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'Firework, Not Fire Fun': The Serious Jobs Of Pyrotechnic Pros

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 14:24
Designing a vast fireworks show is a bit like composing music. There's the opening to think about, of course, and the grand finale — and all the intricacies with which the colors and displays intermingle in between.

For Jim Souza, the president of Pyro Spectaculars, this is his art.

"The sky is the canvas," he says, lending another metaphor, "and fire's my paint."

Pyro Spectaculars has major street cred in the fireworks business.

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 14:17
What do we know about the power of food to rev up sex drive? Not much.

"Really, science has not figured out what determines sexual motivation and sexual attraction.

Charleston Reporters Tell The National Story Of Local Violence

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 14:14
For the The Post and Courier, the newspaper in Charleston, S.C., it's been a crazy three months. The regional paper has been driving the coverage of the shootings at the Emanuel AME Church.

The small newsroom's reporters have been working flat out for more than two weeks, since the first word of the attack started coming across the police scanner.

As Greece Stares Down Its Money Troubles, A Decisive Vote Looms

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 14:04
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

U.N.: Report On Iran's Atomic Program Possible By Year's End

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 12:34
Yukio Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says that if Iran cooperates, the agency could issue a report on the country's past atomic research by the end of the year.

NPR's Peter Kenyon, reporting from Vienna, says progress is also being reported on sanctions relief for Tehran — but a deal has yet to be finalized.

"With cooperation from Iran, I think we can issue a report by the end of the year," Amano, the head of the U.N.

Matt Stonie Downs 62 Hot Dogs For Coney Island Title

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:38
Sixty-two dogs (and buns) after sitting down for the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Matt Stonie had snatched the title from "Jaws" Chestnut, the reigning eight-time champ, in a competition held each July 4 for nearly a century at New York's Coney Island.

Stonie finished second last year but says he's been training hard for the rematch. Ultimately, he beat Chestnut by two hotdogs.

Sound Effect's Under-Reported Stories Of The Week, July 4

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:01

There's always interesting stuff in the news that gets overshadowed by the big stories. On Sound Effect we invite a panel a journalists to talk over their nominees for under-covered story of the week. 

This week Alex Hudson of the news and politics blog Seattlish noted that even though the heat wave is all anyone can talk about, there are dimensions of it that haven't gotten the attention they deserve, such as the outsize hazard heat poses for homeless people. 

"The city of Seattle has extreme weather plans that relate to cold weather, and there are no real plans that relate to hot weather," she says. 

Sound Effect, Episode 26: Growing Pains

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:00

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week we discuss growing pains. 

Week After Beach Attack, Tunisia Declares State Of Emergency

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 09:25
More than a week after a deadly attack by an Islamic extremist at a Tunisian beachfront resort that killed 38 foreign tourists, the president of the North African country has declared a state of emergency.

President Beji Caid Essebsi's office says in a statement that he needed the powers that come with the declaration to more effectively deal with the threat from extremists.

As Reuters writes: "Tunisia's emergency law temporarily gives the government more executive flexibility, hands the army and police more authority, and restricts certain rights such as the right to public assembly."

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Lawrence Herkimer, The Father Of Modern Cheerleading, Dies At 89

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 07:36
Three cheers for Lawrence Herkimer, who did more than anyone to transform cheerleading into an art, a science and a multi-million dollar business.

He died of heart failure on Wednesday in Dallas at age 89, according to his family.

Herkimer, who was frequently referred to as the grandfather of modern cheerleading or simply "Mr. Cheerleader," invented (and patented) the pompom. He came up with an iconic cheerleading leap, the "Herkie jump," that remains a staple of cheering squads to this day.

When America's Librarians Went To War

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 07:25
Looking back at the nationwide support for American troops in World Wars I and II, we see Americans of all stripes making patriotic contributions and sacrifices – farmers, factory workers and librarians.

Wait. What? How did librarians fit in to national security in the 20th century? In an array of ways, says Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association.

A Re-Opened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 06:07
When Secretary of State John Kerry goes to Havana to raise a flag over the soon to be re-opened embassy this summer, it won't be just an important symbolic moment.

The administration says the U.S. will be able to station more American personnel in Cuba, and that should be a big help in practical terms as more Americans travel to and trade with the Cold War-era foe.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says U.S. embassies around the world are promoting American businesses, and she's hoping that once the U.S.

Greek Official: 'Grexit' Would Cost Europe A Trillion Euros

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 05:44
Greece's finance minister has accused his nation's creditors of "terrorism" for trying to "instill fear in people" ahead of a referendum on whether to accept the harsh terms of an international bailout designed to keep Athens in the Eurozone.

Yanis Varoufakis, in an interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo, said that there was too much at stake to kick his country out of Europe's common currency, "As much for Greece as for Europe, I'm sure."

The Greek government, led by a leftist anti-austerity party that

'Chasing Memories' In Their Refugee Camp 40 Years After Fleeing Vietnam

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 05:25
My mother's family fled communism twice.

The first time was from China. Then, after Saigon fell in 1975, they left Vietnam.

My mother, Kuo Nam Lo, was 24 when she spent her first few months in the U.S. at a refugee camp at a military base along a stretch of the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania.

"I've always wanted to come back here," my mother told me in Cantonese on a recent drive through Fort Indiantown Gap.

Just A Few Important Words About The 'Declaration Of Independence'

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 04:54
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It's Independence Day. Let's take a break from parades, patriotic songs and pyrotechnics to think about the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

The line at the top of this post has the words that are probably most remembered.

LA Police Unit Intervenes To Get Mentally Ill Treatment, Instead Of Jail

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 04:54
The Los Angeles Police Department's mental evaluation unit is the largest mental health policing program of its kind in the nation, with 61 sworn officers and 28 mental health workers from the county.

The unit has become a vital resource for the 10,000-person police force in Los Angeles.

Officer Ted Simola and his colleagues in the unit work with county mental health workers to provide crisis intervention when people with mental illness come into contact with police.

On this day, Simola is working the triag

Greeks Divided Ahead Of Eurozone Vote

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 04:54
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Fuel Is Crucial In The Battle Over Syria

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 04:54
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The White House Invites Tourists To Use Their Cameras

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 04:54
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Paper Finds One-Quarter Of Those Killed By Police Are Mentally Ill

KPLU News - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 04:54
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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