Environment
1:26 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Hybrid cars still a rarity in the Northwest

The hybrid badge on a Toyota Prius
Carlos Perez flickr.com

We may think about driving hybrid cars, but very few of us actually buy one.

A poll by of Washington and Oregon drivers by Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance finds less than 2% say they own a hybrid.

However, more than half of the drivers in Washington (56%) and Oregon (59%) say they'd consider buying a hybrid the next time they shop for a car.

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Guest post from Geekwire
11:57 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Science fiction writers battle Amazon.com in pricing dispute

The beginning of a troubled relationship? Amazon and science fiction writers struggle over terms.
James Vaughan KPLU

By John Cook of Geekwire

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos traces his love of books back to some of the classics of science fiction. But now one of the leading author organizations in the genre is taking up arms against the Seattle online bookseller.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America — which hosts the prestigious Nebula Awards – announced on its Web site today that it is redirecting links to other booksellers including indiebound.orgPowell’s, and Barnes and Noble.

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Officer shooting
10:31 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Thousands expected for trooper memorial in Kent

Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu.

KENT, Wash. — Officials expect thousands of people to attend the memorial service for slain Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu on Thursday in Kent, a 1 p.m. at the ShoWare Center.

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Research News
10:20 am
Wed February 29, 2012

NPR science: The man working to reverse engineer your brain

A map of neurons of the mouse retina, reconstructed automatically by artificial intelligence from electron microscopic images.
A. Zlateski based on data from K. Briggman, M. Helmstaedter, and W. Denk MIT/Seung

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 8:28 am

Our brains are filled with billions of neurons, entangled like a dense canopy of tropical forest branches. When we think of a concept or a memory — or have a perception or feeling — our brain's neurons quickly fire and talk to each other across connections called synapses.

How these neurons interact with each other — and what the wiring is like between them — is key to understanding our identity, says Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience at MIT.

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Digital Life
10:09 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Protecting your privacy amid Google policy changes

A sign for Google is displayed behind the Google android robot, at the National Retail Federation, in New York. Google is planning to roll out a new privacy policy on March 1.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 9:00 am

Many Google users are nervous about the tech giant's changes to its privacy policy, set to take effect on Thursday.

Google has already been collecting bits of personal information from its various services, but soon it will combine it all to produce more targeted ads.

So let's say you are signed into Gmail and you decide to watch a video on YouTube. And then you also check out your friend's vacation photos on Picasa. Well, Google will now combine all of that data to create a single, fuller portrait of you for advertisers.

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Environment
7:18 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Spotted owl recovery plan: more active forestry management...and shooting rivals

The highly adaptable barred owl has moved in from points east and pushed out the endangered northern spotted owl. Lethal and non-lethal removals are part of the new spotted owl recovery plan announced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
caroltlw photo Flickr

In the long saga to protect the northern spotted owl, it's now officially "owl vs owl."

US Fish and Wildlife says the decline of the iconic northwest species can’t be helped without killing some of its more aggressive cousins, the barred owl.

It’s part of a court-ordered plan to increase the spotted owl’s forest habitat.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Exciting news for cracker snackers

Nancy's favorite crackers. I'd show you mine but you've probably already seen a Cheez-it. Click for the next pic – installment one of the Dick's GarlicCam series.
Nancy Leson Seattle Times

No, not  about Cracker the p(t)et pterodactyl in Captain Underpants. He'd snack on you. Nor do I refer to the Hamadryas  genus of brush-footed butterflies commonly called The Cracker. This is about the kind of crackers you eat. And eat. And eat.

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Mining news
4:59 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

In NW mining, most deaths happen above ground

A photo from the federal investigation into James Hussey's death shows the site of the accident. Photo courtesy MSHA

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 12:00 am

Federal mine investigators say a Northwest miner died by electrocution because the company that employed him failed to have proper safety procedures in place. The tragedy happened at a gravel pit last September near Pullman, Wash. Most Northwest mine accidents happen above ground.

Thirty-eight-year-old James Hussey worked for DeAtley Crushing, based in Lewiston, Idaho. According to the new federal report, Hussey died when he tried to fix some wiring that no one realized was still connected to the power source.

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Social Security fraud
4:51 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Family guilty of decades long disability fraud

Four members of a Renton family have pleaded guilty to fraud for pretending to be disabled and collecting more than $350,000 in Social Security and Washington state disability benefits.  The scheme to defraud the government went on for 30 years.

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Leap Day: Any Plans?

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 3:26 pm

Something that only comes around once every four years and doesn't involve either politics or Olympic competition deserves its own mention:

Wednesday is Feb. 29.

Leap day, that is.

Our friend Linton Weeks has put together a handy list of 24 things you could do with the extra 24 hours. (And yes, we know that some of you have already started your day; but, hey, we're an East Coast-based blog.)

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Election 2012
3:37 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Santorum, Paul back in Wash. later this week

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republican presidential contenders Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are returning to Washington state to hold rallies in the days leading up to Saturday's caucuses.

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Humanosphere
3:21 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Seattle scientists to test world’s first vaccine against ‘black fever’

Wikimedia Commons

There are many neglected diseases out there but not many as prevalent or as ravaging as visceral leishmaniasis, also known as black fever or kala azar — the ‘parasitic version of AIDS.’

Scientists at Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute will soon begin testing an experimental vaccine they have designed to work against the most deadly form of this common parasitic disease spread by the bite of sand flies.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Space flight
2:59 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

What is it about the NW that makes the rich yearn for outer space?

A view of Jeff Bezos' ship taking off during a 'hop test flight' last year taken from a video of the flight.

What is it about our super rich tech guys and local culture that makes them want to send people into outer space?

Yesterday, the space venture backed by Jeff Bezos (of Amazon fame) announced it was ready to conduct a “pad-abort test” in the summer of 2012, according to Flightglobal. The test is a crucial milestone in qualifying the company's New Shepard vehicle for human spaceflight.  

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Pets
2:12 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Labrador Retriever tops list of Seattle's favorite dogs

The Labrador Retriever is Seattle's top dog.
Marvin Kuo flickr.com

The American Kennel Club (AKC) say the Labrador Retriever is Seattle's favorite dog. It's also the top dog nationwide.

Seattle also echoed the nation with the Golden Retriever in second place. New to Seattle's top 10 is the Havanese at #10.

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Around the Nation
10:57 am
Tue February 28, 2012

A nation divided: Can we agree on anything?

Chris McDonough, a Republican (left), and Robert O'Brien, a Democrat, argue about political issues outside a caucus in Portland, Maine, in February.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 3:09 pm

Like baseballs in a batting cage, the controversies that divide us just keep on coming. Fast and unpredictable.

Last month it was the flap over the Susan G. Komen foundation and its move to cut financial support of Planned Parenthood. The resulting imbroglio dredged up deeply held convictions among Americans about women's health issues and "cause marketing" that, in this case, has resulted in profits for companies promoting breast cancer awareness and research through pink and omnipresent product tie-ins.

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