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This Is No Way to Be Human

The Atlantic

In a remarkable study several years ago, Selin Kesebir of the London Business School and the psychologist Pelin Kesebir of the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that references to nature in novels, song lyrics, and film story lines began decreasing in the 1950s, while references to the human-made environment did not.

How the Post Office Could Sabotage Biden’s Billion-Test Goal

The Daily Beast

“Besides keeping them in cold cars while moving them around, we don’t have any experience testing in extreme cold or extreme heat,” said Dave O’Connor, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin. “My guess—but it is purely a guess—is that freezing of the liquid could cause performance issues if it thaws and isn’t mixed thoroughly.”

Opinion | Some Antiracist Books Aren’t Very Good. Do I Still Have to Read Them to My Child?

The New York Times

The progress made in children’s book publishing has been encouraging and certainly necessary. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the numbers of children’s books written by Black, Indigenous, Asian and Latino authors have all significantly increased in the past 20 years.

The Future of Dynastic Rule in the Philippines

The Atlantic

The Marcos regime was “exceptional for both the quantity and quality of its violence,” Alfred McCoy, a historian at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, wrote in 1999. McCoy estimated that 3,257 extrajudicial killings were carried out under Marcos. The specter of violence was horrific and deliberate. Many of the victims were mutilated and then dumped roadside for passersby to see, McCoy wrote: “Marcos’s regime intimidated by random displays of its torture victims—becoming thereby a theater state of terror.”

The Alien Beauty and Creepy Fascination of Insect Art

Sierra Club

Another striking example is the singing shawls made by the Karen people of Myanmar and northern Thailand, says Jennifer Angus, who teaches textile design at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. These woven garments, so named because they’re worn at funeral ceremonies where mourners sing around the clock for several days, sometimes have a fringe made from the shiny, iridescent elytra, or hard outer wings, of jewel beetles. Angus, who grew up in Canada, had never seen anything like it. “I really had trouble believing that it was real,” she says.

You can eat healthier without focusing on weight

Popular Science

Fiber is the material in plant-based foods that our body’s can’t digest. For a long time, scientists thought of it as junk, says Beth Olson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Today, we know that it’s essential. Fiber feeds the bacteria in our guts, which could have an indirect effect on everything from our mood to our immune systems, Olson says.

Wisconsin GOP bill would count prior COVID-19 infection as immunity

The Hill

Ajay Sethi, director of the Public Health master’s program at UW-Madison, told the Wisconsin State Journal that if the Wisconsin Senate bill becomes law, “you would have people who falsely believe that they are protected against reinfection. And the science continually shows that people who are unvaccinated, even if they’ve had COVID before, are more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who are vaccinated and haven’t had COVID before.”

A University’s Stumbles in Qatar Revive Questions About Foreign Campuses

Chronicle of Higher Ed

Kris Olds, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who studies the globalization of higher education, noted that in almost all cases, branch campuses are funded by their host nations, shifting the balance in setting an institution’s direction and agenda. Because they rely on their foreign sponsors, western universities don’t have full autonomy over their offshore campuses, Olds said. Texas A&M and its Qatar campus are “wholly dependent upon the largess of a foreign state.”

Op-Ed: Americans used to respect public health. Then came COVID

Los Angeles Times

Historically the public response to community health danger was ruled by the need to care about others. This tradition has served the country well over the last 300 years. But it is no longer standard in America. The freedom to not wear a face mask has become more important to many people than any obligation to others. Choosing narrow personal liberties over community cooperation and protection does not bode well for our ability to withstand future crises.Judith Walzer Leavitt is professor emerita in the history of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jan. 6 Capitol riot criminal prosecutions: Are judges going easy on defendants?


“There are a few factors related to particularities of these cases that could potentially explain why the Jan. 6 defendants were released pending trial at higher rates than average,” said assistant professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law School Stephanie Didwania. “But I doubt these factors alone can explain why so many of the Jan. 6 defendants were released.”

Families ate meals together, read together more often during pandemic, data shows

ABC News

While many parents have understandably worried about how things like remote learning, mask wearing and missing playdates have affected their children, this new data showing family togetherness should be reassuring, according to Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics and clinical associate professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How Psychedelic Drugs Can Be Used for Mental Health

The New York Times

That research isn’t conclusive yet, said Paul Hutson, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies psilocybin and leads the school’s center for psychedelics research. But he anticipates there will soon be enough evidence for the Food and Drug Administration to approve psilocybin capsules to treat at least some of these disorders — most likely in the next five years or so.

Come the Metaverse, Can Privacy Exist?

Wall Street Journal

A key question for the Delft team and its counterpart at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is how to obscure data on eye movements with privacy filters without sacrificing too much utility. Researchers from both schools said eye-trackers could give companies a wealth of information for targeted advertising at a very granular level.

Lucid dreaming may help treat PTSD. VR can make that happen.

Popular Science

Lucid dreaming is more than just self awareness. People who lucid dream gain memories of what happened earlier in the dream, the ability to manipulate their environment, control their own actions, and marvel at how strange their dream worlds are. Psychologists compare it to a fully immersive virtual reality inside our own heads, which we have the ability to program and reprogram. “You plug into your extended self,” says Benjamin Baird, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Cannabis to Help You Diet? One Edibles Company Thinks So

The New York Times

Some of them may turn to cannabis because of the prohibitive costs of certain medications, a lack of access to those medications or mistrust of the pharmaceutical industry, said Lucas Richert, a historian of drugs and medicines at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the editor of “Cannabis: Global Histories.”

The Word Of The Year And Why It Matters To Workplace Mental Health


According to Huffington, “It’s similar to happiness, actually—another quality we tend to idealize as an end state. But as Professor Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has shown, we can actually train ourselves to be happier through practice in very tangible and measurable ways by giving ourselves the resources to deal with the ups and downs of life. Similarly, we can train ourselves to be more resilient through practice, and that’s the essence of Resilience+.”

The Myth of Tribalism

The Atlantic

Sohad Murrar and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin at Madison recently applied the same idea to intergroup relations. In recent years, universities and other organizations have invested heavily in training in which instructors extol the benefits of diversity and urge participants to be mindful of their own implicit biases. But those initiatives have a mixed record. Murrar’s team found that drawing people’s attention to social norms could produce much better results.

Mindfulness exercises for anxiety are the best thing you can do in 2022


It’s easy to believe we’re adept at taming anxiety born of uncertainty thanks to the pandemic. But this may be a false assumption. Dr. Jack Nitschke, a clinical psychologist, and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, told me that exposure to unpredictability doesn’t necessarily improve our coping skills. “I actually don’t think people get better at tolerating uncertainty just because there’s a lot of it,” he said.

Covid News: U.S. Daily Record for Cases Is Broken

New York Times

David O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said of the Omicron estimate, “The 73 percent got a lot more attention than the confidence intervals, and I think this is one example among many where scientists are trying to project an air of confidence about what’s going to happen.”

Sharks may be able to protect us from coronavirus, research suggests. Here’s how

Miami Herald (McClatchy)

Although some may fear sharks when swimming in open waters, these often misunderstood creatures may hold a way to help protect us from the coronavirus, new research suggests. As one of the ocean’s top predators, sharks have antibody-like proteins that can stop the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study published Dec. 16.

Seeking refills: Aging pharmacists leave drugstores vacant in rural America

Kaiser Health News

“It’s going to be harder to attract people and to pay them,” said David Kreling, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. “If there’s not a generational thing where someone can sit down with their son or daughter and say that they could take the store over, there’s a good chance that pharmacy will evaporate.”

Kids under 5 still waiting for Covid-19 vaccine protection

Dr. Bill Hartman, who runs the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine trial for kids 6 months to 5 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, thinks a vaccine for this age group could be available as early as the “first month or two” of 2022.
Even that isn’t fast enough for some parents, but having worked on several trials during the pandemic, Hartman has been impressed with how quickly things can move when there are dedicated volunteers.
“I feel lucky to live in a city that has a population of people that really want to help us get answers so we can end this pandemic,” he said. “I tell the volunteers all the time that someday in the future, they will be able to tell a story about how they helped save the world.”

How Long Does Omicron Take to Make You Sick?

The Atlantic

Shorter incubation periods generally lead to more infections happening in less time, because people are becoming more contagious sooner, making onward transmission harder to prevent. Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told me he still wants more data on Omicron before he touts a trim incubation. But “it does make sense,” he said, considering the variant’s explosive growth in pretty much every country it’s collided with. In many places, Omicron cases are doubling every two to three days.

