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UW In The News

  • Why covid arm and other post-vaccine rashes might actually be a ‘good thing’

    The Washington Post | April 12, 2021

    “It doesn’t happen in the summer,” says Beth Drolet, professor and chair of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, who is studying the covid toe phenomenon. “The toes can stay blue for weeks, but eventually go back to normal.”

    As the vaccine rollout accelerates this spring and summer, “we would expect to see a decrease in post vaccination covid toes,” says Lisa Arkin, director of pediatric dermatology at Wisconsin. “Covid toes are easily treatable with rewarming. They resolve spontaneously. Sometimes, we use topical medicines to treat inflammation in the skin.  Most patients experience mild swelling and itch, which resolves within days to weeks.”

  • Meghan Markle won’t travel to Prince Philip’s funeral. Experts say flying while pregnant during the pandemic can be risky.

    Business Insider | April 12, 2021

    Dr. Makeba Williams, an OB-GYN at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told Insider flying during pregnancy is generally safe before 36 weeks, though more precautions are needed during the pandemic, especially if you’re not vaccinated.

    “It’s unfortunate we have to talk about [flying while pregnant] in the context of a death,” she said, “but it’s relevant to a lot of people.”

  • Key ingredient in coronavirus tests comes from Yellowstone’s lakes

    National Geographic | April 7, 2021

    When Brock went to Yellowstone to study hot springs, he never imagined his work would revolutionize the study of DNA. “I was free to do what is called basic research … Some people called it useless because it was not focused on practical ends,” Brock said in an acceptance speech for an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “What use could there be in looking for living bacteria in hot springs and boiling pools at Yellowstone National Park?”

  • Proctoring Tool Failed to Recognize Dark Skin, Students Say

    Inside Higher Ed | April 6, 2021

    The University of Wisconsin at Madison has changed how it uses exam proctoring software Honorlock in response to complaints that the software failed to recognize the faces of students with darker skin tones, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

  • Pandemic food benefit expands for qualifying children

    Marketeplace | April 6, 2021

    “Even in the communities that do the best job of this, those summer meals are only reaching a fraction of the kids who normally get fed during the school year,” said Judi Bartfeld, a food security research and policy specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • How Wisconsin turned around its lagging vaccination program — and buoyed a Biden health pick

    Washington Post | April 5, 2021

    These factors make Wisconsin well-prepared for the next phase of its immunization campaign, as the challenge of insufficient supply gives way to issues of access and vaccine hesitancy, said Jonathan Temte, associate dean for public health and community engagement at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. That’s because a robust network of small and midsized providers allows tailored outreach to vulnerable or resistant groups.

  • Pandemic Helps Stir Interest in Teaching Financial Literacy

    New York Times | April 5, 2021

    A study released in March by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Montana State University found significant increases in teacher participation in professional development.

  • Vapor condenser copies beetle trick to harvest water

    Futurity | April 5, 2021

    “Water sustainability is a global issue,” says Zongfu Yu, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, another leading corresponding author. “You can’t set out to solve the water problem without addressing energy.”

  • Why Being ‘Anti-Media’ Is Now Part Of The GOP Identity

    FiveThirtyEight | April 5, 2021

    Take, for instance, a recent study of tweets mentioning “fake news.” Over the course of 15 months, study authors Jianing Li and Min-Hsin Su of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found an uptick in the number of tweets that used the words “we” or “our” and “they” or “their” in conjunction with the phrase “fake news.” Essentially, the researchers concluded that online discussions about “fake news” were a way for conservatives to create a sense of group belonging (“This is the worst kind of fake news possible.

  • States requiring personal finance classes need to train teachers too

    CNBC | April 5, 2021

    Research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that training educators helps improve whether they feel well-qualified to teach personal finance. Among a 2020 survey of teachers — mostly instructors likely to teach such a course — those who said they would feel very confident teaching it reached 70%, up from 9% in 2009.

