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Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates 50 years of pairing youth throughout the region

After a mentoring relationship that lasted 7 years, two young men from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh network officially graduated from the community-based program this spring. The timing coincides with graduation of Ramello, the Little Brother, from Central Catholic High School in June. Frank, Ramello's Big Brother, supported his Little with guidance on everything from scoring touchdowns to academics as he grew into a successful young man. 

This fall, Ramello will start college at Youngstown State University to play football. And the volunteer-supported mentoring network organization that matched the pair during Ramello's most transformative years will mark 50 years with a celebration in September, too. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh is celebrating a half-decade of fostering essential connections like Ramello and Frank's with its annual Fly Away Bash, set for Sept. 10. The Fly Away Bash takes place at the Voyager Hangar at Allegheny County Airport, 1901 Lebanon Road, West Mifflin. For more information, call (412) 204-1216.

Back to school: What local STEM students can learn from Israel

In a matter of days, Pittsburgh-area schools will open their doors to welcome students and teachers to the start of another school year. But a group of educators will head back to school armed with a professional experience abroad that has opened their minds: a seminar trip to Israel to study science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM subjects in academic and research circles.

Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Classrooms Without Borders (CWB) sponsored the 21 educators who spent 12 days exploring Israel's cutting-edge technology through visits to facilities such as the Asher Space Research Institute; the Rambam Hospital underground emergency crisis center; the factory that produces the Iron-Dome technology; Israeli branches of Intel, Microsoft and Google; Palestinian startup companies; and the Jewish-Arab Nazareth Industrial Park.

Principals and teachers on the trip represented 20 private, charter and Catholic schools including Oakland Catholic High School, Propel Braddock Hills High School and the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park, said Tsipy Gur, founder and director of CWB.

CWB chose Israel as a destination because the nation is a global leader in the world of science, technology, engineering and math, Gur said. The country also boasts the highest number of scientists, technicians and engineers per capita in the world, according to Gur. 

Gur said that the trip provides a worthwhile opportunity for educators to experience multi-disciplinary approaches and innovative programs that work at solving serious national problems, such as water scarcity. Those new ways of thinking translate to teaching STEM subject matter in the classrooms, she added. 

"When a teacher speaks from experience and radiates enthusiasm in a subject matter -- especially STEM subjects -- students become engaged and inspired in ways that text books are unable to duplicate," Gur said.

Classrooms Without Borders, which also sponsored a study seminar in Greece this summer, is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

For those local students whose teachers didn't travel the world for STEM experiences, a new fabrication lab at the Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore will open later this month. The Fab Foundation and Chevron, among other organizations, are opening the FAB Lab for students, teachers and the general Pittsburgh community to create, experiment and build their STEM skills.

Equipment at the FAB Lab will include 3-D printers, laser cutters, computers and software, electronics workbench equipment including robotics, sewing and embroidery machines, and projectors and documentation cameras. A mobile FAB Lab will travel to the region's schools during the upcoming school year.

FAB Lab Carnegie Science Center is the third of 10 Fab Labs that Chevron is developing in partnership with The Fab Foundation. Chevron has invested more than $140 million in education in the United States since 2010, according to a press release.


Pittsburgh rated a favorite foodie city

Pittsburgh comes in at No. 3 in Livability.com’s top 10 foodie cities for 2015. The reason: consistent rave reviews by local and national food critics, as well as recognition from the James Beard Foundation. 

Of course Primanti’s  is mentioned, but Livability also noted the top-rated local dining establishments posted on Yelp. The food spotlighted? The Liege waffle at Waffallonia, the menu at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina, and the cuisine at Cafe Du Jour French Bistro. And not to be upstaged -- the kebabs and kazandibi at Istanbul Sofra -- all testament to the diverse palates of local foodies. 

Pittsburgh was edged out of first and second place by Coral Gables, Fla., at No. 1 and Omaha at No. 2. 

See the full list of Top Foodie cities here.

