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 U.S. Supreme Court may be the highest court in the land, but the justices that sit on the bench sometimes reverse course. It doesn't happen often, but here are 13 Supreme Court cases in history that have been overturned.

By Ed Grabianowski & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Japan's Emperor Hirohito reigned for more than 60 years, and his tenure included World War II. Although he was never prosecuted for war crimes, many historians say he should have been.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

There are lots of inventive uses for old coffee grounds, including candle-making, bug prevention and de-icing roads.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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For many people, their knowledge of America's National Scenic Trails begins with the Appalachian and ends with the Pacific Crest. But there are nine other fabulous trails that deserve attention, too.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

With the increase in "green building," cool roofs are becoming popular. These are roofs that have been built or modified to maintain a lower temperature in bright sun. We'll examine some of the many ways you can cool your roof.

By Beth Brindle & Melanie Radzicki McManus

During the early 1960s, many songs featuring tragic teen deaths, usually in car crashes, became huge hits. What was behind this morbid craze?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Insurance fraud scams, including staging accidents and creating fake titles for nonexistent cars, cost Americans billions of dollars a year. How do savvy insurance agents suss them out?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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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

Discussing what goes on in the bathroom is considered taboo in many social circles, but you should be having frank discussions about your waste if you own a septic tank. What's the protocol for dealing with fecal matter?

By Josh Clark & Melanie Radzicki McManus

In a tale so crazy it's true, Pitcairn Island is home to just 50 people, descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers, who hid there more than 200 years ago. And the island is now looking for more residents.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

An extensive study looks at personal space in 42 countries, and how weather affects preferences.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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Gas prices seem like they are currently out of control, but adjusted for inflation, there was another time when they were even higher. When was that, and what causes gas prices to fluctuate?

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

The newly reopened America's Black Holocaust Museum traces more than 400 years of Black American history, from the era before enslavement to the present.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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Why does the dollar sign have a slash? Did a British pound originally weigh 1 pound? Find out the stories behind these and other currency symbols.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The new field of imageomics allows scientists to cull useful data from photos and videos to help save endangered species. It even uses images taken by tourists.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Pickleball is a paddle sport attracting thousands of players across the U.S. and around the world. And it's getting bigger every year. What's the appeal?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Germany's Adolph and Rudolph Dassler fell out so badly, they had to start two separate shoe companies that both became iconic.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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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

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

If your sock's mate has disappeared, you can still find a lot of creative uses for the one left behind.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

If serial killer Ted Bundy hadn't been a biter, he might never have been caught. What can bite marks and teeth tell us about a person?

By Shanna Freeman & Melanie Radzicki McManus

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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 bloodstain from a crime scene has a story to tell, if you know how to analyze it. Then it might explain the who, what and when of a murder.

By Shanna Freeman & Melanie Radzicki McManus