Terra in Print: Winter 2007

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Transitions can be painful. Ask a salmon fisherman whose boat stayed at the dock most of the season, a mill worker whose job has gone overseas or a parent whose children have left home. We know that stability is short-lived, that change is the rule. We adapt by learning new skills and pursuing other interests. Just as important, we orient ourselves by remembering where we’ve come from.

Over the past 40 years, the people of King Island have had a particularly difficult time. As long as anyone can remember, this Inupiat community in Alaska has depended on the walrus hunt. In the 1960s, after a forced relocation to the mainland, they turned their ancestral home into a seasonal hunting camp. Now their quarry is getting harder to reach, thanks to changing Bering Sea ice conditions, a consequence of a shifting climate. An OSU research team led by anthropologist Deanna Paniataaq Kingston is working with them to preserve their past — and Kingston’s.

The King Island story shows how culture is intertwined with environment and economy. Two other cases in point: water and aging. Work by OSU water specialist Aaron Wolf reveals the rules developed by traditional communities to share streams and wells. Water availability swings between drought and flood, but these cultures have adapted with a focus on fairness.

Aging across the life cycle — from youth to adult to elderly — is also changing. OSU professors Karen Hooker and Richard Settersten work at different ends of the spectrum, but their work shows how human development is sensitive to new circumstances — longer life-spans and complex economic demands. Such transitions can be difficult, but Hooker and Settersten are helping us to adapt.

Nick Houtman, Editor

A Name for Home: King Island

A Name for Home: King Island

Inquiry, Student Research, Terra Blog, Winter 2007

If identity is linked to places on the landscape, names for those places become part of shared culture. An OSU research project has helped to document the culture of King Island, Alaska.

The Ice Sages

Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Winter 2007

For millennia the people of King Island have depended on the walrus hunt. But as Arctic ice recedes in response to a changing climate, hunters have to go further to reach their quarry. OSU anthropologist Deanna Paniataaq Kingston leads a team documenting the culture, language and natural history of her ancestral homeland.

Are We There Yet?

Departments, Vitality, Winter 2007

By Richard A. Settersten, Jr., professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, member of the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policy. “A 30-year-old single mother from Iowa laughed when asked whether she considered herself an adult: ‘I don’t know if I’m an adult yet. I still don’t feel quite grown up. […]

Communication Breakdown

Departments, Vitality, Winter 2007

Hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure may result from a breakdown in cell communications, researchers in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute have discovered. The finding could pave the way for new dietary measures and pharmaceuticals to reduce cardiovascular diseases. “It’s also a key to understanding the biological effects of inflammation, which increasingly seems to […]

Pressure’s On

Departments, Healthy Economy, Innovation, Multimedia, Winter 2007

It was a great idea, just ahead of its time. More than 50 years ago, engineers came up with a way to increase the strength and stiffness of wood. By applying steam, heat and pressure, they increased strength by about 250 percent. Problem was, strong wood was in plentiful supply. So, except for some minor […]

Genes of Autumn

Departments, Earth, Healthy Economy, Healthy Planet, Stewardship, Winter 2007

“Its leaves have been asking it from time to time, in a whisper, ‘When shall we redden?’” Henry David Thoreau Autumnal Tints, 1862 The magical transformation of autumn leaves inspires poets and awes observers. But the genetic triggers that produce those stunning colors have long baffled scientists. Until now. OSU researchers, studying aspens with scientists […]

Aptitude For Aging

Departments, Vitality, Winter 2007

“As individuals age, they become increasingly like themselves.” Bernice Neugarten, 1964 (founder of the field of personality and aging) In 2006, the first wave of baby boomers turned 60. Even for the bold cultural warriors of the 1960s — the rockers, idealists, protesters and iconoclasts who transformed the nation — the transition to retirement is […]

Canola Fuels Debate, Research

Departments, Healthy Economy, Stewardship, Winter 2007

In the past couple of decades, canola has catapulted from obscurity to celebrity. The oilseed made its commercial debut in margarines and cooking oils, edging out more saturated-fat-laden competitors. Now it’s gaining stature as the ideal oil for yet another consumer product: biodiesel. But canola’s rising profile has not come without controversy. A type of […]

Underwater Volcano Eruption

Departments, Earth, Winter 2007

No need to duck! Watch an underwater volcano erupt in this video shot by OSU researchers.

Across the Divide

Features, Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Winter 2007

In the summer of 1997, Aaron Wolf and a Berber guide trekked up narrow mountain paths to a village high in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Despite the steep terrain, they walked lightly. A donkey carried their gear. As they moved toward snowcapped peaks, they crossed one dry, rocky ridge after another. It took four […]

Medical Pioneer

Features, Student Research, Winter 2007

At one time, Erin Rieke might have been hesitant to take risks, glad to let someone else step up. Hard to tell now. The 22-year-old senior in bioengineering from Tualatin, Oregon, has been doing extraordinary things for an undergraduate: culturing breast cancer cells, exposing them to controlled doses of radiation, learning how to make nanoparticles […]

Small Miracles

Features, Healthy Economy, Winter 2007

Nanotechnology has arrived. No longer do we just have to imagine the benefits. Advertisers tout them in cosmetics, clothing, batteries, dental adhesives, paint and golf clubs. In 2004, nanotech consultant Lux Research, Inc., estimated the worldwide sale of products containing nanomaterials at $158 billion. And new products are on the horizon: medicines, sensors, filters and […]

Reinventing High Schools

Healthy People, Inquiry, Winter 2007

High school today is startlingly like it was in the days of “Grease.” Kids may be wearing low-rise jeans and nose rings instead of poodle skirts and letterman sweaters, but their path to a diploma looks and feels much like their parents’ — or their grandparents’. For many students, the old ways aren’t working. Low […]

Know Thy Customer

Departments, Healthy Economy, Innovation, Winter 2007

Companies as diverse as electronics manufacturer Hewlett-Packard and peat producer Sun Gro Horticulture are looking to the College of Business for research-based services to enhance their customers’ satisfaction. When HP wanted to improve user comfort with its digital projectors, and Sun Gro wished to expand its customer base for an innovative horse-bedding material, both turned […]