News

"Sound Effect" is a weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place where we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

Each week's show will explore a different theme. In this week's show, we dive into Northwest myths and legends.

Here are the three most underreported stories of the week, according to the guests of our news roundtable:

Tom Grey

The Reddish Egret, a particularly glamorous heron, is best known for its startling antics in capturing fish.

When fishing, the egret sprints across the lagoon, weaving left and right, simultaneously flicking its broad wings in and out, while stabbing into the water with its bill.

Fish startled at the egret’s crazed movements become targets of that pink dagger. At times, the bird will raise its wings forward over its head, creating a shadow on the water. It then freezes in this position for minutes. Fish swim in, attracted by a patch of shade and . . . well, you know the rest.  

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Leading up to the Super Bowl on Sunday, there have been lots of rallies for the Seahawks. One of the most unusual took place in the Burke Museum, a natural history museum on the University of Washington campus.  

Fanduel.com

 

On the eve of the Super Bowl, Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests.

This is where sports fans build an imaginary team based on the stats of real players. They then compete in a league with other participants.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Nearly two years after public radio and the Associated Press investigated lobbyist-paid meals for Washington lawmakers, the issue is still a topic of discussion in the legislature.

A Senate panel Thursday took testimony on two proposals related to gifts of food and beverage.

Anna King

 

Washington state has set a six-mile quarantine circle around a new major bird flu site in near Riverside in north-central Washington.

About 5,000 birds — mainly ducks but also geese, turkeys and chickens — are in the infected flock.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

 

Gas prices have plummeted, but Washington’s gas tax could soon go up.

Republican Curtis King, the chair of the Senate Transportation committee, is looking at an 11.5-cent per gallon increase phased in over three years. It would help fund a $14 billion transportation package with projects on both sides of the Cascades.

BirdNote: Donald Duck

Jan 30, 2015
Walt Disney

Today, we celebrate Donald Fauntleroy Duck, first sighted in Hollywood in 1934.

Despite nearly 80 years on the big screen and more than 150 films and countless comic books to his credit, Donald's plumage has never changed.

Donald doesn't migrate, but resides year round in Duckburg. To our knowledge, longtime sweetheart Daisy has never made Donald a father. But he does show a strong paternal instinct for a trio of unruly nephews.

While he means well, he tends to get in over his head, but he somehow overcomes the odds. And that perhaps is why Donald Duck is still loved after all these years.  

Matthew Brown / AP Photo

An overflowing crowd turned out to testify in Skagit County Thursday on plans to add an oil-train facility to Shell’s refinery in Anacortes.

The company says it needs to be able to receive Bakken crude by rail to remain competitive. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Amazon shares jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading on news that the company returned to profitability in the fourth quarter. Strength in the cloud-computing business was an especially bright spot.

Cloud computing means hiring a company such as Amazon to run your computer system remotely instead of managing all those machines and software in-house.

Amazon and rivals such as Microsoft have been spending a lot to build big computer server farms. In spite of that expense, IDC analyst Al Hilwa says it’s an attractive business for Amazon.

Jessica Robinson

 

A committee in the Idaho House Thursday rejected a gay rights measure known as the “Add the Words bill” on a 13-4 party line vote.

Austin Jenkins

 

Public utility districts in Washington have the right to place power lines through state trust lands, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

This ends a years-long legal fight between Washington’s elected lands commissioner and the Okanogan PUD.

Courtesy of the University of Washington

Ancient gas bubbles preserved in ice are helping scientists figure out what the Earth’s atmosphere was like 40,000 years ago, and how it might change in the future.

The data is coming from a core of ice that resembles a PVC pipe. When the drilling is completed, almost a mile of ice will have been extracted from this inland site in western Antarctica.

Robert Pittman / Flickr

 

SeaWorld is famous for its choreographed dolphin and Orca whale performances. Now a Washington state lawmaker wants to make sure what happens at SeaWorld stays at SeaWorld.

Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker introduced legislation to prohibit marine mammal shows in Washington.

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