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News Clips - September 19, 2008

From September 12 to September 18, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 341 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


A new role for the Fed: Investor of last resort
The New York Times | September 17
“This is unique, and the Fed has never done something like this before,” said Allan Meltzer, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and author of a sweeping history of the Federal Reserve. “If you go all the way back to 1921, when farms were failing and Congress was leaning on the Fed to bail them out, the Fed always said ‘It’s not our business.’ It never regarded itself as an all-purpose agency."


reCAPTCHA illustrates human ingenuity
Network World | September 16
The "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart" (CAPTCHA) is the squiggly word that appears on Web sites to stop bots from sending spam and doing other vile deeds. In the Sept. 12 issue of SCIENCE magazine (Vol 321 p. 1465), computer scientists Luis von Ahn, Benjamin Maurer, Colin McMillen, David Abraham and Manuel Blum from the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh report on an innovative application of CAPTCHAs: potentially using the more than 100 million applications of human intelligence in decoding the symbols for useful work.


Should you fear the ostrich effect?
The Wall Street Journal | September 13
Behavioral economist George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University coined the term "the ostrich effect" to describe the way investors stick their heads in the sand during lousy markets. "Knowing definitively that something bad has happened is much more painful than suspecting that something bad may have happened," he explains. "If you don't know for sure how your portfolio did, you can always retain the hope that it somehow did better."

Education for Leadership

Saturday poem: 'The Love of This World'
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 13
(About the author) Madeleine Barnes, a 2008 graduate of North Allegheny High School, is a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in creative writing and fine arts. Her poem "Afterlife" received Princeton University's 2007 Leonard Milberg '53 Secondary School Poetry Prize.

Arts and Humanities

Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic composes bold plan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 16
"There isn't an orchestra in the United States that doesn't have a Carnegie Mellon alumnus," says Noel Zahler, head of the university's music department. In his first year, Zahler has taken major steps to enhance the 100-member Carnegie Mellon University Philharmonic, already considered among the top university orchestras in the country. Next on the list is auditioning candidates to be conductor, starting with a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.


Science Blogs | September 15
LEHRER: Your most recent paper looked at some of the factors that seem to influence the purchase of lottery tickets. What did you find? GEORGE LOEWENSTEIN: We [Emily Haisley, Romel Mostafa and I, all of whom are researchers at Carnegie Mellon] have two papers addressing the motives underlying lottery ticket purchases. All of the research was conducted with low income samples recruited at the Greyhound bus station in Pittsburgh. In all of the studies, we paid travelers $5 for completing a survey on their attitudes toward Pittsburgh, then give them the opportunity to purchase lottery tickets with the money. The variable of interest was, in all studies, the number of tickets they purchased.

Information Technology

Are you helping decipher vintage texts?
Active Rain | September 11
You know those funky skewed letters you have to type sometimes when you want to leave a comment on a blog or confirm an online order? Well, there’s a name for that: CAPTCHA. Sounds kind of like “gotcha,” doesn’t it? But it’s actually an acronym that means Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Thank Luis von Ahn, of Carnegie Mellon University, who helped develop the security technique that is intended to foil the intrusion of bots.


Environmentally friendly & green driving - save money & car fuel
Article Alley | September 17
Conversely, you should avoid driving with soft tires. When soft and not at the correct PSI pounds per square inch, your car requires more energy to move and maintain speed as well as increase fuel emissions. According to a Carnegie Mellon University informal study, majority of cars on the roads are only 80% inflated to capacity and inflating tires to the proper pressure improves mileage by about 3.3%. And the best part is that it is definitely safer too.

Regional Impact

Rain barrels help boost watershed protection
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 13
The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, meanwhile, promotes rainwater collection by installing rain barrels at homes within the watershed, which encompasses Edgewood, Swissvale, Wilkinsburg and part of Pittsburgh (ZIP codes 15208, 15217, 15218 and 15221). The 133-gallon barrels, which are custom-made in Lawrence County, were designed by the association with Carnegie Mellon University to meet the needs of the average homeowner (see related story above).


Music director Honeck's debut stirs excitement
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 18
Noel Zahler, head of music at Carnegie Mellon University, where many symphony musicians also teach, says, "I'm excited to welcome Manfred Honeck, who brings a wealth of excellent experience to one of the nation's finest orchestras, and look forward to celebrating his arrival with a number of collaborations between Carnegie Mellon School of Music and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra."


Duke to lead new NSF, EPA center to study the environmental implications of nanotechnology
First Science | September 17
CEINT's core research team brings together internationally recognized leaders in environmental toxicology and ecosystem biology; nanomaterial transport, transformation, and fate in the environment; biogeochemistry of nanomaterials and incidental airborne particulates; nanomaterial chemistry and fabrication; and environmental risk assessment, modeling, and decision sciences. CEINT deputy director Gregory V. Lowry from Carnegie Mellon University and co-principal investigator Kimberly Jones from Howard University each specialize in nanoparticle movement and transformations in the environment. Mike Hochella, a nanogeochemist from Virginia Tech, and Rich Di Giulio, an ecotoxicologist from Duke are also co-principal investigators. Rounding out the team are CEINT collaborators Gordon Brown, a geochemist from Stanford University and Paul Bertsch, a soil scientist from the University of Kentucky.


'BPOs to benefit from eSourcing Capability model'
Business Standard | September 16
The eSCM models are developed by the IT Services Qualification Center (ITSqc) at Carnegie Mellon University. The ITSqc is supported by an industry consortium comprising leading global players in the IT-enabled sourcing space. The eSCM models contain best practices, and are used as a reference to drive improvement in IT-enabled sourcing relationships. Certification to an eSCM Level provides organizations with competitive differentiation in the marketplace by providing an external validation of effective implementation of eSCM best practices.


A monumental campus in the making
The Peninsula | September 12
The new campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (Carnegie Mellon Qatar) will be an architectural wonder once complete, but even now the partially complete infrastructure is salubrious for its students and faculty. "It is visually and functionally a spectacular building," said Chuck Thorpe, the Dean of the University, yesterday while speaking to the media during an orientation visit. "Structurally, the building has every thing that the university strives to create. The warm and inviting spaces throughout the building will foster the growth of the whole university," he told The Peninsula.