World
11:47 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Burgeoning Cluster Of Lifesaving Stove Designers Call NW Home

Fuel-efficient stoves use significantly less firewood than a traditional three-stone stove. This woman in Myanmar is using a pipe to help increase the fire's flames to cook the food. Photo by Benny Manser/Mercy Corps

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:04 am

VASHON ISLAND, Wash. - More than a century after the discovery of electricity, billions — yes, billions — of people still heat and cook with wood fires. In the developing world, indoor air pollution from smoke is blamed for nearly 2 million deaths per year.

We're focusing on the dangers of wood smoke as part of a public media collaboration with Investigate West and Seattle TV station KCTS. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on how the Northwest became home to a cluster of non-profits that aim to sell millions of cleaner-burning cook stoves to the world's poor.

Read more
Environment
11:46 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Where There's Smoke, There's Sickness: Wood Smoke now a major Northwest air polluter

Alex Smith, 13, admires the fire he built in his family's wood stove in Puyallup.

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:26 am

The warning label on the wrapping of neatly split firewood is one we're more accustomed to seeing on cigarettes or heavy-duty chemicals: "known... to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm."

But in fact, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, asthma attacks and premature death – in addition to cancer – all are linked to wood smoke pollution. It's a finding that poses a vexing dilemma for poor and rural communities around the Northwest where wood is a cheap or even free source of heat.

Read more
I Wonder Why ... ?
10:58 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Is it really true that there is more MS in the Northwest?

Is it true? There's more MS in the Northwest?

We’ve all seen the billboards and giant posters hanging off the sides of buildings: “The Northwest has a higher incidence of Multiple Sclerosis than most anywhere on Earth.”

But do we really? Turns out the answer is more complicated than the awareness campaign that got everyone talking about MS in the Northwest.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

Salmon Habitat
10:25 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Pierce County is the biggest winner in land of recovery grants

Florian Leischner, salmon recovery biologist for the Nisqually Tribe, marks a tree donated by Tacoma Public Utilities, for use in a habitat restoration project in 2008.
By nwifc-photos NWIFC Flickr

Getting diverse governments to cooperate is more art than science.

And there’s a project in Pierce County that is being honored with something called a “surf board award.”

It’s for meeting the difficult challenge of protecting endangered Chinook salmon, which were listed on the endangered species act more than a decade ago.

Read more
Protesting Wall Street
10:23 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Occupy Olympia activists ignore deadline, take over vacant building

Occupy Olympia activists outside an abandoned building they occupied after marching from Heritage Park.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Several campers did fold their tents, but Occupy Olympia activists largely ignored a midnight deadline lastnight to vacate Heritage Park on Washington’s Capitol campus. Instead, they held a rally and then took over an abandoned building across the street.

Read more
Weather with Cliff Mass
9:05 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Dry December continues, but inversion is breaking up

Dry and cold, often means frost
Daveybot flickr

A drought in December? It's been record dry this month, so far, says KPLU weather-meister Cliff Mass. In the meantime, we'll get a few showers, and possibly a glorious Saturday.

The off-shore pressure "ridge" is still there, keeping all the storms away from the Northwest. But, it's weakening, and the "inversion" -- which led to stagnant air, burn-bans, and so much fog -- appears to be breaking up.

Read more
Sports with Art Thiel
9:00 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Offensive change, hard-charging Lynch spur Seahawks' streak

'Beast mode': Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch evades the St. Louis Rams defense during Monday night's 30-13 rout in Seattle. Lynch is on a roll that could land the Seahawks in the playoffs for the second straight year.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

They started the season 2-6. But a big change in offense and the explosive play of running back Marshawn Lynch have the Seahawks looking at a possible playoff berth.

Read more
Politics
5:26 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Wash. State Park Employees Face Holiday Layoffs

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 2:55 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - About 160 Washington State Parks employees are receiving letters this week explaining that their jobs may be eliminated or reduced. Park officials issued these warnings because of a budget shortfall.

Until this past summer Washington State Parks were state-funded and free to the public. A new Discover Pass user fee program replaced tax funding.

But sales of these passes didn't take off as hoped. That created an $11 million hole. Dozens of rangers and other employees are suffering the consequences this holiday season.

Read more
Science
5:22 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Ignorance has its place in democracy, researchers say

The least informed among us, tend to side with the quieter majority rather than follow the vocal minority. And in that sense, decisions are more democratic. Researchers at Princeton figured this out by studying schools of fish.
Olivier Roux Flickr

Some say ignorance is bliss.  Others say ignorance is a drain on society.  But as contrary as it might sound, researchers have found there may actually be a place for the uninformed in group decision-making.

Read more

Pages