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News Clips - May 7, 2010

From April 29 to May 6, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 428 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Reality TV families: An obsession as huge as their households
ABC News | May 3
"There is a fascination with 'multiples' that we've always had in American culture," said Kathy Newman, associate professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. "Nineteenth-century authors like Poe and Twain used twins in their fiction; in the 1950s we were entertained by stories of the Bobsey twins, and later, Patty Duke  playing the genetically-impossible 'identical twin cousins' on 'The Patty Duke Show.' There is almost a circus-like element to this fascination; multiples are mysterious, freaks of nature."


How to give your immune system a boost
U.S. News & World Report | April 30
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Provenge, a vaccine that uses a patient's own immune cells to fight off prostate cancer, HealthDay reports. The vaccine is the first of its kind, approved to treat, rather than prevent cancer. Its approval is limited for use in patients whose prostate cancer has spread, but who have minimal or no symptoms of the disease, according to the agency. [...] That's in line with a body of evidence showing that socially connected folks tend to live longer than those who are isolated, said Sheldon Cohen, a Carnegie Mellon University professor of psychology. While some experts have argued that it's the quality of relationships, not the quantity of relationships, that counts, Cohen said his data indicate that these factors are pretty interchangeable. Mingling with more than, say, a spouse may do a body good.

Education for Leadership

CMU-Q students to explore diversity of Vietnam
The Peninsula | May 3
A 20-member delegation from the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) is leaving for Vietnam tomorrow for a 12-day tour and community service to a number of places in the Southeast Asian country. “The students who come from 13 different nationalities will be exploring the rich history, people and places in Vietnam for the first time,” said Vietnamese Consul Mau Tien Duong, yesterday during the visit of the CMU-Q students to the Vietnamese Embassy.

Arts and Humanities

Scientists debate how we see faces
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | May 1
Are we equipped with special parts of the brain that are designed to detect faces? Or do we adapt a high-level visual circuit in our brains and use it for recognizing faces because they are so important to our lives as social creatures? That's the debate that is still bubbling among scientists who study face recognition, and the work of Carnegie Mellon University's Marlene Behrmann has landed her right in the middle of it.

Information Technology

What happens when your trusted business partners are the threat? | May 4
In Utah recently, a computer consultant was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing nearly $2 million from four Utah credit unions by programming extra deposits for himself. This case exemplifies one of the more complicated questions about insider fraud: What happens when you're being pilfered by trusted third-parties? Andrew Moore, a senior member of the CERT technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a unit of Carnegie Mellon University, says that of the 300-plus insider crime cases that CMU has studied, 45 of them are directly related to a trusted business partner.


Swimming robots in medicine | May 1
In 2001, the FDA granted an approval for the use of capsule endoscopy, which holds a capsular size camera. Then there, a work began to make a small micro robotic system, which has additional capabilities than the normal endoscopes. Those additional capabilities include therapeutic and diagnostic functions such as electrocautery, ultrasound, biopsy, laser, and produce heat by using retractable arm. [...] Metin Sitti, director of Carnegie Mellon University, use bacteria as biological motors to propel the robots via body fluids and he also use chemical signals for the movement of bacteria instead of using external devices.


Environmental engineer weighs in on Gulf oil spill
KDKA-TV News | April 30
Five thousand barrels of oil a day are gushing up into the Gulf of Mexico. It's a script for a disaster movie. Storms could push tides higher this weekend further complicating what is already an environmental nightmare. "It's a bad situation any way you look at it," Dr. David Dzombak, an environmental engineer at Carnegie Mellon University, said. He believes that the spill is likely to eclipse the 11 million gallons of the Exxon Valdez spill.

Regional Impact

America's most livable cities
Forbes | April 29
Each year Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business attracts some of the brightest master's degree candidates in the country. But the admissions staff occasionally has to sway prospective students with their choice of top schools who wonder why they should relocate to Pittsburgh, Pa. "Pittsburgh has a really great cultural scene. We have a great ballet and a great symphony that travels the world and performs to packed houses, and there's a restaurant scene that's much more diverse than it ever was when I was growing up," says Wendy Hermann, director of student services for master's programs and a Pittsburgh native. "And it's an easier sell, now that the Steelers and Penguins won their respective titles."


International team of scientists resurrects mammoth hemoglobin
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | May 3
It might not be "Jurassic Park," but an international team of scientists has resurrected the blood protein that woolly mammoths — extinct for thousands of years — used to transport oxygen throughout their bodies. Carnegie Mellon University's Chien Ho, a biological sciences professor, produced the hemoglobin by using the fragmented DNA sequences from three mammoths that died in Siberia between 25,000 and 43,000 years ago. "In low temperatures, it's difficult for hemoglobin to unload oxygen," Ho said.


Local graduates to hear basketball great, former president
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | April 30
Ian Rawson, managing director of Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti, will speak at Carnegie Mellon University's commencement at 11 a.m. May 16 in Gesling Stadium. Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon said Rawson, who has worked with injured Haitians and refugees since January's devastating earthquake in Port au Prince, has "a story of leadership and selfless dedication that will inspire and motivate us to respond to the challenges facing the world."


Study finds soda pop sales tied to obesity in Allegheny County
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | May 6
If Allegheny County added a tax of 1 cent per ounce on sugary soft drinks, it would cut consumption up to 8 percent. It would also produce an extra $54 million in revenue that could be plowed back into anti-obesity efforts. That's the conclusion reached by 21 undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, mostly seniors in the departments of Engineering and Public Policy or Social and Decision Sciences. The students spent the entire fall semester of 2009 producing a "lifestyle analysis" of the obesity problem in the county, where 28.4 percent of the population is grossly overweight, even worse than the national average of 26.7 percent. That, in turn, leads to a less healthy populace with lower productivity and higher medical costs.


Dynamic dean puts accent on learning
Gulf Times | May 4
Keep on learning as you go into the next phase of your life, Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s founding dean Charles E. ‘Chuck’ Thorpe told the graduates of the Class of 2010 yesterday. “Learn from your boss, the person sitting next to you, and from your customers and competitors,” urged the noted robotics expert while pointing out that “learners lead.” One of Education City’s most popular and dynamic deans, and a much-loved teacher, mentor and friend, Thorpe declared that the graduates have been great learners, and they will be great leaders.


Google delivers foreign tongues at the press of a button
Speigel Online International | April 30
It's a good sign when the creator of a piece of software ends up using it. On a recent trip to Japan, Franz Och, who doesn't speak Japanese, was able to decipher restaurant menus and even read local news -- using his mobile phone, which provided him with the translations within seconds. Och spent the last six years developing Google Translate, a translation program, at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, "and so far I've never really used it myself," Och admits. But then the 38-year-old research scientist has a change of heart and adds, "I am very happy with what we have achieved." [...] "What Google is doing here is very impressive," says Alon Lavie of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The computer scientist sees the entire industry in motion. The market for translation software is growing rapidly, says Lavie. "These are extremely exciting times.",1518,692001,00.html


Planning expert designs her own job
Yahoo! News Australia | April 30
A former Adelaide thinker-in-residence has been appointed to head a commission she suggested be created. The South Australian Government announced at the end of last year that it would set up an integrated design commission, after Professor Laura Lee proposed the idea. Professor Lee has now been appointed its commissioner. SA Planning Minister Paul Holloway said the job was not advertised, but Professor Lee was best suited for it. "I don't think anyone would challenge the credentials of Professor Lee in relation to this matter. I mean Professor Lee is not only the professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in the USA, she's an internationally renowned authority," he said.