head of the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, jurors the exhibition which will feature over 70 artists. With almost 500 member artists, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh is the largest visual arts organization in the Pittsburgh region.

Information Technology

It's easier than you think to adopt a risk assessment framework
Search CIO | July 28
The inventory of IT assets defines the scope of the risk assessment. Before a company can implement security controls, it has to know what assets it already has and their existing controls, if any. The inventory should include a list of all hardware, software, data, processes and interfaces to external systems. The next step is to identify threats. These can include physical threats, such as natural disasters or power outages, but it should also include, of course, IT security threats, such as malicious access to systems or malware attacks. Be creative. Think of the most likely threats to your systems, both from your experience as well as from published lists of attacks from security bulletins, like the US Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) at Carnegie Mellon.


Exports driving China's greenhouse gas emissions upwards: study
Economic Times, India | July 30
Huge consumption of Chinese goods in the west has meant that one-third of greenhouse gases emitted by China are due to exports, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study. "We found that in 2005, fully one-third of China's greenhouse gas emissions were due to production of exports. This proportion has risen quickly, from 12 per cent in 1987 and 21 per cent in 2002," said Christopher L. Weber, a research professor in Carnegie Mellon's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Regional Impact

Two newly reused Braddock church buildings recall the legacy of a wildly original local architect
Pittsburgh City Paper | July 24
Although de Bobula died in 1961, his legacy is not completely lost. In addition to several surviving structures, his works appear in the late Walter Kidney's Landmark Architecture of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and Al Tannler, of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, published a feature article on de Bobula's work for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 2003. Also, Carnegie Mellon University architecture archivist Martin Aurand shared with me his extensive de Bobula files.


Quantum clicks gears with Robot 250
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 31
Boos worked with a team of roboticists, including Illah Nourbakhsh, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and one of the founding forces behind Robot 250. They were familiar with Quantum's novel, experimental approach to theater and were eager to offer their expertise to the creative process. Boos says it was an enlightening collaboration: "The ways we solve problems are very similar. They're really big on empowering artists with expanded ideas on how we can use technology down the road."


Is compulsive shopping a biologically driven disease of the brain?
Deccan Herald, India | July 30
There is little doubt that compulsive shopping can cause severe impairment and distress – two key criteria for formal recognition as a mental disorder. But the rest remains up for grabs: Is compulsive shopping a biologically driven disease of the brain, a learned habit run amok, an addiction in its own right or a symptom of the other dysfunctions – most notably depression – that so often accompany it? Where is the line between avid shopping and compulsive shopping? And how, if this is an illness, is it best treated? ... That sadness might spur excess spending was neatly demonstrated in an experiment conducted by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh and published in the June issue of Psychological Science.


Subprime crisis to last another year
ITWeb, South Africa | July 30
The other speakers were: Richard Roll of UCLA, Stewart Myers of MIT, Chester Spatt of Carnegie Mellon, Katherine Schipper of Duke University, Michael Jensen of Harvard Business School and Stephen Ross of MIT. The subject matter of the conference was very deep. It contemplated the relative cost of debt and equity, the irrelevance of dividends, derivatives pricing, market regulation, new accounting standards and many other matters. It was theoretically enriching but American focused.