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#NPRreads: The 'Grexit,' Video Games And Fleeing The Rwandan Genocide

KPLU News - 3 hours 21 min ago
#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading.

A Conservative Firebrand From The Start, Ted Cruz Always Had A Plan

KPLU News - 3 hours 38 min ago
This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

Boldness comes more naturally to Ted Cruz than compromise. Barely through his first year in the Senate, the Texas Republican bucked his party leaders and became the public face of a government shutdown while standing up for conservative ideals.

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

KPLU News - 5 hours 23 min ago
A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.

Pilot André Borschberg set the Solar Impulse 2 down on the tarmac at Kalaeloa Airport outside Honolulu after flying for 120 hours from Nagoya, his team reports.

As The Two-Way's Bill Chappell wrote last week, the Ja

Parts Of Social-Sharing Site Reddit Go Dark In Apparent User Revolt

KPLU News - 7 hours 19 min ago
An Internet insurrection is taking place on Reddit, where moderators have shut down many of the social sharing site's most popular sections in an apparent protest over the dismissal of Victoria Taylor.

Taylor was a key figure in Reddit's extremely popular r/IAmA (Ask Me Anything) section, which brought in celebrities of all stripes — from actors to musicians and even President Obama — to answer questions submitted from the vast community.

Iceland's Pirate Party Wins Repeal Of Blasphemy Law

KPLU News - 7 hours 19 min ago
Iceland's minority Pirate Party has its first major legislative victory — repealing a 75-year-old blasphemy law that made it a crime to "ridicule or insult" the teachings of a legally recognized religious community.

The law, established in 1940, came under fire after the Jan.

Dirty Fireworks, Cloudy Skies Typically Herald The True Start Of Summer In The Northwest

KPLU News - 7 hours 38 min ago

Inevitably, fireworks start going off in the first week of July, even before the Independence Day holiday has begun. 

They’re not just loud, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, they’re dirty.

“We often see a spike at the air quality measuring stations of very small particles (of pollutants,)” Mass said.

He notes there is typically a gigantic jump in levels measured on the 4th of July later in the day.

“And some places it’s the worst air of the year,” he said.

Aetna Announces $37 Billion Merger With Health Insurance Rival Humana

KPLU News - 8 hours 30 min ago
In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

Word of the cash and stock agreement comes a day after

When The Fish You Eat Have Eaten Something Toxic

KPLU News - 8 hours 41 min ago
Some tasty saltwater fish carry a toxin that you may never have heard of.

And a recent study found that more people in Florida may be getting sick from eating fish contaminated with the toxin than previously thought.

By comparing Florida public health records with survey results from thousands of fishermen, scientists from the University of Florida found that ciguatera fish poisoning, as the condition is called, is significantly underreported in the state.

Before the study was done, the prevailing estimate of ciguatera poisoning was 0.2 cases per 100,000 people per year.

Syrian Forces Try To Halt Rebel Offensive On Aleppo

KPLU News - 9 hours 59 min ago
Updated at 10:05 a.m.

Why The World Might Be Running Out Of Cocoa Farmers

KPLU News - 10 hours 17 min ago
Chocolate might be headed toward a crisis, depending on whom you ask.

That's at least what the 2015 Cocoa Barometer has to say. It's an overview of sustainability issues in the cocoa sector, written by various European and U.S. NGOs, and was released in the U.S. this week. And what they're really worried about is the people who grow the beans that are ground up to make our beloved treat.

"The world is running out of cocoa farmers," the report states. "Younger generations no longer want to be in cocoa.

Hours From Greek Referendum, Pro-Bailout Side Holds Slight Edge

KPLU News - 10 hours 42 min ago
Despite the prime minister urging a thumbs down, the "yes" vote holds a slight edge in Greece ahead of a referendum on whether the country should accept the terms of an international bailout, according to the latest poll.

The survey, conducted by the respected ALCO institute just 48 hours before the referendum that could decide Greece's economic fate and future in the eurozone, gives the "yes" camp 44.8 percent against 43.4 percent for the "no" side, according to Reuters.

Reuters notes: "Given a volatile public mood and a string of recent election results that ran counter to opinion poll p

Don't Call 911 To Report Illegal Fireworks, Police Say

KPLU News - 11 hours 39 min ago

It’s illegal to set off fireworks in Tacoma, Seattle and most other cities in the region. But, every 4th of July, so many people ignore the law there’s little police can do. They say calling 911 about violations just overwhelms the emergency system.

Thiel: U.S. Women's World Cup Dominance Result Of Title IX

KPLU News - 11 hours 41 min ago

A lot of local interest as the U.S. Women's National team plays Japan in the Women's World Cup soccer final on Sunday in Vancouver, B.C.

The U.S. women are going for their third World Cup title. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says their odds are pretty good.

Russia Finally Launches Supplies To ISS After Earlier Failures

KPLU News - 12 hours 16 min ago
A Russian rocket filled with much-need supplies for the International Space Station lifted off from a pad in Kazakhstan early today after two previous re-supply missions failed.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that the successful launch of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, known as the Progress 60P, which is set to dock with the station on Sunday, was a relief to the astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station.

In April, a Russian supply ship

Peruvian Sisters Can Turn A Gourd Into An $800 Objet D'art

KPLU News - 12 hours 38 min ago
Their gourds tell a story — and earn them a living. That gourd in the photo — the one on the left? It is covered with miniature pictures of a potato harvest in Peru. There's even a wee burro hauling the day's crop.

That gourd will sell for around $800.

The Canto sisters — Katya, 29, and Blanca, 24 — are experts in the folk art of decorating gourds. Their father taught them when they were growing up in the village of Cochas Grande, Peru. Katya began learning when she was 8.

New Nation, New Cuisine: The First Cookbook To Tackle 'American Food'

KPLU News - 12 hours 38 min ago
In 1776, the American colonies declared independence from Britain.

But it wasn't until 1796 that someone dared to tackle a question that would plague every generation of Americans to come: "What is American food?"

American Cookery, the very first American cookbook, was written by Amelia Simmons (more on this mysterious woman later). In it, she promised local food and a kind of socioculinary equality.

How Personal Should A Personal Assistant Get? Google And Apple Disagree

KPLU News - 14 hours 35 min ago
The smartphone has become a staple of life. But what about the personal assistant inside that phone? Not so much.

Maybe you turn to Apple's Siri or Google Now for a quick search, or a snarky answer to a question. But imagine a world where your phone actually gets you. You, personally.

Guest Student DJ Joel Steinke: Ushering In The Next Generation Of Jazz

KPLU News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 21:00

Note: Each month, KPLU invites a teen guest DJ to play his or her favorite pieces on the air.  The program is part of KPLU's School of Jazz.  

Joel Steinke from Edmonds Woodway High School is the Student DJ for the month of July.  Joel's hour aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 2.

To get to know him better we asked Joel to answer a few questions about jazz:

Which instrument do you play and why?

Washington's Wettest Spot Just Had Its Driest-Ever June

KPLU News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 16:55

Last month was the driest June on record for the wettest part of Washington State.

Fewer Students Pass Washington's New, Harder Statewide Test — But It Could've Been Worse

KPLU News - Thu, 07/02/2015 - 15:49

Fewer Washington students passed a new, harder statewide standardized test this year — but the exam didn't trip up as many kids as some had feared.

For instance, roughly 58 percent of fifth graders earned "proficient" English scores in their first year taking the new Smarter Balanced tests, according to early results state officials released Thursday.Compare that with 72 percent of last year's fifth graders who passed the state's old benchmark reading exam, the MSP.