Seeking Refills: Aging Pharmacists Leave Drugstores Vacant in Rural America

Kaiser Health News

“It’s going to be harder to attract people and to pay them,” said David Kreling, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. “If there’s not a generational thing where someone can sit down with their son or daughter and say that they could take the store over, there’s a good chance that pharmacy will evaporate.”

Opinion | Is the University of Austin Just a PR Stunt?

New York Times

To debate the free speech crisis — or lack thereof — on campuses, Jane Coaston brought together Greg Lukianoff, the president and C.E.O. of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and Mark Copelovitch, a professor of political science and public affairs and the director of the Center for European Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mexico’s monarch butterflies are falling victim to a real-life butterfly effect


Climate change may be one of the other threats pushing down monarch numbers. It’s messing with weather across their range, which plays a huge role in how many butterflies ultimately arrive in Mexico each year, according to Karen Oberhauser, a monarch expert and professor of entomology at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It’s getting hotter where monarchs breed, for example, and that makes it harder for them to flourish, she said.

As medicine aims to close diversity gaps, orthopedic surgery is an outlier


The lack of diversity is painfully obvious to patients as well. When one of her family members needed a serious operation recently, Angela Byars-Winston, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin who is Black, scoured the internet looking for expert orthopedic surgeons who could provide a second opinion. She was struck that nearly all of them were white. “Really,” she told STAT, “there’s hardly anyone that looks like us? In the whole country?”

What a Giant Map of Fungus Tells Us About Climate Change


“When you talk about carbon cycles you really want to start thinking carefully about decomposers,” said Anne Pringle, a professor of botany and bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “A massive and coordinated effort to collect biodiversity data on a global scale is badly needed and will be very welcome”, she added, saying “there are good reasons to include all kinds of fungi in that effort.”

Loyalty to family — instead of CNN — puts Chris Cuomo at risk


While people can relate to wanting to help a family member, his primary obligation as a journalist is to CNN’s viewers, said Kathleen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin. These revelations can damage CNN’s reputation, and all journalists, at a time people are already suspicious of the profession, she said.

‘Sad and angry and frustrated’: Black moms on the Rittenhouse verdict

NBC News

“He was 17 at the time of the offense,” said Steven Wright, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin. “Having someone who looks like a child there might make some jurors see their younger selves in him or their children in him, and they might think, ‘What would my younger self have done or my son or daughter have done in his position?’”

That Product Will Work Well for You. But for Me? Not So Much.

Wall Street Journal

In the end, it’s useful to remember that it’s simply not possible for everyone to be correct in believing that products work better for others, yet our studies show that people reach this conclusion. We buy books for the pleasure or knowledge we expect them to impart, creams for the lines they will hopefully erase, and cooking classes to acquire new skills. Do these products work? When we buy them for ourselves, we hope so. When we buy them on behalf of others, we know so. If this sounds discouraging, take comfort in the abiding truth that when you believe others will benefit more from these products, everyone else feels exactly as you do.

-Dr. Polman is an associate professor of marketing at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Can a Machine Learn Morality?

New York Times

Joseph Austerweil, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tested the technology using a few simple scenarios. When he asked if he should kill one person to save another, Delphi said he shouldn’t. When he asked if it was right to kill one person to save 100 others, it said he should. Then he asked if he should kill one person to save 101 others. This time, Delphi said he should not.

Darrell E. Brooks’s low bail in case before Wisconsin parade attack draws backlash

The Washington Post

Michele LaVigne, a former director of the Public Defender Project at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told The Post that setting Brooks’s cash bail at $1,000 is not necessarily unusual and that bail amounts can vary between jurisdictions and courtrooms. When Brooks was arrested earlier this month, she said, officials weighing what bail to request probably considered the seriousness of the charges and the fact that he was already out on bail in the earlier case and had continued showing up for court appearances.

Kyle Rittenhouse Acquitted in Bombshell End to Vigilante Murder Trial

The Daily Beast

“There is a significant risk that there is going to be unrest regardless of the outcome. Simply because the case is so politicized and whichever side prevails, the folks who support the other side are going to feel a grave injustice has occurred,” Keith A. Findley, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, told The Daily Beast ahead of the verdict.