Imagine an underwater army of crustaceous lumberjacks chopping down the kelp forests on the floor bed of lakes with their large pincers. This isn’t something out of a science-fiction movie. This is how the Rusty Crayfish, an invasive species from Ohio River Basin, essentially deforested Sparkling Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin.
On most Saturday mornings, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery building bears a deserted look. The long lines for coffee are missing, and most of the plush couches in the ground floor hallway are unoccupied.
You’ve seen them on wristwatches, pocket calculators, traffic signals and maybe even on top of campus buildings — futuristic-looking, sleek panels of metal facing the sun. Solar cells are becoming integral to our lives as the technology used to harness arguably the cleanest energy source available —the sun.
Imagine yourself in a situation in which you and everyone surrounding you are being attacked by an unknown predator. You hear signs of chaos all around you and your fight-or-flight instincts are gearing up to protect you from impending doom. You are just about to plan your miraculous escape when you notice your feet are stuck planted to the ground, and you are incapable of fleeing the scene. What would you do to protect yourself?
When exposed to high-stress situations, the normal physiological reaction is for the body to release a hormone called cortisol, which prepares people for a fight-or-flight response to the stressor. However, according to a study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the laboratory of psychology professor Seth Pollak, this reaction does not occur in girls who experienced physical abuse in their developmental years.
You simply can’t remember where you put your keys. It’s fine, happens to everybody and you are just getting older. Good-humoredly, you even start calling yourself “absentminded.” Then, one day, you cannot remember your boss’s last name. You start forgetting the stores you’ve been to, where you went for vacation last year, or what your favorite meal is. You forget how to use the bathroom or when to eat, and the people you care about fade in and out of your memory.
Dear Mr. Scientist,
Most people on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus walk past the old, three-story brick building along Lakeshore path without a second thought. On the outside, it looks like an abandoned warehouse used for storing lab equipment or boats from Lake Mendota in the winter. What is actually inside is more surprising: a nano-technology development lab that could change life as we know it.
Growing up in an antibiotic age has predisposed many of us to think of all bacteria as harbingers of death and disease. We see them as things to be wiped, washed and scrubbed away. But for the past decade or so, the research, consistently proving the essentiality of microorganisms to human life, has us changing our tune. Because the truth is, we live in a bacterial world. Microorganisms in and on our body outnumber human cells 10 to one, and it can be argued we are more bacteria than we are human. And instead of threatening us, they keep us healthy by supporting basic physiological processes from digestion to defense.
It takes two things to create a human influenza pandemic: the introduction of a novel virus for which the world’s population has no immune response, and the adaptation of that novel virus to spread easily from human to human.
Anyone who eats ice cream, eggs, mango or sweet potato is getting some of their necessary intake of Vitamin A. Even pumpkin pie contains Vitamin A. Because Vitamin A is found in many different foods, either naturally or supplemented, the consequences of not having enough are rarely a topic of discussion.
The Milky Way is only one of, by some estimates, 500 billion galaxies in the universe. Its distinctive shape, a central disk with arms reaching out like those of an octopus, make it one of the most common types of galaxies, a spiral galaxy; about 70 percent of nearby galaxies share this shape.
Dear Mr. Scientist,