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News Clips - February 26, 2010

From February 19 to February 25, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 528 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Brokerage Prices Don’t Reflect Actual Trading Costs, Study Says
BusinessWeek/Bloomberg | February 24

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should require brokers to include transaction fees and rebates in customer prices to reflect actual trading costs, according to a study released yesterday. [...] "Make-or-take pricing has significantly distorted trading," wrote James Angel of Georgetown University in Washington, Lawrence Harris of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Chester Spatt of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "Brokers make most order-routing decisions based on the quoted prices that their clients will receive, and not the true net prices of the trades."


Just Like Mombot Used to Make
The New York Times | February 23

In an empty fluorescent-lighted hallway on the second floor of Smith Hall here at Carnegie Mellon University, Prof. Paul Rybski and a pair of graduate students showed off their most advanced creation. The culmination of two years of research and the collective expertise of 17 faculty members, undergraduates and doctoral students in the Human Robot Interaction Group, it is a robot outfitted with a $20,000 laser navigation system, sonar sensors and a Point Grey Bumblebee 2 stereo camera that functions as its eyes, which stare out from its clay-colored plastic, gender-neutral face.


Despite recession, average Wall Street bonus leaps 25%
USA Today | February 23

In an era of populist outrage and nearly double-digit unemployment, the average Wall Street bonus jumped 25% in 2009 to $123,850 as financial firms rebounded from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression with help from U.S. taxpayers' money. [...] The outrage on Main Street to outsize pay packages — the median annual American wage is $32,390 — is not unexpected, says Robert Miller, a professor of economics and strategy at Carnegie Mellon. "My research shows that the compensation managers get reflects how well their firms are doing," he says. "But you see more outrage when people are losing their jobs and unemployment is high."

Arts and Humanities

The Inspector General
Pittsburgh City Paper | February 25

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama revives the Gogol classic, a play as true today as in 1836. But playwright Michael M. Chemers has "adapted" Gogol's original script in the loosest sense: Instead of Czarist Russia, the setting is now a Midwestern town named "Clevebourg." Chemers' updated characters are addicted to purely modern habits: The mayor plays video games, his daughter "tweets" all day, the chief of police puffs reefer, and the communications director steals credit-card numbers from hacked e-mails. Chemers keeps the plot and better dialogue intact, but he embellishes the story with insane slapstick and cesspools of dirty phrases. Anna Karenina this is not.

Information Technology

How’s My Street? Crowdsourcing app lets you know | February 24

As Mother Nature unleashed her fury on the Mid-Atlantic early this month, like most of the region’s residents, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Priya Narasimhan hunkered down for the duration. But cuddled up with a hot cup of cocoa and a good book, she wasn’t. The quintessential social being, Narasimhan twittered away while she watched the snow pile up outside her Pittsburgh window. Monday evening, Feb. 8, as she read tweets from people who had braved the blizzard and were sharing information on passable and impassable roads, Narasimhan had an a-ha! moment.


The Future Human: Linking man with machine
WLS-TV | February 22

Soon prosthetics will be controlled using the mind. Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, have already successfully demonstrated that a pair of monkeys with electrodes in their brains are able to control a robotic arm as if it were their own. Scientists in the United Kingdom are also working to link prosthetic limbs with a person's actual skeleton. Currently, prosthetics are connected externally to a person's stump, but the Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis (ITAP) involves connecting a titanium rod directly into the bone. Experts say the risk of infection is avoided because skin tissue grows around the rod to form a seal.

Regional Impact

Target 11 Investigates Local Stimulus Money
WPXI-TV News | February 23

Carnegie Mellon University was awarded $30 million for cutting-edge research projects. That money paid for 147 jobs. [...] Carnegie Mellon University said the money came at a desperate time. "Over the past year we've had to lay off people, and so this is incredibly important money for a system that doesn't otherwise have any slack," said Mark Kamlet, the Provost at CMU. "We had two choices, sit back and do nothing, and let the chips fall where they may and a lot of Americans would be sitting here unemployed, saying, 'Why didn't you do anything?' added Doyle.


Helping earthquake victims with a feast of Haitian food
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 25

Southminster Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon is serving up a banquet of Haitian foods this Sunday after the 11 a.m. worship service, with donations supporting earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti. [...] Ms. Boyd owns Uptown Coffee in Mt. Lebanon. She spends much of her time in kitchens, baking goodies for her shop as well as for her family -- husband Don Morrison, who is a Carnegie Mellon University computer programmer, and Esther.


200 years after his birth, Chopin remains a key composer
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | February 24

"I have to believe that what makes Chopin's music endure is the same thing that makes all great composers' music endure: his precious ability to tell the truth on the page," says pianist Enrique Graf, artist lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music. "This is a difficult if not impossible thing to analyze, but people always know it when they hear it."


Why distance-learning MBAs matter
The Economist | February 24

Distance-learning business education is a resounding success story. In America, specialist universities, such as the University of Phoenix, have hundreds of thousands of postgraduate business students enrolled. In India the total is probably in the millions. If, perhaps, the very top tier of universities are yet to offer distance programmes, still some very notable ones do: Carnegie Mellon or Thunderbird in America, Warwick or Insitito Empresas in Europe, for example.


Carnegie Mellon Qatar names Interim Dean
AME Info | February 23

G. Richard Tucker, Ph.D., the Paul Mellon University Professor of Applied Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon, has been named Interim Dean for Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Tucker succeeds Charles E. "Chuck" Thorpe, who has served as dean since the university joined Education City in 2004. [...] "We are pleased to have someone with Dick's knowledge and enthusiasm to lead our Qatar campus as the interim dean. Dick has invaluable experience as a department head and active participant in so many parts of the university. His breadth of experience has already benefited the Qatar campus in several ways and we look forward to continued success in Qatar," said Mark Kamlet, provost and executive vice president at Carnegie Mellon.


Want a job? Get a computer science degree
IDG | February 22

Here's a tip for incoming and current college students: If you want to have a high-paying job on graduation day, study computer science. [...] At Carnegie Mellon University, the number of applicants to the School of Computer Science's Computer Science Department reached 3,000 this year, up 14% from last year and up 76% from 2005. The department caps enrollment at 130 students per year for a total enrollment of fewer than 550 students.