Pitt ranks no. 2 worldwide in the discipline of philosophy

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Philosophy, which has long been recognized for excellence, placed second in its field by the QS World University Rankings. The rating system evaluated more than 3,500 universities in 36 disciplines for its 2015 subject rankings.  

Anil Gupta, chair of Pitt’s Department of Philosophy in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, credits the creativity of the faculty and their exploration of unfashionable ideas for the achievement.
The faculty’s research has made a significant impact as numerous authors worldwide have written about Pitt philosophy professors and their work. According to Gupta, 18 books have been published on Robert Brandom, 14 on Nicholas Rescher, and 11 on John McDowell beyond the hundreds of books published by faculty members themselves. He adds, “Pitt faculty, particularly Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Robert Brandom and Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy John McDowell, are among the most influential philosophers working today.”

Pitt placed second behind New York University but ahead of Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge universities. Read more about the QS World University Rankings criteria and the complete listing here.

CMU offers Tartan gear created by 3-D printing technology

PieceMaker Technologies, a local startup that develops self-service, 3-D printing kiosks, recently announced its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University as the college's first official licensee for 3-D printing. 

PieceMaker founder and CMU grad Arden Rosenblatt said that the company's first Shapeways.com storefront will offer officially licensed, 3-D printed Tartan gear. Just in time for graduation, the very first product offerings will be aimed at the class of 2015.

"As with everything in 3-D printing, each order from our Shapeways store is made on demand, but with this initiative, PieceMaker is stepping into the online world with two limited edition offerings," Rosenblatt said in a statement. 

Shop the Shapeways store here

Amazon acquires local startup Shoefitr

Last week’s acquisition of Shoefitr by Amazon should bring a long-awaited sigh of relief for the online retail giant as well as for footwear customers turned off by the order and return process.

The Oakland-based software company Shoefitr personalizes the online shoe buying process. The technology helps shoppers to order comfortable, precisely fitted shoes and enables online footwear retailers to recommend sizes for customers.

The company was started in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Matt Wilkinson, along with fellow alumni Breck Fresen and Nick End. Initially, Shoefitr focused on running shoes before digging into heels and other footwear options.

The size, brand and style-specific technology is designed to get the right fit, which lessens the high rate of return that online shoe sellers (and clothing apparel retailers alike) regularly experience.

It works like this: Customers enter their shoe size and the basic information from a favorite, current well-fitting shoe. Then Shoefitr matches it with footwear in its database to recommend the size and styles that provide a similar fit. It takes into account variables such as shape, sole thickness, and weight, giving customers comparisons against their current pair.

Presently, Shoefitr works with more than 1,000 brands worldwide, according to its website. The number is expected to grow as the acquisition by Amazon is finalized.

Learn more about the online shoe buying process using Shoefitr here.

Local companies make Forbes list of best employers

Four major companies from our region are among Forbes magazine’s 2015 best U.S. employers: The University of Pittsburgh, PPG, Alcoa and Mylan.

Of the four, Pitt came in at No. 91 -- the only one that placed in the top 100. With a local, full-time force numbering upwards of 12,000 workers, Pitt also stands among the city’s big three non-government employers.

Not far behind, PPG landed on the list at No. 159. Alcoa followed at 223. The pharmaceutical giant Mylan claimed its spot at No. 292; its Washington County headquarters made it the only ranked Pittsburgh-area company located outside of the city.

Also listed within regional proximity was Sheetz. Headquartered in Altoona, Blair County, the massive convenience center-gas chain continues to hold a hefty presence in Pittsburgh. It came in at No. 181.

The top 500 U.S. employers were chosen based on an independent survey given to 20,000 employees across 25 different industries. All employees responded anonymously. The survey was administered to larger companies and institutions with a minimum workforce of 2,500, including U.S. divisions of international firms.

View all 500 companies here.  


Earth Day celebrates sustainability and success

The worldwide Earth Day event on April 22 has special significance here in Pittsburgh. This year, Pittsburgh Earth Day marks the recent advancements our city has created in sustainability, technology, and innovation.

