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'Vagina Monologues' Inspires South Asian Women In Seattle To Perform Their Own

KPLU News - 3 hours 14 min ago

In 1996, playwright Eve Ensler reclaimed a word that had mostly been relegated to medical textbooks and grade-school jokes. In her piece, “The Vagina Monologues,” she adapted interviews with women about their sexuality and turned them into performance art. The play has inspired women around the world to talk more openly about their bodies.

Here in Seattle, it inspired some South Asian women to reclaim the word “yoni.” That’s the Hindi word for vagina.

Instead of performing Ensler’s piece, these women write and perform their own stories. And there’s much to explore. They come from a society that’s grabbed unwelcome headlines in recent years for brutal violence against women. Even here in Seattle, South Asian women say they battle repressive attitudes within the expatriate community. 

On Vacation? What Your Phone Does While You’re Not Looking Can Cost You

KPLU News - 6 hours 40 min ago

Imagine getting a $700 phone bill. It happened once to KPLU travel expert and tour guide Matthew Brumley.

“I was stuck in Capetown in a cable car, heading up to Table Mountain. And I had some things I needed to get done, and I had to call the office back in the United States,” he said.

What Brumley didn’t realize is that even though he wasn’t actively using his phone, it was still sending and receiving data.

Magnitude 6.7 Quake Hits Off Coast Of Vancouver Island, No Tsunami Threat

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:25

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center says a magnitude 6.7 quake has been recorded in the Pacific Ocean off the northwest corner of British Columbia's Vancouver Island.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, says there is no danger of a tsunami from the Wednesday night quake.

The FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 21:09
The Food and Drug Administration says it will formally propose regulating e-cigarettes.

Early Thursday, the agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

"It's a huge change," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters in a briefing Wednesday, before the official announcement of the agency's plans.

Wash. Health Exchange Reports Strong Enrollment Numbers Despite Early Glitches

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:45

After a rocky start, Washington’s health benefits exchange is taking a victory lap. Officials say the exchange got the late surge in enrollments it was counting on, pushing up its final numbers.

The first open enrollment period of Obamacare ended in March, and now that the exchange has processed most of the stragglers, it has released new numbers: 164,062 people enrolled in private plans, with another 423,205 enrolling in Medicaid through March 31. Factor in those now required to use the exchange’s website to re-up their Medicaid, and the number exceeds a cool million.

Wash. Superintendent's Estimate For Ed Funding Nearly Twice That Of Lawmakers'

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 17:37

Washington's top elected school official is urging state lawmakers to think bigger as they craft a court-ordered plan to increase education funding for the state's K-12 schools.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn this week unveiled a plan to increase education funding by $6.7 billion by the 2017-2018 school year. That's nearly twice as much as the amount state legislative analysts estimate is needed to comply with the landmark McCleary decision. In the 2012 case, the state Supreme Court ordered lawmakers to fully fund K-12 schools by 2018. 

Reports: FCC Poised For About-Face On Net Neutrality

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 16:26
The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to propose new rules that amount to an about-face for the regulator when it comes to net neutrality, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are reporting based on unnamed sources.

According to the papers, the FCC is planning to allow Internet service providers to sell a faster

With Prop. 1 Failing, Group Plans Ballot Initiative To Save Bus Service In Seattle

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 16:17

King County's Proposition 1, which would have raised sales taxes and car tab fees to preserve Metro bus service, is failing. Initial counts show 55 percent of voters rejected the measure, leaving low odds of passage.

Still, Seattle transit advocates are down, but not out of ideas.

Weekly Innovation: An Inflatable Car Seat That Comes In A Backpack

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:25
Forget wearables, let's talk about inflatables.

Volvo's new child safety seat concept is a fully inflatable device designed to make what's normally a clunky and heavy seat both lighter and more portable.

So compact is this prototype that it goes from a stylish-looking backpack into a rear-facing car seat in less than a minute.

In Age Of Custom-Tailored Ed Tech, Teachers Shop Off The Rack

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:23
The big names in the growing education-technology industry gathered in Arizona this week.

