Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

News Clips - April 23, 2010

From April 16 to April 22, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 423 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


With economic pressure, ash risks even less clear
Associated Press - Boston Globe | April 21
Mother Nature has given Europe a lesson in risk, aviation technology, scientific uncertainty, and economics. And how these fields intersect is messy. [...] “With the amount of uncertainty, this now, I think, is a very hard decision,’’ said Paul Fischbeck, a risk analysis specialist at Carnegie Mellon University and a former military pilot. “How much risk are you willing to accept to reduce economic hardship and inconvenience?’’At stake are billions of dollars and millions of stranded passengers, said Fischbeck. But if a plane goes down, the airline would be shut down by lawsuits, he said.


Helping women executives to negotiate | April 20
Say the word "negotiation" and most women cringe.  When men are asked to pick a metaphor to describe the negotiating process, they tend to pick fun activities such as "winning a ballgame" or a "wrestling match," according to Linda Babcock, an economics professor at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon and author of a book on gender and negotiation, "Women Don't Ask."


Calculating water use, direct and indirect
The New York Times | April 19
Your household water meter only tells part of the story — what was directly used for washing, cooking and other tasks. But what about the water that was used to grow the food you ate for dinner? Or to manufacture the book you bought or the gasoline your car burned? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have estimated this kind of direct and indirect water use — not for households, but for American industries. Their goal was to create a tool for better assessing the impact on water use of decisions made up and down the industrial supply chain, just as one might assess cost or carbon footprint.


An Open Mind
The New York Times – Education Life | April 18
The backers of free courseware acknowledge the benefit of self-enrichment. Still, they say they expect open education not only to expand access to information but also to lead to success in higher education, particularly among low-income students and those who are first in their family to go to college. Joel Smith, vice provost and chief information officer at Carnegie Mellon, sums up the challenge: “Free lectures and open syllabi and reading lists are great if the goal is enrichment for people who are already successful in formal higher education. But if the goal is to truly give access to high-quality postsecondary education to most people, well, for that you need to do a lot more."


Trendspotting | Fresh Paint
The New York Times – Education Life | April 18
The class of 1924 donated a fence to Carnegie Mellon as a place for seniors to meet and greet, and it soon became a campus billboard. There are rules: The fence can be painted only between midnight and sunrise, and only with a brush. Should someone break a rule, says Damien Valdes, a senior, "they'd be ostracized from their peer group immediately."

Education for Leadership

Funhouse of the future looks oddly like a biotech company, Iminin Technologies
Pop City Media | April 21
This totally fictional, highly immersive experience comes to you courtesy of The ImininTech Project, part art installation, part funhouse and part Disney experience, all rolled into one. The project showcases some of the coolest innovations from Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.  Last weekend at least two thousand visitors toured the two-story showcase at the 2010 Spring Carnival. If you missed it, catch it at the Attack Theatre's Dirty Ball this Saturday.

Arts and Humanities

CMU theater trio earns Kennedy Center honors
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 21
A Carnegie-Mellon University trio earned honors today at the 42nd annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The first Paul Stephen Lim Asian-American Playwriting Award, including $2,500, membership in the Dramatists Guild of America, and a professional development residency, went to Edgar Mendoza for his play "Blue Note Run." Mr. Mendoza earned a Carnegie Mellon M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing last year.

Information Technology

Three iPhone apps for globetrotters
CIO | April 19
Some good iPhone apps with an international flavor can make your stay across the border a little easier. has spotted three that perform very different tasks for the globetrotter. [...] Created by Alex Waibel, a professor of computer science and language technologies at Carnegie Mellon University, Jibbigo apps are arguably the most sophisticated in the App Store.


IT disaster recovery planning and earthquake emergency response: Lessons learned from Haiti | April 21
Several things that happened during and after the Haiti earthquake are worth noting for IT managers and disaster recovery planners that reflect today's changing technologies. News of that disaster was communicated largely by civilians using social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, and sending photos and news of the earthquake's destruction through cell phones, said Dr. Martin Griss, director of Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley Campus.,289142,sid190_gci1510356,00.html


Brighter than your average dye | April 20
Fluorescent dyes have allowed researchers to image proteins, nucleic acids, and even small molecules as they interact with one another or move around the cell. Real-time monitoring of these interactions can provide fundamental insights into biological processes as well as the causes of human disease. Although the current crop of fluorophores has proven extremely valuable over the past century, current versions have several limitations including brightness, photostability, color availability, and size. [...] “You pretty much take what nature gives you,” Bruce Armitage, professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and director of the Carnegie Mellon Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology, told BioTechniques.


A case for and against electric cars
The Financial Express | April 17
A panel of scientific experts, looking into various sustainable mobility solutions for the auto industry in California on Tuesday, came up with some unexpected conclusions. [...] The problems associated with electric cars included lack of scientific breakthroughs on battery technology, range anxiety and cost. “There is no good solution to the cost, performance limitations and technical challenges with lithium ion batteries,” said Jay Whitacre, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University. “Plus there are ‘end-of-use’ recycling and safety issues. They’re complicated beasts."

Regional Impact

Book documents Pa. architecture
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 17
Ms. Donnelly's next project is at Carnegie Mellon University's Architecture Archives. Working with her longtime colleague, architectural historian Martin Aurand, Mrs. Donnelly is consulting on a new database called Pittsburgh Architects and Buildings. The project, which began in January, is a partnership among Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz Architectural Center of Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.


Heinz History center hosts History Makers Award Dinner at the Westin Convention Center Hotel
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 20
History repeated itself for the 18th year on Friday when the Heinz History Center held its History Makers Award Dinner at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. More than 450 guests turned out to honor former Pittsburgh Symphony principal pianist Patricia Prattis Jennings, UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff, Carnegie Mellon University president Jared Cohon, Judge Cynthia Baldwin and Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham. The evening was co-chaired by BNY Mellon chairman and CEO Robert Kelly and Citizens of Pennsylvania chairman Ralph Papa, whose banks sponsored the benefit.


CMU professor works to give doctors access to patient records
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 20
A Carnegie Mellon University health technology expert says he will work with colleagues across the country to open access to electronic health records and protect patient privacy. "The goal here is to work on policy and technology to reduce the barriers to access," said Anupam Datta, assistant research professor in Carnegie Mellon's CyLab. If a patient traveled out of state and encountered a health emergency, he said, out-of-state doctors should be able to access the patient's medical history.


Bend a little, stretch a little | April 20
The concept of brain flexibility is supported by neuroscientific research. Carnegie Mellon University’s neuroscientist Marcel Just and Stanford postdoctoral fellow Sashank Varma state in their 4CAPS (an acronym for Capacity, Constrained Concurrent Cortical Activation-based Production System) theory that a less efficient, but capable part of the brain takes over  brain function when the part actually defined for it is disabled.


CMU-Q book highlights tales of migrant workers
The Peninsula | April 19
Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar (CMU-Q) students enter the realm of the lives of low-income migrant workers here to bring to light stories resonating the pains and sacrifices but the hope and optimism of the marginalised in pursuit to provide for their families back home. The nine stories comprise ‘Stories from the Margins’, one of the three sections contained in the ‘Hazawi’ (Stories), launched yesterday at the CMU-Q.


Taxing corporations' foreign profits
Public Radio International | April 16
"It's a tax code full of corporate loopholes that makes it perfectly legal for companies to avoid paying their fair share. It's a tax code that makes it all too easy for a number, a small number of individuals and companies, to abuse overseas tax havens to avoid paying any taxes at all. And it's a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York." So far, the multinationals are staying mute on the topic. Not surprising, says economist Lee Branstetter at Carnegie Mellon University. "You can sort of understand where they're coming from, I mean in a sense that there is some controversy here, and they have to look out for their public image."