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Block Party celebrates new home of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 11:59am
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A “block party” celebration of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, which is currently under construction, will take place Oct. 17 at the center, located at 2320 S.W. Monroe Ave.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A “block party” celebration of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, which is currently under construction, will take place Oct. 17 at the center, located at 2320 S.W. Monroe Ave.

The event will be from 5:15-7 p.m., as a street party featuring a DJ, bouncy inflatables that can accommodate adults, and free food including pulled pork sandwiches. Those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP by emailing events@oregonstate.edu or by calling 541-737-4717.

“This is one of many great events we’re putting on this year at the BCC,” said Dominique Austin, assistant director for the center. Austin said the block party ties in with the center’s theme for this year, which is creating a culture of excellence within the black community at OSU and a welcoming atmosphere for all students.

“The BCC is not only for black students, but is open to the whole OSU community,” Austin said. “All students are welcome. You don’t have to identify as black. We have a very diverse staff at the BCC, and we’re committed to recruiting and retaining students from all backgrounds.”

The BCC, as it is known, is one of four OSU cultural centers getting a new home to replace its former aging building. The Native American Longhouse moved into a new building in 2013, and the Cesar Chavez Centro Cultural opened the doors of their new building in 2014. The new Asian and Pacific Cultural Center is currently under construction. The four cultural centers are being funded with a combination of private gifts and university funds. 

Groundbreaking for the BCC took place in June, 2013, but construction was delayed after workers found that groundwater and soil about eight feet below grade had been contaminated by fuel from an unknown source, possibly many years ago.

Due to health concerns from the contaminated soil and groundwater, OSU had to hire a geotechnical firm from Portland to establish the extent of the contamination and then do a risk analysis. The result was evidence that the contamination was spread over a significant area of the construction site, but that the levels were medium low, meaning it was safe to proceed with construction as long as a vapor barrier was placed under the foundation, protecting all occupants from any contamination or risk.

The extra steps involved in addressing the contamination issue slowed the construction, but project manager Larrie Easterly says the new building will be ready to move into by spring break, 2015, within the same approximate completion time as the Native American Longhouse, which took two years from groundbreaking to completion. The Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez broke ground in November, 2012, and was completed in April, 2014.

The original Black Student Union Cultural Center was formed on campus in 1975, and later renamed the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center after the first director of the Educational Opportunities Program, who helped increase recruitment and retention of black students at OSU.

The new building will provide entrances both to Memorial Place, to the east of the current building, and Monroe Avenue to the north. The building, designed by Seattle architectural firm Jones & Jones, will have a unique circular lounge, and exterior brick patterns based on Yoruba textiles known as Aso Oke, from Nigeria.

The BCC is temporarily being housed in Snell Hall, Room 427. Programming is continuing there and BCC students benefit from a recent grant that is helping students at all OSU cultural centers.

The Meyer Memorial Trust grant has given Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) the opportunity to provide academic mentors, tutors, and study tables in all cultural centers including the BCC.  Academic mentors are peer educators who help students with academics, to connect to resources, and partner with the Academic Success Center’s Learning Campaign.   

The current BCC space is dedicated for study tables Mondays through Thursdays from 2-5 p.m.  Math and chemistry tutoring is provided on Mondays from 3-6 p.m.  The center also is collaborating with the Writing Center to providing writing assistants in the BCC on Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. That work will continue once the BCC staff and students move into their new home during spring break, 2015.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Dominique Austin, 541-737-0706; dominique.austin@oregonstate.edu

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Categories: Research news

Be Well Run, Walk N’ Roll celebrates fifth year

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 12:10pm
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Runners, race walkers and anyone looking for a brisk fall stroll are invited to participate in a 5-kilometer run/1-mile walk on Oct. 17 at Oregon State University. It is free and open to the public.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Runners, race walkers and anyone looking for a brisk fall stroll are invited to participate in a 5-kilometer run/1-mile walk on Oct. 17 at Oregon State University. It is free and open to the public. 

The event, which is sponsored by Be Well, OSU Healthy Campus Initiatives and Recreational Sports, celebrates Beaver Nation’s commitment to health and well-being. The run/walk kicks off at 3:30 p.m.

This is the fifth year of the “Run, Walk, N’ Roll” event, which draws hundreds to the Memorial Union quad. While many participate in the 5K run, others take a more relaxed approach and walk, roll or stroll through a mile-long route.

This year, the event fair includes a ‘body shop’ starting at 3 p.m., giving participants a chance to test their flexibility, balance, heart rate, blood pressure and to try out biofeedback.

“Every year it’s fun to see so many OSU and Corvallis community folks coming out to enjoy this event,” said Lisa Hoogesteger, director of Healthy Campus Initiatives. “A lot of people bring their whole family and teams dress up in fun costumes. It’s a party atmosphere, and it really emphasizes that physical activity can be fun and social as well.” 

The long course takes runners out Campus Way past the covered bridge and almost to the fairgrounds and back, while the short course ends by the east greenhouses on Campus Way and circles back around.

Registration is free and those who pre-register are guaranteed to receive a T-shirt. Pre-registration is encouraged to avoid lines the day of the event.

To register, go to http://oregonstate.edu/recsports/bewell5k. Check in for the event and day-of registration will be available on site in the Memorial Union Quad starting at 3 p.m. on the day of the event.

For photos of last year’s event: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/sets/72157636549485256/

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Lisa Hoogesteger, 541-737-3343; lisa.hoogesteger@oregonstate.edu

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Last year's event

Categories: Research news

Rivers recover natural conditions quickly following dam removal

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 9:19am
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Rivers can quickly return to their natural state, both physically and biologically, following removal of dams, a new study shows.

 

The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/1rdQ4wL

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of the removal of two dams in Oregon suggests that rivers can return surprisingly fast to a condition close to their natural state, both physically and biologically, and that the biological recovery might outpace the physical recovery.

The analysis, published by researchers from Oregon State University in the journal PLOS One, examined portions of two rivers – the Calapooia River and Rogue River. It illustrated how rapidly rivers can recover, both from the long-term impact of the dam and from the short-term impact of releasing stored sediment when the dam is removed.

Most dams have decades of accumulated sediment behind them, and a primary concern has been whether the sudden release of all that sediment could cause significant damage to river ecology or infrastructure.

However, this study concluded that the continued presence of a dam on the river constituted more of a sustained and significant alteration of river status than did the sediment pulse caused by dam removal.

“The processes of ecological and physical recovery of river systems following dam removal are important, because thousands of dams are being removed all over the world,” said Desirée Tullos, an associate professor in the OSU Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering.

