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UW In The News

  • Cutting fossil fuel air pollution saves lives

    NPR | May 18, 2022

    “These [particles] get deep into the lungs and cause both respiratory and cardiac ailments,” says Jonathan Patz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the authors of the study. “They are pretty much the worst pollutant when it comes to mortality and hospitalization.”

  • Pollution’s death toll remains high, killing more people than war or malaria

    NBC News | May 18, 2022

    “We have the technologies available to get us to essentially an emissions-free electricity sector nationwide in the U.S.,” said Nicholas Mailloux, the lead author of that study and a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Some other sectors will be trickier, like aviation.”

  • Five things to know about incoming UW-Madison chancellor Jennifer Mnookin

    Wisconsin State Journal | May 17, 2022

    Jennifer Mnookin has been named as the next chancellor to lead UW-Madison. She will be the university’s 30th chancellor. Her appointment takes effect Aug. 4.

  • N.Y.C. urges people to wear masks indoors, but stops short of requiring it.

    The New York Times | May 17, 2022

    The rise shouldn’t surprise people, given the large number of unvaccinated Americans, said Ajay Sethi, an associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Energy & Environment — Canceled leases leave Biden admin at crossroads

    The Hill | May 17, 2022

    “Our work provides a sense of the scale of the air quality health benefits that could accompany deep decarbonization of the U.S. energy system,” lead author Nick Mailloux, a graduate student at University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, said in a statement.

  • NASA Announces New Collaboration Probing How Life Evolved From Single-Cells On Earth

    Forbes | May 17, 2022

    “This is the only planet known to harbor life,” said Betül Kaçar, an assistant professor in the department of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “If we cannot understand it here, how can we find it elsewhere?”

  • Cutting air pollution from fossil fuels would save 50,000 lives a year

    The Washington Post | May 16, 2022

    Eliminating air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels would prevent more than 50,000 premature deaths and provide more than $600 billion in health benefits in the United States every year, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

  • Living with Lead Creates Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbugs’

    Scientific American | May 16, 2022

    In December 2021 researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison reported that people with the highest levels of lead in their urine, especially those living in urban areas, were more likely to have antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their bodies, even after accounting for other factors that could drive up resistance. Their results, published in Environmental Epidemiology, are among the first to show this link within the human body. The study adds antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the list of harms visited upon people without much money or social resources, usually members of minority groups, who are most likely to live in these lead-contaminated areas. “It’s really an environmental justice issue,” says environmental epidemiologist Kristen Malecki, one of the study’s authors.

  • Scientists Grow Plants In Lunar Soil For First Time Ever

    HuffPost Impact | May 13, 2022

    “This is a big step forward to know that you can grow plants,” said Simon Gilroy, a space plant biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who had no role in the study. “The real next step is to go and do it on the surface of the moon.”

  • The Memo: Peace in Ukraine? Not anytime soon, experts say

    The Hill | May 13, 2022

    “You think you have a chance of winning, so why stop?” said Yoshiko Herrera, a Russia expert and professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She noted that alleged Russian war crimes and reports of thousands of people being forcibly deported from eastern Ukraine is likely to stiffen resolve in Kyiv even further.

  • The Devastating Economic Impacts of an Abortion Ban

    The New Yorker | May 12, 2022

    Tiffany Green, an economist and population-health scientist and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, noted that many of those effects would disproportionately fall on those who were already marginalized—particularly women of color and nonbinary and transgender people.

  • The USA TODAY SmartEdition – USA TODAY US Edition – 12 May 2022 – Russia’s not first to spew ‘firehose of falsehood’

    USA Today | May 12, 2022

    Anton Shirikov, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, sees clear parallels between the misinformation campaign Russia is waging in support of its war in Ukraine and how propaganda has been used in previous conflicts.

  • 1 million have died from COVID in the US. Experts wonder how this seems normal.

    ABC News | May 12, 2022

    “Virtually everything the government’s done to fight the disease, since the beginning, has placed the burden on individuals to both assess and mitigate their own risk,” Dr. Richard Keller, a professor in the department of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told ABC News. “The implications there, for the people who are dying from the disease, are that they’re dying as a result of their own individual failings.”

  • Slowing inflation doesn’t mean prices will fall

    Marketplace | May 11, 2022

    According to Menzie Chinn, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin, inflation can be a sign that the job market is strong and people feel comfortable spending money.

  • In Praise of Anxiety

    WSJ | May 9, 2022

    A similar effect comes from being in the presence of others, which can cause anxiety in some contexts but can also provide a pathway out. Research shows that receiving direct social support is one of the best ways to manage all types of distress, including anxiety. A 2006 study from the University of Wisconsin, for example, brought participants into the lab to take part in a high-anxiety situation: They entered a loud, claustrophobic MRI machine to have their brain scanned and were told to expect electrical shocks in the course of the procedure. One third of the group were allowed to hold the hand of a loved one, one third held the hand of a stranger, and the last third were left alone.

  • Trump May Have Missed His Opportunity to Stick It to Hillary Clinton

    Newsweek | May 9, 2022

    “Some of the reasons you might be able to extend the statute of limitations is that there was active concealment of any kind of fraud by the defendant,” Ion Meyn, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, told Newsweek. “Here, it’d be very hard to argue act of concealment when you’re pleading that you knew about it.”

  • G-7 will ban Russian oil imports as US adds new sanctions; first lady Jill Biden visits Ukraine: May 8 recap

    USA Today | May 9, 2022

    “Right now, at times, Russian propaganda even equates Nazis and Western civilization,” said Anton Shirikov, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin who specializes in propaganda and misinformation.

  • Donald Trump Holds Screening Of ‘2,000 Mules’ Documentary At Mar-a-Lago

    Newsweek | May 5, 2022

    “It is conspiracist thinking,” Kenneth Mayer, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Politifact.”They are interpreting data that confirms their pre-existing conclusions. It’s a zombie claim; no matter how many times you kill it, it keeps coming back.”

  • The horrific bird flu that’s wiped out 36 million chickens and turkeys, explained

    Vox | May 5, 2022

    And not much beyond mass culling can be done to slow the spread once it starts. Adel Talaat, a professor of microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says we should improve disease surveillance and farm biosecurity to help prevent new outbreaks and slow the spread, but a vaccine that could reliably reduce transmission would go a long way.

  • FACT FOCUS: Gaping holes in the claim of 2K ballot ‘mules’

    AP | May 4, 2022

    Absentee ballots are also verified by signature and tracked closely, often with an option for voters themselves to see where their ballot is at any given time. That process safeguards against anyone who tries to illegally cast extra ballots, according to Barry Burden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor and the director of the Elections Research Project.“It seems impossible in that system for a nefarious actor to dump lots of ballots that were never requested by voters and were never issued by election officials,” Burden said.

  • 4 Ways to Fix Social Media That Don’t Involve Elon Musk

    Time | May 2, 2022

    This would help accrue “a kind of common law,” says Lucas Graves, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now, we have the equivalent of secret courts; their decisions are unseen and judgements forgotten. Transparency “pushes back against the arbitrariness” of executives, Graves says.

  • The Key to Attracting Venture Capitalists: Show Passion

    WSJ | May 2, 2022

    That is the conclusion of 12 studies by researcher Chia-Jung Tsay, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She gave investors different types of records of pitch competitions—such as video only or audio only—and asked them to guess which entrepreneur had won each round. The investors who made the best guesses saw only visual images of people making pitches, with no sound or information about the pitch itself.

  • Was Russia’s decision to cut off natural gas exports a mistake?

    Vox | May 2, 2022

    Russia’s decision to cut off gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria — the latter of which had remained undecided in its stance regarding Russia up until the recent ban — is a risky move meant to act as a warning to other European countries.

    But some experts have written off the move as a miscalculation.According to Yoshiko Herrera, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison specializing in Eurasian politics, it may have the opposite intended effect.

  • How to make self-affirmations work, based on science

    The Washington Post | May 2, 2022

    What’s more, people can mistakenly think affirmations are about “seeking perfection or seeking greatness,” said Chris Cascio, an assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has studied the practice. Instead, Cascio said, the key concept of affirmations is: “As you are, you are good enough and you’re valued being you.”

  • Burned and vandalized: A history of cherry blossoms bearing the brunt of xenophobia

    NBC News | April 27, 2022

    Some anthropologists, including Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, are skeptical about whether the trees were, indeed, infested. An editorial published in response by The New York Times also said: “We have been importing ornamental plants from Japan for years, and by the shipload, and it is remarkable that this particular invoice should have contained any new infections.”

  • Peering Into the Deadliest, Most Destructive Tornadoes with Supercomputers

    Newsweek | April 27, 2022

    “They occur under specific atmospheric conditions,” Orf, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said. “They require lots of moisture, atmospheric instability, and wind shear. Supercells produce the most violent tornadoes compared to all other thunderstorm types. A recent example of a violent supercell is the storm that hit Mayfield, Kentucky, in December of 2021.”

  • For many American families a living wage is out of reach: Report

    ABC News | April 27, 2022

    “The data reinforces what we’ve known for some time. People in both rural and urban communities face long-standing barriers, systemic barriers — avoidable barriers — that get in the way of groups of people and places in our country from being able to live long and well,” Sheri Johnson, co-director of County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and director of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, told ABC News.

  • Climate Change: The Technologies That Could Make All the Difference

    WSJ | April 25, 2022

    Gregory Nemet is a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs whose research focuses on the process of technological change in energy and its interactions with public policy.

    To get the world economy to zero emissions by midcentury, we need to move light and fast. That means aggressively expanding what we know works and is affordable—wind, solar and electric vehicles—on the order of how quickly we built ships and airplanes in World War II. Falling prices, digitization of the economy and more flexible electric grids can enable us to do that.

  • ‘Tough cover’ sparks Twitter defense of the Fed

    POLITICO | April 25, 2022

    “What if I told you…that the inflation was a cross-national, pandemic- and war-induced phenomenon & not primarily due to Jerome Powell or Joe Biden and their policies?” said University of Wisconsin political economy professor Mark Copelevitch, posting a series of global inflation charts on Twitter.

  • How to Avoid Getting Covid in a Mostly Mask-Free World

    The Washington Post | April 22, 2022

    “It feels like we’re being asked to partake in a trust fall,” says Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at University of Wisconsin-Madison, referring to the team-building exercise that involves falling backward and counting on others to catch you before you hit the floor. “When is the last time you did a trust fall and enjoyed it?”

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