Washington State Legislature
9:45 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Wash. Legislature passes teacher evaluation bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has approved a bill that uses improvement in student test scores as a factor in hiring, firing and tenure decisions for teachers.

The measure passed on an 82-16 bipartisan vote late Wednesday night. The Senate already had passed the bill, so it now goes to the governor for her signature.

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Election 2012
6:44 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Why we fight: The psychology of political differences

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 4:00 am

Americans, it seems, have never been more polarized about religion and politics. With minds made up and combat-ready, we have a hard time bridging the chasms that divide us.

In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, explains why. A moral perspective, he argues, is a feature of our evolutionary design. Morality has made it possible for human beings — unlike any other creatures — to forge large, cohesive, cooperative groups. Morality also blinds as it binds, producing conflicts between groups, tribes and countries.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Rockstar dreams

Early humans thought dreams were messages from the Gods, but to Freud it was unconscious wish-fulfillment. It wasn’t until 1952 that REM sleep was discovered, and the fact that our brains are quite active while we sleep.

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Gangs
4:40 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Tacoma gangs recruit middle schoolers

Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood, where 31 men were arrested for gang activity in a police sweep in 2010. A new gang assessment survey shows middle school kids are targeted for recruitment in Tacoma.
KPLU Photo

Kids start joining gangs in middle school, according to a year long assessment of gang activity in Tacoma. The  gang assessment report was presented to the Tacoma City Council on Tuesday.

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Diversions: Space travel
3:13 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Whose spaceship would you ride into outer space?

Blue Origin's New Sheppard ship. Founder: Jeff Bezos.

After writing about the latest developments in space travel yesterday, I wondered whose ship I would want to ride and automatically saw myself in Jeff Bezos' ship the New Sheppard. Upon reflection, I just liked the retro-scifi style of it. Although, blowing up did come to mind.

What ship would you take into space?

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Liquor laws
1:50 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Initiative kicks in: Bars, restaurants can buy liquor from distillers

Washington bars and restaurants will be allowed to buy liquor directly from distilleries beginning Thursday.

The change stems from a voter-approved initiative to privatize liquor sales and dismantle Washington's state-run liquor system, which was formed in the 1930s in the aftermath of Prohibition.

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Environment
1:26 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Hybrid cars still a rarity in the Northwest

The hybrid badge on a Toyota Prius
Carlos Perez flickr.com

We may think about driving hybrid cars, but very few of us actually buy one.

A poll by of Washington and Oregon drivers by Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance finds less than 2% say they own a hybrid.

However, more than half of the drivers in Washington (56%) and Oregon (59%) say they'd consider buying a hybrid the next time they shop for a car.

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Guest post from Geekwire
11:57 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Science fiction writers battle Amazon.com in pricing dispute

The beginning of a troubled relationship? Amazon and science fiction writers struggle over terms.
James Vaughan KPLU

By John Cook of Geekwire

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos traces his love of books back to some of the classics of science fiction. But now one of the leading author organizations in the genre is taking up arms against the Seattle online bookseller.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America — which hosts the prestigious Nebula Awards – announced on its Web site today that it is redirecting links to other booksellers including indiebound.orgPowell’s, and Barnes and Noble.

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Digital Life
11:22 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Google wins - he's giving up on privacy

Google new privacy rules, which are set to take effect Thursday, have drawn scrutiny from privacy advocates and state officials.
Jens Meyer AP

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:08 am

That's it. They win. He's giving up his privacy.

Trying to maintain privacy in contemporary America is just too time consuming, too complicated, too exhausting. He can't tell the good guys from the bad guys anymore. He doesn't know whom to trust.

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Officer shooting
10:31 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Thousands expected for trooper memorial in Kent

Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu.

KENT, Wash. — Officials expect thousands of people to attend the memorial service for slain Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu on Thursday in Kent, a 1 p.m. at the ShoWare Center.

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