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Casepops, a 2014 DATA Award finalist, makes national news

A local iPhone case company is making national headlines, particularly in the teen magazine market.

Casepops is a fashion iPhone case line that allows owners to customize their phone by choosing different charms, such as studs, skulls and gems that “pop” into and out of locks on the hard plastic case.

Seventeen magazine writes: “Changing your phone case as often as you change your outfit just got easier.”

Casepops is also a finalist for the 2014 DATA Awards.

Local startup Astrobotic earns mention in the New Yorker

Pittsburgh-based startup, Astrobotic got a big mention on NewYorker.com this week for their work on creating a lander for what will be the first lunar commercial delivery.

The lander, called Griffin, will hold the time capsule bearing Pocari Sweat, a Japanese beverage. Griffin is the same technology that Astrobotic is hoping will win them the Google Lunar X prize.

Astrobotics’ focus is on developing technology for commercial deliveries to the moon. Right now their prices exceed half a million a pound.

Pittsburgh artist creates 'Normal Barbie'

Pitt alum and Greenfield resident Nickolay Lamm has gotten a lot of press this week surrounding his creation of a 'normal Barbie.' That is to say, a Barbie-like doll that resembles the average proportions of a 19-year-old girl according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He calls his dolls Lammily and you can order one of 5,000 dolls he's planning to manufacture on the crowd-funding site he created.

Not only is Lammily shorter than Barbie, she's also got flat feet and bendable joints. Refreshingly, she is much less made up than Barbie or a Bratz doll.

Lamm urges visitors to the Lammily site to "be the change" and not to wait for toy companies to change their outdated dolls that promote an unhealthy standard of beauty.

“If there’s even a 10% chance that those dolls affect [body image], let’s make it," he told Buzzfeed.

'Thanks Dan' is the new 'Better Call Saul'

Have you seen the "Thanks Dan!" video yet?

If not, you should watch it here.

Actual criminal defense attorney Daniel Buckley Muessig is using the power of satire to lure customers (i.e. criminals) to his firm. He suggests that if you've committed murder, arson, burglary or other "throwback crimes" like pick-pocketing, he's your man, because he "thinks like a criminal"...except he's got a degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

"Breaking Bad" fans will particularly enjoy Muessig's ad, which refers heavily to the show's character, Saul Goodman's "Better Call Saul" ads.

Muessig uploaded the ad he created with local branding firm, Covalent to Youtube on March 5, and less than 24 hours later it went viral. It currently has over 150,000 views.

Esquire.com asked Muessig, a former rapper and Pittsburgh native what kind of business he was hoping to acquire with the commercial.

"I want to let the people in Pittsburgh who do illegal things for a living know that I am here for them so long as they can pay me," Muessig replied.





Vote for a LEGO Cathedral of Learning

How cool would it be to be able to buy a Cathedral of Learning LEGO set? Josh Hall, a Pitt alum, is trying to make it happen.

Hall’s model of the Oakland landmark won the S.W. Randall LEGO Build Contest in 2012 and inspired him to enter the design on LEGO Cuusoo, a site on which LEGO enthusiasts can post their projects to be judged by the community. If supported by 10,000 people, the project will be reviewed by LEGO for a chance to become an official product.

Vote to support Hall’s project here.

ID8: Pittsburgh

Entrepreneurship.org started a web magazine called ID8 focusing on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in American cities. They’ve covered Seattle, San Diego, and the research triangle in North Carolina, but their inaugural issue was dedicated to Pittsburgh.

ID8 did their homework and got on the ground in the ‘Burgh, touring the city with William Generett Jr. of Urban Innovation21, making videos featuring the players behind Project Olympus, and creating a map of the city’s entrepreneurial hot spots. It’s definitely worth a look. Check it out here.

Found in Translation: Pittsburgh language tech companies rocking the region

Pop City innovation editor Deb Smit reports on language technology companies in Pittsburgh—13 of them including one snapped up this year by Facebook—that are attracting international attention and changing the way we learn and communicate.

Read the story in Pittsburgh Magazine.

Mod Cloth cites Pittsburgh as reason for growth

Mod Cloth may not be headquartered in Pittsburgh, but they are still very much in town. A large number of their employees continue to work at the Pittsburgh offices and Mod Cloth considers them absolutely essential.

"Citing the "Be the Buyer" program, which allows users to vote on garment samples to be produced; the "Make the Cut" program, which allows votes on winning designs; and the social outfit-sharing feature "Style Gallery" as keys to the company's success, Koger said those programs would likely never have come to being without direct customer engagement that is often routed directly through Pittsburgh."

To read more about Mod Cloth's healthy relationship with its mother city, click here.

Pittsburgh tops the list of smartest cities. But then you knew that, yes?

Pittsburgh not only made the list, we topped the list of smartest cities.

 Here’s the criteria:
  • Universities and colleges per person
  • Libraries per person
  • Education level
  • Media per person (newspapers, TV, radio, magazines)
  • Museums per person
  • Public school rank
Read the article here.

Mod Cloth founders on doubling down

The founders of Mod Cloth are looking to expand their business by providing a new line of plus-size clothing. "What started as an idea by high school juniors Susan Gregg Koger, 28, and her (now husband) Eric, 29, now brags more than 400 employees in three cities and is hell-bent on the expansion of both an in-house private label and a re-commitment to serving the plus-sized market."

To read more from Forbes.com, click here.

Vibrant Pittsburgh lauded for attracting immigrants

Worries over immigrants potentially taking jobs from native-born Americans run high in parts of the nation, but some U.S. cities are taking a different view: Wooing immigrants can reverse long-term declines in population, reports the Wall St. Journal.

"In Pittsburgh, local nonprofit Vibrant Pittsburgh recruits highly skilled foreigners at national conventions, sends frequent emails to immigrant-community groups about Pittsburgh job opportunities and, since June, has given out $100,000 in grants to 25 local community groups that focus on immigrants.

Teanna Medina, a 25-year-old Cuban American, had already bought a plane ticket to Brazil for a job last year after receiving a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Then, Vibrant Pittsburgh helped her find a job in the area and she decided to stay. A few months later, her 41-year-old cousin, Lazaro Rodriguez, crossed the Mexican border as a Cuban refugee with about 20 others. "A lot went to New York and a lot went to Miami," Ms. Medina said. "But he was the only one that came to Pittsburgh."

We included the Pittsburgh part of the article in case you aren't a WSJ subscriber. If you're a subscriber you can read the article here.



Pittsburgh Riverhounds - the owner/player paradox

Pittsburgh Riverhounds right midfielder Jason Kutney leads a dual existence. Come gametime, he's just any other player - but after he steps off the field, he's part owner of the team. Thanks to his efforts and those of the other owners, Highmark Stadium is nearly complete. However, this duality comes at a cost to Kutney. The more he sweats the details of the stadium, team logistics, scheduling, and the like, the less time he has to commit to his team.

To read how Kutney makes it work, click here.

Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh

Get the lowdown on the Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh recently which attracted more than 100 pitches and ideas.

Read the full story here by Pop City's Marty Levine in our sister pub, Keystone Edge.

