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News Clips - May 21, 2010

From May 14 to May 20, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 754 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


TSA's program to spot terrorists a $200M sham?
CBS Evening News | May 19
Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad was arrested after he boarded a plane headed for Dubai, though the government is spending millions each year on a program that's supposed to spot terrorists before they reach the gate. As CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports, the program doesn't seem to be working. […] Scientists are split over whether it's even possible to recognize terrorists simply by behavior detection. A 2008 report found no evidence it works.  "TSA is doing a number of things in the area of behavior detection and I personally think that some of them are shams," said Stephen Fienberg, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.


German regulator issues naked short-selling ban
Associated Press/ | May 18
Germany's market regulator announced a ban Tuesday on so-called naked short-selling of eurozone government debt and shares of major financial companies, a move that came as European officials seek to strengthen control of markets. The regulator, BaFin, said the ban — which was to take effect at midnight Tuesday and run through March 31 of next year — also would apply to naked credit default swaps involving eurozone debt. The move, it said, was aimed at upholding financial stability amid the continent's persistent debt crisis. […] Chester Spatt, who was chief economist at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 2004 to 2007, said that Germany's short-selling ban would probably end up causing more market turbulence and not less. "Like many types of well-intentioned regulation, this is likely to misfire," he said in an interview. "During our financial crisis in 2008, there was a ban on short-sales for about three weeks .... That ban was very counterproductive. It didn't help stabilize asset prices at all." Spatt is currently a finance professor and the director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


Carnegie Mellon appoints head of Computer Science Department
Campus Technology | May 17
Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science will soon meet the new boss, but she's the same as the old boss. Jeannette Wing, assistant director for theNational Science Foundation's (NSF) Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) division, will return to the university July 1 to take over the position that will be left vacant by the departure of current head, Peter Lee. Wing had formerly led the School of Computer Science before joining the NSF in 2007. Lee is moving toDARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to direct the Transformational Convergence Technology Office.


Key spill size issue: How much and does it matter?
Associated Press/ | May 15
Just how much oil is spewing from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico and how important is it to know that? Experts can't agree on either question. […] One scientist who believes the government and BP have the right number is Paul Fischbeck at Carnegie Mellon, an engineering professor who also studies risk and regulation. Just judging by the size of the slick — about 3,500 square miles — and the three weeks of the spill, 210,000 "looks about right as far as the slick goes," Fischbeck said. If the higher estimates were right, there would be a much bigger slick, he said.


Why some women skirt the wage gap
U.S. News & World Report | May 14
Take a look through the Labor Department's data on wages and you'll see an astonishing pattern. Nevermind modernity and women's liberation, men still make more than women in nearly all occupations. Consider that last year, in the middle of the "mancession" that disproportionately slashed men's jobs, male accountants had a median weekly haul of nearly $1,200. Female accountants: $900. Male pharmacists had median weekly earnings of $1,954, compared with their female counterparts, whose median earnings were $1,475—a full quarter less. […]  In the recent working paper, "Gender Differences in Executive Compensation and Job Mobility," researchers who studied the pay of executive managers at public companies found that among executives of the same rank and background, women are paid more than their male counterparts and are promoted just as quickly. "When you are comparing gender gaps, you have to be careful you're not comparing apples and oranges," says coauthor of the working paper George-Levi Gayle, who, along with authors Limor Golan and Robert Miller, is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.


Share your tips for women seeking pay raises
The New York Times – Bucks Blogs | May 14
This week’s Your Money column discusses the challenges women face when negotiating a higher salary. Studies show that when women ask for more money, they’re perceived as overly demanding compared with women who let the opportunity to negotiate pass them by. A new study — conducted by Hannah Riley Bowles of the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon –offers advice for women at the bargaining table, all of which is outlined in the column.

Education for Leadership

The 30 all-time graduation speakers
The Daily Beast | May 17
As commencement rolls out across the country, legends and celebrities trot out for a final speech. From Tom Brokaw to Marian Wright Edelman, The Daily Beast tallies the speakers who’ve sent the most college graduates on their way. Once the sole province of college presidents, politicians, academics, and other people of sufficiently dry substance, college graduation speeches have become incrementally faddish over the past half-century. Glenn Beck delivered Liberty University’s address on Saturday; Lisa Kudrow will appear before Vassar’s Class of 2010 this week; last week, Alec Baldwin addressed New York University’s graduating class—it dovetailed conveniently with his gig three days later hosting the season finale of Saturday Night Live. […] 1. Bill Cosby. Comedian, author, activist. Commencement Speeches: 37 . “It’s obvious what I’m saying to you. Very obvious. Don’t talk yourself into not being you, at any time. You don’t have an excuse that works. When you say, ‘but I was nervous,’ that’s not you. That’s not how you got here. You can be nervous; it’s good for you. It tunes you. But people want to see you. I don’t care what you do. When you’re good, then you bring you out.” —Carnegie Mellon, 2007

Arts and Humanities

Tin Front Cafe not scared to stand vegetarian
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | May 20
On the surface, the Tin Front Cafe looks like something very new and strange in Homestead -- a locally owned vegetarian restaurant with attached cookware shop, on the still-desolate main drag, well across the tracks from the Waterfront. But take a closer look, and it's really just as old as it is new -- but its familiar elements have been dusted off and rearranged in a new way. It began with David Lewis, an architect, urban planner, author and artist, who also taught at Carnegie Mellon University. "He has been interested in the revitalization of Homestead for a long time -- I'd say, as long as Homestead has been down, he's been here trying to bring it back up," says Ellie Gumlock, who runs the Tin Front Cafe's kitchen. "The family invested in some blighted properties here about 10 years ago, in an effort to preserve the historic quality of the main street."