“Dams are a significant element in our nation’s aging infrastructure,” she said. “In many cases, the dams haven’t been adequately maintained and they are literally falling apart. Depending on the benefits provided by the dam, it’s often cheaper to remove them than to repair them.”

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the United States has 84,000 dams with an average age of 52 years. Almost 2,000 are now considered both deficient and “high hazard,” and it would take $21 billion to repair them. Rehabilitating all dams would cost $57 billion. Thus, the removal of older dams that generate only modest benefits is happening at an increasing rate.

In this study, the scientists examined the two rivers both before and after removal of the Brownsville Dam on the Calapooia River and the Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River. Within about one year after dam removal, the river ecology at both sites, as assessed by aquatic insect populations, was similar to the conditions upstream where there had been no dam impact.

Recovery of the physical structure of the river took a little longer. Following dam removal, some river pools downstream weren’t as deep as they used to be, some bars became thicker and larger, and the grain size of river beds changed. But those geomorphic changes diminished quickly as periodic floods flushed the river system, scientists said.

Within about two years, surveys indicated that the river was returning to the pre-removal structure, indicating that the impacts of the sediment released with dam removal were temporary and didn’t appear to do any long-term damage.

Instead, it was the presence of the dam that appeared to have the most persistent impact on the river biology and structure – what scientists call a “press” disturbance that will remain in place so long as the dam is there.

This press disturbance of dams can increase water temperatures, change sediment flow, and alter the types of fish, plants and insects that live in portions of rivers.  But the river also recovered rapidly from those impacts once the dam was gone.

It’s likely, the researchers said, that the rapid recovery found at these sites will mirror recovery on rivers with much larger dams, but more studies are needed.

For example, large scale and rapid changes are now taking place on the Elwha River in Washington state, following the largest dam removal project in the world. The ecological recovery there appears to be occurring rapidly as well. In 2014, Chinook salmon were observed in the area formerly occupied by one of the reservoirs, the first salmon to see that spot in 102 years.

“Disturbance is a natural river process,” Tullos said. “In the end, most of these large pulses of sediment aren’t that big of a deal, and there’s often no need to panic. The most surprising finding to us was that indicators of the biological recovery appeared to happen faster than our indicators of the physical recovery.”

The rates of recovery will vary across sites, though. Rivers with steeper gradients, more energetic flow patterns, and non-cohesive sediments will recover more quickly than flatter rivers with cohesive sediments, researchers said.

This research was supported by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Marine Fisheries Service. It was a collaboration of researchers from the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Engineering, and College of Science.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Desirée Tullos, 541-737-2038

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Removing Savage Rapids Dam

Categories: Research news

Valley Library celebrates 15 years

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 2:20pm
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Oregon State University is celebrating the Valley Library’s 15th anniversary this month with guided tours led by student employees

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is celebrating the Valley Library’s 15th anniversary this month with guided tours led by student employees highlighting the many services and resources the library provides, far beyond books and study space. 

Tours take place between 2 and 4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 16, and run every 15 minutes (the final tour starts at 3:15 p.m.) They meet in the library foyer on the second floor.

Remodeling of Valley Library began in 1996, and was completed in 1999. Former university librarian Karyle Butcher oversaw the completion of the $47 million project, which improved the original Kerr Library. Kerr had been designed to store 750,000 volumes, approximately half of what Valley Library contains today.

The old building was designed long before computers and digital archives moved to the forefront of library technology. Valley Library has continued to adapt to changing technology, offering classrooms that allow for interactive multi-media lessons, like the Autzen, and providing services like 3-D printing.

Valley Library is also home to University Archives & Special Collections, which offers treasures ranging from dated manuscripts to the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. It also includes many online collections accessible to anyone around the world.

Additionally, the library houses the OSU Press, one of the few thriving university presses in the Northwest, as well as the Center for Digital Scholarship, Oregon Explorer, ScholarsArchive, and Oregon Digital Collections.

To learn more, take one of the tours or visit: http://library.oregonstate.edu/

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Faye Chadwell, 541-737-7300, faye.chadwell@oregonstate.edu

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Valley Library

Categories: Research news

Corvallis Science Pub focuses on Buddhism and science

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:15am
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At the Oct. 13 Corvallis Science Pub, Dee Denver, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University, will explore the intersection of these two traditions.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Science and Buddhism might seem to have little in common, but they share surprising similarities. At the Oct. 13 Corvallis Science Pub, Dee Denver, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University, will explore the intersection of these two traditions.

The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St. in Corvallis.

“Science of the West and Buddhism of the East have been separated in time and space for most of their respective histories, but recent dialogue between them has revealed many unexpected points of harmony,” said Denver. “Science and Buddhism share a value in logic and reason in shaping their respective worldviews.”

Denver is director of the Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program at OSU. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in 2002. His research team studies the evolution of genomes and symbiotic relationships in nematodes and anemones. In 2012, he was a visiting research professor at Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon, where he did research for an ongoing book project focused on the intersections of Buddhism and biology.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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College of Science Media Contact:  Nick Houtman Source: 

Dee Denver, 541-737-3698

Categories: Research news

Fireworks display part of Beaver Nation celebration

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 9:22am
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Oregon State University is inviting students, faculty, staff and community members to Goss Stadium this Friday to celebrate being a part of “Beaver Nation” with free food, prizes and a fireworks show.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is inviting students, faculty, staff and community members to Goss Stadium this Friday to celebrate being a part of “Beaver Nation” with free food, prizes and a fireworks show. 

The activities, which are free and open to the public, begin at 7 p.m., Oct. 10 at Goss Stadium (the baseball park) on campus.

“The term ‘Beaver Nation’ is best-known in athletics, but it actually represents something much bigger,” said Melody Oldfield, assistant vice president for University Relations and Marketing. “Beaver Nation is the community of Oregon State students, faculty, staff and alumni who are solving problems, making discoveries and leading innovations that make positive impacts across Oregon – and around the world.

 “This event is a way to welcome students – the newest members of Beaver Nation – and celebrate what we can accomplish together,” she added.

 The first 500 people at the event will receive Papa John’s pizza. Among the prizes will be a $500 gift card to the OSU Beaver Store.

 Orange glow sticks will be handed out and participants will form a glowing orange outline of the state of Oregon, which will be captured on video.

 OSU officials say the fireworks should go off around 7:45 to 8 p.m.

 “We want to let the university’s neighbors know so they aren’t alarmed,” Oldfield said.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Melody Oldfield, 541-737-8956; melody.oldfield @oregonstate.edu

Brittney Yeskie, 541-737-8955; Brittney.yeskie@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

OSU researcher receives NIH award

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 9:17am
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Perry Hystad, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health, is one of 17 winners of the NIH’s 2014 Early Independence Award.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An environmental epidemiologist at Oregon State University has been selected for a prestigious award for early career scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Perry Hystad, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, is one of 17 winners of the NIH’s 2014 Early Independence Award.

