UW-Madison Proves Why Research Dollars Matter–Public Investment Important

From UW-Madison and the reason we need to encourage the use of research dollars. There will be news coming about Nobel winners–for a different science than the one in this post–coming from the UW-Madison, too.  The Nobel Committee was filming today on campus.  How cool is that?  Very proud of this institution! These are the reasons we can be proud of the taxes we pay.

The scientific question eluded researchers around the world for more than a century.

But one day last fall, a mile below sheets of ice at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, a detector pinged.

“In fact, it was pretty uninteresting,” UW-Madison physics professor Francis Halzen said of the day that sparked weeks of additional observation, months of analysis and the reporting of a major scientific discovery announced Thursday and to be published Friday in the journal Science.

Scientists have long sought to explain what propels high-energy particles, known as neutrinos, through the universe.

An international team of scientists led by Halzen and other researchers at UW-Madison identified a blazar — a technical term for a galaxy with a massive spinning black hole in its center — as the first known cosmic source for a neutrino detected Sept. 22, 2017. Their research found the blazar is four billion light-years away.

The discovery represents the latest astronomical breakthrough for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a National Science Foundation-supported endeavor led by UW-Madison.

Village Of Hancock And My Madison Street–On The Same Day

The City of Madison painted yellow lines today on our street. That was not nearly as exciting as watching bean-picking machines down Hancock’s County Road KK of my youth—but hey–it sure makes for a fresh looking street.

I put that comment onto Hancock’s Facebook page and within seconds was notified that the village is getting freshly painted lines today on their new streets!  (Photo below)

Now I grant you that coincidence is not the most exciting news one might imagine to find on this blog.  James even said after this all was gushed to him across our separate desks that “Be it resolved… we need to get out more!”

Perhaps so.  But still on this birthday weekend it feels just rather perfect.  After all, it is those small things in life which make for the the truest smiles.

I recall walking that street…..from by book Walking Up The Ramp.

I have seen a number of old postcard views of Hancock’s Main Street. Some show a mud-filled Main Street with horses and wagons, and wooden railings where a horse could be tethered. Others have old cars parked on the streets, along with the variety of stores that once were the places locals would shop and chat with neighbors.

Main Street seemed fun to me as a kid, and perhaps no more so than when the large bright Christmas lights would be hung in numerous strands high over my head above the road.   The Christmas lights were physically quite large then when compared to the modern energy-star rated LED versions preferred today. The type of bulb that the Village of Hancock employed cast a nostalgic glow and is now considered ‘old-fashioned’. I put it to you though: has there been a warmer seasonal glow to be found than in those large colored lights that brightened the nights at holiday time?

The Village of Hancock was itself exciting for me when I traveled with Dad on a Friday night to the barber shop.   As a kid I never recall any other night of the week when my Dad thought it OK to visit Marv, a no-frills type of barber who would talk, and move about with clippers and shears in hand. For me, being a small kid, Marv would lift a slab of wood across the arms of the barber chair which had red cushy arms rests.   I would climb up on to the slab, and sit to make it easier for me ‘to leave with both ears’, as it was explained over and over to me. I recall always asking for some of the ‘smelly stuff’ to be splashed on my face and neck like I had seen happen so often to the older men, Dad included.   Nothing makes you feel more in tune with everyone else than a splash of something smelly when you are only seven years old. Then it would be time for me to climb down off the slab of wood and wait as Dad had his hair clipped.   It was never a long wait; Dad had little hair. He never let it get very long before it had to be trimmed.

When I was older I recall that I was allowed to roam up and down Main Street as my Dad got his haircut. I liked to look inside the windows, though at that time I never went alone into any of the shops. We had a grocery store, a bait shop, a hardware store, and even a bakery.   Oh! The bakery was good. At unpredictable times my Dad would bring home dessert after he got off work. The bakery made the best crullers and apple fritters to be found anywhere. How that business was not able to survive, even in a small town, is one of life’s little unexplained mysteries. Beyond the bakery was the motel and filling stations. In later years I ventured up the street, and into the local library and fed my lifetime addiction to books. The library was a special place where Winifred Carlton and I started a friendship. Mrs. Carlton staffed the desk almost every Friday. Hancock’s library then sat in a small, white framedbuilding that was short on space, but not on the mission it served in our hometown.   (The building had at one time sat on the opposite side of the street, and served as the town’s jewelry store.   I only recall it as having been the library.) Today, the library is reported to have nearly 8,000 volumes.

Over the years I have come to understand how important Mrs. Carlton was to me while growing up in a rural area, as well as how much that library opened a whole world that still attracts me these many decades later. I can never stress enough when local officials think about the needs of small communities to remind them of the value that a local library provides. It is truly a gateway to the future for many who seek it out.

America’s International Embarrassment

Ask yourself a question.

Had a Democratic president been overseas on official business and made only a fraction of the outlandish statements, or acted only to a small degree as what we have witnessed this week from Donald Trump, the entire Republican Party wold be at Andrews with their pitchforks and burning crosses.

So what happened to the GOP outrage this week?

This week the Republican Party of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are so quiet you might even think they are all practicing to be mimes.

Meanwhile a large and concerned segment of the nation is simply appalled and aghast at the outrageous behavior of a most troubled and unbalanced man.  But what I fear is that it is very likely that, come Monday, our worst fears about Trump’s summit with Russian President Putin will come true.  (It is no mistake that Putin gets a title on this blog and Trump no longer does.)

The only thing to be understood about what has resulted in the chaos of this week is that knocking over institutions and policies is his only goal.  Trump has sowed chaos and confusion.   If one were to look at this strategically there is no end game but only very awful outcomes for the United States. For instance, stabbing host British Prime Minister May in the back either makes her stronger or empowers Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, and neither option necessarily helps Trump or the alt-right groups he seems to want to promote.

If Trump had read history–any history at all about presidents and European domestic politics —he would know to never, EVER insert oneself into that beehive.

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate?

In California, the law says there is no question, unless a doctor says there is a medical reason not to. Two years after that law took effect, the state’s immunization rates are near their highest levels. Yet experts say there are pockets of resistance — at 105 schools, 10% or more of kindergartners had a medical exemption in the school year that ended last month, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis. The debate over how the law is enforced looks to be the next battleground over vaccines.

Those of us of a certain age recall how some diseases severely impacted our families and how relieved parents were when immunizations came along. Now some seem not to know the dread and horror of the diseases we thought had been eliminated.