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Author: jplucas

Richard Keller: Memorializing Death in an Age of Mass Mortality


How do we remember death when it constitutes our landscape? In an age of ubiquitous mortality—not only pandemic deaths, but also deaths from meteorological disasters, deaths of migrants seeking refuge from their war-torn homes, and the more banal declines in life expectancy in broad swaths of the United States—what kinds of death do we memorialize, and what kinds do we disappear, either actively or through habituation or an atrophy of memory?

Stepped-Up Recruitment of Poll Watchers Adds to Election Tensions

Wall Street Journal

Noted: Some election scholars, however, cite the charged atmosphere. “We’ve got a perfect storm of open challenges from the president to the integrity of the election process, and the termination of the consent decree,” said Kenneth Mayer, an election law expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s not too hard to envision circumstances in which this really gets out of hand.”

The State Of Race: Education — COVID In The Classroom

WGBH-TV, Boston

In this segment of “The State of Race: Education” presented by WGBH and The Boston Globe, host Dan Lothian talks to Founder & Director, The NET Mentoring Group, Jamal Grant; Professor of Urban Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Gloria Ladson-Billings and Boston Globe Education Reporter Bianca Vázquez Toness about how COVID has widened the opportunity gap in the classroom.

Voting ambassadors


René Robinson voted at 22 for the first time and for a very particular reason: Harold Washington was on the ballot for Chicago mayor.

At-Home Learning, When Home Is in Ashes

The New York Times

Noted: Schools can step in and provide support when parents themselves are traumatized. Familiar adults at school can also provide a buffering effect against trauma, said Travis Wright, an associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rapid Coronavirus Spit Tests Aren’t Coming Soon

The New York Times

Noted: Another saliva LAMP test is being tested by David O’Connor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their technique bears many similarities to the Columbia test, including a color-based readout, but takes slightly longer and involves a couple of extra steps. Early trials of the test on volunteers in Wisconsin have gone well, Dr. O’Connor said, and one school district in Illinois is using the test to screen about 1,400 students and teachers on a weekly basis.

Pandemic Narratives and the Historian

Los Angeles Review of Books

Quoted: Richard Keller, professor in the Department of History, and Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the history of European and colonial medicine, as well as public health and environmental history.

The Struggle to Mend America’s Rural Roads

The New York Times

Noted: A legally loaded semi-trailer truck can produce 5,000 to 10,000 times the road damage of one car according to some estimates, said Benjamin J. Jordan, director of the Wisconsin Transportation Information Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Roads and bridges have not kept up.

The battle for the legitimacy of women’s sports was waged here

Madison Magazine

The topline story in the New York Times “Sports Sunday” section of Feb. 9 likely brought a smile to anyone interested in women’s intercollegiate athletics. It concerned the robust rivalry between the women’s basketball teams at the University of Oregon and Oregon State Universities. A recent game drew more than 12,000 fans.

Danez Smith: ‘White people can learn from it, but that’s not who I’m writing for’

The Guardian

Danez Smith was born into a devout Baptist household in St Paul, Minnesota. Smith’s grandmother still lives there, in one of only two black households on a street that was mixed but is becoming increasingly white. Smith grew up, on this border between the blacker areas and the white middle-class enclaves of the city, as a black, queer, God-fearing child.

Pieces of Madison’s past

Madison Magazine

A tour of the massive $47 million, 188,000-square-foot State Archive Preservation Facility on the near east side is overwhelming. One room alone contains a 1969 Wienermobile, a Marc’s Big Boy restaurant statue, a Green Bay Packers-themed fishing shanty and a Tommy Bartlett boat once capable of pulling nine water-skiers.

Lightning can help predict rapidly intensifying storms

Tampa Bay Tribune

Noted: “We’ve been amazed by the lightning mapper,” said Derrick Herndon, a hurricane satellite specialist at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies in a May interview. “We’ve had lightning systems before but they didn’t have the resolution this mapper has and this is doing a much better job of tracking how lightning changes in the storms.”

Researchers Develop Video Game ‘Tenacity’ To Improve Mindfulness In Middle Schoolers

International Business Times

It is estimated that a staggering 97 percent of adolescents play video games during their spare time. While many often see video games as mere time-killers, a team of researchers from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, Irvine see them as an opportunity to develop mindfulness in the youth.

Good News for Dogs with Cancer

Scientific American

New treatment techniques and diagnostic tools have likewise been created. Technology for targeted radiation that avoids damaging tissue near a tumor was developed on pet dogs with sinus tumors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Allee Willis, who co-wrote Earth, Wind & Fire’s good-time hit ‘September,’ dies at 72

Washington Post

Allee Willis, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter who helped compose the catchy theme song for the TV sitcom “Friends,” as well as hits for the Pointer Sisters and Earth, Wind & Fire, and who was described in a Washington Post headline as “the most interesting woman you’ve never heard of,” died Dec. 24 at a Los Angeles hospital. She was 72.

11 trends that changed the way we read this decade

The Washington Post

Noted: In 2014, the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s School of Education found that less than 3 percent of newly published children’s books were about black people. For a group of minority authors and publishing insiders, it was high time to confront the unbearable whiteness of being.

From Africa to UW: Diallo recalls studying in USSR

Sun Prairie Star

Thierno (pronounced “Chair-no”) Diallo sits comfortably in his Sun Prairie living room and shows how he can pull up WhatsApp footage of Gamou Farms, his farm and training center, in his hometown of Mali, West Africa to communicate with his manager.