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News Clips - July 31, 2009

From July 24 to July 30, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 421 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Bernanke may have to curb lending
The Economic Times | July 30
Unless the Fed retreats from unlimited lending, Bernanke can expect such a result, said Marvin Goodfriend, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The more the Fed invades the domain of Congress by supplying credit to businesses and markets outside the banking system, the more Congress will seek a hand in monetary policy, said Goodfriend, a former adviser to the Richmond Fed.


Big spenders tend to marry big savers, researchers find
Reuters | July 28
George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, in a separate study called "Tightwads and Spendthrifts" published last year, found that the degree people feel of a "pain of paying" determines if they are a "tightwad" or a "spendthrift."


Security on the (eye)ball: Hands-free iris biometrics to keep bad guys at bay
Scientific American | July 28
Researchers are working on this problem by developing technology that will not only enable iris scanning at distances of up to about 12 meters, but will also simultaneously scan a person's face to more accurately identify those seeking access. Iris and facial recognition should be part of the same biometric identification system, says Marios Savvides, a Carnegie Mellon University professor of electrical and computer engineering who directs the school's CyLab Biometrics Lab in Pittsburgh.


Exchange students
The New York Times | July 26
This image indicates that Carnegie Mellon had the third highest percentage of international students (28%), behind MIT (30%) and Illinois Institute of Technology (42%) for 2007-2008.

Education for Leadership

Star Trek's Zach Quinto going into comics | July 25
Quinto and partners Neal Dodson and Corey Moosa, friends since their Carnegie Mellon days, started Before the Door in 2008, with the goal of developing a variety of projects in different media, including film, television, internet and print.

Arts and Humanities

Quantum Theatre's '36 Views' offers alternate existences
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 30
Matthew Gray, who plays Darius, said he has discovered many new traits about his character's personality and that "a lot of it is a compliment on how great of a director Karla is. […] Gray, an assistant professor of acting at Carnegie Mellon University, describes Darius as "ambitious" but also someone who can admit his flaws.

Information Technology

Harnessing human nature to improve technology | July 25
Dreamed up by Luis von Ahn at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2004, human computation involves getting gamers to do work that as yet defies computers. Von Ahn's first use of the concept was in a game that involves labelling images – providing a competitive forum for humans, and tutoring software in computer vision at the same time. A version of that game, called ESP, is now used by Google to improve image search results. This game that had players help biologists find new proteins is another example.


This week's gut check column: The meat of the problem
The Washington Post | July 29
But the result isn't funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius. A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week.

Regional Impact

Study: Incarcerating youths in adult prisons leads to abuse, higher costs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | July 29
Pennsylvania legislators pushed through a series of "get tough on crime" laws in the 1990s, said Al Blumstein, a Carnegie Mellon University criminology professor who served as a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing for a dozen years until 1996.


Pittsburgh transformed into a mecca of literary scene
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 27
Last weekend, with financial backing from The Sprout Fund, Open Thread launched the first annual Small Press Festival, drawing nearly 400 people to Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery for readings, screenings, seminars, bookbinding workshops and to purchase reading material not necessarily found at and -- at least not yet.


Next For Touchscreens: Temporary Pop-Up Buttons?
Ethiopian Review | July 29
Touchscreens allow for endlessly adjustable interfaces—well, nearly endless. You can’t operate a touchscreen by feel alone, although engineers working in the field of haptics have used vibrating virtual buttons to provide limited tactile feedback. Now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have gone a bit further, designing a screen with hidden latex air bubbles.


Privacy matters: When is personal data truly de-identified?
PC World | July 25
LaTanya Sweeney, an assistant professor of computer science, technology and policy at Carnegie Mellon University, in 2004 paid $20 for a list of the dates of birth, sex and ZIP codes of voters in Cambridge, Mass. She was able to identify then-governor William Weld's information by linking it to a de-identified set of health-insurance information.