Involvement in the day’s lineup springs from sources ranging from the local business community gathering for a speakers’ breakfast to the fashion shows, exhibitors, music, pop-up dance party and the food truck festival that will follow.

Events will take place throughout the day in Market Square and Mellon Square in Downtown and Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

See the full lineup of events here.


Pitt sociology professors publish groundbreaking study on domestic violence

The American Sociological Review recently published a first-of-its-kind study that investigates the earning history and potential of Pennsylvania women who applied for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders.

Written by University of Pittsburgh Sociology Professors Melanie Hughes and Lisa Brush,“The Price of Protection” examines the effects on women’s earnings before, during and six years after petitioning for PFAs.

The study found “shocks and stalls” in the women’s earning potential in the first year after filing and beyond. These were often due to time off for medical care and court appointments or to find safe housing for herself and/or children in the family.

Since the effects of domestic violence on women’s work and earning potential hasn’t been extensively studied, Hughes and Brush’s work has been highly publicized with features in the New York Times and Jezebel.

Read the full study in the American Sociological Review here.

CMU grad student awarded national prize for screenplay

Savannah Reich, a graduate student in the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama dramatic writing program, won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Student Grand Jury Prize from the Tribeca Film Institute for Best Science-Themed Screenplay. The award recognizes the best student screenplay in the nation that uses science and technology themes in a narrative.

Reich wins $30,000 plus $20,000 if the screenplay goes into production. The Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize will boost development of the project and introduce Reich and her work to the industry at large.  

Learn more about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation here.

Pitt scores high in U.S. News & World Report rankings

A number of University of Pittsburgh schools and programs were named in the Best Graduate Schools 2016 guidebook by U.S. News & World Report.

Pitt's School of Nursing ranks No. 5 nationwide, while the School of Medicine places No. 16 in the research category and is tied at No. 19 in primary care of the Best Medical Schools. In medical specialties, Pitt came in at No. 4 in women's health.

Among public universities, Pitt's graduate programs in education, engineering and business all placed in the top 25.

The complete list of best graduate school categories and rankings can be found by ordering the U.S. News & World Report 2016 Guidebook.

Read more about the nation's top graduate programs here.

Pitt students work for real food on campus menus

University of Pittsburgh students and administration have committed to serving 20 percent “Real Food” by 2020.

“This means that Pitt will work towards product shifting to more food that is ecologically sound, humane, fair traded, and locally sourced," said Joelle Weiss, one of four students who advocated for the Real Food initiative.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher will attend a campus commitment signing event on March 24 at Nordy's in the William Pitt Union. The event announces Pitt’s willingness to help secure the changes over the next five years and beyond. Real Food Day at Pitt is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 30 in the William Pitt Union.

Pitt is the first Pennsylvania school and the biggest urban campus to sign on to the agreement, according to Weiss. 

Read more about the initiative here.


Pitt pays you back, says The Princeton Review

The University of Pittsburgh has been profiled in The Princeton Review’s 2015 edition of Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In.

The newly released book and online resource is a guide to the academically best and most affordable colleges that hold a high record of post-college employment by their alumni.

The profile praised Pitt as an “Academic Powerhouse;” The Princeton Review included it among the “Best Value” schools by measuring data points such as academics, graduation rates, cost, financial aid, incurred debt and alumni salaries.  

See how Pitt stacks up against comparable colleges here.

CNN documents Pittsburgh's robot renaissance

CNN is the latest news outlet to report on the local robotics industry, with reporter Maggie Lake interviewing Mayor Bill Peduto, Seegrid Corporation President David Heilman, and University of Pittsburgh’s Chris Briem about Pittsburgh’s tech sector.
“Pittsburgh: A once-gritty steel town transformed into a booming tech hub and a leader in the robot revolution,” Lake says.

Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute has spun off more than 30 companies, employing over 1,000 people in the local economy, according to Lake.

Catch the robots in action here.

BBC Popup covering Pittsburgh in November

The British Broadcasting Corporation’s mobile bureau is coming to Pittsburgh in November to report on the stories that make our city pop.

