blog postsWhat happens when the coronavirus mutates?Jan 5, 2021 8:15 am932 views New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including a more-infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. In an interview, crop sciences professor Gustavo Caetano-Anollés discusses viral mutation and what it could mean for vaccinations.What is the new variant of coronavirus in the UK?Dec 23, 2020 8:00 am2093 views New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including one in the United Kingdom with higher infection rates that has sparked new travel bans. Erik Procko, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been studying mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that binds to human cells. In an interview, Procko discussed the new variation and whether mutations to the spike protein could create resistance to vaccines or other treatments.2020 a bad year in many respects, but what about global carbon emissions?Dec 15, 2020 9:45 am680 views The Global Carbon Project recently published the Global Carbon Budget 2020, giving world leaders access to data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends. Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain was part of an international team of scientists that contributed data to the report. Jain talked about the carbon budget and this year’s findings with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian.How has COVID-19 affected food insecurity in the US?Dec 14, 2020 8:00 am411 views The economic devastation wrought by COVID-19 accounts for an almost 43% increase in food insecurity in the U.S., said Craig Gundersen, the ACES Distinguished Professor in the department of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.Can employers legally require employees to vaccinate against COVID-19?Dec 7, 2020 8:30 am3896 views In most cases, an employer could require an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. While that might seem like a violation of an employee’s personal freedom, “No one has a legally enforceable right to a specific job,” says Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.Does the US need to pursue transitional justice in the post-Trump era?Nov 18, 2020 8:00 am989 views To promote accountability in government, President-elect Biden ought to pursue “transitional justice” in the aftermath of the Trump presidency, said Colleen Murphy, the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law at Illinois and an expert in political reconciliation.Should we rethink assumptions about the 2020 election?Nov 12, 2020 12:15 pm739 views The polls prior to Election Day and other circumstances suggested to many that the presidential results would be different than they were. We may want to question some assumptions about state-level voting predictions and the role of the pandemic, says Scott Althaus, a professor of both political science and communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Does hunting with lead ammunition endanger human, environmental health?Nov 12, 2020 8:45 am1420 views A recent study from Wesleyan University found that 48% of ground meat samples made from white-tailed deer killed with lead shotgun slugs in Illinois were contaminated with lead, while meat from deer killed by archers contained no lead. Illinois Natural History Survey human dimensions scientist Craig Miller spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the risks associated with lead ammunition in hunting.Should the Senate conduct Supreme Court hearing amid pandemic, election season?Oct 12, 2020 7:30 am812 views There is no election-year exception to the process the Constitution creates for the nomination of individuals to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, says Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.In person or by mail? What to consider in choosing how to voteSep 14, 2020 10:00 am2079 views Voters this fall must determine not only who they’re voting for, but also the safest way to cast a ballot. Brian Gaines, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, maps out some risks to consider and mistakes to avoid. He also cautions against leaping to conclusions about any alleged irregularities on Election Day.Have we gone too far trashing politics?Sep 8, 2020 10:00 am629 views We’ve gone too far in trashing politics, no matter how much the campaign season may prompt us to do so, says Ned O’Gorman, a communication professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Politics is a good thing, but our views of politics have become “twisted.” His recent book “Politics for Everybody” argues for “authentic politics” that focus on different people getting along and working things out, not winner-take-all.What’s different about recent athlete protests?Sep 1, 2020 1:45 pm477 views In the history of protest in sports, the recent strikes by professional athletes in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are unprecedented, says Adrian Burgos Jr., a professor of history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign who specializes in the history of sports. The resumption of pro sports during a pandemic has made the players’ platform even more prominent, he says, and some have used it to try to communicate their lived reality beyond their role as athletes.Should government do more for the working poor during pandemic?Aug 26, 2020 8:00 am1084 views Another round of federal stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits would be “economic stabilizers” for the working poor during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, says U. of I. labor expert Robert Bruno.Will a coronavirus vaccine be a cure-all?Aug 25, 2020 8:15 am1847 views Global health authorities are frantically pursuing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the hope that it will allow everyone to get back to a pre-COVID-19 reality ASAP. Thomas O’Rourke, a professor emeritus of community health, says those expectations are probably overblown.Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?Aug 18, 2020 8:00 am1416 views A global response, such as that organized by the World Health Organization, is needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ian Brooks, a research scientist whose focus is global health informatics.Why is the NFL team in Washington, D.C., changing its name?Jul 21, 2020 9:00 am1320 views The NFL team in the nation’s capital will no longer be the Redskins. It’s the highest-profile retirement of an American Indian name by a sports team in decades, says Jay Rosenstein, an Illinois professor of media and cinema studies. His documentary on the use of American Indian mascots in sports aired in 1997 and he has closely followed the issue since.Can Major League Baseball owners, players avoid another work stoppage?Jul 20, 2020 8:00 am720 views A coronavirus-abbreviated Major League Baseball season will open amid the backdrop of significant labor tension between owners and players, says U. of I. labor historian Daniel A. Gilbert.Where does the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program stand?Jun 30, 2020 7:45 am693 views Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its favor, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program remains a stopgap measure at best. The permanent fix is a comprehensive immigration bill that looks something like the former DREAM Act, says Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the U. of I. College of Law.Why are familiar brands with Black images getting a rethink?Jun 29, 2020 8:00 am1752 views At least one familiar brand is being retired and others are getting a rethink due to their use of Black images. Illinois advertising professor Jason Chambers explains why.How will public spaces change as result of the COVID-19 pandemic?Jun 17, 2020 8:45 am2323 views Pandemics have changed our physical spaces throughout history, but changes made as a result of COVID-19 may not be long-lasting, says Illinois architecture professor Benjamin Bross.What can police trainers learn from the current crisis?Jun 17, 2020 8:15 am863 views Police reform is on the national agenda in response to the choking death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in late May – and many other such incidents before and since. Police Training Institute director Michael Schlosser weighed in on the current crisis. Based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the PTI trains dozens of police departments across the state of Illinois. Schlosser spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates. Why the calls for defunding police?Jun 11, 2020 2:00 pm2415 views Calls for defunding or even abolishing the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death may sound radical to many, but the idea is not new, says A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Is it possible to overcome our biases in the face of conflict?Jun 4, 2020 2:30 pm1770 views Our biases, conscious and unconscious, influence how we process news of events like the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the media plays an important part in forming and reinforcing those biases, says Travis Dixon, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Will movie theaters survive COVID-19?May 27, 2020 9:30 am1471 views Summer is normally a season for blockbusters, but movie theaters will have special challenges this year, starting with a gamble on a few July releases. Derek Long, a professor of media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, looks at the present and future of the business.What effect will COVID-19 have on end-of-life and retirement issues?May 14, 2020 8:00 am985 views The continued spread of COVID-19 ought to prompt adults to start seriously thinking about end-of-life issues such as writing a will, said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign law professor and elder law expert Richard L. Kaplan.Will live broadcasts of oral arguments be a permanent fixture at the Supreme Court?May 6, 2020 8:00 am438 views The Supreme Court’s livestream of its oral arguments is likely a temporary measure due to COVID-19, said Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Making a homemade COVID mask? Study explains best fabric choicesMay 1, 2020 9:45 am34514 views Health authorities believe COVID-19 spreads by the transmission of respiratory droplets, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends homemade cloth face coverings for use in public spaces. Starting today, Illinois joins many other states in requiring people to wear masks while out. However, initial uncertainty regarding the masks’ effectiveness in reducing exhaled droplets leaves some people unsure or skeptical of their usefulness during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mechanical science and engineering professor Taher Saif spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about a study that he and his graduate students, Onur Aydin and Bashar Emon, performed on the effectiveness of common household fabrics for use in homemade masks.Could Legionnaires' bacteria lurk in idled buildings?Apr 29, 2020 2:00 pm1112 views Many businesses are closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and some building managers have shut off water and air conditioning to conserve resources. Unfortunately, warmth and lack of clean water flow can contribute to the growth of potentially dangerous microbes, including the bacteria that contribute to Legionnaires’ disease. Illinois Sustainable Technology Center chemist and industrial water treatment specialist Jeremy Overmann spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the problem and potential solutions.What effect will COVID-19 have on consumer bankruptcies?Apr 29, 2020 8:15 am3679 views Most households struggle financially for two to five years before filing for bankruptcy, making a pandemic-related surge in consumer bankruptcy filings unlikely, said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign law professor Robert M. Lawless, a leading consumer credit and bankruptcy expert.Are bats to blame for the coronavirus crisis?Apr 24, 2020 8:15 am2922 views Horseshoe bats in China are a natural wildlife reservoir of SARS-like coronaviruses. Some health experts think wildlife markets – specifically in Wuhan, China – led to the spillover of the new coronavirus into human populations. Though not confirmed, the hypothesis has given bats around the world a bad rap, and public fears of exposure to bats are on the rise. Illinois Natural History Survey wildlife biologist Tara Hohoff, the project coordinator of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program, spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about bat biology and conservation, and the flying mammals’ role in human health.What's new with the plague? More than you might thinkApr 23, 2020 10:00 am2033 views Pandemics of the past are getting new attention, among them the plague of the 14th century. Known as the Black Death, it was medieval, European, bubonic and spread by rats – at least that’s what most of us think. Much of that needs adjustment, however, in large part due to discoveries of the past decade, says Carol Symes, a professor of medieval history at Illinois.What drives us to blame the marginalized for epidemics?Apr 16, 2020 9:15 am2124 views There’s a long history of scapegoating marginalized people in epidemics, and of seeing difference in the way those of different races respond to disease, says Rana Hogarth, a U. of I. professor who studies the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.How can researchers predict social behavior during pandemics to enhance public health policies?Apr 14, 2020 8:45 am780 views Eunice E. Santos, the dean of the School of Information Sciences, studies how computational models can help explain social behaviors and the factors that influence decision-making during pandemics.What messages best influence public health behavior?Apr 8, 2020 7:45 am607 views Dolores Albarracín, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has spent much of her career studying how people respond to public health messages asking them to change their behavior. She speaks about the special challenges of the present moment.How should we talk about our relative risk for COVID-19?Apr 7, 2020 9:30 am1267 views A key message coming through about COVID-19 is that older folks face much greater danger, but what does that suggest to the young? Cabral Bigman, a communication professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talks about the challenge of “social comparison frames” in an epidemic.How to foster children’s learning while sheltering at homeApr 6, 2020 8:30 am1864 views Parents sheltering at home with their kids sometimes struggle to foster their children’s continued engagement with learning. Eva Pomerantz, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studies the factors that promote children’s motivation and achievement at school. She spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about her research on the topic and her own efforts to keep her children academically engaged while at home.Is it safe to fly during the coronavirus pandemic?Apr 1, 2020 8:00 am17275 views Sheldon H. Jacobson discusses the risks of air travel during the pandemic and what preventive measures airports and passengers can take.Can relationships flourish through tech alone?Mar 31, 2020 8:45 am567 views Technology can be our friend in sustaining relationships now lacking in face time due to COVID-19, but it depends on how we use it, says John Caughlin, a communication professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.What challenges are professors and college students facing with the migration of classes online?Mar 26, 2020 8:00 am2612 views School of Information Sciences instructor Melissa Wong offers suggestions for how professors and college students can adapt to online learning.What protections do no-show workers have during a pandemic?Mar 26, 2020 6:45 am6769 views The U.S. government can take measures to ensure that essential workers such as health care workers report to their jobs, but forced labor isn’t allowed under the Constitution, says U. of I. labor expert Michael LeRoy.Could the social distancing of COVID-19 revolutionize online learning and higher education?Mar 25, 2020 9:00 am2773 views Professors Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope, who teach only online courses and develop learning technologies, discuss the potential impact of social distancing on postsecondary distance learning.How can parents help children cope with COVID-19 disruptions?Mar 23, 2020 2:30 pm1233 views Professor of human development and family studies Kelly Tu discusses ways parents can help children cope with the changes and uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.What do Russians hope to gain from U.S. elections interference?Mar 12, 2020 10:15 am5721 views Russia is trying to sow disruption and division around the U.S. presidential election in order to promote its own geopolitical interests.Is the US ready for the 2020 census? And what's at stake for Illinois?Mar 10, 2020 10:15 am915 views A demographer who’s followed the 2020 census praises outreach and education efforts, but also raises concerns about budget delays and testing – and notes that though the count in Illinois can be challenging, it needs to be accurate to avoid losing “a lot of green” in the form of federal dollars.Does lack of paid sick time make US susceptible to global health crisis?Mar 9, 2020 8:30 am1355 views Lack of paid sick time makes the U.S. acutely susceptible to a global health crises like COVID-19, and is part of the larger problem of tying health care to employment, says U. of I. labor expert Robert Bruno.Why does the census matter? What are the challenges this time?Mar 2, 2020 10:00 am605 views The 2020 census kicks into high gear this month with information arriving in millions of mailboxes. A professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who also chairs a U.S. Census Bureau advisory committee explains why the census matters and describes challenges in making it work.What are the novel coronavirus health risks?Feb 28, 2020 9:45 am4067 views The novel coronavirus that first broke out in Wuhan, China in late 2019 has now spread to 111 countries. As the first case of possible community spread has been reported in the United States, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign discusses how the virus spreads and what makes it a public health concern.Are there alternatives to declining, disappearing newspapers?Jan 30, 2020 2:00 pm1531 views As many newspapers decline and disappear – highlighted by two Chicago Tribune reporters recently sounding the alarm about a perceived threat to the Trib – a journalism professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign touts the growth and viability of nonprofits and other alternatives.Targeted ads are coming to mainstream media. Should we care?Jan 27, 2020 10:30 am1385 views Targeted advertising is coming to mainstream media, says an Illinois professor of digital media, bringing concerns about equality, division and “total surveillance.”What is the coronavirus spreading across the globe?Jan 23, 2020 10:30 am4393 views The first case of a novel strain of coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States. Virologist Leyi Wang, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, discussed the outbreak of the new strain with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.