Newsmaker: Mark Baskinger
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | May 15
Family: Wife and two children. Age: 36. Occupation: Associate professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, teaching courses in industrial design with an emphasis on form and interaction. Noteworthy: Recently named 2010 recipient of the Henry Hornbostel Teaching Award. The annual award is named for the first dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts and architect of the original campus buildings. The award is given to a faculty member for excellence in undergraduate teaching and advising.

Information Technology

CA unveils new name and cloud products
Government Computer News | May 18
CA Technologies, which has changed its name from CA Inc., has launched a series of cloud computing products and services at CA World this week in Las Vegas. Vince Re, senior vice president of CA Technologies’ cloud products business unit, said that the company was unveiling three main strategies at the conference. […] A new CA-sponsored consortium, the Service-Measurement Index, developed through a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. SMI will give chief information officers a standardized way to compare and contrast products and services, Re said. “We all have to agree to use the same kinds of metrics,” he said. SMI, where possible, will be based on existing standards. “For instance, the folks that publish the ISO standard for software — we’ll reuse that work. We’re not trying to invent everything from scratch,” he said.


Biosecurity laws hobble research
American Scientist | May 20
Ever since the U.S. government has taken steps to protect and encourage research involving pathogens that could be used as biological weapons, that research has become much less efficient, according to a new analysis. Though funding for research on so-called "select agents," or pathogens that can be used as weapons, has shot through the roof, and the number of papers using those organisms has risen in recent years, the work has become up to five times less efficient--meaning, the same amount of funding produces fewer papers than it did before. "The price of the research was multiplied by maybe a factor of 5 for anthrax and maybe a factor of 2 for Ebola," said Carnegie Mellon University associate professor Elizabeth Casman, who led an analysis of the select agent literature that is published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Pittsburgh researchers look for better ways to treat gas drilling wastewater
Pop City | May 19
A three-year, $1 million study is underway to develop new ways to deal with the wastewater as a result of Marcellus Shale drilling. Carnegie Mellon's Kelvin Gregory and University of Pittsburgh engineering professors Radisav Vidic and Eric Beckman received a grant from the state Department of Energy to evaluate a "holistic approach" for the treatment of flowback water. Pitt is the lead on the study.


US top scientists urge coal, oil use penalties
Associated Press/Boston Globe | May 20
Ditching its past cautious tone, the nation’s top scientists urged the government yesterday to take drastic action to raise the cost of using coal and oil to slow global warming. The National Academy of Sciences specifically called for a carbon tax on fossil fuels or a cap-and-trade system for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, calling global warming an urgent threat. […] “If we continue at the same rate we’re going, we’re going to use that up quickly, which is the case for urgency,’’ said panel member Ed Rubin, an engineering and public policy professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Panel members said this is unusual for the academy to be so blunt about what needs to be done.

Regional Impact

Huge flood-control cost, planning mess put Southwestern Pennsylvania in bind
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | May 17
Broken tree trunks and branches clutter the shady hillside behind Keith Jones' print shop in Wilkins, reminders of last June's thunderstorm that flooded Saw Mill Run below and caused $1 million in damage to the business. […] Any watershed plan likely will recommend relocating some homeowners and businesses in vulnerable flood plains and ending development, experts said. "For some of these communities, these properties aren't worth very much at all," said David Dzombak, a professor of environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. "So it's kind of crazy to have people living there taking hit after hit after hit. To talk about widening a creek when you have a $20,000 property sitting along it, that's a little crazy."


CMU: Energy, emissions fell with steel
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | May 14
The collapse of the iron and steel industry -- and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs -- allowed for a 20 percent decrease in energy consumption and a 33 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in Allegheny County during the past 40 years, according to a study headed by Carnegie Mellon University professors. […] "We determined the environmental impact for residential, commercial, industrial and transportation (sectors)," said H. Scott Matthews, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and public policy who led the study with professor Paul Fischbeck. "We found that per-capita energy consumption in the county has risen over the century, but has remained roughly constant since 1970."


Say whaa? Bring on Jibbigo, the language decoding app from Carnegie Mellon
Pop City | May 19
Carnegie Mellon's Alex Waibel is the rock star behind a hot app that is breaking language barriers and promoting international understanding. Going overseas and don't know the language? Jibbigo will assist you in carrying on a conversation. Speak (or type) the words into the phone and instantly communicate with another as naturally as the spoken word. The app is bi-directional, allowing for a two-way dialogue in one of five languages.


Are millennials replacing climbing with catapulting or bypassing the corporate ladder?
Financial Post | May 18
Are the youngest generation entering the workforce–millennials–rejecting the traditional climb up the corporate ladder with a desire to catapult to the top, or are they rejecting altogether the traditional paradigm of a slow and steady career climb? […]  Joanne Sujansky, of the Pittsburgh-based consulting firm KEY Group has studied employment trends almost three decades, has concluded that many millennials are in fact turning their collective backs on traditional corporate careers, choosing to become entrepreneurs instead.  One report in the Boston Globe indicated that between 30-40% of graduates from a selection of top schools, including Harvard and Carnegie Mellon, are by-passing corporate America and starting their own businesses. Entrepreneurs between 18 and 24 are now starting up businesses faster than their counterparts in the 35-44 age range.


Career options: getting a clear picture
The Hindu | May 17
Q: Which institutes offer Robotics? A: As part of mechanical engineering, some of the institutes are offering robotics as a subject. Robotics is a real mix of all branches of engineering. You need to be good at mechanical engineering, be a good control engineer, a good electronic engineer, any branch of engineering, gets into robotics. If one is really passionate about Robotics and you want to pursue that further to B.Tech, Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S.A. is the world's number one. Prof. Raj Reddy heads that.