Science & Technology http://wesa.fm en New App Connects Tourists, Residents with Mount Washington Businesses http://wesa.fm/post/new-app-connects-tourists-residents-mount-washington-businesses <p>Not only does Mount Washington have a famous view -- it now has an app.</p><p>“The app is designed so that anyone coming up to Mount Washington can download it for free and very quickly find any businesses nearby, whether they’re hungry, they need an ATM, they need a gas station,” Christina Howell, the Manager of Outreach and Events at the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), said.</p><p>Howell said users of “The Mt. Washington Guide” app can either type in a business’s name or search by category.</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Jessica Nath 26580 at http://wesa.fm This CMU-Built, Trash-Talking Robot Wants To Beat You At Scrabble http://wesa.fm/post/cmu-built-trash-talking-robot-wants-beat-you-scrabble <p>Victor sits in the lounge of Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science building ready to take on anyone in a game of Scrabble.</p><p>He’s cocky, and his taunts can be heard across the room.</p><p>“Is that all you’ve got?” he shouts from behind his virtual Scrabble board.</p><p>Victor has an attitude not atypical of a 17-year-old college freshman. But here's the thing: He’s a robot.</p><p>Created by Reid Simmons, a research professor at CMU’s Robotics Institute, Victor is the latest in a series of social robots designed as a tool to study human-robot interaction.</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Michael Lynch 26643 at http://wesa.fm This CMU-Built, Trash-Talking Robot Wants To Beat You At Scrabble Researchers Conclude That For Sepsis Treatment, It's Not How Agressive, It's How Soon http://wesa.fm/post/researchers-conclude-sepsis-treatment-its-not-how-agressive-its-how-soon <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have concluded that a standardized approach to diagnosing and treating sepsis in its early stages does not affect survival rates.</span></p><p>The five-year, $8.4 million study examined 1,351 patients with septic shock in 31 hospitals across the U.S. and found no difference in treatment effectiveness.</p><p>Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of Pitt’s Department of Emergency Medicine, was one of the lead researchers in the study. He said it doesn’t matter what type of treatment a patient receives, as long as it’s early.</p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 14:36:20 +0000 Michael Lynch 25980 at http://wesa.fm Google Executive Ross LaJeunesse Visiting Pittsburgh to Discuss the Digital Age http://wesa.fm/post/google-executive-ross-lajeunesse-visiting-pittsburgh-discuss-digital-age <p>More than 2 billion people in the world have access to the Internet, but what does the future hold for the web? Will the Internet become more censored, or more open? How will the 5 billion individuals without access get connected to the web?</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Haldan Kirsch 25446 at http://wesa.fm Google's Ross LaJeunesse on Freedom in the Digital Age http://wesa.fm/post/googles-ross-lajeunesse-freedom-digital-age <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">The internet is used globally by over 2.7 billion people. In the next decade it’s expected that 5 billion people will come online, continuing the change in how we communicate with each other, as well as who controls the internet. </span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">Google Head of Free Expression and International Relations Ross LaJeunesse</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;joined us for a discussion of freedom and power in the digital age.</span> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:04:14 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 25107 at http://wesa.fm Google's Ross LaJeunesse on Freedom in the Digital Age Pittsburgh's Pothole Problem May Have a Solution http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburghs-pothole-problem-may-have-solution <p>A Pennsylvania company may have invented the machine we’ve been dreaming of, to repair our potholed roadways. <a href="http://roadmixer.com/">Road Mixer</a> is an asphalt plant mounted on a truck and it could be a quick solution to fixing our streets.</p><p>So why isn’t the city of Pittsburgh using it? We posed that question to&nbsp;Darren Geesamen, project manager for the Road Mixer company.</p><p>The idea for mobile mixer trucks started many years ago. They use hot asphalt to ensure that potholes will be permanently fixed. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 22:24:22 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 24977 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh's Pothole Problem May Have a Solution Worldwide Magazine Recognizes Pittsburgh Web Studio http://wesa.fm/post/worldwide-magazine-recognizes-pittsburgh-web-studio <p>Five years was all it took for Matt Griffin and his team of web developers to step from a leaky basement in Wilkinsburg into the international spotlight.</p><p>“A quarter of the ceiling dripped water whenever it rained or snowed, so we couldn’t put any computers over there,” Griffin said, chuckling. “That’s fairly humble beginnings.”