The 43-Year Old Polar Star Keeps Antarctic Science Running

by Felix Berkelman, age 14

Between the Southern Ocean and McMurdo Antarctic Research Station there lies the Ross Ice Shelf. During the months of December and January, the time when America sends the most supplies by boat to the research station, there is about 27 kilometers of ice in between the station, and the edge of the ice shelf. This ice can be over three meters thick.

Surprisingly, the US Coast Guard currently has only one operational ship that is able to break through ice of that thickness. This ship is called the Polar Star and, after 43 years, it is in rough shape. It lists to the left, its hull is covered in dents and scratches, and every year when it makes its journey from Seattle to Antarctica, engines fail, seals break, and pipes clog. [Read More]

Another Lost Decade: Madison's
Reading Crisis Continues

by SSFP Editors

On the wall at Simpson Street is a feature editorial from the Wisconsin State Journal.The headline reads “Support State Reading Initiatives” and announces the launch of a bipartisan effort co-chaired by Tony Evers and Scott Walker. The editorial is dated September 12, 2012.

Recent reports by Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Channel 3 News, Isthmus, and other news outlets paint a new, more tragic picture. Nothing has changed. Achievement gaps are worse. [Read More]

Editorial: Follow the Money: A Call for More Local Investigative Reporting

It’s an infamous scene in a famous movie about journalism. Playing Deep Throat, Hal Holbrook tells The Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, played by Robert Redford, to “follow the money” to discover who planned the Watergate break in.

Across the country in 2018, journalists and media experts are calling for more local reporting that follows the money.

Read Mckenna's Editorial and More: Click Here

The Loneliest Road in America

by Desteny Alvarez, age 14

In America, “the loneliest road” is located in Nevada on U.S. Route 50. It’s the opposite of Las Vegas, with no big casinos or bright lights. Route 50 is a long road and a quiet place.

We live on an industrial and busy planet. Our cities are usually crowded with people and cars that create noise and light pollution. Even some of our national parks have become overpopulated and less peaceful than expected. Route 50, however, is just mountains and clear land. [Read More]

UW Madison Scientists Find
Mosquito-Repelling Bacteria

by Leilani McNeal, age 14

Mosquito repellent typically contains two main chemicals: DEET and picaridin. However, a recent discovery found that using bacteria is much more powerful in terms of ridding mosquitoes.

UW-Madison’s Department of Entomology dug further into bug spray’s ingredients. In a campus lab experiment, they noticed that two compounds from a bacterium on a worm kept the mosquito from feeding off of it, concluding that the bacteria has a stronger effect even though it requires a lesser amount of DEET and picaridin. [Read More]

The Life of Artist Georgia O'Keeffe

by Hanna Eyobed, age 14

When Georgia O’Keeffe finished eight grade she decided she wanted to be an artist. She had this epiphany after seeing a drawing in one of her mothers’ books depicting a girl that she thought was beautiful. She said, “that picture started something in me that kept on going and has had something to do with the everlasting urge that makes me keep painting.”

O’Keeffe was born on a farm around Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1887. She said, “I always feel I was very fortunate to have grown up on a farm. I had a very pleasant childhood, though I was somewhat of a rebel.” When O’Keeffe was 13, she attended Sacred Heart Academy, which was a boarding school just outside of Madison. It is now known as Edgewood High School.She spent the next year at Central High School in Madison, where she began taking art classes. At first the teacher scolded her for only drawing heavy black lines. The same teacher however, encouraged her to use the natural colors of her subject. [Read More]

That's a Good Word: “Orange”

by Eva Stouffer, age 14

The word “orange” describes both a color and a fruit. Which one came first might be surprising.

“Orange” when used as the name of the fruit came before “orange” as a word to describe color. While the shade itself existed before the fruit, there was not a name in the English language for the color. Before the introduction of the fruit to English-speaking countries, the color was usually described as a shade of red or yellow. [Read More]

Nintendo Switch vs Nintendo Switch Lite

by Amare Smith, age 15

Hey, guys. This is Amare and I’m gonna talk about the difference between Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. The Nintendo Switch Lite releases on September 20th. It costs $200, but the original Nintendo Switch costs $300. Since the Nintendo Switch Lite costs less, why would you ever buy the original?

Even though there are differences between the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite, they are very similar consoles. The key difference is that the Nintendo Switch has detachable controllers and the Switch Lite has built-in controllers that can’t be detached. Also, the Switch can be connected to a TV and has a kickstand, but the Switch Lite doesn’t have these features. [Read More]

A Geological Oddity: The Sailing Stones of Death Valley

by Mariama Bah, age 12

Death Valley is located between California and Nevada and is known to be the hottest, driest place in the world. Including its name, Death Valley is very unique compared to other national parks. One of the oddest features of this park are the sailing stones.

The sailing stones of Racetrack Playa are stones that appear to move by themselves. The rocks are made of dolomite and syenite, two different types of mineral. They tumble down from the surrounding mountains and when they reach the ground, they start to move horizontally. Though, one cannot see the movement of the stones, the conspicuous tracks they leave behind are evident enough to show that they have traveled across the desert. [Read More]

Watch Out For These Deadly Sea Creatures!

by Melanie Sanchez, age 11, James Wright Free Press

Ever wondered why someone says “that’s just a tempest in a teapot” over an event that has nothing to do with tea? This expression is often a response to an overblown situation.

The expression “a storm in a teacup” is believed to derive from a passage in De Legibus written by Cicero, a renowned Roman philosopher, and writer who influenced future Latin prose. His “excitable fluctus in simpulo” translates to “he was stirring up billows in a ladle.” [Read More]

U.F.O. Sightings More Common In Western States

by Armani Stovall, age 12, James Wright Free Press

Have you ever heard of or experienced a U.F.O. sighting? Cheryl Costa and Linda Miller Costa, authors of “U.F.O. Sightings Desk Reference,” do believe U.F.O.'s are real. They say that there have been so many sightings that they cannot be fake. Studies show that most sightings happen in the summer in the western states of the USA, such as California.

What would it be like to be one of the people who saw a U.F.O.? Imagine how a man in Tribeca, a neighborhood in New York City reacted to seeing a U.F.O. It happened on September 17, 2011. He was on a roof at the New Museum in New York. In a split second he saw a diamond-shaped object with lights that lit up the sky. He came to the conclusion that it was a U.F.O. [Read More]