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The 'Pittsburgh left' isn't working

Pittsburgh transplants won’t be surprised that Allstate Insurance Company ranked Steel City motorists among the worst in the country.

In fact, Pittsburgh residents are 51.3 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident than your average American.
 
Pittsburgh ranked 14th worst on the list of 200 cities and dead last in cities with a population of 250,000 to 499,000 residents.
 
From tunnel traffic to parking spaces reserved by folding chairs, Pittsburgh’s driving peccadilloes are the city’s most treacherous traits.
 

'Does the prospect of running for office discourage women?'

Research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh on women’s willingness to run for political offices recently made the New York Times’ analytical website, the Upshot

Political Science professors Kristin Kanthak and Jonathan Woon discovered that women may have an aversion to the electoral process that is separate from external factors traditionally blamed for the gender gap in elections. 

The study grouped participants (both men and women) and required one person to do a math problem on behalf of each team. The problem doers were either randomly selected from the volunteers or elected by the group. The researchers found that both men and women volunteered when they would be selected at random, but not when they would face election. 

“The fact that representatives are chosen by electoral means is enough to dissuade women from putting themselves forward as candidates,” the study says.

The New York Times honors Sophie Masloff

The New York Times honored beloved Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff after she died in hospice earlier this week at 96. 

Masloff, a Pittsburgher for her entire life, was the first female and first Jewish mayor of the steel city from 1988 to 1994. 

She was known for her unsophisticated public speaking style delivered in Pittsburghese, but she also helped to bring innovation to Pittsburgh during her mayorship. 

Mayor William Peduto released a statement and he calls Masloff “a trailblazer camouflaged in grace and humor” and says she “personified Pittsburgh -- She was kind and approachable, but you dared not underestimate her.”

Modcloth is the first clothing company to sign the Heroes of Advertising Pledge

According to Buzzfeed, Pittsburgh-based clothing company Modcloth is the first to sign a pledge created by the Brave Girls Alliance against photoshopping models. 

The pledge, entitled the Heroes of Advertising Pledge, asks signers to refrain from photoshopping the physical features of the people in their ads. It comes after a series of embarrassing photoshop mistakes revealing how drastically models are sometimes altered. 

Modcloth co-founder Susan Gregg Koger says the pledge is “perfectly aligned with what ModCloth is already committed to - celebrating the beauty of women as they truly are.”

Kennywood ranks as underdog theme park

In a list compiled by Theme Park Tourist, Kennywood Park recently ranked as an underdog theme park stuck in the shadow of Disney parks

Kennywood earned its number 12 spot on the countdown for its classic dark rides like the Old Mill and Noah’s Ark (now being used as Garfield’s Nightmare) and roller coasters like the Jackrabbit and Thunderbolt. 

Theme Park Tourist also commended Kennywood’s more modern marvels, the Phantom’s Revenge and the Skycoaster. 

Kennywood and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA were the only two American parks to make the cut.

'The doctor will Skype you now'

U.S. News & World Report showcased a new trend in telemedicine and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hosts one of two telemedicine programs that allow patients to consult doctors via phone or video chat. 

AnywhereCare, launched in 2005, connects patients to physicians for minor health issues and doctors can give guidance or even prescriptions to remedy the problem. If the doctor cannot assist the patient over video, he or she can recommend an in office visit. 

Telemedicine has received mixed reviews from other doctors, but Lawrence Wechsler, the vice president of telemedicine at UPMC, says that telemedicine is not trying to compete with traditional medical practices.

“Anytime you have new models there are going to be advantages and disadvantages,” he says. “Patients and doctors need to weigh the pros and cons to figure out what’s right for them.”

Pittsburgh gets high-tech water meters

A magazine called Government Technology noted Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority’s installation of high tech water meters this week.

The new meters will allow customers to track water usage online or through email or text message updates. PWSA will spend $9.4 million to bring these wireless meters to about 82,000 customers in Pittsburgh. 

Tracking water usage can allow customers to control water consumption or alert users of potential leaks. 

“We're saving $10,000 a month, or $120,000 a year, and providing customers a better service,” PWSA spokesperson Melissa Rubin says.

'In Pittsburgh, a refuge for endangered writers'

Aljazeera America reported on a refuge for foreign writers located in Pittsburgh’s Central North Side, City of Asylum. 

City of Asylum, founded by Henry Reese in 2004, is a haven for artists who were persecuted in their native countries for their writing. Other cities house similar refuges supplemented with state sponsorship, but City of Asylum is unique in that it was created by a single citizen and has via philanthropy. 

Yaghoub Yadali is the most recent addition to City of Asylum after his novel “The Rituals of Restlessness” brought him imprisonment and harassment in his native country of Iran.  

“I respect those that stand up against authority to keep them open and honest,” says Reese.

ABC News features Conflict Kitchen

Pittsburgh’s beloved Conflict Kitchen was recently featured in ABC News’ Lifestyle section. The restaurant serves only food from countries in conflict with the United States. 

The nonprofit takeout spot aims to make food a medium for political dialogue and is funded by grants as a part of the research center at Carnegie Mellon. The restaurant’s menu rotates through cuisine from countries like Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. 

Conflict Kitchen also hosts roundtables and events to promote political discussions. 

"In some ways, [it] was a response to what I felt wasn't in this city, which was a lot of cultural and ethnic diversity, and also a sense of being part of an international, global conversation," says Conflict Kitchen co-founder Jon Rubin.

Pittsburgh marketing firm opens the doors to local businesses

According to Digital Journal, a Pittsburgh company is allowing internet users to virtually walk through local businesses with Google

ProFromGo, a marketing firm located in the South Side, provides Google Business View with an inside look at brick and mortar businesses in Pittsburgh. 

The independent photographers at ProFromGo create interior tours of businesses like restaurants, car dealerships, salons, gyms, and more. Revealing the content behind closed doors can promote trust between businesses and their clients. 

"We're a very visual-oriented society right now, so you want to give (customers) videos, pictures... you really want to get across every aspect that you can of what makes you unique and special and give them a reason to choose you," says ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare owner Scott Kerschbaumer.

'Pittsburgh, you're too nice to be unhappy'

The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research recently ranked Pittsburgh as the second least happy city after New York City, but Time Magazine says we have nothing to complain about.  

Pointing to a relatively low cost of living and a relatively high quality of life, Time Magazine’s opinion column says Pittsburghers should be a pleasant bunch. 

However, the study did factor in January temperatures and the amount of precipitation in each city, and we all know how depressing Pittsburgh weather can be. The two happiest cities are both in sunny Virginia.  

“Our research indicates that people care about more than happiness alone, so other factors may encourage them to stay in a city despite their unhappiness,” says researcher Joshua Gottlieb.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study says texts can reduce binge drinking

The British Psychological Society recently reported a study that took place at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine which suggests text messages can prevent young people from binge alcohol consumption. 

The study examined 765 young adult emergency patients who had previously screened positive for hazardous drinking habits. Some patients were sent text messages containing questions about their alcohol consumption and then received feedback on their response. Some received only questions about their drinking tendencies and others received no messages at all. 

According to the research, the young adults that received both questioning and feedback were more likely to reduce binge drinking. 

"Alcohol may bring them to the ER, but we can do our part to keep them from becoming repeat visitors," says Dr. Brian Suffoletto, the managing director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The Atlantic's City Lab remembers the nostalgic Westinghouse light show

The Atlantic’s City Lab recently reflected on the nostalgia of the light show that once stood atop the Westinghouse Electric Supply Company Warehouse on the North Shore. 

“Westinghouse computer systems already run ships and steel mills, power plants, utility networks, and mass transit systems. So, why not a sign—here in Pittsburgh—to dramatize the role Pittsburgh plays in today's new technologies?" bragged a company press release about the sign.

This week, somebody who saw the sign as a child, created a replica of the flashing Westinghouse light show and shared it on YouTube. A company also produces tiny replicas of the sign

Paul Rand created the logo that danced above the Allegheny River for 30 years, a circular emblem made to look like an electrical outlet as well as a ‘W’ for Westinghouse. The sign was erected in June 1967 and the warehouse was demolished in 1998 to make room for PNC Park.

'Why Adelaide should be more like Pittsburgh - a phoenix city that has reinvented itself'

The Herald Sun recently deemed Pittsburgh a ‘phoenix city’ that rose from the ashes of economic decline. According to the article, a city called Adelaide in Australia should follow Pittsburgh’s lead to reinvent itself. 

In the 1980’s, Pittsburgh faced unemployment and corporate takeovers after the collapse of the steel industry, but three decades later has forged on to become one of the most livable cities in the United States with success in healthcare, technology and education. 

Adelaide is facing similar strife with the closing of its major manufacturing company, Holden. The closure is expected to eliminate 24,000 local jobs. However, Adelaide leadership plans to utilize lessons learned from Pittsburgh to survive the decline. The focus will be on diversifying into new industries and urban renewal. 

“We had to imagine a different kind of city than we had been for 100 years,” says former three term Pittsburgh mayor, Tom Murphy.

Singing UPMC doctor makes Cosmo

Dr. Carey Andrew-Jaja, an ob-gyn at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has gone viral for his tradition of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the babies that he delivers. 

In the emotional video, Andrew-Jaja serenades one newborn as a touched mother looks on and the entire delivery room joins in. 

“People say they can’t sing. It doesn’t matter. We all join in together,” he tells CBS.

According to Andrew-Jaja, he has sung approximately 8,000 babies into this world.
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