Seattle police department
5:18 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

'Catch a Killer' - Seattle PD launches newsy site to fight crime

The front page of the Seattle Police Department's revamped blog.

The latest version of the Seattle Police Department’s blog shows a department striving to build an online audience with catchy headlines and timely posts.

“We’re looking to do even more,” said department spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson. “The blotter was good. If people were interested that was a place they could go, but ... now we need to go to the next level (be) more like a news site.”

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Shots - Health Blog
2:57 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Cats might threaten your mental health

What's the link between cats and madness?
Hans Martens iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 1:31 am

There's fresh evidence that cats can be a threat to your mental health.

To be fair, it's not kitties themselves that are the problem, but a parasite they carry called Toxoplasma gondii.

A study of more than 45,000 Danish women found that those infected with this feline parasite were 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than women who weren't infected.

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Olympic Sports
2:55 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Disproportionately high number of Northwest runners on team USA

Runners with Northwest ties finished 1-2-3 in the men's 5,000 meters. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 1:28 pm

EUGENE, Ore. - Two more runners and two javelin throwers from the Northwest claimed spots in the London Olympics on the final day of competition at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Runners, jumpers and throwers from the Northwest performed well in these Olympic Trials. In fact, more than 20 percent of the athletes on the U.S. Olympic track and field team have ties to our region.

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health care reform
10:56 am
Mon July 2, 2012

CBS News: Roberts switched his vote on health care

The U.S. Supreme Court justices (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan.
Supreme Court

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 11:55 am

It was much rumored as soon as the 5-4 decision that upheld President Obama's signature health care law was announced.

Chief Justice John Roberts had sided with the liberal wing of the court and he had done so after initially voting in favor of striking down the individual mandate, the part of the law the required every American to obtain health care.

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Environment
10:52 am
Mon July 2, 2012

First forest health hazard warning expected for Washington

Bug-infested forests are a growing concern in Washington state. Photo credit: Washington DNR

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 6:36 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s Lands Commissioner is expected to declare the state’s first ever forest health hazard warning Monday. The formal declaration comes amid growing concern about the potential for a catastrophic fire -– not unlike what we’ve seen in recent days in Colorado.

If you look at a map of dead and dying trees across Washington, the hot spots spread from the spine of the Cascade Mountains into northeastern Washington. Today, it’s estimated nearly 3 million acres of Washington forest are in poor health -– mostly riddled by tree-killing insects.

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NPR Science
5:54 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Is the hunt for the 'God Particle' finally over?

This image, from a sensor at the particle accelerator at CERN, is an example of the data signature a Higgs particle might generate.
CERN

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 6:17 am

Before we get to the fireworks on the Fourth of July, we might see some pyrotechnics from a giant physics experiment near Geneva, Switzerland.

Scientists there are planning to gather that morning to hear the latest about the decades-long search for a subatomic particle that could help explain why objects in our universe actually weigh anything.

The buzz is that they're closing in on the elusive Higgs particle. That would be a major milestone in the quest to understand the most basic nature of the universe.

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Artscape
5:30 am
Mon July 2, 2012

At the Seattle Art Museum: Australian Aboriginal art

"Wilkinkarra (09.003) 2007" by Mitjili Napanangka Gibson. Promised gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, T2011.55.2

A new exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum invites us to experience Australia like we never have before: through the eyes of Aboriginal artists whose culture is considered to be one of the oldest in the world.

More than 100 paintings, sculptures and photographs are featured in this first-of-its kind show on the West Coast. The exhibit is called "Ancestral Modern," a title that relates to the fact that Aboriginal culture is at least 50,000 years old but the artwork on display is no more than 40 years old.

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Foster Care
5:00 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Families celebrate success stories in the foster care system

The Edgar family emerged from violence and addiction to put their family back together.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

About 1,160 children in King County spent last month in the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services. Most were separated from their parents because of unsafe conditions at home, such as drugs, violence or neglect.

But it may come as a surprise to learn that most eventually will be safely returned to their parents.

