Melanie has worked as a radio station news reporter, as a press secretary in the Wisconsin State Legislature and as editor of two local publications. Since 1994, she has worked as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in travel and fitness.

She has won numerous awards for her writing, most notably prestigious Lowell Thomas Gold and Grand Awards for her travel journalism. Her first book, "Thousand-Miler" (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017), is a memoir about her record-setting thru-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Recent Contributions

Crocuses are a cheery sign of spring, and the tiny, colorful flowers are easy to grow. Here's how to do it.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

From cornflakes to Silly Putty, many of the things we consume today were created unintentionally. Here are the stories behind eight well-known inventions.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Is it the country with the smallest land area? Or the fewest people? Either way, you get the same answer.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Sascha Bos

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Mold is a type of fungus, and it's everywhere — indoors, outdoors and even in the air. But is black mold worse than the rest? Is it as deadly as people say?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Austin Henderson

There are thousands of reported uses for WD-40, an aerosol lubricant that's as handy as duct tape. We look at 12 of the more creative ones we've found for this miracle product.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

A rainbow's ability to bring joy to just about anyone is probably why they're painted on kids' cheeks at fairs. But, what do rainbows mean? In this article, we'll look at rainbow symbolism from around the world.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Moonshining has evolved from backwood stills in the South. In fact, it's downright trendy in some bars. But, why is homebrewing and winemaking legal, but not distilling your own moonshine?

By Ed Grabianowski & Melanie Radzicki McManus

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There are seven different numbers you might see on a plastic container. And each number has its own meaning.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Desiree Bowie

Can a Halloween attraction be sued for being too scary? It's already happened. When else did attractions get out of control — at least for some visitors?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

If you step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back. Surely you know this jingle from childhood. It's a silly example of a correlation with no causation. But there are some real-world instances that we often hear, or maybe even tell?

By Nicholas Gerbis & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Your co-worker just yawned in a meeting, and now everyone on his side of the table is yawning, too. Learn about what might've caused him to do it in the first place and why you're likely to yawn right along with them.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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A friendly gesture in one country might be a highly insulting one in another. Here are 10 rude gestures that you'd better be sure you're using correctly before trying them out.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The August 2023 full moon is known as the sturgeon moon. This year, it's also a supermoon and will be followed by a blue moon at the end of the month!

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Many inventions during the Industrial Revolution caused Europeans and Americans to move from an agricultural economy to an industrial one and changed the world forever. What were the top 10?

By Jonathan Atteberry, Melanie Radzicki McManus & Nicole Antonio

Kepler-186f was the first Earth-sized planet found within its star's habitable zone. But there's still a lot we don't know about it.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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Grudge matches can be found in every corner of the world, including the art world. Here are five rivalries that continued for years, involving famous painters like Van Gogh, Gaugin, Degas, Picasso and Banksy.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Many kids put a lot stock in the Easter bunny myth, and look forward to the arrival of their cotton-tailed friend all spring. But is it harmful for them to believe past a certain age?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

There's a great need for people to donate their bodies to science but not many people think about doing it. What happens to your body after you make that decision?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Ever tried to get your child, spouse or friend to do something by telling them to do the opposite? That's reverse psychology. But how often does it work?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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Running through the extreme heat, elevation, snow or incredibly rough terrain in an ultramarathon is a challenge designed to defeat all but the most determined and prepared.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Dust is everywhere in your home and can cause or aggravate allergies. But cleaning can be a pain too. Here's how to keep those dust bunnies at bay.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

There's a popular myth that the IRS says paying taxes is voluntary, so no one has to do so. While that's untrue, certain wage earners are exempt from paying taxes. Who are these folks?

By Jodie Schneider & Melanie Radzicki McManus

The millions of plastic containers and bottles out there don't all have to end up in landfills. There are lots of ways to give them a second life.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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If the costs in your home state are getting you down, it might be time to think about moving. We have a list of the eight cheapest states to live in the U.S.A.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Sitting on your butt all day can do a number on your health. Calisthenics, which is resistance training using your body weight, is a great way to stay in shape.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus