When Being A “Friend of a Friend” Keeps the Peace Between Nations

Results suggest that indirect peaceful relationships between nations have a surprisingly strong ability to prevent major conflicts, and that international military alliances may matter more than we typically expect.

Here are many examples of these indirect alliances helping keep the peace. One is the lack of conflict between Turkey and Iran from 1965 to 1979, a period during which they were indirectly connected at two degrees of separation. After losing this connection in 1980, disputes arose between the neighbors, reaching a peak in 1987 when they had a militarized dispute with fatalities.

Many studies have shown that nations with military alliances are less likely to go to war. But this new study is the first to show that neighboring countries without direct alliances are still unlikely to have serious conflicts, as long as they are indirectly connected through an ally in common.

In fact, this peace dividend extends up to three degrees of separation without getting weaker: Nations are much less likely to have wars with their allies, the allies of their allies, and the allies of their allies’ allies.

Funding for the study came from the National Science Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

From Trash to Tires: When Food Waste Hits the Road

According to the USDA, Americans consume nearly 100 billion eggs each year. Half are cracked open in commercial food factories, which pay to have the shells hauled to landfills by the ton. There, the mineral-packed shells don’t break down. The second most popular vegetable in the United States – the tomato – also provides a source of filler, the researchers found. Americans eat 13 million tons of tomatoes per year, most of them canned or otherwise processed.

Commercial tomatoes have been bred to grow thick, fibrous skins so that they can survive being packed and transported long distances. When food companies want to make a product such as tomato sauce, they peel and discard the skin, which isn’t easily digestible.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered that food waste can partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in manufacturing tires for more than a century.

In tests, rubber made with the new fillers exceeds industrial standards for performance, which may ultimately open up new applications for rubber. The technology has the potential to solve three problems: It makes the manufacture of rubber products more sustainable, reduces American dependence on foreign oil and keeps waste out of landfills.

OSU Research: Mediterranean Diet as a Pain Reliever?

OSU researchers have been looking at the well-established link between obesity and chronic pain. The link between the two, researchers found, could well be inflammation and the study points to the anti-inflammatory benefits of foods like fish, nuts and beans. Lead researcher, Charles Emery, professor of psychology at OSU, thinks a Mediterranean diet could be a key to preventing or reducing inflammatory pain in obese patients.

After developing their research model – which would determine whether components of an anti-inflammatory diet high in veggies, fruits, healthy fats and whole grains might play a key role in whether weight might lead to pain – researchers found a clear pattern existed. Eating a such a diet reduced body pain regardless of body weight.

The study also upheld previous research showing that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience pain. It included 98 men and women 20 to 78 years old and appears this month in the journal Pain.

While changes in diet to produce medical results should always be discussed with one’s primary care physician, this research could be a great way for some chronic pain sufferers to begin a path towards healing. The Mediterranean diet has already proven itself on the battlefield of heart health and weight loss, and now may earn a gold star rating in the realm of pain management.

OSU Takes Top Rank in GameDay Recycling Challenge

As anyone who has attended an OSU game can imagine, that stadium could generate a lot of potential waste, even for a single, well attended event. However, OSU’s stadium has been ranked as “zero waste” since 2013. This means the stadium is diverting 90% of its waste away from landfills. Methods of diversion include recycling, reusing and composting.

For five years running OSU has bested its competitors in the Big Ten Conference in the annual GameDay Recycling Challenge. The GameDay Recycling challenge is a national competition among colleges and universities, to promote waste reduction and sustainability at home football games.

The stadiums home-game season saw 95.4 percent of waste diverted away from landfills—no small feat! The most successful game was the November 26 against the University of Michigan, when the stadium diverted 96.23% of its waste. This total being higher, by 20%, than any achieved by any competitor in the conference.

Go Bucks! Go Green!

Moore Foundation grants $2.4 Million to OSU’s ASAS-SN project

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is making a five-year, $2.4 Million grant to the OSU All-Sky Automated Search for Supernovae project, which is lead by OSU Astronomy Professors Krzysztof Stanek (principal project investigator) and Co-Pi’s Christopher Kochanek and Todd Thompson.

In May 2014, ASAS-SN began its first observations with two sets of four telescopes located in Hawaii and Chile, hosted by the Las Cumbres Observatory based in Santa Barbara, California.

The technology used at the two cites can cover about half the visible sky and can see things 25,000 times fainter than what the human eye can see. Night by night thousands of images are capture and compared to previously recorded images.

Ohio State graduate students have played important roles in project development. And in just two years ASAS-SN has become the international leader in discovery of bright supernovae.

Additional support for ASAS-SN comes from the National Science Foundation, CCAPP, Chinese Academy of Sciences South America Center for Astronomy, the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, George Skestos, the Robert Martin Ayers Sciences Fund, and Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Initial seed funding for ASAS-SN was provided by Ohio State’s Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics (CCAPP).