Science & Technology

Science & Technology
8:00 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Website Helps People Evaluate Tweets

Wonder what people think about your recent tweets? Well, a new website is offering feedback if users agree to anonymously rate tweets from people they follow.

"Who Gives a Tweet?" is a collaboration among researchers at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Over 19 days, 1,443 visitors to the site rated more than 43,000 tweets.

CMU researcher Paul André said social media often help people express interest in things but not their dislikes.

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Science & Technology
11:40 am
Fri February 3, 2012

One Year Later, Obama’s Energy Efficiency Plan Is Stalled

After last year's State of the Union Address, President Obama traveled around the country rolling out specific details of a broad policy platform he called "win the future." He made a stop at Penn State where he focused on a topic he admitted sounds kind of boring: improving energy efficiency.

"Everybody focuses on cars and gas prices and that's understandable. But our homes and our buisnesses use 40 percent of the energy," said Mr. Obama.

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Science & Technology
7:44 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

New Energy Coalition Touts Power of Wind

"I don't think the average consumer knows they have a choice about where their electricity supply comes from," said Katie Bellezza, marketing manager at EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., at Thurday's ChoosePAWind website launch. A new wind energy coalition rolled out the program in Pittsburgh with the goal of educating the public about the benefits of wind energy, and how to buy it locally.

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Science & Technology
7:22 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Marcellus Shale Gas Potential Much Lower than Previously Thought

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest report finds reserve estimates for the Marcellus Shale formation are dramatically lower than reported last year. The estimate in the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012) is 141 trillion cubic feet of gas, compared to 410 trillion in 2011.

Policy and Communications Director for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Steve Forde, said that isn't of much concern, and added that the estimate is simply a "snapshot in time." He said the coalition will continue to look at longer-term trends.

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Science & Technology
2:05 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Marcellus Legislation Enters Final Phase as Budget Talks Loom

Reconciliation is underway in the state legislature for separate Senate and House versions of a bill that mandates impact fees on Marcellus shale gas drilling. Leaders from both chambers are working out discrepancies in the amount of the fee and how it will be collected, among other details.

With budget negotiations set to begin in earnest shortly, lawmakers are under pressure to wrap up the impact fee legislation in the next few weeks. Governor Tom Corbett said he'd like to see a final version by February 7.

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Science & Technology
8:00 am
Mon January 16, 2012

New CMU Research Project Looks at a Persons’ DNA as Diagnostic Tool

A new DNA sequencing machine from Ion Torrent, a unit of Life Technologies Corporation, makes it possible to analyze a person's entire genome in just one day for $1,000. Previously that would take weeks and cost about $10,000, making it an impractical diagnostic tool.

Now that the cost and time have decreased, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Yale, and Baylor will study whether the technology can be put to practical use.

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Science & Technology
1:07 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

How One Thousand Pounds Of Butter Becomes Three Days’ Worth Of Energy

A dizzying fall from grace is in store for the Pennsylvania Farm Show's famed butter sculpture.

Thousands of people have snapped pictures of the refrigerated sculpture, which depicts a boy leading his prize-winning calf through a county fair.

Next week, however, a Juniata County farmer will unceremoniously dump it into a manure pit.

That's because he's turning the sculpture into methane gas. One thousand pounds of butter, it turns out, creates enough energy to power a farm for three days.

Science & Technology
8:00 am
Mon January 9, 2012

If the Well Blows, it's Time for a Specialist

When a natural gas well has a blow out or catches fire there is really only one option to call after dialing 911. More likely than not, it's the job of a Texas-based well plugging team to stop a spill or put out a blaze.

Wild Well Control uses sophisticated and sometimes remotely controlled equipment to do the work, equipment that is not found in your local fire hall. But there is competition coming into the market, a firm called Boots and Coots is making a name for itself.

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Science & Technology
8:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Study Could Lead to New Vaccination Method

A new study from researchers at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh may be a first step in creating vaccines that protect people against a wider range of bacteria.

According to the research of Pitt professor Dr. Jay Kolls and his colleagues, vaccines to prepare "T" cells for infection rather than "B" cells might give people more bang for their buck.

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Science & Technology
6:41 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

NASA Funds a New Solar Odyssey at Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center will soon be selling round-trip tickets to the sun.

As part of a new 3-D presentation called SolarQuest: Exploration of the Sun-Earth System, the Science Center will dive into the study of heliophysics, a branch of science that looks into the continuous interactions between the earth and sun.

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Science & Technology
7:42 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Survey Looks at Lack of STEM Diversity

Bayer Corporation's annual national survey polled department chairs at the top 200 research universities about the under-representation of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors.

The professors found women to be the most well-prepared group, and under-represented minorities the least. However, women graduate in lesser numbers than white or Asian males, as do even those minorities who are comparably prepared.

