Keith Seinfeld

Health & Science Reporter/Assistant News Director

Keith Seinfeld has been KPLU’s Health & Science Reporter since 2001, and prior to that covered the Environment beat. He’s been a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Keith's stories prior to Nov. 2010 can be found at our old website archives. And, more stories are at his KPLU blog, Science and Wonder.

You can also check out his "Weather with Cliff Mass" weekly interviews.

Keith’s most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Watching brain surgery on a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. When the doctor pulled out a pretty hefty hand-held drill, I realized: It may be a hi-tech procedure, but you still have to put a hole in the skull, while the patient’s awake.”

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fallen trees and power outages
2:39 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Storm was last week, but still affecting daily life for many

With life returning to normal across much of Puget Sound, at least 24,000 homes were still without power as of 11 o'clock this morning. Puget Sound Energy has the largest number of outages and predicts it will have nearly all its customers restored by Wednesday evening.

The clean-up job is still daunting, and it's affecting some schools and college campuses.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
4:20 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Mysterious demise of Tacoma, Seattle streetcars solved

Seattle cable car at Third & Yesler in 1940.
Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

Today’s stylish way to get from your high-tech office to an urbane lunch date was once so old, rickety and decrepit that it was melted into scrap-metal.

The revival of streetcars in Tacoma and Seattle would be a surprise to our civic leaders from the 1930’s. But they used to be prolific throughout the Northwest. What happened? Was it a conspiracy, or just the changing tides of fashion?

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Weather with Cliff Mass
10:30 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Rain, big winds in forecast; Cliff Mass: 'We messed up'

A truck drives around a downed tree in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday. Thick ice brought down trees and power lines in the region overnight, following two days of snow and ice storms.
The Associated Press

The big melt continues all day and through the evening, as temperatures settle into the 40's.

KPLU and UW weather expert Cliff Mass says "it should feel quite warm" and generally stay above freezing for the next few days.

Given what's already on the ground – and with heavy rains tonight – it's a recipe for a mess.

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Second-hand smoke
11:42 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Smoking in your apartment - not for long?

Smoking is banned at work. It’s banned in restaurants and bars. But most smokers can still head home and enjoy as many cigarettes as they’d like. That’s starting to change, when it comes to apartment buildings. 

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:23 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Snow? Probably yes, for most of western Washington

A vision of things to come ...
Adam DeClercq Flickr

But not too much. 

"It's not going to be the big snow-storm," says KPLU weather expert, and UW professor, Cliff Mass.

The areas most likely to get a couple inches of snow are the so-called "convergence zone," between north Seattle and Everett, and in the Bellingham area. For everyone else, Mass says it will be "hit and miss" depending on so many factors that it's hard to generalize.

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is it the flu?
3:14 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Wintertime vomiting disease strikes Seattle

In the United States, the CDC estimates that more than 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are due to norovirus infections each year. The process is described in the attached video, of which this photo is a screen grab.
CDC

Don’t be surprised if you notice a few co-workers are out sick, or if a stomach bug seems to be hitting your family. Winter is peak time for sharing germs – and right now, at least, most of those are NOT the flu bug.

For Lisa Steinbrueck of Seattle, it seemed at first like food poisoning:

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Mild, maybe some sun, and then back to dry, dry, dry

Dave Morrow Flickr

"No major storms, no major weather, as far as I can see."

That's weather expert Cliff Mass's summary for western Washington. Mild, perhaps a shower or two Friday night, and a chance of sun on Sunday.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
10:58 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Is it really true that there is more MS in the Northwest?

Is it true? There's more MS in the Northwest?

We’ve all seen the billboards and giant posters hanging off the sides of buildings: “The Northwest has a higher incidence of Multiple Sclerosis than most anywhere on Earth.”

But do we really? Turns out the answer is more complicated than the awareness campaign that got everyone talking about MS in the Northwest.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Weather with Cliff Mass
9:05 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Dry December continues, but inversion is breaking up

Dry and cold, often means frost
Daveybot flickr

A drought in December? It's been record dry this month, so far, says KPLU weather-meister Cliff Mass. In the meantime, we'll get a few showers, and possibly a glorious Saturday.

The off-shore pressure "ridge" is still there, keeping all the storms away from the Northwest. But, it's weakening, and the "inversion" -- which led to stagnant air, burn-bans, and so much fog -- appears to be breaking up.

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jets and rockets
5:14 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Paul Allen's dramatic spaceship joins Bezos in space-race

Paul Allen and aviation innovator Burt Rutan announce their latest space partnership, called Stratolaunch, from Allen's headquarters in Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

Paul Allen is bankrolling a dramatic new space-craft, which aims to launch satellites later this decade, and maybe people, too. The project uses an airplane made from two rebuilt Boeing 747’s. 

It looks a little like a flying catamaran. It will be the largest airplane ever built, with six jet engines. And hanging from the wing in the middle will be a rocket.

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health insurance
1:02 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Washington's uninsured: One million people

Losing your job often means losing your health insurance – and that’s reflected in the latest numbers of uninsured people in Washington. It’s approaching one million, or 14.5 percent of the population, according to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

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Science
1:11 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Catch Saturday’s lunar eclipse from a hilltop

In this Thursday June 16, 2011 file photo, the moon exhibits a deep orange glow as the Earth casts its shadow in a total lunar eclipse as seen in Manila, Philippines, before dawn. The last total lunar eclipse of the year is Saturday, Dec.
Associated Press

If you’re an early riser, you may get to see a total eclipse of the moon on Saturday. The full moon will fall into a dark shadow in the hours just before dawn.

The northwestern U.S. gets a better view of this eclipse than the rest of the mainland states – that is, if you’re not fogged in.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:10 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Balmy in the mountains, giving way to a little rain

An inversion traps cold air and fog in the lowlands, while sunshine reins on the hills above Bellevue, Wash.
Peter Brenda

If you had the time to take a hike today, or hit the ski slopes, you'd find it's maybe 20 or 30 degrees warmer when you climb above 3,000 feet, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

That's because the atmospheric inversion is extreme today, trapping cold air in the cities of Puget Sound-opolis, while the warm air is trapped above.

Mass says it won't last. A bit of rain will break up our unusual dry spell, starting late on Saturday. Then, on Tuesday, the inversion ends, as a storm starts to mix the air.

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Animal research
1:52 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Animal expert Temple Grandin says fear can be worse than pain

One of the touchiest topics in medical research is the use of animals. For example, there are perennial protests at the University of Washington, which has one of the biggest research programs using animals in the country (reflecting that it has one of the largest centers for biological and medical research in the country). About 600 different research projects use everything from rats to monkeys.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:01 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Record high pressure stalls our weather, causes high winds in Calif.

Pedestrians, left, view trees blown over during a wind storm Thursday in Pasadena, Calif. High winds caused by the high pressure over Seattle flipped over trees and trucks and knocked out power to more than 300,000 California.
Associated Press

The weather we are experiencing today will continue for the next week, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. And that means the high winds in California, parts of Utah and Nevada are likely to continue as well.

“We are going to see our weather dominated by high pressure right off shore in the Eastern Pacific – it’s going to prevent any weather system from getting in here,” Mass said. “So it should be dry for the next, at least, three to five days. No precipitation. No storms. No nothing.”

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