Gabriel Spitzer

Health & Science Reporter / Assistant News Director

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.

Gabriel received his Master's of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his degree in English at Cornell University. He’s been honored with the Kavli Science Journalism Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Ashley and their two sons, Ezra and Oliver.

Gabriel’s most memorable KPLU moment was: “In just my second week here, I found myself covering the unfolding story of a mass shooting and citywide manhunt. It was a tragic and chaotic day, when the public badly needed someone to sort the facts from the rumors. It made me proud of our profession.”

Ways To Connect

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

The federal government has moved a step closer to designating the northern spotted owl an endangered species. The owl has been listed as threatened for a quarter-century, but its numbers continue to decline. The California-based Environmental Protection Information Center, or EPIC, petitioned to have the owl reclassified, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week that its initial review justifies considering that request. It will publish official notice Friday.

A change in the owl’s status might not have a huge effect on regulations, which were overhauled as part of the Northwest Forest Plan during the 1990s. But EPIC legal coordinator Tom Wheeler said the change would strengthen the regulators’ hands.

  "Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

Each week's show explores a different theme, and week, we push some boundaries.

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

Each week's show explores a different theme, and this time around, it’s tales of lost and found.

Jake Schultz

If you ever drive through Seattle-area traffic, you may have had some version of this thought: “I wish my car had wings right now.”

The flying car is a symbol of mid-century optimism about the future, and it seemed almost inevitable at the time that, sooner or later, we’d have them. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. But we actually came a lot closer to getting them than you might think, thanks to a Washington man named Molton Taylor and his Aerocar.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington State’s insurance commissioner has opened up a multi-state investigation into Washington’s largest insurance carrier, Premera Blue Cross, after a data breach left 11 million customers’ private information exposed to hackers.

Premera says it found out about the hack on January 29, and the company disclosed it publicly on March 17. So the first thing Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants to know is, what took so long?

“Why did it take six weeks before you notified the primary regulator? I want to know why we didn’t know earlier, so that we can make sure that everything that can be done is being done to protect the consumer’s interest,” Kreidler said in an interview.

Eric Bridiers / U. S. Mission General

"Early in 2015, Shin Dong-hyuk changed his story.”

Stuart Herbert

If you’re a parent, this is not news to you: Kids love the swings. So much, in fact, that little kids seem to be able to swing endlessly, for 20 or 30 or 40 minutes, without tiring of it a bit.

I observed this in my own children and, having liked the swings himself as a lad, decided to hop on one as a thirty-something dad.

Tim Bouwer / Flickr

What does it mean to age? When are we "over the hill?" And what are the side effects of a longer lifespan?

On our most recent episode of Sound Effect on KPLU, we explored the idea of aging with Dr. Dan Gottschling. 

William Walker / University of Washington, Dept. of Bioengineering

Seattle-based researchers have developed a synthetic substance that might help prevent some severely injured people from bleeding to death. The injectable polymer is designed to make blood clots stronger, forming a kind of bandage that can stem or stop bleeding, even from internal wounds. Blood loss is the second leading cause of death following a trauma, such as a crash or gunshot.

City of Seattle Community Tech / Flickr

Somali immigrants living in Washington hope the federal government will help them restart the flow of money to relatives in Somalia. Those remittances have ground to a halt since a California bank announced last month it would stop handling them.

That leaves an uncertain future for many families in Somalia who depend on money from relatives abroad. Mohammed Jama, executive director of the Abu Bakr Islamic Center in Tukwila, said in the devastated Somali economy, his relatives have hardly any income.

Courtesy of Quiet Planet

On an April morning in 2011, Gordon Hempton awoke to sunshine. Spring was unfolding outside his Indianola house, and yet all was quiet.

“And I thought, ‘Well, this is kind of funny,” Hempton recalls. “’The birds should be singing.”’

Hempton says he was reminded of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” and wondered if something strange had happened to the birds in his neighborhood. He turned to his partner, Kate.

AP Photo/NASA

New findings by University of Washington scientists could change the timeline of how life evolved on Earth, and maybe on other planets, too.

The research has to do with nitrogen, a crucial ingredient of life. Scientists had believed usable nitrogen was in very short supply on the young planet, without the enzymes needed to break it down.

Courtesy of Danny Cords

When Danny Cords’ parents learned he was gay, they took him to a conversion therapist.

“One of the first things he wanted to try to figure out was whether I was a top or a bottom, which, of course, are sexual positions,” Cords says. “And I was 14. I had no idea. I hadn’t had sex, so I didn’t know what to say and he wanted to figure it out. So it was incredibly uncomfortable.

Wallie Funk / AP Photo

A well-known former resident of the Pacific Northwest will be getting special designation from the federal government. Lolita, a killer whale captured from Penn Cove off Whidbey Island, is now a member of an endangered species along with her wild cousins.

Lolita is the last known survivor of the many orcas captured from the Salish Sea in 1970. She has lived since then at the Miami Seaquarium. When Puget Sound orcas were later designated an endangered species, captive whales were excluded.

Courtesy of Marine Construction Technologies

A technology that emerged from University of Washington research has the potential to make undersea construction less of a headache for wildlife.

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