Bill Gates' investment in Acquion Energy

Using seawater, manganese oxide, and a healthy investment from Bill Gates, Aquion Energy of Pittsburgh is poised to take the battery market by storm, reports Silicon Republic.  By replacing all of the harmful chemicals and heavy metals in conventional batteries with more organic and inert materials, Aquion aims to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly battery that won't leach harmful substances into the soil when they are discarded. The proprietary technology for the batteries is based on research conducted by CMU's Professor Jay Whitacre.

To read the full story, click here.

Pittsburgh architect's Vatican chapel will be used in an historical moment

Pittsburgh's own Lou Astorino is  the only American architect in history to design a chapel for The Vatican. When the Cardinals are sequestered to vote on the next pope, they'll attend mass in The Chapel of the Holy Spirit; a small, intimate chapel designed by the Pittsburgh native.

Though the construction of the chapel faced a few obstacles, the least of which was the plot of land Vatican officials selected for the chapel, it now stands pristine next to the hotel the sequestered Cardinals will be frequenting.

To read more, click here.

Pittsburgh's Modcloth execs named among most influential entrepreneurs 2012

Eric Koger and Susan Gregg Koger are featured in Under 30 Ceo's list of the 30 Most Influential Young Entrepreneurs of 2012 for Modcloth, a Pittsburgh based online clothing distributor specializing in vintage style apparel. The Krogers are in good company, with Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger of Instagram, and Daniel Elk of Spotify all appearing in the same list.

To read more, click here.

New Castle's Epiphany Labs hot new idea for charging your phone

You've probably never wondered what it would be like to charge your phone with a hot cocoa or maybe an ice water. Epiphany Labs did. With their new Epiphany onE Puck, the New Castle startup wants you to charge your phone with your beverage--or any other source of hot or cold you can find. A simple heat engine, a drink coaster, and a USB port combined into one device creates what Epiphany hopes will be a solution for people who never have enough time in the day to plug in their smartphones and pave the way for future application of heat engines to places and people in need of electricity.

To read more, click here.

Youth opportunity index: see how PA ranks, including Butler and Allegheny Counties

Our statewide sister publication, Keystone Edge, reports encouraging news on the just released Youth Opportunity Index. Allegheny and Butler County are both showing signficant gains in youth population.

"Increases in residents ages 18-24 in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in the 2010 census signalled the beginning of the end for the longstanding "brain drain" conundrum across Pennsylvania."

Read more in the article here.

Who's more likely to vote for Peduto? For Ravenstahl? Now we know, thanks to data profiles.

Move over, Nate Silver. Civic Science just released data on profiles of voters and who's more likely to vote for Ravenstahl or Peduto in the mayoral election (done before Michael Lamb announced).

As an example, college-educated voters are twice as likely to vote for Peduto while those 65 and older favor Ravenstahl by a wide majority.

From social media (Peduto reigns with Twitter users while the candidates evenly split with Facebook users) to technology, the findings are quite interesting. There's even a favored Big Burrito restaurant category.

Read the blog here.

Pittsburgh makes the list for happiest cities for young professionals

"Irvine, Pittsburgh and Plano may not be the first places that come to mind when you think about where you’d be happiest—but it turns out those three cities are where some of the nation’s most contented young professionals are, according to online career site Careerbliss.com.

"Its list of the 20 happiest cities for young professionals is based on analysis from more than 38,000 employee generated reviews between 2011 and 2012. Young professionals, defined by CareerBliss as employees with less than 10 years’ experience in a full-time position, were asked to rate ten key factors that affect workplace happiness, including work-life balance, one’s relationship with the boss and co-workers, the work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and job autonomy."


Read more here.

Lynn Johnson wins National Geographic photo award

For the third time, the renowned photographer Lynn Johnson, who is based in Pittsburgh, won the prestigious National Geographic Photographers' Photographer Award. 

"Our winner is one of those people who is assiduously understated, does meticulous research, and enters the subject’s world with extraordinary depth of compassion. The pictures this photographer takes are the slippery pictures of ephemeral moments and framed in a way that, to be perfectly honest, would even elude almost everyone in this room..."

Read the full comments as the award was presented, here.

Pittsburghers and Pittsburgh featured in latest Public Enemy video

Find the Pittsburghers! How many Pittsburghers and Pittsburgh scenes can you spot in this latest video by Public Enemy?

To get you started, the first person you see is Justin Strong.

See the video here.

Unicorn Market, a collective of Pittsburgh artists, has third anthology reviewed

Unicorn Mountain is a collective of Pittsburgh artists that publishes anthologies of local art, comics, music and literature. Their third anthology, The Black Forest, takes a different tack from their previous collections by exploring much darker, stranger themes. My friend Tara Helfer did the layout and supplementary illustrations for The Black Forest and sent me a copy to check out.
The collection covers a broad range of styles, and is packed with more than twenty different artists' work. Some parts are creepy and scribbly. Others are intricate and mysterious. I've picked some samples of a few of my favorites here.



Read the piece here.

PNC earns perfect score in top place to work for gays and lesbians

PNC was just named one of the 2013 Best Places to Work for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equality in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, scoring a perfect 100 points.

Over the past 11 years, the CEI has become the gold standard for corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees and their families. The CEI rates companies on 40 such policies and practices. A total of 889 businesses have been rated in the 2013 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. This year a record 293 of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses have an official CEI rating, with the other 201 rated based upon publicly-available data.


Read the full report here.

Pittsburgh movie to premiere at Sundance film festival

"Congratulations are in order to the Pittsburgh makers of "Blood Brother."

The documentary will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It's one of 16 films in the documentary competition and just 113 features (chosen from thousands of submissions) at the Jan. 17-27 festival in Park City, Utah."

Read the full blog here.

MAYA designers on their new book, Trillions

In this excerpt from "Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology" by Peter Lucas,
Joe Ballay and Mickey McManus (Wiley, 2012), the principals at MAYA present the challenges we face in this information age.


"There are already many more computing devices in the world than there are people. In a few more years, their number will climb into the trillions. Moreover, we are quickly figuring out how to make those processors communicate with each other, and with us. We are about to be faced with -- not a trillion isolated devices -- but a trillion-node network: a network whose scale and complexity will dwarf that of today's Internet. And, unlike the Internet, this will be a network not of computation that we use, but of computation that we live in..."

Read the excerpt here in the Huffington Post.

South Side Stories rap by Tami Dixon

Tami Dixon, who wrote and is currently performing in South Side Stories at the City Theatre, performs this rap number that is in the show, a tongue-in-cheek perspective on partying on the South Side.

View the video here.

East End Brewery gets a new home

Last week, after eight years of operating in a 4,000-square-foot brick building in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, Scott Smith and his coworkers at East End Brewery relocated. They quadrupled their size in a warehouse that Smith purchased in nearby Larimer.
“It’s been a long climb,” says Smith with a chuckle. “But it’s still the most satisfying job I can imagine. We still have so much ahead of us to get us all moved in.  But it’s awesome.”

Read the story of this much-loved brewery here.

Pittsburgh's education collaborative lauded

"The Greater Pittsburgh Region is a 21st century model of a creative, collaborative, and connected community committed to creating remarkable learning experiences for children and youth that enhance achievement in science, technology, and the arts.