Hystad will receive $250,000 each year for up to five years to support a global study on air pollution and health. He is the first researcher at Oregon State to receive an Early Independence Award since they began in 2011. He joined the OSU faculty in 2013, and earned a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of British Columbia.

The awards, announced Monday by the NIH, are highly competitive grants to encourage young scientists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific creativity, intellectual maturity and leadership skills, and who have developed bold and innovative approaches to addressing health problems.

“I am extremely excited to have received the NIH Early Independence Award,” Hystad said. “This is an innovative program that will allow me to study global air pollution and health. The results will have direct implications for global, national and local policy to reduce the burden of cardiopulmonary disease.”

Recent estimates suggest that 3.2 million deaths are caused each year by outdoor air pollution, making it one of the most important modifiable risk factors affecting health, Hystad said. However, there are still a number of substantial uncertainties surrounding air pollution impacts on health and most research has been conducted in developed countries.

Hystad plans to use data from a large-scale epidemiological study to better understand how air pollution impacts cardiovascular and respiratory disease around the world, in a study including 155,000 people in 628 communities and 17 countries.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Perry Hystad, 541-737-4829, perry.hystad@oregonstate.edu

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Perry Hystad

Categories: Research news

Thursday night football game will impact OSU parking

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 4:11pm
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Oregon State University students, staff and faculty should plan ahead as parking on campus will be a challenge on Thursday, Oct. 16, due to a 7 p.m. home football game against Utah.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University students, staff and faculty should plan ahead as parking on campus will be a challenge on Thursday, Oct. 16, due to a 7 p.m. home football game against Utah.

Employees and students are encouraged to find alternative transportation to campus Oct. 16 or to park strategically, as some lots will be restricted to those with game day passes only after 1 p.m. On game day, OSU parking permit holders will be allowed to park in any A, B, or C zone, regardless of their permitted zone, but some parking lots will be closing midday to employees and students to accommodate parking by football game ticketholders.

OSU department heads and business unit directors are encouraged to be more flexible with employees to accommodate the influx of cars and visitors to campus.

A free shuttle to and from campus will be offered to anyone who parks at the Benton County Fairgrounds beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday morning through 2 a.m. Friday morning after the game. The fairgrounds are located west of campus along Southwest 53rd Street just south of Harrison Boulevard. During peak hours, the fairgrounds shuttle will run at least every 30 minutes. The OSU Beaver Bus service will run on its normal schedule on game day.

Beginning at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16, some parking lots will be open only to those with athletics-issued game-day parking passes and must be vacated by OSU permit holders. These include:

  • All Reser Stadium parking lots;
  • The Gill Coliseum lot;
  • The parking garage at 26th Street and Washington;
  • South Farm parking lot off Brooklane Road.

Other parking areas (listed below) will be available until 3 p.m. for regular faculty/staff business day parking. After 3 p.m., however, entrance to these areas will be limited only to people with athletics-issued game-day parking permits. Employee and student vehicles already parked in these lots may remain until 5 p.m., at which time all vehicles without athletics-issued passes must vacate. Signs will be posted at the entrance of these lots. These include:

  • Lots between 15th Street and 11th Street, off Washington Way;
  • The Benton Place parking lots east of Goss Stadium;
  • Lots off Washington Way adjacent to the Student Legacy Park (intramural fields);
  • The 30th Street parking lots around Peavy Hall, between Jefferson Street and Washington Way;
  • The 30th Street parking lot by Magruder Hall;
  • The 35th Street parking lot at the OSU Foundation building;
  • The lot off 15th Street and Western Boulevard at the University Plaza building

All other Faculty/Staff parking lots that are designated as “Athletics Event” parking on game days are available for regular business-day parking. However, they will have attendants starting at 4 p.m. Employees are encouraged to vacate these lots by 5 p.m. and will be required to vacate those lots by 6 p.m.

RVs are only allowed after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the gravel lot off 35th and Campus Way, next to the Motor Pool. Employees and students who normally park in this location, should give themselves extra time Thursday morning to locate a parking space as many may be filled with recreational vehicles. RV’s are not permitted on campus in any other lot on Wednesday.

A game-day parking map is available to help visitors, students and employees better understand designated lots. It is available online at:  http://www.osubeavers.com/pdf9/2778891.pdf

For additional information regarding game-day parking on campus, visit the OSU athletics website at www.osubeavers.com or for offering thoughts and concerns, e-mail eventmanagement@oregonstate.edu; wecare@oregonstate.edu or contact Steve Clark, vice president for University Relations and Marketing at steve.clark@oregonstate.edu. For suggestions on alternative transportation: 

http://transportation.oregonstate.edu/ 

The Corvallis Transit System map is accessible at: http://www.corvallisoregon.gov/index.aspx?page=884

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

OSU names Jay Noller new head of crop and soil science

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:49am
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has selected Jay Noller as the new department head of crop and soil science in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Noller, a longtime landscape soils professor in the department, starts his new position on Oct. 1. He succeeds Russ Karow, who is retiring and served as department head since 2001.

 “Our research into soil and crops will continue to have a common theme: food. Improving food, creating sustainable conditions to produce food and supporting stakeholders in agriculture and natural resources,” said Noller, who previously served as associate department head under Karow.

“We’re also all about terroir—how food carries its place of origin with it through taste, nutrition and other qualities. We want people to say, ‘This came from Oregon,’” he added.

As department head, Noller has set his sights on increasing the number of undergraduate students, noting the department could double its current enrollment. Students with crop and soil expertise are enjoying increased employment opportunities in farming, conservation, forestry and agricultural support, he said.

“There are jobs in these areas. We can prepare students to immediately launch into the positions and be effective.” Noller said. “There is a crying need for the knowledge and training we provide, especially in agronomic circles.”

Noller will also continue an effort to combine the department’s faculty and labs into a single cohesive unit under the same roof—an ongoing effort since the separate departments of crop and soil science merged in 1990.

Before becoming department head, Noller studied the co-evolution of landscapes and culture, such as soil erosion in relationship with ancient land use in Cyprus and Greece. Digging deep into the soils under Rome recently, Noller concluded the ancient city began as a grain terminal for exporting food around the Mediterranean, Middle East and beyond.

“Jay truly thinks across the broad spectrum in academia – from the liberal arts to the depths of science,” said Karow. “He uses new technologies and knowledge of the environment and plant communities to predict what soil will be—and see what could have been."

Noller is also an accomplished artist, painting the often hidden beauty of underground landscapes. He incorporates soils from around the world into his paintings to add texture and unique colors. To see his artwork, visit http://soilscapestudio.com.

