Skip to main content

Category: Experts Guide

‘This is Powerful’: Mourning the National Loss Endured This Year

Spectrum News

Quoted: Omar Poler wants people to recognize that and to remember the people who lost their battle with COVID-19.

‘We never take the time to stop and reflect on the loss we’re all experiencing,’” “A friend said to me, ‘We never take the time to stop and reflect on the loss we’re all experiencing,’” Poler said. “At the same time, a newspaper article came out that said no collective mourning had emerged within the United States.”

Poler is UW-Madison’s Indigenous education coordinator. He wanted to change the way America looks at coronavirus-related deaths. He wanted people to spend a moment grieving.

“What we do is I spend some time before Thursday trying to learn about specific people,” Poler said. “I look through obituaries and try to come up with a way to remember them.”

What Are Antioxidants, and How Much of Them Should You Be Eating?


Quoted: Then there are antioxidants that aren’t exactly considered essential nutrients, but still have effects on cells and tissues, Bradley Bolling, Ph.D., an assistant professor of food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells SELF. You can find these in plant, animal, and other dietary sources.

Many of these non-essential antioxidants are being studied for their potential effects on optimizing health, preventing chronic disease, promoting longevity, and reducing inflammation, says Dr. Bolling. “There are varying grades of evidence for the effectiveness of these non-nutritive antioxidants,” he says.

Vaccine lotteries and personal appeals: The medically vulnerable find their priority status slipping away

Washington Post

Noted: Jonathan L. Temte, associate dean for public health and community engagement at the University of Wisconsin and a liaison to to the covid-19 work group that helped the CDC advisory panel issue its guidelines, called the result a “free-for-all.” The decisions could become even more torturous when a third vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson — which is expected to gain regulatory approval this weekend — joins the mix, though with only a trickle of supply at first.

Tension is growing in the Wisconsin State Capitol as some Republican lawmakers refuse to wear face masks

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “Indoor settings with prolonged exposure present the greatest risk for transmission, hence why universal masking is particularly important – even if the individuals are immunized,” said Jim Conway, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute.

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, said if lawmakers who choose to go maskless are vaccinated against COVID-19, then the risk is lower.

“One obvious question for people not wearing masks is whether they have been vaccinated. If they have, then it seems to be a reasonable thing to do,” Remington said. “That is, the vaccine provides sufficient protection to significantly reduce the risk of becoming sick or getting others sick.”

Direction of milk prices for the remainder of year still uncertain

Wisconsin State Farmer

Growing cow numbers and increased milk production have dairy experts walking on a knives edge when predicting the trajectory of milk prices for the coming year.

Mark Stephenson, director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Center for Dairy Profitability and Bob Cropp, emeritus professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, delved into the factors impacting milk prices for 2021 during the February “Dairy Situation and Outlook” podcast this week.

‘It’s Voter Suppression:’ Lawmaker Floats Overhauls To Wisconsin’s Voting Rules


Quoted: David Canon is a political scientist at UW-Madison, and he echoes many of Gardner’s concerns.

“In my view, it’s clearly voter suppression…Our elections are very secure. The number of cases of voter fraud are so infinitesimally small that it’s just not something that changes the outcome of elections,” Canon says.

Scientists Just Changed the Rules of What You Can Do While You Sleep

Popular Mechanics

Quoted: Benjamin Baird, a sleep researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who wasn’t involved in this study, told Scientific American the findings “challenge our ideas about what sleep is.” SciAm has more: Sleep has classically been defined as unresponsiveness to external environmental stimuli—and that feature is still typically part of the definition today, Baird explains. “This work pushes us to think carefully—rethink, maybe—about some of those fundamental definitions about the nature of sleep itself, and what’s possible in sleep.”

For Generations, African Americans Have Led Global Antiracist Movements

History News Network

Noted: Brenda Gayle Plummer is a historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in African American history, the history of U.S. foreign relations, race in international affairs and Caribbean history. She is the author of several books, most recently of In Search of Power: African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956-1974.

