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News Clips - February 8, 2008

From February 1 to February 7, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 553 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Recession? Where to put your money now (Fortune Magazine) | February 6
Here we go again. Day after day, Americans are being bombarded by a relentless drumbeat of unsettling economic news. ... The forces weighing down the economy are soft consumer spending and plummeting housing prices, along with far more expensive credit that's slowing everything from auto purchases to the creation of new businesses. ... Those low rates, though, are creating the conditions for a bigger crisis down the road. "The real challenge will be inflation," warns Darda, "not the near-term economic worries that the financial press is harping on." After fretting over surging prices early last year, the Fed is now ignoring them in its all-out campaign to revive the economy. But the threat isn't going away. In 2007 the consumer price index rose 4.1%, the biggest jump in 17 years. The combination of high oil, food, and metals prices, along with low interest rates and growing global demand, is a classic recipe for inflation. "Much higher inflation is practically inevitable," says Carnegie Mellon economist Allan Meltzer.


The economy: Good news for Dems, right?
BusinessWeek | February 5
With fears of recession on the rise and voters in state after state now citing the economy as the most important issue in the election, it's hardly an auspicious time to strike out as the Republican Party's new Presidential nominee. That's because elections that take place when the economy has turned sour historically have not gone well for the candidate representing the incumbent party. ... So does that mean this year's race for the White House is over before it has even begun? Not so fast. In a year in which few past patterns or political predictions have proven correct, an increasing number of analysts and strategists say the view that a bad economy could doom the Republican candidate also may no longer be so clear-cut. "Historically, a poor economy helps the challenging party, which in this case is the Democrats," says Jon Delano, a political scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. "But given that the 2008 cycle is turning all other political assumptions upside down, that could be the case here as well."


Caterpillar opens center in Pittsburgh (AP) | February 5
Construction equipment-maker Caterpillar Inc. has opened an automation center in Pittsburgh as part of a three-year research agreement with Carnegie Mellon University. The office at Washington's Landing will have 12 employees. The center will collaborate with university researchers and pursue independent projects, officials said.


Microsoft adds research lab in East as others cut back
The New York Times | February 4
As other high-tech companies cut back on their research labs, Microsoft continues to increase its ranks of free-rein thinkers. The company, which has research labs in Redmond, Wash.; Beijing; Cambridge, England; Bangalore, India; and Silicon Valley, will announce plans on Monday to open a sixth lab, in Cambridge, Mass., in the Boston metropolitan area. ... Dr. Chayes has since built her group in Redmond, called the Theory Group, into one of the most eminent research groups on or off a university campus. “Anyone who’s anyone in theoretical computer science visits her laboratory,” said Lenore Blum, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University.


Why Google will remain the king of search | February 1
The verb  “googling” has become synonymous with Internet searches, a fact that speaks to Google’s dominance. But don’t expect the verb “msn-yahooing” to become part of the lexicon anytime soon. ... “It’s going to be awfully hard to take two complex companies that are trailing, put them together to beat a company that has the tremendous momentum of Google,” says Bob Monroe, associate teaching professor in information technology and computer science at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA.

Education for Leadership

Engineering a future
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 7
Doctoral student Arielle Drummond spends her work days in a lab trying to figure out how to implant a heart-pumping device in tiny patients ranging from infants to 2-year-olds. A passion for biology and physics in high school led Ms. Drummond to become a candidate for a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. But while the teachers at her New Jersey school may have instilled her with the idea to pursue a career in engineering, they weren't the ideal mentors for a young, African-American female.

Arts and Humanities

Freud's offspring lead noted lives
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 6
Sigmund Freud is, of course, a household name. Also well known are Anna Freud, his youngest child and the only one of his children to become a psychoanalyst, and his grandson, Lucian Freud, one of the foremost figurative artists of the current day. But the sprawling Freud family also includes many other accomplished offspring in the fields of finance, media, politics, entertainment, academia, writing, fashion and social work. Great-grandson George Loewenstein, for example, Carnegie Mellon University professor, is a leading authority and researcher on decision-making, currently writing a book on the role of emotions in economic behavior.

