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News Clips - January 29, 2010

From January 22 to January 28, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 362 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


No easy answer to why Toyota accelerators stick
Associated Press/The New York Times | January 28
pretty straightforward. What's going wrong with some Toyotas isn't simple. [...] "This is very unusual and happens on a very rare circumstance, and a whole bunch of things have to happen simultaneously," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's automotive research lab. It's like lots of unlikely lottery hits happening at the same time, but with millions of Toyotas, they do happen.


U.S. keeps foreign Ph.D.s
The Wall Street Journal | January 26
Most foreigners who came to the U.S. to earn doctorate degrees in science and engineering stayed on after graduation—at least until the recession began—refuting predictions that post-9/11 restrictions on immigrants or expanding opportunities in China and India would send more of them home. [...] Joy Ying Zhang, the son of a primary-school teacher and a college professor, left China's Hunan Province in 1999 for Detroit's Wayne State University, where he arrived with two suitcases and $2,000 in cash. He later transferred to Carnegie Mellon University, which awarded him a Ph.D. in computer science in 2008.


Fed weighs interest on reserves as new benchmark rate
BusinessWeek/Bloomberg | January 26
Federal Reserve policy makers are considering adopting a new benchmark interest rate to replace the one they’ve used for the last two decades. [...] The choice of a benchmark is the "front line of defense against inflation, and also it’s at the heart of the central bank being able to precisely and flexibly guide interest-rate policy in the recovery," said Marvin Goodfriend, now a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Education for Leadership

At Future Tenant, artists look for new ways to engage modern communications technology
Pittsburgh City Paper | January 28
We live in a connected age. From cable television to the Internet, from cell phones to Twitter, communication technology preoccupies our lives. We spend hours online collecting virtual friends, updating our Facebook profiles, sifting through hundreds of text messages -- sometimes foregoing face-to-face human contact altogether. [...] Leave it to a group of artists in Pittsburgh to explore the questions the rest of us should be asking about that experiment. Future Tenant, a gallery run by Carnegie Mellon University's graduate arts-management program, asked guest curator Kim Rullo to create an exhibit exploring the impact of technology on communication.

Arts and Humanities

Cough, cough! It's cold season for everyone, including couples
Glamour Magazine – Smitten Blog | January 25
Being sick is no fun. But what happens when one of you grows tired of caring for the other? Worse, what if both you and your man are feeling under the weather? [...] While it’s easy to fall into this rut, the story explains that what needs to be stressed is "that a relationship provides each partner with 'a safe haven'" Brooke C. Feeney, a Carnegie Mellon professor who was also interviewed for the story shares, "When one partner gets sick, the other is needed…for comfort and assistance. But this process can go awry in at least two ways. First, not everyone is equally skilled and motivated to provide a safe haven for their partner in times of need."

Information Technology

Carnegie Mellon offers Haitian Creole translation data
Pittsburgh Business Times | January 27
In an effort to break the language barrier between aid workers and residents of Haiti, the Languages Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University has released spoken and written language data on Haitian Creole that can be used for translation. [...] Carnegie Mellon began working with the Haitian Creole language for the Department of Defense. The institute staff traveled to Haiti to record native speakers, and collect written translations. Since the Jan. 12 earthquake, the institute has updated some of the medical translations with the help of Eriksen Translations Inc.


Grass-fed beef has bigger carbon footprint
Discovery News | January 27
Red meat has a bad reputation among the green-minded for its emissions of heat-trapping gases that exacerbate climate change. Fertilizer derived from fossil fuels is required for growing grain to feed cattle, and cows' digestion produces large amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane, which is 25 times more heating than carbon dioxide. [...] The problem, said Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University, is that accurately quantifying how much soil carbon contributes is difficult, and it can vary dramatically from place to place -- even in locations just a few feet away. This uncertainty can swing the calculation one way or another.


Interest in solar power is generating some educational programs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | January 23
Community College of Allegheny County has begun a program to train installers of solar modules in an effort to "conserve and be part of the solution," says Judy Savolskis, interim vice president for work-force development. [...] Stephen Lee, head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, says the university's approach to matters of renewable energy sometimes puzzles people. "They look and see no course like Energy-Saving 101 and they wonder where we are," he says.

Regional Impact

City lights: LED could be a bright spot in Pittsburgh's future
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | January 23
How much time does it take to change Pittsburgh's lightbulbs? More than you think. But it's just as well. The city's network of 40,000 street lights is an expensive proposition, $4.2 million a year in electricity and maintenance. So any comprehensive plan to overhaul the network must be done right. [...] That's a thought worth keeping as other parts of the analysis of city lighting move forward. Among those efforts is one by the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Architecture to develop a better streetlight network.


The next page: An acre of possibilities, 841 feet in the sky
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | January 24
Rising 841 feet above Grant Street, the U.S. Steel Tower has been the city's tallest building since it opened in August 1970. Built by U.S. Steel as its corporate headquarters and designed by the firm of Harrison, Abramovitz & Abbe, the building attained stature in architectural circles for its distinctive triangular footprint and its innovative, external girdering system that pioneered the use of Cor-ten steel. [...] That question was the start of a process which led me to STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, a center for experimental enterprises across academic disciplines at Carnegie Mellon University. After presenting my idea, I was invited to conduct an investigation to explore realistic options for making best sustainable use of this most singular rooftop platform and the unprecedented civic opportunity it presents.


Simulated volcanic eruptions to block sun
The Telegraph | January 28
A global plan to put man-made particles into the atmosphere to deflect the Sun's heat would rapidly lower global temperatures until cuts in carbon dioxide emissions took effect, they argued. [...] The environmental scientists, David Keith of the University of Calgary in Canada, Edward Parson of the University of Michigan and Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University, were writing an editorial in the journal, Nature.


Oracle's ambitious plans for integrating Sun's technology
CIO Australia | January 28
Oracle has presented an overview of its ambitions for its newly acquired Sun products, focusing on integrated systems offering everything from the application to the database, servers and storage. [...] Two customers brought onstage lauded the Sun-Oracle combination. "We're really looking forward to Oracle being the only person we have to call when something goes wrong," said David Maitland, director of corporate services and the CIO for the Atomic Weapons Establishment. "[Oracle] will be the first organization that spans the entire technology stack or most parts of it," said Mark Kamlet, senior vice president and provost at Carnegie Mellon University.


Board games help kids more than classes
Hindustan Times | January 26
Disconnect the Xbox, uninstall the computer game software and close the laptop. You want your child to have fun but learn at the same time, at a fraction of the cost? Play a board game, experts say. [...] A 2007 study by Carnegie Mellon University showed in a group of low-income preschoolers, playing a board game with numbers, such as Chutes and Ladders, helped them improve their performance on four kinds of numerical tasks.