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.

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

No, not just one of the best views at a ballpark — best views period.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

Food trucks. Pizza boats. Bagel Clubs. The best on-the-run food in town.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
Pittsburgh’s Refugee Children Could Use a Good Neighbor

Pittsburgh’s Refugee Children Could Use a Good Neighbor

Those who eye 8-year-old children with suspicion have more than a self-awareness problem.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments


Beans and Greens Like You’ve Never Had Before

Beans and Greens Like You’ve Never Had Before

This Brazen Kitchen twist on a favorite combines mung beans, coconut milk and cilantro for a nutrient-packed one-bowl meal.

Comments


Bar Exam: Mineo’s

Bar Exam: Mineo’s

Does the pizza heavyweight’s new bar give it an edge in the (friendly) pie war?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Calling All Sunbathers

Calling All Sunbathers

The perfect complement to your favorite swimsuit.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Goodbye, Franktuary Downtown

Goodbye, Franktuary Downtown

Staff at the flagship hot-dog spot say "franks for the memories."

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Former PM Contributing Editor's Costa Rican Adventures on Screen

Former PM Contributing Editor's Costa Rican Adventures on Screen

“The Mucho Gusto Tour” is a one-night-only collection of short films.

Comments