These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news…
Donna Friedsam on: Affordable Care Act
Donna A. Friedsam, an expert on health care financing, and Meg Gaines, an expert on consumer health advocacy, can comment on Senate GOP leaders releasing their health-care reform bill, which would repeal Obamacare taxes, structure subsidies to insurance customers based on their incomes and phase out Medicaid's expansion program.
Derrick Herndon on: Tropical Storm Cindy and new storm warning guidelines
Derrick Herndon, an expert on hurricanes, can comment on Tropical Storm Cindy and changes by the National Hurricane Center's new designation for systems that have the potential to cause tropical storm conditions on land and evolve into larger, stronger storms.
"Starting this season the National Hurricane Center put in place a new policy to deal with certain storms that exhibited the characteristics of tropical cyclones but were just shy of the definition such that technically they could not be called a tropical depression, sub-tropical depression, tropical storm or sub-tropical storm. The reason this was a problem is that in the past it was possible that a developing storm would fall short of the definition but could impact land in less than two days leaving little time for warnings once it finally got its act together. So the new term NHC is using is called 'Potential Tropical Cyclone.' A tropical cyclone is a generic term for depressions, tropical storms, typhoons, hurricanes etc. This allows NHC to start issuing advisories for storms that are expected to become something more defined. While this might add a bit of confusion to a public already saturated with weather terms it does give NHC a tool they did not have before so this is good. The new policy allows NHC to issue tropical storm warnings and watches much sooner than was possible before allowing the emergency management apparatus and public to respond to the storm."
Jason Fletcher on: Social genomics
Jason Fletcher, an expert on social networks and health, can comment on his recent appearance on the popular podcast "Freakonomics" and the discussion of the social genomics revolution. The episode, "Evolution, Accelerated," focused on the advances in genetics and their societal implications. Fletcher and co-author Dalton Conley recently authored "The Genome Factor: What the Social Genomics Revolution Reveals about Ourselves, Our History & the Future."
“Just two decades ago, it cost a billion dollars to sequence a single genome,” Fletcher said. “Now you and I could spit in a cup, send it to one of the popular sequencing outfits and for $100 or for $150 we can get millions of answers to the question, ‘What does our DNA look like’?”
Ryan Owens on: Gerrymandering
Ryan Owens, an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court, can comment on the announcement that the Supreme Court will consider whether gerrymandered election maps favoring one political party over another violate the constitution. "The case could redefine how state legislatures create districts--and redefine how involved federal courts become in state redistricting," Owens says.
Hart Posen on: Foxconn bringing jobs to Wisconsin?
Hart Posen, an expert on business strategy, can comment on the possiblity of Foxconn, a Taiwanese company that assembles Apple’s iPhones and other electronics, building a plant in Wisconsin. Foxconn, founded in 1974, announced in January that it was considering investing $7 billion in a U.S. factory to produce display panels that would create as many as 50,000 jobs.
Catalina Toma on: Online dating choices
Catalina Toma, an expert on social media, and Jonathan D’Angelo, doctoral candidate in Communication Science, can comment on their research findings that too many choices in the online dating sea can lead to dissatisfaction. “Online dating is very popular but the sheer popularity of it is creating some issues,” Toma says. “Sifting through choices is potentially problematic in that it can create the perception that the grass is always greener.”
Christine Whelan on: 'Wonder Woman'
Christine Whelan, an expert on gender in marketing, can comment on the blockbuster success of "Wonder Woman" and how it could mean more female superheroes on the big screen. "'Wonder Woman' gives voice to the inner hero in all women, reminding us that purpose-focused action can be ferocious, powerful and empowering," Whelan says. "Transcending the cliche of girl-power, it's really about faith in humanity -- and a woman's ability to rise to the challenge."
Jonathan Martin on: Paris Climate Agreement withdrawal
President Trump announced Thursday his decsion to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Martin, an expert on mid-latitude weather systems and their connection to climate change, is among several experts at UW who can discuss the impact. "There's no particular reason why this agreement ought to be abandoned by the United States," Martin says. "I consider this another example of the assault on science."
- Ankur Desai is an expert on carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and their effects on a changing climate. "The Paris Agreement, decades in the making, reflects a long-term commitment by all but two countries of the world to reduce the harmful effects of climate change while still allowing countries to grow their economies and develop," Desai says. "Pulling out now only puts the U.S. in a weaker bargaining position and hurts its competitiveness in a rapidly changing economy."
- Dan Vimont, who studies the impacts of climate change, says: "It's not clear that Trump has the legal authority to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement," Vimont says. "While he could initiate the process, it wouldn't take effect until 2020 at the earliest. Nonetheless, a statement that the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement continues a trend of sending us backward economically, compared with China and Europe. We continue to miss out on opportunities to grow a green energy economy."
- Jonathan Patz, who studies the health risks of climate change and the health benefits of climate policies adds: "Withdrawing from the Paris accord would be a huge blow to public health, knowing the health dividends from cleaner air and more livable cities that go along with a low carbon economy."
Fabio Gaertner on: Border Adjustment Tax
Fabio Gaertner, an expert on taxation and accounting, can provide some new data points on who would win and lose if a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) is part of a proposed tax reform plan in Washington. Gaertner examined stock market data on days when there was heightened media discussion of BAT. "Firms in retail and other import-intensive industries experience significant, negative stock returns on days of high attention to the border adjustment tax," says Gaertner. "The market reactions to the possible implementation of BAT suggest the tax would not be trade neutral and that retailers and importers would be adversely affected."
Patrick Liesch on: Ticks
Patrick Liesch, an expert on insect identification and biology, can comment on the tick outlook for this spring and summer.
"Some scientists have predicted high tick and Lyme disease pressure in the eastern US in 2017," Liesch says in a blog. "While that topic has gotten a lot of attention in the news, this may not be the case in our state. The thought behind the prediction is that high rodent populations (a host for juvenile deer ticks) may bolster deer tick numbers ... Regardless of tick numbers, the threat of ticks and Lyme disease is still out there and isn’t something to be ignored."