Researchers, university labs, cultural institutions, and child-serving agencies are working across disciplines to forge dynamic partnerships with educators and administrators of public, private, charter, and virtual school systems, civic leaders, and the burgeoning entrepreneurial private sector focused on technology and media.

With millions of dollars invested, thousands of children and youth engaged, hundreds of dedicated practitioners active in dozens of organizations, and a thriving ecosystem to support and sustain this work, Pittsburgh's approach has yielded tangible results for children, youth, and the community at large..."

Read the full story here.

Where in the world is Suzi Pegg? (Hint: she's with the Symphony)

Wherever she goes, Suzi Pegg, vp of global marketing for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance,  finds a Pittsburgh connection. See what gets her heart racing in Lisbon as she travels with the world-class Pittsburgh Symphony.

Read her blog here.

CEO Michael Ressler of StatEasy featured as Founder in statewide pub Keystone Edge

'Central Catholic star running back Damien Jones-Moore played the game of his life against Woodland Hills High School, gaining 133 yards on 15 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Unfortunately, his parents were working and missed the game.
 
Not to worry. Pittsburgh startup StatEasy not only allowed his parents to relive the highlights the next day, but it gave them a great recruiting video with which to launch their son's career.  
 
StatEasy was founded by CEO Michael Ressler, a Carnegie Mellon computer science grad and former club volleyball coach who recognized the value in a good sports video software that integrates statistics compiled during a game with the video footage."

Read the profile here and then see the other Founders throughout the state.

900 women gather at Athena luncheon; winners announced

Missed the luncheon? Read about the winners of the Athena Awards here.


PNC named top company for women for 11th year in a row

"With titles like “Women, Money and Power,” “Negotiating Tactics” and “Networking Naturally,” the seminars offered by the women’s network at this financial services company attract mothers who want to improve their professional fortunes. Also grabbing their attention is the 18-month Mentoring for Leadership program, in which high-potential female employees are advised by top executives, who outline the company’s expectations and illustrate paths to success. The five-month Women’s Leadership Development Program provides executive coaching, mentoring and career planning and shows participants how to drive results. In 2011, 78% of the women promoted to positions at the manager level and above utilized flexible work schedules.

There's more. Read the full story here.

Kids + Creativity group hailed as Modern Day Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

Once upon a time, two people met for coffee. From that one meeting sprang forth an entire movement based on Kids + Creativity, based in Pittsburgh. Read the quite amazing story and what this group has managed to accomplish so far.

Read the full story here.

Pittsburgh college student's poems featured

Allegheny College senior and Pittsburgher Mike Oliphant had two poems published in Carcinogenic Poetry that caught the eye of our poetry editor (ok, we wish). The poems are worth a look for their imagery and message, not to mention command of the language. To wit: 

The sun has a pulse—it has
a heartbeat so burdened
by the eventual end it brings
to the whole human race...

Read the rest of the poem along with another here.

Local author Sherrie Flick in the spotlight

Pittsburgh author Sherrie Flick offers an interesting glimpse into the writing life as she discusses books that have influenced her and how she stays creative and more in this interview in Necessary Fiction.

"I do feel I’m creating my best work when all of the components are on: walking-writing-gardening-cooking-reading. These activities encompass my creative process, not just the writing," she writes. We urge you to read the full the interview here.

The A to Z Guide to the Pirates (for the latecomer fans)

Yes, the Buccos are in first place for the first time in 20 years and Pittsburgh is loving baseball again. Feeling a little out of it? Here's what you need to know to catch Pirate fever in this A to Z blog guide.

Read the guide here.

Can runners have too many miles on the tires?

Can runners burn out if they start too young? Is there such a thing as having too many miles on the tires? The New York Times asked Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon and exercise researcher at the University of Pittsburgh. There are no definitive data on this question, but there are some suggestive findings, she said.

"Dr. Wright’s study of senior Olympians — athletes age 50 and older who participated in the National Senior Olympic Games, a track and field event — found what she considers a surprisingly small rate of decline in performance until age 75: just a few percent a year in their times. After that, though, the athletes slowed down considerably."

Read the full story here.

Rust Belt Chic: Young people moving in more than out in Cle, Pittsburgh, Detroit

We knew that more young people were moving to Pittsburgh as opposed to leaving. This welcome trend is not only affecting our city but other so-called Rust Belt cities such as Cleveland and Detroit.

"What’s more, the majority of the growth occurred in the 22-to-34-year-old demo, those coveted “knowledge economy” workers for whom every city is competing," reports salon.com.  Pittsburgh, too, has unexpectedly reversed its out-migration of young people. The number of 18-to-24-year-olds was declining there until 2000, but has since climbed by 16 percent."



Read the full story here.

Brett Freund up for Emerging Artist of 2012 in Ceramics Daily

Selected as one of 14 finalists for the 2012 Emerging Artist award by Ceramic Arts Daily, artist Brett Freund returned to Pittsburgh a year ago following grad school and travel. He now he uses the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Pittsburgh Glass Center to fire and finish his work.

Read about him here and then take then vote for him.

Read more about Brett here and see his work here.

E2 gets some love from LA blogger

Anyone who knows E2 loves E2. The Highland Park restaurant recently launched a Kickstarter campaign which netted $12,000 from the post we saw on Twitter and now this LA blogger writes a loving profile.

Read the full story here.

Pop City's Mad Men feature picked up by Business Week

That Mad Men masthead photo we featured a few weeks ago, along with the guide to Mad Men-esque places throughout the burgh, was republished in Business Week online, aka, Bloomberg. Missed it the first time? See it here.

Kellee Maize video does a 360 in Market Square

Kellee Maize's latest video features a fast-rapping Kellee and a 360 degree view of Market Square. View it here!

Brain drain problem in Pittsburgh solved?

Graduating students prove what census numbers are starting to show: High-tech jobs, medical institutions, higher education and finance are motivating them to stay in Western Pennsylvania, reports the Tribune Review.

"Pittsburgh has so much to offer young people, from available jobs to high quality of life and affordability, and I'm happy to remind them that Pittsburgh has what they need and want after college," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. His "Pick Pittsburgh" initiative touts the region's benefits in a letter to graduating seniors at Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and Point Park universities and Community College of Allegheny County.

"Pittsburgh is very friendly for young people just starting out," said Totten, 21, a Churchill native who will graduate from Pitt with an exercise science degree. She lined up a job in West Mifflin while she works toward a master's degree online from California University of Pennsylvania. "It's inexpensive, and I had no problem finding a job."

Western Pennsylvania began suffering an "inordinate" job and population decline when the domestic steel industry began to suffer in the 1980s, said Chris Briem, chair of Pitt's Center for Social and Urban Research and an expert on census data analysis. In 1980, the number of people ages 18 to 24 living in the city was 67,445, census figures show. By 1990, the number fell to 51,692.

"Specifically, the people who were leaving were the young, 20-something, professional and educated workers who we really needed to transform and move our economy forward," Briem said.

By 2000, the number fell to 49,461, but the 2010 census numbers show the first increase in 30 years: a 16 percent boost to 57,745 people ages 18-24 living in Pittsburgh.