</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 20:52:13 +0000 Julian Routh 23993 at http://wesa.fm Steel City Codefest Shows the Potential for Open Data http://wesa.fm/post/steel-city-codefest-shows-potential-open-data <p>Pittsburgh's second <a href="http://www.steelcitycodefest.org/">Steel City Codefest</a>&nbsp;is almost here. The second annual 24-hour technology competition&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">aims to create relevant and useful apps for the Pittsburgh area. </span></p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 20:34:14 +0000 Marnie Schleicher 23785 at http://wesa.fm Steel City Codefest Shows the Potential for Open Data Right to Know Law Could Be Less Important with #OpenPgh http://wesa.fm/post/right-know-law-could-be-less-important-openpgh <p>Pittsburgh plans to join 19 other American cities and counties in releasing city data for public use online. As the city works out the details of how this initiative will take shape, they’re <a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/16jIQAxABoKx6FXYUFPgdy6NeQo4_R7ufKb-x4gePxNc/edit">looking for public input</a>.</p><p>Debra Lam, Mayor Peduto's pick for <a href="http://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/executive-team/debra-lam">Chief of Innovation &amp; Performance</a> and Laura Meixell, data and analytics manager for the City of Pittsburgh, say the initial ordinance brought to city council last month is meant to change the perceptions of how Pittsburghers think about data and city disclosure of information.</p><p>“It sets the default to open.” Laura Meixell explains, “There’s a whole variety of state laws around what information is public and what isn’t, in the PA Right to Know law. And here in the city we’ve been following those rules since that legislation was enacted, but much more on the basis of, if folks asked for information we would provide it. With this [open data] legislation we’re going to&nbsp; have the chance to go ahead and be proactive, to open things up and to make things more available and useful in the short term.”</p><p>City organizations have encouraged the software community to creatively use municipal data, even before the introduction of this legislation, through <a href="http://http://steelcitycodefest.org/">Steel City Codefest</a>. Mon, 03 Feb 2014 23:05:40 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 23834 at http://wesa.fm Right to Know Law Could Be Less Important with #OpenPgh The Pitfalls of Predicting Weather a Season in Advance http://wesa.fm/post/pitfalls-predicting-weather-season-advance <p></p><p>From the earliest years of our nation’s history there have been two books published each year to guide gardeners, cooks, housekeepers and farmer’s on a range of topics, including seasonal weather.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.farmersalmanac.com/">Farmer’s Almanac</a> and the <a href="http://www.almanac.com/">Old Farmer’s Almanac</a> include long range predictions of weather in the United States. This year, both books predicted a colder than normal winter for our area. But what about the rest of the country? How accurate are the famed Almanacs, which use centuries-old<a href="http://www.farmersalmanac.com/farmers-almanac-forecasts/"> secret formulas</a> for predicting seasonal weather? Sat, 01 Feb 2014 01:05:19 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 23720 at http://wesa.fm The Pitfalls of Predicting Weather a Season in Advance CMU Creates Security Application http://wesa.fm/post/cmu-creates-security-application <p>It might not be Angry Birds - but this new cell phone application is so secure the creators believe not even the National Security Agency can break into it.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Carnegie Mellon University researchers have created a cell phone application called </span>SafeSlinger that<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;enables users to exchange identity data without the risk of theft, deception or fraud.</span></p><p>Mike Farb, research programmer at CMU, helped create the app.&nbsp; He said there are many ways attackers could try to steal information.</p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 16:38:05 +0000 Jessica Nath 17885 at http://wesa.fm Pitt Lab to Help Build Power System of the Future http://wesa.fm/post/pitt-lab-help-build-power-system-future <p>What is the best way to build an AC/DC hybrid power system? What does the power grid control system of the future look like?</p><p>Those are the types of questions researchers and students at the University of Pittsburgh are hoping to answer with Thursday’s opening of a new electric power systems lab.</p><p>The lab was created with the support of the Dublin, Ireland-based power management company EATON, which has offices in the Pittsburgh area.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 20:05:27 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 22601 at http://wesa.fm New Law Allows Drivers to Show Proof of Insurance Electronically http://wesa.fm/post/new-law-allows-drivers-show-proof-insurance-electronically <p>Drivers never want to see flashing red and blue lights signaling them to pull over, especially if you’ve lost your proof of insurance card.</p><p>But Gov. Tom Corbett signed legislation last week that will go into effect Feb. 21 making it easier for drivers to keep track of their information.