Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

News Clips - January 3, 2011

From December 23 to December 31, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 486 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


It's payback time
MSN India | December 27
HCL founder Shiv Nadar sold about 2.5% stake in the company to raise Rs 585 crore. Nadar announced that the money will be donated for philanthropic initiatives in the Indian education sector. The Shiv Nadar Foundation set up in 1996 focuses on education, arts, environment and community development in India. Nadar has already invested $400 million towards the Shiv Nadar Foundation. The Foundation's global partnerships include the likes of Carnegie Mellon University that offers its MSIT degree at the Foundation's SSN School of Advanced Software Engineering.


A little imagination is the trick to sticking to New Year resolutions
The Telegraph | December 26
Dr. Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said: "These findings suggest that trying to suppress one's thoughts of desired foods in order to curb cravings for those foods is a fundamentally flawed strategy. "Our findings show that repeatedly imagining the consumption of a food reduces subsequent actual consumption of that food because imagining its consumption reduces one's appetite for it.


Geckos inspire stronger adhesives
U.S. News & World Report | December 30
This small lizard has the remarkable ability to grip to any surface, repeatedly, and under all conditions, including dirt, moisture or excessive dryness. Its sticking power comes from millions of microscopic dry hairs on its footpads, each with a mushroom-shaped tip that makes contact with the surface, and adheres to it. Metin Sitti, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has developed a polymer fiber material based on the gecko’s natural fibers that can duplicate its unusual repetitive adhesive properties, an advance that likely will have broad commercial applications in sports, medicine, robotics, and the military.


2010: The year technology replaced talking
USA Today | December 30
The "major" change is "the idea that you are available to everybody in your social circle at every minute and they are available to you," he says. "What its consequences and implications are, we don't know." Social psychologist Robert Kraut of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is among those studying our relationship with technology. "At any moment, you're dividing your attention between the person in front of you and the person you're giving snippets of your attention to. We don't know the net consequence of reducing the quality of the relationship a little bit with the person you're with while improving or maintaining it with the person you're electronically tied to."


Homicides fall in large American cities
USA Today | December 29
The long-term trend is particularly striking in the nation's three largest cities —New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Homicides in New York have dropped 79% during the past two decades — from 2,245 in 1990 to 471 in 2009, the last full year measured. Chicago is down 46% during that period, from 850 to 458. Los Angeles is down 68%, from 983 to 312. The reductions, especially in New York, have been so dramatic that violent crime virtually has disappeared from the national political discourse. "It certainly did not emerge in the (November) midterm elections, and it hasn't been an issue of national public concern since at least 2000," Carnegie Mellon University criminologist Alfred Blumstein says.

Arts and Humanities

Not motivated? Make a game of it
Los Angeles Times | December 26
Companies such as Health Month have begun to harness people's innate craving for competition to turn the world into one giant virtual summer camp. Now that 97% of teens and more than half of adults play video games, companies have caught on to the medium's addictive powers. Websites and apps are using virtual points, levels, leader boards, badges and challenges to motivate people to stay healthy, watch television or read a newspaper. "Games are starting to creep into every aspect of our day," says Jesse Schell, a game designer who teaches at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center.


Thought for food
Chicago Tribune/Sun-Times | December 28
If the scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh are right, after all that imagining you won't eat as much. And not because everyone else has scarfed up the food while you've just been standing there, thinking about it. It's because through the imagining, you experience something scientists call "habituation." Usually this means the more you eat something, the less you want it. (Think about what happens to your appetite, say, after a dozen White Castle sliders.) Here's the Carnegie Mellon corollary from research published in the journal Science: The more often you imagine eating something, the less you want it.


Gas: Dirty like coal?
Pittsburgh City Paper | December 23
Using a 20-year number is "a bit unconventional," says Mike Griffin, head of Carnegie Mellon University's Green Design Center.  Another issue is the extent of leakage. Regulators have long assumed that 1.5 percent of natural gas is either deliberately vented or leaks accidentally. Howarth assumes a much higher leakage rate of 3.5 percent. New evidence suggests all those estimates may be too low. An October report from the federal Government Accountability Office, for instance, states that more than 4 percent of methane is lost to intentional venting and flaring of gas alone. And in November, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 2006 methane emissions from the petroleum and natural-gas industry were actually 57 percent higher than previously thought -- and that venting from some operations at "unconventional" wells (like those used in shale-gas drilling) was thousands of times higher than earlier estimates.

Regional Impact

Race on to avert Pittsburgh pension takeover
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | December 31
Robert Strauss, a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said he didn't think the last-minute developments were necessarily a bad thing. "Debate has been healthy. Both the mayor and the council members are democratically elected officials. Differences of opinion are entirely normal and natural," Strauss said. Ravenstahl wanted to lease the parking system to a private operator for 50 years in exchange for a $452 million payment; council rejected that plan.


PhillyInc: Putting innovation under the microscope
The Philadelphia Inquirer | December 27
Pennsylvania and New Jersey remain a bit challenged when it comes to swimming in the entrepreneurial soup, forming just 29 firms in 2009, according to the association's data. The University of Pennsylvania  and Drexel University each formed three. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh topped the 10 institutions in the two states with 10 start-ups.


CMU diving into the future of work with new research center
Pittsburgh Business Times | December 24
When it comes to the inspiration that led Carnegie Mellon University to launch its Center for the Future of Work, director Ramayya Krishnan  described a changing world where a “center” for work is becoming increasingly unnecessary. He called it “distributed work,” a broad term that calls to mind a wired and mobile world that allows employees and talent to be anywhere and everywhere at once, even if that means they’re never in the same place.


There is positive job-market news for college grads
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | December 29
While not typical, Carnegie Mellon University students are already seeing daylight and are in some cases getting blinded by it. "I have had students tell me, 'I have three or four offers and I don't know how to choose,' or 'I don't know how to negotiate for a better offer ethically.' That's very impressive to me," said Farouk Dey, director of CMU's Career and Professional Development Center, who added that the school had to turn away companies from the September job fair because the spaces were all taken. The CMU website has 900 to 1,000 postings from various employers for its students and alums to sort through, he said.


Looking across the racial divide: How eyewitness testimony can cause problems
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | December 26
Michael Tarr, a face researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, makes the same point by noting the differences between typical people and car and bird experts. "Everybody sees a lot of cars in their life, but it's not the same as someone who really cares about cars. We also see a lot of birds, but we're not like the people who are trained to recognize birds."