Pleasure Practices with Sami Schalk: A recipe for rest

Tone Madison

As we approach a full year of this pandemic and attempt to survive sub-zero Wisconsin winter, many of us are tired; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I teach at UW-Madison and the beginning of the semester is always an intense energetic marathon for me so I find myself having to be extra mindful about resting. So this month’s piece isn’t about food, but about rest as a political practice of resistance.

Ancient Trees Show When The Earth’s Magnetic Field Last Flipped Out


Quoted: “That high-resolution temporal record is, I think, pretty impressive,” says Brad Singer, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies the history of the Earth’s magnetic field but was not part of the research team. “This is only a small number of specimens that they measured, but the results look fairly reproducible in the different trees, and I think that’s a pretty impressive set of data.”

People Answer Scientists’ Queries in Real Time While Dreaming

Scientific American

Quoted: These findings “challenge our ideas about what sleep is,” says Benjamin Baird, a postdoctoral researcher who studies dreams at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and was not involved in this study. Sleep has classically been defined as unresponsiveness to external environmental stimuli—and that feature is still typically part of the definition today, Baird explains. “This work pushes us to think carefully—rethink, maybe—about some of those fundamental definitions about the nature of sleep itself, and what’s possible in sleep.”

Scientists entered people’s dreams and got them ‘talking’

Science Magazine

Quoted: “This work challenges the foundational definitions of sleep,” says cognitive neuroscientist Benjamin Baird of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies sleep and dreams but was not part of the study. Traditionally, he says, sleep has been defined as a state in which the brain is disconnected and unaware of the outside world.

Experts Say Cold Is Unlikely To Cause Power Crisis In Wisconsin, But There Are Still Lessons From Texas

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: Demand for electricity goes up when temperatures drop, said Dr. Line Roald, an assistant professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The surprising part of what happened in Texas was that so many generators — from nuclear and natural gas plants to wind turbines — stopped producing energy due to the freezing temperatures, she said.

What Does Leading for Racial Justice Look Like?

Education Week

On Feb. 10, I had the pleasure of talking with Jennifer Cheatham from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and John Diamond from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on our Education Week show A Seat at the Table. When participants register to view the live or on-demand show, they are able to input one question they would like me to ask our guests, and the questions they offered focused on many different facets of racial equity.

Wisconsin Labs Use Genomic Sequencing To Track Spread, ‘Architecture’ Of New Coronavirus Strains

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Two researchers at UW-Madison began sequencing SARS-CoV-2 samples in February 2020. Virology professor Tom Friedrich and pathology professor Madison Dave O’Connor have a background in HIV research, and began sequencing SARS-CoV-2 samples from around Dane County as soon as local spread began.

“The sort of architecture of how the virus looks at the genetic level is a little different,” O’Connor said. “But the basic principles are the same as for HIV, and flu and other viruses.”

Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader right on relationship between mask mandates and COVID-19 cases


Quoted: When studying the impact of mask mandates, it’s important to consider whether people follow them and if they’re enforced, said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He said it can be difficult to assess mandates individually when they’re issued with other public health guidelines, but he believes the Kansas study offered compelling data on the matter.

“You could argue that with or without a mandate, people might wear a mask because that’s what they do and the mandate is just confirming what they do,” he said. “At the end of the day, an entire county had fewer cases.”

Economist Says Wisconsin Should Increase Minimum Wage To At Least $10

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: The rate has stayed consistent in the state with the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Workers earning minimum wage who work 2,000 hours a year — 40 hours for 50 weeks — make about $14,500 before taxes and work expenses.

“That’s just about enough to keep one single person out of poverty,” said economist Tim Smeeding, a professor of public affairs and economics at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Experts Highlight Issues Ahead For Next State Superintendent

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Erica Turner, a University of Wisconsin-Madison education professor who specializes in equity issues, said the incoming superintendent will face steeper-than-usual challenges. Education funding in Wisconsin, as in many states, hadn’t fully recovered from the recession more than a decade ago by the time the pandemic began. With some state revenue sources having taken a hit, and the unexpected costs of managing a pandemic, Turner said the new superintendent will likely have to contend with more limited funding.

