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News Clips - April 9, 2010

From April 1 to April 8, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 368 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


EU pulls election observers from Darfur
CNN | April 7
The European Union on Wednesday pulled its observers from Darfur ahead of elections in Sudan, an EU spokeswoman told CNN. [...] The removal of the election observers could bring a halt to the election, said Jendayi E. Frazer, professor at Carnegie Mellon University and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs. "I think that it really suggests that the election, especially in Darfur, is not likely to go forward," she said. "I know that the National Congress Party will continue to push for that election and many of the international community would feel that it's unfortunate that the election is not going forward."


Coal mining: Could robots do humans' dirty work?
ABC News | April 7
Coal mining has long been one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. But with so many advances in communications and robotics technology, why do humans still need to do it? The mine owners were fined millions last year for toxic levels of gas. Especially in the aftermath of the coal mine explosion that rocked West Virginia earlier this week, the issue seems even more relevant. [...] Carnegie Mellon researchers subsequently developed the Cave Crawler, a smaller, more mobile version of the Groundhog. The idea behind both robots is to gather photographs, physical measurements and other data about a subterranean space to build accurate models for humans.


Survival of the weakest
Chemical and Engineering News | April 5
Evolution may be based on “survival of the fittest,” but when it comes to selecting the best catalysts, that dictum doesn’t always hold. A research team has shown that one can select the best catalysts from combinatorial libraries of candidates by instead using the principle of “survival of the weakest”—that is, the most unstable catalytic intermediates make for the best catalysts. The approach could make it possible to discover catalysts more quickly for syntheses of drugs and other products. [...] “This is a clever demonstration of successful catalyst screening using simple ESI/MS methodology,” says polymer chemist Krzysztof Matyjaszewski of Carnegie Mellon University. Groups such as Matyjaszewski’s and that of catalyst screening specialist Andreas Pfaltz of the University of Basel have identified good catalysts from mixtures before.

Education for Leadership

CMU team in business plan contest
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 8
A team of Carnegie Mellon University graduate students who developed a medical data system is among 20 semifinalists in the 19th annual New Venture Championship in Portland, Ore. Beyond Lucid Technologies Inc. will represent CMU's Tepper School of Business with its Mediview DX system, to transmit timely medical data from ambulances on the road to hospitals.

Arts and Humanities

Carnegie Mellon's Philharmonic hits the road for NYC
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 8
Enough already about the robots, actors and people walking up a pole. Carnegie Mellon University has a School of Music that doesn't need to play second fiddle. Tonight it will step into a special spotlight when its main ensemble, the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, performs a concert in another famous Andrew Carnegie creation -- New York City's Carnegie Hall.


Music-video course brings together Carnegie Mellon students and local musicians
Pittsburgh City Paper | April 8
Every American under 40 grew up in a world where music and video images were inextricably linked. So it stands to reason that Carnegie Mellon's high-tech, media-savvy College of Fine Arts would eventually offer a class specifically about music videos. Associate art professor Susie Silver says students are surprised to learn how early the form originated: movie-musical choreographer Busby Berkeley; World War II jukebox films; Nam June Paik and Kenneth Anger in the '60s; even Abba's "pop promos" in the 1970s. Although the familiar TV format began in 1975 when Queen filmed a video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" to avoid miming the song on Top of the Pops, the golden age emerged with MTV in 1981.


April, National Stress Month! | April 6
April may bring showers to mind, but now it has also been declared "National Stress Month" (Hopefully, April won't be as rainy as March, but we will de-stress with May flowers!) Stress has been associated with many things from the common cold to more serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease to cancer. [...] A study done by Sheldon Cohen of the Carnegie Mellon University did indeed find a high positive correlation between stress and the onset of a cold (Psychology Today, November 2001). Researchers working on this study surveyed 256 volunteers about the stress in their lives.


Newsmaker: Kiron K. Skinner
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 3
Carnegie Mellon University associate professor of social and decision sciences; director of the International Relations and Politics Program. Education: Skinner earned an associate's degree in communications from Sacramento City College, a bachelor's degree in political science from Spelman College in Atlanta and a doctorate in political science and international relations from Harvard University.

Information Technology

Detecting malicious insiders before data breaches damage your business | April 6
As intriguing as the idea of a mysterious cyber-criminal hacking his way into a corporate network sounds, the majority of data breaches are the work of insiders. An employee copies data to a USB device and leaves it in a cab; a contractor misplaces a CD with customer information—these are common causes of data breaches. But sometimes, it is not an accident, and rather than a master criminal scaling the network perimeter it's a sullen systems administrator causing the havoc. Dawn Cappelli knows that well. As the technical lead of CERT's insider threat research at Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute, she has analyzed 450 cases of malicious insiders in search of common threads that businesses can use to develop security strategies.