</p><p>“When you need to show proof of insurance if you’re stopped by a police officer and asked for that, you can show your insurance identification information on your smartphone instead of having it on a piece of paper,” said Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair).</p> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 20:17:37 +0000 Jessica Nath 22238 at http://wesa.fm Fill 'Er Up: 100 Years of Pittsburgh Gas Pumps http://wesa.fm/post/fill-er-100-years-pittsburgh-gas-pumps <p>Imagine a world where there are no drive-in gas stations. To fill up your car, you had to drive to the hardware store or pharmacy to have someone scoop gasoline into your tank. That world existed only 100 years ago, until the Gulf Refining Company built the nation’s first modern gas station in Pittsburgh.</p><p>Dec. 1 marked the 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the station’s opening.</p> Wed, 01 Jan 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Tim Camerato 21472 at http://wesa.fm Could Your Broken Cell Phone Regenerate Itself? Pitt Researchers Explore How http://wesa.fm/post/could-your-broken-cell-phone-regenerate-itself-pitt-researchers-explore-how <p>What do an iPhone and a salamander have in common?</p><p>Not much now, but University of Pittsburgh researchers think they have created a way for objects like cell phones to regenerate themselves when broken the way amphibians do.</p><p>Pitt researchers have developed a computational model to create a new polymer gel that could simulate regeneration in complex materials.</p><p>Principal investigator Anna Balazs, a Pitt chemical engineering professor, said they were inspired by amphibians’ ability to grow back parts of their bodies.</p> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 20:30:00 +0000 Jessica Nath 20495 at http://wesa.fm New System Uses Photos to Help People Remember Passwords http://wesa.fm/post/new-system-uses-photos-help-people-remember-passwords <p>Do you have trouble keeping track of your passwords without writing them down or using the same one for all your logins?</p><p>Carnegie Mellon researchers have created a new system that combines photos and memory techniques to help people remember their passwords.</p><p>The system, which is now being turned into a mobile app, was created by Jeremiah Blocki, a Ph.D. student at CMU, Manuel Blum, a professor, and Anupam Datta, an associate professor.</p> Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Tim Camerato 21067 at http://wesa.fm Global IT Company Comes to Pittsburgh http://wesa.fm/post/global-it-company-comes-pittsburgh <p>Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) is looking for its next generation workforce in Pittsburgh.</p><p>The global information technology services company is building a new delivery center in the Strip District.</p><p>“We selected Pittsburgh based on a number of factors including the educational environment there and the availability of a broad range of IT technical skills from entry level all the way up to top skill professionals,” Everett Dyer, Vice President of Global Delivery Networks, said.</p> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 20:33:36 +0000 Jessica Nath 21676 at http://wesa.fm Area Researchers Get Major Boost in Internet Connectivity Speed http://wesa.fm/post/area-researchers-get-major-boost-internet-connectivity-speed <p>Pittsburgh area researchers are getting a major boost in their ability to share datasets, thanks to the work of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.</p><p>The Center is a collaboration of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Westinghouse Energy Center, and provides Internet connectivity to many universities and research centers in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the Three Rivers Optical Exchange Internet2 system.</p> Mon, 09 Dec 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Liz Reid 20824 at http://wesa.fm How Researchers, Not Just Hunters, Are Tracking Deer This Season http://wesa.fm/post/how-researchers-not-just-hunters-are-tracking-deer-season <p>Not only will hunters be tracking deer in Pennsylvania starting today, so too will researchers.</p><p>As part of the Deer Forest Study, conducted by the Game Commission with the help of Penn State researchers, 30 deer are wearing GPS radio collars that are controlled using text messages and instantly record the location of the deer.</p><p>Researchers can then learn more deer movements and behavior especially during hunting season.</p> Mon, 02 Dec 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 20502 at http://wesa.fm Got Christmas Tree Questions? There's an App for That http://wesa.fm/post/got-christmas-tree-questions-theres-app <p>Heading out to Indiana (the Christmas tree Capitol of the World) to buy your tree this year? Need help finding one that’s right for your family? The new Doug Fir Christmas Tree Guide app is designed steer you toward the right one while also learning about biology of many tree species along with some trivia.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Christopher Hardy, a biology professor at Millersville University, created the app to help him better learn the history of many species of Christmas tree and what some were previously used for.&nbsp;</span></p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Tim Camerato 19887 at http://wesa.fm Got Christmas Tree Questions? There's an App for That Open Source Design Offers Greater Control Over Personal Gadgets http://wesa.fm/post/open-source-design-offers-greater-control-over-personal-gadgets <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As the devices we use on a regular basis become more advanced and intuitive to use, they’ve also become easier to personalize. As a result, consumers wield more power over their own technology. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>Matthew </strong></span><strong>Casebeer</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Computer Scientist for <span style="line-height: 1.5;"><a href="http://www.maya.com/">MAYA Design</a>, a consulting group that’s focused on simplifying devices and data. He finds that </span><a href="https://opensource.com/open-source-way">open source</a>&nbsp;</span> design benefits <em>all</em> who share information through their devices, not just computer scientists that work on fixing problems for large groups of users.</p><p>He's interested in creating user-friendly <a href="http://www.makerswarm.com/">authoring tools</a> that allow consumers to write their own code. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:33:25 +0000 Katherine Blackley 20367 at http://wesa.fm Open Source Design Offers Greater Control Over Personal Gadgets The Dark Side of Social Media: Criminal Activity Displayed Online http://wesa.fm/post/dark-side-social-media-criminal-activity-displayed-online <p>People share so much of their lives on social media, from vacation photos to music and book choices. This over-sharing of information has extended to the bold and casual admittance of <a href="http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/blog/article/criminal-activity-social-media-why-did-you-just-like-that-photo/index.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">criminal activity</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. </span></p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">David Harris</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law University of Pittsburgh School of Law</span> says the rape case in <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/hp_breaking/2013/11/25/AP-4-indicted-including-superintendent-in-Steubenville-rape-case/stories/201311250150">Steubenville, Ohio</a> is an example of how ever-present<a href="http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/5083140-74/social-media-erie#axzz2lgeiTcsN"> social media</a> can play an important role in criminal cases. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:02:59 +0000 Katherine Blackley 20372 at http://wesa.fm The Dark Side of Social Media: Criminal Activity Displayed Online Look Up! Comet ISON Starts Its Pass Around the Sun http://wesa.fm/post/look-comet-ison-starts-its-pass-around-sun <p>It might not live up to its hype as the “Comet of the Century,” but Comet ISON could still light up the night sky this December.</p><p>Comet ISON — named after the Russian-based organization that discovered it in 2012 — was originally predicted by the astronomy community to possibly be as bright as the moon, giving it the title “Comet of the Century.” According to Dan Malerbo, program coordinator of the Buhl Planetarium, the three-mile wide comet has not brightened at its expected rate and now might not even survive it’s trip around the sun.</p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:29:39 +0000 Haldan Kirsch 20137 at http://wesa.fm When Trying Cold Cases, Time Can Be the Biggest Challenge http://wesa.fm/post/when-trying-cold-cases-time-can-be-biggest-challenge <p>We've made considerable advancements in the last several decades of forensic science.&nbsp; DNA testing has given us the ability to pinpoint culprits that may have never been caught just a few decades ago.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This opens up the possibility for cold cases like the <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/local/west/2013/11/13/Memories-of-1979-homicide-dim-at-trial/stories/">recent trial </a>of the 1979 Catherine Janet Walsh homicide to finally go to court, and for justice to hopefully be obtained for the victims.&nbsp;</span></p><p>But new evidence doesn’t always mean justice will be cut and dry.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Essential Pittsburgh legal contributor and University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, says the most difficult challenge when opening a cold case is tracking down witnesses.</span> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 21:02:15 +0000 Katie Martin 20011 at http://wesa.fm When Trying Cold Cases, Time Can Be the Biggest Challenge Lack of Parking May Be One of the Electric Cars Biggest Hurdles http://wesa.fm/post/lack-parking-may-be-one-electric-cars-biggest-hurdles <p>Electronic vehicles (EVs) currently make up about 1 percent of the automotive market. Some studies predict by 2030 that number could be as high as 80 percent, though researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) have found that parking might be one of the technology's greatest obstacles.</p><p>EVs are any battery-powered automotive vehicles, whether hybrid or completely battery powered.</p><p>Professors of engineering and public policy at CMU have compiled data that show a lack of residential parking and charging capabilities across the country.</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Haldan Kirsch 19742 at http://wesa.fm