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New Autopsy Report Suggests Michael Brown Was Shot At Close Range

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 16:35
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has published the official autopsy report on the shooting death of Michael Brown, the black, 18-year-old whose death at the hands of a white police officer set off weeks of protests this summer and fall in Ferguson, Mo.

The report suggests that Brown was shot at close range by Officer Darren Wilson.

Bigger Than A T. Rex, With A Duck's Bill, Huge Arms And A Hump

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 16:34
Scientists announced Tuesday they've solved the mystery of the Mongolian ostrich dinosaur.

The mystery began in 1965, when fossil hunters found a pair of 6-foot-long, heavily clawed arm bones in Mongolia's Gobi desert. Nobody had seen anything like them before. Now, scientists say, they've got the rest of the beast ... and dinosaur textbooks may need to be rewritten.

Those two giant arm bones have long amazed researchers. Some suspected the whole beast, which died about 70 million years ago, could have been more than 100 feet long. But the arms were all they had to go on.

The Slide Rule: A Computing Device That Put A Man On The Moon

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 16:26
The protractor and the Bunsen burner. Playing the recorder in music class. Drawing arcs and circles with a compass in geometry. These tools of the education trade become part of our lives for a semester or two and then we move on.

Today, NPR Ed begins a new series examining these icons of the classroom. We start off with a device that once was essential to higher-level math, in school and in the workplace, but now has all but disappeared:

The slide rule.

"Take your batteries out," Jim Hus says, watching his pre-calculus students remove the AA batteries that power their calculators.

Cloud Data Security Concerns Raised After Reported Attack In China

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:35
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday spoke with officials in China about data security and privacy. This meeting comes on the heels of a reported attack against users of Apple's iCloud service in China. Hackers allegedly were able to get hold of users' data by intercepting traffic on the Internet. They did not break into Apple servers.

The attack coincided with the launch in China of the new iPhone 6.

More Cities Are Making It Illegal To Hand Out Food To The Homeless

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:35
If you don't have a place to live, getting enough to eat clearly may be a struggle. And since homelessness in the U.S.

Justice Ginsburg Revises Texas Voter ID Dissent, Then Announces It

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:34
Once again the U.S. Supreme Court is correcting its own record, but Wednesday marks the first time that the Court has called attention to its own mistake with a public announcement.

Exotic Dancers In Tacoma Say Public Records Release Would Violate Their Privacy

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:22

Women who work at Dream Girls at Foxes, a strip club in Tacoma, don’t want Pierce County to release personal information about them. They say doing so would violate their right to privacy.

But the Pierce County auditor says Washington’s Public Records Act requires her to release information contained in the women’s business licenses on file with the county.

Glow-In-The-Dark Treats To Light Up Your Halloween

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:16
This Halloween, what better way to one-up your friends than mixing up some batter, swapping out your light bulbs for ultraviolet replacements, and showing off some glowing baked goods?

And, if you follow the advice of Steven Johnson and Martina Zupanic, these treats won't leave you feeling regretful the next day about your eating choices.

Zupanic, the chef in their relationship, lives in Croatia. She likes to avoid processed and sugary foods, cooking most of her dishes from scratch, whether it's chips or pasta.

A 45,000-Year-Old Leg Bone Reveals The Oldest Human Genome Yet

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:12
Researchers have successfully decoded the genes of a 45,000-year-old man from Siberia. The results offer clues about early human life outside of Africa as well as how humans interacted with Neanderthals and other groups around at the time.

The complete set of genes is the oldest genome of its kind, according to Svante Pääbo, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

Surrogacy Storm In Thailand: A Rejected Baby, A Busy Babymaker

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:12
Baby Gammy might mean the end of Thailand's lucrative surrogacy business.

He's the child who was carried by a surrogate mom in Thailand-- and rejected by the Australian couple who had agreed to pay the mother $12,000. The reason: Prenatal testing showed that the baby, a twin, had Down syndrome.

Thailand is one of only a few countries that allows foreigners to hire locals to serve as surrogates.

