'Something Deeply Magical' About The Franchise: NPR's David Greene On His Love Of The Steelers

The Steelers ended the season earlier than many fans were hoping for, with a 45-42 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday , and one person who was definitely paying attention was NPR Morning Edition host David Greene. Greene spent just six years of his childhood in Pittsburgh, but still considers Pittsburgh to be his home and the Steelers to be his team. He spoke to 90.5 WESA's biggest sports fan, Kevin Gavin, about how his time in Pittsburgh shaped parts of his life. Interview highlights:

'Something Deeply Magical' About The Franchise: NPR's David Greene On His Love Of The Steelers

With Pittsburgh Poised To Exit Act 47, Oversight Body Says It's Ready To Dissolve

Fourteen years after entering Act 47, the city of Pittsburgh appears to be very close to exiting the program, which places financially distressed municipalities under state oversight.

With Pittsburgh Poised To Exit Act 47, Oversight Body Says It's Ready To Dissolve

Fitzgerald Sets Improved Transit, Workforce Development As Goals For 2018

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is halfway through his second term in office. 90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin sat down with Fitzgerald to discuss his goals for the county in 2018. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. KEVIN GAVIN: Let's start with what you think were the major developments during 2017 before we start talking about the new year. RICH FITZGERALD: Well, I think first of all we've seen again continued growth in the county and in the region. We've seen a lot

Fitzgerald Sets Improved Transit, Workforce Development As Goals For 2018

Peduto Seeks Someone Who Knows Pittsburgh's 'Heartbeat' For New Chief Of Staff

When Bill Peduto is sworn in to his second term as mayor of Pittsburgh Jan. 3, Kevin Acklin will no longer be his chief of staff. Acklin, a corporate attorney, announced last week he's returning to the private sector . But Peduto is not only losing his chief of staff. Over the last four years, Acklin also served as the city's chief economic development officer. "It's hard to replace someone that's irreplaceable," Peduto said. In fact, the mayor plans to replace Acklin with two people. "We're

Peduto Seeks Someone Who Knows Pittsburgh's 'Heartbeat' For New Chief Of Staff

As Other Counties Sell Nursing Homes, Fitzgerald Says No Plan To Privatize Kane Facilities

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has warned that Republican efforts to cap Medicaid funding would cost the state billions of dollars, and that might impact senior citizens in nursing homes. According to the state Department of Health, there are about 700 nursing homes in the commonwealth but only 18 counties still operate their own facilities –half of the total from just 13 years ago. In the past three weeks, two southwestern Pennsylvania counties agreed to get out of the nursing home business. On June 30, Washington County agreed to sell its nursing home to Premier Healthcare Management. Two days later, Premier completed its purchase of Armstrong County's nursing home. According to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, "there's no movement right now" to sell off the county's four Kane nursing homes-- in the city's Glen Hazel neighborhood, McKeesport, Ross and Scott townships "Some of the smaller counties that don't necessarily have the economies of scale [that Allegheny County does]

As Other Counties Sell Nursing Homes, Fitzgerald Says No Plan To Privatize Kane Facilities

Millions Are Affected By Cooking Fire Smoke Each Year. Researchers Hope A Small, Cheap Fan Will Help

In many developing countries, families routinely cook on open fires, often in poorly ventilated homes. According to the World Health Organization, the smoke from those fires lead to the premature death of more than 4 million people each year. In rural Uganda, families often burn dried banana leaves. "Which doesn't combust very well, so it's very inefficient so it makes a lot of smoke," said Josh Shapiro, an engineer with Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab . He and his team have come up with a solution that works without the need for electricity. It starts with a small fan. "Typically the air in their home just doesn't move," Shapiro said. "As long as you have enough back pressure to start moving the air, that's all you need. It kind of wants to follow its friends." Shapiro's interest started in 2011, when Toyota launched a competition challenging engineers to come up with new ways to use technology developed for the Prius. Some of the models included a solar-powered fan that would

Millions Are Affected By Cooking Fire Smoke Each Year. Researchers Hope A Small, Cheap Fan Will Help

Plans Unveiled For Sustainable Development Of Uptown, West Oakland

The Peduto administration unveiled the city's first EcoInnovation District plan Tuesday, focusing on the Uptown and West Oakland neighborhoods. "We understand that there's going to be a lot of change it's going to be occurring very rapidly in this area, mainly through the development of the Bus Rapid Transit system that will go through that neighborhood," Mayor Bill Peduto said. "We also see the stresses that are happening as we're starting to see the Hill District develop and Oakland continuing

