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UW In The News

  • As the U.S. shivers through a deep freeze, the world beyond is worryingly toasty

    MarketWatch | January 17, 2024

    The idea is the jet stream — the upper air circulation that drives weather — is wavier in amplified global warming, said University of Wisconsin-Madison climate scientist Steve Vavrus. And those wave changes in the upper air knock the polar vortex out of its place and toward the United States, Cohen said.

  • Did a Young Democratic Activist in 1968 Pave the Way for Donald Trump?

    POLITICO | January 16, 2024

    “The rise of party activists is the theme of the last 20 years,” says Byron Shafer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin who wrote the definitive history of the 1968 reforms in Quiet Revolution: The Struggle for the Democratic Party and the Shaping of Post-Reform Politics. “And a lot of it does come from what happened back then.”

  • Vote to volunteer: Poll workers sorely needed this election year

    Marketplace | January 16, 2024

    About 1 million people typically step up to work the polls in a presidential election, said Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • This pristine lake has endured for 2m years. Why are its fish in crisis?

    The Gurardian | January 16, 2024

    The tributary streams used by Hovsgol grayling for spawning are also drying up. “They no longer have water in them during the spring spawning season,” says Olaf Jensen, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nearly 80% of the 96 streams that once flowed into Lake Hovsgol are dry during the key months when the fish migrate.

  • The Rise of the N.F.L.’s 2-Point Conversion: A Guide to Strategy

    The New York Times | January 16, 2024

    A comprehensive analysis by FiveThirtyEight recommended going for two, especially late in the game, but a separate analysis by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, Laura Albert, concluded it’s best to kick the extra point. Even on similar questions, slightly different assumptions or data can lead to different answers.

  • We Are in a Big Covid Wave. But Just How Big?

    The New York Times | January 10, 2024

    Wastewater testing works at all because “everybody poops,” said David O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • These Satellite Maps Reveal Rampant Fishing by Untracked ‘Dark Vessels’ in the World’s Oceans

    Smithsonian Magazine | January 10, 2024

    “These previously invisible vessels radically changed our knowledge about the scale, scope and location of fishing activity,” writes Jennifer Raynor, an author of the study and a natural resource economist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in the Conversation.

  • Sludge Videos Are Taking Over TikTok–And People’s Mind

    Scientific American | January 10, 2024

    This is because the brain has to switch back and forth to give each one attention, says Megan Moreno, an adolescent medicine physician who studies media and digital health at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Over time, too much stimulation may be detrimental to your ability to concentrate on any one task. “We are in this world with lots of little micro interruptions,” Moreno says. “It is hard to piece together the stories, and it’s harder to retain them, because you have to do so much work to put them together.”

  • To Fight Absenteeism, Schools Turn to Private Companies

    Propublica | January 9, 2024

    By the 1890-91 school year, more than 200 of Massachusetts’s 351 towns had an average daily attendance of 90%, and only 11 were below 80%. During the following decades, mandatory schooling spread nationwide. William Reese, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, found that just 6% of adolescents were in high school in 1890 but that by 1930 half of them were.

  • Earth Could Outlive the Sun

    The Atlantic | January 8, 2024

    In 5 billion years, our sun will balloon into a red giant star. Whether Earth survives is an “open question,” Melinda Soares-Furtado, an astrophysicist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, says. Sure, Earth could be swallowed by the sun and destroyed. But in some scenarios, Earth escapes and is pushed farther out into the solar system.

  • Carla Vigue on supporting Indigenous students at UW-Madison

    PBS Wisconsin | December 26, 2023

    UW-Madison is going to start providing broad financial support to students who are enrolled members of federally recognized tribes in the state – Carla Vigue, the UW’s director of tribal relations, considered the significance of this initiative.

  • Army’s Blast Safety Limit May Miss Risks From Powerful Weapons Like Tanks

    The New York Times | December 21, 2023

    “It’s basically a place holder, because no one knows what the real number should be,” said Christian Franck, a professor of biomechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is part of a team that is modeling the effects of blasts on the brain for the Defense Department. He echoed the assessment of many other researchers.“If the right kind of wave hits brain tissue, the tissue just breaks — it literally gets torn apart,” Dr. Franck said. “We see that in the lab. But what kind of blast will do that in real life? It’s complex. The work takes time. There is a lot we don’t know.”

  • A 4-year-old went fishing with her dad. They found a shipwreck from 1871.

    The Washington Post | December 20, 2023

    He sent them photos and the coordinates. From there, the Wisconsin Historical Society and the state’s Department of Natural Resources began to investigate. They took their own sonar images of the wreck and compared the information with a shipwreck database the historical society runs with the University of Wisconsin’s Sea Grant Institute, said Tamara Thomsen, a Wisconsin Historical Society maritime archaeologist.

  • Jails offer video visits, but experts say screens aren’t enough : NPR

    NPR | December 20, 2023

    Julie Poehlmann at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studies families of incarcerated people. She says research has shown the value of in-person visits, both to the incarcerated person and family members. But she says a lot depends on the quality of the visit. In jails, she says, “in-person visit” often means the family is still separated by a glass partition or in-house video.

  • The Winds of Change: Foehn Drive Intense Melt

    Eos | December 20, 2023

    “But nobody has really dug into those effects in Greenland where we expected it might be happening,” said University of Wisconsin–Madison atmospheric scientist Kyle Mattingly.