The rebound over the past decade came from investments and growth in the high-tech industry, engineering, the medical field, higher education and finance, said Court Gould, executive director of the nonprofit Sustainable Pittsburgh.
"It essentially took a generation, an entire career-span, to turn this around," Gould said.

Read the full story here.

The Rust Belt revival: what's happening in Pittsburgh

In a series about rust belt cities, Pittsburgh gets its turn in the spotlight with news ranging from Waffle Shop and Conflict Kitchen to Grown Pittsburgh and Hip Hop's new artists.

Read the full article here.

"412creative" launches, a blog about the best advertising and design in Pittsburgh

Tom Schneider just launched a new site, 412creative, devoted to showcasing smart and effective design and advertising in Pittsburgh. 'The website was motivated by a nagging question, one that pops up frequently when looking through magazines, surfing the Web or watching the news: “Who did that?” As in, “who wrote that copy,” “who ux’d that website,” or “who directed that spot?”

412creative will answer those questions, plus give you the stories behind the work, introduce you to the creative teams who conceived it and make sense of how and why a piece was produced the way it was.

We’re lucky to live in an area that has amazing creative resources. Pittsburgh’s ad agencies, design firms and tech companies compete on a national and global level. It’s our goal to curate the best area work."

View the new website here.

Why are the Penguins so hard to beat even without Crosby?

After thrashing the Bruins on Sunday, this sportswriter wants to know why the Penguins are so tough even without their best player on the ice. And what will they do when he returns?

Read the full story here.

Stewart O'Nan: our best working novelist?

"...But here’s a guy who over the past two decades has given us 13 dazzlingly dynamic novels. In an age of literary snobbery, MFA elitism and postmodern irony, all of which have helped marginalize the novel, here’s a guy who writes spectacularly without an ounce of pretension. A guy who writes about the people nobody else is writing about. An editor I know put it this way: “At a time when we are talking about class and income inequality, he’s the novelist who has best captured the shifting state of America, what it is like to live outside of cities, to wrestle with what has happened to the working and middle classes outside of shiny urban places.”I’m sitting across from Stewart O’Nan, and I’m thinking to myself: Is this guy our best working novelist?

Read the full story here.

Georgia Berner of Berner International profiled in NY Times column

Georgia Berner, CEO of Berner International and a much admired business leader in the Pittsburgh region,  was profiled in the Sunday Times' business column, The Boss, about taking over the air curtains company after her husband's death--and raising 4 children at the same time. She has since taken on a startup company and remarried. (You go, Georgia!)

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.

Kellee Maize's new album gets 85,000+ downloads

Pittsburgh rapper Kellee Maize's newest album release, Integration, is expected to hit the 100,000 download mark soon. Read more about the hot release here and check out Kellee's cool video.

For the full story, click here.

White House names ModCloth's Susan Koger a Champion of Change

Ordinary Americans accomplishing extraordinary things is what "Champions of Change" is all about. ModCloth founder Susan Koger shook President Obama's hand this month at the White House, accepting an honor that recognizes Americans each week who are out innovating in their fields.

Read it on Above Average Jane and the White House Blog.

Local funny-man displays talent as Bizarro's guest cartoonist

This spring, local cartoonist Wayno raked in the laughs as Bizarro's guest cartoonist.  The Post-Gazette, which runs the cartoon along with 350 other newspapers, talked to Wayno about filling in for the cartoon's creator, Dan Piraro.  Find out what he had to say about the experience here.  

Pittsburgh among the top 10 cities to find a job

Monster's Top 10 list of the best places in the country to find jobs includes Pittsburgh and a few more surprises.

Check out MarketWatch.

Pittsburgher makes the U.S. Luge Team

The men's U.S. Luge Team is being assembled, and Ross Township's Robby Huerbin made the cut. He is joined by 37-time medalist Tony Benshoof of Minnesota and Chris Mazdzer of New York.

Click here to read the entire article.

Insights on Pittsburgh graphic designer Brett Yasko

Communication Arts magazine (Menlo Park, Calif.)  interviews Pittsburgh graphic designer Brett Yasko for their Insights column. Learn what keeps Yasko on his creative toes, including the one gadget he cannot live without.

Read it in Communication Arts.




Mac Miller joins Wiz Khalifa as another popular 'Burgh-born artist

Pittsburgh seems to be generating well-known rap artists, first Wiz Khalifa and now Mac Miller. With more than 20 million Youtube hits, Miller made it big with his debut album K.I.D.S. His latest EP On and On and Beyond is now available for download.

Click here to read the entire article.

Pittsburgh crowned top American city for global business investment

In a stunning show of global clout, Pittsburgh was ranked as the number one Large American City of the Future, in the large cities category, by foreign direct investment (fDi), a magazine covering business globalization news and published by the London-based Financial Times. Pittsburgh was also recognized as third in the foreign direct investment strategy category and 10th for economic potential and human resources.

Halifax, Canada, ranked second followed by Charlotte, North Carolina, in a close third.

Read the story and watch the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance multimedia video.




Brillobox's Brian O'Korn reveals secret of the 2 1/2 oz. medicinal breakfast

Brillobox manager Brian O'Korn is one of the best bartenders in town for my money.  Time is money, and some velvet mornings I simply don't have enough of either for his superb Bloody Mary.  To solve the problem, Brian shared the secret recipe for his Bloody Mary Shooter recently on Public Radio's "Dinner Party Download".  Try making this fast-acting Sunday brunch painkiller from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Click here to read and listen to the recipe.

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Pittsburgher Joseph Barron wins Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition

25 year old Pine Richland High School alum Joseph Barron was one of the winners of the 58th Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, one of the most prestigious awards for a young opera singer.  Barron, currently working toward his masters at the Curtis School of Music, wowed the judges with his performance of Bellini's "Sonnambula".

Click here to read the entire article.

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Pittsburgh has what Cleveland wants

Pop City's sister publication Fresh Water says the cycle scene here in Pittsburgh is turning them green with envy. That, along with Pittsburgh being named Most Livable City.  Cleveland is wishing they had a little more black and yellow in their blood. It's okay, we're always willing to share.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Diversity on the upswing in the Pittsburgh region

Population got you down?  While the big picture from recent census data may not have enthralled you, the large increase of Latino and Asian residents in Washington and Greene Counties should.  As Melanie Harrington of Vibrant Pittsburgh says in this article, "If we become greater and more known as a region of choice, not only do we attract talent to our region, but we attract businesses that want to come where talent and opportunity exists. It's all connected."

Click here to read the entire article.

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Pitt produces more interns than any public university

The U.S. News and World Report has released its annual ranking of Colleges that produce the highest percentage of interns, and the University of Pittsburgh came in at #7, with 72% of undergraduates having completed some kind of internship.  Pitt was the only public college listed in the top 10, which is very good news, since internships are one of the keys to combating the dreaded brain drain.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Awesomely geeky interactive CMU project maps Pittsburgh's photographic history

Begun in late 2010 by a senior studio class at CMU, Retrographer is a cool new website that allows anyone to tag historic and contemporary photos from the University of Pittsburgh's City Photographer archives.  The tagged photos are then linked to an interactive Google map, where users can view stunning photographs of various locations around Pittsburgh from different eras.

