Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area Opens

The Ohio State University alumnus, better known as an Olympic champion and hero, Jesse Owens, recently had a park dedicated to his memory.

Ohio Governor Kasich and two of Owens’ daughters and cadre of OSU track and field team members and coaches gathered at the Owens Memorial Stadium to honor the opening. Another ceremony was also held in the Morgan County park.

Phase one of the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area will be the adding of 5,735 acres to Ohio’s public park land. Gov. Kasich noted that this will increase to a 13,000 acre addition over the next three years.

Cleveland-born Owens set a world record for the sprint while at Ohio State—often called the Buckeye Bullet thereafter. Owens went on to win not only a great athletic victory at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin by winning four gold medals, it was also a great social and political victory during uncertain times.

Owen’s daughter Marlene stated that the park will be a permanent monument to her father’s achievements.
Marlene Owens Rankin, one of Owen’s daughters, said the park will be a permanent monument to her father’s life.

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The Endangered, Endangered Species Act Is Supported by Majority of Americans, According to New Study

While media coverage of the Endangered Species Act and the threat of its extinction may make it seem like everyday people in America must no longer support it, a new study by Ohio State University researchers seems to suggest otherwise: everyday Americans are, for the most part, for the act.

The new survey, published in Conservation Letters, finds that 4/5ths of Americans support the act and only 1 out of 10 oppose it. The survey was taken by 1,287 Americans.
Additionally, what the survey found may come as a surprise. Even within 8 special interest groups, such as property-rights advocates and hunters, researchers found the groups were all 68% supportive of the ESA. Support was also consistent throughout varied regions U.S..

Furthermore, the study found that throughout the political party spectrum Americans  supportive of the ESA were well within the majority: 90% of liberals supported it; 77% of moderates; and 74% of conservatives.

Even within the community that demonstrated the highest rate of opposition, property rights advocates, the opposition came in three points shy of a quarter of the community at 21% in opposition.

OSU and Partners Break Ground on Driverless Vehicle Testing Grounds

The Ohio State University, ODOT and Gov. John Kasich joined together with other organizations to break ground on the Transportation Research Center’s new SMART Center in East Liberty, bringing the unique testing ground for driverless vehicles closer to fruition.

The 540-acre testing grounds, when complete, will be the largest of its kind in North America. The site will offer year-round testing in all different kinds of weather conditions. Part of the proving ground is slotted to open later this year.

Last year the University announced a $45 million investment to build the new SMART Center. The College of Engineering has committed to spending $24 million over five years to help the SMART Center hire staff and faculty to support research into driverless vehicle technology.

Many at the University believe the SMART Center will be a great advantage to students preparing for careers in computer science and engineering. The previously built portions of the SMART Center have already seen a lot of use by students and faculty.

New OSU Study Finds Scheduling Leisure Can Undermine Enjoyment

While many of us may feel we won’t ever get any leisure time if we don’t schedule it into our fast pace lives new research shows that by scheduling leisure we might undermine our own enjoyment. However, the researchers also have a suggestion on how to combat this effect.

In a study completed last year researchers found that scheduling leisure with strict start and end times negates the free form nature of enjoyment. Instead of saying you’ll play tennis at 6pm, just say you’ll do it after work. Rough scheduling rather than strict scheduling is the key.

Next, researchers suggest that you avoid what they call “hard stops.” In other words, don’t schedule something immediately after a leisure activity, even another leisure activity. Researchers found that if one is always looking at the clock, that distracts from what is currently going on.

In one study, they found that most people agreed that if they had something like a massage scheduled they would enjoy it less if they knew something was going on immediately afterwards, even something like a meeting with friends.

Finally, they suggest focusing on the now. This element kind of combines the previous two. Don’t let your mind wander to what is next or what is past. Give yourself room to be spontaneous.

The article appears in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology

Buckeye Researchers Found Out How to Make Old Favorites Novel Again

If you’ve become bored of one of your favorite things, researchers at the Ohio State University might have some suggestions on how to introduce some novelty back into your favorite things. What they found was that whatever the activity or object was—popcorn, videos, even water—when consumed in an unconventional way, the consumer enjoyed them more.

The study suggested that when a subject consumed something via an unconventional method they were more easily able to focus on what it was that they loved about it in the first place. This phenomenon has already been employed in “pitch black” restaurants. These popular eateries serve dinner in the dark.

The researchers conducted multiple experiments. In a study of 68 participants, subjects came to a lab thinking they were there for a study on how to help people eat more slowly. Some of the subjects ate 10 pieces of popcorn using just hands; the others ate the pieces with chopsticks. Subjects then rated their experience in a variety of ways. Some of the measures were overall enjoyment, how much flavor the popcorn had and how much fun they had eating it. Participants using the chopsticks later said they enjoyed eating the popcorn more than the subjects who used their hands.

The research was published online at the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.