Research News
10:20 am
Wed February 29, 2012

NPR science: The man working to reverse engineer your brain

A map of neurons of the mouse retina, reconstructed automatically by artificial intelligence from electron microscopic images.
A. Zlateski based on data from K. Briggman, M. Helmstaedter, and W. Denk MIT/Seung

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 8:28 am

Our brains are filled with billions of neurons, entangled like a dense canopy of tropical forest branches. When we think of a concept or a memory — or have a perception or feeling — our brain's neurons quickly fire and talk to each other across connections called synapses.

How these neurons interact with each other — and what the wiring is like between them — is key to understanding our identity, says Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience at MIT.

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Digital Life
10:09 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Protecting your privacy amid Google policy changes

A sign for Google is displayed behind the Google android robot, at the National Retail Federation, in New York. Google is planning to roll out a new privacy policy on March 1.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 9:00 am

Many Google users are nervous about the tech giant's changes to its privacy policy, set to take effect on Thursday.

Google has already been collecting bits of personal information from its various services, but soon it will combine it all to produce more targeted ads.

So let's say you are signed into Gmail and you decide to watch a video on YouTube. And then you also check out your friend's vacation photos on Picasa. Well, Google will now combine all of that data to create a single, fuller portrait of you for advertisers.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:07 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Expert Panel To Give Controversial Bird Flu Research A Second Look

An health official wearing protective gear culls a bird at a poultry farm after a naturally occurring bird flu virus was detected near Agartala, India, in January.
Sushanta Das AP

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 5:34 pm

Two controversial studies on bird flu will once again be reviewed by an expert committee that advises the government on what to do with biological research that could pose potential dangers.

The move is just the latest development in a fierce ongoing debate about genetically altered flu viruses created in laboratories at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Jazz NW
9:50 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Peter Bernstein Trio on Jazz Northwest

Peter Bernstein at Egan's in Seattle
Ray Pettis

Guitarist Peter Bernstein's recent appearance at Egan's in Seattle will be featured on Jazz Northwest on Sunday March 4 at 1 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU. Peter has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. He has played on over 60 recordings as well as festival, concert and club performances with musicians from all generations. His latest recording as a leader is Live At Smalls featuring Richard Wyands, John Webber, and Jimmy Cobb.

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Environment
7:18 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Spotted owl recovery plan: more active forestry management...and shooting rivals

The highly adaptable barred owl has moved in from points east and pushed out the endangered northern spotted owl. Lethal and non-lethal removals are part of the new spotted owl recovery plan announced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
caroltlw photo Flickr

In the long saga to protect the northern spotted owl, it's now officially "owl vs owl."

US Fish and Wildlife says the decline of the iconic northwest species can’t be helped without killing some of its more aggressive cousins, the barred owl.

It’s part of a court-ordered plan to increase the spotted owl’s forest habitat.

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Food for Thought
4:30 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Exciting news for cracker snackers

Nancy's favorite crackers. I'd show you mine but you've probably already seen a Cheez-it. Click for the next pic – installment one of the Dick's GarlicCam series.
Nancy Leson Seattle Times

No, not  about Cracker the p(t)et pterodactyl in Captain Underpants. He'd snack on you. Nor do I refer to the Hamadryas  genus of brush-footed butterflies commonly called The Cracker. This is about the kind of crackers you eat. And eat. And eat.

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Mining news
4:59 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

In NW mining, most deaths happen above ground

A photo from the federal investigation into James Hussey's death shows the site of the accident. Photo courtesy MSHA

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 12:00 am

Federal mine investigators say a Northwest miner died by electrocution because the company that employed him failed to have proper safety procedures in place. The tragedy happened at a gravel pit last September near Pullman, Wash. Most Northwest mine accidents happen above ground.

Thirty-eight-year-old James Hussey worked for DeAtley Crushing, based in Lewiston, Idaho. According to the new federal report, Hussey died when he tried to fix some wiring that no one realized was still connected to the power source.

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Social Security fraud
4:51 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Family guilty of decades long disability fraud

Four members of a Renton family have pleaded guilty to fraud for pretending to be disabled and collecting more than $350,000 in Social Security and Washington state disability benefits.  The scheme to defraud the government went on for 30 years.

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Leap Day: Any Plans?

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 3:26 pm

Something that only comes around once every four years and doesn't involve either politics or Olympic competition deserves its own mention:

Wednesday is Feb. 29.

Leap day, that is.

Our friend Linton Weeks has put together a handy list of 24 things you could do with the extra 24 hours. (And yes, we know that some of you have already started your day; but, hey, we're an East Coast-based blog.)

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Election 2012
3:37 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Santorum, Paul back in Wash. later this week

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republican presidential contenders Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are returning to Washington state to hold rallies in the days leading up to Saturday's caucuses.

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