JulySo far in the month of July, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations has counted more than 1,190 references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.
Anonymous no more | The Economist, United Kingdom
But could such technology soon be used by anyone at all, to identify random passers-by and unearth personal details about them? A study which is to be unveiled on August 4th at Black Hat, a security conference in Las Vegas, suggests that day is close. Its authors, Alessandro Acquisti, Ralph Gross and Fred Stutzman, all at America’s Carnegie Mellon University, ran several experiments that show how three converging technologies are undermining privacy. One is face-recognition software itself, which has improved a lot. The researchers also used “cloud computing” services, which provide lots of cheap processing power. And they went to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, where most users post real names and photos of themselves.
CMU develops transit app for Pittsburgh commuters | Associated Press
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an iPhone application for Pittsburgh commuters that can predict when buses and light-rail trains will arrive - and how crowded they'll be - using input from riders.
The app is called Tiramisu, an Italian word that means "pick me up."
The app enables Port Authority of Allegheny County riders to input information about how crowded and on-time their bus or train is, which can then be accessed by commuters waiting to be picked up in a given location.
Race to the moon heats up for private firms | The New York Times
Another competitor, Astrobotic Technology, intends to sell berths on its lunar lander to space agencies and scientific institutions, which would pay $820,000 a pound to send up their experiments. The company, a spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University, is building a large craft — much bigger than Moon Express’s — capable of carrying 240 pounds of payload (read: $200 million of cargo) and hopes to be ready to launch in December 2013.
“We can make a lot of money even if we do not win the prize,” said David Gump, president of Astrobotic, which is based in Pittsburgh. “We will be making substantial profit on the first flight. Basically, we’ll break even by selling a third of the payload.”
New QR codes emulate 'hobo symbols' of the past | CBS New York
Hobos were migrant workers who were all over the United States hopping train rides looking for work and shelter.
“In order to deal with the troubles and tribulations of nomadic life, they would leave these chalk marks on places, saying like ‘The owner of this place has a gun’ or ‘This place has a dangerous dog.’ ‘If you go here, you can work for food.’ [It was a] sort of secret visual language that they would use to communicate with each other,” says professor Golan Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.
Still lonely at the top | The Economist, UK
If quotas aren’t the answer, what is? The question is fiendishly complex. In most rich countries, women do as well as men or even better at school and university. In America, most new master’s degrees are awarded to women. Women also hold more than half of the entry-level jobs at American blue-chip companies.
But corporate women start to fall behind their male peers right from the beginning. They are less aggressive than men when negotiating their first salary and every subsequent pay rise. Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University found that her male graduate students secured starting salaries 7.6% higher than her female graduate students. In general, men are four times more likely to ask for a pay rise than women are. Compounded over time, this makes a huge difference.
Robots use Kinect to understand our world | NewScientist.com
The work demonstrates that robots can find objects, but how about teaching machines what a keyboard is actually for? "The next aim is to also include humans in the learning process, [with a robot] observing humans and being able to learn attributes of objects," says Koppula. A robot could learn that if it sees a human sitting on an object, for instance, there is a good chance the object is a chair.
Daniel Huber, who researches computer vision at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says the work is a "nice advance" over previous efforts, partially thanks to Kinect. "The fact that these low-cost sensors are available is going to make a big difference in revolutionizing the way people do computer vision."
Insight from trouble in recognizing objects | The New York Times
The part of the brain where an image is processed, known as the lower visual cortex, was similar in SM and in normal test subjects. But in and around the area where SM had a lesion, he had decreased brain activity.
“It’s not that his brain does not respond at all to visual input — it certainly does,” said Marlene Behrmann, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon and one of the study’s authors.
Rather, the problem is that his brain is unable to uniquely assign that visual input to a known object, like a harmonica.
Us. And them. | National Geographic
While more advanced models of the Actroid make the rounds of technology exhibitions, this one has been shipped to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to acquire the semblance of a personality. Such at least is the hope of five optimistic graduate students in the university's Entertainment Technology Center, who have been given one 15-week semester to render the fembot palpably more fem and less bot. They have begun by renaming her Yume—dream, in Japanese.
"Kokoro developed her to be physically realistic, but that's not enough by itself," says Christine Barnes, student co-producer of the Yume Project. "What we're going to do is shift the focus from realism to believability."
Amazon cleared to gather signatures for vote on California tax | Bloomberg.com
Amazon.com has fought attempts by New York, Texas, Rhode Island and North Carolina to force it to collect sales taxes on purchases, saying the moves infringe on the federal government’s power to regulate commerce among states. The company cut ties with 10,000 California-based affiliates after Governor Jerry Brown signed a law imposing the tax on Internet retailers with a physical presence in the state.
