Alone in the Chazen Museum’s Basement, Ikeda Manabu Completes Masterpiece Stroke by Stroke

Three-Year Art Resident Set to Finish Intricate Painting Soon

by Michelle Chi, age 15

Imagine a wall. On it is painted a destructive sea with a mountainous tree in the middle. Grimy pollution litters the tree’s roots. Also featured are small white human and animal silhouettes. Elegant flowers gild treetops. Behind these designs are two worlds—human and natural—that depict antagonistic relationships. This wall, these images are more than just fantasy; in fact, this is a real mural that Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu has worked on for the past three years at the Chazen Museum of Art.

Using just a fine-tipped pen, acrylic ink, and a blank canvas, Manabu has created multiple masterpieces. The time he spends creating a single illustration spans anywhere from months to years. [Read More]

New Fuel-Efficient Engines Need Help to Sound Powerful

Manufacturers Use Pipes and Speakers to Meet Car Buyer Expectations

by Jacqueline Zuniga Paiz, age 16

Technology in cars has advanced throughout the decades, with improvements in fuel-efficiency and design. But the evolution of car engines has brought about a controversial enhancement: fake engine noise.

Car enthusiasts love the classic, throaty, gas-guzzling rumble of an engine. But car companies depend on engine sound enhancements for two big reasons: pedestrian safety and the car-buyer paradox.

Fake engine noise is becoming more of a necessity for electric and hybrid cars. In fact, federal safety officials passed a rule in 2015 requiring electric and hybrid cars to play fake engine sounds to alert a passerby of their presence, thereby preventing pedestrian accidents. [Read More]

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The Battle to Protect Gray Wolves Continues in the Midwest

Ranchers and Conservation Groups Struggle to Reach Agreement

by Sergio Perez, age 16

Gray wolves, a mighty canidae species that roam the vast territories of North America, are currently facing an uncertain future.

In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI) removed the federal protections for gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. They argued that the roughly 6,000 wolves that lived in the region constituted a large enough population for the species not to need protection. With federal protections lifted, states took on the responsibility of managing wolf protections and hunting laws. States such as Minnesota and Wisconsin immediately authorized hunting. [Read More]

The Literacy Network
Expands to Dane Street

New Location Will Increase Organization’s Reach, County’s Literacy

by Dija Manly, age 16

According to a 2003 study, more than 70,000 Dane County residents grapple with low literacy. Founded in 1974, Madison’s Literacy Network directly combats low literacy and provides free services for those hoping to improve their English language skills.

This fall, the Literacy Network left its long-time headquarters on S. Park St. to expand at 701 Dane St. Executive director Jeff Burkhart said the organization developed a $3 million fundraising campaign last spring to support expansion costs associated with the new facility. [Read More]

Fish Species Could Unlock Mystery of Human Bipedalism

by Virginia Quach, age 15

Humans have inhabited the Earth for millions of years, but how did we gain the ability to stand on two feet? Many would think the answer to “human bipedalism” – our ability to walk and stand on two feet – lies in the study of feet. Shockingly, however, recent research actually suggests that the trait may connect back to a tiny fish known as the threespine stickleback.

In early 2016, biologist at Stanford University David Kingsley and his team of researchers analyzed DNA of the threespine stickleback. They found a genetic enhancer coded within the fishes' DNA that helps to make the bony plates that scale the stickleback. This enhancer regulates the amount of GDF6, a bone-related protein, that is released in the body of the fish based on its environment. [Read More]

College Textbooks Don't Have to Put You in the Red

by Enjoyiana Nururdin, age 17

Today's average college student spends up to $1,000 a year on textbooks. Most students also cover other expenses such as room, board, phone bill, laundry, and car payments; tuition alone can cost an additional $10,000 to $70,000 a year. So while it can be tempting not to pay for a bunch of glossy pages you may never use again, purchasing a textbook is a smart investment. It's just how you make the purchase that makes all the difference.

A recent study completed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group showed that seven out of 10 college students “had not purchased a textbook at least once because they found the cost too high.” These students understand that textbooks are an important part of college, but they cite textbooks as too big of a financial burden, especially when already struggling to pay for college on their own. [Read More]