The "Education Innovation Summit" styles itself the "Davos of ed-tech." Educators, philanthropists and political leaders like Jeb Bush rubbed elbows with the investors, venture capitalists, big companies like Microsoft and small companies hoping to get big.

Brazil Becomes One Of The First To Adopt Internet 'Bill Of Rights'

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:23
Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff signed into law a kind of Internet bill of rights on Wednesday.

As the AP reports, the law enshrines access to the Web, guarantees neutrality and "puts limits on the metadata that can be collected from Internet users in Brazil.

Why Are We Spiteful, Even Though It Bites Us Back?

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:23
Maybe you turn up your music when your neighbor complains about the noise.

Or maybe you curse a baby princess because you didn't get invited to her christening, as in "Sleeping Beauty" and its latest incarnation, the upcoming movie "Maleficent."

To see spite in its purest form, try brunch in New York.

Obama Gets A Taste Of Jiro's 'Dream' Sushi In Name Of Diplomacy

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:22
President Obama kicked off the first leg of his tour of Asia Wednesday with some sushi diplomacy.

He dined with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo at a revered and tiny temple of sushi in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. The subterranean restaurant, with just 10 seats at the counter, was made famous by the 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Obama emerged with a thumbs-up review. "That's some good sushi right there," he said.

Costly Hepatitis C Pill Shreds Drug Industry Sales Record

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:22
The launch of Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-day pill for hepatitis C, is shaping up as the most successful ever.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in December. And then Gilead Sciences was off to the races. The company said it sold $2.27 billion worth of Sovaldi in the quarter that ended March 31.

Song Of The Day: Ingrid Jensen's 'At Sea'

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:10

Ingrid Jensen, one of my favorite trumpet players, has one of the most distinctive sounds on the instrument today. I've described her approach to the horn as "vocal," and she's said she's just trying to sing her ideas through the instrument. This is not a new concept, but when I listen to her playing, I hear it in action.

Her technical command of trumpet is matched by her creative and emotional depth in ways that are thrilling to hear. Her compositions and improvisations take this listener on a journey, and any record with Ingrid on it is going to have moments of brilliance for sure.

Scientists: Washington's State Fish Has A Remarkable Evolutionary Past

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 14:37

It turns out the Washington state fish is a piece of evolutionary wonder. An international group of scientists sequenced the genome of the rainbow trout and found some surprises. 

About 100 million years ago, something odd happened to the ancestor of salmon and rainbow trout. Instead of inheriting two copies of chromosome sets — one from mom and one from dad, they managed to inherit four copies. In evolutionary terms, this was a recent and dramatic event.

Wash. State Sen. Ericksen: Controversial Oil Trains 'Going To Be With Us For A While'

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 14:03

Washington state environmental regulators are expecting a lively crowd in the coastal city of Hoquiam on Thursday when the public will get a chance to weigh in about increased crude oil train traffic. But one powerful state senator says the controversial oil trains are needed.

Developers are proposing side-by-side marine terminal expansions on Grays Harbor along the Washington coast. They would receive crude oil by rail from the Northern Plains and send it out by barge and tanker to West Coast refineries.

Slowly And Sweetly, Vietnam's Chocolate Industry Grows

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 13:43
When you think about Vietnamese food, you might think of savory beef noodle soup, or endless fields of rice paddies. But chocolate?

As the world's demand for chocolate grows, Vietnam is making a bid to become one of the world's newest high quality suppliers.

Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou are two players in the country's small but growing cocoa industry.

Education May Help Insulate The Brain Against Traumatic Injury

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 13:29
A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you'll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.

"It's a very dramatic difference," says Eric Schneider, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of a new study.

Boeing CEO: Moving Engineering Jobs Out Of Wash. Will 'Strengthen Our Company'

KPLU News - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 10:47

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney says he understands that shifting engineering work away from Washington state may be controversial, but he says these moves “strengthen our company, strengthen our engineering capability.”

Over the past year, the Chicago-based aerospace giant has announced several transfers of engineering jobs that affect thousands of Puget Sound-area employees. Most recently, the company said earlier this month that it will move 1,000 engineering positions to southern California as it makes that region the center of customer support for airplanes currently in service.