“With state unemployment at well over 11 percent, we’re glad the people of California now have an opportunity to have their voices heard on this issue,” Osako said in the statement.
At stake is more than the $317 million a year that the California Assembly’s budget office estimates the state loses when residents fail to pay taxes on items they buy online. The showdown in Sacramento will help determine whether Internet retailers are treated the same as brick-and-mortar stores across the country, said Robert P. Strauss, a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
How intelligent cars will make driving easier and greener | Popular Science
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University built a simulation that can prove such a system’s safety, even with multiple cars performing multiple complicated tasks. A team led by Andre Platzer, an assistant professor of computer science, started with just two cars in one lane. Then they added more cars to show it can work with an arbitrary number of vehicles, and added more lanes to show that number can vary, too. Ultimately, the system remains crash-proof regardless of the vehicles or lanes involved — on a straight highway, that is. Future simulations will have to account for variables like curved roads, Platzer said in a CMU release.
Consumers are willing to pay more to protect their privacy online | Marketplace.PublicRadio.org
Steve Henn: Most academic studies in the past found that people really are not willing to pay more money to protect their privacy online. But this one was different. Lorrie Cranor at Carnegie Mellon was one of the authors.
Lorrie Cranor: Well, we set it up so that so that people did a search with a search engine that looked very much like a Google search engine, and when they got their search results, we annotated the search results with a privacy meter. So you could see at a glance which sites had high privacy, medium privacy and low privacy.
United States of narcissism | Newsweek.com
Some media outlets try to debunk political rhetoric, but it has also become easier for Americans to ignore them—as any narcissist tends to ignore feedback that challenges his self-image. “With the fragmentation of media and the Internet, people can more and more easily just expose themselves to information and perspectives that don’t challenge their existing views,” says George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.
Which college scores best on the GMAT? | Bloomberg Businessweek
A few weeks ago we were discussing the correlation between undergraduate institution and GMAT scores. We knew which B-schools boast the highest scoring MBA students (Stanford, Yale). What we didn’t know is which undergraduate institutions produce grads who fare the best on the test. It was a statistic none of us had seen before.
Thanks to the mountain of data we collect in our various ranking projects—specifically the graduate surveys from the MBA Class of 2010—we had the information necessary to find the answer. So here it is: By and large, the elite, private institutions fare the best, with Harvard (738.0 GMAT average), Yale (732.0), and MIT (731.7) leading the way.
Carnegie Mellon ranked #10.
Salford Uni strikes Pittsburgh deal | The Business Desk, United Kingdom
The University of Salford has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University.
The partnership will see Salford collaborating with the arts and technology institution on a number of projects designed to share knowledge in digital, media and creative subjects.
Calorie counts don’t change most people’s dining-out habits, experts say | The Washington Post
Some experts question the wisdom of the labeling policies, even if they agree that people have a right to know the caloric content of what they are ingesting. (Recommended daily calorie intake varies based on age, weight, height and activity levels but is generally 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women.) “There is a great concern among many of the people who study calorie labeling that the policy has moved way beyond the science and that it would be beneficial to slow down,” said George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University who studies calorie labeling. In a recent editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, he asked: “Given the lack of evidence that calorie posting reduces calorie intake, why is the enthusiasm for the policy so pervasive?"
Fly me to the moon | The Wall Street Journal
A robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon hopes to build a spacecraft capable of carrying one of his robots to the moon. Here, the process of building a lunar lander.
Breastfeeding truck coming to a city near you? | CNET.com
What would you do if you saw an ice cream truck with a giant boob--nipple and all--on its roof? You'd probably do a double-take. Then, tell your kids to stay away because they can't buy ice cream from it. It's not an ice cream truck, after all. It's The Milk Truck, an on-call mobile breastfeeding vehicle that performance artist and mom Jill Miller would like to turn into a reality. Miller--a faculty member at the School of Art at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University--is looking to raise $10,000 in funding through pledge site Kickstarter. If the breastfeeding crusader succeeds, nursing moms in the Pittsburgh area (and eventually beyond, Miller hopes) will never have to worry about finding a private spot to pump or nurse again.
Attacks on websites spark demand for cyber-security experts | Los Angeles Times
The high-profile attacks on recognizable brands have intensified calls for beefing up Internet security, industry observers say. "Once it starts happening to big enterprises and it gets to the media, it gets the attention of chief executives," said Mickey Boodaei, CEO of Trusteer Corp., a security firm specializing in shielding companies from targeted hacker attacks. "And that's when enterprises are starting to look for solutions." With the stepped-up demand, salaries for security experts are expected to grow, said Ron Delfine, the director of career services for the cyber-security program at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College. So far, the pool of students with cyber-security majors or concentrations has lagged behind demand.