The journalists from across the pond want to hear what stories matter most to us, so they’re inviting students and residents to a community meetup at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Carnegie Mellon’s Newell-Simon Hall 3305.

The BBC Popup will travel to different locations throughout November to create video reports based on the issues that matter most to Pittsburghers. The video stories will be broadcast on BBC World News television and online at BBC.com/popup.

Learn more about the BBC Popup project here.

A Luxury Travel Blog shares Pittsburgh's top five treasures

Looking for the lap of luxury in Pittsburgh? The finest elegance in the City of Steel can be found in five exquisite places, according to A Luxury Travel Blog.

Among the treasures: the Grand Concourse Restaurant, The Frick Art & Historical Center, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel, and Wigle Whiskey.

“A beautiful city of contrasts full of grand historic sites mixed with modern dynamic sites firmly rooted in the future,” writes blogger Jennifer Berg.

Travelers with a taste for the finer things in life would do well to explore Pittsburgh’s luxurious offerings, Berg says.

Read the full blog post here.

CMU professor receives national medal

Mary Shaw, the Alan J. Perliss University professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, was recently honored by President Obama. Shaw was one of eight recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for achievement in the field of technology, innovation and invention.

“These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields, and helped improve countless lives,” President Obama said. “Our nation has been enriched by their achievements and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry, and invention.”

Read more about Shaw’s honor here.

The Cathedral of Learning in LEGO bricks

LEGO lovers and Pitt alumni can show their support for making the Cathedral of Learning into a new LEGO set.

The 42-story Late Gothic Revival building is the cornerstone of the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus. Blogger Josh Hall originally created the LEGO version of the cathedral for a competition at toy store S.W. Randall in Squirrel Hill.

“It’s such a clean geometric building, it just begs to be recreated in LEGO bricks,” Hall writes on his blog.

Show your support for production of the set here.

Yinzer accent makes late night

Actor Patrick Wilson, an alum of Carnegie Mellon University’s theater department, shared his best Pittsburgh impersonation with Seth Myers on NBC last week.

Myers, whose father holds a degree from CMU as well, talked Stillers, Gullifty’s and the Original Hot Dog shop with Wilson, who appeared on Late Night with Seth Myers to promote his movie Space Station 76.

“It’s an accent that exists just at the confluence of the three rivers,” Myers quipped.

Watch the stars swap their yinzer accents here.

'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.

"Suspended animation human trials to begin for wounded patients"

According to PBS, patients at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital will be the first to undergo trials for suspended animation as a treatment for knife and gunshot wounds. 

The process, referred to as emergency preservation and resuscitation, involves replacing patients’ blood with a cold saline solution to cause hypothermia. This reduces cellular activity and gives surgeons more time to repair wounds. 

Peter Rhee, a surgeon that contributed to developing the process, said that emergency preservation and resuscitation cannot bring a deceased patient back to life. 

“But if they’re dying and you suspend them, you have a chance to bring them back after their structural problems have been fixed,” he told New Scientist.

Read our story about this futuristic procedure here.


Weird rooms in Pittsburgh

Installation art has a way of getting to you. It takes a very familiar idea--a room--and turns it into something more."Putting elaborate theories aside, 'installation art' is the art of weird rooms. And, as a general rule, the more specific the room the more effectively weird and wonderful the installation. My two favorite things in the 2013 Carnegie International, which opened this weekend, were installations sited within the specific idiosyncrasies of the Carnegie Museum of Art."

To read more about the Carnegie International's collection of weird rooms and more weird rooms in Pittsburgh, click here.

Vogue praises the 56th Carnegie International

“A man’s first duty is to. . . .  make the world in some way better than you found it,” wrote the Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1903. Today, no better example of the steel baron’s philanthropic vision is the Carnegie International, the oldest contemporary art survey in America, which opens this Saturday in Pittsburgh. Now in its 56th iteration, the exhibition takes place every three to five years, and was first conceived by Carnegie in 1896 to acquire “the old masters of tomorrow” for the then-nascent museum that bears his name."

Read the full article here.

