JanuaryFrom January 1-31, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations counted 3,259 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.
This football will tell you if it's a touchdown | Los Angeles Times
Scientists in Pittsburgh can make footballs talk. Priya Narasimhan, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and her team of 10 engineering students have developed a "smart football" with a miniature GPS unit and accelerometer, both contained in a half-ounce microchip inside the ball.
Climate benefits of natural gas may be overstated | Scientific American
When scientists evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions of energy sources over their full lifecycle and incorporate the methane emitted during production, the advantage of natural gas holds true only when it is burned in more modern and efficient plants. But roughly half of the 1,600 gas-fired power plants in the United States operate at the lowest end of the efficiency spectrum. And even before the EPA sharply revised its data, these plants were only 32 percent cleaner than coal, according to a lifecycle analysis by Paulina Jaramillo, an energy expert and associate professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
People aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes: Fear is quickly learned during infancy | U.S. News & World Report
The authors of the Current Directions in Psychological Science paper have studied how infants and toddlers react to scary objects. In one set of experiments, they showed infants as young as 7 months old two videos side by side—one of a snake and one of something non-threatening, such as an elephant. At the same time, the researchers played either a fearful voice or a happy voice. The babies spent more time looking at the snake videos when listening to the fearful voices, but showed no signs of fear themselves. “What we’re suggesting is that we have these biases to detect things like snakes and spiders really quickly, and to associate them with things that are yucky or bad, like a fearful voice,” says Vanessa LoBue of Rutgers University, who cowrote the paper with David H. Rakison of Carnegie Mellon University and Judy S. DeLoache of the University of Virginia.
Polymer could create self-healing aircraft parts | Wired
Materials researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Kyushu University have developed a polymer that can heal itself over and over again when exposed to ultraviolet light. The substance could potentially be used to create products that repair themselves when damaged, including self-healing medical implants or parts for vehicles such as aircraft. When the polymer is cracked it can swiftly be prepared without the need for heat or glues by simply pressing both sides of the material together and applying UV light. Researchers -- led by professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski -- found that they could break the material into pieces and then reassemble it at least five times. They believe that with further development they could create a material that could heal itself many more times.
The brain: Seeing the person behind the face | Discover Magazine
Doctors can’t do much for people with prosopagnosia, in part because neuroscientists still have only a rough idea of how normal face recognition works. Recently, cognitive neuroscientist Marlene Behrmann at Carnegie Mellon University and her colleagues gathered some important clues to this puzzle by comparing the brains of individuals who are face-blind to those who are face-sighted. Their results (pdf) hint at how we recognize faces: not in a flash of insight, as it may seem, but by building up recognition on a neurological assembly line. Behrmann has been testing a model for face recognition that was first proposed 25 years ago by Tim Valentine and Vicki Bruce, two psychologists at the University of Nottingham in England. Valentine and Bruce argued that our brains do not store a photographic image of every face we see. Instead, they carry out a mathematical transformation of each face, encoding it as a point in a multidimensional "face space."
Will Jobs' departure take a bite out of Apple? | NPR
Over the past decade, Apple greatly expanded its retail stores in the U.S. Wolf says Apple is now "rapidly expanding abroad" — with an especially large presence in China. And even though there are countless new consumer technology devices unleashed every year, there's still room for more. "I think we're just beginning," says Dave Farber, distinguished career professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. "Of all the companies around, Apple has the most potential for continuing the innovation. Most of the computers we have now marginally talk to each other and marginally talk to the environment around them." Farber sees a future where his iPhone integrates with computers in his home to seamlessly control everything from music to temperature settings.
Wireless, but leashed | The New York Times
The continent’s system is looser in part because Europe settled on a single technological standard for wireless carriers 20 years ago. Countries there wanted to ensure that their citizens’ phones would work as they traveled throughout the Continent. No such agreement was reached in the United States, which had recently deregulated its telephone industry, and carriers built their networks on separate technologies. “I’d call it the culture of competition,” said Alex Hills, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, explaining why a single standard was not set in the United States. “There was interest in allowing the standards to compete with one another, and let the market decide who would win."
The fruits of Californication | Times Higher Education
Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University is one institution based outside the West Coast that aims to capitalise on the benefits of a foothold in Silicon Valley. In 2002, it opened a satellite campus in the region for research and to be "more connected" with its Californian alumni base (its largest after Pennsylvania). It also offers degrees in software-related fields aimed at working professionals. "Being where innovation is happening, we get to put our finger on the pulse and be part of it," Martin Griss, director of Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley, says.
Twitter users have regional accents, study finds | Reuters UK
The social media site is displaying new dialects because it is such a conversational form of writing, according to the Carnegie Mellon University study to be presented on Tuesday to the Linguistic Society of America meeting in Pittsburgh. […] Regional dialects may be present on Facebook and other social media, but those are more private and less easily studied, said Jacob Eisenstein, who led the study. The differences in regional expression allowed researchers to predict the location of a user in the United States within about 300 miles, Eisenstein said.
