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News Clips - September 24, 2010

From September 27 to September 23, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 482 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.


Universities are blind to open-learning train set to smash up their models
Times Higher Education | September 23
Open learning and new technology are about to smash the structure of the modern university - and higher education is too distracted by its funding problems to notice. Peter Smith, the senior vice-president of academic strategies and development for private US firm Kaplan Higher Education, said online access to university courses would end the model of higher education based on "scarcity" of places. […] Dr Smith adapted the metaphor. "The train is headed directly at the modern university structure," he said. "It is going to hit it, and change it fundamentally." Dr Smith said he could, for example, take Carnegie Mellon University's open-learning courses on Apple iTunes, develop a system of mentors and use the OECD's measures to evaluate student performance on graduation (the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes project). This would give "all of the resources you need for an excellent educational experience" at a low cost, he argued.


US universities dominate world rankings
Times of Malta | September 17
US universities are the top universities, according to an annual league table published by the Times Higher Education magazine. […] Countries which have invested heavily in higher education, like China, South Korea and Canada, are performing well, warned magazine editor Ann Mroz. “Our rankings are the major global benchmark of worldwide university performance, used by academics, students and policymakers to make important decisions,” she said. Last year British universities accounted for four out of the top 10, with eight in the top 50 and 18 in the top 100. Organisers said a new method of compiling the list, which places less emphasis on reputation and heritage, makes it difficult to inter­pret movement up or down since last year as a change in performance. […] 20. Carnegie Mellon University


10 given Heinz Awards for environmental work
Associated Press/The Wall Street Journal | September 21
A photographer who took more than 500,000 photographs documenting global warming worldwide is among 10 people who were named Heinz Award winners Tuesday. This year's awards recognized environmental challenges. The awards each come with a $100,000 prize. […] Terrence Collins, of Pittsburgh, Pa. He was honored for discovering ways to mitigate toxic waste and biological agents and for teaching a new generation of scientists as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Green Science.


On your cellphone, six Sidney Crosbys
The New York Times – Slap Shot Blog | September 21
When the Penguins play this fall, those seated in the new 18,000-seat Consol Energy Center will be able to connect, via cellphone, with a video system that allows them to simultaneously watch the game from six angles, see game statistics, roster and other information, and view instant replay. […] Below, the Carnegie Mellon professor who led the development of the six-angle video system, YinzCam (get it? Yinzer, as in someone from Pittsburgh), explains how it will work


7 secrets to a richer retirement | September 22
With stock returns projected to be low and pensions going the way of Lindsay Lohan's career, retirement planning can seem awfully daunting these days. You can't change the market or your employer's largesse. But there is one factor you can do something about: you. You can be your own worst enemy, buying what's hot only to sell in a panic or wildly overestimating how long your money will last. "Our brains are hardwired in ways that are the opposite of what we need to invest well," says Carnegie Mellon economics and psychology professor George Loewenstein.


Bonding with fans who can’t get enough
The New York Times | September 20
THE Pittsburgh Penguins, who had a major draw in their young center Sidney Crosby, were looking for an innovative marketing approach to spring back from recent National Hockey League troubles. […] When the Penguins play this fall, those seated in the new 18,000-seat Consol Energy Center will be able to connect, via cellphone, with the Yinzcam Mobile video system, a pilot project with nearby Carnegie Mellon University. The system allows those in the arena to simultaneously watch the game from six angles. They also will be able to see game statistics, roster and other information, and view instant replay, accompanied by in-phone ads from the sponsor, Verizon — but only in the arena.


The Steelers at the intersection of Iron City Beer and Art Basel
The New York Times | September 18
An art gallery sent crews into the cramped basement of a die-hard Steelers fan to box up his vast and eccentric collection of black-and-gold paraphernalia. Days later, on the second floor of the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, the fan’s man cave had been reassembled, down to the last hand-painted action figure, bobblehead and toilet seat. […] “Steelers culture is Pittsburgh’s popular culture,” said Jon Rubin, a Carnegie Mellon fine arts professor who curated the exhibit with Astria Suparak, the gallery director. “The identity of the city is tied into the identity of the team."