Carnegie Mellon scientists create toolbox of fluorescent probes in a rainbow of colors | April 3
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center (MBIC) are advancing the state-of-the-art in live cell fluorescent imaging by developing a new class of fluorescent probes that span the spectrum — from violet to the near-infrared. The new technology, called fluoromodules, can be used to monitor biological activities of individual proteins in living cells in real time. At the 239th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Carnegie Mellon chemists and MBIC scientists will discuss recent advances in their fluoromodule technology that have produced diverse and photostable probes.


That tortilla costs more than you think
Science | April 1
Which costs more, a dollar's worth of sugar or a dollar's worth of paint? That's not a trick question-the sugar costs more, if you count the liters of water that go into making it, according to a new study. Uncovering the water behind the dollars in sectors including cotton farming and movie making could help industries use water more wisely, the study's authors say. Researchers know little about how much and where water is used. The United States Census Bureau stopped monitoring companies' water consumption in the 1980s, so the most detailed information available is the U. S. Geological Survey's 2000 report on water use in eight broad categories, such as irrigation, public supply, and power generation. But as demand for water increases, it would be useful to know water's relative importance to various industries, says Chris Hendrickson, a civil engineer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Regional Impact

Group to pitch Pittsburgh region in Oman
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 8
A 16-member delegation from the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute will leave Friday on its first mission abroad -- a meeting with high-ranking officials in Oman. "Our goal is to connect our region to the countries of the Middle East in business, education and culture," said Simin Yazdgerdi Curtis, president and founder of the Downtown institute. "It's a sensational opportunity to realize this goal." [...] Delegates in health care or education are Esther Barazzone, president of Chatham University; Bryan Tamburro, senior director for strategic initiatives for Carnegie Mellon University's School of Public Policy and Management and the School of Information Systems; Bryan S. Zerbe, director of admissions for CMU's Qatar campus; Michael Costelloe, senior vice president-international for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; and David K. Miles, CEO of The Children's Institute.


Cassell joins Human Computer Interaction Institute
Pittsburgh Business Times | April 6
Justine Cassell, currently the director of the Center for Technology & Social Behavior at Northwestern University, will take over as the director of the Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute later this summer. Cassell takes over for Daniel Siewiorek, who has led the institute since 1998. Siewiorek is expected to resume teaching as the Buhl Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and computer science. He will also be project leader for human system interaction within the Quality of Life Technology Center.


Club At CMU Pays Tribute To Fallen Officers
KDKA-TV News | April 3
Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers killed while answering a domestic call in Stanton Heights. As thousands of people from the community continue to pay their respects and offer support, a special tribute came today from an unexpected source on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.


Blame it on beef
Meat trade news daily | April 7
For centuries, people have debated the ethics of killing for food (one clearly carnivorous Stoic philosopher, Chrysippus, wrote in the third century BCE that the purpose of an animal’s soul was simply to keep the meat fresh). New is the focus on the environmental consequences of meat—one rooted in science. Meatless proponents often refer to a 2009 study by researchers at the University of Chicago that suggests the vegan diet is a more effective way of curbing climate change than driving a hybrid car. Or, for that matter, a 2008 Carnegie Mellon report that suggests that eschewing meat beats eating local. And they’re quick to draw comparisons with more conventional ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions—things like public transit or switching off the lights. One oft repeated number is Carnegie Mellon researcher Christopher Weber’s calculation that forgoing red meat for veggies just a day a week would save 1,860 km of driving a year (assuming the car did 10.6 km per litre of gas).


The Globe and Mail | April 6
“If you think an electric toothbrush is high-tech, wait until you hear about the Internet-enabled version,” John Sutter writes for “Jesse Schell, a game designer and Carnegie Mellon University professor, says toothbrushes will be hooked up with WiFi Internet connections within five years. The point? If the entire Internet knows how often you brush your teeth and for how long, there’s an incentive to brush more often. Toothbrush makers could offer rewards for frequent brushers, too. Say you brush your teeth twice each day for three months. A company like Crest or Procter & Gamble could reward you with coupons for more toothbrushes, since your well-used bristles would probably be frayed by then. Mr. Schell says dental hygiene – and, really, just about everything else – will become a game. He thinks the ‘gamepocalypse,’ the moment when everything in our lives becomes a game, is coming soon – if it’s not already here."