Business Forum: Steel, Health Dare And Future Wealth Of Our Robotic Region

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A city that doesn’t make things can never be a real city.

The Steel City got its name and built its international reputation by making the best metal products in the world. For Hollywood, wealth and fame came from making the greatest motion pictures the world has ever seen. Silicon Valley earned its place in history by giving us the personal computer, the cell phone and just about every other indispensable high-tech gadget you can think of.

In the aftermath of the dismantling of the steel industry, Pittsburgh was especially fortunate to have a world-class health care and university system. These gems allowed us to sidestep the ruinous fate that has befallen other Rust Belt cities such as Detroit and Gary, Indiana.

However, in the long run those regional assets will not be enough to elevate this metropolitan statistical area and its wealth back to the level it enjoyed during the middle of the last century.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/Biz-opinion/2014/02/15/Steel-health-care-and-future-wealth-of-our-robotic-region/stories/201402150066#ixzz2tPa3gmXI

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pennsylvania Terminates $170 Million Project With IBM Over Failure To Deliver Computer System It Promised

After seeing a technology project fall $60 million over budget and 42 months behind, state Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway has decided it’s time to pull the plug on a contract to modernize the state’s unemployment compensation computer system.

This decision announced at a news conference on Wednesday followed a $800,000 study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute that found the problems with the IBM Corp.-developed system to be unsolvable.

Spending any more money on trying to make the system, originally slated to cost $106.9 million, would have been a waste, Hearthway said.

The state now estimates the cost of the project has grown to $170 million but some payments have been withheld, a department official said.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/pa_terminates_contract_with_ib.html#incart_m-rpt-2

America’s Smartest Cities

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Pittsburgh, PA:  The No. 1 spot on our list went to Pittsburgh mostly because of the large number of colleges and universities in the area.

 

See the rest of the list:  http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/smartest-cities/

 

If you want to see the impressive list of colleges and universities in Pittsburgh, click here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_Pittsburgh

Portland, Peduto And Progressive Politics: Pittsburgh Is Poised For Creative New Ideas

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Thursday, I tweeted a story from Salon that asked:  “Is Pittsburgh the Next Portland?”

The piece by longtime Pittsburgh fan Jim Russell originally appeared on the website Pacific Standard and opened with this provocative lead paragraph:

“What does a dying city look like? Brains are draining.  The population is shrinking or aging, or both.  Vibrant, creative class cool Portland is the antithesis of dying.  Yesterday, journalist Annalyn Kurtz tweets:  ‘See!  The Portland labor force lost 25,000 workers in the last year.’ “

The next sentence was the real killer:  “What in the name of Richard Florida is going on here?”  Pittsburghers of a certain age will remember when Richard Florida was just a local phenomenon.  The Carnegie Mellon professor from 1987 to 2004 literally wrote the book on what constitutes a livable city.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/tony-norman/heres-a-city-poised-for-creative-new-ideas-688899/#ixzz2UH8bzcYV

Pittsburgh Native Zachary Quinto Revels In Spock Role

English: Zachary Quinto greets a soldier's dau...

English: Zachary Quinto greets a soldier’s daughter on the phone following a screening of Star Trek at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one point during “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Kirk fumes, “Sometimes, I just want to rip the bangs off his head.”

But Kirk doesn’t do that, which is a good thing considering the amount of time consumed by the workday ritual of transforming Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto into Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human with a high-maintenance look.

By the time the movie finished shooting, the makeup artists had shaved a whopping 30 minutes from their application of the signature swooping ears, angled eyebrows and other facial flourishes.

Not a big deal? It started as 3 hours and 15 minutes — plus another 30 minutes in hair — so even an extra half-hour can be a luxury when you have to report to the set 2 1/2 to three hours ahead of everyone else who may be arriving at 6 a.m.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/movies/pittsburgh-native-zachary-quinto-revels-in-spock-role-687961/#ixzz2TZUrYou9

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority Approves Hazelwood Tax Increment Financing Plans

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board got the ball rolling Thursday for the largest piece of tax increment financing in the city’s history — an $80 million to $90 million package that would fund roads, utilities, parks and other public improvements for a proposed $900 million office and residential development in Hazelwood.

While URA board members unanimously approved preliminary plans for the funding in Hazelwood, some members criticized city council for holding up a $50 million TIF for a proposed $400 million to $500 million Buncher Co. development in the Strip District and wondered whether the Hazelwood package would suffer a similar fate.

The TIF must be approved by the city, the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Allegheny County.

“This is the beginning of a very long process,” said URA board member Jim Ferlo, a Democratic state senator from Highland Park.  “There are going to be a lot of hurdles, if not some significant roadblocks.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/ura-approves-hazelwood-tif-plans-669989/#ixzz2Hgyhruih

Pennsylvania’s Online Shoppers Soon Will Have To Pay Sales Tax

Tax-free online purchases will be curtailed in Pennsylvania starting next month, but activists pushing for a federal law say much more needs to be done to address the issue of tax-free Internet shopping, and the millions in sales tax that states are missing out on.

Pennsylvania alone would lose between $254 million and $410 million in uncollected revenues this year without legislative intervention, according to a 2011 study by Carnegie Mellon University professor Robert Strauss.

But starting Sept. 1, online retailers with a physical presence in the state will have to pay at least 6 percent sales tax for items purchased by Pennsylvanians.

And for those shoppers in Allegheny County, the online sales tax would be 7 percent — a 6 percent share going to the state, and an additional 1 percent for Allegheny County. In Philadelphia, they tack on an extra 2 percent, meaning the online sales tax — just like the regular, bricks-and-mortar sales tax — would be 8 percent.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/legal/pennsylvanias-online-shoppers-soon-will-have-to-pay-sales-tax-649674/#ixzz246C7JCAT

Marcellus Shale Becoming Top US Natural Gas Field

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) — The Marcellus Shale is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the United States, according to new data from energy industry analysts and the federal government.

Though serious drilling only began five years ago, the sheer volume of Marcellus production suggests that in some ways there’s no going back, even as New York debates whether to allow drilling in its portion of the shale, which also lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

The top spot for the Marcellus “doesn’t surprise me,” said Jay Apt, a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University. “But will it lead to industries that spring up to use that gas?” he asked, adding that much of the bounty could also end up being shipped to Canada, the Gulf Coast or overseas.

In 2008, Marcellus production barely registered on national energy reports. In July, the combined output from Pennsylvania and West Virginia wells was about 7.4 billion cubic feet per day, according to Kyle Martinez, an analyst at Bentek Energy. That’s more than double the 3.6 billion cubic feet from last April, and represents over 25 percent of national shale gas production.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/marcellus-shale-becoming-top-us-natural-gas-field-1.1355101