Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

News Clips - March 28, 2008

From March 21 to March 27, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 363 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Desert bloom
The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) | March 28
When Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon was killed in a car bombing in February 2005, Toufic Mezher hoped it would be an isolated incident. But the country was subsequently racked by almost weekly outbursts of riots, assassinations, and bombings. Mezher began to fear for his family's safety. The 16-year American University of Beirut engineering professor also saw his beloved campus begin to deteriorate under the strain of the country's second civil war in less than two decades. ... Administrators from the dozens of American universities flocking to the gulf see a definite shift in the intellectual center of the region. "If you really want to understand Arab history, go to Beirut or Cairo," says Charles E. Thorpe, dean of Carnegie Mellon University's branch in Qatar. "But if you want to look at the future of the region and its rapidly changing dynamics, you have to go to the gulf.


Regulatory overkill
The Wall Street Journal | March 27
The claim that deregulation went too far is coming from many sides. We need more regulation, the argument goes, and even a single regulator to bring stability. Former SEC chairman, Arthur Levitt, Jr., made some of that case on this page. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank has prepared legislation, and others are rushing forward with their own plans. ***This article was written by Carnegie Mellon professor of political economy Allan H. Meltzer.


Chats: Tepper, London Business School
BusinessWeek | March 25
The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University accepted 30% of the 1,331 people who applied to its MBA program in 2006. If you'd like to be among the next batch of accepted students at Tepper, then you don't want to miss our next live chat event on Tuesday, Mar. 25, at 1 p.m. ET. Our guest will be Laurie Stewart, executive director for master's admissions. She'll answer your questions about everything from how to write a great essay to how much work you can expect during the first semester.


Protect the willfully ignorant
Newsweek | March 24
People have learned a lot about one another in the last seven years. Online social networks like Friendster, MySpace and Facebook have helped us farm out information in vast quantities at unprecedented rates. ... The first step to having a true sense of the privacy trade-off you're making on a social network is knowing who gets access to the information you post. In a 2006 study, economists at Carnegie Mellon University tested Facebook users on their familiarity with the network's privacy features. ... When consumers lack the expertise and clairvoyance to make optimal decisions, responsibility lies with the provider. Networks need to implement stringent default privacy settings, letting users opt into greater exposure from a highly contained circle of contacts, rather than tossing them into the teeming field and letting them build walls for themselves.


Can wealth affect health?
USA Today | March 23
A few years ago, psychologist Sheldon Cohen conducted an experiment. First, he asked adults a key question about their childhoods. Then, he squirted cold viruses up their noses and watched his subjects for several days to see which of them got sick. As it turned out, the answer the adults gave to that question was "a great predictor" of whether they would develop the sniffles, says Cohen, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Education for Leadership

Cosby giving Scottish Terrier mascot to Carnegie Mellon
The Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) | March 25
Bill Cosby is giving Carnegie Mellon University its first live mascot, a Scottish terrier. The breed has long been associated with the university and was chosen as its official mascot last spring. Cosby delivered the university's commencement speech last year and walked a terrier belonging to civil and environmental engineering professor Larry Cartwright.


Making some Wii modifications
Yahoo! Singapore | March 25
Over the past 12 months, a series of quirky but compelling videos uploaded to Google's (GOOG) YouTube have been delighting hackers, designers, and tech tinkerers worldwide. The videos, which feature modifications of Nintendo's (NTDOY) popular Wii console to create everything from mind-boggling 3D images to interactive whiteboards, have earned their creator a cultlike following and inspired countless other experiments. The four- to five-minute films are the handiwork of Johnny Chung Lee, a 28-year-old graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. Lee, who was recruited to the university by the well-known lecturer and computer scientist Randy Pausch [, 11/21/07], will earn his PhD in human-computer interaction later this spring.


New findings from Carnegie Mellon University in area of bone research subject
Advanced Imaging Pro | March 26
According to a study from the United States, " Three-dimensional (3D) bone shapes need to be created for visualization and pre-operative surgery planning (see also Bone Research). Conventionally such shape data is extracted from volumetric data sets, obtained by three-dimensional sensors, such as computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)." ... The proposed X-ray image-based shape reconstruction is more computationally efficient, cost-effective and portable compared to the conventional CT- or MRI-based methods. Within a couple of minutes with a standard personal computer, the proposed method generates a 3D bone shape that is sufficiently accurate for many applications, such as (a) making a 3D physical mock-up for training and (b) importing into, and using in, a computer-aided planning system for orthopedic surgery, including bone distraction and open/closed wedge osteotomy," wrote M. Gunay and colleagues, Carnegie Mellon University.


$26 million pumped into making coal clean and green | March 27
In Greenbang’s mind, fossil fuels is a bit like that ex that you put a call in to after several pints and a kebab. You know it’s got to come to an end some time but you can’t just leave it alone. ... Returning to the real world, a consortium of three US universities has got millions of dollars in funding to stoke the world’s love affair with fossil fuels once again, by developing new technologies to make them clean and green. The consortium of 75 scientists and associated student researchers from the Universities of Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh and West Virginia got a $26 million research grant to look at new fossil fuels tech, in order to squeeze out more power more efficiently from them as well as reducing their impact on the environment.