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Science & Technology
5:44 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Carnegie Science Center To Grow Career Programs

The Carnegie Science Center has teamed up with the Chevron Center to grow and promote a STEM Education and Career Development. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Those are fields that provide high-paying employment opportunities, but there are not always large numbers of students seeking out those fields.

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Science & Technology
8:00 am
Thu November 24, 2011

Pennsylvanians Find Lack of Savings in Electric Company Switch

The majority of electric consumers in Pennsylvania know that they can change their supplier, but only half have looked into the option, according to panelists who met with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commisison (PUC) earlier this month.

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Science & Technology
11:00 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Environmental Group Releases Report on Green Infrastructure

Pittsburgh is making progress in using green infrastructure to combat water pollution, but more improvement is needed. That's one of the findings of the National Resources Defense Council's second "Rooftops to Rivers" report which explored the efforts of 14 cities.

David Beckman, Director of NRDC's Water Program, said green infrastructure mitigates urban storm water run-off and sewage overflows by using environmentally friendly practices to capture rainwater before it floods into storm drains or overwhelms sewer systems.

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Science & Technology
5:46 pm
Tue November 8, 2011

Facebook Likes Carnegie Mellon

Mark Zuckerberg brought his college tour to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The 27-year-old Facebook founder and CEO was on the Carnegie Mellon University campus along with Facebook's vice president of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, scouting talent for the social networking site.

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Science & Technology
10:17 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Report Finds Internet Anti-Trackers Insufficient

Internet users looking to stop companies from tracking them online are having a hard time using common opt-out tools, according to a report from Carnegie Mellon University.

The growth of Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) — advertising that targets individuals based on their online activity — has some privacy advocates pressing for more regulations limiting the information that companies can gather.

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Science & Technology
5:43 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Region Moves to Facilitate Use of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle charging stations are being installed around the Pittsburgh area, with nine likely in use by next spring. The Eaton Corporation announced that they will eventually install 45 stations along Interstate 376, which they say will move Pittsburgh to the forefront nationwide in promoting this technology.

John White, Program Manager for Acquisition Integration at Eaton, said that installations along the parkway will make all of the stations useful and accessible.

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Science & Technology
5:38 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Environmentalists Call for Swift Action on Air Quality

Environmental activists are urging the Allegheny County Board of Health to act more quickly on updating air quality regulations.

Tom Hoffman, Executive Director of Clean Water Action, said the County's current air quality guidelines for industrial and commercial structures are outdated and contribute to the Pittsburgh area's "bad air."

"They were written when Reagan was in the White House and the space shuttle program was brand new," said Hoffman. "Now, both of those are gone and we still have the same tired, old guidelines."

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Science & Technology
6:06 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Solar Jobs Leave Pennsylvania While Increasing Nationally

PennEnvironment released new data Thursday showing that Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation for solar jobs, down from second last year. According to a new report from the Solar Foundation, the number of solar workers in the state has dropped from 6,700 to 4,703 at 750 businesses. Nationally, solar industry employment grew by 6.8% last year to about 100,000 workers at 17,000 locations.

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Science & Technology
7:58 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Cultural Trust Wins Award for “Smart” Parking

If you've ever been in a rush to see a show in downtown Pittsburgh but can't find a parking space, the free, real-time smartphone application ParkPGH might be able to help.

ParkPGH was awarded the National Transportation Award on Monday. The app provides parking information for 25% of the garages downtown. It calculates the number of open parking spaces in the Cultural District every 30 seconds and delivers the locations to users.

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Science & Technology
9:37 am
Mon October 3, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh affiliate is urging women to move beyond awareness and take steps to prevent breast cancer. The slogan is "Less talk, more action."

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Science & Technology
8:57 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Citizens, Organizations Speak on Marcellus Shale Air Pollution

Dr. Steven Cleghorn is an organic farmer from Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. He said his wife has stage four lung cancer.

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Science & Technology
4:57 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Citizens Shale Commission to Issue Report to Legislature

A new civic organization is asking experts and ordinary citizens to weigh in on how natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale has impacted Pennsylvania and its residents.

The Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission will gather public testimony and professional opinions at five late-summer meetings across the state, with the intent of making policy suggestions to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and state lawmakers this October.

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Science & Technology
8:35 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Restoring Power in Pennsylvania Could Take All Week

Power companies are updating their websites with power outage maps, and eastern Pennsylvania is covered with outage dots. The state Public Utility Commission reports some 385,400 Pennsylvania homes are without electricity as of 4:00 PM Monday in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

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Science & Technology
8:51 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

PEMA: Quake Info Flowed Well

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) said coordination after Tuesday's earthquake went according to plan. The scope of the quake was small enough that PEMA allowed various state agencies, including PennDOT and the Public Utility Commission, as well as nuclear power plants, to work independently to send out status updates.

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