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Geese In V-formation

KPLU News - 39 min 26 sec ago

  Autumn … and geese fly high overhead in V-formation. But what about that V-formation, angling outward through the sky? This phenomenon – a kind of synchronized, aerial tailgating – marks the flight of flocks of larger birds, like geese or pelicans. Most observers believe that each bird behind the leader is taking advantage of the lift of a corkscrew of air coming off the wingtips of the bird in front. This corkscrew updraft is called a tip vortex, and it enables the geese to save considerable energy during long flights. The V-formation may also enhance birds’ ability to see and hear each other, thus avoiding mid-air collisions. Small birds probably do not create enough of an updraft to help others in the flock and don’t fly in vees.

Chinook Face Final Obstacle At Landsburg Dam Before Reaching 'Shangri La'

KPLU News - 4 hours 39 min ago

Editor's Note: Fifteen years ago, Puget Sound salmon were listed under the Endangered Species Act. Despite the billions of dollars spent on recovery since, the results remain mixed. Some runs are seeing record returns while others are facing one of their worst years ever.

To learn more about the challenges of salmon recovery, this series follows one Chinook run from the open ocean to Puget Sound, through the Ballard Locks, past Renton and finally home to native spawning grounds on the Cedar River.

For more than a hundred years, the aqueduct at Landsburg Park near Maple Valley was the end of the line for salmon in the Cedar River watershed. Built between 1899 and 1901 through a voter initiative to provide water for the city of Seattle after the great Seattle fire, Seattle’s water system is the envy of municipalities all over the country.

Read the full story on our companion site, northwestsalmon.org >>>

Ballot Initiatives Pit Gun Control Advocates Against Gun Rights Activists

KPLU News - 4 hours 39 min ago

There are two gun initiatives on the Washington ballot. Initiative 594 and Initiative 591 both have to do with background checks on gun buyers.

The battle over the initiatives is a classic fight between gun control advocates who say more regulation will limit gun violence and gun rights activists who fear a loss of their Second Amendment “right to bear arms.”

Helen Sung - Classical Piano's Loss Is Jazz Piano's Gain

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 16:38

For many years, pianist, Helen Sung devoted herself fully to classical piano studies.  So much so, in fact, that when a friend invited her out to hear Harry Connick, Jr., Helen had no idea who he was.  When she heard Harry do a series of solo piano jazz pieces she says she nearly jumped out of her skin.  She’d never heard piano played like that. From that point on, Helen focused her considerable talents on jazz.  Today, Helen Sung is one of the most inventive and respected jazz pianists of her generation.

Song List:

  1. Armando's Rhumba
  2. Hope Springs Eternally
  3. Carolina Shout 

MAP: FEMA Is Buying Out Flood-Prone Homes, But Not Where You Might Expect

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:51
The NPR Cities Project has been reporting on the options for coastal communities in light of rising sea levels. Cities might choose to armor the shoreline with floodwalls, or they might opt for what's sometimes called a "managed retreat."

Since Superstorm Sandy, for example, both New York and New Jersey have been buying out residents whose homes are at risk of flooding again and again.

This Past September Ranks As Hottest On Record, NOAA Says

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:50
This past September was, on average, the hottest on record, meteorologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.30 F hotter than the century average.

The AP reports:

"It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

"NASA, which measures temperatures

Eye Phone? Your Next Eye Exam Might Be Done With Your Phone

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:50
Getting an eye exam typically involves big complicated machines. But eye doctors are trying to get the big and complicated out of the equation by using smartphones and tablets instead. That way, they figure, eye exams can be done just about anywhere — even a village in Nepal.

That's where Dr.

Judge Says 1,000 Potential Jurors May Be Screened For Boston Bombing Trial

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:59
A judge in Boston says that some 1,000 pre-trial jurors may be asked to complete a questionnaire for the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in January.

The Boston Herald reports U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole Jr.

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:56
This Sunday, Tunisia — the country that gave birth to Arab Spring — will elect a Parliament. Millions of citizens will vote at the polls, and thousands will run for office.

It's a sea change since the days of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. But behind the political gains, there is a sad fact: The new democracy is at an economic standstill. The technology sector — which many say could deliver jobs to unemployed young people — is victim to political inertia.

Startups In A Closed Economy

Tunis feels like a capital city that's on the move.

When Reassuring Isn't: Cruise's Needless Rush To Test For Ebola

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:56
Here's a question about the fine line between a prudent response and panic: Is the sight of a U.S.