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Daniel Robison Source: 

Jay Noller, 541-737-2821

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Jay Noller incorporates his landscape research and soils from around the world into his celebrated artwork.

Categories: Research news

OSU to present sixth International Film Festival Oct. 13-19

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 2:57pm
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Oregon State University’s sixth International Film Festival, showcasing a diverse array of movies from international cultures, will be held Oct. 13-19 in Corvallis.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s sixth International Film Festival, showcasing a diverse array of movies from international cultures, will be held Oct. 13-19 in Corvallis.

The festival is organized and hosted by the School of Language, Culture and Society in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU. The festival was launched in 2009 by faculty teaching film courses in foreign language and literature to showcase the variety of international cultures.

All screenings will be held at Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St., Corvallis. The screenings are free and open to the public but attendees need to obtain a ticket at the Darkside before entering the auditorium. Seats are limited so early arrival is encouraged.

The schedule of screenings is:

Monday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m.: “The Golden Dream,” 2013, Guatemala, Spain and Mexico.

8 p.m.: “Not My Day,” 2014, Germany.

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 6 p.m.: “A Street in Palermo,” 2103, Italy, France, Switzerland.

8 p.m.: “Rise Up! And Dance,” 2014, Austria.

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 6 p.m.: “Heli,” 2013, Mexico, Netherlands, Germany and France.

8 p.m.: “When Inge is Dancing,” 2013, Germany.

Thursday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.:  “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed,” 2013, Spain.

8 p.m.: “Sweet Alibis,” 2014, Taiwan.

Friday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m.: “Lola,” 1981, West Germany.

8 p.m.: “Horizon Beautiful,” 2013, Ethiopia, Switzerland. Actor Bryan Renzi will attend the film and a meet and greet will be held afterward.

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2 p.m.: “The Sky Has Four Corners,” 2011, Germany.

4 p.m.: “The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas,” 2013, Greece and Czech Republic.

6 p.m.: “Run Boy Run,” 2013, France, Germany and Czech Republic.

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2:30 p.m.: “Ich-Udo,” 2012, Germany and United States.

3:15 p.m.: “Moments – The Photographer Robert Lebeck,” 2008, Germany. 

4 p.m.: “Roraima – Climbers of the Lost World,” 2013, Austria.

6 p.m.: “What They Don’t Talk About When They Don’t Talk About Love,” 2013, Indonesia.

 

For additional information about the festival or the films being screened, visit the festival web site at http://bit.ly/1t36jOz.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957, Sebastian.heiduschke@oregonstate.edu

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"Living is Easy with Eyes Closed"

 

"Heli"

Categories: Research news

Oregon State to host hip-hop festival and concert Oct. 17

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 12:05pm
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Oregon State University will host a Hip-Hop Festival, including an academic symposium and concert showcasing hip-hop music and culture, on Friday, Oct. 17.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will host a Hip-Hop Festival, including an academic symposium and concert showcasing hip-hop music and culture, on Friday, Oct. 17, on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

Events will include a daylong symposium highlighting the role of hip-hop in international culture and history, featuring a conversation with pioneering female rapper MC Lyte, the first woman to release a solo rap album; and a presentation from Mare, a Zapotec hip-hop artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. An evening concert will feature artists Lil Flip, a rapper from Houston, Texas; and Portland-based rapper Illmaculate.

“Music isn’t just something we love – it affects how we experience and see culture as well as ourselves,” said Dana Reason, director of popular music studies and festival director. “We want to demonstrate how truly interdisciplinary hip-hop culture is and how it transcends boundaries.”

The festival is the first collaboration to stem from a new affiliate partnership between Oregon State’s College of Liberal Arts and the Los Angeles-based GRAMMY Museum. Museum executive director Bob Santelli will conduct an on-stage interview and conversation with MC Lyte during the symposium.  

“The hip-hop festival and symposium is an opportunity to celebrate our new partnership with the GRAMMY Museum, and will give students a window into the cultural significance of hip-hop on an international scale,” said Larry Rodgers, executive dean of the division of arts and sciences. “The speakers and performers we have lined up exemplify the genre's importance as an art form and as social and political commentary."

The symposium will run from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Loren Kajikawa, of the department of musicology and ethnomusicology at the University of Oregon, will give a keynote address at 9 a.m. Two panel discussions featuring academic scholars discussing aspects of hip-hop’s impact on culture will also be held.

Symposium attendees also will have a chance to participate in workshops on beat-making; music technology, led by OSU music instructors; and graffiti, led by graffiti artists KujoRock and KangoKid.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but those interested in attending are encouraged to register in advance online because space is limited and some sessions may reach capacity. Register online at http://bit.ly/1DRD1eh.

The concert, which also will feature Los Angeles-based hip-hop producer Mike Gao and a performance from the Oregon State and University of Oregon B-Boys hip-hop dancers, will run from 7:15 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Concert tickets are free for students, faculty and staff with an OSU identification card; $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets are available online at http://bit.ly/1DRD1eh. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to reserve tickets online; the fee will be waived with a valid ID number.

Performances and presentations will be held in Reser Stadium on the club and loge levels, with additional events and exhibits in the plaza outside the stadium. The full schedule of events is available online at http://bit.ly/1rkVgSV.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Media Contact: 

 

Source: 

Dana Reason, programdirectorhiphop@gmail.com

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Categories: Research news

Study finds air temperature models poor at predicting stream temps

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 10:16am
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Stream temperatures are expected to rise as a result of climate change, but a new study has found the correlation between air and stream temperatures surprisingly tenuous.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stream temperatures are expected to rise in the future as a result of climate change, but a new study has found that the correlation between air temperature and stream temperature is surprisingly tenuous.

The findings cast doubt on many statistical models using air temperatures to predict future stream temperatures.

Lead author Ivan Arismendi, a stream ecologist at Oregon State University, examined historic stream temperature data over a period of one to four decades from 25 sites in the western United States to see if increases in air temperature during this period could have predicted – through the use of statistical models – the observed stream temperatures.

He discovered that many streams were cooler than the models predicted, while others were warmer. The difference in temperature between the models and actual measurements, however, was staggering – as much as 12 degrees Celsius different in some rivers.

Results of the study have recently been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study involved scientists from Oregon State, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, and was supported by all three organizations, as well as by the National Science Foundation.

“These air-stream temperature models originated as a tool for looking at short-term relationships,” said Arismendi, a researcher in the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “The problem is that people are starting to use them for long-term extrapolation. It is unreliable to apply uniform temperature impacts on a regional scale because there are so many micro-climate factors influencing streams on a local basis.”

