Science

Health
12:54 pm
Thu March 10, 2011

Norovirus outbreak at the Seattle Yacht Club

The Seattle Yacht Club mainstation clubhouse on Portage Bay
seattleyachtclub.org

A virus outbreak has closed the Seattle Yacht Club's mainstation clubhouse on Portage Bay. Dozens of people who attended the JO Ball and a private party at the end of February became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms. Yacht Club General Manager Steve Hall says the club contacted the King County Health Department, sanitized the kitchen area, and closed the facility until March 12.

Read more
Medical safety
7:04 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Rating hospitals based on number of errors

Thousands of people are still dying unnecessarily in America's hospitals, according to a new set of quality ratings.  That’s despite a decade of attention to preventing errors. 

More than 20,000 hospital deaths should have been prevented, just among Medicare patients (people over the age of 65), according to a report from Health Grades Inc. of Denver.

Hospitals in Washington as a group are about average in terms of their error rates.

Read more
Light Rail
6:14 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Sound Transit's giant tunnel machine nearly finished

This tunnel boring machine, under assembly in Tacoma, will dig Sound Transit's tunnel through Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

The giant digging machines that will bore twin tunnels from Husky Stadium to Seattle’s Capitol Hill are being assembled at the Port of Tacoma. They're called Tunnel Boring Machines, and they vaguely resemble Apollo-era rockets, lying on their sides. 

And with their current paint-jobs, sporting Sound Transit's green and blue colors, they might be Lego toys, inflated to a surreal scale.

Read more
Science
2:36 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Will Seattle get a space shuttle?

Space shuttle Atlantis in orbit over San Diego 10/30/05
NASA

April 12 is the day we'll learn if the Puget Sound region will become home to one of NASA's retiring space shuttles. There are 27 institutions vying for the three orbiters, and Seattle's Museum of Flight is one of the contenders.

Read more
Emergency Medicine
1:21 pm
Thu March 3, 2011

If your heart stops, be in Seattle (but help's coming for the rest)

American Red Cross "hands-only" CPR training, using an inflatable mannequin
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

If your heart suddenly stops beating, your chances of getting revived are better in King County than in the rest of Washington.

The Seattle area has one of the highest survival rates from cardiac arrest in the country. Now, a new campaign in Washington aims to boost survival from cardiac arrest by 50-percent in the rest of the state. 

Read more
Science
12:46 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

New species of spider discovered in Seattle

This new species of crab spider was discovered on Foster Island in the Washington Park Arboretum
Burke Museum

A new species of crab spider was found last spring by Rob Crawford, curator of arachnids for the Univesity of Washington's Burke Museum.  He discovered it on Foster Island in the Washington Park Arboretum.  Seattlepi.com reports a team of students will soon be scouring the island for more information.

Just as intriguing as a new discovery is the question raised by Knute Berger of Crosscut who wonders about the effect a newly discovered spider could have on the Highway 520 expansion.  The highway cuts across Foster Island.

Read more
Science
5:14 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Shallow New Zealand quake a warning to Pacific Northwest

Brick facades collapsed in Seattle's Pioneer Square during the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.
FEMA

Experts in the northwest warn the deadly earthquake in New Zealand was similar to what might happen here. 

The quake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, a city comparable in size to Spokane, along a fault-line that was unknown until last September. That's when an even larger quake hit New Zealand -- but with limited damage, since it was centered farther from any city. Authorities in Christchurch were predicting the death-toll would rise to 300.

In recent years, scientists have found evidence of shallow faults across the northwest, such as the Seattle fault that runs beneath Qwest Field and roughly follows Interstate-90.

Read more
conservation
5:35 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Point Defiance tiger goes to Dallas

Java, a 12 year old Sumatran tiger at Point Defiance Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Java, a 12-year-old, an endangered Sumatran tiger, is leaving his home at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to find love at the Dallas Zoo. His keepers tried to mate him with the zoo's female tiger, Jaya, but that didn't work out and she mated with Java's brother, Bali, instead. Jaya gave birth to cubs Bima and Mali last May.

