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Category: Research

Meghan Markle Wrote a Children’s Book—Here’s Everything We Know About The Bench


That perspective is inevitably important to the many, many multicultural households across America. The children’s book industry has a noted lack of diversity: According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 30% of titles in 2020 featured racially diverse characters. “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine,” Meghan says.

This Is the Worst State for Retirees

24/7 Wall Street

The share of adults 65+ who met CDC exercise guidelines in 2017 and the share of adults 65+ who reported good or excellent health in 2018 were obtained from America’s Health Rankings in its analysis of CDC data. Data on membership associations per 10,000 state residents was obtained from 2018 state-level data provided by the 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program.

How COVID-19 may have made the economic divides in youth sports worse than before

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Milwaukee County ranks 70th in both health outcomes and health factors, according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Health outcomes measure length and quality of life, while health factors account for things that can improve health, such as access to education, quality clinical care, healthy food or affordable housing.

As participation in youth sports grows, more are winding up on the injured list

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The prime injury culprits are specialization — which the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health defines as participation in a single sport for more than 8 months of the year — and overtraining.

A groundbreaking 2017 University of Wisconsin study of 1,544 Wisconsin high school athletes found that those who specialized were 70% more likely to sustain a lower extremity injury than athletes who played multiple sports.

“Should we really be asking our young kids to do what we’re asking our collegiate athletes?” asked David Bell, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Wisconsin Injury in Sport Laboratory.

“Kids aren’t programmed to do a single sport for 15 to 20 hours a week for the entire year.”

Kathleen Gallagher: Why do schools like MIT excel in launching startups, while UWM and other area schools do so little?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

UWM’s Sandra McLellan and MIT’s Eric Alm are among the world’s foremost experts at detecting very small organisms in very large quantities of sewage — a useful tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite their similar research capabilities, Alm’s work is having a wider impact and creating more economic value and high-paying jobs.

Ron Johnson disputes scientific consensus on the effectiveness of masks in preventing spread of COVID-19

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “People who wear masks in close settings have a lower risk of being infected than people who don’t,” said Patrick Remington, former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s preventive medicine residency program.

Invasive garlic mustard hurts native species—but its harmfulness wanes over time

National Geographic

But it may not be necessary to eradicate it to save forests. “In many ways its presence is more of a symptom of a disease rather than the cause,” says Richard Lankau, a researcher at University of Wisconsin. “Things like disturbance, overabundance of white-tailed deer, exotic earthworms—those things often seem to set the stage for bad garlic mustard invasions.”

Southeastern Wis. wells near bedrock cracks likely to contain arsenic, study finds


Geologists with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension recently discovered that these previously overlooked areas contain the harmful contaminant, which can even cause cancer if ingested over time. The team of researchers studied groundwater arsenic contamination in folds of bedrock, which is the result of 1.7 billion-year-old rock pushing up on younger rocks above it.

‘I’m fine with being called an activist’: Angie Thomas on her The Hate U Give prequel

The Guardian

What about publishing? In the US there’s been a boom in books featuring diverse characters. A study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that more than 12% of children’s books starred African American characters in 2019, compared with 5% in 2012 (in the UK, 5% of children’s books have black, Asian or minority ethnic protagonists, up from 1% in 2017).

UW research projects to deploy strategies to lessen racial inequities


“The proposals we received are evidence of the exceptionally wide breadth of research on our campus targeting inequalities based on factors such as race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation and geography,” says Lonnie Berger, associate vice chancellor for research in the social sciences.

Should All Schools Teach Financial Literacy?

The New York Times

And more teachers now say they feel confident teaching the material. 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.

Opinion | What American Workers Really Want Instead of a Union at Amazon


Research has borne this out. In a landmark 1994 survey, Harvard professor Richard Freeman and University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers asked more than 2,400 nonmanagement workers whether they would prefer representation by an organization that “management cooperated with in discussing issues, but had no power to make decisions” or by one “that had more power, but management opposed.” Workers preferred cooperation to an adversarial stance by 63 percent to 22 percent, a result that held even among active union members.

The Most Challenged Books of 2020

New York Times

Out of almost 4,000 books geared toward children and teens that were published in 2019, 232 were written by Black authors, and only 471 featured Black characters, according to data from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Op-ed: The High Cost of Cheap McDonald’s Fries

Civil Eats

Independent scientific analysis conducted by George Kraft, a University of Wisconsin scientist working with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), confirms that RDO’s latest proposed irrigated potato site would increase local groundwater and drinking water contamination to double or quadruple the legal limit under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

184 Years In: Ag Giant John Deere Awaits Its First Software Vulnerability


In a 2019 paper, Cyber Risk and Security Implications in Smart Agriculture and Food Systems (PDF), experts from Jahn Research Group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences argue that that the growing interconnectedness of the U.S. agriculture sector and the “increasing application of smart technology and devices” mean the risk of U.S. agriculture being “negatively impacted by a service interruption caused by a cyber attack or accidents…is rapidly growing

Research on Coronavirus Variants at UW Lab Buoyed by CDC Funding

PBS Wisconsin

The kind of work being done at a Wisconsin lab could be a shot in the arm, so to speak in the fight against the shifting terrain of COVID-19. As the number of variant coronavirus cases increases, lawmakers are hopeful funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 can fuel research labs like the AIDS Vaccine Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The $1.75 billion package signed into law in March funds COVID-related research focused on detecting variants of the virus.

High-capacity wells are reducing lake levels in Wisconsin’s Central Sands region, a new study finds

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The DNR worked with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, the United States Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin System to complete the research. The agencies looked at several different potential impacts, including recreation, fish, aquatic plants and water chemistry.

Key ingredient in coronavirus tests comes from Yellowstone’s lakes

National Geographic

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?”

Research on Coronavirus Variants at UW Lab Gets $60 Million Boost

PBS Wisconsin

Tens of millions of dollars in federal pandemic aid is proving to be a shot in the arm, so to speak, for Wisconsin’s contributions to the fight against the shifting terrain of COVID-19. As the number of variant coronavirus cases increases, $60 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a  $1.75 billion package signed into law in March, will fund COVID-related research by the AIDS Vaccine Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Vapor condenser copies beetle trick to harvest water


“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


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.

Jumping Worms Are Eating — And Altering — Wisconsin’s Forest and Garden Soils

PBS Wisconsin

Noted: Jumping worms were first identified in Wisconsin in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. Just eight years later, the worms have been reported just about everywhere in the state and are highlighted as an invasive species by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“They are, if not in every county, close to it,” said Brad Herrick, an ecologist at the UW Arboretum.

Queer, BIPOC Farmers are Working for a More Inclusive and Just Farming Culture

Civil Eats

Quoted: The lack of data on queer BIPOC farmers is also prevalent in academia, said Jaclyn Wypler, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies queer and transgender sustainable farmers in conservative rural communities. Wypler was recently hired as the Northeast project manager of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network at the National Young Farmers Coalition.

“There is discrimination for BIPOC folks and queer folks within academia, including within the environmental and rural and agricultural departments,” Wypler said. As a result, research studies that highlight their experiences are difficult to adequately fund.

When Will Kids Get COVID Vaccines?

Scientific American

Quoted: Given that most kids are at low risk for complications from COVID, the need for a pediatric vaccine for the disease may not seem pressing. But scientists say the pandemic may never be fully controlled until kids are inoculated. When we only vaccinate adults, we leave vulnerable “an enormous, immunologically naive population,” says James H. Conway, a pediatrician and associate director for health sciences at the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Without a pediatric vaccine, “the disease, even if our kids don’t get super sick with it, is going to be there and continue to circulate routinely.”

How school lunch could improve when classrooms are full again

The Conversation

Jennifer Gaddis, Assistant Professor of Civil Society & Community Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Before the pandemic, a growing number of schools were employing cafeteria staff to cook nutritious meals from scratch, and implementing farm-to-school programs and other practicesto improve jobs, local economies and the environment.

Due to fewer kids eating school meals during the pandemic and the increased costs associated with COVID-19 safety protocols, these positive changes may stall, or even be reversed.

My research suggests these reforms are needed to transform the school lunch experience and maximize the ability of school meals to improve public health and contribute to a post-pandemic economic recovery.

‘I’m empty.’ Pandemic scientists are burning out—and don’t see an end in sight

Science Magazine

Quoted: “The pace that led to the incredible generation of knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 has put enormous demands on the people who are expected to generate that knowledge,” says David O’Connor, a viral sequencing expert at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has been tracking the spread of the virus, doing Zoom Q&A sessions with the vaccine hesitant, and helping neighborhood schools set up diagnostic testing. “This is a terrible time and we should all do what we can to help. But is it going to be sustainable?”

The depths of Lake Michigan are getting warmer, new study reveals. That could mean more snow and less ice

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: The warming of the lake could also result in changes in the amount of snow seen around the lake, said Michael Notaro, the associate director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climate Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The warming lake waters and declining lake ice cover support enhanced lake evaporation and lake-effect precipitation during the cold season. As the lakes warm in the cold season, the temperature difference between the water and overlying air increases, supporting greater turbulent fluxes of heat and moisture from the lake to the atmosphere,” he said in an email. “That favors more vertical atmospheric motion that can support cloud and precipitation formation in the cold season.”

When Does Tick Season Start?

Consumer Reports

If you find a tick—attached or not—and are curious about what kind it is, several free services can help you identify the species from a photograph. Mather at the University of Rhode Island runs one of these services, called TickSpotters. The University of Wisconsin at Madison also runs the photograph-based Tick Identification Service for residents of Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Trying to conceive: 10 tips for women


Women who are underweight, with a BMI less than 18, might not be getting regular periods or could stop ovulating, which also hinders their ability to become pregnant, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority.

Report: $15 Minimum Wage Would Help 30 Percent Of Wisconsin Workers

Wisconsin Public Radio

A new report from a think tank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would help three out of 10 Wisconsin workers, and work to close racial and gender pay gaps in the state.

The report, from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), finds that 843,000 workers — or 21 percent of workers in the state — currently make less than $15 an hour and would be directly impacted by a boost to the minimum wage.

UW study: Climate change linked to longer ‘dead zones’ in lakes


A newly published study done on Lake Mendota says climate change is linked to longer lasting dead zones. In the summer, lakes can settle into having two layers of water, a phenomena known at stratification. Warm water is lighter and sits on the top of the lake, while colder water sits at the bottom of the lake.

Racial diversity in children’s books grows, but slowly

The Washington Post

Kids are seeing more of these possibilities in the books they read as authors make a bigger push to reflect the diversity around them. Racial diversity in children’s books has been picking up since 2014, reversing a 25-year plateau, according to Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center.