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Michael Kauffmann

Surge In Long-Distance Hiking On PCT Spurs Interest In Creating New Trails

Thousands of people are expected to start long-distance treks on the Pacific Crest Trail this year. That's inspired in part by the successful movie adaptation of Portland writer Cheryl Strayed's hiking memoir, "Wild." Hollywood’s next hiking movie, “A Walk in the Woods," could spur even more backpacking interest when it's released later this year. That has Western outdoors enthusiasts backing the build-out of additional long-distance trails, which could offer greater solitude.
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Start Your Saturday With "Sound Effect"

Catch our new show at 10 a.m.

Greg Lavaty

The small, nondescript Pied-billed Grebe has an astonishing talent. The grebe is the master of its own buoyancy.

It can squeeze out both the air trapped in its feathers and in its internal air-sacs and sink effortlessly. Learn more about the amazing, sinking Pied-billed Grebe at Cornell's AllAboutBirds. 

How To Make A Mini Zine

Feb 28, 2015

In this week's episode of Sound Effect, KPLU's Arwen Nicks spoke with poet Amanda Laughtland about her poetry zines and small press, Teeny Tiny. 

Watch Arwen demonstrate how to create a mini zine out of a single sheet of paper.

"Sound Effect" is a weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place where we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

Each week's show will explore a different theme. In this week's show, we illuminate the mighty power of small things.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

When you start talking with David Kirtley, don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel like you’re in a comic strip.  

Kirtley is the CEO of Redmond-based Helion Energy, and his business plan sounds like fantasy. He says the potential for solving all of our energy problems is contained in what looks like just a drop of water.

Here are the three most underreported stories of the week, according to the guests of our news roundtable:

Tom Grey

Tall and prehistoric-looking, the Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America. Great Blue Herons are often seen flying high overhead with slow wing-beats.

When foraging, they stand silently along riverbanks, on lake shores, or in wet meadows. Quickly then, they stab at their prey.

Although usually found in or near water, Great Blue Herons nest high in trees, with several nests in a colony. Learn more about this bird at Cornell's AllAboutBirds.  

Back in 2011 when I was a student at the University of Maryland in College Park I once noticed a massive pile of trash in front of a dining hall. A closer look revealed that it was mostly food — a half-eaten sandwich, a browning apple and what appeared to be the remains of the day's lunch special.

The heap was gross, but intriguing. Turned out it was a stunt to get students thinking about how much food they throw out each day.

Updated at 1:16 p.m.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock, the logical half-Vulcan, half-human in the original Star Trek series and several movies, has died at his home in Los Angeles, his granddaughter, Madeleine, told NPR. Nimoy was 83.

The cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she said.

NPR's Neda Ulaby, who is reporting on the story, tells our Newscast unit:

Soon after giving birth to a baby girl, Jennifer McMullen noticed that one of her daughter's ears looked a little different.

"She had a condition called lidding, where the top part of the cartilage in the ear is basically folded over so the top ridge is kind of rounded over," McMullen tells Shots. Her daughter could hear just fine, but McMullen worried about bullying when she got older. "She's a beautiful baby girl," she says. "If she plays sports, I don't want her to be self-conscious pulling her hair back or anything like that."

As diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba thaw, the island could see a new wave of tourism — with visitors treated to music and scenery that has been closed to most U.S. residents for more than half a century.

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