blog postsCorporations directing our attention online more than we realizeOct 29, 2020 10:15 am922 views We don’t have the control we think we do in browsing the internet. Our notion of empowerment to see and find what we choose is “an illusion,” say the authors of a study – including Illinois media professor Harsh Taneja – that analyzed browsing data on a million people over one month of internet use. Corporations are “nudging” the flow of our online attention more than we realize, and often in ways that are hidden or beyond our control.Academy executive featured in Ebert Symposium on media representationOct 29, 2020 9:30 am429 views The chief operating officer for the academy that awards the Oscars will be a featured guest for a discussion of inclusion and equity in the media, part of this year’s online Ebert Symposium.Copolymer helps remove pervasive PFAS toxins from environmentOct 29, 2020 9:00 am1255 views Researchers have demonstrated that they can attract, capture and destroy PFAS – a group of federally regulated substances found in everything from nonstick coatings to shampoo and nicknamed “the forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the natural environment.Decadeslong effort revives ancient oak woodlandOct 29, 2020 9:00 am3939 views Vestal Grove in the Somme Prairie Grove forest preserve in Cook County, Illinois, looks nothing like the scrubby, buckthorn-choked tangle that confronted restoration ecologists 37 years ago. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team that focused on rooting up invasive plants and periodically burning, seeding native plants and culling deer, the forest again resembles its ancient self, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE.Krannert Art Museum hosts retrospective of experimental photographer, book artist Bea NettlesOct 29, 2020 8:45 am602 views “Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory” explores the 50-year career of artist Bea Nettles, who is well-known for her experimental use of photographic techniques and blending of craft and photography.Rare Book and Manuscript Library event explores history of witchcraftOct 27, 2020 9:30 am1524 views An Oct. 29 webinar that has drawn a huge response will explore the Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s collection with many materials related to European witchcraft, including an account of the 1612 Lancashire witch trials in England.U of I virtual test assesses bioengineering students' laboratory skillsOct 23, 2020 2:45 pm892 views When COVID-19 forced the U. of I. to go to online-only instruction last spring, a team led by bioengineering professor Karin Jensen created a test to remotely assess students' ability to culture cells in the laboratory.Cicada-inspired waterproof surfaces closer to reality, researchers reportOct 22, 2020 9:30 am1675 views A multidisciplinary group that studies the physical and chemical properties of insect wings has demonstrated the ability to reproduce the nanostructures that help cicada wings repel water and prevent bacteria from establishing on the surface. The new technique – which uses commercial nail polish – is economical and straightforward, and the researchers said it will help fabricate future high-tech waterproof materials.Paper: Congress must clarify limits of gene-editing technologiesOct 21, 2020 8:00 am545 views How the next Congress decides to handle the issue editing human sperm and eggs will affect the science, ethics and financing of genomic editing for decades to come, said Jacob S. Sherkow, a professor of law at Illinois who studies the ethical and policy implications of advanced biotechnologies.Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive healthOct 19, 2020 4:00 am2330 views Researchers studied the effects of a 12-week exercise regimen on 148 active-duty Air Force airmen, half of whom also received a twice-daily nutrient beverage that included protein; the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; along with a muscle-promoting compound known as HMB. Both groups improved in physical and cognitive function, with added gains among those who regularly consumed the nutritional beverage, the team reports.Octopus-inspired sucker transfers thin, delicate tissue grafts and biosensorsOct 16, 2020 2:00 pm4064 views Thin tissue grafts and flexible electronics have a host of applications for wound healing, regenerative medicine and biosensing. A new device inspired by an octopus’s sucker rapidly transfers delicate tissue or electronic sheets to the patient, overcoming a key barrier to clinical application, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and collaborators.Finding one elusive birdOct 16, 2020 8:15 am769 views It’s hot and my shirt is sticking to my back. I part scrubby marsh vegetation with one hand and shield my face with the other. Hiking along the margins of Illinois’ only open-water quaking bog, I’m carrying five liters of swamp water in bottles in my backpack, my samples sloshing with each step. Collecting wetland water samples is far from glamorous. My feet are wet, my legs caked in mud, and I frequently swat at hordes of mosquitoes as I hike, sometimes with as much as 10 liters of water in my pack. I’m not interested in the water; rather, if all goes well, I will find my samples contain the DNA of mysterious marsh birds, called rails, that breed and migrate through Illinois wetlands.Prominent documentary filmmakers featured in Ebert SymposiumOct 14, 2020 9:30 am780 views Three prominent documentary filmmakers who’ve tackled subjects ranging from biography and history to sexual assault and hip-hop will be featured guests for an online Ebert Symposium discussion, “Documentary Film and Social Change,” on Oct. 22. Kirby Dick, Sacha Jenkins and Dawn Porter have had films aired or streamed on CNN, HBO, Netflix, PBS and Showtime, among other venues. Three documentary filmmakers on the Illinois faculty will also be on the panel.Distracted learning a big problem, golden opportunity for educators, studentsOct 13, 2020 11:00 am1692 views Experts say media multitasking negatively impacts learning, but many students believe they're immune to these effects because they're good multitaskers, according to a review paper by U. of I. professor Shelly J. Schmidt.Illinois professor part of Latino baseball project and book for SmithsonianOct 12, 2020 