From Sizzling Fajitas To The Super Bowl, How Sounds Help Sell

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:55
Joel Beckerman believes we are living in a golden age of sound: "We have these amazing opportunities to both set the tone and experiences for people, give them information in an instant," he tells NPR's Audie Cornish.

Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding — and we're not just talking about jingles. These are the sonic cues in commercials, the ambient music in coffee shops, in the beeps, dings and whoosh that occasionally flies from your cellphone.

Toyota Becomes Latest Automaker To Issue Recalls Over Faulty Airbags

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:49
A massive auto recall on defective airbags was given fresh urgency on Monday, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encouraged the owners of nearly 5 million cars to get them fixed "immediately." Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton told our Newscast unit some deaths have been tied to the defect:

"The airbags are made by Japanese supplier Takata. The bags have faulty inflators than can rupture and send metal fragments flying out.

Parkinson's Drugs Can Be A Gateway To Sin

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:59
Drugs that are commonly prescribed to help people cope with Parkinson's disease have been linked to bizarre changes in behavior that patients and doctors should be on guard against, researchers say.

The disturbing side effects include compulsive gambling, uncontrollable shopping and a sudden obsession with sex.

The problems with the drugs, called dopamine agonists, are serious enough that the researchers say the Food and Drug Administration should require the medicines to carry what's called a black-box warning, one of the most prominent and serious cautions used for prescriptions drugs.

Climate Change Has Coffee Growers In Haiti Seeking Higher Ground

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:42
Haiti once produced half the world's coffee. The lush, shade-covered mountainsides provided an ideal environment for imported Arabica trees.

Today, Haitian coffee barely registers in global surveys. Trade embargoes, deforestation, and the rise of global-coffee-powerhouses such as Brazil and Indonesia are just a few of the reasons. And now, there's climate change.

But here in a stand of coffee trees near Beaumont, one of the few forested parts of Haiti, coffee — growing, drinking and selling it — remains part of the culture.

Mario Batali Goes Farm To Table

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:48
Mario Batali has been known for years for his mastery of Italian cuisine.

But for his new cookbook “America – Farm to Table,” written with Jim Webster of the Washington Post, his focus is on chefs from around the United States and the farmers those chefs rely on for their food.

Plane Of Good Samaritans: Why Fly To (And From) West Africa

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:44
Flying into the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic is actually anti-climactic.

We landed on Friday night. And by Saturday morning, we realized that people around Monrovia, Liberia, are generally going about their business as usual — they're just washing their hands a lot more and trying not to touch each other.

The city of a million people is now reporting about 30 Ebola cases each day.

U.S. Airdrops Weapons, Ammo, Medical Supplies To Kurds In Kobani

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:43
The U.S. military confirmed Sunday an airdropped delivery of small arms, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in the Syrian town of Kobani on the border with Turkey. The 27 bundles of supplies were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq.

In a statement, U.S.

Will Apple's Mobile Wallet Replace Your Leather Wallet?

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:43
On Monday, Apple is rolling out a new way to pay: a digital wallet called Apple Pay. Millions of people with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be able to tap — rather than swipe — at the register.

The move could be a major change in how we shop. Or it could end up as a blip on the map that fades away, as other "mobile wallets" have in the past.

Here are some questions you might be asking:

I have a leather wallet in my back pocket.

Are Factual And Religious Belief The Same?

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:43
Consider the following two statements of "belief":

Devon believes that humans evolved from earlier primates over 100,000 years ago.

Devon believes that humans were created less than 10,000 years ago.

These claims are clearly at odds. Since they can't both be true, Devon holds contradictory beliefs. Right?

Maybe not.

A new paper by philosopher Neil Van Leeuwen offers a third possibility: That factual belief isn't the same as religious belief.

Hong Kong Leader Blames 'External Forces' For Joining Protests

KPLU News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:42
Hong Kong's leader is blaming "external forces" for helping stoke student-led pro-democracy protests that have brought parts of the Chinese territory to a halt in recent weeks.

Leung Chun-ying's statement in a televised interview on Sunday marked the first time he blamed foreign involvement for the unrest, something that Beijing has said repeatedly during the three weeks of demonstrations, according to The Associated Press.

The AP writes: "When asked on the Newsline program about a Chinese official's comments on outside involvement, Leung said, 'There is obviously participation by