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News Clips - March 12, 2010

From March 5 to March 11, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 956 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


5 colleges honored for internationalizing their campuses
Chronicle of Higher Education – The Ticker Blog | March 9
Five colleges were recognized today  by Nafsa: Association of International Educators for their innovative efforts to bring a greater international focus to their campuses. This year's winners of the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization are Carnegie Mellon University, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Loyola University in Maryland, Northeastern University, and the University of San Francisco.


Toyota disputes critic who blames electronics
Associated Press | March 9
Toyota, dogged by millions of recalls and claims that it still has not fixed its safety problems, took its strongest step yet Monday to silence critics who blame faulty electronics for runaway cars and trucks. [...] An outside expert, Raj Rajkumar, an electrical and computer-engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who studies auto electronics, said Gilbert's work raises doubts about the fail-safe systems. "Pretty much anybody who works on electronic-based vehicle systems understands that things can go wrong," he said.


A little black box to jog failing memory
Boston Globe | March 9
On a cold, wet afternoon not long ago, Aron Reznick sat in the lounge of a home for the elderly here, his silver hair neatly combed, his memory a fog. He could not remember Thanksgiving dinner with his family, though when he was given a hint — “turkey” — it came back to him, vaguely, like a shadow in the moonlight. [...] To find the best memory cues for Mr. Reznick’s experiences, the researchers — Anind K. Dey, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and Matthew Lee, a graduate student — considered the types of images that had proved the most effective in previous Sensecam studies.


Video game technology shifts to rewarding play
NPR – Morning Edition | March 8
Last year, Americans spent nearly $20 billion on video game equipment. That's double what was spent on video gaming five years ago, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm. And it's not just teenage boys or college students driving the market anymore. "There are games now for pretty much every age, every demographic," Jesse Schell, who teaches entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "More and more women are going online. It comes down to everybody is playing games."

Education for Leadership

Newsmaker: Sanna Gaspard
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | March 5
Age: 28. Residence: Swissvale. Family: Mother, Lucy Fairconeture; father, Venus Gaspard; stepfather, Ernest Fairconeture. Education: Doctorate in biomedical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010; master of science, biomedical engineering, Carnegie Mellon, 2005; bachelor of science, biomedical engineering, University of Miami, 2004.

Arts and Humanities

CMU Philharmonic to Carnegie Hall
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Classical Musings Blog | March 5
Maestro Ronald Zollman will lead the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic in concert at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 8 in New York City's Carnegie Hall. The event, which serves as the capstone of a College of Fine Arts weekend in New York City, will feature rising Metropolitan Opera star and School of Music alumnus Liam Bonner in Mahler's "Lieder eines Farhrende Gesellen." The concert also will include a New York premiere performance of Jacob Druckman's "Demos" (1992), and will close with Stravinsky's vibrant and fanciful "Petrouchka."


Pop Star: Vivian Loftness
Pop City | March 10
To say that Vivian Loftness, Professor at the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon, has been shaped by the world is a bit of an understatement.  Born in Stockholm, (her father was in the Foreign Service), she spent her formative years in L.A. and Paris and attended public high school just outside Washington, D.C.  After a combined bachelor/masters program at M.I.T., she received a Rotary scholarship to study in Finland, a country where architecture is the most esteemed profession.

Information Technology

Need a translation? Google awaits your call
Los Angeles Times | March 10
Whether it's C-3PO, the fastidious "Star Wars" droid fluent in 6 million languages, or "Star Trek's" invisible but convenient "universal translator," the miracle interpreter has been a favorite device of science fiction. [...] The phone's voice can sound like a robot from a 1950s-era sci-fi movie -- and the translations are often less than perfect. But a handful of bilingual speakers of Mandarin and Japanese (including a few Los Angeles Times reporters) said the application worked surprisingly well for translating basic phrases. "There's still a long way to go, but this is an amazing start," said Jaime Carbonell, director of the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.,0,3347088.story


Consumer goods suck up surprising amounts of water
Discovery News | March 8
Humans need water to live, but they tend to take the cheap commodity for granted, especially in industry. The $1 bag of refined sugar in many American kitchens requires more than 283 gallons of water to produce. The $20 bag of dog food on store shelves takes more than 4,000 gallons. Both calculations come from a recent Carnegie Mellon University study that investigated actual water use among 428 U.S. economic sectors.


The promise of green chemistry
Chemical and Engineering News | March 8
Grossman echoes the concern of Warner, president and chief executive officer of Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, that among all the training of chemists who make and introduce new compounds and materials into the world, there is virtually no training at all in toxicology or environmental chemistry. Thus, traditionally trained chemists do not typically think about such criteria. Terry Collins, professor of chemistry and director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University, refers to this state of affairs as the equivalent of giving car keys to people with no driver training. However, having recently attended the first Industrial Green Chemistry Workshop in India, I found it interesting and encouraging to see an emphasis on requirements for training in green chemistry in a country where pollution and health effects are now a high priority.

Regional Impact

Regional Insights: State's proposed changes would hurt economic development
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 7
Gov. Ed Rendell has proposed dramatic changes in two of the state's primary sources of tax revenue -- the sales tax and the corporate net income tax. Both changes are touted as making the tax system more fair, which is certainly a desirable goal. But how would the governor's proposals affect the Pittsburgh region's ability to compete with other communities for businesses and jobs? [...]  About the author:  Harold D. Miller is president of Future Strategies LLC, and adjunct professor of public policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University.


Toyota boosters, detractors make cases
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 5
Toyota's troubles are dividing the nation into two warring camps, with both sides reflecting deeply held beliefs -- and prejudices. [...] Carnegie Mellon University's Paul Fischbeck, a risk expert, calculated the risk of driving a recalled Toyota and found that the accelerator problem increases by 2 percent the driving risk that occurs anytime anyone gets behind the wheel of any car. Walking or using a cell phone is far riskier, he added.


CMU, Singapore school announce dual-doctorate
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | March 5
Students may earn simultaneous engineering doctoral degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, CMU officials announced Thursday. The degree will focus specifically in robotics and intelligent systems. The average completion time will be four academic years, CMU officials said. Students will be required to spend at least two academic years at NTU and two at CMU. They will have two co-advisers, one each from NTU and CMU.


Down on the farm with the robots
BBC News | March 11
"Agriculture is a great opportunity for automation like robotics," said Professor Tony Stentz of the Field Robotics Centre at Carnegie Mellon University. "Fruits that grow on trees and vegetables that grow in a row, the idea is to farm those crops in a way that you want to pick the fruit and vegetables but you do not want to destroy the plant," he said. "That's a far more challenging task then using a combine to harvest corn." So far, getting robots to be as cheap as human has proved difficult and has focussed interest on making more of the vehicles that are already in use on a farm.


‘Skinput’ turns body into touchscreen interface
Electronic Technology | March 11
Microsoft’s Redmond research lab and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system called Skinput that projects a working touchscreen on to your skin. They have shown that Skinput can allow users to simply tap their skin in order to control audio devices, play games, make phone calls, and navigate hierarchical browsing systems. Both the microchip sized pico projector and acoustic detector are embedded in an armband (which looks somewhat adjustable) that projects an interactive image on to your forearm or hand.