Could the U.S. Central Bank go broke? | FoxBusiness.com
Last November, as the economic recovery appeared to falter, the Fed said it would buy a new round of $600 billion in Treasury securities through June of this year. That's on top of the $1.7 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities it had purchased in response to the financial crisis. Still, the pitfalls of the Fed's approach are almost as numerous as the lending facilities it undertook to stem the crisis. Perhaps most daunting, the Fed's purchases of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities have effectively turned it into a mammoth investor - a thoroughly undiversified one. "The biggest risk is losses on its portfolio on long-term debt if inflation rises," said Alan Meltzer, a Fed historian and economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
RNA game lets players help find a biological prize | The New York Times
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University are attempting to harness the wisdom of crowds with the creation of an online video game that challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules. The scientists hope to uncover fundamental principles underlying one of life’s building blocks, and they believe that the free game will also serve as a training ground for a cadre of citizen-experts who will help generate a new storehouse of biological knowledge. The process may also aid researchers in building more powerful automated algorithms for biological discovery.
'Facebook neurons' could shed light on brain's centre of higher learning | Asian News International/Sify.com
Scientists have discovered that the brain's neocortex contains a complex network of highly active neurons called 'Facebook' neurons. These networks have a small population of highly active members who give and receive more information than the majority of other members. Alison Barth, associate professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) believes that the find could shed light on the neocortex, which is thought to be the brain's center of higher learning.
Diet by imagination | The Philippine Star
You swore you would resist it this time. You knew it was going to be extremely difficult because the seduction will be consistent and powerful. You experienced it everywhere in different colors, aromas, configurations, reinforced with unmitigated revelry. […] I also listened to the NPR.org podcast interview of Ira Flatow with one of the authors of the study, Professor Carey Morewedge of the Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Morewedge explained that what may be happening in the study was that people ate less because they became “habituated” to the food that they imagined they were eating in sizeable quantities.
Is technology wiring teens to have better brains? | PBS “Newshour”
Carnegie Mellon faculty member Marcel Just appeared on Wednesday evening’s “Newshour” to discuss teenage brains in a multitasking, digital age.
Expert says fewer folks use Pittsbughese? Git aht! | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For the last decade, Carnegie Mellon University linguistics professor Barbara Johnstone has been studying our distinct local lingo, publishing so frequently and generating so many discoveries on it that she's generally acknowledged to be the leading expert on what is commonly known as Pittsburghese. She's issued papers analyzing skits on WDVE that use Pittsburghese; another about how media stories that mention the dialect educate people about it; still another about how those "Yinzer" T-shirts you can buy in the Strip District bolster the dialect's use; and how the most popular book on the dialect -- "Sam McCool's New Pittsburghese" -- first issued in 1981 has affected its use.
Why Argentines invest in cars | Public Radio International’s “The World”
Hernan Valdez and his girlfriend Milagros Garin are the proud owners of a brand new Peugot. It’s a gray compact, immaculate, and still has that new car smell two months after they drove it home from the dealership. “It’s a lovely smell,” says Valdez proudly as he shifts the car into gear. A year from now, it still might smell new. […] “Imagine that you could take out a mortgage to buy a house and the mortgage had a negative interest rate. How cool would that be?” posits Carnegie Mellon economist Lee Branstetter. “If I could borrow at a negative interest rate, I would have bought a much bigger house!” Branstetter says the reason Argentina has effectively negative interest rates is that the government has been underreporting its official inflation rate to help pay off its own debts. The inflationary spending works great in the short-term, but it undermines the basic foundations of the financial system and long-term growth.
Masters of innovation | Plum TV
"Masters of Innovation" host Jim Brasher visited Carnegie Mellon and the Robotics Institute to see the future of robotics, including snake robots, robot soccer and HERB, the robotic butler.
The little green pill | Slate.com
Developing "benign-by-design" drugs poses a series of vexing challenges. In general, the qualities that make drugs effective and stable—bioactivity and resistance to degradation—are the same ones that cause them to persist disturbingly after they've done their job. And presumably even hard-core eco-martyrs (the ones who keep the thermostat at 60 all winter and renounce air travel) would hesitate to sacrifice medical efficacy for the sake of aquatic wildlife. What's more, the molecular structures of pharmaceuticals are, in the words of Carnegie Mellon chemist Terry Collins, "exquisitely specific." Typically, you can't just tack on a feature like greenness to a drug without affecting its entire design, including important medical properties.
Will the Eurozone survive? Will the dollar strengthen? Economists gaze into their crystal balls | Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
As the global economy continues its tumultuous ride, RFE/RL correspondents Heather Maher and Jeremy Bransten asked three prominent economists to gaze into their crystal balls and forecast what 2011 may bring. Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and writes for “Economix,” the economics blog of “The New York Times.” Allan Meltzer is a professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University and a leading historian of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Roger Bootle, managing director of Capital Economics, has advised previous British governments and his book, "Money For Nothing," anticipated the currently financial crisis. Bootle writes a weekly column for "The Daily Telegraph" on the challenges facing the world's economic policymakers.