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Scientists Spot A Planet That Looks Like 'Earth's Cousin'

KPLU News - 2 hours 24 min ago
Scientists who have been hunting for another Earth beyond our solar system have come across a planet that's remarkably similar to our world.

It's almost the same size as Earth, and it orbits in its star's "Goldilocks zone" — where temperatures are not too hot, not too cold, and maybe just right for life.

But a lot about this planet is going to remain a mystery, because it's 500 light years away.

Researchers detected the planet while poring over data collected by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

How Long Would You Have To Work To Buy A Burger In Your City?

KPLU News - 2 hours 28 min ago
How long does the average person have to work to buy a burger in his or her neighborhood? The maps below answer that question for neighborhoods in six cities around the country.

We used average burger prices and average income by zip code to create the maps. The burger data comes from Food Genius and includes burger prices (fast food and restaurant) for major cities in the United States for the month of January this year. The income data comes from the Census and includes only people with full-time, year-round jobs.

'Bintel Brief' And 'Hellfighters': American Stories, Powerfully Illustrated

KPLU News - 2 hours 29 min ago
A Bintel Brief and The Harlem Hellfighters are two New York Stories. That's why I'm combining them in this review; not because — as some purists still think — they're lesser works of literature because they're graphic novels. If Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Art Spiegelman's 1991 classic, Maus, haven't yet convinced the high-art holdouts of the value of stories told in visual sequence, nothing I say now about these two books is likely to.

'Why Am I Dead?' He Never Asked. Here's The Answer He Never Heard

KPLU News - 2 hours 29 min ago
Shara Yurkiewicz is a med student. She's doing rounds now, moving from department to department. Much of what she sees, she's seeing for the first time. Not yet a doctor, there are moments, many moments when she has the eyes of a patient. She gets scared. She feels helpless. She's too involved.

Can The Peer Economy Deliver Profits?

KPLU News - 2 hours 29 min ago
Josh Gibbs normally wouldn't leave his apartment in Northeast Washington, D.C., pick up a loaded pizza from a restaurant in Chinatown, bike to a complete stranger's apartment, drop off the pizza and leave without any cash exchanging hands. But last week, he did just that. And truth be told, he kind of loved it.

"It's exciting. It's just fun," he says. "When the app goes off, when it beeps, I get this little adrenaline rush. I can make some money.

First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned From A Man's Skin

KPLU News - 2 hours 30 min ago
Eighteen years ago, scientists in Scotland took the nuclear DNA from the cell of an adult sheep and put it into another sheep's egg cell that had been emptied of its own nucleus. The resulting egg was implanted in the womb of a third sheep, and the result was Dolly, the first clone of a mammal.

Dolly's birth set off a huge outpouring of ethical concern — along with hope that the same techniques, applied to human cells, could be used to treat myriad diseases.

But Dolly's birth also triggered years of frustration.

Chili Say What? Linguistics Help Pinpoint Pepper's Origins

KPLU News - 2 hours 31 min ago
Count us among those who just can't get enough chili pepper news.

These spicy fruits are beloved around the world for their ability to sex up nearly any cuisine.

3 More Mudslide Victims Identified

KPLU News - 4 hours 45 min ago

Authorities have identified three more bodies pulled from the debris of the mudslide that swept through the Washington town of Oso last month, leaving four names left on the list of the missing.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Thursday it has now identified all 39 victims it has received.

Sichuan Pepper's Buzz May Reveal Secrets Of The Nervous System

KPLU News - 4 hours 52 min ago
The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling.

What's not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when people who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs.

Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

Bautista says a lot of what we know come

Putin Tells Snowden That Russia Doesn't Do Mass Surveillance

KPLU News - 4 hours 53 min ago


When Divorce Leads To A Happily Ever After For A Small Business

KPLU News - 4 hours 53 min ago
Married couples in America co-own 3.7 million small businesses, according to the Census Bureau, and the arrangement can be fruitful when both marriage and business are going well. But what happens when it doesn't? Most of the time, when the love dies, the business relationship ends, too.

But that's not always the case.

Take Rhonda Sanderson and her ex-husband. They divorced the way many do, fighting over money and various other things.

Weekly Jobless Claims Stay Near 7-Year Low

KPLU News - 4 hours 54 min ago
There were 304,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up just 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 302,000, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

The scant increase means claims continued to run near their lowest pace since May 2007 — seven months before the economy slipped into its latest recession.

Fate Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria Now Uncertain

KPLU News - 4 hours 54 min ago
A Nigerian school principal says searchers are still looking for about 100 girls and young women abducted by Islamist extremists, even though the nation's military has said all but eight of the victims are now safe and accounted for.

"We are still waiting and praying for the safe return of the students ... the security people, especially the vigilantes and the well-meaning volunteers of Gwoza are still out searching for them," Principal Asabe Kwambura told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Police In Canada Make Arrest Related To 'Heartbleed' Bug

KPLU News - 4 hours 54 min ago
A 19-year-old alleged hacker has been arrested and his computer equipment seized by Canadian police after he purportedly exploited the "Heartbleed" bug vulnerability to steal confidential information from the country's tax collection agency.

"Heartbleed," which takes advantage of a security gap in a popular open-source encryption program, was discovered last week, forcing companies to shore up their security and millions of people to update passwords.

To Increase Productivity, UPS Monitors Drivers' Every Move

KPLU News - 4 hours 55 min ago
The American workforce might want to pay attention to all those brown trucks full of cardboard boxes. UPS is using technology in ways that may soon be common throughout the economy.

On the surface, UPS trucks look the same as they did more than 20 years ago, when Bill Earle started driving for the company in rural Pennsylvania.

But underneath the surface, Earle says, the job has changed a lot. The thing you sign your name on when the UPS guy gives you a package used to be a piece of paper.

Going On A Cruise? Try The Smaller Boats

KPLU News - 9 hours 28 min ago

If you want to kick back and relax without thinking too hard about your itinerary, your destinations or dinner, your best bet is a cruise aboard one of the big mainline cruise ships, no question. They all offer reasonably priced, all-inclusive getaways aboard a giant floating resort.

But if your style is to get active, get educated or get away from the crowds, then you might want to consider a smaller cruise line, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. 

Find A Mentor, Be A Mentor

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:12
Today I pay tribute to my mentors. You know, those rare people in life who take the time to help you, quite often redefining the path ahead. Mentors are people who selflessly give away two of their most precious commodities: wisdom and time.

Who hasn't been confused, unsure of which way to go, stuck between choices that would lead to very different futures?

We often want to go a certain way but can't, due to a variety of circumstances. Life demands commitment and sometimes these commitments are more like obstacles than opportunities.

The New SAT: Less Vocabulary, More Linear Equations

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:52
The standardized test that's been giving America's college-bound teenagers nightmares since the 1920s is getting a makeover.

On Wednesday, the College Board offered new details on changes to its SAT. Among the biggest shifts: Gone are the days of memorizing obscure vocabulary words. Though if you're in high school and set to take the SAT next year, don't burn those vocabulary flashcards just yet.

Seattle Council Member Licata Calls For New Department To Enforce Labor Laws

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:45

This may be the year that Seattle adopts one of the highest minimum wages in the country. But labor advocates and Seattle City Council member Nick Licata say without tough enforcement, a new wage law will be toothless. 

Legal Moves Might Mean Fiscal Relief, And More PR Troubles, For GM

KPLU News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:27
General Motors is signaling its plans to ask a bankruptcy judge for protection from lawsuits related to a defective switch recall. As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the action could further complicate its current public relations crisis. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.