“This is an equity issue because it has been the case, and it’s likely to continue to be, that a lot of the cuts will come from equalization aid — efforts to make school funding more equitable,” she said. “For educational equity, you need someone who can be an effective advocate around the budget, and then also will have to prioritize that what cuts happen, and how they happen, happen in an equitable way.”

‘Check your credit report’ campaign

La Crosse Tribune

Quoted: “Sometimes incorrect information is a simple data entry error, and other times, it could be a sign of fraud,” says Peggy Olive, University of Wisconsin-Madison financial capability specialist. “It is up to each individual to look over his or her own credit report for old information that should be removed, common mistakes or signs of identity theft. Better to discover an error yourself than to have a creditor find it first.”

Progress in driving COVID-19 numbers down in Wisconsin could be ‘undone’ by new variants

The Capital Times

“We can have a fair degree of confidence that if there was a significant number of the variants that first caused concern in the United Kingdom or in South Africa, we would have seen it by now,” UW School of Medicine and Public Health Professor David O’Connor said in a UW report posted Monday. “And the fact that we haven’t means that if these viruses are here, they’re here in low enough levels that we don’t have to worry too much — yet.”

10 years later: Wisconsin’s Act 10 has produced labor savings, but at a cost

Wisconsin State Journal

UW-Madison professor emeritus of public affairs and applied economics Andrew Reschovsky said data show a growing gap in student achievement between white and Black students in Wisconsin, which already ranks among the worst states in the nation on the racial achievement gap. “If you reduce compensation for teachers and you reduce the power of teacher unions, it’s not as if you can say, ‘Ah, that’s a tool. Everybody can cut spending,’ as if there’s no consequences to that,” Reschovsky said.

10 years later, workers still seek a seat at the table despite lack of collective bargaining

Wisconsin State Journal

After years of wage freezes, a union representing 225 UW System trade employees negotiated a 1.81% raise for this year, which ended up being less than the 2% raise their non-union colleagues received … “There’s been a range of responses to Act 10,” David Nack, a professor in the UW-Madison Department of Labor Education said. “Workers often want to or need to find a way to effectively represent their interests with their employer. Act 10 doesn’t change any of that.”

If you’re a solo parent traveling internationally with your kids, be ready for this question

Washington Post

Quoted: Solo parents aren’t the only travelers noticing increased scrutiny. “All border crossings have become more difficult over the past few years,” says Erin Barbato, a clinical professor and director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. From political unrest to the global pandemic, different forces have added complexity to international travel. In this environment, we need to expect that agents may ask more questions, Barbato says.

New York can’t get rich quick with GameStop

City & State New York

Bjorn Eraker, a finance professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said those high numbers point to a bubble, not long-term stability of the stock.

“It’s a speculative bubble more than it is a safe investment,” Eraker said. “There’s no way of knowing what they might do because the stock is trading way, way above its fundamentals. It is a game more than it is an investment.”

As world reels from coronavirus, UW researchers report on chimpanzee-killing disease, raising concerns about jump to humans

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A new and always fatal disease that has been killing chimpanzees at a sanctuary in Sierra Leone for years has been reported for the first time by an international team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Wisconsin advisory panel that decides who’s next in line for the vaccine will ‘pause’ to wait for Biden’s strategy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Committee co-chairman Jonathan Temte of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health said the committee will break because it will take months to distribute vaccine shots to everyone eligible in phases underway.

Jim Conway, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute who is a member of the panel, said during the meeting he was concerned about the effect of the break on the subcommittee members’ ability to provide information to the health care community and others about the status of the rollout.

“Now that we’re on this committee (many of us) are sort of viewed as sources of information for a lot of the people around the state and a lot of organizations and it’s been incredibly beneficial to be part of these conversations to be able to help shed some light on these things,” Conway said. “I’m a little concerned if we’re going to take a long pause that we won’t continue to be able to be those resources for others, so I do wonder where things are, what we know about how the distribution is going and if there is anything that we can offer.”

