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Space flight
7:43 am
Fri May 25, 2012

SpaceX Craft Docks With Space Station; Commercial Era Begins

An image of the Dragon spacecraft, taken earlier today with a thermal camera aboard the International Space Station.
Twitter.com/SpaceX

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:48 am

The historic first docking of a commercial spacecraft at the International Space Station orbiting above Earth happened without a hitch today, as SpaceX's Dragon capsule arrived with supplies for the crew orbiting high above Earth.

Just before 10 a.m. ET, astronauts aboard the space station successfully grabbed the capsule with a robotic arm. A little after noon ET, the pulled the Dragon into its docking space.

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Economy
6:51 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

West Coast Gas Prices Higher Than Other Regions

Gas prices in the Northwest are among the highest in the nation. Photo by tinatinatinatinatina/ Flickr

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 7:34 am

Gas prices nationwide have been dropping but not in the Northwest. In fact, this Memorial Day weekend, the region's gas prices are among the highest in the nation.

Gas in Washington and Oregon is selling above $4.20 per gallon. It's cheaper in Idaho. But all three states are well above the national average of $3.68 per gallon.

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Nuclear Energy
4:21 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Northwest's only nuclear plant celebrates relicensing

Hundreds of Energy Northwest employees stepped outside for a celebration of the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant’s relicensing. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 4:56 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hundreds of employees of the Northwest’s only power plant celebrated Thursday. The Columbia Generating Station now is licenced to run for another 20 years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the new 20-year license. That means the plant in southeast Washington will send up plumes of steam, visible for long distances across the desert until 2043.

It took employees five years to finish the application process. Carl Adrian heads the Tri-City Development Council. He says the plant is an important employer here, but it’s more than that.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Ted Kaczynski, what have you been up to? Unabomber, you say?

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski being led into a Montana court in 1996.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 7:08 am

No, the Unabomber won't be attending his 50th class reunion at Harvard this week.

But Ted Kaczynski has updated his former classmates about what he's been up to all these years.

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The Two-Way
10:18 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

New Documents Describe Brutal Hazing That Killed FAMU Drum Major

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 4:18 pm

Robert Champion agreed to go into Bus C because he was vying for the top job at Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band and thought it would impress his band mates.

But that hazing ritual — a relentless, brutal beating — would cost him his life. That's the picture painted by a cache of new documents released today in Florida.

The New York Times reports:

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Politics
10:11 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Oregon Lawmakers Scale Back Corrections Layoffs

The Oregon Department of Corrections. Photo by Chris Lehman

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 4:43 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers have been pressing state agencies to cut back the ranks of middle managers. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to do that. But they scaled back a proposed round of layoffs at prisons because of safety concerns.

The Department of Corrections had submitted a budget-cutting plan to eliminate 81 positions, including more than 50 prison lieutenants. Lawmakers instead told the agency to scrap just 21 jobs by this summer.

House Democratic leader Tina Kotek said the original proposal was too much, too soon.

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Politics
10:10 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

How A Lobbyist And His iPad Helped Stop A Telephone Tax

Washington's cable industry created a series of ads to appeal to people who get their phone through broadband cable. Photo by Kevin Mooney

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 4:13 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It’s no secret that interest groups influence state lawmakers. But it’s not often clear how that actually happens. Much of the action occurs behind-the-scenes.

So we’re going to give you a rare glimpse inside the influence game -- to see how lobbyists help shape public policies that affect our everyday lives. Austin Jenkins reconstructs how a lobbyist and his iPad changed the course of a $1 billion piece of legislation.

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Science
10:08 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

WSU researchers patent longer battery life technology

WSU's Grant Norton says using tin in lithium ion batteries could keep many electronic devices running much longer. Photo courtesy WSU

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:05 pm

Researchers at Washington State University say they've found a way to keep lithium batteries charged three times longer. These are the batteries used in laptops, cell phones and electric vehicles.

The key ingredient in the new battery design is tin, as a replacement for carbon, which is more common.

The research is lead by engineering professor Grant Norton. He says the improvements could keep many electronic devices running much longer.

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NPR Science
1:03 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

MIT Engineers Solve An Everyday Problem: A Backed-Up Ketchup Bottle

Pouring ketchup out of a bottle is easy.
Screen Shot Fast Company

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 2:00 pm

We've all been there: Banging the back of a glass ketchup bottle, begging it to give you a dollop of the good stuff or battling with a plastic bottle coercing it into giving up the last of its contents.

Maybe that will be a thing of the past.

Six MIT researchers say they've solved that problem as part of an entrepreneurship competition. The result is a bottle coated with "LiquiGlide," a nontoxic material so slippery that the ketchup or for that matter mayonnaise just glides out when you turn it over.

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Election 2012
9:40 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Get Ready For The First Robot President

While American politicians may be scripted, they're not this robotic. But whoever wins the presidency this year will preside over a U.S. economy where automation is becoming increasingly important.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:48 am

As many folks know, Bill Clinton was called the First Black President by Toni Morrison in The New Yorker.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:23 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Dangerous gut bacteria move outside hospitals, infect kids

Colonies of Clostridium difficile look awfully nice, but they're definitely something you'd be advised to keep at a safe distance.
CDC

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:55 am

Infections with the bacterium Clostridium difficile hit record numbers in recent years. Now there's evidence the hard-to-treat infections are becoming a problem for children.

The infections often strike the elderly, especially those who've been taking antibiotics that clear out competing bacteria in people's intestines. People sickened by the bug have persistent diarrhea that can, in severe cases, lead to dehydration.

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Economy
5:25 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Oregon's Recovery Uneven Around The State

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 6:36 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon's economy is recovering slowly but steadily according to the latest forecast from state economists. But not all parts of the state are along for the ride.

Some economic indicators are looking up in Oregon. That's according to state economist Mark McMullen. But he told state lawmakers that even though the pace has been slow statewide, it's even worse once you get away from the Willamette Valley and the Columbia Gorge.

"About an hour south of the Columbia River, we've seen no job gains since the worst of the recession," McMullen said.

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News
5:23 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Low Fares Won't Lure Some Train Riders To New Bus Service

Passengers board a Boltbus headed to Seattle outside a parking garage in downtown Portland. Photo by Chris Lehman

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 11:25 am

PORTLAND and SEATTLE - A new bus service in the Northwest makes some eye-catching promises: Extra legroom, non-stop service between major cities, and fares starting at just a dollar. BoltBus could change the way people travel between Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC.

BoltBus has no stations so I have to wait on a sidewalk in downtown Portland to catch my ride up to Seattle. I wouldn’t want to do this in the rain. Despite that possibility, Dave Culpepper and his wife figured they’d give it a shot.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:10 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Hearing Focuses On Progress Of Hanford's Safety Culture

Chairman of the DNFSB Peter S. Winokur presides over a hearing on the safety culture at Hanford. Image via DNFSB video

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 5:33 pm

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant is making progress on improving its safety culture. That’s the upshot of a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. before a federal nuclear watchdog agency. But not everyone familiar with the nuclear site agreed with that positive assessment.

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NPR Tech/Business
2:36 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

How much can potential employers ask about you?

Massachusetts lawmakers tried and failed to pass legislation that would have required criminal history checks, urine screening and fingerprinting and photographs of all new hires at the state Gaming Commission.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 11:03 am

Everyone knows it's tough to get a job these days. The task is that much harder if you have any kind of blemish on your past.

The use of background checks to screen potential employees has become a billion-dollar business. More than 90 percent of employers in the U.S. conduct criminal background checks, at least on some potential hires, according to a recent study by the National Consumer Law Center.

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