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News Clips - March 19, 2010

From March 12 to March 18, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 863 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Why are college students so hard to count in the Census?
USA Today | March 18
Until he took a statistics class on it this spring, Christian Reyes barely knew what the U.S. Census was, much less that he has a legal obligation to return a completed form in Pittsburgh, where he is a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University. Now that he has become a bit of an expert on the topic, he suspects most students are similarly unaware.


Neuromarketers get inside buyers' brains
CNN Money | March 18
Marketers want to get inside your brain. Literally. At this week's South By Southwest Interactive Festival, a panel of scientists and advertising executives dissected the latest research on "neuromarketing": measuring consumers' brain activity to help develop ads and products. [...] George Loewenstein, a Carnegie Mellon professor in the social and decision sciences department, has studied neuroeconomics and "the pain of paying." Being ripped off causes actual, physical pain, he found. Test subjects hooked up to MRI scanners were asked to purchase a series of products, some overpriced, some a good deal. The subjects' pain centers lit up when they saw the too-expensive products.


How privacy vanishes online
The New York Times | March 16
If a stranger came up to you on the street, would you give him your name, Social Security number and email address? Yet people often dole out all kinds of personal information on the Internet that allows such identifying data to be deduced. Services like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are oceans of personal minutiae — birthday greetings sent and received, school and work gossip, photos of family vacations, and movies watched. [...] Even more unnerving to privacy advocates is the work of two researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. In a paper published last year, Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross reported that they could accurately predict the full, nine-digit Social Security numbers for 8.5 percent of the people born in the United States between 1989 and 2003 — nearly five million individuals.

Education for Leadership

Mario’s still fun, even ultra-simplified, extra-pixilated 8×8 form
Gizmodo | March 12
Before listening to the explanation for this project, I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but once I realised that the 64 flashing squares on the Arduino-powered display would let me play Mario, it was time to get supplies. Designed by a student from Carnegie Mellon University, this has got to be one of the simplest versions of Super Mario Bros I’ve ever seen – heck, it’s simpler than the game I played on my TI-89 – but it’s absolutely awesome looking and comes complete with the theme music.


Miss Smiling Irish Eyes Crowned in Pittsburgh
WTAE-TV News | March 12
It's a Pittsburgh tradition anticipated by folks of Irish descent across the city: the crowning of Miss Smiling Irish Eyes in advance of the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Meghan Schiller, of the South Hills, got the honors during a ceremony at the downtown Rivers Club on Friday afternoon. Schiller, a junior at Carnegie Mellon University, will be involved in ceremonial functions as well as the parade itself on Saturday morning.

Arts and Humanities

Diego On a Dime: 5 reasons to love Daylight Savings Time
San Diego News Network | March 12
Here comes the sun. (Doo, do, doo, dooooo…) We’re fortunate to live in a county of year-round sunshine and blue skies. And yet, we San Diegans are insatiable, especially in the winter. We grumble at the infrequent morning drizzles, frown at gusty winds and get frustrated when we can’t squeeze in an evening walk after work because of the early nightfall. We’re sun-spoiled and we want more. [...] During the early nights of winter, the combination of end-of-day exhaustion and dark roadways can be a recipe for disaster. According to a seven-year study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the risk of pedestrian fatalities skyrockets to 186 percent when Daylight Savings Time ends in October and drops 21 percent in December. By leaving work at a sunny hour, you’ll be more alert driving home and excited for the rest of the “day” ahead of you.


Pop Filter Event of the Week: Carnegie Mellon's wats:ON? Festival explores virtual reality
Pop City | March 17
Ways of seeing: This week, visual art and virtual reality collide at Carnegie Mellon. Taking place March 17 to 20 at various on-campus venues, the 2010 wats:ON? Festival will delve into the many motivations, mediums and manifestations behind the exploration of virtual reality in visual art. Coined just two decades ago, the phrase virtual reality has long lasting and far reaching impact on the production, presentation and perception of art. Long the domain of artists, from filmmakers and sci-fi writers to performance artists and musicians, simulation and special effects go hand in hand with artistic representation and the creative process.

