Money

The Payoff Pitch

Nellie King is lying on a hospital bed, his once-sinewy muscles flaccid, his face ashen. The man who once hurled sinking fastballs past Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks is so weak from pneumonia that he can barely draw a breath. He has this terrifying sensation of his skin separating from his skeleton. His youngest daughter, Amy, …

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2nd Half Money

The past year’s dramatic recovery in stocks now in the rear-view mirror; so what lies ahead for investors? Pittsburgh Quarterly asked a group of regional experts what they expect in the second half of 2010. Specifically, we asked how they view the markets and economy and what they’re recommending in terms of sectors and strategies. Not …

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Affording Long-Term Care

For Dr. Saul Silver, buying long-term care insurance for himself was an easy choice. “My father was fully independent a year ago, but now he is driving around in a motorized cart. This is what happens when we get older. You can’t walk. You can’t take care of yourself. This is something we have to …

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We Have the Power

Turn on a light bulb. Run the dishwasher. Boot up the computer. Run a Google search. Somewhere, a turbine spins, a coal-laden barge docks near a power plant, a nuclear reactor harvests the bound-up energy of a uranium atom. Electricity generation leads to the release of harmful emissions and a relentless pursuit to extract more …

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Marcellus Shale: Doing it Right

Oct. 8, 2009, at the Kearns Well near Brush Run, Washington County: As industrial accidents go, this wasn’t a particularly bad one. A valve on a massive water tank had failed. Designed for the low hydrostatic pressures encountered in the flatlands out west, the valve had been no match for the pressures generated by the …

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Oxymoron or Opportunity?

From Pittsburgh to the hills of West Virginia, a small army of scientists is racing to tame the billions of tons of carbon vented from coal-burning power plants, working with data sets, computer models, cost analyses and other such tools that belie the drama of their high-stakes investigation. Burning coal casts off nasty pollutants, including …

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Choose Wisely

For Dee Strunk, it came down to the screened-in porch. She was touring retirement communities when she saw a charming porch in a carriage house at The Woodlands at St. Barnabus, and she knew this was it. The porch reminded her of the one she loved at her old house in McCandless. “It’s my own …

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The Story of the Marcellus Shale

For days, they had been rumbling up the rutted dirt track that led to the top of the rocky dome above the rolling fields of Washington County; a ’round-the-clock procession of big rigs carting up thousands of gallons of water. They’d drop their loads, turn around as best they could in the axle-deep mud that …

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Energy & Pittsburgh

Beginning in this issue and then picking up steam over the next three, Pittsburgh Quarterly is publishing a series examining Pittsburgh’s contributions to and potential in the realm of energy. Few regions in the world are as well prepared as greater Pittsburgh to play a key role in a variety of different energy sectors. When you …

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The Business of Retirement Living

Five years ago, a senior citizen wanting to move into a stately retirement community would typically put his name on a list and wait, sometimes for a year or two. Today he would have little trouble finding an apartment in a community that boasts such amenities as indoor pools and spas, a golf simulator and …

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We, robot

A decade ago, the Wall Street Journal gave Pittsburgh the moniker “Roboburgh” when compiling its list of the nation’s 13 hottest high-tech regions. The Steel City is living up to its 21st-century nickname, making new its rich history of engineering complex things. Scores of local robotics start-ups are driving economic growth by building innovative robots …

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Electrifying Knowledge

In 1995, Carnegie Mellon University’s Professor Raj Reddy organized a meeting in Shadyside of the world’s foremost digital thought leaders to discuss the feasibility of electronic libraries. The idea of very large Internet libraries had been gestating in Reddy’s mind for about 15 years, but it was not until then that desktop computers, easy Internet …

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Taking Stock

Over the last nine months, investors have read their morning papers, stared at CNBC, and ripped open their brokerage statements with similar results. The financial calculus known simply and profoundly as their net worth has done something of a disappearing act. The S&P 500’s early March lows of 666 represented a 57 percent drop from …

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Here’s to You, Mrs. Henderson

Of all of the thousands of students attending classes at the University of Pittsburgh last fall, Elsie Henderson was perhaps the most extraordinary. For starters, she didn’t walk the Oakland campus with an iPod fixed to her ears or consumed in cell phone conversation. She doesn’t own either of those technologies. She doesn’t even own …

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Six CEOs

Enron’s spectacular collapse in 2001, followed by WorldCom’s demise after Bernie Ebbers enjoyed more than $400 million in loans approved by his board of directors, led to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). SOX was intended to change the behavior and accountability of publicly traded companies, CEOs, boards of directors and public …

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The China Syndrome

Annie Wang was 9 when her parents vanished behind the Bamboo Curtain. It was the start of China’s “Cultural Revolution,” a terrible time for anyone in that country with money or status. Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-tung urged citizens to engage in “class struggle” and the overthrow of “capitalist roaders,” encouraging the political persecutions, betrayal, torture, …

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Can Video Games Save the World?

The main entrance to the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center off Second Avenue looks like the inside of a space ship. Neon blue and purple lamps wash the corridor with cool, luminescent hues, like a Death Star antechamber, and trapezoidal wall moldings recall Star Trek interiors. “Blast door” portcullises, complete with tooth-like eaves ready to …

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No cubicles

If any company represents creativity, success and a new paradigm, it’s Google. With an Internet advertising model that’s revolutionizing the industry and racking up money click by click, Google’s methods and its market cap represent a wish list for many companies. Its recent opening of an office in Pittsburgh was an easy decision for the …

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A good lesson

Eleanore Childs may have had as many lives as Joanie Caucus, that trailblazing mom/feminist/late-in-life-lawyer of the “Doonesbury” comic strip — each reincarnation a mirror of the social upheavals of the last half of the last century. As the daughter of Sewickley pediatrician Robert Nix, a beloved figure in that community who, in the 1950s, helped …

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How to Profit from the Coming Singularity

Singularity” is a term that futurists have borrowed from mathematics to describe an event so profound that nothing is the same afterwards. Noah’s flood would be an example. There are four singularities on the horizon, and each offers many opportunities to make money. The internet swallows the world In “Mirror Worlds: Or the Day Software …

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Policy Abroad Needs Work

At first quietly, a group of us has been working to build a world-class institute at the University of Pittsburgh that analyzes emerging security problems and opportunities. Working closely with the U.S. military and key policy experts, the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies investigates rapidly emerging and evolving threats. One of the issues …

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Google Knows How to Flirt

You hate to wait through an advertisement on television. But you enjoy the look and feel of an ad in your favorite magazine. You hate pop-ups on the Internet. Yet you like finding what you need on Google. Our likes, dislikes and habits in this changing world are becoming critically important to companies that want …

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