Information Technology

New authentication scheme combats keyloggers, shoulder-hacking
Dark Reading | February 5
Researchers have built a prototype authentication technique that could ultimately reduce the risk of attackers hacking users' credentials via a keylogger or spyware. The so-called Undercover system, which was built by Carnegie Mellon University faculty member Nicolas Christin and two Carnegie Mellon graduate students, approaches authentication differently: It hides the authentication challenges rather than the user's input or password during the authentication process.


DNA gets new twist: Carnegie Mellon scientists develop unique 'DNA nanotags' | February 4
Carnegie Mellon University scientists have married bright fluorescent dye molecules with DNA nanostructure templates to make nanosized fluorescent labels that hold considerable promise for studying fundamental chemical and biochemical reactions in single molecules or cells. The work, published online Jan. 26 in "The Journal of the American Chemical Society," improves the sensitivity for fluorescence-based imaging and medical diagnostics.


Campuses nationwide take creative approaches to climate-change event
The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) | February 1
Some participants displayed electric cars; others heard music played on recycled instruments. In one way or another, more than 1,750 colleges and other groups highlighted climate change on Thursday as part of a nationwide project called Focus the Nation. ... Five colleges in the Pittsburgh area—Carnegie Mellon, Chatham, and Duquesne Universities, La Roche College, and the University of Pittsburgh—teamed up to organize a "Green Debate," which will take place on Friday. The colleges invited city, county, state, and Congressional representatives to share what they are doing about climate change at the event, which will also give students a platform to discuss the ways their campuses marked Focus the Nation.

Regional Impact

State's relocation offers rankle some local firms
Pittsburgh Business Times (subscription) | February 1
Bruce Freshwater is looking for answers. The CEO of Sierra w/o Wires, a Robinson-based information technology services company, wants to know why the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development gave an out-of-state company more than $400,000 in incentives -- including $100,000 from its Opportunity Grant program -- to relocate here. ...  Economic development initiatives often have the unintended consequence of bringing in additional competition, said Robert Strauss, a professor of economics and public policy at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.


NASA Pathfinder leader joins Carnegie Mellon's lunar race team
Pop City Media | February 6
A distinguished leader of planetary exploration has joined the Carnegie Mellon University team in hot pursuit of the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize. Tony Spear, who led the NASA-funded Pathfinder project that landed a robot on Mars in July 1997, was appointed program manager for Astrobiotic Technology’s Tranquility Trek project. Astrobiotic, based in Redmond, WA, is a privately held seed-stage company formed last year by Carnegie Mellon professor William “Red” Whittaker and his colleagues to raise funds for the lunar race.


Carnegie Mellon professor wins high computing honor
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 5
When Edmund M. Clarke figured out in 1981 how to detect design errors in computer chips, hardware and software, he experienced not only the thrill of discovery but also expectations that it could solve major problems for the computer world. At long last, he's being recognized for his accomplishments. Dr. Clarke, the FORE Systems Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of three winners of the Turing Award, recognized as the Nobel Prize for computing.


Universe brave new world for Carnegie Mellon professor
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 1
Tiziana Di Matteo's blue eyes sparkle and her face lights up with an infectious smile as she describes the mysterious forces that made the universe a chunky mishmash of galaxies, planets, gas and dust instead of a smooth soup of subatomic particles. On Thursday, the Carnegie Science Center recognized the Carnegie Mellon University associate professor of physics with a 2008 Carnegie Science Award as the region's best "Emerging Female Scientist."


Tepper School of Business
Times Online | February 7
Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1949. It is proud of its innovations in business education, which include the introduction of management science and the development of computer simulations to allow students to experience different roles. The school has produced six winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics, most recently Finn E. Kydland and Edward C. Prescott, who received the prize in 2004 for their work on economic policy and the driving forces behind business cycles.