Monthly Archives: January 2015



A blanket of glittery snow
There are those days. The ones where you walk out your front door and the crystal chandelier has fallen from the sky, illuminating the white world around you with a trillion shining glimmers of light. Meteorologists call this phenomenon snow sparkle, for reasons that are simple enough to understand.

Just look at that snow sparkle





Origami projects by Matthew Ward, 35, are pictured as Matthew and his mother, Nancy Ward, talk with a reporter at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Nov. 6, 2013. Both participated in a Waisman Center-led support group for families of children who have autism. The six-week program, Transitioning Together, assists families as their children transition from high school into adulthood. Matt, one of first children in the Waisman Center preschool program, went on to become an alumnus of UW-Madison. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
It’s not so easy to tell a young child with autism from a young child without, yet, many kids are examined for signs of the developmental disorder in short, 10 minute doctor’s appointments. A new study out this month in the journal Pediatrics looks at the effectiveness of short clinical […]

An autism diagnosis is not so simple




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I didn’t know it at the time, of course, but UW-Madison science historian David Lindberg gave me the context for a career. As a science writer, I mostly cover discrete developments in science, the plodding, step-by-step construction (or deconstruction) of knowledge. That immersion in the minutiae of the natural or […]

Lessons of a Lifetime


Fluorescent photo of bat wing showing lesions caused by white-nose syndrome.
If you’re a bat, hibernation is usually a time to slow down your metabolism, drop your body temperature and live off your stored fat reserves while winter does its thing. It’s a prescription for laziness, a requirement for survival. Energy is everything. So if something disrupts the balance – say, infection with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the […]

White-nose syndrome: Disrupting the balance


This week, all techie eyes are on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The adjective most likely to be attached to any given gadget is just as likely to pique some interest in UW–Madison’s Internet of Things Lab. Theme of #CES15 seems to be “smart everything.” Here’s @mashable coverage […]

From the ‘magic cabinet’ to the mainstream