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FBI Director Comey Says Homegrown Terrorists A Problem Everywhere

KPLU News - 2 hours 4 min ago

The Pacific Northwest isn’t immune to home grown terrorists. That’s what FBI director James Comey told reporters during a stop in Seattle.

Comey, who’s been in his position for a year, is visiting all 56 FBI field offices.

Amid Scandal, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

KPLU News - 2 hours 8 min ago
After a series of embarrassing incidents that called into question the efficacy of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, the agency's director, has resigned.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Pierson offered her resignation today and he accepted it.

"I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation," Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson announced that Joseph Clancy, formerly the special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service, will leave the private sector to serve as the agency's acting director.

Experimental Drug Jams Ebola Gene To Fight The Virus

KPLU News - 2 hours 10 min ago
Plans are afoot to test drugs to treat Ebola in West Africa — and those studies could have far-reaching benefits far beyond this rapidly expanding epidemic.

That's because some of the drugs are based on nascent technologies that can be used to treat other infectious diseases — and even inherited ailments, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

We've written about some of these drugs here on Shots previously

Hey CDC, We've Got A Lot Of Questions For You About Ebola

KPLU News - 2 hours 13 min ago
After confirming the first U.S. case of Ebola virus, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stepped up its public education efforts, including tweets like the one above about how Ebola is spread.

But we've still got questions, lots of questions. That's especially true for people who live in Dallas, where the man fell ill. There's been a lot of concern expressed in social media about that fact that the man was turned away the first time he went to the hospital, and how many people may have been exposed as a result.

5 Things We Learned From New Database Of Payments To Doctors

KPLU News - 5 hours 45 min ago
The federal government unveiled data Tuesday detailing 4.4 million payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

The launch of the so-called Open Payments website, mandated under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, was far from glitch-free: Some users encountered long delays and sometimes error messages trying to access its seven data tables.

The Little Red Spot on a Gull's Bill

KPLU News - 6 hours 18 min ago

  In the mid-20th Century, Dutch scientist Niko Tinbergen studied nesting Herring Gulls. He noticed that newly hatched chicks were fed by their parents only after they pecked at the adults' bills. Tinbergen devised experiments that varied the shape and coloration of the adult's bill. It became clear that the red spot on the adult gull's bill was a crucial visual cue in a chick's demands to be fed, and thus its survival. Learn more about Herring Gulls and about Tinbergen's research.

'If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em' Say Diners Noshing On Invasive Species

KPLU News - 10 hours 18 min ago


It may be difficult to eat our way out of the invasive species problem, but it can be satisfying to try.

Chefs and adventurous diners converged at Zenith Vineyard in Oregon's Willamette Valley near Salem Sunday as more than 200 people paid handsomely to nibble on course after course of invasive species like nutria, dandelion and carp.

The point of this affair was to highlight the range of edible invasive weeds, birds, fish and mammals around us. These invaders are costly to control. They crowd out native plants and animals and can change entire landscapes.

One slogan heard here, "If you can't beat 'em, eat ‘em."

Nancy Leson Knows Her Apples, Including The Best Kind To Grow In The Northwest

KPLU News - 10 hours 18 min ago

Nancy Leson now knows more about apples, thanks to her friend Bill Davis, who really knows his apples. Which is way more than I knew, never having bitten into one in my whole life. But even fruitophobic me learned plenty of interesting stuff this week, including the best kind to grow in the Pacific Northwest.

Ebola Researchers Have A Radical Idea: Rush A Vaccine Into The Field

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 21:50
Today, the World Health Organization concludes a two-day meeting to discuss a radical idea: bringing a vaccine into the field without having tested its effectiveness.

Traditional means of containing Ebola — such as isolating people who are infected with the disease and tracing the people they've come into contact with — aren't working fast enough to get ahead of the epidemic. So the question is: Will giving an experimental vaccine to willing volunteers help contain the disease or put people at greater risk?


'Human Flesh' Burger Is A Treat To Tempt The Walking Dead

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 21:49
Here's something to make even the most carnivorous among us shudder: a burger that tastes something like human flesh.

It's not just the stuff of horror flicks anymore, thanks to two pioneering foodies out of London. For a publicity stunt to promote Season 5 of The Walking Dead, which premieres Oct. 13 in the U.K., they've created a zombie-inspired burger they say actually turned out "delicious."

