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Going On A Cruise? Try The Smaller Boats

KPLU News - 7 hours 11 min ago

If you want to kick back and relax without thinking too hard about your itinerary, your destinations or dinner, your best bet is a cruise aboard one of the big mainline cruise ships, no question. They all offer reasonably priced, all-inclusive getaways aboard a giant floating resort.

But if your style is to get active, get educated or get away from the crowds, then you might want to consider a smaller cruise line, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. 

Find A Mentor, Be A Mentor

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:12
Today I pay tribute to my mentors. You know, those rare people in life who take the time to help you, quite often redefining the path ahead. Mentors are people who selflessly give away two of their most precious commodities: wisdom and time.

Who hasn't been confused, unsure of which way to go, stuck between choices that would lead to very different futures?

We often want to go a certain way but can't, due to a variety of circumstances. Life demands commitment and sometimes these commitments are more like obstacles than opportunities.

The New SAT: Less Vocabulary, More Linear Equations

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:52
The standardized test that's been giving America's college-bound teenagers nightmares since the 1920s is getting a makeover.

On Wednesday, the College Board offered new details on changes to its SAT. Among the biggest shifts: Gone are the days of memorizing obscure vocabulary words. Though if you're in high school and set to take the SAT next year, don't burn those vocabulary flashcards just yet.

Seattle Council Member Licata Calls For New Department To Enforce Labor Laws

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:45

This may be the year that Seattle adopts one of the highest minimum wages in the country. But labor advocates and Seattle City Council member Nick Licata say without tough enforcement, a new wage law will be toothless. 

Legal Moves Might Mean Fiscal Relief, And More PR Troubles, For GM

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:27
General Motors is signaling its plans to ask a bankruptcy judge for protection from lawsuits related to a defective switch recall. As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the action could further complicate its current public relations crisis. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:20
Every "free" sample comes with a price.

Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports Wednesday.

The difference isn't chump change. When patients see a dermatologist who gets and gives free samples, the average cost of medicines prescribed is $465 per office visit.

Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Put Faith In Unorthodox Dating Service

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:17
Yael Mizrachi, a 33-year-old Israeli woman, has been to many matchmakers.

"Too many," she says, rolling her wide dark eyes and tossing her shoulder-length hair.

Matchmakers are the traditional way to find a mate in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to which Mizrachi belongs. But she is not entirely traditional.

"I identify myself as a modern ultra-Orthodox," Mizrachi says.

Mizrachi is part of a growing number of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel who are seeking job skills, getting higher education or joining the military.

Bloomberg Seeks To Alter Gun Debate With $50 Million, And Moms

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:17
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's plan to invest $50 million in what he describes as a mom-driven grass-roots effort to support pro-gun-safety candidates grabbed headlines Wednesday, and energized gun control activists.

The commitment, the former New York City mayor says, aims to beat back the profound political influence of the National Rifle Association in 15 targeted states — to "make them afraid of us," he told NBC's Today show.

"This is what the American public wants," Bloomberg said, referring to his group's intended focus on gun-purchase background checks.

Polls show that B

Song Of The Day: Joe Henderson's 'Ishfahan'

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:41

Joe Henderson is one of those musicians that didn't gain huge recognition from the casual jazz lover, but every jazz musician and fanatic will sing his praises for days. He had awesome command of the tenor saxophone, a unique sound and harmonic conception, and composed some classics of the jazz idiom, including "Recorda Me" (which he wrote at 14 years old!), "Inner Urge" and "The Kicker." He was equally at home playing hard bop and more avant garde music, and had a real way with a ballad.

Edward Snowden: From 'Geeky' Dropout To NSA Leaker

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:12
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed some of the group's most carefully guarded secrets.

The reporting on the documents he leaked won a Pulitzer Prize for the Washington Post and The Guardian, announced on Monday.

But there's still a lot we don't know about Snowden himself — and his motivation.