Click here to see the website.

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A Kabul of the stomach

CS Monitor recently looked at Conflict Kitchen in East Liberty's second iteration, Bolani Pazi.  The piece explores the ways in which Bolani Pazi attempts to engage the public, via its collective stomach, in a dialogue about Afghanistan's culture, within the sphere of the contemporary geopolitical situation. 

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CMU grad gains insight into the entrepreneurial brain

While still a graduate student at CMU, Saras Sarasvathy began a huge project--interviewing 45 highly succesfull entrepreneurs about hypothetical business problems in order to discover the ways these types of minds think.  Sarasvathy's research finds that entrepreneurs tend to display high-functioning effectual reasoning.  Her findings provide several other strategies that make for adept business innovation.

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Pop City photographer and airport photo exhibit on Pop City photography

Pop City photographer Brian Cohen is making headlines for his photographic prowess. Here is a brief profile in conjunction with  a 
Pop City photo exhibit at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Running through June 30, the photos of Pittsburgh life are located in the airport's C and D concourses. (And yes, we'll mention the newspaper even though they somehow neglected to mention us.)

Click here to read the entire article. 

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Problem Solvers gets picked up by Cartoon Network

CMU professor of art, Jacob Ciocci, and his 3-person art collective, Paper Rad, have long been pumping out psychedelic video game work in a wide variety of mediums that's always seemed as if it might be just as comfortable on children's television as the prestigious galleries and museums where its been shown.  Someone over at Cartoon Network finally picked up on Paper Rad's bonkers flash animation show, Problem Solvers, and will be running 11 episodes next season.

Click here to watch an episode of the show.

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Salt of the Earth is "daring and comforting"

The Week Magazine recently gave glowing praise, pulling here and there from The Post-Gazette, to Kevin Sousa's new Salt of the Earth restaurant in Garfield.  Unfortunately, The Week requires a subscription to view its contents, but fortunately for you Pop City is running what they wrote below:

"This bold new spot has "permanently altered the expectations for what a restaurant, and a singular chef, can accomplish in Pittsburgh," said China Millman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kevin Sousa, who made his name creating "experimental" fare for a very small dining room at a downtown hotel, has fully lived up to the grand expectations that grew as he readied his modern and airy new space. There are several styles of seating available, but you'll want to sit at the high stools along the counter overlooking the kitchen: They give you the "best possible view" of the inventive ways that Sousa and his staff combine "cutting-edge and classical techniques." Octopus tendrils are slow-cooked and then browned, resulting in textures that are "fluffy and creamy, with crisp, almost caramelized edges." Sweetbreads with crisp edges are perfect for "mopping up" a fenugreek gravy, which calls to mind a finely spiced Indian curry. Combine all this with the top-notch service, and Sousa and his team have created a dining experience that was well worth waiting for. Salt of the Earth is "both daring and comforting," both "challenging and welcoming." 5523 Penn Ave., (412) 441-7258"

Click here to read the article, for subscribers only.

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Yinzpiration from 100 awesome Pittsburghers

Inspired by a presentation given at this year's Podcamp Pittsburgh conference, Katherine Ann Showalter created Yinzpiration, a blog with a mission to interview 100 people doing cool things in the city.  She started a little over a month ago and she's already met seven people you probably haven't heard of doing all kinds of great stuff as diverse as standup comedy, owning an organic grocery store, and having just passed the bar exam.  The interviews are really fun to read, going beyond the "this is my thing that I'm know for" discussion and wandering into topics (favorite sushi spots, the future of Pittsburgh, music) as varied as the individuals themselves.

Click here to read the blog.

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An extensive, generalization-free exploration of all this Pittsburgh reinvention business

Not that we don't love all the great press about Pittsburgh, but sometimes the big national stories about our city's transformation from steel hub to everything that it's become tend to recycle the same rhetoric about revitalization and cite the same shining examples of urban progress, when we know there's  so much more that goes so much deeper.  Hey, we still have a steel industry! That's why we congratulate the folks over at Changing Gears for producing this five-part series that uses written, audio, and visual media to cover neighborhoods, industries, big and small players, and a more penetrating than usual gaze into the crystal ball on the "can Detroit be the next Pittsburgh?" question.  The result is a fairly comprehensive, enjoyable, but serious look at what Pittsburgh has done, is doing, and can do. 

Click here to read the entire article.

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Pittsburgh author Sherrie Flick describes the significance of brevity

Sherrie Flick was given a spotlight in a Huffington Post piece discussing the importance and contemporary meaning of the short story form in relation to the novel with prominent authors.  In addition to a video of Flick reading her story "The Lake" and the full text to her unpublished story "Porch Light", the author describes her literary evolution from a minimalism-adoring high school poet through her love affair with magical realism.  Along the way, Flick sheds light on her philosophy about form, including why writing a short story is like putting an angry bear in a bag, and the value of leaving your favorite stories at the doctor's office.

Click here to read the entire article.

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More than Just Seeds!

Pittsburgh centered, ideologically left, and globally dispersed printmaking collective Just Seeds has work for sale on Apartment Therapy.  Perhaps your kitchen could be spruced up with a tasteful animal or vegetable print to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images.

Click here to read the article.

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The equilibrium of paradox: A view of Pittsburgh from a Chicago blogger

"The equilibrium of paradox" was how master photographer W. Eugene Smith defined Pittsburgh in his three years documenting the city in the 1950s, due to his notion that Pittsburgh was a town of multitudinous identities.  Chicago culture blog Gapers Block suggests that Pittsburgh, perhaps more than ever, continues to function as a place that is capable of infinite, simultaneous meanings, and accepting to those who would try to start something new here.  The article lists a wide range of recent organizations, green buildings, and young businesses that are transforming the character of Pittsburgh once again, but points out how there isn't now, nor was there ever, a penetrating cohesion to all of these new developments. 

P.S. Thanks for the shout out to "alternative leaning" Pop City in the fourth paragraph.

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Pop City editor outed as creative Renaissance woman, mysterious biter of own mouth

We're not saying that there's any correlation between our Pop Filter editor Jennifer Baron's inherited predilection for the taste of her inner cheek and her hat trick talents as a writer, musician, and artist, both of which were profiled by the Tribune-Review, but it makes you think, does it not?  Or perhaps Jennifer's prolific output as a published author, craft company owner, co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade, founding member of Ladybug Transistor and The Garment District, and Pop City staffer ultimately stems from a deep seated emotional hole left in her heart by the loss of her precious Playskool turntable. Could it be this void, her personal Rosebud, that she has been trying to fill ever since with her art?  The world may never know.

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It's like Puccini, yet with stronger brain eating

Originally reanimated in West Africa, subverted in Italy, but perfected in Pittsburgh, zombies have an illustrious history in our fair city.  On October 15, the dead shall rise again, and this time they shall sing!   Evenings in Quarantine, created by Pittsburgh natives Bonnie Bogovich and Elizabeth Rishel, is probably the first ever zombie opera, and it premiers at The Grey Box Theater in Lawrenceville next month.  Boring Pittsburgh sat down with the creators to discuss the flesh-gnawing multimedia extravaganza.

