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Category: Experts Guide

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.”

Some Wisconsin hospitals are offering vaccines to staff who don’t take care of patients

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: In Florida, for example, a nursing home offered vaccines to members of its board and major donors, the Washington Post reported.

But that doesn’t seem to be the norm, said Ajay Sethi, an infectious disease expert with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He said the top concern should be that no doses go to waste.

“It’s far better to get a shot in somebody’s arm than throw it out. Throwing it out is a complete tragedy,” Sethi said.

“If it’s happening to the point where the original plans are being abandoned, then I think that would be an issue,” Sethi added. “But I don’t think we’re at that stage right now.”

Quoted: “What we’ve heard more and more is that there are organizations that end up with unfilled slots in their immunization schedules who would like to reach out to members that would technically be in that next (rollout) group,” said Dr. Jim Conway, a professor of pediatrics at UW-Madison.

In wake of Jacob Blake decision, a primer on ‘use of force’ policies in Wisconsin

The Capital Times

“People often wonder whether an officer’s actions complied with local policy. But as to an officer’s civil or criminal liability, this question does not matter. When a department asserts an officer acted reasonably, the department looks to constitutional law. And constitutional law is very forgiving of officer decision-making,” said Ion Meyn, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, who has extensively studied the issue.

‘The choice is ours’: Panel discusses COVID-19 and schools

The Capital Times

“The choice is ours,” said Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “It’s ours as a population, as a country, as a community … Navsaria was joined on the Wisconsin Health News panel by UW-Madison epidemiologist Malia Jones, La Crosse School district superintendent Aaron Engel and Eau Claire City-County Health Department director Lieske Giese.

Who should get COVID-19 vaccine next? A state committee debates

Wisconsin State Journal

Dr. Jonathan Temte, co-chair of the subcommittee and former chair of the CDC advisory committee, said that if disabled people who live in group homes are prioritized, inmates should be too because both live in congregate settings. “I think we should be unwilling to decouple those,” said Temte, associate dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Quirky hobbies help Madisonians through quarantine

Wisconsin State Journal

These changes in social interactions have real effects on our mental health, said Shilagh Mirgain, a psychologist at UW Health. “When we are not able to be together for long periods of time, it can impact our mood, motivation and outlook and make us more vulnerable to engage in negative health habits,” Mirgain said.

Masks Don’t Mask Others’ Emotions for Kids

U.S. News

Children can still read the emotional expressions of people wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say.

“We now have this situation where adults and kids have to interact all the time with people whose faces are partly covered, and a lot of adults are wondering if that’s going to be a problem for children’s emotional development,” said study co-author Ashley Ruba, a postdoctoral researcher in the Child Emotion Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Despite Challenges, Wisconsin Farmers Projected To End 2020 With Higher Average Income

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the forecast is slightly higher than last quarter’s estimate, partly because of a price rally for corn and soybeans seen around harvest time.

“Cash revenues, from soybeans especially, are up compared to where they were in September. It’s rare to have prices go up at harvest when everyone is bringing crops in,” Mitchell said

The 4 Steps That Will Increase Happiness, According To A New Study


Quoted: “It’s a more hopeful view of well-being,” study researcher Cortland Dahl of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, a cross-disciplinary research institute, told HuffPost. “It’s the idea that you can take active steps that improve well-being, very much so in the way that you might take steps to improve physical health.”

WDNR: Plan Ahead if You Want to Plant Native Species in the Spring

Spectrum News

Quoted: Some native plants are tied to the survival of a specific species. Like milkweed and monarch butterflies. Experts at UW-Madison say people planting milkweed in midwest have helped monarch populations survive.

“Basically right now we have thousands of people that are working to preserve monarch habitat, and i really think that without these efforts monarchs would be a lot worse off,” said Karen Oberhauser, director of the UW-Madison Arboretum.

Is Dairy Farming Cruel to Cows?

New York Times

Quoted: “It’s really important that we don’t just anthropomorphize cows based on our human experience, but we do know that they can experience negative emotions like pain and fear that we want to minimize,” said Jennifer Van Os, an animal welfare scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “On the flip side, they can have positive experiences like pleasure, reward and contentment that we want to try to promote.”

