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Story Ideas for Media 10-22-07


OSU robotic SUV competes this week for chance at $2 million prize.
The Ohio State University-Autonomous City Transport team is in California this week to compete as a semifinalist in the Urban Challenge, the U.S. Department of Defense autonomous vehicle competition.
Ohio State's vehicle is an automated, driverless hybrid SUV. For the contest, it must – without any human intervention – conduct simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. The semifinal competition is Oct. 26-31 in Victorville, Calif., at the site of the former George Air Force Base. From an original field of 89 vehicles, Ohio State's is one of only 36 to qualify for the semifinal. Only 20 teams will participate in the final competition on Nov. 3. The contest is hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to support research and technology to improve military missions. This is the third time Ohio State has competed in the DARPA Challenge. In 2004 and 2005, autonomous vehicles designed for desert travel finished in the top 10. DARPA will offer a satellite feed of the Oct. 26 event. CONTACT: Joan Slattery Wall, (614) 292-4064, wall.107@osu.edu. SEE: www.ece.osu.edu/osuact


Urban development affects birds that breed near riparian forests; study suggests new buffers.
The land surrounding a streamside, or riparian forest – whether it is rural, urban or something in between – determines which birds nest in that forest more than the width of the woodland itself.
So says Ohio State University wildlife ecologist Amanda Rodewald, who sampled bird communities in 33 central Ohio streamside forests and found that differences in the next-door landscape accounted for nearly all (more than 94 percent) of the explained variation among those communities.
Rodewald found fewer neotropical migrants as adjacent urban development increased – impacting popular birds such as the scarlet tanager and Baltimore oriole. The study showed that the numbers of year-round residents and short-distance migrants such as blackbirds, cardinals, and chickadees rose with development, possibly due to bird feeders, warmer winter temperatures or both. CONTACT: Amanda Rodewald, School of Environment and Natural Resources, (614) 247-6099, rodewald.1@osu.edu. SEE: http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~news/story.php?id=4332


Optometrists urge caution for those planning to wear contact lenses as Halloween attire.
Halloween seems to trigger a higher degree of creativity in many of us when it comes to costume designs. For ghosts, goblins or tigers considering adding decorative lenses to enhance their look, proper steps should be taken to avoid serious risks to the eyes, according to Ohio State optometry professor Jason Nichols. Plano or non-corrective lenses that are intended solely to change the appearance of eyes can cause permanent eye injury that may lead to blindness without a proper fitting and instructions for use by an eye care professional. CONTACT: Jason Nichols, College of Optometry, (614) 292-4979 or jnichols@optometry.osu.edu or John McCauley, College of Optometry, (614) 292-0818 or jmccauley@optometry.osu.edu


Cartoons festival features the art of graphic storytelling – Oct. 26-27.
Cartoonists from around the nation will discuss their craft at the ninth triennial Festival of Cartoon Art, sponsored by Ohio State's Cartoon Research Library. The conference, which takes place at the Columbus Renaissance Hotel on Thursday and Friday (10/26-27), focuses on the art of graphic storytelling. The year 2007 marks the centennial of the birth of master storyteller Milton Caniff, (Steve Canyon, Terry and the Pirates, Male Call) whose papers and art form the founding collection of the Cartoon Research Library. The conference will begin with a celebration of Caniff's life and legacy. Leading contemporary cartoonists will then explore the craft of storytelling in newspapers, comic books and graphic novels throughout the two-day festival. CONTACT: Cartoon Arts Library, (614) 292-0538 or cartoons@osu.edu SEE: http://cartoons.osu.edu/FCA/index.php

Ohio State vs. 30 teams: we mean business – Oct. 27. Ohio State's Fisher College of Business is hosting two major business competitions this weekend that bring 30 teams from business schools from across the nation, Canada, Mexico and Europe. While known as a university that is passionate about sporting competitions, Fisher College is solidifying Ohio State's reputation as the university that provides challenging academic experiences for students.
In front of cameras at the WOSU studios at the Center of Science and Industry, teams of undergraduate business students from across the country will test their knowledge of significant business news in a fast-paced quiz show the Biz Quiz National Challenge at 10 a.m. on Saturday (10/27). Teams include 18 business schools from the Big Ten, New York and the universities of Texas, Florida, Southern California.
In addition, Fisher will host the 2007 Center for International Business Education and Research Case Challenge this weekend, featuring business undergraduates from schools around the world, including France, Italy, Canada and Mexico. CONTACT: Patricia Allen, allen.965@osu.edu, (614) 292-8937.

The person listed as the CONTACT will have the most current information about the story. Call on our media relations staff for help with any Ohio State story: Liz Cook, (614) 292-7276 or cook.17@osu.edu, Shelly Hoffman, (614) 247-4748 or hoffman.511@osu.edu, Jim Lynch, (614) 247-4110 or lynch.270@osu.edu, or Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385 or murray-goedde.1@osu.edu