Surrogacy Storm In Thailand: A Rejected Baby, A Busy Babymaker

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:12
Baby Gammy might mean the end of Thailand's lucrative surrogacy business.

He's the child who was carried by a surrogate mom in Thailand-- and rejected by the Australian couple who had agreed to pay the mother $12,000. The reason: Prenatal testing showed that the baby, a twin, had Down syndrome.

Thailand is one of only a few countries that allows foreigners to hire locals to serve as surrogates.

Drones Are Taking Pictures That Could Demystify A Malaria Surge

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:11
Aerial drones are targeting a new enemy: malaria.

Four hundred feet above a Malaysian forest, a three-foot eBee drone hovers and takes pictures with a 16-megapixel camera every 10 to 20 seconds. But it's not gathering images of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Even today's best drones aren't capable of such a photographic marvel. Rather, the drone is looking at a changing landscape that holds clues to the disease's spread.

The malaria drone mission, described in a study published Oct.

Want Your Absentee Vote To Count? Don't Make These Mistakes

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:11
Millions of voters — about 1 in 5 — are expected to vote absentee, or by mail, in November's midterm elections. For many voters, it's more convenient than going to the polls.

But tens of thousands of these mail-in ballots are likely to be rejected — and the voter might never know, or know why.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission found that in 2012 more than a quarter of a million absentee ballots were rejected.

The No. 1 reason? The ballot wasn't returned on time, which in most states is by Election Day. Sometimes it's the voter's fault.

Analyst Says Falling Oil Prices Could Dampen Demand For Boeing's New Aircraft

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:45

Boeing reported that earnings and revenue climbed in its most recent quarter. But the stock fell on worries about when the 787 Dreamliner program will become profitable. One analyst says there’s another concern for investors: the recent drop in oil prices.

Listen: The Moment That Inspired A Seattle Man To Sideline His Business And Help The Homeless

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 13:08

Seattle architect Rex Hohlbein had been designing luxury homes for decades when his focus suddenly turned to the homeless.

Hohlbein says it all started during his morning bike ride to the office. He met a man named Chiaka. This encounter would change his life. 

Take 87 seconds to hear Hohlbein tell his story:

Idaho Wedding Chapel That Refuses To Marry Gays Sets Off Conservative Alarm Bells

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:43

Religious conservatives around the country are rallying to the defense of a wedding chapel in north Idaho whose owners don’t want to perform gay marriages.

The mayor of Coeur d’Alene and governor of Idaho are being inundated by hundreds of calls and thousands of emails even though neither has taken any action against the wedding chapel.

Book News: Just Months In, A Publisher That Promised Innovation Ends Its Run

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:39
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Despite high hopes and executives with a record of success, Atavist Books didn't last long. Less than a year after its launch, the multiplatform publisher has announced that it's planning to close.

Hatched under the name Brightline and helmed by Hollywood mega-producer Scott Rudin, InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller and former Picador publisher Frances Coady, the company didn't lack for ambition.

Ben Bradlee On Journalism: Be 'Fair' And 'Honest,' But Don't 'Back Down'

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:38
Bradlee was the executive editor for the Washington Post from 1968 to 1991. He published the Pentagon Papers and covered Watergate. Bradlee, who died Tuesday at 93, talked with Fresh Air in 1995. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Blackwater Guards Found Guilty In 2007 Shootings In Iraq

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:38
Four private security guards working for the Blackwater Worldwide firm who were charged in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis have been found guilty by a federal jury.

Nicholas Slatten was found guilty of first-degree murder, and three others — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.

The four were accused in connection with a Sept. 16, 2007, incident in Baghdad's Nisour Square, where 14 unarmed civilians were killed and 17 others were wounded.

The Making Of 'The Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story'

KPLU News - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:00

"The Sound of Redemption:  The Frank Morgan Story" will be showing on Saturday, Oct. 25 at NW Film Forum in Seattle as part of the Earshot Jazz Film Festival. Frank Morgan was a prodigy, a young West Coast saxophonist who was hailed as "the next Charlie Parker." Morgan's life and career were stalled for 30 years because of heroin use, felonies and prison sentences.