Information Technology

Protect yourself with Facebook privacy settings
WTAE-TV News | March 16
Recent changes on Facebook -- the world's No. 1 social Web site -- could put your personal information and pictures in the wrong hands. [...] Lorrie Cranor, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, said simple postings can open the door into your private life. "Posting your full birth date including the year -- people can infer some of the digits in your Social Security number, and then they are able to gather information that they might use," Cranor said.


New biomedical engineering tools to control blood loss
Medilexicon | March 15
Carnegie Mellon University's Matt Oberdier is developing a new hydrosurgery system to help physicians better manage excessive bleeding during surgery.  Oberdier, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said his system will be designed to help surgeons readily clear excess blood and control bleeding during critical stages involving brain operations.


Organizers of World Environment Day unveil theme of the six-week event
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 12
On a day that found civic leaders aggressively preparing for floods that could rival the worst in the region's history, organizers of United Nations World Environment Day unveiled the theme of an event that will include six weeks of activities stretching from Earth Day in April through June 5: "Water Matters." [...] The June 3 "Water Matters" conference -- set to include hands-on exhibits and experts on water from industry, universities and watershed groups -- could attract 2,000 attendees from throughout North America, said Deborah Lange, of Carnegie Mellon University's Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research.

Regional Impact

Pittsburgh to make its pitch for Google broadband
MSN Money | March 16
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl plans to unveil a new Web site Wednesday designed to coax Google Inc. into testing its high-speed broadband in Pittsburgh. Google announced in February it planned to try an experimental fiber-optic networkin a small number of locations around the country. According to a release from the mayor's office, he will be joined by Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon and others to launch the campaign, which officials are calling "Ready, Willing and Able."


Cities have been embracing sustainability movement
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 16
With its abundant LEED-certified buildings, its superlative green wall, its fledgling biofuel companies, its transmogrified riverfronts and reclaimed brownfields, Pittsburgh wants to be known as a city where sustainability is taken seriously. [...] "Pittsburgh was into sustainability earlier than most cities and has a deep track record in sustainability and green design," said Donald K. Carter, director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.


CMU team wins McGinnis CleanTech award
Pittsburgh Business Times | March 15
A team of Carnegie Mellon University MBA students took home the grand prize in the Cleantech contest for the 2010 McGinnis Venture Competition, a global business plan challenge hosted each year at the Tepper School of Business. The CMU team created TransportCHAIN, a car sharing service that would allow car owners to rent their vehicles directly to other people, according to a list of winners on the Tepper Web site. As grand prize winner, the team receives $20,000 cash investment in the company and $20,000 of inkind legal service from WilmerHale LLP.


GM demos laser head-up display
CNET Australia | March 18
Car maker GM is working with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Southern California to develop a new head-up display system that outlines the road and potential hazards with lasers. The system would use sensor technology such as infrared cameras, currently used for night vision by Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to look ahead when visibility is poor on dark nights or foggy days. When the cameras see cars, animals, pedestrians or any other obstacle, lasers outline them on the windshield. Similarly, the system could see the road ahead when the driver can't and paint the edges of the road on the windshield.


CMU-Q hosts quiz challenge
The Peninsula | March 16
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar hosted the Qatargas Education City Quiz Challenge (ECQC) recently. ECQC is a unique trivia challenge between the university campuses of Education City comprising a high-speed, high-energy infinite bounce format of questions from the field of current affairs, geography, technology, sciences, sport, entertainment and pop culture. Final rounds took place in the Carnegie Mellon Qatar building in front of an audience of 300 members from the Education City community.


Obama’s Somalia Policy a lot like ours, Bush advisor says
The East African | March 15
The Bush administration’s top Africa policymaker sees little new about President Barack Obama’s approach to Somalia. “There’s not much variation in policy at all, despite our being attacked on Somalia during the campaign,” says Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African affairs during President George W. Bush’s second term. [...] Ms Frazer, now a scholar at Carnegie Mellon University in the state of Pennsylvania, says she does not expect a planned TFG offensive to decisively alter Somalia’s stalemated status quo. She expresses scepticism about the TFG’s ability to capitalise politically on gains it may make militarily.