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News Clips - March 6, 2009

From February 27 to March 5, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 340 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


The green side of online shopping
The Wall Street Journal Blogs | March 3
A study out Tuesday by the Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute offers a scientifically rigorous estimate of e-commerce’s green benefits. E-commerce not only uses less energy, but its carbon footprint is also a third smaller than bricks-and-mortar retail, the scientists found.


Lacker proposes treasury take Fed’s credit programs
Bloomberg | March 2
The Richmond Fed has specialized in monetary policy research for at least three decades, a tradition carried on by former presidents Robert Black and J. Alfred Broaddus Jr., and economists such as Marvin Goodfriend, a former adviser to Broaddus who now teaches at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Black called price stability “the only feasible objective” for monetary policy in 1990 congressional testimony.


Across all cultures, dreams affect behavior
U.S. News & World Report | March 1
"Psychologists' interpretations of the meaning of dreams vary widely," lead author Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said in an American Psychological Association news release. "But our research shows that people believe their dreams provide meaningful insight into themselves and their world."

Education for Leadership

Students take up Botball robotics challenge
Arabian Business | March 5
"A lot of students think robots and artificial intelligence are something that is very difficult and that they could never be part of," said Chuck Thorpe, dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar and former head of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. "Botball not only shows students that robotics is something they can do – and do well – it also shows them how to work as a team, how to plan a project, how to use their math skills and how to have fun while you learn."

Arts and Humanities

Spent: New research explores why sadness makes us splurge
UTNE Reader | March/April Issue
In the study, people were deemed high in self-focus if they frequently used me, myself, and I in their writing assignments. The authors hypothesize that the combination of sadness and self-focus makes people dwell on their shortcomings—on an unconscious level, they feel “devalued,” says Cynthia Cryder, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon and the study’s lead author. In response, they have an unconscious desire to acquire things that they hope will increase their self-worth.


Education in Britain: Probability studies recommended for young
The Chicago Tribune | March 1
"Everyone could benefit from some training" in statistics, said Baruch Fischhoff, a leading expert in decision sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Right now, "people end up trying to do the impossible, making choices where they can't get the facts or get facts that are offered with a lot more confidence than is warranted —which was true for many people lured into seemingly responsible investment strategies.",0,631696.story

Information Technology

Science gets a boost from cheap, super-resolution photos
New Scientist | February 27
The tripod robot, called Gigapan, was developed at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and uses motors to capture a scene with a grid of hundreds or thousands of images with the camera set to full zoom. Photo stitching software then combines them into a single super-detailed image containing billions of pixels, called a gigapan. The largest, most spectacular gigapans can be too large to handle on all but the most powerful desktop computers.


Studies question plug-in hybrid mileage
Hybrid Cars | February 26
A new study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University says that plug-in hybrids with 40 miles of all-electric range are less cost-effective than hybrids with smaller battery packs. “Forty miles might be a sweet spot for making sure a lot of people get to work without using gasoline, but you’re doing it at a cost that will never be repaid in fuel savings,” said Jeremy Michalek, an engineering professor who led the study, in an interview with Bloomberg. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and was accepted for publication in the journal Energy Policy.


Drink up, energy hogs
Science Magazine | February 26
"They've done a pretty good job of modeling the bottled-water side," says environmental engineer H. Scott Matthews of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But he also says they didn't do enough modeling of tap water to make an adequate comparison between the two.

Regional Impact

Pittsburgh becoming a 'green' leader
KDKA-TV News | March 4
Pittsburgh is a national leader in green buildings, from big ones like the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, PNC's First Side Center and the Sen. John Heinz History Center to a little solar-paneled house designed by students at Carnegie Mellon's School of Architecture. Carnegie Mellon Professor Steven Lee says the house has about 100 square feet of solar thermal collectors.


The Thinkers: Robotics developer helps studying autistic children
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 2
In the hands of Mr. Marek Michalowski, a Ph.D. student in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, and his mentor, Hideki Kozima of Miyagi University in Japan, Keepon is also being used to study how children interact socially, and whether the robot might particularly be able to help children with autism.


Massive bonuses might actually cause poor performance
International Herald Tribune | March 4
What do we really know about the relationships between very large bonuses and job-performance? To look at this question, my colleagues Uri Gneezy of the University of California at San Diego, George Lowenstein of Carnegie Mellon, Nina Mazar of the University of Toronto and I conducted a few experiments.


Watch what you think
The International Herald Tribune | March 3
Dozens of volunteers, including a few journalists, have been invited by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to test the technology being developed there. Mark Roth, a writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, underwent a scan and wrote that the computer performed "nimbly." He said he was impressed. So am I.


Hello! Marhaba! This is Hala your friendly Roboreceptionist
Gulf Times | March 1
Hello’ or ‘Marhaba’ from the Middle East’s first robot receptionist Hala will welcome visitors to Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s new building in Education City later this year. Roboceptionist as she is to be known, Hala’s ‘head’ consists of an animated face on an LCD screen mounted on a pan/tilt unit.