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Got $15 Million? Actor Rowan Atkinson Has A Car For Sale

KPLU News - 2 hours 20 min ago
Mr. Bean is selling his car.

No, not the lime green British Leyland Mini that was the prop for so many of the character's antics. We're talking about the purple McLaren F1 'supercar' owned by the actor who plays Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson.

Ukraine's President Hopes To Revive Shattered Peace Process

KPLU News - 4 hours 11 min ago
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko says he will "calm" fighting between his forces and Russian-backed separatist in the country's east a day after rocket fire killed 30 people in and around the port city of Mariupol.

Poroshenko, speaking after an emergency meeting of Ukraine's security council, said reviving a shattered peace deal agreed in September was the only way out of the conflict.

The Ukrainian leader also said that, in case there was any doubt, that intercepted radio transmissions showed conclusively that it was the rebels who attacked government-held Mariupol, hitting an open-ai

Obama Proposes New Protections For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

KPLU News - 4 hours 14 min ago
The Obama administration is proposing new protections for large portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S.

Several Killed In Egypt Amid Clashes Marking Anniversary Of Uprising

KPLU News - 8 hours 1 min ago
At least nine people are dead in the Egyptian capital following clashes between police and Islamist protesters marking the fourth anniversary of 2011 uprising that ousted then-President Hosni Mubarak.

The Associated Press said nine people had been killed, but Reuters and ITV News put the figure at 11.

Future Of Eurozone At Stake In Today's Greek Elections

KPLU News - 9 hours 39 min ago
Greeks citizens cast ballots today in an election that is being closely watched, as the outcome could decide whether the troubled country stays the course on a European Union austerity plan.

In 2010, as Greece was on the verge of a default on its sovereign debt, Athens agreed to unpopular austerity measures in exchange for billions of euros from its fellow European Union countries and the International Monetary Fund. The measures have cut salaries and pensions.

A GOP Weekend, Courtesy Of The Koch Network And Citizens United

KPLU News - 9 hours 45 min ago
Republican presidential hopefuls are turning out this weekend for two big events, but just one of them, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, plans to be at both.

Cruz is among seven possible contenders who spoke Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit, cosponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and the group Citizens United. Sunday night, Cruz is scheduled to join two possible primary rivals, Sens.

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack Another Nigerian Town

KPLU News - 11 hours 51 sec ago
In the latest attack by the suspected Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria, militants shelled the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Reuters reports quoting witnesses.

The BBC says fierce fighting is reported on the outskirts of Maiduguri, which is "home to tens of thousands of people who have fled the attacks by Boko Haram attacks and was visited on Saturday by President Goodluck Jonathan."

Reuters says:

"The assa

'Walking The Walk' With Students ... And Screaming Fans

KPLU News - 11 hours 5 min ago


Virtual Games Try To Generate Real Empathy For Faraway Conflict

KPLU News - 11 hours 18 min ago


Piece By Piece, Monks Scramble To Preserve Iraq's Christian History

KPLU News - 11 hours 18 min ago
In an unfinished building in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, displaced Christian children sing a little song about returning to their village. "We're going back," they sing, "to our houses, our land, our church."

Right now, they're living in an open concrete structure. The self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS, took over their home village of Qaraqosh, and the Christians fled in fear, on foot.

They finish their song and applause breaks out from two unlikely figures. One is a beaming Iraqi in white robes, Father Najeeb Michaeel.

President Obama Welcomed To India With A Significant Hug

KPLU News - 16 hours 51 sec ago
President Obama has arrived in India for a three-day trip. Upon landing in New Delhi on Sunday, the president and first lady Michelle Obama were greeted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'How Do You Tell Your Kids That You Got Alzheimer's?'

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 14:53
This is the first in a series, "Inside Alzheimer's," about the experience of being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

In 2009, 59-year-old Greg O'Brien was a successful journalist and writer living in Cape Cod. He was healthy and happy — he exercised every day, made a good living, spent time with his three children and wife.

But he had also started to notice changes in himself. He was forgetting things, and his judgment sometimes seemed to fail him.

For U.S. And Cuba, A Slow Walk To Re-Establishing Ties

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 14:20
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Patriots' Coach: Team 'Followed Rules' On Inflation Of Footballs

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 13:38
New England Patriots' Head Coach Bill Belichick defended his team and quarterback Tom Brady against accusations of cheating amid the so-called "Deflategate" controversy that erupted last weekend when underinflated footballs were used in

Sound Effect, Episode 3: Rain

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:54

"Sound Effect" is a weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place where we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

Each week's show will explore a different theme. In this week's show, we dive into the rain.

Seattle's Rain Art

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:29

When It Rains, Seattle's Hidden Sidewalk Messages Reveal Themselves

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:29

Next time you’re walking on a sidewalk in Seattle and it’s raining, look down. You just might see a message reveal itself.

At least that’s the intention of a 21-year-old magician who has created unusual sidewalk art. His stenciled messages are only visible when it’s wet outside.