Pitt Researchers Think A Wearable Artificial Lung Could Be In The Near Future

Artificial lungs have been around for decades, but they're usually large devices that force the patient to remain in a hospital bed until their lungs improve or they're able to undergo a lung transplant. But University of Pittsburgh Medical Devices Laboratory Director Bill Federspiel has developed a more mobile, wearable device. "It's pretty well established in the literature that if you can get these patients up and moving around, they do better," Federspiel said. "Whether it's recovering from

Pitt Researchers Think A Wearable Artificial Lung Could Be In The Near Future

Getting Oxygen To Babies In Developing Countries Is Difficult. A Bicycle Could Soon Change That

Oxygen is something that many of us take for granted. But many people with breathing disorders can't take it in on their own — and it's especially difficult for people living in poor and remote parts of the world. Scientist Wendy Zhang recalled the difficult decisions a physician in Gabon, Africa had to make as the result of limited resources. "On some, she had to make the heart-wrenching decision of which baby to live and which baby to die just because they don't have oxygen to supply both," Zhang said. Zhang and three other scientists are working to address oxygen shortages through the University of Pittsburgh-supported Blast Furnace business accelerator. The World Health Organization says Pneumonia is the leading cause of child mortality globally, and a recent study finds demand for oxygen in developing countries outstrips supply by 68 percent. Collecting oxygen from the air is not an overly complicated task. Air can be passed through a filter that collects nitrogen and since air

Getting Oxygen To Babies In Developing Countries Is Difficult. A Bicycle Could Soon Change That

Port Authority CEO Delays Cashless Fares To Address Enforcement Concerns

The implementation of cashless fares on the Port Authority of Allegheny County's light rail system has been put on hold until the interim CEO completes a review of concerns about the process.

Port Authority CEO Delays Cashless Fares To Address Enforcement Concerns

Why Sort Your Trash If A Robot Can Do It For You?

Increasingly, when you find a trash can in a public place it has at least two openings—one for trash and one for recyclables. But according to Charles Yhap, humans don't do a very good job of sorting what they throw in those cans. "Americans typically achieve, when they have a 50-50 chance between two bins, it's usually 30 percent," said Yhap. With that in mind, Yhap launched a company called CleanRobotics with a flagship product called Trashbot. "You walk up to the machine and you throw an item of waste in, the hatch will close and it will take a reading from the sensor suite we have inside and then... it will make a classification and put it in the right bin," Yhap said. The machine reportedly has an 81 percent success rate based on tests done by the company and limited testing in the field. CleanRobotics Vice President of Engineering Tanner Cook said he is hoping to improve that number through machine learning. "It's more or less us digging through trash bags, throwing objects in [the

Combating Bias Can Be A Lot For A 12-Year-Old, But Hopewell Students Pledge To Try

Last year, Hopewell Memorial Junior High School started noticing some negative race-based comments being made among students. Studies show safe environments are essential for learning , and being victim to identity-based harassment can be especially detrimental in school .

Combating Bias Can Be A Lot For A 12-Year-Old, But Hopewell Students Pledge To Try

Advocates Push For Limiting Suspensions In Early Grades, While PPS Board Weighs Options

By eighth grade, Christian Carter had been suspended from school a dozen times. The first time was in 3rd grade for what he described as questioning his teacher. Most were for one or two days.

Advocates Push For Limiting Suspensions In Early Grades, While PPS Board Weighs Options

Need A Robot For That? CMU-Developed Software Helps You Design & 3D Print Them

CMU Robotics Institute assistant professor Stelian Coros was working to find ways to make animated characters navigate their simulated environments, such as in a video game or a movie, when he realized his work could be used to design and virtually test robots. "And what I'm really excited about is moving towards a new paradigm where robots will be able to approach the complexity of biological structures in both form and in function," Coros said. Typically, a robot is designed by engineers and a prototype is built and tested. That design is then sent back to the engineers to be redesigned and the process is repeated until the robot is ready to be sent to a manufacturing facility. Coros said that expensive and time-consuming process works when the goal is mass production. "In that case, the investment is worth it," Coros said. "But I imagine a future where everyone will have a different type of robot that matches their own needs or preferences." The goal is customizable robots made for