Sherri Johnson, a U.S. Forest Service research ecologist and co-author on the study, said the findings are important because decisions based on these models may not be accurate. Some states, for example, have projected a major loss of suitable habitat for trout and other species because the models suggest increases in stream temperature commensurate with projected increases in air temperature.

“It just isn’t that simple,” Arismendi said. “Stream temperatures are influenced by riparian shading and in-stream habitat, like side channels. Dams can have an enormous influence, as can groundwater. It is a messy, complex challenge to project stream temperatures into the future.”

What made this study work, the authors say, was evaluating more than two dozen sites that had historic stream temperature data, which can be hard to find. The development about a dozen years ago of data loggers that can be deployed in streams is contributing enormous amounts of new data, but accurate historic records of stream temperatures are sparse.

Researchers at USGS and at sites like the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, part of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research program, have compiled stream data for up to 44 years, giving Arismendi and his colleagues enough historical data to conduct the comparative study.

In many of the 25 sites examined in the study, the researchers found that the difference between model-projected stream temperatures and actual stream temperatures was as great as the actual amount of warming projected – 3.0 degrees Celsius, or 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit. And in some cases, the projections were even farther off target.

“The models predictions were poor in summer and winter, and when there are extreme situations,” Arismendi noted. “They were developed to look at Midwest streams and don’t account for the complexity of western streams that are influenced by topography, extensive riparian areas and other factors.”

Increases in air temperatures in the future are still likely to influence stream temperatures, but climate sensitivity of streams “is more complex than what is being realized by using air temperature-based models,” said Mohammad Safeeq, an Oregon State University researcher and co-author on the study.

“The good news is that some of the draconian projections of future stream temperatures may be overstated,” noted Safeeq, who is in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “On the other hand, some may actually be warmer than what air temperature-based models project.”

Not all streams will be affected equally, Johnson said.

“The one constant is that a healthy watershed will be more resilient to climate change than one that isn’t healthy – and that should continue to be the focus of restoration and management efforts,” she noted.

Jason Dunham, an aquatic ecologist with the USGS and co-author on the study, said the study highlights the value of long-term stream temperature records in the Northwest and globally.

“Without a long-term commitment to collecting this kind of data, we won’t have the ability to evaluate existing models as we did in this work,” Dunham said. “Long-term datasets provide vital material for developing better methods for quantifying the effects of climate on our water resources.”

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Ivan Arismendi, 541-750-7443;

Sherri Johnson, 541-758-7771

Categories: Research news

Visiting faculty members to read at Oregon State on Oct. 10

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 12:50pm
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Authors Nick Dybek and Inara Verzemnieks will read from their work on Friday, Oct. 10, at the Valley Library.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Authors Nick Dybek and Inara Verzemnieks will read from their work on Friday, Oct. 10, at Oregon State University in Corvallis, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library. They are both visiting faculty members in OSU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing this year.

Verzemnieks is a former reporter at The Oregonian and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. Her creative and journalistic work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Tin House, The Atlantic and Creative Nonfiction.

Her first memoir, which engages her family’s history and her own journey to reconnect with their homeland in Latvia, is forthcoming from Norton. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award and the Richard J. Margolis Award of the Blue Mountain Center.

Dybek’s novel, “When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man,” earned the 2013 Society of Midland Author Award and is described by The Economist as having “the momentum of a thrilling yarn, delivered as if by a scarred man by the consoling light of a fire.” Dybek is also the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award and a Maytag Fellowship, and his work has been featured in Granta New Voices.

The reading is part of the 2014-2015 Literary Northwest Series, sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film. The series brings Pacific Northwest writers to OSU and is made possible by support from the OSU Libraries and Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele and Grass Roots Books and Music.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the rotunda at the Valley Library, 201 S.W. Waldo Place. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the reading.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Media Contact: 

 

Source: 

Karen Holmberg, Karen.holmberg@oregonstate.edu

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OSU joins new education technology consortium

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:01am
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OSU has joined several leading research universities to create an education technology consortium called Unizin that will provide new ways to create and share digital educational content.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has joined several leading research universities to create an education technology consortium called Unizin that will provide new ways to create and share digital educational content.

Unizin is a university-owned and operated national collaboration to provide a common infrastructure for educational content and empower faculty with a new suite of tools to create and share digital learning materials.

“As a founding member of the new Unizin consortium, Oregon State steps up to a leadership role nationwide to help guide the next generation digital learning,” said Lois Brooks, vice provost for Information  Services and chief information officer at OSU.

Oregon State has been involved in the development of the new Unizin consortium for the past year. Colorado State University, University of Florida, Indiana University and the University of Michigan signed on earlier this year. Now Oregon State, University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota join them as founding members of Unizin, to provide leadership in higher education for the new wave of digital learning technologies and strategies sweeping college campuses.

By the end of this year, Unizin founding membership is likely to grow with several additional leading research universities working toward full membership.

“That three more world-class institutions joined Unizin further validates our strategy and gives us the momentum to have greater impact on teaching and learning,” said Amin Qazi, chief executive officer of Unizin. “The participation of these institutions will greatly extend our reach and strengthen the services Unizin provides to its members.”

Under Unizin, OSU faculty will be able to create and share digital content with faculty at other Unizin institutions as well as universities around the world who subscribe to standards for open educational resources, giving students access to more and better digital course materials.

“Over the past few decades, higher education has been evolving from a traditional lecture format to more digital-based interactive learning,” said Dave King, OSU’s associate provost for Extended Campus. “The next step in that evolution is to provide richer digital material across a full spectrum of learning opportunities – credit courses, professional programs, open educational resources and especially important to OSU, Extension programs.

“Unizin helps us open the door to many people who otherwise would not have access to higher education.”

One faculty proponent for the move is Kevin Ahern, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics who already offers free online courses and books.

“What I like about Unizin is that it is a way for many more people across OSU to participate in sharing as I have done,” Ahern said. “Open Educational Resources is going to rapidly become the biggest movement in higher education and I am delighted to see OSU participate in this process. Unizin is a credible, meaningful effort that will benefit students across the country – and OSU is showing important leadership by joining the conversation.”

The lexicon of 21st-century education can be intimidating – MOOCs, badges, flipped classrooms, digital platforms, and professional short-courses. What they have in common is expanding the reach of higher education to meet the needs of students, industry, and other professionals.

This fall, for example, Oregon State is offering its first MOOC – massive open online course. Karen Thompson, an OSU education faculty member, is teaming with the Oregon Department of Education and Stanford University on a course to help K-12 teachers work better with English language learners in their classrooms to meet new standards. It is potentially open to thousands of educators throughout the country.

