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Melanie McManus

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

The Snowy Dunes of White Sands National Monument Witnessed Atomic History

These brilliant gypsum dunes are the largest in the world and near the site of the first atomic bomb detonation in 1945. They're also renowned for their Instagram-ready landscapes. Our writer went for a visit.

Use of the Exclamation Point Has Exploded!

Once this skinny mark of excitement was mainly the provenance of excited teenage girls and inexperienced novelists. But now we're all peppering our sentences with exclamation marks. Is this a good thing?

Should You Always Take Off Your Shoes in Your Home?

Some people feel you track a lot of germs and dirt into your home if you keep your street shoes on inside, but studies have shown it's not that bad.

Hiking el Caminito del Rey, Once the World's Most Dangerous Trail

Our writer shares her experience of hiking Spain's el Caminito del Rey, once considered the world's most dangerous path. It was closed for 15 years after five people died on it and reopened in 2015 as a new, improved attraction.

Pickleball! It's the Fast-growing Sport With the Funny Name

Pickleball may be a funny name, but this paddle sport is attracting thousands of players across the U.S. and around the world.

The Missing States of the United States

There are 50 states in the U.S., but there have been many proposals over the years to add more.

Do You Have to Pull Over for a Funeral Procession?

Few rules on funeral procession are enshrined in law; most are just customs. But that doesn't mean you should break them.

9 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is most likely in your first-aid kit. But it can be deployed for a whole variety of cleaning, gardening and beauty purposes you may have never ever thought of.

3 Cool Charities Looking for Knitters

Do you yarn to help others with your crafty skills? If so check out some great charities looking for some knitting assistance.

How the Gender Pay Gap Works

The gender pay gap is usually expressed something like this: Women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Where did this figure come from and is it still true?

The 'Wild' Effect? Why Hiking Is Surging in Popularity in the U.S.

In the last few years, trail hiking has exploded in popularity in America. What sparked the increase, and is this a good thing?

What Do the Numbers Inside Recycling Symbols on Plastic Items Mean?

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

A Short History of How Netflix Won World Domination in Streaming

They have a date for when they'll deliver the last DVD, too.

Why Did the Harts Deliberately Drive Their Family Over a Cliff?

A new serial podcast delves into the tragic deaths of at least six members of the Hart family, whose SUV was driven off a cliff in California in early 2018.

Got Milk? It Might Depend on Whether It Came From a Cow or a Plant

The FDA is considering whether to enforce a rule that restricts usage of the term 'milk' to dairy products. But makers of plant-based milks like soy milk and almond milk are fighting back.

Knowing Your Tendency Helps You Conquer Life Goals

Author Gretchen Rubin says people have one of four personal tendencies that direct how we handle inner and outer expectations. Knowing your tendency can help you figure out how to manage change.

The Stories Behind the Electric Slide, the Moonwalk and Other Epic Dance Moves

If the creator of the electric slide had his way, we'd all be sued for doing the dance wrong.

What's It Like to Have a Serial Killer for a Dad?

Melissa Moore struggles to reconcile the normal experiences of growing up with her father, Keith Hunter Jesperson, with the realization that he was also the Happy Face serial killer. And she wonders if being a psychopath could be hereditary.

Is the Universe Just a Simulation?

Some scientists say it's possible we're all just part of a computer simulation controlled by a superior set of beings. But how would we know?

Time-restricted Eaters Lose Weight Even Without Changing Diet

A small study found that just by eating breakfast later and dinner earlier, people could lose twice as much body fat as those who did not. But could they stick with this diet?

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