Click here to read the interview.

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Pittsburgh makes list of best cities for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur compiled a list of 50 of the best cities for aspiring entrepreneurs, which were organized into ten lifestyle categories.  Pittsburgh was at the top of the list in the "Recovery and Rebirth" category, which cited Pittsburgh as a prime example of a place where small businesses can make a big difference.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Innovative social media company Bueda receives financing from Innovation Works to create smart tags

Pittsburgh based company Bueda, a spin-out of Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute, recently received $100,000 in funding from the local tech incubator Innovation Works to increase the scale of their business.  Bueda utilizes research from CMU to generate smart tags, which drastically improve search engine optimization efforts for their clients.  Previously, Bueda was only able to focus on enhancing search optimization for large businesses, but the funding will allow them to produce a service better geared for consumers.

Click here to read the entire article.

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UPMC approved to perform face transplants

UPMC announced last Tuesday that they are the third facility in the United States to approve face transplants.  While UPMC is not seeking out face transplant patients, they are currently accepting referrals from other doctors who believe their patient's lives would be improved by the surgery.  Face transplants are a new and quite revolutionary medical procedure.  The first face transplant in the United States was conducted two years ago at the Cleveland Clinic.

To read the entire article click here.

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Funny new video celebrates Pittsburgh's walking dead

Nicole Skeltys created a video tribute to the brain-fiending citizens of Monroeville, set to an all local cover of acid rock master Roky Erickson's "I walked with a zombie".  The video shows footage of last year's Annual Zombie Day at Monroeville Mall, where George Romero's Dawn of the Dead was filmed.  The next zombie walk takes place at the mall on October 10.

To watch the video click here.

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Pittsburgh poet, CMU professor Terrance Hayes releases fourth book

The New York Times reviews the latest book by Pittsburgh poet and Carnegie Mellon professor Terrance Hayes -- Lighthead (Penguin Poets, paper, $18).

Writes Stephen Burt, "Hayes's fourth book puts invincibly restless wordplay at the service of strong emotions: a son's frustration, a husband's love, a citizen's righteous anger and a friend's erotic jealousy animate these technically astute, even puzzlelike, lines… As in 'Hip Logic' (2002), Hayes here owes something to contemporary hip-hop and a great deal to old, rhyming poetic forms, even as he invents forms of his own: the 'pecha kucha,' for example, a set of quatrains derived from a Japanese slide show."

Read the complete New York Times review.

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The New Masters: Design Build competition showcases Pittsburgh talent

"If you've been thinking about adding a swing to your front porch or backyard garden, don't make a move before seeing what the industry's brightest minds and most nimble hands came up with in 11 hours at the brand new Carpenter's Training Center in Pittsburgh on Saturday," reports Keystone Edge.

"Teams consisting of one carpenter apprentice, one young architect and one young contractor learned about the theme two weeks prior to the contest, where they designed, estimated and built their garden swings, complete with attached greenery. The competition combines the trade of carpentry, architects' skill and design, contractor's ability to plan, budget and schedule. The winning team will be announced in the fall."

The Design Build competition, hosted by the Greater PA Regional Council of Carpenters, began seven years ago as an initiative between AIA Pittsburgh's Young Architects Forum and the Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania. Registered and intern architects participate in a month long series of hands-on workshops at the Carpenter's Training Center.

Watch the video over at Keystone Edge, Pop City's Pennsylvania-wide sister publication.

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'Burgh romance writer Gwyn Cready shares 10 great places for defying time and space

Pittsburgh-based romance novelist Gwyn Cready serves as an expert in a recent USA Today article about the best locales linked to time-hopping. For a time travel-themed getaway, Cready suggests visiting such spots as Mokuleia Beach in Hawaii (the crash-landing site of Lost's Oceanic Flight 815), the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, and the Newberry Library in Chicago, where the lovers of The Time Traveler's Wife first meet as adults.

Cready's third book, Flirting with Forever (Pocket Books), was released earlier this month. "Like Seducing Mr. Darcy and Tumbling Through Time, Flirting with Forever is set in Pittsburgh with oodles of great Pittsburgh locations and a strong, sassy Pittsburgh heroine," she says.

Read the complete USA Today article.

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CMU lighting prof named one of 50 most powerful in entertainment technology

"Abigail Rosen Holmes, Carnegie Mellon's new Associate Professor of Lighting Design, was just listed in the top 50 most powerful people in Entertainment Technology by Live Design Magazine," reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rosen Holmes' career in lighting design encompasses concert touring, television, special events, circuses and architecture. She is a partner at NyxDesign LLC. Recently, she designed lighting and video for Martina McBride's new tour. Past projects have included: Roger Waters' "The Wall-Live in Berlin," a performance of the Pink Floyd rock opera held shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall; designing video and lighting for performances of Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird" by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and working with artists such as Shakira and The Cure's Robert Smith.

Read the complete Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.

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Under leadership of Saleem Ghubril, Pittsburgh Promise gains national attention

"Saleem Ghubril is relishing an early hint of success in his second year heading a college scholarship program that's attracting national attention," reports Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Because of the Pittsburgh Promise, 22 more black male graduates went to college in 2009 than the year before--113 compared with 91.

Ghubril contemplates, "At the end of the day, 'failure' for the Pittsburgh Promise will be, 10 years will have passed, and 15,000 kids will have gone to college. So if the worst thing we can do is send 15,000 kids to college, I can live with that."

Read the complete Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article.

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Real-life heroes: Katie Couric interviews McMutrie sisters about Haitian orphan rescue work

Ali and Jamie McMutrie, the Ben Avon sisters who helped rescued Haitian orphans after the earthquake, are featured in the April issue of Glamour Magazine. Interviewed by none other than Katie Couric, the real-life heroes share how they got involved with the orphanage dating back to 2002, how they brought 54 orphans to Pennsylvania so they could be adopted by American families, and how readers can help children and families who still remain in Haiti.

Read the complete Glamour Magazine article.

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Former WPXI-TV news anchor Bob Bruce now a full-time financial advisor

When Bob Bruce signed off for the last time as a broadcast journalist, he signed on for a full-time career as a financial advisor. The longtime morning and noon news anchor at Pittsburgh's NBC affiliate, WPXI-TV, did his final broadcast on December 18. He spent 37 years as broadcast journalist, with the last 13 of those in Pittsburgh. Since the mid-90s, Bruce had been moonlighting as an advisor, so when the 56-year-old retired, the shift made sense.

Now Bruce is not just running his own firm, but also being featured as the cover story in the nationally published Financial Advisor Magazine.

The article chronicles his unique transition from Emmy-winning journalist to building his own financial planning company. His firm, Integrity Wealth Consulting LLC, is based in Wexford, Pa., and has about 110 clients and $40 million in assets under management. Bruce's son Scott handles the administrative chores and eventually hopes to become an advisor. The firm also employs Bruce's former co-anchor at WPXI, Newlin Archinal, who left the station in late 2007, got her securities licenses and is now building her practice from scratch.

Click here to read the complete Financial Advisor Magazine article.