When is a green building really ‘green?’
The Boston Globe's Green Blog | March 25
Some "green" buildings look "green" -- for example, they have solar panels on the roof -- and some don't. Provocative architectural statements can be combined with green, or environmentally friendly, technologies. But some highly conventional looking buildings have a so-called carbon footprint as faint as a moccasin. Those were just a few of the insights from "The Business Case for Sustainable Design," a seminar held this morning at the Hyatt Regency Boston hotel, organized by Nitsch Engineering of Boston and attended by more than 150 people. Speakers were Vivian Loftness, professor of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University; Nico Kienzl, director and building physics analyst for the New York office of atelier ten, which consults on environmental design and construction; Nicole Holmes, project manager at Nitsch Engineering; and Judith Nitsch, president of the firm.

Regional Impact

'Roboburgh' rising
The Washington Post | March 27
The next round in the Democratic Party's presidential slugfest will be fought April 22 in Pennsylvania's "rust belt," in places like this old manufacturing city on the Lehigh River. And given the mounting economic worries here and across the country, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be talking about the future more as a threat than as an opportunity. But such radical pessimism about the U.S. economy is a mistake, at least over the long run -- and there's no state in the country that proves the optimists' case about America better than Pennsylvania. ... Pittsburgh is probably the best example of this transformation. The lamentations of 1976 were real, and the old version of the Steel City is gone forever. What emerged was a new economy built around the knowledge base of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon was the nation's leader in robotics, giving rise to companies with names such as Applied Perception Inc. and to the National Center for Defense Robotics. By 1999, an article in the Wall Street Journal said the city should be renamed "Roboburgh," and the Journal called rust-belt Pittsburgh one of the country's 10 hotbeds of technology.


Investment and research needed for Pittsburgh to grow
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | March 25
Fuel to grow Pittsburgh's economy must emerge from its acclaimed hospitals and universities the way ingots once rolled off steel mill conveyor belts, business experts say. That's the premise behind a Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business "Cornerstones Symposium" today that seeks to explore how business investment depends on growing the "knowledge base, as opposed to the physical resource base," said Art Boni, a Tepper professor.


Red Whittaker is out of this world
Pop City Media | March 26
On a table in William “Red” Whittaker’s office sits a globe of the Moon. The pallid white orb is covered by latitudinal and longitudinal lines, geographic designations, and a few points of historical interest. On the edge of the Sea of Tranquility, along the Moon’s equator, there is a simple dot Whittaker looks at a lot these days. It says simply, “Apollo 11, July 20, 1969.” It’s a reminder for Whittaker, Fredkin Research Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and the founder of the Field Robotics Center and the Robotics Engineering Consortium, of where he wants to go. Or rather, where he wants his robots to go. Whittaker is plotting a mission to the Moon for sometime next year, when he hopes to claim the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.


Carnegie Mellon offers virtual egg hunt
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | March 21
Hop online and try a hidden-pictures test that would make even Highlights magazine jealous. Carnegie Mellon University's GigaPan Web site is profiling seven panoramic photographs with hidden colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and other treats for the Easter weekend. "GigaPan is about making these explorable pictures," said Illah Nourbakhsh, an associate robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon who spent an hour outside hiding eggs and rabbits for his scavenger hunt. "An Easter egg hunt is all about exploration and discovery."


Carnegie Mellon University among venture competition winners
Pittsburgh Business Times | March 21
Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University is among winners of the 2008 McGinnis Venture Competition, a contest that aims to bring new technologies to market through entrepreneurship. Other winners were the University of Manitoba and Yale University. The Carnegie Mellon team of Alberto Gandini and Salman Mukhtar won in the life sciences segment by pitching a business called Tropical Health Systems, which aims to cure malaria with a medical device that purifies infected red blood cells using a magnetic filter.


Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar hosts second Professional Day
AME Info | March 27
As Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar prepares to graduate its first class, the companies that have been providing its students with internships now have the opportunity to reap the benefits of Carnegie Mellon's world-class education and experiences. Representatives from 40 of the top companies in Qatar did just this by attending Carnegie Mellon Qatar's second Professional Day to talk with students about potential career and internship opportunities.


Carnegie Mellon to explore games as art
Gameworld Network | March 25
"The Art of Play" Symposium and Arcade is a two-day event March 31-April 1 that explores the gaming medium and its impact as art.  Featured events include the Art of Play Arcade and presentations by Electronic Arts' LA's Randy Smith, Jason Rohrer of Arthouse Games and ETC professor Jesse Schell. The symposium could also give us a glimpse at the future of gaming as it will give some aspiring designers a chance to impress. Carnegie Mellon students will present games and receive feedback from symposium guests during the Poetics of Gameplay Master Class 12.


Board games 'boost early maths skills'
Guardian | March 25
Playing four 15-minute sessions of board games such as snakes and ladders can improve a child's mathematical abilities significantly, according to a study of four and five-year-olds. And the improvement in numerical tests is still measurable nine weeks later. ... "We believe the game helps children learn that the magnitudes of whole numbers increase in a linear fashion," said Professor Robert Siegler, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.,,2267895,00.html


Yahoo, India's CRL to team on cloud computing
EE Times | March 24
In a research pact with Yahoo Inc., India's Computational Research Labs will provide its EKA supercomputer—claimed to be the fourth fastest in the world—for research into cloud computing, which aims to provide supercomputing power over the Internet. ... "We have made our leadership in supporting academic cloud computing research very concrete by sharing a 4,000-processor supercomputer with computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University for the last three months," said Ron Brachman, vice president and head of academic relations at Yahoo.