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Around the Nation
4:01 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Firefighting planes battle wildfires and old age

A firefighting air tanker drops fire retardant on the Tea Fire in Montecito, Calif. in 2008. In 2000, The U.S. Forest Service had contracts for 43 air tankers. These days, that number is only nine.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 9:05 am

As wildfires continue to burn in the West, the U.S. Forest Service is going to battle this summer with fewer air tankers. The number of planes that drop retardant on fires has shrunk significantly over the past 12 years.

In Boise, Idaho, the shortage of air tankers has led to some unexpected repurposing of aircraft.

"This particular aircraft was used as Air Force One at one point," explains pilot Lyle Ehalt, standing next to his shiny white-and-green tanker at the Boise Airport.

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Jazz Northwest
1:00 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

A jazz variety on Jazz Northwest

A variety of Northwest jazz groups are featured on this edition of Jazz Northwest.   Trio to big band, Jelly Roll Morton to brand new compositions,  from musicians who live and work from Portland to Vancouver BC.  July 1 is Canada Day and the last day of the Vancouver and Victoria Jazz Festivals.  We'll hear a modern day interpretation of a Jelly Roll Morton tune recorded where he played in Vancouver BC.  Former resident Diane Schuur is back at Jazz Alley this week, and Pearl Django's eleventh CD features several new compositions.

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NPR diversions
10:54 am
Sun July 1, 2012

Fans Restore Luke Skywalker's Boyhood Home

Construction Begins at the Lars Homestead
Mark Dermul

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 8:28 am

Mark Dermul is a serious Star Wars fan. He was just 7 years old in 1977 when the original movie hit the theaters. As soon as the huge Star Destroyer flew across the opening scene, he was hooked.

"It hasn't left me," he says. At 42, Dermul now guides tours throughout North Africa, visiting sites that were featured in the blockbuster films.

On one 2010 trip back to planet Tatooine — OK, Tunisia — he and his tour group noticed that Luke Skywalker's boyhood home was decaying. They jumped into hyperspace — OK, the Internet — to save it.

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Old drilling
10:36 am
Sun July 1, 2012

Ahead of Alaska drilling, Shell practices cleaning up

Trainees with Royal Dutch Shell learn to deploy oil spill booms in the waters near the port of Valdez in Alaska. The company is training about 200 spill responders.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 10:02 am

Royal Dutch Shell could drill several exploratory oil wells into the waters off the north shore of Alaska this summer. The potential prize is huge, but so is the risk, should there be an oil spill in this pristine and remote region. And that risk is on everyone's mind since the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.

Shell is now training hundreds of workers to confront oil in icy waters. But for now, the training is taking place in the calm, ice-free waters far to the south, near the port of Valdez.

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Education
1:35 am
Sun July 1, 2012

Student Loan Deal Pales Against Other Education Cuts

College students surrounded President Obama earlier this month when he called on Congress to stop student loan interest rates from doubling. Congress agreed on a deal to prevent the hike on Friday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 12:26 pm

It came down to the wire, but finally, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a deal that keeps the interest rate on government-backed student loans from doubling. It will save the average borrower about $1,000 a year, but the compromise is likely to cost students a lot more than that over the long term.

The agreement that lawmakers passed Friday will keep interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year. Anthony DeLaRosa, a 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate, says it's a big victory.

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NPR tech news
9:10 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Robot with super powers wins at 'rock, paper scissors' every time

YouTube

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 4:06 am

First chess, now this:

Here's a robot from Ishikawa Oku's physics lab at the University of Tokyo that plays rock, paper, scissor and always beats the human, every single time. Because the team that built it gave it a superpower.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
8:58 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Buried in debt, young people find dreams elusive

Michelle Holshue racked up $140,000 in student loan debt while training to become a public health nurse. She's living her dream of helping others, she says, but never expected it "to be so hard."
Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 4:32 am

Growing up near Philadelphia, Michelle Holshue's dream was to serve those in need. Applying to nursing school at the University of Pennsylvania seemed like a smart move — in 2007.

Nursing jobs were plentiful. The students' running joke was that hospital executives would soon be stopping them in the street, begging them to come to work.

Then the economy tanked. For a time, Holshue was an Ivy League grad on unemployment and food stamps.

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