  • A Biblical Mystery and Reporting Odyssey: 1883 Fragments

    The New York Times | March 29, 2021

    But then, in 1956, Shapira popped up again — on the front page, no less — when The Times reported that Menahem Mansoor, a respected scholar at the University of Wisconsin, was reopening the case.

  • The Way Bosses Conduct And Communicate Layoffs Is Inhumane. There’s Another Way.

    HuffPost Life | March 29, 2021

    After layoffs, morale tanks and turnover increases. As Charlie Trevor, a professor of management and human resources at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, previously told HuffPost, how layoffs are handled can tell “a survivor a great deal about the company’s priorities and about the type of treatment one might expect moving forward.”

  • Super-cold thunderstorm sets temperature record

    BBC News | March 29, 2021

    Dr Proud and Scott Bachmeier, a research meteorologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, report the event in a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

  • To keep the virus off a campus, test beyond its borders, a new study suggests.

    The New York Times | March 26, 2021

    The study has “really profound implications, especially if others can replicate it,” said David O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was not involved in the analysis but reviewed a draft of the paper.

  • Naming The Gunman Glorifies His Crimes, Not Naming Him Could Undermine The Truth : NPR Public Editor

    NPR | March 26, 2021

    The language that develops in the immediate aftermath of a shooting becomes the predominant narrative among citizens, said LiLi Johnson, an assistant professor of gender & women’s studies and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Even dictionary definitions of the term [massage parlor] associate it with sex work,” she said in an email. “Given the fact that Asian and Asian American women are already sexualized in United States culture, uncritical use of the term ’massage parlor’ can reinforce those associations.”

  • Genome Sequencing and Covid-19: How Scientists Are Tracking the Virus

    The New York Times | March 26, 2021

    As machines improved, the impact was felt mainly in university labs, which had relied on a process called Sanger sequencing, developed in the mid-1970s by the Nobel laureate Frederick Sanger. This laborious technique, which involved running DNA samples through baths of electrically charged gels, was what the scientists at Oxford had depended upon in the mid-1990s; it was also what Dave O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, was using in the early 2000s, as he and his lab partner, Tom Friedrich, tracked virus mutations. “The H.I.V. genome has about 10,000 letters,” O’Connor told me, which makes it simpler than the human genome (at three billion letters) or the SARS-CoV-2 genome (at about 30,000). “In an H.I.V. genome, when we first started doing it, we would be able to look at a couple hundred letters at a time.” But O’Connor says his work changed with the advent of new sequencing machines. By around 2010, he and Friedrich could decode 500,000 letters in a day. A few years later, it was five million.

  • Businesses May Benefit From Sharing Covid Testing Resources, Study Suggests

    The New York Times | March 25, 2021

    The study has “really profound implications, especially if others can replicate it,” said David O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was not involved in the analysis but reviewed a draft of the paper. As the pandemic enters its second year, he said, “We want to start using more sophisticated modeling and probably economic theory to inform what an optimal testing program would look like.”

  • Byhalia pipeline: Black families square off with Big Oil

    USA Today | March 25, 2021

    Corbett Grainger, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of environmental economics, said he wasn’t surprised to see a hole in the monitoring network in Memphi

  • Broadway star, prominent psychologist to address UW-Madison graduates

    Wisconsin State Journal | March 25, 2021

    Broadway star André De Shields and psychologist John Gottman will address graduates of their alma mater at ceremonies at Camp Randall on May 8, the university said. De Shields will speak to undergraduates, and Gottman will address those getting their graduate degrees.

  • UW Varsity Band members return for first large practice in more than a year

    Wisconsin State Journal | March 25, 2021

    There’s no spring concert on this year’s calendar, and practice maybe looked a little funny, with students wearing slitted masks and bell covers slipped over instruments to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but UW-Madison’s beloved band is back.

  • AstraZeneca used ‘outdated and potentially misleading data’ that overstated the effectiveness of its vaccine, independent panel says

    The Washington Post | March 24, 2021

    David L. DeMets, a University of Wisconsin at Madison biostatistics expert, said that while he has no specific information on what occurred in this case, his experience serving on data safety and monitoring committees for nearly half a century was that it would be “very uncommon” for those experts to challenge a company or scientists on the content of a news release.