“The potential for these types of courses is enormous,” King said. “You could offer a course on climate change, or earthquake hazards, or watershed enhancement. It could be offered free, or it could be underwritten by an agency or organization, with universities maintaining both intellectual property and quality control.”

Through Unizin, faculty will also be able to analyze ways in which students best learn and tailor their courses accordingly. Access to these kinds of analytics is becoming a required management tool for universities which are focusing on improved learner and student success like Oregon State is under its newly revised strategic plan.

The technology revolution goes well beyond traditional distance learning, OSU officials say. Many OSU resident students take online courses as well, and creative faculty members are incorporating new technologies into their classroom lectures.

“Twenty years ago many of us were involved in the development of Internet2 to provide universities the network Internet access that has changed the trajectory toward success of higher education,” said Brooks. “Our collaborative approach to Unizin offers the same path toward success for digital and online learning. The potential to use technology to enhance the learning environment for all learners is enormous.”

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Dave King, 541-737-3810, dave.king@oregonstate.edu;

Lois Brooks, 541-737-8247, lois.brooks@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Task force outlines major initiatives to prepare for Pacific Northwest earthquake, tsunami

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 9:55am
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A Governor's Task Force led by Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering, has outlined a significant, long-term effort to prepare for the major earthquake in Oregon's future.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A task force that studied implementation of the Oregon Resilience Plan today submitted to the Oregon legislature an ambitious program to save lives, mitigate damage and prepare for a massive subduction zone earthquake and tsunami looming in the future of the Pacific Northwest.

The recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Resilience Plan Implementation, if enacted, would result in spending more than $200 million every biennium in a long-term initiative.

The program would touch everyone from energy providers and utility companies to their customers, parents and school children, businesses, builders, land use regulators, transportation planners and fire responders. It would become one of the most aggressive efforts in the nation to prepare for a costly, life-threatening disaster that’s seen as both catastrophic and inevitable.

“We have a clear plan for what needs to be done, and now is the time to take our first significant steps forward,” said Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, chair of the Governor’s Task Force, and an expert on liquefaction and earthquake engineering who has studied disasters all over the world, similar to those that Oregon will face.

“The scope of the disaster that the Pacific Northwest faces is daunting,” Ashford said. “And we won’t be able to accomplish everything we need to do in one or two years, but hopefully we won’t have to. What’s important is to get started, and the time for that is now.”

The task force making these recommendations included members of the Oregon legislature; advisers to Gov. Kitzhaber; private companies; the Oregon Office of Emergency Management; Oregon Department of Transportation; the Oregon Health Authority; city, county  and business leaders; the Red Cross and others.

The Oregon Resilience Plan, which was completed in early 2013, outlines more than 140 recommendations to reduce risk and improve recovery from a massive earthquake and tsunami that’s anticipated on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, similar to the one that hit Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

The newest analysis identified specific steps that are recommended for the 2015-17 biennium. They address not only earthquake damage, but also the special risks facing coastal residents from what is expected to be a major tsunami.

One of the largest single steps would be biennial funding of $200 million or more for the OBDD/IFA Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, with similar or higher levels of funding in the future. Funds could be used to rehabilitate existing public structures such as schools to improve their seismic safety; demolish unsafe structures; or replace facilities that must be moved out of a tsunami inundation zone.

It was recommended that additional revenue be identified to complete work within a decade on the most critical roads and bridges that form “backbone” transportation routes; that the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries receive $20 million to update inventory and evaluate critical facilities; and that $5 million be made available through existing programs for tsunami resilience planning by coastal communities.

Utility companies regulated by the Oregon Public Utility Commission would also be required to conduct seismic assessments of their facilities, and be allowed through rate increases to recover their costs if they make prudent investments to mitigate vulnerabilities.

When I studied areas that had been hard-hit by earthquakes in Chile, New Zealand and Japan, it became apparent that money spent to prepare for and minimize damage from the earthquake was hugely cost-effective,” Ashford said.

“One utility company in New Zealand said they saved about $10 for every $1 they had spent in retrofitting and rebuilding their infrastructure,” he said. “There’s a lot we can do right now that will make a difference and save money in the long run.”

Other key recommendations included:

  • Establish a resilience policy adviser to the governor;
  • Use the most recent tsunami hazard maps to redefine the inundation zone for construction;
  • Provide $1 million annually for scientific research by Oregon universities, to provide matching funds for earthquake research supported by the state, federal government or private industry;
  • Provide $500,000 to the Office of Emergency Management for educational programs and training aimed at managers, agencies, businesses and the general public;
  • Provide $500,000 to the Department of Education to lead a K-12 educational program;
  • Require water providers and wastewater agencies to complete a seismic risk assessment and mitigation plan, as part of periodic updates to master plans;
  • Require firefighting agencies, water providers and emergency management officials to create joint standards to use in a firefighting response to a large seismic event.

“Our next steps will include a lot of discussion, with the legislature, with business and community leaders, with the general public all over the state,” Ashford said. “The challenges we face are enormous but I really believe Oregonians are ready to take an important step toward resilience. This is our chance.”

College of Engineering Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Scott Ashford, 541-737-5232

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Japan liquefaction

YouTube video of damage done in the Japanese earthquake is available online: http://bit.ly/ZYH35d

Categories: Research news

Aspen recovering as wildlife populations shift in Yellowstone National Park

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 5:40pm
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Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies.

In the park’s northeast section, elk have decreased in number in their historic winter range in the Lamar Valley and are now more numerous outside the park. This change in elk numbers and distribution can be traced back to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995-96. Scientists have hypothesized that wolves affect both the numbers and the behavior of elk, thereby reducing the impact of browsing on vegetation, a concept known as a “trophic cascade.”

Rising grizzly bear numbers are also taking their toll on elk. As a result, lush vegetation is growing back in many but not all areas.

“Without wolves, this would not have happened,” said Luke Painter, an instructor at Oregon State University and lead author of three recent papers that describe the results of his fieldwork monitoring vegetation growth patterns in the park. “Wolves caused a fundamental change, but certainly they are interacting with other factors such as bears, climate, fire and human activity.”

Bison have also played an important role in the changes in vegetation in northern Yellowstone. Their numbers have increased four-fold as elk have decreased. In places where bison congregate, they browse on aspen, cottonwood and willow, compensating in part for the decline in elk. However, bison cannot reach as high as elk to browse, allowing more trees to escape and grow to maturity.

From 2010-12, hiking in the Yellowstone backcountry, Painter re-measured 87 aspen stands previously studied by his adviser, William Ripple, and former OSU student Eric Larsen in 1997 and 1998. Painter conducted a regional survey of stands across the northern part of the park and also in the Shoshone National Forest west of Yellowstone, where hunting and cattle grazing are allowed.