The work behind child's play at the Carnegie

The New York Times reports on the "Playground Project," the Carnegie Museum's new exhibitional ode to the playground through history in a full-page spread this past Sunday. An excerpt:

"Mounted on plywood panels that suggest the walls of an impromptu recreation room, this jam-packed show uses photographs, film, books, architectural plans and models to illuminate the golden decades after World War II, when cities around the world felt the need to build new play areas in parks and on streets.

"Artists and architects buoyed by the work of child psychologists like Bruno Bettelheim and Jean Piaget reinvented the playground’s look and dreamed up new equipment. Once regarded as a holding area where children could be controlled and contained, by the 1960s the playground was seen as a zone for creative exploration and cognitive development."

To read more about the "Playground Project" and its message, click here.

Jonathan Borofsky's Walking to the Sky sculpture featured in photos

The Carnegie Mellon University sculpture by artist Jonathan Borofsky, with people walking straight up to the sky, is featured in various perspectives in this short but cool photo feature.

See it here.

Pittsburgh with kids: an education in fun

How much fun is Kidsburgh for kids?

Read the story here.

Pittsburgh holiday news in series of blogs

Want to keep up with holiday traditions and learn more about cool things to do over the holidays, as well as the history behind them? Look no further: read the blog series on Imagine Pittsburgh website.

Original fries among the best in the US says CNN

Original Hot Dog Shop. At this family-run stalwart, the mountain of fries that comes in even a small order borders on the ridiculous -- so no wonder the college kids keep coming back. Located on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, "The Dirty O" has a reputation for decadent spuds: hand-cut and peeled Idaho potatoes, twice fried in peanut oil, and served golden and crunchy on a cafeteria tray. The Original even has its own dedicated fry station, where you can order them with sides of gravy, cheese, or ketchup. 3901 Forbes Ave.

Travel + Leisure: World's most delicious street foods

See the entire list here.

Pittsburgh named as Under the Radar Cultural Destination

The Scene: Struggling industrial center turned cultural breeding ground.

The Signature: Museums. Visit the iconic Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St.; warhol.org) for an infusion of pop art, the Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave.; cmoa.org) for an upcoming exhibit on modern decorative arts and the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way; mattress.org) for “room-sized” installations of contemporary art. 

Insider Knowledge: While Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (fallingwater.org) is the city’s most famous architectural landmark, H. H. Richardson’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church (emmanuelpgh.org) is worth a visit. The building features Tiffany windows and a wood interior reminiscent of an inverted ship’s hull.

Don’t Miss: The Pittsburgh Glass Center (5472 Penn Ave.; pittsburghglasscenter.org), where visitors can tour galleries of ornate glasswork or take a glassblowing class themselves.

Read the Pittsburgh and other blurbs here.

Is there any dinner better than one designed for food bloggers?

This food blogger was excited to get to The Porch for a special dinner for food bloggers planned during Restaurant Week. It included a few perks, making us wish that we, too, were food bloggers.

Read the blog post.

10 Things to love about Oakland

Just in time for returning students, this 10 Things to love about Oakland article is authored by Brett Wiewiora, founder and CEO of local social enterprise startup Scenable. They just announced the launch of the Android (and coming soon on iPhone) app about Oakland called Oakland Scene. It's available for downloading here.

Read all 10 selections about Oakland here.

Three curators of the Carnegie International on their plans for the big event

"Through long visits, Skype chats, phone calls, and countless emails, the underlying structure of the 2013 Carnegie International is taking shape.

"Curators Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski have traveled the world, meeting with colleagues and visiting artists’ studios, exhibitions, and art fairs both large and small in search of a global perspective on art today. Baumann, a Swiss national, will move to Pittsburgh with his family later this summer, marking the beginning of the final year of preparation for the International. What has emerged over the past year is an energetic collaboration that will yield a multifaceted, surprising exhibition opening October 5, 2013."
Read the full story here.

Branding Brand cites less effective social media usage on mobile phones

Pittsburgh company, Branding Brand, points out some of the surprising trends in social media on mobile phones.