Jim Thomlinson is a freelance chef who creates exotic dishes for special events.

BRAIN Initiative Bets on Wearable Scanners, Laser-Controlled Cells

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 21:48
Eighteen months after its launch, President Obama's plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain is finally taking shape. During separate events Tuesday, the White House and National Institutes of Health offered details about which projects are being funded and why.

At a morning press conference, NIH officials announced $46 million in grant awards to more than 100 investigators.

First U.S. Case Of Ebola Confirmed In Dallas

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 21:45
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first case of Ebola has appeared in the U.S.

A man in Dallas has tested positive for the virus, the agency said. The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia, arriving on Sept. 20, NPR has learned. He wasn't sick on the flight, and had no symptoms when he arrived.

He first developed symptoms on Wednesday, Sept. 24, according to the CDC, and first sought care on Friday.

Snohomish County PUD Cancels Tidal Power Project

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 14:24

Snohomish County Public Utility District has pulled the plug on its high-profile research project to develop technology that harnesses the tides to generate electrical power. The utility says the U.S. Department of Energy was not willing to share in escalating costs for the project.

It was to be located in Admiralty Inlet, west of Whidbey Island.

The federal agency committed in 2006 to cover a fixed dollar amount that, at the time, covered half of the total bill for the tidal energy project. But it was not clear how to cover increased costs for materials and new mandates for studies, and the DOE said Friday it would provide no additional funding for the effort.

Protesters Disrupt Seattle Housing Authority Hearing With Chants Of `Rent Hikes - No!'

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 10:58

Protesters broke out in chants and disrupted a public hearing held by the Seattle Housing Authority on Monday night. They were protesting the agency’s plan to raise rents for tenants who are deemed able to work. 

The Lost Bird Project

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 09:00

  In a forest on Martha’s Vineyard, a Heath Hen struts through the brush. Columbus, Ohio, harbors a Passenger Pigeon. In Okeechobee, Florida, you can find a Carolina Parakeet. A Great Auk scans the Atlantic Ocean from atop a rock on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. A sea-going Labrador Duck rests near the Chemung River in New York. How is this possible? Each of these species is extinct. Sculptor Todd McGrain has created a large bronze sculpture of each of the five lost birds and placed it in a location related to the bird’s decline, or where it might have been seen last. He’s done so because, as he says, “…forgetting is another kind of extinction.”

Napolitano: ISIS Was One Of Many Similar Threats We Were Tracking

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:05
OZY co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson sat down this week with Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California system and former secretary of homeland security. Across from her offices in Oakland, Calif., they discussed the changing nature of higher education and of immigration and security policy.

Napolitano tells Watson that although many of the gaps that led to the Sept.

When Science Gets Ahead Of Itself

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:04
Ah, I remember it like it was just last spring. The flurry of rumors, the initial shock, the charge of surprise, the shear delight before a major scientific discovery. Yes, I remember it like it was last spring because — it was.

And now it's all dust.

On March 17, researchers from the BICEP2 collaboration announced they had discovered extraordinary evidence for gravity waves from the barest instants after the Big Bang.

Afghanistan Signs Deal Allowing 10,000 U.S. Troops To Remain

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:04
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET

Afghanistan has signed a pact with the U.S. to allow about 10,000 troops to remain in the country after the end of the year, when most American forces are to be withdrawn.

The country's newly inaugurated president, Ashraf Ghani, signed the Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA, which would leave in place the U.S.

Millennial Jews Do An About-Face, Start Keeping Kosher

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:03
Many millennials — people born after 1980 — have embraced vintage items: vinyl records, thick-framed glasses ... and now, dietary laws.

"I'm 21 years old, and, yes, I do keep kosher," says Lisa Faulds.

She says she ate whatever she wanted growing up: "bacon, ham, all that fun stuff.

Ominous Tremors At Mount Ontake Force Rescue Crews Off Volcano

KPLU News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:03
More than 20 bodies remained near the summit of Japan's Mount Ontake as new tremors and venting gases forced search teams to abandon their efforts early Tuesday local time. Officials don't yet know precisely how many climbers were trapped when the volcano erupted Saturday, a busy day for hiking.

From Tokyo, John Matthews reports for NPR:

"Weather officials say they've detected new seismic activity around Mount Ontake, which could trigger another eruption at any moment. Police called off search efforts at 7 a.m.