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Meet Ammon Walker: A Comic Book Hero Who Gave Superpowers To His Creator

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 18:18

Aaron D'Errico had one dream as a child: To be a soccer star in the same manner as his father, David D'Errico, an original Seattle Sounder and former U.S. Men's National Team captain. 

But where Arron's dreams went, his body couldn't follow. Born with cerebral palsy Aaron was never going to be a much of a soccer player, much less a professional. That wasn't about to stop him, however.

The Friday Harbor man put pen to paper and created Ammon Walker, a comic book superhero and super-spy who uses his status as a professional soccer as his cover. Like Aaron, Ammon has cerebral palsy. But unlike his creator, Ammon has developed technology that allows his body to overcome it.

Seattle Mayor Will Not Support Controversial Single-Family Zone Change

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 15:49

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is backing away from a controversial proposal to alter nearly all of the city's single-family neighborhood zoning to allow duplexes, triplexes, cottages and other denser housing types.

The idea — one of 65 the city's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) committee recommended this month — drew significant blowback from neighborhood groups who oppose granting greater flexibility to housing developers.

Birkin Bag Is Fine, But Namesake Actress Wants 'Birkin Croco' Rebranded

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:52
A lot of people who want a Birkin bag — a handbag popular among celebrities that can cost more than $100,000 — will get on multiple-year waiting lists to get one. But its namesake wants nothing to do with one version of it.

Specifically, Jane Birkin no longer wants to be affiliated with the popular crocodile-skin version.

SpaceShipTwo 'Pilot Was Thrown From The Vehicle' High In Atmosphere

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:50


From The Silents To Millennials, Debt Burdens Span The Generations

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:31
For most of us, debt is a big part of life. According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt — from student loans to credit card balances.

There are many among the so-called silent generation, those born before World War II, who are still paying off mortgages and credit cards.

"Silent generation people, 90 percent of whom are retired, are carrying debt later into life.

The Golden Age Of Cocktails: When Americans Learned To Love Mixed Drinks

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:15
Summertime is the perfect time to indulge in a refreshing cocktail on a balmy night.

Politics Overshadows U.S. Tech Firms' Hopes For Entering Iran

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:12
Iran has the potential to be a boom market for American tech companies. The majority of the population is under 30 and well educated, and over half the country has access to the Internet.

Many businesses have to wait until more sanctions are lifted, but certain tech companies can already go into Iran legally because the U.S. has lifted sanctions on various communication technology.

California's Drought Spurs Unexpected Effect: Eco-Friendly Development

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:12
The drought in California has gone on so long, and is so severe, that it's beginning to change the way people are designing residential communities — in unexpected ways, and unexpected places.

Planning is under way, for instance, for one of the first eco-friendly communities in California's predominantly agricultural Central Valley.

The site is in the town of Reedley, 30 miles southeast of Fresno.

There were a number of factors that distinguished Reedley, says Curt Johansen, the San Francisco developer who's spearheading the project.

It's home to a community college and a thriving down

Once Outlaws, Young Lords Find A Museum Home For Radical Roots

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:12
They were under watch by the FBI and the New York Police Department. And by the early 1970s, the Young Lords emerged as one of the country's most prominent radical groups led by Latino activists.

Inspired by the Black Panthers, a band of young Puerto Ricans wanted to form a Latino counterpart to the black nationalist group.

Europe's Taste For Caviar Is Putting Pressure On A Great Lakes Fish

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 14:12
Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, by surface area, and it has something the other Great Lakes do not: stable populations of mostly native fish species.

But scientists say a key fish in Superior's food web is now in trouble because of mild winters and an appetite for caviar in Europe.

There wasn't much demand for lake herring 10 years ago.

One Point Of View On How Lions Can Earn Money For Africa

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 13:53
A beloved lion in Zimbabwe — Cecil was his name — was wounded with a crossbow, then later shot dead.

Nobel Prize Winner Thinks No One Should Ever Retire

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 13:19
Muhammad Yunus just had a milestone birthday. On June 28, he turned 75. It's a big moment for a man who's had many big moments in his life – most notably the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, which loans small sums, aka "microcredit," to the poor, mainly women, so they can start their own businesses.

Yunus stopped by NPR last week — he was in Washington, D.C., for a conference — wearing the long, open-necked "kurta" shirt of his native Bangladesh.

Doctors Devise A Better Way To Diagnose Shaken Baby Syndrome

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 13:05
To tell if a baby has been injured or killed by being shaken, the courts use three hallmark symptoms: Bleeding and swelling in the brain and retinal bleeding in the eyes.

Some Chinese Grandparents Are Making Their Grandkids Fat

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 12:12
Too much love and affection from grandma and grandpa are helping China's "little emperors" pack on the pounds.

That is, children in China who are mainly cared for by grandparents are twice as likely to be overweight or obese, according to a study published this month in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

The study also concluded that children who had two or more grandparents living with them

Texting While Walking: Are You Cautious Or Clueless?

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 11:10
Do you roam city sidewalks with your nose buried in your phone, oblivious to what's going on around you? If so, you may want to look up and start paying attention.

Texting while walking decreases the ability to walk in a straight line and slows down pace significantly, according to a study published Wednesday in PLOS ONE.

'Booker Dozen' Stirs In A Hefty Batch Of American Authors

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 10:57
When the Man Booker Prize announced in 2013 it would expand eligibility to include writers across the English-speaking world, the doomsayers came out in spades.

University Of Cincinnati Police Officer Indicted On Murder Of Unarmed Black Man

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 10:25
Announcing the indictment of a white University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters called the officer's actions "asinine" and "totally unwarranted."

"This doesn't happen in the United States," he said. "It might happen in Afghanistan or somewhere else, but here people don't get shot during a traffic stop."

A grand jury handed down an indictment on murder charges against Officer Ray Tensing, who said he shot Sam Dubose because he was being dragged by his car.

Windows 10 Rolls Out, Along With Concern Over Sharing Wi-Fi Passwords

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 10:15
Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 as a free upgrade Wednesday, hoping to become more relevant to mobile users as it updates a key operating system. One feature, which shares your Wi-Fi with your contacts list, is drawing skepticism.

Windows 10 comes as a free update for users who are now running Windows 7 and 8. And Windows users have been eager to get their hands on the first substantial update to the system since October 2012.

On Wyatt Cenac, 'Key & Peele,' And Being The Only One In The Room

KPLU News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 10:07
Last week, the Internet exploded after an episode of the WTF! Podcast with Marc Maron went online. The guest was the comedian Wyatt Cenac, who talked about being a writer and correspondent on The Daily Show for several years.