Need A Robot For That? CMU-Developed Software Helps You Design & 3D Print Them

Wolf Says Pension Reform Will Trim Liability By At Least $10B

Pennsylvania's unfunded pension liability stands at $70 billion . In other words, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, what Pennsylvania owes in pensions for retired and active state employees and public school teachers is only funded at about 60 percent . Pennsylvania ranks 38th in the country . But now the state Senate has approved pension reform legislation which would change pension plans for new state employees and public school teachers. "It's not the perfect dream act that any one of us would have picked. But it does move us forward," said Gov. Tom Wolf. Retired and current workers and teachers are in a defined benefit plan. Under this legislation , new hires would have three options including a 401(k)-style plan. Wolf said he believes a lot of incoming workers might like that approach. "You might want to work for the state for four years. Well, the old defined benefit plan that took a long time to get vested.. And with a 401(k)-style, it's a lot more portable to the

Defusing A Bomb With A Joystick Isn't Easy, So Pittsburgh Company Creates Scale Robotic Arm

RE2 Robotics first spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2001 to build off-road vehicles for the U.S. Department of Defense , but now its researchers are working to develop the next generation of robotic arms. The 40 people who work at the Lawrenceville-based company now focus on building arms for robots used to defuse improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. "These are robotic arms that are placed on things that move through the world," said the company's president, Jorgen Pedersen. "A robot can perceive the world, it can move through the world but when it's time to interact with the world, that's where we come in." Pedersen said RE2 is a leader in "mobile manipulators," and their work is more complicated than simply re-purposing robotic arms used in industrial settings. "[The arm] has to be very lightweight. It has to be compact. It has to be power-efficient," he said. "Because it has to fit on a small robot that's running off of a battery." As the company improved the weight-to

Defusing A Bomb With A Joystick Isn't Easy, So Pittsburgh Company Creates Scale Robotic Arm

Can This Green Method Of Disposing Leftover Drilling Water Beat A Hole In The Ground?

Every day, about 200 barrels of something called produced water bubbles out of each of the roughly 9,600 shale gas wells in Pennsylvania. The water is laced with chemicals and minerals, and since energy companies have been fracking gas wells, they have tried to figure out the best way to deal with it. Several companies ship the water to sites in Ohio where it is injected thousands of feet into the ground. It's a cheap solution – one that Shyam Dighe, president and CEO of AquaSource is trying to

Can This Green Method Of Disposing Leftover Drilling Water Beat A Hole In The Ground?

Allegheny County Is 3rd Worst In PA For Number Of Women Running For Office

One day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, women, men and children marched in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the country, including Pittsburgh. Women were encouraged to run for office at all levels: federal, state and local. But was that call to action taken to heart, and was it reflected in the recently held Pennsylvania Primary? Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, said there was only one woman candidate for every two male candidates in Allegheny County. That number could be skewed because it also includes judges of elections at the polling places throughout the county. She spoke with 90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin about women in Pennsylvania politics. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. KEVIN GAVIN: Immediately following the inauguration of President Trump and the day after the Women's March, there was great enthusiasm — a call for more women candidates for elected offices at various

Allegheny County Is 3rd Worst In PA For Number Of Women Running For Office

CMU Researchers Find If You Can Paint It, You Can Make It A Touch Screen

Touch screens have become part of our everyday lives, but the technology has its limits. They are always relatively flat and are fixed to another product, like a cell phone or a computer. But researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have figured out a way to make just about any object into a touch sensitive device. "We extracted sensing techniques from medical fields and things like that," CMU Human-Computer Interaction Institute Ph.D. student Gierad Laput said. "Very expensive equipment, million-dollar equipment. And we were like, 'Can we make that cheap?'" Laput and his co-researchers boiled the sensor down to a few electrodes and a computer chip that cost less than $100. They figured out that if you put these electrodes on a sheet of carbon-infused plastic used to keep electronics safe from static electricity during shipping, it's possible to send electric pulses among the electrodes. "You say, 'Hey electrode one, shoot a signal.' And then all the others receive it and then you go,

CMU Researchers Find If You Can Paint It, You Can Make It A Touch Screen

Fitzgerald: Partnership With Peduto Critical To The Region's Development

Among the supporters at Mayor Bill Peduto's primary election night victory party was Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "We've had a good relationship for a long time," Fitzgerald said. "We talk all the time ... we have a very similar outlook in how we try to govern." Fitzgerald has been county executive since January 2012, two years longer than Peduto has been mayor, and he's looking forward to continuing to work together. "It works better for the region when that happens," Fitzgerald said. Without offering specific instances, he said cooperation hasn't always been the case. "When you have conflict [among local leaders], what typically happens is outsiders, meaning Washington, Harrisburg and businesses, tend to walk away," Fitzgerald said. According to the county executive, federal and state officials considering development projects, and businesses considering locating in the area want to be certain that local leaders are in synch. "We're working smoothly together, and I think

Fitzgerald: Partnership With Peduto Critical To The Region's Development