  • Schools shut down some students, teachers who comment on the Gaza war

    Washington Post | December 19, 2023

    In K-12 schools, the outlines of the battle are different because speech is more circumscribed, especially for teachers, said Suzanne Eckes, a University of Wisconsin at Madison professor who studies education law. Teachers do not have First Amendment rights in the classroom and must stick to teaching the curriculum their district mandates, she said.

  • The seven counties that will help explain the 2024 election

    NBC News | December 18, 2023

    Dane County, Wis: Home to Madison and the University of Wisconsin, this county is all about the Democratic intensity in highly educated college towns. Biden netted 181,327 votes over Trump here in 2020 — up from Clinton’s 146,422 in 2016. And that Dem gain helped the party flip battleground Wisconsin in ‘20, given that Biden won the state by just 20,000 votes.

  • Tantalum cold spray boosts potential of fusion reactor chambers

    New Atlas | December 15, 2023

    “These hydrogen neutral particles cause power losses in the plasma, which makes it very challenging to sustain a hot plasma and have an effective small fusion reactor,” said Mykola Ialovega, a postdoctoral researcher in nuclear engineering and engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW–Madison). Ialovega has led research on a coating that has demonstrated the ability to line fusion reactor chambers and capture this rogue hydrogen.

  • Why is the US far right finding its savior in Spanish dictator Francisco Franco?

    The Guardian | December 15, 2023

    Stanley Payne, a revisionist historian of Spanish fascism at the University of Wisconsin Madison until his retirement in 2004, has penned a string of recent articles in rightwing outlets like First Things which invite readers to compare the US with Spain in the 1930s. He has reiterated a line that Franco’s hand was forced by leftist violence and promoted the work of other revisionist historians like Pio Moa, who many professional historians dismiss as a “pseudo-historian”.

  • Opinion: Why your chain-store pharmacist is so unhappy

    CNN | December 14, 2023

    Editor’s Note: David Mott is the William S. Apple Distinguished Professor in Social and Administrative Sciences at the University of Wisconsin. CNN — Pharmacists swear an oath upon entering the profession to “assure optimal outcomes for all patients.” But current working conditions are making it nearly impossible to live up to this oath.

  • Anyone can help monarch butterflies. All you need is a yard.

    National Geographic | December 14, 2023

    Karen Oberhauser, the director of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and the founder of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, advises against rearing monarchs in captivity on a large scale or for more than a single generation, since captivity may disrupt the development of their navigational abilities and, over time, can alter their genetic makeup.

  • Hunting Ghosts in the Sky and Finding What Makes Their Colors

    New York Times | December 13, 2023

    “The metallic traces are interesting, but I’ll caution that this was only a single event,” said Chris Vagasky, a lightning researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the new work. To see if all ghosts are iron-fueled spooks, he added, “it would be nice to see the results from multiple ghosts.”

  • Experts in concussion, NFL leaders gather to identify gaps in knowledge, offer guidelines on preventing brain injuries

    CNN | December 11, 2023

    Dr. Julie Stamm, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the summit, says it’s exciting to see a lineup of experts coming together to discuss not just CTE but other conditions related to traumatic brain injury.

  • One product, so many prices: Unit price, list price, ‘MSRP.’ Which one do shoppers actually pay at checkout?

    CNN Business | December 11, 2023

    “For a retailer, they’re primarily a tool to incentivize people to make a purchase,” said Laura Hensen, executive director of the Kohl’s Center for Retailing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • How to forgive someone and the benefits that come with it

    CNN | December 11, 2023

    If the incident in question causes you continued distress and negatively impacts your life, that’s where the f-word  — forgiveness — may have a role to play, said psychologist Robert Enright, a pioneer in the field of forgiveness science and professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Renewables’ growing price advantage over fossil fuels paves way for industry dominance

    The Hill | December 11, 2023

    And installing technologies to capture greenhouse gasses on fossil fuel power plants would further raise prices for a sector already struggling to compete with renewables, as Gregory Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin who studies the public policy of technology change, told The Hill.

  • World’s Stinkiest Cheese Hits Supermarket Shelves in Britain

    New York Times | December 8, 2023

    “I think that there are a small group of people out there that just love it,” said Dr. Mark Johnson, a scientist at the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. “It’s almost like an ‘I dare you to eat it’ kind of thing, like hot peppers.”

  • How Much Can Forests Fight Climate Change? A Sensor in Space Has Answers.

    New York Times | December 8, 2023

    “Nearly all protected areas are becoming much more accessible and much more vulnerable,” said Lisa Naughton, a researcher who studies protected areas at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Not just to local subsistence hunting and illicit timber extraction, but to things like artisanal mining and road penetration.”

  • Couples Are Embracing Joint Custody. American Policy Isn’t.

    The Atlantic | December 8, 2023

    Although the increase is steepest among high-income couples, it’s happening across the socioeconomic spectrum, Daniel Meyer, a social-work professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who studies child custody, told me.

  • 2023 Hurricane Season Ends: A Recap of This Year’s Storms

    The New York Times | December 5, 2023

    “Such warm water ‘sets the stage’ for these events,” James P. Kossin, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote in an email.

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