Temte agreed, saying, “At the end of the day we serve at the pleasure of the Secretary or Acting Secretary so if our efforts, skills, knowledge and opinions are of value, I think we stand ready to come back.”

An old arrest can follow you forever online. Some newspapers want to fix that.

Washington Post

Quoted: The idea of removing names — let alone an entire article — from a newspaper’s digital archive is traditionally anathema for many journalists. “For a long time the instinct was, ‘Nope, we’re not even going to think about this. We are about seeking the truth and reporting it and we don’t go back and unreport it,’ ” said Kathleen Culver, the James E. Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Walmart Presses Into Stores as Fulfillment Center Strategy


Quoted: As customers make their way through shelves, they may move or pick up items in ways that can make the location and quantity of inventory difficult to to gauge, said Hart Posen, professor at the University of Wisconsin school of business.

“It leads to lots of mistakes and errors because what the computer system says is on the shelf might not be there, because a customer has it in their cart, or…picked it up and moved it someplace else,” he said. “So mostly using store shelves for e-commerce fulfillment is not a scalable and efficient way to do it.”

Young People Spreading Covid a Concern in Rapidly Aging Japan


Noted: One way to appeal to youth on Covid-19 is by placing the wellbeing of their social group on their shoulders, said Dominique Brossard, a professor specializing in science communication at University of Wisconsin at Madison.

She pointed to the decades-old “Friends don’t let friends drink and drive” slogan in the U.S. as one successful campaign that helped lower incidence of youth drunk-driving. Simply relaying information about the virus may have limited effectiveness with the younger generation, who are accustomed to being bombarded with a constant stream of content.

How Laura Albert Helped Make Election Day in Wisconsin Safer Amid the Pandemic

American Association for the Advancement of Science

When public servants face a challenge, AAAS Member and newly elected 2020 AAAS Fellow Dr. Laura Albert finds solutions. Whether helping police tackle the opioid crisis, or assisting election officials in protecting voters during a deadly pandemic — which was one of her most recent feats — the University of Wisconsin-Madison professor uses mathematical models and analytics to recommend safe, economical and often innovative remedies.

International team of scientists identifies new treatment for COVID-19 that appears to be far more effective than drugs in use now

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The drug performs quite well in mice and the authors hint at it having potential against other viruses too,” said David H. O’Connor, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It is premature to say if it will have clinical benefit, but it definitely merits clinical trials.”

Madison-area business leaders express optimism, caution about Biden administration

Wisconsin State Journal

Biden’s administration could also oversee unemployment return to the low levels that it had been at under the past two administrations, though the pandemic is still wreaking havoc on major sectors of the economy, UW-Madison economist Steven Deller said. “Once COVID is under control, there is no reason why we can’t go back to a pre-COVID economy,” Deller said.

Altered Vaccine Data Exposes Critical Cyber Risks

The Wall Street Journal

Quoted: Dietram Scheufele, the Taylor-Bascom chair in science communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that scientists already must counter misinformation on Covid-19 vaccines. Manipulated data only makes that job harder, he said.

“It’s probably the worst possible time to deal with something like this,” he said.

Republicans propose making vaccine available to everyone by mid-March, bar prioritizing prisoners

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Committee co-chairman Dr. Jonathan Temte of the University of Wisconsin-Madison agreed.

“Our recommendation should be based on the scientific evidence, the ethical pinnings, and the feasibility,” Temte said. “And on all three accounts, one would say, absolutely. If we are saying we’re going to punish these people yet again — because they are being punished for their crimes at this point in time — this constitutes kind of a double punishment and treating them very, very differently and I’m very uncomfortable with that.”

Teachers emphasized in COVID-19 vaccine plan sent to state

Wisconsin State Journal

With Wisconsin getting just 70,000 first doses of vaccine each week, the committee acknowledged the challenge in making so many people eligible but didn’t address how to manage the expected large demand for a small supply. “To achieve that group is nearly an impossible task in short order,” said Dr. Jonathan Temte, associate dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “We’re looking at months.”