Painter detailed his findings this summer in an online report in the journal Ecology. He received his Ph.D. in the College of Forestry at Oregon State in 2013 and is now an instructor in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

“This new study illustrates the powerful insights you can get from taking a view over 15 years or more,” said Aaron Wirsing, an associate professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington. Wirsing was not involved in Painter’s study.

“Wolf reintroduction was a landmark moment, but the changes vary throughout ecosystems as a function of other factors,” Wirsing added. “By taking an ecosystem point of view, this paper shows the complexity of the system and all its moving parts.”

For much of the 20th century, aspen appeared to be in severe decline. While studies by Ripple and his OSU colleague Robert Beschta pointed to the beginnings of an aspen recovery within a decade of wolf reintroduction, other researchers reported finding little evidence of aspen regrowth. Painter has shown that aspen recovery is widespread over much of the northern range, but where elk are still numerous, aspen stands are heavily browsed and stunted. In the famous Lamar Valley itself, bison have become the dominant herbivore, suppressing some aspen stands.

“There is a recovery of aspen happening, but it’s early and it’s not happening everywhere yet,” said Painter. “That’s the way things work in nature.”

Painter found that a quarter of all aspen stands now have five or more young aspen tall enough to escape elk browsing, a condition not seen in decades. Moreover, 46 percent of all stands have at least one tree that has grown beyond the reach of elk. Browsing rates were significantly lower in 2012 than in 1997. The greatest increases in aspen heights were in the east where Ripple and Beschta first reported signs of recovery in 2006.

Other researchers have suggested that fire and climate could be just as significant as wolves in explaining the recovery of aspen stands, but Painter found no evidence to support those possibilities. Following the severe Yellowstone fires in 1988, he said, aspen failed to recover as elk continued to browse young shoots.

In addition, aspen in northern Yellowstone showed signs of vigorous regrowth since 2000 despite relatively dry conditions, which would be likely to suppress aspen growth.

In the early 1990s, many researchers didn’t expect widespread changes to occur from wolf reintroduction, Painter said. “The idea was that if you drop some wolves in here, everything will stay about the same, but the elk population will go down. But what happens is, it mixes up the whole pot. It’s been a surprise that there are so few elk wintering in the Lamar Valley.”

-30-

College of Forestry Media Contact:  Nick Houtman Source: 

Luke Painter, 360-970-1164

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Bison in Yellowstone National Park, 2012.

Luke Painter

Categories: Research news

Childhood asthma linked to lack of ventilation for gas stoves, OSU study shows

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 11:15am
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A new Oregon State University study shows an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Parents with children at home should use ventilation when cooking with a gas stove, researchers from Oregon State University are recommending, after a new study showed an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.

“In homes where a gas stove was used without venting, the prevalence of asthma and wheezing is higher than in homes where a gas stove was used with ventilation,” said Ellen Smit, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and one of the study’s authors. “Parents of all children should use ventilation while using a gas stove.”

Researchers can’t say that gas stove use without ventilation causes respiratory issues, but the new study clearly shows an association between having asthma and use of ventilation, Smit said. More study is needed to understand that relationship, including whether emissions from gas stoves could cause or exacerbate asthma in children, the researchers said.

Asthma is a common chronic childhood disease and an estimated 48 percent of American homes have a gas stove that is used. Gas stoves are known to affect indoor air pollution levels and researchers wanted to better understand the links between air pollution from gas stoves, parents’ behavior when operating gas stoves and respiratory issues, said Eric Coker, a doctoral student in public health and a co-author of the study.

The study showed that children who lived in homes where ventilation such as an exhaust fan was used when cooking with gas stoves were 32 percent less likely to have asthma than children who lived in homes where ventilation was not used. Children in homes where ventilation was used while cooking with a gas stove were 38 percent less likely to have bronchitis and 39 percent less likely to have wheezing. The study also showed that lung function, an important biological marker of asthma, was significantly better among girls from homes that used ventilation when operating their gas stove.

Many people in the study also reported using their gas stoves for heating, researchers found. That was also related to poorer respiratory health in children, particularly when ventilation was not used. In homes where the gas kitchen stove was used for heating, children were 44 percent less likely to have asthma and 43 percent less likely to have bronchitis if ventilation was used. The results did not change even when asthma risk factors such as pets or cigarette smoking inside the home were taken into account, Coker said.

“Asthma is one of the most common diseases in children living in the United States,” said Molly Kile, the study’s lead author. Kile is an environmental epidemiologist and assistant professor at OSU. “Reducing exposure to environmental factors that can exacerbate asthma can help improve the quality of life for people with this condition.”

The findings were published recently in the journal “Environmental Health.” Co-authors included John Molitor and Anna Harding of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Daniel Sudakin of the College of Agricultural Sciences. The research was supported by OSU.

Researchers used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1988-1994. Data collected for NHANES is a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.

The third edition of the survey is the only one in which questions about use of gas stoves were asked, Coker said. Participants were interviewed in their homes and also underwent physical exams and lab tests.

Researchers examined data from about 7,300 children ages 2-16 who has asthma, wheezing or bronchitis and whose parents reported using a gas stove in the home. Of those who reported using no ventilation, 90 percent indicated they did not have an exhaust system or other ventilation in their homes, Coker said.

Even though the study relies on older data, the findings remain relevant because many people still use gas stoves for cooking, and in some cases, for heat in the winter, the researchers said.

“Lots of older homes lack exhaust or other ventilation,” Coker said. “We know this is still a problem. We don’t know if it is as prevalent as it was when the data was collected.”

Researchers suggest that future health surveys include questions about gas stove and ventilation use. That would allow them to see if there have been any changes in ventilation use since the original data was collected.

“More research is definitely needed,” Coker said. “But we know using an effective ventilation system will reduce air pollution levels in a home, so we can definitely recommend that.”

College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Eric Coker, 206-235-2859, escoker@gmail.com; or Ellen Smit, 541-737-3833, Ellen.Smit@oregonstate.edu

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Gas stove
 

Categories: Research news

OSU Ecampus named best online education program in Oregon

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 2:05pm
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The OSU Ecampus program has been named the top online education program in Oregon by TheBestSchools.org

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Ecampus distance education program at Oregon State University has been named the best online college in Oregon by TheBestSchools.org, an organization that provides in-depth ranking of degree programs, colleges and universities.

The rankings are based on academic excellence, faculty strength, online teaching methods, awards, the number of programs offered and other criteria, organization officials said.

In its evaluation, the organization cited the 35-plus online degrees delivered by Ecampus, “renowned” faculty members, access to student support systems, and Carnegie Foundation recognition of OSU as a university with very high research activity. The report is online at http://bit.ly/1xE4dfY

“OSU’s dedication to online education has brought us to regard it as the best online college in Oregon,” said Wayne Downs, managing editor of TheBestSchools.org.