  • House bill does little to protect our local elections

    The Hill | March 24, 2021

    The bill makes huge strides for American democracy. No one should claim that dark money and large-scale statewide voting barriers aren’t noxious. Indeed, experts estimate that voter identification requirements may disenfranchise millions of Americans, and such laws disproportionately harm poor voters and voters of color. But no one, except the federal government, has the capacity to ensure fair federal elections at the local level. And sadly, For the People Act fails to do so.

    Steven Wright served in the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice for five years. He currently teaches Law and English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • These Moms Work as Doctors and Scientists. But They’ve Also Taken On Another Job: Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation Online

    Time | March 24, 2021

    One common myth claims that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, like the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, may cause infertility. The Dear Pandemic group received so many queries on this topic that its co-founder Malia Jones, an associate scientist in health geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Applied Population Laboratory, posted a video explicitly calling out the theory as a “scare tactic”: “I just want to call it what it is: it’s a fabrication meant to play on our emotions,” she said.

  • Amazing Video Shows Northern Lights Dancing in Sky Above Wisconsin Lake

    Newsweek | March 23, 2021

    As such, the northern lights can be spotted in northern U.S. states such as Wisconsin and Alaska, but also Pennsylvania. They have also been known to appear in states including Illinois, Oregon, Maine, Washington and Montana. According to a blog post by professor Jerry Zhu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, some northern states can see a few shows of aurora borealis each year.

  • Daryl Watts’ overtime goal gives Badgers their sixth NCAA women’s hockey championship

    Wisconsin State Journal | March 22, 2021

    Make room for a sixth NCAA championship banner in LaBahn Arena. Watts scored a stunner from behind the net in overtime Saturday, and the Badgers had another title to celebrate.

  • Fox weather forecaster Dean turns into fierce Cuomo critic

    AP | March 22, 2021

    Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin, said those situations aren’t comparable.

    “It might be wise for us to take this out of the context of Fox News and ask whether the weather personality on our local station should be calling for the arrest of our mayor,” she said. “I think that would make people profoundly uncomfortable and justifiably so.”

  • Are food and energy prices included in inflation rates?

    Marketplace | March 19, 2021

    So how is inflation even measured? Well, “there’s as many measures of inflation as there are economists studying it,” said Steven Deller, a professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But the inflation rates we hear about most often do include health care, energy and food. Economists will sometimes look at a number called “core” inflation that takes out food and energy prices because they can fluctuate quite a bit.

    Another main measure is the personal consumption expenditures price index, or the PCE. This measure, run by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, updates how items are weighted in its formula to better reflect consumer behavior, said Menzie Chinn, professor of public affairs and economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Because of this, the PCE is in some sense more representative of the costs consumers face, Chinn said.

  • The end approaches for Chile’s military-era constitution

    The Washington Post | March 18, 2021

    “The Chávez-led constituent assembly in Venezuela is the cautionary tale par excellence — and the conservative opponents to the process in Chile bring it up all the time,” said Alexandra Huneeus, a Chile-born professor at the University of Wisconsin who examines law and rights in Latin America.

  • 2 million Americans have been repaying their federal student-loans for 20 years

    MarketWatch | March 16, 2021

    “You’re working with a small number of people in the first place who were in it,” said Nicholas Hillman, an associate professor in the school of education at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. “A lot can happen in your life in 25 years; to whittle it down to 32 at the end, 32 people who must have stuck with that bureaucratic mess over this period of time, in some ways that’s not at all surprising because it’s a gauntlet.”

  • Other States Seek to Emulate Wisconsin’s Wolf Massacre

    Sierra Club | March 16, 2021

    Dr. Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at UW-Madison and founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, says the hunt was problematic for many reasons, but a few stand out. First, it throws off last year’s wolf count, which would have been used to create a new wolf management plan. “The data is now unreliable because a wolf that might have been counted could very well be dead by now,” says Treves.

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