NPR science
9:05 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Nail Biting: Mental Disorder Or Just A Bad Habit?

Pathological nail biting may be a form of grooming on steroids, but it also makes the biter feel good, unlike fear-driven OCD.
Andrea Kissack for KQED

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:54 am

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NPR's watch this
9:02 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Watch This: Native American Author Sherman Alexie

Author and Spokane Indian Sherman Alexie won the American Book Award in 1996 for Reservation Blues.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 1:35 am

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Arts
5:28 am
Mon October 1, 2012

At Seattle Rep, a play about the Pullman Porters

"Pullman Porter Blues" at the Seattle Rep features a blues band, shown here in rehearsal.
Andry Laurence

Seattle Repertory Theatre opens its season Wednesday with a world premiere play about a group of African American workers known as the Pullman porters.

"Pullman Porter Blues" looks at three generations in one family of porters. The Pullman porters were former slaves who worked on a luxurious fleet of sleeper cars beginning in the late 19th century. Their descendants worked the trains up until the 1960s.

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It's The Fall Pledge Drive!
12:00 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Fall Fund Drive: 5 stories that taught you something

It's time for the Fall Pledge Drive and we wanted to take a look back at some of the great stories from the past year that your support has made possible. 

Whether you are a first-time supporter, or would like to renew your support for great content like this, please do so now to be counted towards our pledge drive goal.

Here are five of the most popular stories from the past year: 

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ranching
11:36 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Drought, wildfires force ranchers to look for efficiencies

University of Idaho Professor Rod Hill and part of the university's purebred herd. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:33 pm

The people who raise cattle destined to become steak or hamburger on your dinner plate are feeling the pinch. Wildfires this summer have scorched more than a million acres of Northwest rangeland. In addition, the Midwest drought is driving up feed costs across the board.

Now ranches and feedlots are looking to cut their feed costs in the short term... And longer term, have an eye on making the cattle themselves more efficient.

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Wildfires
11:33 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

After NW fires: Bring on the bugs

Horntail or wood wasps are drawn to burned forests. They deposit their eggs in downed trees. Photo courtesy of USDA

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 4:40 pm

Wildfires have already scorched more than one million acres across the Northwest this year. It may take years before the signs of the burns are no longer visible. But charred Northwest forests are already a-buzz with new life.

Burned forests are not quiet places.

“It’s very lively in the forest immediately after a fire," says Connie Mehmel. "Very lively. And a lot of that liveliness is insects.”

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NPR science
6:30 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

A tiny ocean world with a mighty important future

Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life and provide half of the oxygen on the planet. Scientists are working to figure out how climate change may be affecting these important microorganisms.
M. Ormestad Tara Oceans

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 4:11 pm

As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton.

They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life.

"This invisible forest generates half of the oxygen generated on the planet," Chris Bowler, a marine biologist, tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

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Jazz Northwest
3:41 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Tamir Hendelman Trio from The Upstage in Port Townsend

With the audience on three sides of the musicians, this performance was truly "up close and personal".  Three world-class musicians, Tamir Hendelman, Martin Wind and Matt Wilson provided an evening of spontaneous musical magic for a capacity audience in a cozy  Port Townsend club, The Upstage.  Recorded during this year's Jazz Port Townsend, the trio plays two standards, a Jobim tune and an original by each member of the group.  Each of the three musicians has toured and recorded widely, but this performance was unique, as Tamir Hendelman tells the audience after the first tune of the set.  

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Author Interviews
11:08 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Listening In' To JFK's Secret White House Recordings

Listening In, a new book and CD set, includes more than 260 hours of transcribed conversations and 2.5 hours of audio from inside the Kennedy White House.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 4:41 pm

In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.

JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2.
Hackett: Yeah, I saw that.
JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?

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Environment
6:18 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Scientist cleared in polar bear controversy popularizing global warming

Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska. Scientist Charles Monnett caused a stir with a 2006 report on polar bears that were drowning, apparently owing to a lack of ice.
Steve Amstrup Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 4:56 pm

A long, controversial investigation of a polar bear scientist has ended with his government employer saying it does not look like he engaged in any scientific misconduct.

Charles Monnett is a wildlife researcher with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Department of the Interior. He and a colleague, Jeffrey Gleason, wrote an influential 2006 report describing apparently drowned polar bears floating in the Arctic, which they saw during a routine aerial survey of whales.

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agriculture
3:56 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

U.S. apple processors paying double for fruit

Early Fuji apples about to be picked at Chiawana Orchards near Pasco, Washington. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 3:33 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. apple processors are paying nearly double what they did just two years ago to make sauce and juice.

Bad weather pummeled other apple growing regions of the world. And a worker shortage is slowing down the harvest in the Northwest.

Apple crops in New York, Michigan, Canada and Europe are down from bad weather. And China, the world’s largest apple producer, is keeping more fruit at home for its growing middle class. That means the price of processing-apples has gone up at least $100 a ton from just two years ago.

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2012 elections
3:47 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

In Presidential Ads, A Shared Strategy For Connection

President Obama and Mitt Romney campaign in August: Obama in Leesburg, Va.; Romney in Waukesha, Wis.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 3:29 pm

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Business
3:11 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Potential longshoremen strike temporarily averted, easing farmers' concerns

Seattle's grain terminal
Joe Mabel

Update: A potential strike by longshoremen in the Pacific Northwest has been temporarily averted, according to a spokesman for the grain terminal operators.  The terminal operators have been trying to reach a new contract with longshoremen at six ports in Washington and Oregon.

Pat McCormick of the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers' Association, which represents the terminal operators, says the two sides have agreed to continue talks into mid-October even though the contract expires this Sunday.

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Wolf reintroduction
1:37 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Final kill in wolf hunt; backlash expected to remain intense

Screen grab from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife video of a wolf in the Wedge portion of the Colville National Forest, west of the Columbia River, a few miles from the Canadian border.

Washington wildlife managers say the hunt for a pack of grey wolves is over. A state marksman killed the alpha male of the pack Thursday in far northeast Washington. The department has killed a total of seven wolves from the Wedge Pack since August.

However, emotions have run strong over the decision, and debate over wolf management in the Northwest will likely remain intense.

“We know these issues spark strong feelings among Washington residents across the state, which is why we are committed to conducting our business openly and transparently,” Washington Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said in a press release.

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Illusions
11:46 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Video update: The making of two giant arachnids at Seattle Center

One of two giant harvestmen painted on a roof at the Seattle Center, as seen from the Space Needle.
Jake Ellison KPLU

Earlier this month, we wrote about the creation of two huge “daddy longlegs” standing atop the roof of the Armory at the Seattle Center. The harvestmen, created by 3-D mural artist Marlin Peterson, cast long shadows and look pretty darn realistic (considering the widest span between leg tips is 100 feet).

Peterson has released a two-minute video showing the creation of the spiders from concept to paint:

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