“Increased traffic doesn’t always mean increased conversion, especially if the quality of visitor declines,” explains Branding Brand co-founder and CIO Joey Rahimi, “Many retailers are flooding social media and jumping on the bandwagon, but are they attracting someone who will actually buy?”“

Although these social sites have provided a great way to drive traffic and sales on desktop, they still haven’t cracked the case on mobile. On mobile, they’re providing far less traffic and contribution of sales,” he adds. “We’re still searching for a social solution to help all channels.”

If the charts here speak to truths other retailers are also seeing, it’s clear that mobile changes the game in more ways than one.

Read the full story here.

What's Different About The Brains Of People With Autism?

University of Pittsburgh graduate, Jeff Hudale, has dedicated the past 25 years of his life to help scientists understand autism through his own brain. 

Read the full story here.

New electric car conversion kit will charge your car (and wallet)

Carnegie Mellon students create an all-included electric car conversion kit as part of their ChargeCar project. This DIY alternative can convert your old, gas guzzling Honda Civic into a zero-emission battery operated car.

Read the full story here.

Surgical robots to take over operating theatres

Robots designed for exploration, search and rescue, and even a simple soccer match are now able to perform surgery.  

With a diameter smaller than the size of a dime, these snake-like robots can identify diseases and operate through just a small incision in the human body. 

Read the full story here.

Katz Grad School video spotlights things students love about Pittsburgh

There's a competition brewing among Katz Graduate School of Business students and the videos they're creating for their social media class. We've seen mentions on Facebook and Twitter and youtube and now you'll see one of them here. This video is from an enterprising Katz student who thought we would be interested in her group's work. Why? Because it's about Katz students' love of Pittsburgh and how they explore the city. And it has cool music by Destry.

We're so there.

See the video here.

CMU study asks, who gives a tweet?

In a joint research project, CMU learned a few things about how valuable--or not--tweets are. "Twitter users say only a little more than a third of the tweets they receive are worthwhile. Other tweets are either so-so or, in one out of four cases, not worth reading at all.

"If we understood what is worth reading and why, we might design better tools for presenting and filtering content, as well as help people understand the expectations of other users," said Paul André, a post-doctoral fellow in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) and lead author of the study.

Read the full story here.

QOL Tech Center in the news at Consumer Electronics Show

The Quality of Life Technology Center is highlighted in this brief news report and video from the Consumer Electronics Show.
QOL is noted for its robots that help the elderly or disabled.

Read the full story here.

What Pittsburgh can teach Buffalo

Why has Pittsburgh been far more successful than other similar cities such as Buffalo? Two reasons, cites the author. "First, there is a serious, multi-entity commitment in Pittsburgh to stimulating, mentoring, and promoting new enterprises, and it has been going on for more than a dozen years. Second, there is total focus of new public inputs into the historic crossroads of the region, i.e., into downtown Pittsburgh."

CMU picked one of the 10 most "hipster" campuses in the country. Really?

What are hipsters?

Based on one college website, a "hipster" is a flannel-wearing, vegan-eating youth who goes to a school where the campus radio stations reign and there are plenty of thrift and vintage boutiques nearby. Go CMU, which placed among the top 10--just behind Berkley, Yale and NYU and above Georgetown.

Read it in CollegeMagazine.com

Google acquires Carnegie Mellon spinout PittPat

Yet another homegrown company has been snapped up by Google. Following on the heels of ReCaptcha, Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, or PittPat, which is already used for Image Search, YouTube and Picasa, was purchased by Google for an undisclosed amount. This is something you may need to know.

Read it in The Wall Street Journal.

What's the potential of online face recognition? Could it change everything on the web. Check out "How Google's New Face Recognition Could Change the Future of the Web" on Fast Company.

Pop City's own Jennifer Baron joins Ladybug Transistor for Sculpture Garden concert

The long-running Indie band Ladybug Transistor reunited with two of its former bandmates this month when Pop City's own Jennifer Baron and her brother Jeff Baron took the stage for an evening concert under the stars in Carnegie's Sculpture Garden.

