WFU in the news: Feb. 26-March 3, 2024

Selected news clips courtesy of the Wake Forest News & Communications team


Anyone can play Tetris, but architects, engineers and animators alike use the math concepts underlying the game
By Leah McCoy | The Conversation
With its bright colors, easy-to-learn rules and familiar music, the video game Tetris has endured as a pop culture icon over the last 40 years. Many people, like me, have been playing the game for decades, and it has evolved to adapt to new technologies like game systems, phones and tablets. But until January 2024, nobody had ever been able to beat it. A teen from Oklahoma holds the Tetris title after he crashed the game on Level 157 and beat the game. – 2/28/2024

This article was picked up in outlets worldwide including Fast Company and the Washington Post.


Weight loss, exercise may ward off osteoarthritis in women
Mirage News
In an extensive clinical study spanning two continents, Wake Forest University researchers will determine whether the most common treatments for osteoarthritis – weight loss and exercise – also help prevent women from developing the degenerative joint disease. – 2/26/2024

Gen Z like ‘safety capitalism”
By Jacob Zinkula | Business Insider
Christina Elson, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Capitalism at Wake Forest University, told Business Insider that many young people had embraced an idea she calls “safety capitalism.” Elson said: “The issue is the bottom. What is the appropriate bottom living standard for an American citizen, and what role should the government have in ensuring that people don’t fall below that?” – 2/28/2024

This is what happens when a wind farm comes to a coal town
By Michael Levitt, Tinbete Ermyas, Ari Shapiro, Kat Lonsdorf | NPR
Economist Mark Curtis at Wake Forest University in North Carolina has studied this shift in the workforce.”We found that of workers that were leaving fossil fuel jobs, less than 2% ended up in a renewable energy job,” he said. “In a place like West Virginia, it was even smaller than that. Approximately a quarter percent of workers that left fossil fuel jobs were going to renewable energy jobs.” – 2/26/2024

‘Is the US bankrupt?’
EWTN: Kresta in the Afternoon
Senior Fellow and economics professor Robert Whaples, editor of “Pope Francis and the Caring Society” and “Is Social Justice Just?,” discusses the federal government’s budget and its deficit. The national debt is $34 trillion, which is larger than the GDP. Interest rates have also increased dramatically. What are the ramifications of this and what should we do about it? — 2/28/2024

Longer working hours, productivity: there is no correlation
By Osama Rizvi | Business Recorder
People used to work around 70 hours per week in the 1800s. With 6 days a week that amounts to almost 12 hours per day. But as things improved the work hours began to decrease. Economics professor Robert Whaples, has prepared a detailed timeline of this evolution. The modern day workday was established by Henry Ford at Ford Motor Company in 1926 where people worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. – 2/27/2024

Melancholy is the happiness of being sad
By Eric Spitznagel | Substack
Eric Wilson, English professor and author of “Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy,” said we’ve changed the way we’ve diagnosed depression. “What once would’ve been categorized as normal sadness, like mourning the loss of a loved one, now if it lasts a little too long, it can be seen as clinical depression. We have a faster trigger finger for diagnosing someone as depressed.” – 2/29/2024

Peru’s zoning amendment endangers forests
By William Farfan-Rios | Science Magazine
William Farfan-Rios, a researcher with Wake Forest’s Andrew Sabin Center for Environment and Sustainability is one of the co-authors on this piece. – 2/29/2024


Wake Forest University and other North Carolina employers add onsite child care
By Katie Peralta Soloff | Axios Charlotte
Wake Forest University is adding an on-site child care center to its University Corporate Center at its Reynolda Campus in Winston-Salem, joining a national trend of employers trying to support and retain working parents. North Carolina is in the midst of a child care crisis that’s only gotten worse with the expiration of pandemic-era funding. Offering child care on site is not common, but it’s catching on among employers. – 3/03/2024

Could free shipping be coming to an end for online shoppers?
Transport Topics
As free shipping and returns becomes less available, consumers are likely to begin calculating whether an in-store purchase is a better deal even with a higher retail price, said marketing professor Roger Beahm. “Consumers will most certainly now consider the overall value of their online purchases more carefully relative to buying a comparable item in brick-and-mortar.” – 2/29/2024

New study shows North Carolina rail’s economic impact
By David Ford | WFDD-FM (Winston-Salem, NC)
A new report breaks down the impact of North Carolina’s rail system on the state’s economy. “There’s literally no way we have right now of transporting goods across land that has a lower carbon footprint than trains,” said economics Associate Teaching Professor Todd McFall. “So, the extent to which we can use trains to our advantage will be good in terms of environmental protections so long as we maintain safety standards that are going to stop things from spilling or contaminating waterways or agricultural areas.” – 2/27/2024

What’s at stake for education in the NC superintendent of public instruction race?
By Amy Diaz | WFDD-FM (Winston-Salem, NC)
Two Republicans and three Democrats are running for North Carolina superintendent — a role overseeing the state’s public education system. According to Dani Parker Moore, the director of the Schools, Education and Society minor at Wake Forest, it’s a race to watch. “We’re in a perfect storm of thinking about public education,” she said. “A new governor, new superintendent, parents’ rights advocates bills, the expansion of vouchers to go to private schools, and our current governor has sounded the alarm that public education is under fire.” – 2/29/2024

Democrats in Triad’s 6th District feel left out with no one to vote for Congress
By Paul Garber | WFDD-FM (Winston-Salem, NC)
Politics professor John Dinan notes, it’s an unusually deep bench of candidates. “Sometimes you see four or five candidates in the race, and one or two has endorsements, name recognition, and money,” he said. “Here, we have at least four candidates in that race who have some significant source of support. Dinan says it’s easy to imagine that — with so many well-known Republicans in the race — none of them will be able to reach the 30% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. – 3/01/2024


Mark Robinson, Josh Stein remain favorites for North Carolina governor in latest poll
By Richard Craver | Winston-Salem Journal
“Certainly, a number of Republican activists and officials are looking strongly at alternatives to Mark Robinson as a gubernatorial candidate,” said politics professor John Dinan. “Dale Folwell has the most extensive governing experience of any candidate in the Republican field, as well as a record of governance that could be expected to appeal to a wide group of Republicans and also unaffiliated voters in a general election campaign.” – 2/26/2024

Are you a woman 50 or older and overweight? Join this university study
By Mary McHugh | Winston-Salem Journal
According to Health and Exercise Science professor Shannon Mihalko, knee osteoarthritis (OA) ranks as the third most common diagnosis for hospital inpatient stays. It’s also the leading cause of disability among adults, affecting women at nearly twice the rate as men. Plus, interventions designed to slow or stop knee OA progression have failed. – 2/27/2024


WFU child care center plans to open in September
By Cheryl V. Walker | Wake Forest News
Wake Forest University has selected KinderCare Learning Companies for Employers to operate a child care and early education center located in the University Corporate Center (UCC). “KinderCare at Wake Forest University” will primarily serve the families of Wake Forest faculty, staff and students and will be open for community enrollment, where spaces are available. Initial plans were announced to the University community in October. Construction is currently underway. – 2/26/2024

Can weight loss and exercise help women stave off osteoarthritis?
By Cheryl V. Walker | Wake Forest News
In an extensive clinical study spanning two continents, Wake Forest University researchers will determine whether the most common treatments for osteoarthritis – weight loss and exercise – also help prevent women from developing the degenerative joint disease. – 2/26/2024

Helping college students find a way to belong
By Cheryl V. Walker | Wake Forest News
Extroverts were more likely than introverts to feel a strong sense of belonging in their college, an important indicator of whether a student succeeds – or goes home. That’s a key finding in a new study by Wake Forest University’s Shannon Brady, an assistant professor of psychology. The study, Who feels like they belong? Personality and belonging in college, appears in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One. – 2/27/2024

Students get ‘Face to Face’ with Liz Cheney
By Kim McGrath & Frances Cave (’24) – Intern | Wake Forest News
“We are facing a threat we have not faced before in our country, and it is going to take the commitment of young people, not just to advocate for the causes you believe in, but actually to make sure you go and vote,” said Former U.S. Representative Liz Cheney said during the Face to Face student-led even on February 22. – 2/27/2024

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