Culture

courtesy Burke Museum

Plastics have only been in wide use since the 1940s, yet they are everywhere, from sandwich bags to phones, to keyboards, to rain gear. Even the cans of soup in the grocery aisle are lined with it.

It's hard to imagine a world before these conveniences. What would your life be like without plastics?

Seattle resident Samantha Porter decided to find out. She works behind the scenes of the Burke Museum, which is hosting an exhibit titled "Plastics Unwrapped."

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A Chinese scientist recently suggested that prehistoric humans ate pandas. The evidence, based on cut marks on panda bones, strikes me as thin, but the report led me to a thought experiment.

How would people in the modern world react if the some population or subculture today made panda-foraging a goal? I imagine most of us would be horrified, and not only because the panda is an endangered species. The panda has become a symbol of cuteness, an animal we love to love.

It’s been sunny and fair lately…but what do you do when the dark and cloudy skies of late winter get you down?
 
For many people in the Pacific Northwest, the answer is gardening.
 
Their passion is on display this week at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.
 
KPLU environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp went to check it out. (Click on the "Listen" button up top to hear some highlights from the preview tour.)
 

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It's a day of disappointment in the northwest for fans of US space exploration. 

Seattle's Museum of Flight got official word this morning that it will not be home to one of the three space shuttles NASA is retiring.  And it won't get the prototype Enterprise (which was only used for test flights and never reached space) either.

The shuttles are going to:

NASA photo

NASA says Seattle's Museum of Flight won't get to display one of the retiring space shuttles.

Graphic courtesy of Museum of Flight.

The odds are about one in seven.  That's the skinny on Seattle's bid to become a host site for one of NASA's retiring space shuttles. 

Seattle Times writer Jack Broom sums up the situation nicely in that paper's latest story on the question. Broom notes the Museum of Flight's chances were diminished slightly last week:

Flickr photo courtesy dontthink.feel

Tully's Coffee has lost yet another CEO. Seattle's second biggest coffee enterprise has announced that Carl Pennington will retire at the end of this month. 

According to the Seattle Times, he is the seventh CEO to cycle through the company since founder Tom O'Keefe stepped down from the post a decade ago. 

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

An ancient cedar tree was delivered earlier today (Tuesday) to the Seattle Center. Several totem poles carved from it in public will commemorate the life and art of native carver John T. Williams.

His shooting by a Seattle police officer last August has escalated tensions between law enforcement and people of color. But Williams' family says the "carve-in" that has just begun is about remembering his cultural legacy. 

AP Photo

One of America's most prominent living poets is coming to Seattle. Dr. Maya Angelou is the author of a groundbreaking memoire published in 1970, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. It describes how she overcame racism and trauma growing up in the South. 

Dr. Angelou is now 83, and recently received the highest civilian honor in the land, the Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama. 

KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp spoke with her and asked, first of all, how she came to write her first work of prose. (Click on the audio "play" arrow at the top of this post to hear KPLU's interview).

Dr. Angelou will speak at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on Monday, March 14th, in an appearance at 7:30 p.m.

Scott Schaefer / B-Town blog

They say you can’t tell a book by its cover.  But maybe coming face to face with one that towers over you will entice you to read a little more.  At least that’s the hope of the King County Library system.

Huge, 6 foot tall posters of book jacket covers have been placed next to coffee shops, paint stores, law firms and other small businesses on main streets in Burien, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Renton, Issaquah, Kirkland and on Vashon Island.  It’s called the Book Cover Walking Tour.