Read the story and see a map of the artwork on Quirksee.org >>>

Closing Gitmo 'Going To Be Very Difficult,' Hagel Says

KPLU News - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:22
President Obama wants to close the prison at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay before leaving office. But his departing defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, told NPR News the job is "going to be very difficult" to complete in that time.

Hagel made that remark in an exit interview Friday, one of only a handful he granted as he prepared to vacate his expansive office at the Pentagon.

When it rains in Seattle, you might see a hidden sidewalk message — if you’re paying attention

Quirksee - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:00

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran as part of KPLU’s new show, “Sound Effect,” which airs on Saturdays at 10 a.m. 

Next time you’re walking on a Seattle sidewalk on a rainy day, look down. You just might see a message reveal itself.

At least that’s the intention of Peregrine Church, the 21-year-old magician who has created the unusual art. His stenciled messages are only visible when it’s wet outside.

(Courtesy of Peregrine Church)

Creating moments to jar people out of their routines

I meet the man behind the messages one rainy afternoon in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

We sit in a shop just a few feet from a sidewalk message that reads, “PROUD TO BE RAINY.” When it’s dry, Church says, the message will disappear. That appeals to the magician in Church, who heads the Society of Collegiate Magicians at the University of Washington though he’s no longer a student there.

Church says his rain messages are part a broader goal to make other people’s lives a little brighter. He’s someone who carries around a red clown nose. When the mood strikes, he says, he just puts it on as he’s walking downtown or riding the bus.

“I just like making people smile, and so I’m happy to sacrifice looking normal for the sake of giving people something to smile about.” Church says.

Church likes to create novel experiences that will jar people out of their routines. But one problem seems to be getting people to even notice.

Through the window of the shop we’re sitting in, we have a perfect view of Church’s “PROUD TO BE RAINY” message, but few people glance down.

“A lot of people are on their phones or in a hurry to cross the street,” he says.

Peregrine Church created this hopscotch board in West Seattle. (Courtesy of Peregrine Church)

Using waterproof spray to hide messages in plain sight

Church got the idea to create his rain-activated messages from a viral video promoting “super hydrophobic coatings” that can be sprayed on anything.

“And the video showed these dramatic shots of like chocolate syrup running off these perfectly white shoes or red wine spilling off things, and all the things were perfectly untouched,” Church says.

It got him thinking about using the waterproof spray to write or draw something on a sidewalk. The part of the concrete he sprays stays dry and light-colored in the rain, but everything else gets darker as it gets wet. The contrast creates the image.

‘Nice to have something counteract’ the rain

In the past year, Church has stenciled giant raindrops and the words “STAY DRY OUT THERE” near a bus stop in West Seattle. You can see the phrase “WORRY is a MISUSE of the IMAGINATION” on a sidewalk in Belltown. Another says, “ATTENTION: GROUND IS NOW LAVA.” Dry spots are depicted nearby so you can jump to safety.

Church describes another one in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood: “There’s like a lilypad pond with all these lilypads and frogs hopping between them.”

The artist himself doesn’t actually like the rain. But, he says, if you’re trying to cheer people up, you can’t very well do it when they’re already happy.

“On a sunny day, I’ll smile no matter what. Everything just seems brighter and better, and most people in Seattle are like that,” Church says. But when it’s rainy and people are somber, he says it’s “nice to have something to counteract that.”

Messages only for smiles; no commercial ads

(Courtesy of Peregrine Church)

Church says he’ll never use his rain works for commercial purposes, no stenciling “happy hour 4 to 6” on the sidewalk, for example. He says we’re already bombarded with too many of those sorts of messages.

He makes a point of telling me the sprays he use are non-toxic, biodegradable and won’t make the sidewalk slippery.

Still, a young guy with a spray can out at night can attract suspicion. One time, he had his stencil on the sidewalk, spray in hand and was just about to begin when he heard a voice from behind him.

“I heard someone say, ‘You are not going to do that.’ And I turned around and there was this woman with this appalled look on her face,” Church says.

Once he convinced her that he wasn’t a graffiti tagger, that he was spraying on a work of art that would only be seen when it rained, her demeanor changed.

“She’s like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool. Carry on.”’ Church says.

But is it legal?

But Church hasn’t gotten official permission to lay down his stencils. I wonder if it’s legal, and my question takes me to the sidewalk division of the Seattle’s Department of Transportation. There, I meet Jennifer Wieland, who manages Seattle’s public space program.

I’m surprised by her answer.

She tells me the artwork is legal as long as it’s temporary, which it is since the messages come and go, and isn’t commercial. What’s more, she embraces the idea. She sees it as part of the city’s efforts to make neighborhoods more vibrant.

“We are really doing things that entice people to enjoy our public spaces differently, so this is very much in line with the kind of things we’d like to see,” Wieland says.

Seeing what’s beneath our feet

The challenge for Church remains getting people to see what he has created for them. He jokes about stenciling a message that says, “Thanks for being observant.”

Finally, just before I’m about to leave, he’s rewarded. A woman sees his “PROUND TO BE RAINY” message.

“Yeah, she looked at it. Cool,” he says.

Maybe, he speculates, it made her day.

 Map of Church’s hidden art: