CMU Students Star in Google Sky Map Collaboration

Plus, a WVU team develops a solar-powered log cabin and a Pitt degree is named one of the best values in higher education.


CMU Students Star in Google Sky Map Collaboration
Smartphone users walk around with a lot in their pocket. From gigabytes of Web content to hours of video and (of course) photos, smartphones enable us to carry a lot on the go. While most people may not realize it, more than 20,000,000 people worldwide are also walking around with a little piece of the 'Burgh in their pockets.

That piece, the Sky Map app for Android, was created by Google Pittsburgh back in 2009 and has been a smash-hit ever since. Now, Google is hoping to build on that success by opening up the app to another group of innovative Pittsburghers: The online giant recently announced that it will be collaborating with CMU students to improve the app, which makes use of various sensors to give users a window into the astronomical wonders right above their heads (assuming it's nighttime).

This collaboration will involve open-sourcing the app. This will allow students to augment, alter and experiment with the code as they wish with Google engineers taking on an advisory role.

New features and functions are sure to come, but in the mean time the app remains available for free download through the Android market.
—Rob McCoy, PM Assistant Editor


Solar log cabins. Probably not something most would expect to see, but that's exactly what a team of West Virginia University students will be showing off when they compete in the Department of Energy's Solar 2013 Decathlon.

The interdisciplinary team, one of only 20 selected for the competition, will design a home that combines smart-home technologies with traditional Appalachian log cabins. The project, titled "Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge" (PEAK), is being overseen by a group from various programs and schools across the WVU campus.

The team will receive a $100,000 grant from the Department of Energy and will have a maximum budget of $250,000 for the house. The entrants will be judged on various criteria, but above all, the project home must produce more energy than it consumes.

The project also includes an international component, as the WVU team will collaborate with students from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata.

Although specifics for the upcoming competition have not been detailed, homes have been built and displayed in the national mall in Washington D.C. in previous years.


University of Pittsburgh Named a Top Value by Kiplinger
After paying countless dollars for higher education, students will find it comforting that a local institution offers of one the best values. Pitt has just been named one of the top value colleges in the nation. The Kiplinger 100: Best Values in Public Colleges, 2011-12 ranks the best values in public colleges annually in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

This year, Pitt was one of only three colleges in Pennsylvania to make the list—and was ranked as the best value in the state. The process for choosing which schools have the best value begins with data from 500 schools before it's narrowed down. The school rankings are based on a number of academic qualities, including graduation rates and student-faculty ratios.
—Shane Bliss, PM Editorial Intern
 

Renowned author and instructor Azar Nafisi is known for her best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran. Catch her at Heinz Hall Feb. 29 by scoring a pair of tickets, courtesy of Robert Morris University, which presents the Pittsburgh Speaker Series. We'll select the winner Feb. 22, so be sure to enter before then. Good luck!
 

For a chance to win two tickets to see Azar Nafisi as part of the Pittsburgh Speaker Series on Wed., Feb. 29, please complete the following:
 

First Name
Last Name
Address
City
State
Zipcode
Phone Number
E-mail Address

 

Winner will be drawn on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Yes, I would like to receive email offers and updates from Pittsburgh Magazine.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The new Live Animal Encounters program introduces museum visitors to rescued wildlife.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

The third iteration of the series will feature chef J.J. Johnson, formerly of The Cecil and Minton's Supper Club in Harlem.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

The tacos-and-tequila bar and restaurant on the South Side doesn't do anything wrong, exactly, but has room to grow.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

As the team prepares the inaugural class of its Hall of Honor, Mike Prisuta selects the four members of the Steelers family most deserving of inclusion.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

No. 14 Boutique in Lawrenceville put together this chic outfit for the tricky period when summer cools into autumn.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

Reviews of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" and "Wind River," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Close to a half dozen local businesses, among them Savannah Hayes and Stak Ceramics, will make their debut next week at the mega interior design and home goods-focused show in New York City.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments