MaySo far in the month of May, Carnegie Mellon Media Relations has counted hundreds of references to the university in worldwide publications. Here is a sample.
Video: Herb the robot butler microwaves your dinner for you | Popular Science
They can fetch sandwiches just fine, but robots can have a hard time cooking meals, with proper pancake flipping a serious and daunting challenge. So why not have them take a decidedly human-like lazy tack and use the microwave instead?
Robotics programmers at Carnegie Mellon University have taught their robot butler to zap a meal. For some strange reason, he uses a normal microwave instead of the spinning lasers embedded in his head.
Zero-sum debate | The Economist, United Kingdom
A recent paper by Emmanuel Farhi of Harvard University, Christopher Sleet and Sevin Yeltekin of Carnegie Mellon University, and Ivan Werning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology makes another argument against abolition. The authors point out that rising inequality is a destabilising political force, which may encourage future governments to expropriate wealth through heavy taxation. That threat could discourage saving and investment now, something a weak economy cannot afford. Paradoxically, a progressive tax on capital in the present may lead to more investment by keeping inequality in check and by convincing firms that their wealth is (mostly) safe over the long term.
MOOCs and machines | InsideHigherEd.com
They are not the first to explore these questions. They are not even the first to do so by crunching data from free, online courses. Candace Thille has been doing similar work for years as director of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. In a series of studies, Thille has demonstrated that machine-guided learning, in concert with live instruction, can cut in half the time it takes students to master certain concepts.
With the MOOC projects and MIT and Harvard having thrust machine learning back into the spotlight, Inside Higher Ed tech reporter Steve Kolowich talked to Thille in a podcast about how open, online courses and big data might change what we can learn about learning.
If you want honest investment advice, only get it one-on-one | Forbes.com
You might have guessed that you’d do better with an individual advisor than with one speaking to a crowd. Now there’s scientific proof of it.
A study conducted by Sunita Sah, a post-doctoral researcher at the Duke University‘s Fuqua School of Business, and George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon, had a bunch of people look at a part of a grid that was covered with filled and unfilled dots and guess how many filled dots there were on the whole grid. To help them, they were given advice by another bunch of people who could see all 900 dots. The first group, “estimators,” got rewarded if they guessed the number of filled dots accurately; the second group, “advisors,” sometimes had a conflict of interest, getting paid more if the estimators overestimated.
This year’s college seniors see more job opportunities than graduates in previous 3 classes | The Washington Post
“This is a generation of kids that got trophies whether they won or lost the soccer game,” says Farouk Dey, director of career development at Carnegie Mellon University. “They were afraid of being rejected. What would that say about them? Would their parents be disappointed?”
That trend is reversing. The number of U.S. students taking admissions exams for graduate business school and law school are down 8 percent and 16 percent.
This year’s grads also have an advantage over those a year or two out of school with equal qualifications. Employers would rather have somebody fresh out of college than somebody who spent two years working at a local book store waiting out the market.
Wall St debates possible election influence on Fed stimulus | Reuters.com
The bar for any new Fed program looks high. The U.S. economy has shown signs of recovery, albeit an anemic one, and some Fed officials are adamant there is no need for further stimulus.
Also, political pressure on the Fed has rarely been higher as Republicans and Democrats spar over the best way to kick-start economic growth and reduce unemployment and huge budget deficits, said Allan Meltzer, a Fed historian and professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
"There have been some exceptions, but they are usually very careful to try not to be accused of taking action for political reasons, and especially now when Republicans in Congress are on their back, they are pretty conscious of that risk," he said.
With gas boom, Pennsylvania fears new toxic legacy | NPR's "All Things Considered"
Over the past four years, the water used for fracking has won more protection. But scientists say they need to be vigilant. Frack water chemistry, for example, can be surprising. Water engineer Jeanne VanBriesen at Carnegie Mellon University points out that bromide in frack water behaved in an unexpected way when it went through public water treatment plants. It reacted with chlorine to create compounds that were potentially hazardous.
"We're not omniscient," she says of water scientists. "We can't see everything, and sometimes there are downstream effects, particularly ones that involve the waste systems that interact with each other."
VanBriesen also wonders about what happens to all the frack water that's left underground. Pennsylvania is already a pin cushion. Oil and gas drilling has gone on for over a century here, long before fracking arrived.
Survey for health, poverty benefits threatened in Congress | CNN.com
As examples of the intrusiveness of the survey, Webster cited questions that ask if respondents have difficulty dressing, concentrating and making decisions, how long it takes them to get home from work, and what their emotional condition is. He also said that failure to answer the survey can result in a $5,000 fine.
But Martin Gaynor, professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, called concerns about privacy "very foolish." "People volunteer all kinds of far more intimate, sensitive information online without a thought about who is watching," he said.
New electric car conversion kit will charge your car (and wallet) | MotherNatureNetwork.com
That old Honda in your driveway — maybe it's in need of a valve job? Transform it with an electric conversion. A team at Carnegie Mellon University here in Pittsburgh has come up with an all-included kit to make your 2001-2005 Civic a zero-emission battery car. Converting an existing car instead of buying a new one is good for the planet, and the old beater will have a new lease on life.
Your mechanic can probably install the kit in two and a half days. It’s not a difficult job, and you can sell the used engine and transmission on Craigslist. That’s the good part. Now here’s the bad part. The conversion kit costs $24,000, plus the cost of the Civic (if you don't already have one). Your total bill is likely to come in at $30,000. And you’re not eligible for the $7,500 tax credit that new EV buyers get. In fact, buying a new Nissan Leaf is actually cheaper than converting a 7-year-old used Civic.
Family labels framed similarly across cultures | Science News
Scientists may have found a couple of principles of relativity in family trees from different cultures.
Kin connections get defined in a dizzying number of ways from one language to another. But a new study, conducted by cognitive scientists Charles Kemp of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Terry Regier of the University of California, Berkeley, uncovers what may be universal rules of thumb for thinking about connections among relatives — and perhaps about other categories.
Brain process that guide our choices revealed | Daily News & Analysis, India
The brain’s visual perception system automatically and unconsciously guides decision-making through valence perception.
This is what a new study from Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) has shown.
The review hypothesizes that valence, which can be defined as the positive or negative information automatically perceived in the majority of visual information, integrates visual features and associations from experience with similar objects or features. In other words, it is the process that allows our brains to rapidly make choices between similar objects.
Ageing eyes hinder biometric scans | Nature, United Kingdom
The likelihood of software incorrectly matching two irises from different people is around 1 in 2 million (known as the false match rate). So in practical terms, Bowyer’s results suggest that the false match rate for a system would increase to 2.5 in 2 million after three years had elapsed. This rate sounds low, but the effect appears to be cumulative, says Bowyer: “So although you might not really notice the problem after one year or two years, after five or ten years it can become a huge problem,” he explains.
But some are not convinced that the iris ageing effect will make a noticeable difference to the false match rate — even in huge national iris-identification schemes such as India's, which so far has more than 200 million people enrolled. Biometrics expert Vijayakumar Bhagavatula of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says: “In my opinion, the impact of this research is to suggest that iris templates should be periodically updated.
Tool-wielding robots crawl in bodies for surgery | Associated Press/The Wall Street Journal
Howie Choset has been researching and building robots, particularly snake robots, at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University for years.
Choset believes that his snake robot and others like it help reduce medical costs by making complex surgeries faster and easier. Choset says his new design is smaller and more flexible than earlier models: The diameter of the head is less than the size of a dime.