Both Barons played on the band's well-received albums, The Abermarle Sound and Argyle Hair. The evening also featured selections from the band's latest release, Clutching Stems.

Read it in Pittsburgh City Paper.

CMU technology conquers time travel

Watch a garden grow before your eyes, explore space and time simultaneously. The latest Gigapan photographic robotic technology allows viewers to travel through time and at an incredibly high resolution. See it in action!

Read it on Carnegie Mellon University's website.

Watson beats the minds from CMU and Pitt

Chalk up another one for computer intelligence. This time the IBM-inspired Jeopardy computer contender Watson takes on teams from CMU and Pitt in this symposium that begs the question, "who is this Watson anyway?"

Read it here.

University of Pittsburgh receives $15M for new lab construction projects

The University of Pittsburgh will receive $15 million to help pay for new nanoscience and experimental physics laboratories, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The grant, from the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, is among 12 consecutive projects totaling $123 million awarded competitively through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"The total project cost at Pitt is $27.8 million, with the remainder to be paid by the university," reports the Post-Gazette. "The project calls for building 13 new state-of-the-art experimental physics laboratories in Pitt's Department of Physics and Astronomy."

It is expected that three additional full-time faculty will be hired.

Click here to read the complete article on Pitt's $15 million grant.

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Neighborhood guide: Town and gown come together in Oakland

Erin Marton, a realtor with Howard Hanna, writes on her 'Burgh Living blog, "The 'Burgh is--for all intents and purposes--a bit of a college town. Not in the conventional sense perhaps, but the Forbes and Fifth corridor that is host to Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University and Carlow College certainly make it feel a bit like one!"

The universities that occupy that corridor certainly shape the entire Oakland neighborhood.

Marton describes Oakland as a hub of student living, the heart of UPMC and an eating, shopping and cultural destination, with plenty of green space thanks to Schenley Park and Phipps Conservatory.

Click here to read the complete 'Burgh Living blog post.

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Parking lot to park: Schenley Plaza wins international award

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy received a top international honor for its work developing a large parking lot in Oakland into programmable urban green space.

Schenley Plaza won the Silver Award in the Environmentally Sustainable Project category at the 2009 International Awards for Livable Communities (LivCom Awards), held Oct. 8-13 in the Czech Republic.

The $12 million Plaza was the product of a community-wide effort. It was completed in 2006 and expects its millionth visitor in 2010.

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy blog features a photo of president and CEO Meg Cheever being congratulated by the chief executive of the LivCom Awards, and also a slideshow of the presentation given at the awards ceremony.

Click here to read the complete Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy blog post.

From venture capitalism to anti-capitalists: Obama knew how to pick a winner

Inside Story, an online journal published by Australian Policy Online, highlights Pittsburgh as a "savvy twenty-first century city" that's the "hometown of American venture capitalism."

The article, written during the G-20, highlights the venture capitalists of the past, as well as the architecture their progress enabled, from Downtown's neo-gothic Union Trust building to the monumental courthouse building, and the fantastical PPG building to the Oakland's 535-foot-tall Cathedral of Learning.

The article also goes into the eds and meds discussion, gets into some first-hand protest-talk, and includes this phrase we're just savoring: "Obama knew how to pick a winner."

To read the complete Inside Story blog post, click here.

Weekend getaway: Pittsburgh neighborhoods are clean, green fun

Christine O'Toole, a contributor at Pop City's sister publication Keystone Edge, writes a lively travel piece for the Washington Post that highlight's three of Pittsburgh's standout neighborhoods--the North Side, Oakland and Lawrenceville.

O'Toole grumbles, "Though you've heard the buzz about the city's selection as host of the G-20 summit this week and its recent rankings as the nation's 'most livable' city, you privately assume that if it's livable, it's lame."

As she proves, Pittsburgh is far from lame.

The article provides a rollicking exploration of the North Side's North Shore (pop art! kayaking! activities for the kids!), Oakland (amazing architecture, world-class universities and some cool green spaces) and Lawrenceville (the Brooklyn of the Steel City).