Online education has been growing rapidly around the nation in recent years, including OSU’s Ecampus. Established universities such as OSU, the group noted, allow students to earn their degree online but also offer local residents the opportunity to use the library or visit a professor.

“What really distinguishes Oregon State Ecampus from other online universities is our focus on engaging, quality courses,” said Lisa L. Templeton, executive director of the program. “This strategic effort was recently recognized by the Online Learning Consortium for excellence in faculty development. We’re a leader in online education not just in Oregon, but also in the nation.”

In past years, OSU Ecampus has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, Smart Choice 25 Best Online Colleges, and Nation’s Best Public Online Colleges.

Just recently, Professional and Continuing Education, within the Division of Outreach and Engagement, also received several honors from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. These included two UPCEA Marketing Awards. One was a bronze winner in the streaming/on demand content category; the other a bronze winner in a promotional print piece.

Ecampus: Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279

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Ecampus instructor

Categories: Research news

Children with autism are more sedentary than their peers, new OSU study shows

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 9:25am
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A small study of 29 children, some with autism and some without, showed that children with autism spend 70 minutes more each day sitting than their peers.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new Oregon State University study of children with autism found that they are more sedentary than their typically-developing peers, averaging 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting.

The small study of 29 children, some with autism and some without, showed that children with autism perform as well as their typical peers on fitness assessments such as body mass index, aerobic fitness levels and flexibility. The results warrant expanding the study to a larger group of children, said Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“These kids, compared to their peers, are similarly fit,” MacDonald said. “That’s really exciting, because it means those underlying fitness abilities are there.”

The findings were published this month in the journal “Autism Research and Treatment.” Co-authors are Kiley Tyler, a doctoral student at OSU, and Kristi Menear of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education with additional support from OSU.

For the study, researchers tested the fitness and physical activity levels of 17 children with autism and 12 children without autism. The fitness assessments, conducted in the Movement Studies in Disability Lab at OSU, included a 20-meter, multi-stage shuttle run to measure aerobic fitness; a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility and a strength test to measure handgrip strength; as well as height, weight and body mass index measurements.

The fitness tests were selected in part because they are commonly used in schools, MacDonald said. Children in the study also wore accelerometers for a week to measure their movement, and parents filled out supplemental forms to report other important information.

Even though they were more sedentary, the children with autism lagged behind their peers on only one fitness measure, the strength test. The results were surprising but also encouraging because they show that children with autism are essentially on par with their peers when it comes to physical fitness activities, MacDonald said.

“That’s really important for parents and teachers to understand, because it opens the door for them to participate in so many activities,” she said. 

More research is needed to determine why children with autism tend to be more sedentary, MacDonald said. It may be that children with autism have fewer opportunities to participate in organized sports or physical education activities, but if that is the case, it needs to change, she said.

“They can do it. Those abilities are there,” she said. “We need to work with them to give them opportunities.”

MacDonald encourages parents to make physical activity such as a daily walk or trip to the park part of the family’s routine. She’s also an advocate for adaptive physical education programs, which are school-based programs designed around a child’s abilities and needs. Some communities also offer physical fitness programs such as soccer clubs that are inclusive for children with autism or other disabilities, she said.

“Physical fitness and physical activity are so important for living a healthy life, and we learn those behaviors as children,” MacDonald said. “Anything we can do to help encourage children with autism to be more active is beneficial.”

College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Megan MacDonald, 541-737-3273, Megan.MacDonald@oregonstate.edu

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Megan MacDonald

Categories: Research news

New book details threats to the world’s forests, offers solutions for conservation

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00pm
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As forestlands around the globe continue to diminish in the wake of human population growth and climate change, two leading scientists have written a new book in which they issue a call to action for forest conservation.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As forestlands around the globe continue to diminish in the wake of human population growth and climate change, two leading scientists have written a new book in which they issue a call to action for forest conservation.

Among threats to the vital services provided by forest ecosystems, they say, are residential development, climate change and illegal logging operations in the tropics.

“In the 1950s, we assumed that the forests were not going to change,” said Richard Waring, retired professor of forestry at Oregon State University and co-author of the book. “We assumed that if you disturbed them in a certain way, they would come back. Right now it looks like some of the drier forestlands will be in continuous transition to ecosystems that may not include trees at all.”

Since it is buffered by the Pacific Ocean, the West Coast is relatively unusual. Climate change models show that the conditions there for tree growth are likely to stay the same or even improve.

In the 1980s, Waring said, scientists began to realize that their assumptions of forest stability were wrong. They began incorporating rising atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels into their computer models of forest ecosystems. In a few places, unprecedented insect outbreaks and fires began to occur.

Waring and Joseph Landsberg, a forest biologist in Australia, detail their thoughts in a new book, “Forests in Our Changing World,” published by Island Press.

Managing forests for sustainability, they said, will mean controlling destructive, often unregulated logging operations in the tropics; turning forest slash into the soil rather than burning it; increasing resilience by planting multiple species of trees rather than single species; reducing erosion from forest soils; and monitoring broad forest trends through satellite imagery.

In the United States, Waring said, about 1.5 percent of the nation’s forestlands are disturbed annually through logging, housing development, fires and clearing. While that may not sound like a lot, he added, it means that most of the country’s forests would be replaced with new forests in less than 70 years.

“It’s a wake-up call,” Waring said. “We think it’s real and people should be concerned about it. There’s more carbon stored in the forest than anywhere else above ground.”

Between 2000 and 2005, about 6 percent of the United States’ forestlands were disturbed through fires, insect attacks, disease and logging – the largest percentage of any country with large forested areas. Canada saw the largest area of disturbance, about 40 million acres, in absolute terms. Most human disturbances of forests, Waring and Landsberg wrote, are driven by economic gain that ignores the long-term loss of ecosystem services such as carbon storage, biodiversity and water quality.

Wood products, which can store sequestered carbon, will increasingly come from tree plantations rather than natural forests, they added. At present, plantations account for only 3 percent of the world’s forestlands but produce about 25 percent of all forest products.

Future plantation managers would do well to avoid the “debacle” with blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) in western Australia. Federal tax incentives and exaggerated claims of tree growth led to overplanting and as drought struck the region, water supplies were depleted, and trees stopped growing or died.

Waring specializes in forest ecology and the analysis of trends through satellite imagery. Landsberg has conducted forest research in the United Kingdom and Australia. As a former chief of the Division of Forest Research for Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, he oversaw a staff of more than 200 scientists.

College of Forestry Media Contact:  Nick Houtman Source: 

Richard Waring, 541-737-6087

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