In a new article in Vanity Fair, Bryan Burrough, Suzanna Andrews and Sarah Ellison take a closer look at Snowden in an effort to explain how a high school dropout, a "seemingly aimless geeky kid from the Maryland suburbs," came to posses

Ex-City Manager Caught In Calif. Salary Scandal Gets 12 Years

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:10
Robert Rizzo, the former city manager of Bell, Calif., who pleaded no contest to conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds and falsification of public records, has been ordered to serve 12 years in state prison and repay nearly $9 million.

Rizzo, who was city manager of Bell until 2010, apologized during sentencing, telling Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy that he "[breached] the public trust" and that "I am so sorry for that.

Man Reaches For The Sun For A Solution To Pakistan's Gas Crisis

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:10
Spring has crept up to the foothills of the Himalayas and, in Islamabad, Pakistan's purpose-built capital, the air is full of the scent of roses and the yelling of birds.

Yet, even in this most stately of South Asian cities, it is impossible to escape the realities of an unstable nation that has yet to figure out how to meet some of the basic needs of its 200 million or so citizens.

Islamabad long ago adjusted to attacks by Islamist militants by setting up roadblocks and turning its government buildings, five-star hotels, villas and diplomatic enclaves into modern-day fortresses, wrapped i

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:09
Having a teenager lost in his or her cellphone — texting friends and communicating with parents in monosyllabic grunts — has become a trope of the Internet age. But teens are not the only ones distracted by their devices.

Many parents have the same problem. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm one of them.

A couple weeks ago, my 12-year-daughter, Ella, staged an intervention. She and my wife basically threatened to take my phone and break it.

"Sometimes at night you'll just stand around and ...

New Fossil Takes A Bite Out Of Theory That Sharks Barely Evolved

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:08
Sharks have looked more or less the same for hundreds of millions of years. But a newly discovered fossil suggests that under the hood, a modern shark is very different from its ancient ancestors.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, strongly implies that sharks are not the "living fossils" many paleontologists once thought they were.

Under The Streets Of Naples, A Way Out For Local Kids

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:08
For decades, the streets of Naples have been menaced by the Camorra mafia — stroll the streets of Sanità, an inner-city neighborhood, and you'll overhear pop songs like O Panar e Drog, featuring a singer boasting about buying and using "a breadbasket full" of drugs off Sanità's streets.

But underneath those cobblestones lies a gem of early Christian art: The Catacombs of San Gennaro.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow: A Guide To Speedy Vegetables

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:57
Yes, it is true that gardening requires patience.

But face it, we live in an impatient world. And gardeners everywhere were depressed by the brutal and endless winter. (True story: The polar vortex killed my fall kale crop!)

So we are understandably eager to get sowing. And to see results by ... well, if not next Thursday, then maybe mid-May?

There are two ways to make this happen. Some garden varieties naturally have a short germinate-to-harvest cycle. Then there are the hybrids developed at universities and seed companies.

In Toughest Job Market Since WWII, An Uphill Climb For Teens And Young Adults

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:22

High school junior Marcus Hollman wants a job — "something to get me into the job market," he says. But he keeps running into the same words like a brick wall: "professional experience required."

"There are very few employers ready to accept someone with no previous experience," said Hollman, a student at Harrison Preparatory Academy, after attending a youth-oriented job fair in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Judge Overturns North Dakota's Strict Abortion Law

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:43
A federal judge has struck down a North Dakota law banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, calling the law "invalid and unconstitutional."

The law, passed by lawmakers in the state just over a year ago, bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and is considered the most restrictive in the country.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who is based in Bismarck, cited the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S.

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:42
The "Good Book" could become the official book of Louisiana if a bill sent to the state's Legislature passes in a vote that could come as early as this week.

The Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted 8-5 last week to forward a measure that would make the Holy Bible the state's official book.

Boston Bombing Defendant Can See Victims' Autopsy Photos, Judge Says

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:53
A federal judge said Wednesday that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may see autopsy photos of the three people who died after the explosions near the finish line of last year's race.

District Court Judge George O'Toole "rejected a claim by the government that Tsarnaev should not see the photos because it would disturb the families of the victims,"