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News Clips - February 19, 2010

From February 11 to February 18, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 726 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


The lessons of Dubai
TIME | February 22
If the rulers of Dubai cringe at the bad publicity the emirate city-state has copped since its go-go economy burst in 2008, they have only themselves to blame. After all, it was they who courted the media glare in the first place. Little more than empty desert a generation ago, Dubai had no logical reason to build a Manhattan-style skyline, let alone the world's tallest building. No reason, that is, except the kind of grandiose ambition that turned what was a backwater into one of the world's most dynamic cities. [...] Among those best placed to profit from the recovery — and from Dubai's mistakes — is Qatar. While Europe and the U.S. are still struggling for growth, it's almost business as usual in Doha, the capital. Just ask Kevin Lamb, assistant dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar. Located in Education City, a gleaming new complex under construction on the outskirts of the capital, his school is one of six American universities that have set up shop in the country over the past few years.,9171,1963644,00.html


Foreigners cut treasury stakes; Rates could rise
Associated Press/The New York Times | February 16
A record drop in foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury  bills in December sent a reminder that the government might have to pay higher interest rates on its debt to continue to attract investors. [...] Alan Meltzer, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said China's shift should be a wake-up call for Washington. ''The Chinese are worried that we have unsustainable debt levels, and we do not have a policy for dealing with it,'' Meltzer said.


Carnegie Mellon releases Haitian Creole data set for developers
Campus Technology | February 11
In response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science have released spoken and textual data they've compiled on Haitian Creole to help developers create translation tools needed by relief workers. A team at Microsoft Research has used the data to help populate an experimental, Web-based system for translating between English and Haitian Creole on the company's Bing Translator. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have begun working on their own translation system for Haitian Creole.

Education for Leadership

Crowd sourcing website shares snowy street information
WPXI-TV News | February 11
From the folks that brought us Yinzcam and the iBurgh application, came a new innovation, to let people share information about which streets are plowed, and which ones are not. It's called "How's My Street?" Priya Narasimhan of Carnegie Mellon University talked with Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto, and asked how her company could help. Peduto recommended a citizen to citizen web based opportunity to find the best routes around the city, and Narasimhan offered to create a new system at no cost.

Arts and Humanities

Q & A with Hilary Robinson
Pop City | February 17
Dr. Hilary Robinson is the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon. A creative force in the community in the short time she has been here (2005), she serves on the boards of The Andy Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, Quantum Theatre, Silver Eye and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, she was head of the School of Art and Design at the University of Ulster in Belfast.


Your mind and your money - Feeling vs. thinking
PBS – Nightly Business Report | February 15
GRECH: Professor Baruch Fischhoff is with Carnegie Mellon University. He says our appetite for risk has a lot to do with how we interpret information. BARUCH FISCHHOFF, PROFESSOR, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIV.: Just like you'd find two people, one who will stay in a job because she thinks it's a greater risk to move to something else and somebody will leave the job because she's afraid that the industry or the company is going down.

Information Technology

World leaders to seek plan for cybersecurity
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 17
As worries multiply that countries increasingly are becoming vulnerable to cyber attacks, 500 delegates from 25 nations will meet today in Brussels to discuss ways to make cyberspace more secure. [...] "We should be talking about declaring what's off limits in cyberspace for global stability, not generals talking about how to increase our offensive cyber capability," said Jody Westby, a Carnegie Mellon University CyLab Distinguished Fellow and founder and CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC in Washington.


Scientists obtain funding to improve heart-assist devices for infants with congenital heart problems | February 11
Approximately  35,000 children are born each year with congenital heart defects. One of the major causes of heart disease in smaller infants is trisomy, an abnormal expansion of a particular chromosome such as chromosome 21 which can lead to Down Syndrome. [...]This device has to be essentially scaled down, optimized and retrofitted to meet the higher demands of blood flow and cardiac output of smaller children.  Indeed, University of Pittsburgh researchers in collaboration with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Carnegie Mellon University, California Launch Point Technologies and WorldHeart, Inc, a Salt Lake City-based biotech company, have partnered up to develop and optimize an existing heart pump such as PediaFlow to assist young infants and small children with heart problems.