Why we give up our privacy so easily
Marketplace – American Public Media | September 17
Alessandro Acquisti researches the economics of privacy at Carnegie Mellon, and he says the value we put on privacy can easily shift. In other words, if giving away your credit card information or even your location in return for a discount or a deal seems normal, it must be OK. Alessandro Acquisti: Five years ago, if someone told you that there'd be lots of people going online to show, to share with strangers their credit card purchases, you probably would have been surprised, you probably would thought, "No, I can't believe this. I wouldn't have believed this." But Acquisti says, when new technologies are presented as the norm, people accept them that way. Like social shopping websites.


Admissions Q&A: Carnegie Mellon
Bloomberg Businessweek | September 16
James Frick was recently named director of MBA admissions at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business (Tepper Full-Time MBA Profile) after working there since 1998. Frick says applicants to the school should consider one factor above all else: fit. It's "a little word that means an awful lot to us here," Frick says. He explains that Tepper is looking for applicants who will thrive at the school and contribute to the community. To learn more about who Frick considers a good fit for Carnegie Mellon and how Pittsburgh is a "well-kept secret," read this edited transcript of Frick's conversation with Bloomberg Businessweek's Zachary Tracer.

Education for Leadership

The New York International Fringe Festival: Encore Series Week 1 | September
Though The Nightmare Story, a new work by PigPen Theatre Company, may be short on plot, what it lacks in its actual story it makes up for in the method of its telling. Featuring an array of shadow-puppet tricks, the Nightmare Story combines an eerie sense of Tim Burton macabre with traditional Ukrainian storytelling practices. The company is comprised of five Carnegie Mellon acting students, each of whom contributes uniquely to this strangely mesmerizing work about a young man whose mother suffers from a strange affliction, causing her nightmares to manifest themselves in the world around her while she lays unconscious, bedridden.

Arts and Humanities

Pittsburgh city guide
Design Sponge blog | September 21
Future Tenant — Downtown, Managed by students of Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz School Master of Arts Management program, this gallery offers a laboratory setting for up and coming artists, curators, and future arts managers. Students are able to explore their craft without limits.


Mon River's unsafe levels of bromide prompt probe
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 17
State environmental investigators are trying to determine the source of a chemical that Carnegie Mellon University researchers say is responsible for carcinogens in drinking water from the Monongahela River. Department of Environmental Protection workers are investigating whether coal, power and oil- and gas-drilling industries are to blame for unsafe levels of bromide in the river, said Ron Schwartz, assistant director of DEP's southwest region, at a daylong symposium Thursday at CMU. It could take weeks or months to determine who is at fault, he said. […] That could change if the bromide problem persists, said Jeanne VanBriesen, a CMU professor and director of Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems, a research center at CMU.

Regional Impact

Military: Region well-positioned to receive defense spending
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | September 21
Retired Air Force Gen. Robert C. Oaks also urged business owners to seek out opportunities for commerce with the military. Four offices in the region exist to help business leaders learn how to establish partnerships with the Department of Defense, Oaks said. "Our nation's security really relies on the private sector," said Oaks, who was commander in chief of the Air Force in Europe and NATO in central Europe before moving to the Pittsburgh area to serve as US Airways' senior vice president of operations for about five years in the late 1990s. Most of the panelists discussed the inevitability of cuts in defense spending. Retired Air Force colonel and former president of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Schuyler Foerster said the Pentagon's budget has doubled in real dollars during the last decade, a rate that's simply not sustainable. Yet those impending reductions -- and the accompanying shift in priorities -- play into Pittsburgh's "sweet spot," Foerster said. Examples include research at Carnegie Mellon University or University of Pittsburgh into more efficient energy consumption and enhanced cybersecurity.


Smile! You're on GigaPan camera
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 22
Here's your chance to be in one of the world's biggest and most detailed photos, and you don't have to crowd in with thousands of people to do it. A team of "gigapanners" will be shooting tomorrow from atop the U.S. Steel Tower, Downtown, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting. They will be using a regular digital camera on a special GigaPan robotic mount that was designed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The mount makes it possible to pan the horizon in incremental strips, horizontal and vertical. The result is thousands of explorable, multi-gigapixel pictures assembled on a computer to form an enormous 360-degree panorama.