OSU Studies the Ways in Which Scheduled Activities Distract Us

New research at the Ohio State University has found that humans experience time as subjectively shorter when time is experienced right before a scheduled appointment or task. This was determined by the research team after a series of 8 different studies.

The research seems to hold up not just “in the lab,” but in real life as well. The team found that people really do get more done when they don’t have a task or meeting coming up at a particular time. This likely explains why people feel like they don’t get anything done on days when they have a bunch of meetings scheduled and they are scattered throughout the work day.

The core of the issue is that the anticipation of the scheduled activity becomes a distraction.

One solution suggested by researchers was to try and lump all your meetings together if you can. This will leave long stretches of time for larger projects and your mind won’t wander to the immediate future. They also said to look at the clock, remind yourself that you do, in fact, have plenty of time.

The research has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

OSU Researchers Study New Pig Virus with Cross-Species Potential

A newly found virus in pigs was seen to easily “jump species” in a laboratory test with cultured human cells and other species. For the OSU research team this raises concerns about potential outbreaks that could threaten humans and animals alike.

Researchers from OSU joined forces with an Utrecht University (Netherlands) team to try to understand the virus’s potential risks. This is the first study on the virus to note the possibility of a “species jump.” The research will be published in PNAS online.

The new virus, porcine deltacoronavirus, was first discovered in ’12 in pigs in China. It was later found in the US in an Ohio-based pig illness outbreak and since then it has been found in various other countries. No human cases have ever been confirmed, but researchers have their concerns.

For many public health officials and those involved in veterinary care, the virus seems especially dangerous because of it being so alike to SARS and MERS. Until there is a documented case of a “species jump” major concerns remain grounded firmly in the pig population.

Water Filter Pitchers Don’t All Filter Equally

A new study at the Ohio State University found that water filter pitches don’t all do an equal job of filtering harmful materials from water. The new study compared three popular brands in their ability to filter out microcystins from tap water. One brand did fine, the other two didn’t stop the microcystins, which get into the water during harmful algal blooms.

The study, which appears in Water Science Technology: Water Supply, found that the fastest filter made with coconut-based activated carbon could only remove about 50% (or less!) of the microcystins. While the slowest one, made from an active carbon blend, made microcystins undetectable in the water.

The researchers don’t specifically name any of the three bands, but they are all common and range in price from $15 to $50. Interested parties would be able to read the study, which does specifically name the features of each pitcher and their findings, and deduce from that data which brand of pitcher to buy if they want the best filtration.

Students with Intellectual Disabilities Not Spending Enough Time in Gen Ed?

In 1975 a national law was created that required students with intellectual disabilities spend as much time as is possible in gen. ed. courses. A new study by OSU researchers has found that progress in that regard has come to a standstill. No other study has examined nation-wide patterns in placement for students with these disabilities for the entire life span of the law, some 40 years.

In this time, 55-73% of students with intellectual disabilities spend nearly their whole day in specialized schools or classrooms instead of with their non-disabled peers.

Researchers used multiple data sources to find out how students between the ages of 6-21 where placed in each federally-reported educational system between 1976 and 2014.
One possibility might be that inclusion has stalled because most students are already placed in the least restrictive educational environment possible, as per the federal law. However, data from multiple states suggests that the issue could be a lack of standardization among school systems on what constitutes the “least restrictive education environment”.

The study will be published in the American Journal on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.

OSU Welcomes New Students Through Mobile Devices

OSU will feature a “digital wallpaper” on university-provided devices that will greet thousands of incoming students next month at orientation. It is the creation of 3rd year industrial design student Nadia Ayad. She is the winner of the universities Digital Flagship Wallpaper Contest. It is an annual contest in which undergraduates compete to have their work featured on mobile device home screens that many incoming freshmen will see. The winner’s drawing comes pre-loaded on some ten-thousand devices distributed to  students each academic year.

Ayad’s winning design features a variety of imagery from fast foods like pizza and doughnuts to imagery that nods towards majors like chemistry, agriculture and sports. Ayad earned herself an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil as a prize for her outstanding design work.

Similar digital tool kits will be given to new first-year students at all campuses as part of an initiative to help prep students for the mobile workplace. Furthermore, these students will have access to app building tools and related business partnerships and professional development opportunities.