OSU Announces Mirror Lake Restoration

The restoration announced October 11th will return Mirror Lake to a more natural and sustainable state – closer to its historical form – while emphasizing improved storm water management, reducing chemical water treatments, increasing overall biodiversity, and more.
In November 2013, the university began exploring ways to make the lake more sustainable. A series of modifications over many decades had resulted in a body of water that was both polluted and leaking, requiring consistent maintenance and creating thousands of gallons of waste water daily.

The overall Mirror Lake District, including Browning Amphitheater and Oxley and Pomerene Halls, is being renovated to create modern learning environments for students and faculty in data analytics, linguistics and the history of art – while retaining its significance, ambience and appearance as an early and iconic area of campus. The experience of walking through the district will be much the same as it would have been throughout the past century, but the facilities will be upgraded dramatically to 21st century standards for safety, sustainability and functionality. During the first phase of this project, which began last spring, Baker Commons was renovated to house the Office of Student Life’s disability services.

The well known, beloved ducks at Mirror Lake are expected to relocate on their own when the lake undergoes renovation. Any ducks that do not relocate will be moved to an appropriate environment for their own well-being. The university contracts with a specialized wildlife management firm to handle the relocation. The goal of the relocation is to ensure that the ducks are in the appropriate environment while renovations are under way.

Researchers Develop Hurricane Power Loss Prediction Model

An interdisciplinary team of researchers is using a unique model to predict how many U.S. residents will lose power because of Hurricane Matthew. Researchers predict that approximately 10 million people will lose power due to Hurricane Matthew. The model was developed by researchers from The Ohio State University, University of Michigan and Texas A&M University.

The model looks at a variety of factors at the census tract level to determine who is likely to lose power. Among those factors is land use, such as whether the area is urban and whether it has a lot of trees.

The team have been using the model to predict hurricane-caused power outages for about a decade. They correctly estimated that superstorm Sandy would knock out power for about 10 million people in 2012. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies, use the team’s forecasts to help plan responses to hurricanes.

OSU Research Suggest Smoking Bans Help Some Smokers Quit

A new national study shows for the first time how smoking bans in cities, states and counties led young people living in those areas to give up, or never take up, the use of cigarettes.

In particular, the study found that young males who were light smokers before a smoking ban was instituted in their area were more likely to give up cigarettes after a ban went into effect. Smokers who lived in areas where there was never a ban weren’t likely to drop their cigarette habit. Smoking bans did not seem to affect tobacco use among women, although their use was already below that of men.

While other studies have focused on how smoking bans affect smoking rates in areas where they are instituted, this is the first national study to show how the bans affect individual smokers. Results showed that the probability of a young man smoking in the last 30 days was 19 percent for those living in an area without a ban, but only 13 percent for those who live in an area with a ban. For women, the probability was the same (11 percent) regardless of where they lived.

The study was published in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

OSU Racing Team Sets New Land-Speed Record in Electric Vehicle

Eleven miles of pristine track – a dry, compact layer of salt – and clear, sunny weather produced the perfect setting for this year’s record-setting runs.

The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 (VBB-3) shattered the previous world record of 307.6 mph (495 kph), set by the Ohio State-Venturi team in 2010. The new world record is pending certification by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the worldwide motorsports governing body, in Category A Group VIII Class 8.

After three years of battling difficult weather conditions at the Wendover, Utah, Bonneville Salt Flats track, The Ohio State University’s Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 student team and driver Roger Schroer rallied to push their electric streamline vehicle to a world record two-way average top of 341.4 miles per hour (549.4 kilometers per hour) on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

The record-setting car is propelled by two custom electric motors developed by Venturi Automobiles, and is powered by over two megawatts of lithium ion batteries produced by A123 Systems. The vehicle was piloted by Roger Schroer, veteran team driver from the Ohio State affiliated Transportation Research Center, the nation’s leading independent automotive proving ground and vehicle testing organization in East Liberty, Ohio.

The team’s faculty advisor and Center for Automotive Research Director Giorgio Rizzoni said the VBB-3 boasts significant advances in power electronic systems and automated transmission. “The progress made this year is a very important step in the quest to reach the 400 miles per hour goal,” said Rizzoni. “The support of Venturi and of numerous other industry partners is recognition of this program’s value in producing the next generation of engineers. As always, team members have a bright future in the automotive industry.”

The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 is the latest iteration in a series of electric racing vehicles built at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which has a 22 year history of electric racing. In 2004, Buckeye Bullet 1, which ran on nickel metal hydride batteries, set a national land speed record with an average time of 315 mph (506.9 kph). Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered land speed electric vehicle, set the international record of 303 mph (487.6 kph) in 2009.

New OSU Research Suggests Stress Matters More Than Diet

This study is the first to show that stress has the potential to cancel out benefits of choosing healthier fats. The study comes from researchers at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Unstressed women who ate a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast made mostly with saturated fat fared worse in blood tests looking for precursors to disease than those women who ate an identical breakfast made primarily with monounsaturated sunflower oil.

But when women in the study had a stressful event before the breakfast test, the hardships of the previous day appeared to erase any benefits linked to the healthy fat choice, say researchers from The Ohio State University.

Minor irritants didn’t count as a stressful day. Stressors included having to clean up paint a child spilled all over the floor and struggling to help a parent with dementia who was resisting help.

This study leaves open questions about the connections between stress, fat source and healthier meals higher in fiber and fruits and vegetables and lower in calories, say Ohio State Researchers.