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Category: Research

Extreme rains and the ‘monster’ below: Study finds lag time between extreme storms and algal blooms

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: In Madison, a four-inch rainfall in one day that used to occur once every five years now happens every other year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That got University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Steve Carpenter wondering whether extreme storms would lead to an increase in toxic blooms.

“I had thought maybe get a rainstorm, get a bloom, but it’s not that simple,” Carpenter said, who is lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Carpenter, emeritus director of UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, worked with other researchers to examine data collected from Lake Mendota. He said around three-quarters of all phosphorus pollution stems from extreme storms. While those storms play a large role, they don’t necessarily trigger a bloom right away.

How Moore v. City of East Cleveland protected multigenerational homes

Washington Post

But the biggest benefits may be for Max and Jonah’s kids. Younger children in intergenerational housing “demonstrate more interactive and cooperative play, increased empathy and mood management, and improved academic performance,” the Center for Aging Research and Education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison reports.

What we heard surveying and listening to Wisconsin voters: Substance and civility matter, the people and their politicians have major disconnects

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The survey is not a scientific poll, and its results cannot be generalized to the entire population of Wisconsin, but the responses do provide a snapshot of what was on the mind of voters during the survey period from June 28 to Nov. 8. The project is a collaboration of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin papers), Wisconsin Public Radio and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wisconsin researchers have tracked neutrinos to distant galaxy, supermassive black hole: Discovery comes from UW-Madison’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory below surface of South Pole

For the first time ever, an international team of scientists has traced neutrinos coming from the galaxy NGC 1068 in the constellation Cetus. The “ghost particles” appear to be accelerated toward Earth by a supermassive black hole.

In a scientific breakthrough, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 1-billion-ton IceCube Neutrino Observatory, buried around 1 mile under the ice at the South Pole, detected the neutrinos.

“A Stroke Of Serendipity” – A Technology Developed For The Bioethanol Industry Has Economic And Environmental Benefits For Beef And Dairy Production


The economic and environmental significance of Enogen feed advantages was evaluated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Animal and Dairy Sciences and Agronomy Departments along with Rock River Laboratory. They looked at milk content and expected revenue as well as corn silage costs. What they found was that by using Enogen corn, a dairy could save $132 to $208 per milking cow per year.

Indictment of monkey importers could disrupt U.S. drug and vaccine research


The indictment, which carries multiple felony charges, will likely exacerbate the shortage of these monkeys, used in everything from drug safety testing to vaccine research, says Dave O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies infectious disease in cynomolgus macaques. Still, he says, the main priority should be stopping this illegal trade, both for the science and the animals themselves. “These sorts of unscrupulous actors give a black eye to an already heavily scrutinized industry.”

How the Great Depression shaped people’s DNA


The work, published on 8 November in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1, adds to a cache of studies indicating that exposure to hardship such as stress and starvation during the earliest stages of development can shape human health for decades. The findings highlight how social programmes designed to help pregnant people could be a tool for fighting health disparities in children, says co-author Lauren Schmitz, an economist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

‘It can actually change the game:’ UW-Madison researchers develop carbon nanotube foam to improve concussion prevention in helmets

Channel 3000

From the football field to the front lines of war, helmets are the first defense against brain injury. With more research going into materials that prevent kinetic energy from an impact reaching the brain, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe their new carbon nanotube foam will get ahead in the head game.

In post-Roe Wisconsin, what’s the role of crisis pregnancy centers? Critics say they mislead, pressure women.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison estimated in an August report that patients in 42 of the state’s 72 counties would see the distance they have to travel to get an abortion increase by an average of 82 miles, one-way. In Milwaukee and Dane counties, which accounted for 56% of the state’s abortions before the Dobbs decision, residents would have to travel 70 and 120 more miles to reach an abortion clinic, respectively. In the state’s 30 other counties, the distance to an abortion clinic didn’t change because they were already closest to an out-of-state clinic.

Meat cultivated at UW-Madison offers glimpse into possible food future

PBS Wisconsin

An unconventional yet burgeoning project looming on the horizon of the grow-your-own movement is the development of cultivated, or cultured meat. It is real animal meat and seafood that is produced by cultivating animal cells, according to the Good Food Institute (GFI). Backers say it reduces the land and water pollution caused by large-scale meat agriculture.

Masatoshi Suzuki is a researcher and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In recent years, Suzuki’s lab has worked in collaboration with GFI to create a prototype of a beef patty grown from the stem cells of a cow.

Psychedelics & Role Of Memory In Healing Process, New Trial Led By Univ. Of Wisconsin


The University of Wisconsin-Madison Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances (TCRPS) was created to foster education and research on the field of medical applications of psychedelics, and one of them is specifically studying if remembering the psychedelic-induced hallucinations is a fundamental part of these substances’ therapeutic effects.

Ghostly Neutrino Particles Provide a Peek at Heart of Nearby Galaxy

Wall Street Journal

Dr. Taboada said he thinks IceCube will continue to get more neutrinos originating from this galaxy. Those future detections could not only help parse out additional details about Messier 77’s supermassive black hole, but could help answer the “oldest question in astronomy,” according to Francis Halzen, a University of Wisconsin-Madison physicist and principal investigator of IceCube.