Wisconsin Republicans punt again on Tony Evers’ special session

Wisconsin State Journal

“It is remarkable how little legislating the Legislature has done over the past year,” Barry Burden, a UW-Madison political science professor, said in an email. “As Governor Evers points out, the Legislature has not actually passed any legislation and sent it to his desk since last April, despite the challenges of the pandemic, the economy and the election. Legislative leaders and their allies have instead been active in the courts, challenging many of the orders and actions coming out of the Evers administration.”

We’re not gonna take it: The COVID-19 vaccine is here, along with efforts to overcome skepticism

The Capital Times

“We really need to come together to combat this,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, pediatrician and public health strategist with the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “And just like masks, social distancing and good handwashing are part of the solution, getting as many people vaccinated as possible is part of the solution.”

COVID-19 vaccine requirements not likely as Madison area businesses balance public health, liability

Wisconsin State Journal

Though the law allows employers to mandate vaccines, UW-Madison professor emerita of law and bioethics Alta Charo said requiring employees to get the shot could lead to pushback from employees who might get vaccinated on their own but bristle at the mandate. “In the history of public health, we have frequently seen that voluntary compliance winds up more successful at the end than mandates,” Charo said.

Wisconsin Sees First Case Of U.K. Based Strain Of COVID-19


Quoted: Dr. David O’Connor is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UW-Madison’s school of Medicine and Public Health, where he runs a lab studying viral infections. Speaking with WORT, O’Connor said it’s common for viruses to mutate as they find new hosts.

“The genetic material for the coronavirus is called RNA, and when RNA makes copies of itself, sometimes those copies are sloppy, and a mistake gets made,” O’Connor said.

The Associated Press and other news outlets have focused on the fact the B.1.1.7 strain appears to transmit between people more quickly than other strains. Dr. Thomas Friedrich, who studies diseases and immune systems at UW-Madison, shares this same suspicion.

“This variant does appear to be more contagious, more transmissible between people, about one and half times as transmissible as previous strains. So, that’s concerning to us because it means that virus might spread a bit easier, and might be a little harder to control,” Friedrich said.

Democratic Control Of US Senate Will Mean Changes For Wisconsin Senators

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Barry Burden, professor of political science at University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Johnson’s strong allegiance to President Donald Trump, as well as his position within the Senate majority and chairmanship of a powerful committee, positioned him squarely in the national spotlight.

“That combination has been really effective for him for the last several years and has given him a national platform,” Burden said. “And now he’s essentially losing all of that.”

Black and Latina women carried the brunt of job loss in December


Quoted: Laura Dresser, an economist with the Center on Wisconsin Strategy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said prior economic declines were led by male-dominated fields, such as construction and manufacturing. The pandemic-driven decline, she said, has strongly affected areas – such as the restaurant and education industries – with a high number of women workers.

“And those jobs are low-wage jobs,” Dresser said. “They’re held disproportionately by women. They’re held disproportionately by people of color.”

Some of Colorado’s conservative talk radio stations are turning down the volume on “rigged election” claims

The Colorado Sun

Quoted: The motivation for the crackdown is “a combination of corporate pressure through fear of losing advertisers, and some sense of responsibility that this (insurrection) was a bridge too far,” said Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The question is how sustained the corporate response will be,” Culver said. Currently, companies including AT&T, JPMorgan and Coca-Cola have paused their political contributions to the 147 Republicans who objected to certifying the election results, for instance. “Is it performative in the moment or will it last? It feels unlike any moment I’ve seen before.”

Wisconsin residents 65 and older could be in next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: But fellow co-chairman Dr. Jonathan Temte, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said politics shouldn’t play a role in public health decision-making.

“It is our purview to make whatever we think is the best recommendation,” he said. “I don’t think it’s ethically acceptable to say we’re going to do congregate living but exclude the incarcerated, because by definition, that’s congregate living.”