We'll forgive O'Toole for starting on the defense, but only 'cause it's clear she loves this city as much as we do. (But seriously, enough with the self-loathing "you may think Pittsburgh sucks, but we're actually surprisingly awesome" stuff, okay? It's not a surprise anymore. We are awesome, thank you very much.)

To read the complete Washington Post article, click here.

Pittsburgh: A global leader and a taste bud pleaser

Los Angeles Times did a fun travel feature focused on Pittsburgh's food, specifically the grub G-20 summiters should seek out.

"Short of attending a Steelers game (alas, they're away next weekend), there's no better way to see the real 'Burgh than to visit one of these generations-old, family-run German, Polish, red sauce Italian and sandwich spots," writes Andrew Bender.

Among Benders' recommendations: a Primanti Brothers sandwich topped with slaw and fries; a Devonshire sandwich and French fry-topped salad at the Union Grill in Oakland; pirogues and stuffed cabbage at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern; the best burgers in the Burgh at Tessaro's; and schnitzel and spaetzle at Max's Allegheny Tavern on the North Side.

To read the complete Los Angeles Times article, click here.

A walk through Schenley Farms: Trees thrive midst of Oakland

Local Ecologist, a New York City-based blog that chronicles near and far ecological encounters, recounts a recent walk through Oakland's Schenley Farms.

"I was immediately struck by the large trees and took a brief walk one morning to take a closer look," the blogger writes. "The underground utilities make a huge difference in the height of the trees as well as a lack of often ghastly utility pruning."

The post includes some beautiful photographs of area trees, such as sweetgum, pin and red oak, hawthorne, maple and London planes.

"Where are the generously planted streets in your city?" the Local Ecologist asks.

The better question, in our leafy green city, is what areas of Pittsburgh aren't generously planted?

To read the complete blog post click here.

Last-minute vacation deal: A weekend of culture in Pittsburgh

Looking for a last-minute escape before the air cools, the leaves fall and the bikinis are stashed in favor of plaid and wool? Redbook recommends Pittsburgh as an easy-to-plan and affordable weekend vacation. The magazine suggests couples check out the Andy Warhol Museum, the Duquesne Incline, the gardens at Phipps and more. Plus, there's a hot tip about logging onto visitpittsburgh.com to earn a $20 gas card from GetGo for every night booked when you add attraction tickets to your hotel stay. Sounds like the perfect excuse--even for Pittsburgh-based folks--to get in some downtime before football season sets in.

To read the complete article click here.

Flying high above Pittsburgh at world championship of extreme pogo

Pogopalooza 6, the world championship of extreme pogo, bounced around Pittsburgh a couple weekends ago, and The Wall Street Journal was there to ooh and ahh. The event, which took place at Oakland's Schenley Plaza, showcased jumps eight feet high and daredevil spins and flips akin to those of skateboarding and motocross. The competition attracted about 60 riders, between the ages of 13 and 24, from 23 states as well as Canada and England. The article profiles some of the sport's brightest athletes, and is well worth the click-through for an impressive photo of a pogo-ist flying in the air above Downtown's skyscrapers from a Mt. Washington overlook.

To read the complete article click here.

Pittsburgh impresses G-20 planners

Last week, some 200 representatives of countries invited to September's G-20 summit scoped out the city's sites--and reportedly liked what they saw.

The representatives were giving a tour of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the Pittsburgh Public Schools Creative and Performing Arts magnet school Downtown, the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side, Phipps Conservatory in Oakland and the Rosemont Farm in Fox Chapel, owned by Teresa Heinz Kerry.

To read the complete article go here.

From the Chesapeake Bay to the three rivers: Eco-friendly fun for the whole family

Pittsburgh is an eco-friendly hot spot with history, art and animals galore, says The Baltimore Sun, which revels in the National Aviary's penguin exhibit, the bustling Cultural District and the sensory-rich Children's Museum. Penn Avenue's Glass Center finds its place among the area's more established destinations, such as the Carnegie Museum of Art.

To read the complete article go here.

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