Read more
Medicine
5:30 am
Mon February 14, 2011

Busiest emergency rooms – not where you might expect

The new Good Samaritan medical tower in Puyallup includes an Emergency Department that nearly doubles the size of the old ER. It opens Thursday, Feb. 17.
Photo Courtsey of Good Samaritan

New emergency rooms keep opening around western Washington. It's part of a trend.

On Thursday (Feb. 17th), Swedish Medical Centers will open a free-standing Emergency Department in Mill Creek, between Seattle and Everett. And, on the same day, MultiCare opens a new medical tower at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup -- which has the busiest ER in Pierce County. 

It turns out, the busiest ER’s in Washington are mostly outside the biggest cities.

Read more
Weather forecasting
12:19 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Work starting on Washington coastal Doppler radar

Langley Hill (in blue square at top of image) between Copalis and Ocean Shores will be the site of the National Weather Service's new coastal Doppler radar station.
Google Earth

The National Weather Service expects to have a Doppler radar station operating by September on the Washington coast to give forecasters a better look at Pacific storms.  KBKW radio reports that Doug McDonnal with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said they've always had a blind spot in Grays Harbor County.

Construction should begin in the next few months at the site at Langley Hill in northern Grays Harbor County.

Read more
Health Care
5:08 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Obama’s chief defender of health care law in Seattle

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in Seattle this week, to hear about local efforts to make the medical system more efficient.

Sebelius is in charge of implementing the new national health care law – and defending it. The Affordable Care Act has been under fierce attack by Republicans and their allies. Democrats and their supporters recently hired political strategists to launch a campaign in defense of the law.

At the same time, Sebelius has been trying to sell it across the country, alongside sympathetic mayors and governors. 

Read more
diversion from jails and hospitals
4:01 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Alternative for mentally ill in crisis stirs debate

A proposed crisis center in Seattle shares S. Lane St. with single-family homes.
GoogleMaps

Crisis centers for the mentally ill are gaining popularity across Washington, as a way to help people and potentially save taxpayers' money.  They’re an alternative to jails and emergency rooms. 

But these short-term treatment centers are also running into hostility. Potential neighbors are unhappy about being next door to a facility where patients arrive by police car and ambulance, in the middle of a mental health or drug crisis.

In central Seattle, an angry backlash of homeowners is threatening to delay the opening of a proposed “Crisis Solutions Center.” The location is on a block near Rainier Avenue and Dearborn, where businesses and stores give way to single-family homes.  

Read more
Weather
5:32 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Why sunny in Seattle means snowy in Chicago

A skateboarder cruises past the Space Needle in Seattle during a sunny day on Feb. 1, 2011.
Gary Davis KPLU News

You might have wondered -- as you gazed out your sunny window and listened to news of record cold and snow sweeping the midwest and East coast -- is there a connection?

Yes, there is.

"Our weather often is the just the opposite of what it is in the eastern part of the united states," says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. 

"When we are cold, like it was just before Thanksgiving, they tend to be warm," says Mass.

The reason we're yin when they're yang, and vice versa, has to do with the jet stream and "ridges" of high and low pressure in the sky, as Mass explains it.

Read more
Medicine
6:02 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Investigators fault ambulance teams at Seattle Children’s

A nurse may have contributed to a baby’s death, during transport to Seattle Children’s Hospital last September, according to investigators from the Washington Department of Health (DOH). An earlier autopsy said the baby died from natural causes, but state investigators are not convinced. They also say the hospital must improve how it monitors medications in ambulances.

Read more
Science
12:53 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

What's that weather forecast mean? Hard to say (clearly)

A typical online weather forecast from the National Weather Service (for Seattle, as of noon on Jan. 24th).
National Weather Service/NOAA website

You might not have realized it, but weather forecasts have been getting more accurate for the past ten to twenty years. Forecasters have a lot more precision about when and where different weather systems will hit.  But, this isn’t always communicated very clearly.

Read more

Pages