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News Clips - September 4, 2009

From August 28 to September 3, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 425 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing!
The Wall Street Journal | August 28
A third extreme pogo model, called the BowGo, uses a strip of fiberglass that bends and recoils to provide lift. The stick is under development at Carnegie Mellon University and was born out of technology to enable robots to run. "The highest I ever jumped was 42 inches, which I thought was pretty scary," says Ben Brown, the project scientist who developed the BowGo. Such feats raise the obvious question: Even if it is possible to jump six feet in the air on a pogo stick, why would anyone risk it?


Keeping That New PC Clean and Pure
The New York Times | September 2
Sort out the applications new Windows PCs typically come loaded with all kinds of third-party programs, many of which you will never use. “In a lot of cases, that’s extra software that might have vulnerabilities” that hackers could exploit, says Chad Dougherty, a vulnerability analyst at the CERT Program at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute.

Education for Leadership

District Notebook: Carnegie Mellon soccer star morphs into media star
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 3
Outstanding student. Soccer standout. And now media star. OK, so media star is stretching things a bit, but Carnegie Mellon University senior Jon Hall was featured last night on "NCAA on Campus" on the CBS College Sports cable television network.  […] Carnegie Mellon opens its football season at 1 p.m. Saturday at home against Ohio Wesleyan.

Arts and Humanities

I Thought I Could Fly: Portraits of Anguish, Compulsion, and Despair
Metapsychology | September 2009
Charlee Brodksy portrays through words and images "anguish, compulsion and despair" as idiosyncrasies of mental illness. The book is a collection of 36 short 1st person confessions, gathered over three years from people who have either dealt themselves, or have significant others who have dealt with psychiatric problems. Each report is accompanied by one black and white photograph. The book's editor and photographer is a professor of photography at Carnegie Mellon University.

Information Technology

Reconfiguring The Enterprise | August 29
It's a combination of rationalizing applications, consolidating it to one set of tools and processes. I'm a big fan of what ITIL [Information Technology Infrastructure Library process framework developed at Carnegie Mellon University] is doing to our industry, and then standardizing the infrastructure as much as possible. That doesn't mean everything will always be served on one platform. In some companies it might be one, in others it might be two. But two is better than five, and five is better than 10.


How Much Money Can I Make, Granting Smart-Grid, Public Access To My Electric Car Batteries? | August 30
Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center energy researchers have some preliminary estimates of revenue producing capacities for V2G. Short answer: you can make a buck; but, profitability of grid sharing is highly dependent upon battery replacement cost (hence the concern with longevity).

Regional Impact

Mark your calendar for the G-20
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 2
"There is a huge energy and enthusiasm to get a clear message across to the media about what the arts do to this city," said Hilary Robinson, dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. "We can do this more effectively together than individually."


Back to School/Do the Math: Counting too much on calculators
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 2
On the one hand, research "doesn't really support" the view held by detractors that calculators make students less likely to memorize those basic facts, said Robert Siegler, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, which suggests ways to enhance American students' math skills.


Is death around the corner? Carnegie Mellon death risk site attracts global attention
Pop City Media | September 2
"That was the most flabbergasting take away," says Paul Fischbeck, the Carnegie Mellon developer of the Web site,, a site that catapulted to global Internet stardom shortly after its launch last week. "That kind of disparity is shocking." Fischbeck and four colleagues compiled stats from death certificates from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Eurostats and developed the site as a reliable way to shed light on healthcare issues. Does it make a case for health care reform?


Are women born to be more scared of spiders than men?
The Daily Mail | September 3
Dr. David Rakison of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, showed ten girls and ten boys a colour image of spider next to a fearful cartoon face while they sat on a parent’s lap, New Scientist reports today.


Stress worsens allergy attacks
Times of India | September 2
Several researches conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US seem to indicate that psychological stress is also a very important factor in determining who gets sick when the individuals’ nasal passages are invaded by a cold-causing virus. But as Indian psychologist Mansi Hasan maintains, “Not all stress is bad. Eustress, for example, is a positive type of stress that leads to feelings of excitement and exhilaration. Imagine life without these feelings? The culprit is the chronic stress where you constantly worry or get anxious/tense etc finally tells upon your immune system."