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News Clips -October 10, 2008

From October 3 to October 9, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 380 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


How to connect technology and passion in the service of learning
The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) | October 17
Such richly visual, immersive, three-dimensional simulations will help students master complex topics. But they will not be enough. We need to augment those systems with computer-based intelligent tutors. Intelligent tutoring systems have a long history, stretching back to the 1970s, when our most advanced systems required a million-dollar computer for each student. Now we have machines 10,000 times more powerful and much less expensive. That means that our past dreams for building intelligent tutoring systems that could offer open-ended learning under the skillful eye of a tutor, coach, or mentor are becoming realistic. Indeed, the work of Carnegie Mellon University and now its Open Learning Initiative — which employs virtual labs, group experiments, and cognitive tutors — have demonstrated the power and utility of such systems.


When emotion takes over
CNN | October 7
The paper -- "Blinded by Anger or Feeling the Love: How Emotions Influence Advice Taking" -- explains how people receiving advice or guidance can be easily influenced by so-called incidental feelings, that is to say emotions not directly connected to the business in question. "We focus on incidental emotions, emotions triggered by a prior experience that is irrelevant to the current situation," the two authors, Maurice Schweitzer of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school and Francesca Gino, a professor of organization at Carnegie Mellon University, say in the paper. ***This article mentions research co-authored by Francesca Gino, former Visiting Assistant Professor in Organizational Behavior and Theory; Manager of the Center for behavioral Decision Research, during her tenure at the Tepper School in AY 07-08.


Short-sale ban on financial stocks set to expire
BusinessWeek | October 7
The SEC's recent rules to provide permanent protections against abusive "naked" short selling -- which involves selling shares without actually borrowing them -- are constructive, said Chester Spatt, now a finance professor and director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Moves promoting greater transparency in stock lending also could be helpful, he said.


The kindness lab
Spirit Magazine | October Issue
One Of The Hardest-Working receptionists in business has never typed a memo in his life. He only pretends to answer phones and has an irritating habit of reminiscing with total strangers about his failed career with the CIA. He can remember the exact locations of every office in the building but fails to remember what you said to him the last time you spoke, even if the conversation took place just minutes ago and may or may not have involved a thinly veiled dig at his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, the digitized head of Marion “Tank” LeFleur—a square-jawed, sleepy-eyed man on a flat-screen display—greets visitors to the main lobby of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science with a blank stare. “Welcome to Newell-Simon Hall,” he repeats in a calm, flat monotone. “How can I help you?” The large bronze sign hanging above his cramped wooden desk carousel reads “ROBOCEPTIONIST."

Education for Leadership

Tonight's debate means party time for supporters
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | October 7
For political enthusiasts, presidential debate watch parties are like attending football games -- complete with tense moments, fumbles and big plays. "There's a little less talking, but we groan or cheer at certain moments," said Kari Lundgren, 24, of Shadyside. "I love Steelers football and the political process, because they're both community-building things." […] Lundgren, who is earning her doctorate in rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University, organized watch parties for the first presidential debate and Thursday's face-off between the vice presidential candidates at Oh Yeah! Ice Cream & Coffee in Shadyside.


Educational feature: Paper prototyping
Gamasutra | October 7
To make casual games for the iPhone, students at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University used paper prototypes in their pre-development planning. Paper prototyping can be an extremely efficient and low-risk way to test game ideas, but there are a few quintessential things the developers must do to make the process effective. A new article on, written by one of the ETC students, highlights the five most important facts the student team discovered about using non-digital prototypes.

Arts and Humanities

Why slackers still get the girl
Calgary Herald | October 9
The research team, which included Duke University professor Dan Ariely and Carnegie Mellon University professor George Loewenstein, found looks mattered to some extent for both sexes. When study subjects were rated on a 10-point scale, every one-unit decrease in their own attractiveness made them 25 per cent likelier to say yes to a date request. Every one-unit increase in the attractiveness of a potential mate made that person 130 per cent likelier to get a positive response to a request for a date.


Carnegie exhibit examines why suburbia exists
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | October 5
Christensen, whose solo exhibition "Your Town, Inc." is on display through Nov. 23 at Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery up the street, has photographically documented the adaptive reuse of former big-box stores to alternative businesses, displayed here in 16 perfect examples. In similar fashion, Mann noticed that defunct Circle K convenience stores throughout the Phoenix region had been reused for a range of new businesses, and presents examples here in a dozen photographs each taken from a similar vantage point that show the distinctive architecture of the store being altered to accommodate everything from a check-cashing service to a tuxedo shop.

Information Technology

Agility and the future of IT
CIO India | October 9
“Process each [tax payer’s] account in its own thread — not whole files — it greatly reduces complexity and latency and increases scalability. Use pipe-and-filter with no intervening files instead of [the traditional approach involving] file-process-file-process. This architecture was described by Mary Shaw at Carnegie Mellon years ago."


Fill 'er up with water? DOE official cites need for major breakthroughs to cope with climate change
Newswise | October 7
In a two-part podcast entitled “Confronting Climate Change,” Orbach notes that meeting this challenge will demand “transformational breakthroughs in basic science,” meaning revolutionary discoveries rather than common step-by-step scientific advances. […] Other scientists featured in the climate-change podcasts include: William Morrow, Ph.D., of Carnegie Mellon University, who describes new technology that mixes switchgrass with coal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Regional Impact

County says it can't audit voting machines
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 4
David Eckhardt, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of VoteAllegheny, said both the county and the state have been dragging their feet on software verification for years.


The thinkers: For Carnegie Mellon scientist, the one word is plastics
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | October 6
Tucked inside the columned recesses of the Mellon Institute in Oakland are the laboratories of one of the world's most famous scientists. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner professor of natural sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, is an expert in plastics, but not the kind you're most familiar with. Instead of working with the straightforward polymers you pack your groceries in or drink your pop from, Dr. Matyjaszewski creates exotic plastics that are used for everything from high-end auto paint to pollution-eating particles to sealants for windows in high-rise office buildings.


Markets a mess? Blame your brain
CBC | October 1
But the ratings agencies were being compensated by issuers of the mortgage-backed securities, and neuroeconomics says that created big problems. "You don't get mistakes this big based on stupidity alone," says George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University. "It's when you combine stupidity and people's incentives that you get errors of this magnitude." Consider this forthcoming research by Loewenstein, Roberto Weber and John Hamman, all of Carnegie Mellon. They organized volunteers into partners. One partner is given $10 and told to split it however he sees fit. On average, the deciding partner keeps $8 and gives away $2.


Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar wins the bid to host ICTD conference
AME Info | October 6
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar has won the bid to host the third International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (IEEE/ACM ICTD) conference in April 2009. ICTD is the premiere conference for innovating technology accessible and relevant to developing communities. It is a multidisciplinary forum for academic researchers and practitioners designing computing technology solutions for developing economies.


High-tech rides: Cars with cool technology
TechWorld | October 6
Carnegie Mellon University partnered with Caterpillar to co-develop intelligent, self-driving off-highway haul trucks. Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) will work closely with Caterpillar's Pittsburgh Automation Center, which opened in September 2007, to add perception, planning and intelligent decision-making capabilities to Caterpillar's two biggest haul trucks -- which can handle loads of 240 tons or more.


Bill Gates signs up for Qatar conference
Arabian Business | October 7
Billionaire Gates has agreed to be a keynote speaker at the third International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development at Carnegie Mellon University (Carnegie Mellon Qatar) in Doha in April, 2009. Gates, transitioning from company chairman into a full-time philanthropist, is to speak on April 18, Qatar daily Gulf Times reported on Tuesday.