Bits&Bytes: Orie behind panel to explore how tobacco windfall is being spent
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The state Senate wants to shed more light on the research and economic development programs created under Pennsylvania's $11 billion 2001 tobacco settlement windfall.
Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, said she introduced S.R. 241, which was agreed to unanimously last week, because "the general public does not seem to be aware of what has been accomplished with the tobacco monies."
Consequently the seven-person Senate panel, made up of four selected by the Republican leadership and three picked by the Democrats will meet at three locations across the state to hear testimony from researchers, venture capitalists, biotech companies and other health-related businesses.
Ms. Orie said she wants to know how these groups see the tobacco dollars, being used "five, ten, 20 years into the future."
"We're looking to see if there are other ways that we should be spending the tobacco settlement," added her staffer Joanne McGreevey. After the hearings, likely to be held in Pittsburgh, the Harrisburg/State College region and in Philadelphia, the committee will deliver a report of its findings on Nov. 30.
At a time when anxiety levels over computer security are reaching new heights, Carnegie Mellon University is hosting its second annual Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security from Wednesday to Friday at CMU's Collaborative Innovation Center.
Using e-mail to trick computer users to reveal confidential information is just one example of how current security practices are failing, said Lorrie Cranor, an associate professor who directs CMUs Usable Privacy and Security Lab.
"Basically, when it comes to phishing, most people are clueless," said Dr. Cranor, who teaches computer science, engineering and public policy at CMU. Human error, she added is the cause of most security breaches.
About 100 researchers in areas including security, privacy and human-computer interaction, will be on hand next week to share the latest in security methods that can be used and understood by everyone, even the technically-challenged.
For more information, visit the symposium Web site at (cups.cs.cmu.edu/soups/index.html)
ChemDaq Corp, one of the startups that met Hazelwood-based tech support engine Innovation Works' challenge this spring to raise $100,000 from private investors in 90 days is on the verge of raising more. The company expects to land $500,000 from "angel" investors by the end of this month.
Hometown guy David Lucchino, one of the founding members of biotech company incubator LaunchCyte and a recent graduate of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be in town this weekend celebrating Major League Baseball's All-Star weekend.
The Highland Park native is bringing his business partners, Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists Chris Loose and Robert Langer, who developed the technology that the trio is spinning into a biotech start-up called SteriCoat. The upstart firm took first place this week in Oxford University's business plan competition, continuing a winning streak that included taking the top honors at Harvard Business School's bio-technology business plan competition and MIT's entrepreneurship competition.
Mr. Lucchino also has accepted a job with Boston-based private equity firm Polaris Ventures, so it's unlikely that he and SteriCoat will plant roots in Pittsburgh in the near future.
"Pittsburgh almost values you more if you go away, get credential and come back," he said. The hometown link doesn't automatically mean that local investors will find you interesting, he added.
SteriCoat has developed a specialized "vapor" technology to coat medical devices so that they inhibit the spread of infection following an operation or other medical procedure, Mr. Lucchino said.
So far, SteriCoat has earned $65,000 in prize money.
The Pittsburgh Product Strategy Network (PSN), helmed by Jim Berardone, has formed an alliance with Seattle-based Pivotal Product Management to teach product managers in Pittsburgh and in Seattle best practices for planning and commercializing technology products. Pivotal PM will host and market in Seattle PSN's popular full-day Product Roadmapping Training Workshop that teaches a method for planning the evolution of technology products. The PSN's Product Roadmapping Training Workshop will be held in Seattle on Sept. 22 (and Pittsburgh on Sept. 25.)
PSN also will host's Pivotal Product Management training on Sept. 11-12 in Pittsburgh.
For more information, contact PSN at 412-244-9994 or write: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Published July 8, 2006 12:00 am