Consumer Demand For Butter, Other Dairy Products Remain Strong During Pandemic

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “Pandemic cooking is a real thing,” said Mark Stephenson, head of dairy policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Restaurants have used a lot of butter, but we’re seeing greater sales even going through retail now than we did the sum of retail and restaurants before that.”

Members of Congress send mixed messages on getting vaccinated

ABC News

Quoted: Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin who consulted on guidelines for prioritizing the COVID-19 vaccine for the National Academies of Science, said showing confidence in the vaccine is good reason for elected officials to be vaccinated early in the process. This may be especially true for Republican leaders. A December poll from ABC News/Ipsos showed Republicans were four times as likely as Democrats to say they would never get the vaccine.

“The amount of vaccine hesitancy that has been created in the last 20 years, 25 years is profoundly disturbing and goes deep into our society. So it takes a long time to build up confidence for people, and people who are unsure,” Charo told ABC News.

Biden and the Underseas Cable: Underworld Massive internet cables may already be below water—but they can still drown.


Quoted: Paul Barford, a University of Wisconsin computer science professor and co-author of a study on the effects of climate change on the internet, sounded less worried about cables sinking anytime soon, because of the financial interests of the telecoms firms involved with cables. But he still says planning now is important. From the get-go, “simply assessing what the current state of this infrastructure is would be something that the government could potentially motivate and potentially help to facilitate,” Barford said. And considering how “unbelievably expensive” these cables are, with costs running into “tens and hundreds of millions of dollars,” it would be a boon if the federal government poured in “funding to help facilitate new deployments or to harden current infrastructure.”

How the much-litigated ballot deadlines affected the US election

The Guardian

Quoted: Voting by mail may seem more convenient, but it also requires the voter to act much earlier than they would if they went to the polls, said Barry Burden, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. You have to make sure to request your ballot early, and in some states, make sure you have a valid ID to do so.

“One problem with having a hard and fast election day deadline is that it actually forces people who want to vote by mail to submit their ballot before the campaign is over, and so it deprives them of the right to watch the campaign to its conclusion,” said Burden.

Worried about the COVID-19 vaccine? Doctors and experts clear up some common concerns.

Appleton Post Crescent

Quoted: Still, there was a high bar to clear for Pfizer and Moderna to get their vaccines in front of the committee. Dr. James Conway, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute, said he was “reassured and a little taken aback” at the rigorous safety and effectiveness data the FDA required to issue an emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, even at a time when President Donald Trump and others in Washington were pushing to speed the process up.

You Can Get Through This Dark Pandemic Winter, Using Tips From Disaster Psychology

Scientific American

Quoted: One key benefit of therapy is the close relationship between the patient and the provider, which fosters a strong sense of belonging. “You’re meeting with somebody with whom you have a real relationship—this is a person who cares about you, seeks to understand you, is warm and accepting,” says Bruce Wampold, a professor emeritus of counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “And for many people, this is particularly healing.”

US health officials: No need to ban flights from UK even as it battles new coronavirus variant

USA Today

Noted: Dr. Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said travel bans need to be carefully considered because they can cause fear and disruption. Such restrictions can buy time, he said, but may not always be effective. He noted, for example, that Trump’s oft-cited ban on travel from China occurred after the virus was already circulating in the U.S.

Q&A with UW immunization expert James Conway on Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination processes

Badger Herald

UW Professor of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine & Public Health James Conway leads UW Health’s immunization efforts as the programs’ medical director. After serving as a scientific advisor for both Moderna and Pfizer this summer, Conway now works on a Wisconsin Disaster Medical Advisory Committee about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation and distribution and also works in Dane County’s distribution efforts.

Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson relishes role as contrarian of the Senate

Wisconsin State Journal

UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden said Trump has clearly proven popular in the state, even though he lost this year. “There is a pretty big coalition of voters in Wisconsin who are attracted to Trump’s style and to his messages,” Burden said. “It looks like Johnson is kind of mimicking that style in pursuing these odd or peripheral stories, so maybe it’s possible to assemble that Trump coalition even after Trump’s out of office.”