Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

Palca began his journalism career in television in 1982, working as a health producer for the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. In 1986, he left television for a seven-year stint as a print journalist, first as the Washington news editor for Nature, and then as a senior correspondent forScience Magazine.

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Washington state legislature
12:33 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

$479 million in cuts, transfers, delays indentified in state budget

OLYMPIA, Wash. — State lawmakers are looking to trim $479 million off the state's $1.4 billion shortfall through a combination of cuts, fund transfers and delayed payments.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

NPR science: Has misnamed 'God particle' finally been found?

This is what researchers at the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider expect a Higgs boson to look like. The Higgs boson is the subatomic particle that scientists say gives everything in the universe mass.
ATLAS Experiment/CERN

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 6:09 am

The news that scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland will talk Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET about "the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson" has reignited speculation that they might be about to say they've found the so-called God particle.

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Puget Sound life
11:41 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Sea lion vs. octopus: Photographer catches rare glimpse of battle

In this screen grab from the Everett Herald's YouTube video, you can see the sea lion surfacing after taking off a chunk of octopus. Click inside to see the video.

Last Wednesday, Dec. 7, Everett Herald photographer Mark Mulligan caught a rare sight on camera – a stellar sea lion feeding on an octopus. (See video inside.)

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Other News
11:40 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Willamette Valley Cities, Counties To Consider 'Compact'

SALEM, Ore. - Local governments in Oregon's Willamette Valley have made various attempts at regional collaboration in the past few decades. Now, a group is trying to create a more formal relationship. City and county officials meet in Salem Monday to discuss a possible compact to band together on key issues.

The Willamette Valley stretches from Portland south to Eugene. It includes the state capitol and is known for its diverse agriculture. Some two-thirds of Oregon's population lives in the valley.

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Science
11:33 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Research into rat emotions could help develop human drugs

A Washington State University researcher says new findings about the emotions of rats could lead to treatments for mental illness in humans. Jaak Panksepp writes in the latest issue of the journal, Science.

He was reacting to a new study showing that rats demonstrate empathy and altruism toward a fellow rat who was stuck in a trap.

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Education
9:25 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Seattle schools easing vending junk food policy

The Seattle School Board may ease the district's policy on selling junk food in vending machines to help student groups raise money for activities.

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Artscape
8:28 am
Sun December 11, 2011

Gingerbread Village is a sugary work of art

The Gare du Palais in Quebec as a gingerbread house, one of six molasses marvels on display at the 19th Annual Gingerbread Village at the Seattle Sheraton.
Florangela Davila

Forget about sugarplums dancing in his head. Architect Eric Drivdahl is drooling over cookie staircases, pretzel fences and a giant Rice Crispy treat mountain covered in 100 pounds of white chocolate.

"Look at this whole building, it's made out of candy," he says.

He's in the lobby of the Seattle Sheraton hotel, the site of the annual Gingerbread Village. This year's theme is "Holiday Express," with all six gingerbread marvels replicating world-famous train stations.

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Festivals and Events
4:22 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

3 events for the weekend: Jingle in Seattle, Folk music and comedy

Jingle Bell Run/Walk participants at the Greenlake Rudolph Training Run Nov. 19.

Looking for something to do this weekend? From holiday charity to folk music to classic Shakespeare, there's lots to do this weekend in Seattle and Tacoma!

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