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Dinette's Sonja Finn announced as rising star chef James Beard Award semifinalist

Sonja Finn, chef and owner of East Liberty's Dinette, is in the running for a James Beard Award, a top national culinary honor.

Finn has been announced as a semifinalist in the "rising star chef" category, against the likes of Kevin Gillespie, a runner-up from season six of Bravo's Top Chef.

Dinette focuses on local, seasonal and organic pizza and wine, and is located at 5996 Penn Circle South.

The James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Committee selected the nominees from 21,000 online entries. An independent volunteer panel of more than 400 judges from across the country will vote on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. Those nominees will be announced on March 22, following which the same panel of judges will pick the winners, announced at the foundation's annual gala on Monday, May 3, 2010 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.

Click here to read the complete The Food Section blog post.

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Give and Take tees, by CoCo's Cupcake-ista, as philanthropic as they are fashionable

Pop City's PA-wide sister publication Keystone Edge profiles Give and Take, a Pittsburgh HQ-ed line of funky, charitable tees. The line is sold nationally at Bloomingdale's, Urban Outfitters and other chic boutiques, and benefits nearly two dozen charities. A growing number of its designs are associated with celebrity charities, such as Comic Relief, and the firm is working with actress Charlize Theron's Africa Outreach Project and Live Aid.

Give and Take has launched a new T-shirt collection dubbed Glad Rags, which feature images of Great Depression-era hobo markings and codings. Proceeds from these shirts will benefit the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Give and Take's proprietress, Shea Mullen, also runs CoCo's Cupcake Cafe in Shadyside.

Click here to read the complete Keystone Edge article.

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Coroner as celebrity: After 50 years of death, Pittsburgher Cyril Wecht looks back on life

The Associated Press wrote an insightful feature on Pittsburgher Dr. Cyril Wecht, which got featured in a number of different publications, including on the CBS News site.

The piece chronicles the career of the high-profile forensic pathologist and former Allegheny County coroner. Wecht, now 78, has publicly mulled over such famous deaths as JFK, Elvis and Michael Jackson. The child of immigrant coal-town workers is known for his "whiplash tongue," and has performed 17,000 autopsies and consulted on thousands of others.

Click here to read the complete Associated Press article.

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World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh's David A. Murdoch to receive Germany's highest civilian award

Pittsburgh attorney David A. Murdoch, Esq., will receive the Cross of the Order of Merit, the Bundesverdienstkreuz, which is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to an individual, whether German or foreign.

He will receive the honor for his work in strengthening German-American relations at a ceremony in Pittsburgh on Feb. 22, 2010, reports GlobalPittsburgh.

Murdoch is a partner at K&L Gates, chairman of the board of directors of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Honorary Consul for Germany in Pittsburgh. He will be presented with the honor by Dr. Horst Freitag, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York, who will preset a speech on "The U.S. and the EU: From Pittsburgh to the G-20 Summits in 2010" at the Duquesne Club beginning at noon on Feb. 22.

A live webcast of the event will be available. Online viewers will be able to submit questions during the Q&A period.

Click here to read the complete GlobalPittsburgh blog post.

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Rollier's Hardware stays in family, moves into future with website

The Wall Street Journal recently featured Rollier's Hardware in its Fast Fixes feature, which profiles "an entrepreneur who thinks outside the box."

Rollier's was founded in 1922, and now maintains a brick-and-mortar location in Mt. Lebanon (its longtime Shadyside shop closed in 2002), as well as a successful supplementary website, HardToFindItems.com. Brothers Brett and Derek Satterfield, whose great-grandfather started Rollier's, realized the neighborhood hardware shop needed a fresh way to compete with big-box stores, so in 2008 they launched the site, which houses tons of niche-type items, from white wires instead of green, to grill thermometers.

HardToFindItems added $1.3 million in revenue to Rollier's takings in 2009, and will likely add about $3 million in 2010.

Click here to read the complete article on Rollier's Hardware.

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Modcloth surpasses $15 million in annual revenue in 2009

Modcloth's co-founders Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger answer questions for the New York Times feature You're the Boss, The Art of Running a Running a Small Business. The couple founded the online fashion retailer in 2005 as undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon University. Today, Modcloth, which is still based in the Burgh, has 100 fulltime employees, and last spring, it scored a $2 million round of venture funding--bringing total equity raised to more than $3 million. Modcloth attained profitability in 2009 when it surpassed $15 million in annual revenue, the Times reports.

Read the complete interview for insight into Modcloth's early stumbles, and what the future holds (spoilers: even more customer-driven direction, and maybe even some plus-size fashions--finally!).

Click here for the complete Modcloth article.

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Woman on the street: iJustine does Downtown's Light Up Night

Pittsburgh's favorite lifecaster, iJustine, was home from L.A. for the holidays, and stopped by Light Up Night to narrate the celebrations. Watch the new media star's vlog for elves on rollerblades, dancing with Santa and oohing and aahing over the Downtown Macy's window displays. iJustine misses the fireworks, but it's a fun video nonetheless that gets across the energy and excitement of the beginning of Pittsburgh's holiday season.

Click here to watch iJustine's Light Up Night video.

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Dinette chef, owner named national rising culinary star

Dinette's chef and owner Sonja Finn has been named a "top 40 chef under 40" by the Mother Nature Network. The chefs in this list were honored for not just their food, but also for their commitment to sustainability. Other big names include Jose Garces (the newest Iron Chef), Kevin Gillespie (a top-performing contestant on this season of Bravo's Top Chef) and the assistant chef at the White House.

Dinette's Finn made the No. 10 spot on the list of 40.

Finn started as a prep cook and garde manger at Baum Vivant in Pittsburgh., worked at restaurants across the country, and returned to Pittsburgh in April 2008 to work on her own pizza-and-wine place, Dinette, which opened in East Liberty in October of that year.

Dinette embraces sustainability through recycling, energy-efficient appliances and local, seasonal, organic ingredients. Also, employees are paid a living wage and are eligible for health insurance benefits.

Click here to read the complete Mother Nature Network article.

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Allegheny County offers Cleveland local government lessons in reform

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Cuyahoga County could learn a lot from Allegheny County in terms of local government reform.

The article states, "In 1998, Allegheny County voters sacked a three-commissioner government. Installed in its place: a home-rule, charter form of county government led by a powerful, elected county executive, and a counterbalancing 15-member County Council... Nineteen Browns losses to the Steelers later, Cuyahoga County is following suit."

Pittsburgh leaders--including the first county executive Jim Roddey; Morton Coleman, director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics; and Duquesne University's Chancellor John E. Murray, Jr.--give advice, such as: "People are still the key, "remain vigilant and hold the county's chief accountable, "don't over-concentrate black voters, "demand more" and "be patient."

Click here to read the complete Cleveland Plain Dealer article.

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Landesberg Design: Behind some of Pittsburgh's most recognizable logos

There's a new Pittsburgh art, design and architecture blog on the block. Steeltown Anthem looks great and the content provides a fresh, fun perspective on the people and places we get all too used to seeing out and about.

The blog features posts on: Art installations at the Mattress Factory; the sustainable, affordable architecture at FISHER ARCHitecture firm; the font on 21st Street Coffee's sign; and more.