10:00 am482 views Baseball is as central to Latino culture as it is to the broader American culture, and Adrian Burgos Jr. helps document that history as a co-author of a book for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Burgos is a history professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who specializes in the history of sports, in particular the role of Latinos and African Americans in baseball.Unearthing a fossorial snakeOct 12, 2020 9:00 am992 views To the naked eye, it might appear as though I’m standing in a prairie oasis. Pockets of bright yellow goldenrod bring vibrancy to the sea of towering grasses. There’s not a soul in sight to spoil the serenity. A lone red-tailed hawk scouring the landscape from the top of a dead oak tree is my only companion. It’s not hard to imagine the entire region looking like this prior to European settlement, expanding miles and miles without interruption. I made the two-hour drive from Champaign to this tiny, fragmented prairie to search for an uncommon snake.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.Study finds fungal disease of snakes in 19 states, Puerto RicoOct 8, 2020 1:00 pm1569 views In a collaborative effort between scientists and personnel on U.S. military bases in 31 states and Puerto Rico, researchers surveyed for an infection caused by an emerging fungal pathogen that afflicts snakes. The effort found infected snakes on military bases in 19 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that the fungus is more widely distributed than was previously known. The team reports the findings in the journal PLOS ONE.Genomic study reveals evolutionary secrets of banyan treeOct 8, 2020 9:15 am938 views The banyan fig tree Ficus microcarpa is famous for its aerial roots, which sprout from branches and eventually reach the soil. The tree also has a unique relationship with a wasp that has coevolved with it and is the only insect that can pollinate it. In a new study, researchers identify regions in the banyan fig’s genome that promote the development of its unusual aerial roots and enhance its ability to signal its wasp pollinator.Multi-institutional team extracts more energy from sunlight with advanced solar panelsOct 6, 2020 8:00 am2024 views Researchers working to maximize solar panel efficiency said layering advanced materials atop traditional silicon is a promising path to eke more energy out of sunlight. A new study shows that by using a precisely controlled fabrication process, researchers can produce multilayered solar panels with the potential to be 1.5 times more efficient than traditional silicon panels.2020 Ebert Symposium to explore changing times in film, mediaOct 1, 2020 8:45 am552 views Films and the media industry in changing times will be the subject of this year’s online Ebert Symposium, on Oct. 8 and two later dates, with filmmakers, media professionals and academics part of the discussion. Participants will explore the effects of the pandemic, the racial justice movement and other factors on the media industry, documentary filmmaking and media representation.Repurposed anti-malarial compounds kill diarrheal parasite, study findsOct 1, 2020 8:45 am884 views A class of compounds used for malaria treatment also kill the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading global cause of diarrheal disease and death in children that has no cure, a multi-institution collaboration of researchers found in a new study.Paper: Lawful discrimination by businesses creates 'customer caste'Sep 30, 2020 8:00 am499 views Judicial rulings on the leading civil rights laws have created a “customer caste” in which people of color are subject to legal, daily discrimination in retail stores, restaurants and other places of public accommodation, says Suja A. Thomas, the Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law at Illinois.Gene expression altered by direction of forces acting on cellSep 29, 2020 8:00 am885 views Tissues and cells in the human body are subjected to a constant push and pull – strained by other cells, blood pressure and fluid flow, to name a few. The type and direction of the force on a cell alters gene expression by stretching different regions of DNA, researchers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators in China found in a new study.How is campus adjusting HVAC systems during the coronavirus pandemic?Sep 28, 2020 12:15 pm828 views As temperatures drop and more people gather indoors, concerns about coronavirus particles floating in the air are on the rise. Officials at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have made adjustments to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to provide adequate ventilation, says Mohamed Attalla, the executive director of Facilities and Services. He spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the proactive measures taken to assure that campus HVAC systems are operating correctly and supplying fresh outdoor air to buildings. Celebrating our diversitySep 28, 2020 8:15 am1060 views NOTE: This post describes events prior to the coronavirus epidemic. It is snowing again, and I turn to look through the bus window as it slowly pulls into the final stop. I hide my face in my scarf, hoping to stop the cold air sneaking in. It has been almost six years since I moved to the Midwest from Taiwan, but I still cannot deal with winter and snow. Once off the bus, I follow footprints to the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory and push open the glass door. 'Pressing Issues' at Krannert Art Museum shows WPA printmakers' thoughts on social justiceSep 24, 2020 12:15 pm545 views An exhibition of WPA prints shows how artists addressed social issues that remain relevant today.Following the sounds of prairie cicadasSep 24, 2020 9:30 am462 views When I arrive at the Loda Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Katie Dana is already out there. She’s wearing knee-high boots to ward off chiggers and ticks, and she’s carrying an insect net. Dana is on the prowl for cicadas: the loudest insects on the planet. On this hot summer day, they do not disappoint. The males are in full chorus.Today's immigration policies rooted in long history, author saysSep 22, 2020 11:45 am1073 views No matter how one feels about current U.S. immigration policies, they did not come out of the blue but are based in a long history, says A. Naomi Paik, an Asian American studies professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She lays out aspects of that history in a new book.Do-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problemsSep 17, 2020 1:00 pm1345 views “Citizen scientists” developing homemade COVID-19 vaccines may believe they’re inoculating themselves against the ongoing pandemic, but the practice of self-experimentation with do-it-yourself medical innovations is fraught with legal, ethical and public health issues, says a new paper co-written by University of Illinois law professor Jacob S. Sherkow.Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study findsSep 17, 2020 9:30 am5764 views Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Many of these studies focus on the transfer of tiny aerosol particles; however, researchers say that speaking, coughing and sneezing generates larger droplets that carry virus particles. Because of this, mechanical engineer Taher Saif said the established knowledge may not be enough to determine how the effectiveness of some fabrics used in homemade masks.Campus to host communal crochet coral reef projectSep 16, 2020 11:45 am1549 views Community members can help crochet a coral reef, part of a project to bring attention to climate change and demonstrate applied mathematics.Illinois professor's stories address race, complicated family relationshipsSep 15, 2020 8:30 am1011 views Illinois English professor David Wright’s short story about a boy confronting his paternity and his future beyond slavery is featured in The New Yorker.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.Culturally adapted exercise program helps Hispanic older adults be more activeSep 14, 2020 9:30 am459 views A study of 565 Hispanic older adults found that a culturally adapted exercise program improved physical functioning among a population who believe that being sedentary and in poor health is inevitable in later life.Cholesterol metabolite causes immune system to attack T cells instead of breast cancer, study findsSep 14, 2020 9:00 am1048 views In breast cancer tumors, a molecule produced when the body breaks down cholesterol hijacks the myeloid immune cells that normally arm T cells to fight cancer, a new study in mice found. Instead, the hijacked myeloid cells disarm the T cells and even tell them to self-destruct.Illinois archivist's prize-winning essay reveals Jewish origins of Viennese cuisineSep 9, 2020 8:45 am1004 views University of Illinois archivist Susanne Belovari won the 2020 Sophie Coe Prize for her work on the forgotten history of Viennese cuisine.Cell-autonomous immunity shaped human evolutionSep 9, 2020 8:00 am575 views Every human cell harbors its own defenses against microbial invaders, relying on strategies that date back to some of the earliest events in the history of life. Understanding this “cell-autonomous immunity” is essential to understanding human evolution and human medicine, researchers report.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.Rise in labor earnings inequality during pandemic reversed by stimulus, unemployment checksSep 4, 2020 12:00 pm1249 views Job losses during the pandemic were substantially worse for workers in low-paying jobs, leading to a dramatic increase in wage inequality during the early months of the COVID-19 recession, according to new research co-written by University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign labor economist Eliza Forsythe.Illinois professor uses LGBTQ voices in Beirut to understand daily violence, disruptionSep 3, 2020 8:00 am519 views Ghassan Moussawi, a professor of gender and women’s studies and of sociology, examines the daily survival strategies of Beirut’s LGBTQ residents in his new book “Disruptive Situations: Fractal Orientalism and Queer Strategies in Beirut.”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.Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the labAug 31, 2020 2:00 pm7048 views In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.Serengeti leopard population densities healthy but vary seasonally, study findsAug 31, 2020 8:00 am594 views A study of camera-trap data in the Serengeti finds that leopard population densities vary between wet and dry seasons, likely in response to the availability of prey and the presence of other top predators. 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.U of I to lead two of seven new national artificial intelligence institutesAug 26, 2020 8:00 am7716 views The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture are announcing an investment of more than $140 million to establish seven artificial intelligence institutes in the U.S. Two of the seven will be led by teams at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The USDA-NIFA will fund the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability at the U. of I. Illinois computer science professor Vikram Adve will lead the AIFARMS Institute. The NSF will fund the AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy and Manufacturing, also known as the Molecule Maker Lab Institute. Huimin Zhao, a U. of I. professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, will lead this institute.Black girls create a space of their own in 'Homemade, With Love' exhibition at KAMAug 25, 2020 11:30 am1306 views A Krannert Art Museum exhibition includes artwork by local middle school girls as well as prominent Black female artists.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.Illinois performing arts adapt teaching for fall classesAug 24, 2020 2:45 pm1434 views The University of Illinois dance, music and theatre departments have found creative solutions to offer in-person classes in safe ways.New approach to explaining soft material flow may yield way to new materials, disaster predictionAug 24, 2020 2:00 pm815 views How does toothpaste stay in its tube and not ooze out when we remove the cap? What causes seemingly solid ground to suddenly break free into a landslide? Defining exactly how soft materials flow and seize has eluded researchers for years, but a new study explains this complex motion using relatively simple experiments. The ability to define – and eventually predict – soft material flow will benefit people dealing with everything from spreadable cheese to avalanches.