Report: Dobbs decision could decrease abortions in Wisconsin by 20%

The Capital Times

The cessation of abortion services in Wisconsin — triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — could result in a 20% reduction in abortions throughout the state, according to a recent report from University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

Drones carrying defibrillators could save lives in heart emergencies

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Autonomous flying drones could deliver life-saving defibrillators to people experiencing cardiac arrest, says a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who’s been involved in the research.

Ambulances aren’t always fast enough, especially in rural areas where an automated external defibrillator, or AED, isn’t available.

Survival rates drop by as much as 10% for each minute that passes without treatment, according to Justin Boutilier, an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering and co-author of several medical journal articles on the use of drones to deliver AEDs.

Is Hand-Washing Still Important in the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The Atlantic

This realization is not an entirely new one: A 1987 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that a group of men playing poker with “soggy,” rhinovirus-contaminated cards were not infected, while a group playing with other sick players were.

World’s largest ocean reserve off Hawaii has spillover benefits nearby, study finds

The Guardian

The findings, published in the journal Science, by researchers from the University of Hawaii and the University of Wisconsin-Madison may strengthen support for a target, agreed by more than 100 countries, to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.“This research is important because it helps us understand that a large, carefully placed no-fishing zone can create benefits for these large iconic species,” said Jennifer Raynor, an environmental economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the paper’s three co-authors.

Marine protection areas are a win-win for fish and humans | Popular Science

Popular Science

Both the size of the no-fishing zone (about four times the size of California) and apparent homing behaviors of some tuna species possibly played a role in these positive effects. The Hawaiian islands appear to be a nursery for baby yellowfin tuna and many of the fish stay in the region, according to study co-author Jennifer Raynor, a professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

UW-Madison’s Monica Kim awarded prestigious MacArthur fellowship

Wisconsin State Journal

Monica Kim is an associate professor and UW-Madison’s William Appleman Williams & David G. and Marion S. Meissner Chair in U.S. International and Diplomatic History. Her research breaks down U.S. intervention tactics throughout the 20th century. She also authored “The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History.”

Madison guaranteed income experiment is up and running

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “We know that our needs change from month to month,” said Roberts Crall, who works at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “So one month, it might be that families need a little bit of extra cash to pay for gas and the next month, it might be for rent and the month after that it might be for diapers or school supplies. And so giving people that flexibility to be able to manage their own budget seemed really important and (an) important idea to test.”

City officials are partnering with UW-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania to compare outcomes for families getting the payments to those in a control group. Participating households got debit cards to receive the payments, and researchers plan to study how people spent the funds (which will published as broad categories) as well as how the payments affected overall wellbeing, Roberts Crall said.

UW-Madison historian Monica Kim awarded MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A University of Wisconsin-Madison historian on Wednesday won one of the nation’s most prestigious awards, which comes with a no strings attached $800,000 stipend to spend however she sees fit.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named UW-Madison professor Monica Kim, 44, as one of 25 national recipients of the MacArthur fellowship. Also known as the “genius grant,” the awards are given annually to a select group of individuals across a range of disciplines who show exceptional creativity in their work and future ambitions.

UW-Madison professors research social media effects on teens

Daily Cardinal

Teenagers live and breathe social media, and the negative effects of these platforms can have a strong, long-term impact on teenagers’ mental and physical health. Chris Cascio, an assistant professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with an extensive background in neuroscience, is hoping to learn more about teens’ experiences on social media platforms. “

Despite 2 decades of progress, Wisconsin still isn’t meeting national air quality standards

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: One of the major polluters, Sonoda said, is the fossil fuel industry. Across the country, coal-fired and gas power plants make up a third of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2020 University of Wisconsin-Madison study.

According to the UW-Madison study, transitioning to 100 percent clean energy would save $21 billion per year by averting health issues. That change, the study said, would prevent nearly 2,000 premature deaths, 650 respiratory emergency room visits and 34,400 cases of asthma exacerbation each year.

Microsoft Teams users are using it for a really bad reason, so stop now


This news comes just a couple of weeks after researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison made the case that Teams (and Slack) third-party apps may have some worrying security flaws. Because their code is rarely analyzed by Teams’ and Slack’s dev teams, the potential for data leaks could be greater than expected.

American children got 10 per cent fatter during the pandemic, ‘alarming’ study suggests

Daily Mail

Quoted: Study author Dr. Drew Watson, physician for the University of Wisconsin Athletics, said: ‘The cancellation of sports in the early pandemic was accompanied by decreased physical activity and quality of life, as well as startlingly high levels of anxiety and depression.

“Although the return to sports has been associated with large improvements in physical activity levels, quality of life and mental health, we are still seeing higher levels of anxiety and depression than before Covid, suggesting that this will remain a vitally important priority for years to come.”

