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News Clips - July 25, 2008

From July 18 to July 24, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 364 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Sweeping panoramas, courtesy of a robot
The New York Times | July 20
A new, inexpensive robotic device from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University attaches snugly to almost any standard digital camera, tilting and panning it to fashion highly detailed panoramic vistas — whether of the Grand Canyon, a rain forest or a backyard Easter egg hunt. The robot is called GigaPan, named “giga” for the billion or more pixels it can marshal for a typical panorama.


Cell phones on the road: What goes?
Time | July 16
But it's unclear whether hands-free laws alone will make the roads safer. Numerous studies have concluded that any type of cell phone use — hands-free or not — can distract a driver enough to increase the likelihood of an accident. According to research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University neuroscientist Marcel Just, simply listening intently to a cell phone conversation is enough to impair driving. And a 2004 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that drivers using hand-free cell phones had to redial calls 40% of the time, compared with 18% for drivers using handheld sets, suggesting that hands-free devices may in some cases lead to more distraction.,8599,1823413,00.html

Education for Leadership

Save-a-blade: Does it really do that?
KDKA-TV News | July 21
That's not what our lab tests showed. We took Save-a-Blade and our used and unused razors to Carnegie Mellon University where two graduate students put our blades under the microscope for a closer look. Under the microscope, grad student Kelsey Miller says you can tell a new razor blade is sharp because the beveled layers of the blade are very close together and there is a definition between the layers.

Arts and Humanities

Pittsburgh abuzz with robotic art
MSNBC (AP) | July 17
"It bends the idea of what robotics is about and who it's for," said Illah Nourbakhsh, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and one of the originators of the Robot 250 idea. He hopes the project shows that rather than just being for industrial automation or tinkering engineers, robots can give everyday people a new way to express themselves.

Information Technology

Study finds bank websites vulnerable to hackers
Los Angeles Times | July 24
More than three-fourths of bank websites have flaws that can allow hackers to easily gain access to customers' personal information, according to a University of Michigan study released Wednesday. From information gathered at 214 websites in 2006, researchers found sites that put log-in boxes and contact information on insecure pages, required only e-mail addresses and short passwords for identification and sent statements and passwords via unsecured e-mail. The study will be presented at a symposium on privacy Friday at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.,0,1619927.story


The next page: Bury the carbon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 20
Much-awaited legislation on climate change went down in flames in the Senate last month in the face of a filibuster. Despite the goodies added to garner support for the measure, Congress was not ready to limit emissions of carbon dioxide -- the major greenhouse gas linked to global warming -- for fear it would harm the economy. So what now? *** This article was written by Carnegie Mellon professor of engineering and public policy Edward S. Rubin.

Regional Impact

Hollidaysburg native's inventions rove all over the world
Altoona Mirror | July 20
Red Whittaker - who went by "Larry" when his family lived on North Juniata Street - is the director of the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, where he lives with his wife, Kathleen.


FCC commissioners convene at Carnegie Mellon
Pittsburgh Business Times (subscription) | July 21
The Federal Communications Commission headed to Carnegie Mellon University Monday to take public and expert input on the future of Internet access. In an uncommon public appearance together outside of Washington, D.C., the federal agency's five commissioners headed two panels at the university on issues related to digital media and broadband access. Participants included Dallas Mavericks owner and Mt. Lebanon native Mark Cuban, who is chairman and co-founder of the high-definition television channel HDNet; American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka; and John Heffner of Carnegie Mellon spinout Conviva, an Internet-based video distributor.


Our wobbly take on privacy
International Herald Tribune | July 20
Now some new research is beginning to document and quantify the privacy paradox. In a talk presented at the Security and Human Behavior Workshop in Boston this week, the Carnegie Mellon behavioral economist George Loewenstein previewed a soon-to-be-published research study he conducted with two colleagues.


Carnegie Mellon scholarships
The Hindu | July 21
The US-based Carnegie Mellon University is offering scholarships for students with proven track records to pursue the master courses at its Australian campus for 2009 intake. The students who opt for one-year MS programs in IT, and public policy and management would be offered part and full scholarships ranging from Rs. 10 to 28 lakh. “Admission criteria are quite stringent and only students with excellent marks will be considered for admission followed by scholarships,” stated Campus Abroad, an educational consultancy for the university.


Qatarization doesn’t only mean jobs
The Peninsula | July 19
Dr. George M White, Associate Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University- Qatar (Carnegie Mellon-Q), told The Peninsula: "If 'Qatarization' means keeping nationals fully employed in typical jobs, it is not successful. But working in a typical job may not be the right yardstick. If a national spends time investing in or starting businesses or supporting social programs, these activities should count as contribution to society even though it may not count as holding a job."