A recent post calls attention to Landesberg Design, which has designed logos, signage, websites and more for everyone from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture to the City Theatre and the John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center.

Click here to read the complete Steeltown Anthem blog post.

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Braddock mayor John Fetterman named a top Brave Thinker of our time

Not only did Braddock's mayor John Fetterman make the Atlantic's list of "Brave Thinkers"; he made the monthly magazine's cover, and beat out fellow Brave Thinkers such as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the founder and CEO of Facebook and President Barack Obama for that very spot.

"The Atlantic has always aspired to challenge its readers, and its times, by giving voice to some of the most provocative thinkers of their eras. Brave Thinking... can be unsettling. But it drives society forward," the article states. "Now, in our first annual Brave Thinkers issue, we have identified a small group of men and women who have risked their careers, reputations, fortunes, and, in some cases, even lives to advance ideas that upend an established order."

Fetterman is described as a "a young and heavily tattooed giant with a public-policy degree from Harvard and a mountain of ambition," and called "brave" for "luring artists to a dying steel town," which the writer says could totally fail, or could serve as a model for other similarly post-industrial towns.

Click here to read the complete Atlantic magazine feature on Mayor John Fetterman.


Pittsburgh is second-best metro area in U.S. to launch small business

CNNMoney.com has ranked Pittsburgh as No. 2 among large metro areas for launching a small business. No. 1 is Oklahoma City, OK.

Pittsburgh is reported to have more than 57,000 small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 50 employees.

"The region combines [its] talent pool with a mix of highly educated students from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University. Those institutions helped make Pittsburgh a leader in robotics, healthcare, and artificial intelligence," the article states.

Click here to read the complete CNNMoney.com article.


Why buy, why stay... Why Pittsburgh? Dogs and hockey, of course

Erin Marton, a realtor with Howard Hanna, has started a new weekly series on her 'Burgh Living blog, called "Why Pittsburgh?"

To that question, we'd respond, "Why not?" but Marton's answers are a little more fun than ours.

"Why do I love Pittsburgh and why do I live here?" she writes. "I could bore you with real estate statistics and quotes ("America's Most Livable City," fifth lowest unemployment rate in the country, property values remaining within 1% of their value over the last year, blah, blah, blah) but you all already know that. The personal reasons are in my opinion more important. You may buy here because of those things, but why do you stay? My reason is simple (embarrassingly so): Dogs and Hockey."

She rattles off some highlights including Smiley's Pet Pad, the off-leash area at Frick Park, the East End Veterinary Medical Center and eating dinner next to Penguins players at Nakama on the South Side.

"I think in the end, Pittsburgh is a real town, of real people (no snobs here!), that allows you to be insanely passionate about these things. It is home for me now, and I cannot imagine feeling the same way anywhere else," Marton writes.

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


Local author bakes up book of travel and self-discovery

Sherrie Flick is featured in The Boston Globe's Food and Travel section for her novel Reconsidering Happiness, published last month by the University of Nebraska Press.

Flick is a Pittsburgh-based author and the artistic director of the Gist Street Reading Series, a monthly literary series that features local and national poets and writers.

The article profiles Ceres Bakery, the actual New Hampshire bakery where Flick worked in the late '80s, which serves as the setting for Flick's story of "travel and self-discovery."

"I always loved the amazing collaborative community of strong and interesting and talented women at Ceres. I wanted to try and capture that spirit, but nothing ever worked right until I connected [the book's main characters] Vivette and Margaret via the bakery," says Flick, who has also published I Call This Flirting, a collection of flash fiction.

The Boston Globe article reads like a menu. Mentions are made of ginger snaps, pecan clusters, and raspberry squares; frosted pumpkin cake, heart-shaped cocoa cookies and cardamom coffee cake; and chunky cookies, each a substantial four inches wide.

Flick says she still enjoys baking for the Gist Street group and friends, and notes that her next novel, a work in progress, does not revolve around food--yet.

Click here to read the complete Boston Globe article.


Burgh-based Bossa Nova Robotics is serious child's play

Time magazine profiles Carnegie Mellon University start-up Bossa Nova Robotics as "a company that can grow with its customers."

The 12-person company specializes in robotic toys "designed in Pittsburgh, made in China and distributed everywhere," says co-founder David Palmer. Its toys, including an adorable robotic penguin ($79.99) and a game-playing gorilla ($99.99), emerged from research on high-performance legged robots coming out of CMU. Bossa Nova recently brought a new CEO, Martin Hitch, into the mix, and is hoping to crack the U.S. market and its big retailers this year. Bossa Nova's revenues are approaching $4 million.

To read the complete Time article, click here.


New Girl: Why Pop City "it girl" picked Pittsburgh, and loves it here

Elaine LeBalme, Pop City's "New Girl in Town," gets profiled in mtl magazine, which covers the Mt. Lebanon area where LeBalme lives. LeBalme discusses how and why she and her family chose to relocate from San Francisco to Pittsburgh, and the parts of the city she grows to love more and more and she becomes a part of the Pittsburgh community.

In addition to Mt. Lebanon's old brick homes, Primanti sandwiches and the shops along Butler Street in Lawrenceville, LeBalme is charmed by Pittsburgh's low cost of living, great schools and opportunities for personal and professional advancement--since coming to Pittsburgh just two years ago, LeBalme has organized a women's social group and a "Mammas for Obama" blog, and has launched the "New Girl in Town" column at Pop City.

To read the complete mtl article, click here, then flip to page 56.


Picture-perfect: Pop City photographer profiled in Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Pop City photographer Brian Cohen and his family in a recent "I Picked Pittsburgh" feature.

After meeting in Israel and spending time together in London, Oxford, Ethiopia and Binghamton, N.Y., British-born Cohen and his wife, New Jersey-native Ilyssa Manspeizer, decided to move to Pittsburgh with their four children in 2006. The family now resides in Squirrel Hill.

The family was looking for an urban environment with opportunities for both the parents and kids. Manspeizer is now the park resource manager for the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation, and Cohen, in addition to his position with Pop City, teaches at Chatham University and is working on a project that contrasts the city today with the record of the great photographer W. Eugene Smith from the 1950s.

To read the complete Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, click here.


The Coro guide to networking in the Steel City

Coro Pittsburgh has come up with a useful guide to networking in the region.

Suggestions include: Sign up for every local newsletter you come across (Pop City gets a shout out); join an organization (try PUMP or Pittsburgh Young Professionals); frequent online calendars and event listings (check out This Is Happening); and utilize online social networks (like you need another reason to Tweet… P.S. Follow Pop City here).

To read the complete post click here.


Carnegie Mellon's Luis von Ahn featured in New York Times article on captcha developments

Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn, a pioneer in captcha development, is featured in a recent New York Times article.

Various types of visual and audio captchas -- short for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart,” a reference to the test proposed by Alan Turing, the British mathematician, to determine if a computer can be said to think like a human -- help websites block abuse that includes spam e-mail, illegal postings and skewed online voting.

In addition to creating a new, secure form of audio captcha, Dr. von Ahn has also created a free system, called reCaptcha (recaptcha.net), now used by about 120,000 sites including Ticketmaster, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter and The New York Times.

Read the complete article here.

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