How green are biofuels? Scientists are at loggerheads

Knowable Magazine

Tyler Lark, a geographer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, grew up among farms, working on a neighbor’s dairy, vaguely aware of the tension between clearing land to grow food and preserving nature. As an engineering student working on water projects in Haiti, he saw an extreme version of that conflict: forests cleared for firewood or to grow crops, producing soil erosion, environmental denudation and worsening poverty. “I think it was that experience that told me, ‘Hey, land use is important,’” he says.

Doctors providing trans care are under increasing threat from far-right harassment campaigns

NBC News

Dr. Katherine Gast had become accustomed to the odd social media comment or email from someone who does not support or understand gender affirmation procedures she provides to her transgender patients.

But Gast, a co-director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s UW Health gender services program, was blindsided by what happened when the social media outrage machine that has developed around transgender issues came for her.

On the afternoon of Sept. 23, a two-minute video of Gast describing gender-affirming operations was posted by the Twitter account Libs of TikTok, a self-described news service that acts as an outrage content factory for conservatives.

As northeast Wisconsin diversifies, students of color use tools like code-switching to navigate their own identity and community

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Quoted: In her research on multilingual and English learners, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Mariana Pacheco said children as young as 6 or 7 can pick up on the double standard that white, English-dominant students can be placed in a bilingual classroom and be celebrated for their bilingualism, while the same isn’t true for their Spanish-dominant counterparts.

As someone who studies language, Pacheco has always been fascinated with how people who are bilingual learn social knowledge by living in the margins between cultures. Having to code-switch can teach them how society and power function.

“We shouldn’t forget that that consciousness is a resource for them,” she said.

She hopes it serves them in the careers they pursue someday and the policies they support, but perhaps what she admires most is the way they keep trying in the face of resistance.

“They’re not paralyzed by it,” she said.

Journalists Are Making The Same Mistake With Dietary Change They Made With Climate Change: Study


“There is clear scientific evidence that diets in high-income countries need to shift away from animal-based foods and towards plant-based foods not only to reduce GHGs (greenhouse gases) to address climate change but also to reduce resource use (e.g., land, water) and pollution,” write the scientists from Maryland’s Towson University and the University of Wisconsin, “but many newspaper journalists are presenting ‘both sides’ and, therefore, covering the issue as an open debate

15 Plants You Can Grow That Your Dog Will Love

House Digest

The fennel plant (Foeniculum vulgare) is cultivated because of its aromatic seeds and delicious stems, as told by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A multipurpose plant, fennel can be grown in various garden types depending on your use for it. Thankfully, the versatile herb is also pet friendly, so you can feel free to let your curious pup check out your plants

What we know — and don’t — about how climate change impacts hurricanes like Ian

Miami Herald

Reliable global records of hurricane intensity only go back about four decades, when weather satellites began scientists to accurately estimate the strength of storms. In the years since, hurricanes appear to be getting stronger, according to a 2020 paper from researchers at NOAA and the University of Wisconsin. They found that the likelihood that a cyclone will reach Category 3 wind speeds — the threshold to be designated a “major hurricane” — has risen about 25% since 1979, as extra heat in the oceans and atmosphere gives storms more fuel to grow.

DNR: Wisconsin wolf population dropped 14 percent after controversial wolf hunt last year

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is wary of the state’s estimate.

Treves has questioned the DNR’s use of the model and fears the agency is overestimating the number of wolves. He noted the agency used data from surveys within 100-square-kilometer blocks to estimate the total area occupied by wolves. But, Treves said the state estimated average pack sizes based on their home range within 171-square-kilometer blocks.

“That means their grid cells are almost half of what a wolf pack territory is,” Treves said. “So, there’s a real risk that when they say two neighboring cells are occupied that they’re counting two packs where there’s only one.”

An inside look at the Madison institute predicting what will happen with Hurricane Ian


Some of the top research and analysis in the country on hurricanes isn’t happening by an ocean, but instead in Wisconsin’s capital city, Madison.

The Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is helping predict what will happen with Hurricane Ian.

In order to track the path and intensity of a hurricane, it takes some of the country’s top minds in science working together. Research scientist Sarah Griffin at the Institute says they do not need to be near a hurricane to analyze it. They can use satellites to provide the National Hurricane Centers forecasters with the data and predictions on Hurricane Ian.

“We give current analysis to the forecasters to help them make their forecast,” said Griffin.

Housing considered the foundation for health and well-being

USA Today

The Housing First program costs $2 million to $3 million a year. It has reduced Wisconsin’s spending on Medicaid programs by an estimate $2.1 million a year, and has reduced Milwaukee County’s cost of providing behavioral health care by $715,000 a year, according to a brief by the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Study: Voting getting harder in Wisconsin


“It’s a measure that tries to capture all of the different election laws that affect access to voting,” David Canon, a political science professor at UW-Madison and the editor-in-chief of the Election Law Journal, said. “As a voter, you don’t like to have to go through a bunch of hoops to be able to vote. You’d like to be able to have it easier to vote rather than harder to vote.”

Slack and Microsoft Teams have some rather worrying security flaws


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison argue that third-party apps rarely have their code reviewed by programmers at Slack and Microsoft. Even those that do, undergo a relatively superficial analysis, in which the reviewers analyze if the app works as intended, if it encrypts data, and run an automated scan that looks for vulnerabilities.