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News Clips - September 17, 2010

From September 9 to September 16, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 439 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


New method for computers to see studied
United Press International | September 9
Computer vision systems can better understand an image if programmed to make assumptions about the physical constraints of the scene, U.S. researchers say. Carnegie Mellon University scientists say that like a child using toy building blocks to assemble something that "looks like" a building, a computer could analyze an outdoor scene by using "virtual blocks" to build an approximation of the image based on parameters of volume and mass, a university release reported.


Why do doctors take drugmakers' gifts?
NPR - Shots Blog | September 15
Overall, the researchers from Carnegie Mellon found that reminding doctors of the sacrifices they've made improves their view of gifts. Only about 22 percent of doctors asked about gifts in the context of conflicts of interest said they're fine. For those who were reminded of sacrifices, the percentage who found gifts acceptable jumped to about 48 percent. Then throw in the rationalization about debts and stagnant pay, and the percentage who would be OK with an industry-sponsored gift rose to 60 percent.


Can video games be art? | September 15
JESSE SCHELL: Assistant professor of entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and CEO of Schell Games Marcel Duchamp once said, "I have come to the conclusion that while not all artists are chess players, all chess players are artists." Gaming and play bear an interesting relationship to art. Like art, play is experimental, creative, flexible and immersive. It is done for its own sake. And like art, games can challenge and transform us. So can video games be art? They certainly incorporate many artistic elements: painting, architecture, music, sculpture, acting, writing, animation and dance.


Video: Luke Skurman discusses ranking on college campus life
Bloomberg-TV News | September 14
Carnegie Mellon alumnus Luke Skurman, chief executive officer of College Prowler, talks with Bloomberg's Mark Crumpton about a report card prepared by College Prowler for Bloomberg Businessweek on campus life at 50 universities that house top-ranked business schools.


Notions of personal 'sacrifice' help docs take gifts from industry
HealthDay/U.S. News and World Report | September 14
In the new study, conducted in 2009, Sah and her colleagues distributed three quality-of-life surveys to about 300 pediatric and family medicine resident physicians. Sah conducted the study while a doctoral candidate in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The authors posed a series of questions to gauge opinions on industry gifting. Some questions touched upon the sacrifices doctors had made (sleep lost, hours worked, debt amassed) while pursuing a career. They also asked about the stagnant wages and high debts that can hamper many in the medical field.


Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" legacy
CBS News | September 13
Three years ago, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman brought you the story of Randy Pausch, a college professor whose most enduring lesson was how to live and, how to die. Now, as CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, the professor has inspired his widow to take up a cause of her own. Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" was an internet sensation seen by more than 12 million people. In the clip, the Carnegie Mellon professor was so alive, yet he was a man dying of pancreatic cancer.


Cellphones, social networks make eavesdropping OK?
USA Today | September 14
What's changed is that more private behavior, such as personal phone calling, happens in public today, says social psychologist Robert Kraut of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. It may seem like eavesdropping, but the "victim" is no longer the person being eavesdropped on, he says — it's "the overhearers, who can't get away. What had once been private behavior is now being shoved in their face."


FBI: Violent crime dropped again in 2009 | September 13
Crime expert Alfred Blumstein at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, found the decline remarkable for its breadth nationally. "I studied murder and robbery in 23 large high-crime cities, and homicides were down in 19 of them, and robberies were down in 21 of them," Blumstein said. "That shows this drop was large in magnitude across most big cities in the country."

Education for Leadership

Akshay Dave: ‘Stretched to my limit’
The Wall Street Journal – Hire Education Blogs | September 14
At Carnegie Mellon University, I am being trained to learn the theoretical foundations of computations and implement these techniques in real-life situations. And being the do-it-all that I am, I am pursuing a major in business administration as well. That left me with an understanding for technology, a passion for finance mixed with a desire to work internationally. I thought I was ready to work anywhere for anyone.

Arts and Humanities

Social support network may add to longevity
Los Angeles Times | September 13
Yet there is mounting evidence in the scientific literature that social relationships do affect health. In one classic 2003 study by Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University, a group of volunteers was infected with the cold virus. Results were compelling: People with a greater diversity of social relationships were less likely to develop symptoms of a cold.,0,5533677.story

Information Technology

Oh crumbs! Cookies left unblocked by code errors, say academics
Research Magazine | September 13
Thousands of websites may be dropping cookies on people’s computers against their wishes because of flaws in the codes web browsers like Internet Explorer use to assess site privacy policies, according to Carnegie Mellon researchers. Academics at the Pennsylvania university uncovered the issue through analysis of Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) compact policies (CPs), which are a string of three- and four-character tokens that summarise a website’s privacy policy pertaining to cookies.!-cookies-left-unblocked-by-code-errors-say-academics/4003567.article


New biomaterials to improve drug delivery from Carnegie Mellon University
BusinessWeek | September 13
Health Canal reports that Christoper Bettinger, Carnegie Mellon University Engineering professor, has developed has a new biodegradable polymer that will assist in the delivery of drugs into the human body. With the degradation of the product, it can be changed so the polymer can be altered to have the best rate of degradation in a selected area of the body.


The offshore windmill innovation gap | September 9
An excellent example of this can be found in the domain of rare earth elements, a narrative visited earlier this month in How the World Works here  and here.  At Carnegie Mellon University, two professors in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Francisco M. Veloso and Cliff Davidson, along with graduate student Brian J. Fifarek, have been conducting research into the impact of the offshoring of rare earth element production upon innovation. Professor Veloso contacted me after reading my earlier posts, having correctly surmised that research into a nexus that connected offshoring, high technology, renewable energy and China would be absolutely irresistible to HTWW.

Regional Impact

Breathing room: Housing's least underwater areas
MSNBC Today | September 13
Pittsburgh has had pleasantly stable ride during the national real estate meltdown. Over a ten-year period Pittsburgh homes showed an annualized increase of 3.1 percent, well in line with what is normal for a healthy market. Pittsburgh employers include many government and “eds and meds” employers, including Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which together collectively employ 100,000.


CMU researchers work on Web security, access
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 13
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they're working to make surfing the Web safer. A three-year, $7.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation is helping Peter Steenkiste, a professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, direct more than 10 researchers who will develop an Internet framework to accommodate as-yet-unknown technologies. Scientists from Boston University and the University of Wisconsin are involved.


Accelerator: Black Locus readies product
Pittsburgh Business Times | September 10
This is the second installment of a monthly series about Carnegie Mellon University's Accelerator program, which is spinning out five student-led companies. CMU's Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship launched the program in June as a way to link graduate students at the Tepper School of Business to the broader marketplace.