Keith Seinfeld

Health & Science Reporter/Assistant News Director

Keith Seinfeld has been KPLU’s Health & Science Reporter since 2001, and prior to that covered the Environment beat. He’s been a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Keith's stories prior to Nov. 2010 can be found at our old website archives. And, more stories are at his KPLU blog, Science and Wonder.

You can also check out his "Weather with Cliff Mass" weekly interviews.

Keith’s most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Watching brain surgery on a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. When the doctor pulled out a pretty hefty hand-held drill, I realized: It may be a hi-tech procedure, but you still have to put a hole in the skull, while the patient’s awake.”

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:05 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Sunshine, and a record streak of dry days

With heat on the way, your tomatoes just might ripen this year
jakobnewman Flickr

Western Washington is wrapping up its driest August ever, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

And, with no precipitation in sight for the next two weeks, Mass says we may even break an all-time streak for the most consecutive days without rain. The record is 51 days, set in 1951.

"We are thirty-eight days in, right now," he says. "So, we certainly have a shot at the big record."

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bike safety
4:18 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Seattle's street safety campaign includes more photo enforcement

"Ghost cycle" installations in Seattle indicated where a cyclist has been hit. For more information on the ghost cycles, go to http://ghostbikes.org.
Eldan Goldenberg Flickr

To make city streets safer, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced a plan to step up the number of speed zones monitored automatically by radar and photo enforcement – while urging everyone to slow down and show some "empathy."

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the mercer mess
4:25 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Confusion is inevitable on Seattle's second busiest street

An aerial view of South Lake Union and the Mercer Corridor Project taken on July 20, 2012.
SDOT Flickr

Confusion is inevitable as drivers, bus-riders and cyclists on one of Washington’s busiest roadways face an all-new landscape this week.

The giant road project on Seattle’s Mercer Street – between I-5 and Seattle Center – is entering a new phase. Several streets that have been closed for months are re-opening, while other streets close to traffic until next year.

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space exploration
11:24 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Forget robots on Mars -- how about an elevator to space?

One concept has the space elevator tied to a platform in the ocean, near the equator
Liftport

It might seem like a space-age fantasy, but there will be a lot of a serious talk in Seattle this weekend about a “space elevator.”

You might think of it as a space railroad. In theory, the technology could make going into orbit as cheap and easy as buying a first-class airline ticket.

The idea calls for a cable that stretches from a spot on the equator out to an anchor orbiting thousands of miles in space. On that cable, a remote-controlled cabin or elevator zips up and down.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:10 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Gorgeous Saturday, but clouds and rain on the horizon

esanchezleenheer Flickr

Enjoy a beautiful weekend, says KPLU weather expert and UW professor Cliff Mass.

But we've entered a late-summer pattern that should start bringing occasional showers, starting early next week. That brings an end to an annual dry period that makes the northwest drier than the deserts of Arizona, says Mass. It's been four weeks without measurable rain in western Washington.

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radio
9:40 am
Thu August 23, 2012

How do you make a Radiolab?

The Radiolab crew getting ready for Seattle.

One of public radios most creative storytelling teams is in Seattle this weekend – turning radio into a live theater performance.

Radiolab calls itself a show about curiosity. KPLU science reporter Keith Seinfeld talked with the show’s two hosts about how they make science come alive, and then turn it into live theater.

(Listen to the interview ... and for serious Jad & Robert fans, we've added an extra 3 minute excerpt that didn't fit into the edited interview.)

(For information about the shows on Friday and Saturday, visit the KPLU calendar page.)

Food
5:30 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Trial 'mini-grocery' brings fresh food to poor neighborhoods

Stockbox Grocery plans to greet you with a produce display like this one.
Stockbox

You might have trouble finding any attractive vegetables or fruits if you shop in the wrong stores. It’s especially challenging in poor neighborhoods, where mini-marts packed with beer, cigarettes and junk food may be all you can find.

One solution to be tested in Seattle this month will be in the form of a healthy corner store. Call it a mini-grocery.

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Cancer
8:17 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Figuring out which cancer treatments work

Seattle’s a hub for cancer research, and usually that means scientists are looking for cures or new treatments. Now a new project will try to tell us if those treatments are worth the price-tag.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:02 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Hottest day of the year (so far) likely tomorrow

As the air flows out to sea, known as offshore flow, the heat settles onto Seattle.
Amber Vaesca KPLU

Sometimes, like this weekend ... a miracle happens, reports our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass. 

That miracle may bring the hottest day of the year this weekend.

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health insurance
11:42 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Breast pumps for free, under new health law provisions

Many hospitals offer the Medela breast pump for rental

Breastfeeding is already a civil right in Seattle, and now it’s getting financial support everywhere. Under new health rules taking effect today, as part of President Obama’s health law, women will get a number of new "preventive" services covered for free (no co-pays). 

The most talked-about new benefit has been contraceptives – and how some Catholic groups prefer not to pay for birth control. 

But seven other provisions now must be covered by nearly all health insurance plans. One of them is breastfeeding supplies and counseling. 

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parking
5:04 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Seattle to watchdog tow-trucks, cap fees, hire tow-truck tsar

A single tow-truck charge of nearly $800 made headlines last winter. Now, Seattle leaders are proposing rules that would keep most impound charges under $200.

The city also will create a new inspector's position, to serve as tsar of tow-trucks.

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Brain Science
10:30 am
Mon July 30, 2012

How an experiment on blind mice could help blind humans see

The chemical compound - AAQ - that researchers say causes blind mice to behave as if they can see.

A potential new cure for blindness is showing promise in an experiment at the University of Washington and University of California. The study shows that losing your eyesight as you grow older may someday be reversible. 

The experiment used mice – blind mice.

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Global Health
4:30 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Why 'the Berlin Patient' is NOT heralding the end of AIDS

In this photo taken May 16, 2011, Timothy Brown, the only man ever known to have been cured from AIDS, poses with his dog, Jack, on Treasure Island in San Francisco. Brown has been called "the Berlin patient" because that's where he was treated.
The Associated Press

Even though the AIDS epidemic is still spreading, the disease is not killing as many people as it used to, because of new drugs. And that's emboldened many leading AIDS researchers and policymakers to talk about ending the epidemic in the next few years.

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public health
12:52 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

New clue about whooping cough epidemic from CDC investigators

Young children and babies are the most at risk of serious harm from whooping cough
Hamilton Cty, NY Public Health

Federal health investigators say a new clue has emerged about the whooping cough epidemic in Washington.

The epidemic shows no signs of waning – and the U.S. is on track to have more whooping cough cases than any time in 53 years. Washington and Wisconsin have the biggest outbreaks this year, with 3,000 reported cases each.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Summer thunderstorms will continue, says Cliff Mass

Lightning over Puget Sound on Thursday night, as seen from the northern Kitsap town of Hansville.
Greg Johnson www.skunkbayweather.com

If you were in the mountains or northern Puget Sound last night, you may have seen some spectacular lightning bolts and thunderstorms. Those are rare in the northwest, compared with the midwest. But KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says the right conditions are here now, and will be with us through Saturday.

Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington, explains why, in this week's interview.

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