Plug-in hybrid vehicle costs likely to remain high, benefits modest for decades | February 14
Costs of plug-in hybrid electric cars are high -- largely due to their lithium-ion batteries -- and unlikely to drastically decrease in the near future, says a new report from the National Research Council. Costs to manufacture plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2010 are estimated to be as much as $18,000 more than for an equivalent conventional vehicle. [...] 14. Edward S. Rubin, Alumni Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Regional Impact

Region gets $35 million in federal aid for freight rail
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 18
As debate raged in the nation's capital over the stimulus bill on its first birthday, federal officials announced that it will provide $35 million for freight rail projects in Western Pennsylvania. [...] Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is scheduled to visit Carnegie Mellon University to announce an initiative to increase broadband Internet access. The overall effectiveness of the stimulus has been hotly debated since President Barack Obama signed the measure Feb. 17, 2009, but the rhetoric heightened for its anniversary.


Carnegie Mellon class aims to help transform needy communities
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | February 18
A Carnegie Mellon University class that combines course work with real-life issues is giving municipal leaders fresh ideas on how to improve their communities. Each semester, master's degree students enrolled in the sustainable community development course in Carnegie Mellon's School of Public Policy and Management partner with municipalities to design a project that recommends how to integrate sustainable development practices into areas the municipal officials want to see improved.


State of reform
Pittsburgh City Paper | February 18
"A lot of people in health-policy work talk about déjà vu. [Reform] discussion happens every 10 to 20 years," says David Dausey, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and senior director of the school's Health Care Programs and Initiatives. "Comprehensive reform has been avoided largely because of special interests that have set out to prevent a large, comprehensive change from happening," Dausey says.


Researcher says physics may outsmart viruses
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 17
When a virus infects another cell, it inserts its genetic material into the cell and hijacks it to make extra copies of the virus. That process, Alex Evilevitch has learned, is more like an artillery barrage than a stealth attack. The way many viruses transfer their genomes into host cells is by ejecting them with a force 10 times greater than the explosion of a champagne cork, the Carnegie Mellon University physics professor said.


Carnegie Mellon University sets new application record
The Pittsburgh Business Times | February 15
Competition for undergraduate admission to Carnegie Mellon University will be stiff with a record number of applications submitted for the 2010-2011 school year. The university received 26,431 applications vying for 1,400 spots. That’s a 16 percent increase over last year’s applicant pool of 22,780, according to the university. “It’s great to know that even in times of great economic uncertainty, the desire to pursue a college education remains strong,” said Michael Steidel, director of admissions in a written statement.


Yahoo! looks beyond Google's data cruncher
The Register | February 16
This is not to say that MapReduce is completely incompatible with semantic processing. Hadoop drives Carnegie Mellon's Read the Web project - an effort to create a semantic map of the web that runs on the M45 cluster Yahoo! serves up to various academic institutions - and it underpins Powerset, the semantic search engine that Microsoft has applied to portions of Bing. But Brachman is looking further down the road, to an altogether different level of machine "understanding." Yes, Yahoo! will continue to explore such far-reaching avenues. Regulators are on the verge of approving the company's mega-pact with Microsoft, which will see Bing handle search duties on, but even without search, Brachman and company are still in the business of juggling epic amounts of web data.


Iran sanctions raise Saudi doubts | February 16
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has expressed doubts about the need for more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, a move being pushed by the United States. [...] "We see the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the parliament is being supplanted and Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship," Clinton told students at the Qatari branch of Carnegie Mellon University.


Dungeons and Dragons on the Surface
CNET News Asia | February 15
When I initially saw Microsoft's Surface multitouch tabletop device about three years ago, the first thing I thought, as a geek, was how absolutely perfect it would be for Dungeons and Dragons games. One reason these games tend to be the domain of geeks is that they require math, and lots of it. Line-of-sight for attacks; variables for cover and concealment; modifiers for things like how much weight can be carried and whether your character is currently on fire--all these can make the game a laborious process for those who don't have a love of such things. Then I heard that some whiz kids with Carnegie Mellon's SurfaceScapes team had been developing just what I wanted: D&D for the Surface. After a few emails, I got word that the team would be showing it off for the people at Microsoft and that Yours Truly, living in Seattle, would have a chance to try it out. You'd better believe I was excited.