In New York Magazine: Can Call of Duty make you an NBA star?

Shawn Green, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believes that games like Call of Duty develop retained skills specifically because they are fun. Games created with the sole intent to improve cognition are what he referred to at a panel at the University of California, San Francisco, as “chocolate-covered broccoli.”

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All hands on deck to understand, predict, prevent abrupt ecological change

In 2011, Lake Erie turned into a toxic pea soup. One-sixth of the lake harbored a thick and deadly algal bloom that killed fish, closed beaches and struck a blow to Toledo, Ohio’s tourism industry. The bloom was three times larger than any algal bloom ever recorded there. The contamination was forecast by ecologists in 2011, said Stephen Carpenter, newly retired as director of the Center for Limnology, at a recent campus symposium centered around a new effort to understand, predict and prevent these kinds of abrupt ecological changes.

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Tropical trees show coexistence is path to diversity

Tropical forests boast a diversity of tree species — Barro Colorado Island, for example, has roughly as many tree species as all of Europe ­— and as part of his Ph.D. research, Jacob Usinowicz wanted to understand why and how they all manage to coexist. 

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UW researchers discover an evolutionary stepping stone to beet-red beets

Writing this week (Oct. 9, 2017) in the journal New Phytologist, University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Botany Hiroshi Maeda and his colleagues describe an ancient loosening up of a key biochemical pathway that set the stage for the ancestors of beets to develop their characteristic red pigment.

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UW awarded $12.5 million to study astrophysical plasma here on Earth

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $12.5 million to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to develop an integrated facility that will expand the frontier of astrophysical plasma research. Combining and extending two existing projects, the Big Red Plasma Ball and the Madison Symmetric Torus, the new Wisconsin Plasma Physics Laboratory, or WiPPL, will research fundamental properties of plasma in order to better understand our universe, where the hot gas is abundant.

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UW System researchers played a role in Nobel-winning gravitational wave discovery

Tuesday's announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded to researchers Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology, bears University of Wisconsin System connections.

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New center focuses on the Wisconsin economy

Economics professor Noah Williams intends for the center to examine economic issues affecting the state and make its research accessible to policymakers and the business community.

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Fire in a crowded theater? Nitrate film is crumbling as experts strive to salvage the past

The effort combined chemical analysis of nitrate film, review of historical literature on it, and information from professionals who have handled, stored and shipped it.

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Monica Turner in the New York Times: Fire on the Mountain: 2 Forests Offer Clues to Yellowstone’s Fate in a Warming World

Yellowstone’s recent fires offer a rare natural experiment to see how forests regenerate after burning and reburning at short intervals.

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