Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

The road to a national vote on a new constitution took an unexpected turn in northern Thailand on Sunday, when 100 pig-tailed macaques reportedly stormed into a voting station and destroyed a section of the voter rolls and other documents.

This week on Sound Effect, "The Doctor Is In." We revisit some of our favorite stories on health, aging, things that take us to the doctor, and the toll that doctors often feel from helping others.

We kick off the show with a story that aired on our very first episode of Sound Effect. Leila Mirhaydari was a healthy and active 27-year-old when she went into sudden kidney failure. She spoke with Sound Effect host, Gabriel Spitzer about what her life was like as she sought out a new kidney.

Editor's Note: This story originally ran as part of Sound Effect's inaugural episode which aired Jan. 10, 2015.

Meet Death With Dignity Champion, Robb Miller

Jul 23, 2016

Robb Miller worked as executive director of Compassion and Choices of Washington (now End of Life Washington) for most of the last two decades. That organization helps people with end of life decision making as they face incurable or terminal illnesses, and they pushed for the passage of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

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So most of us probably take our general baseline physical comfort for granted. But imagine if something as innocent as a friendly pat on the back caused intense pain.

So for people who suffer from Fibromyalgia, that is your daily life. It’s pain, interrupted by brief bursts of relief.

Lauren Jhanson lives with this disorder, and talked about how it’s made her feel differently about her own comfort zone, and the strides she has taken to not let it hold her back anymore in life.   

Pamela Wible

Physicians are in the business of saving lives but they have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession.  An estimated 400 doctors a year take their own lives. Pamela Wible is a physician in Eugene, Oregon and she’s devoted a big part of her career to helping doctors cope with thoughts of suicide.

Lately, it has felt like the terrible news just won't stop. As soon as you've wrapped your head around one story, you're pummeled by another — and then another.

In a "Carpool Karaoke" segment that will surely mortify her daughters, Michelle Obama drives around the White House grounds enthusiastically singing and dancing with Late Late Show host James Corden.

An Old Trick Holds New Promise For Tastier Tomatoes

Jul 20, 2016

Scott Stoddard is an expert when it comes to tomatoes. He plants rows and rows of tomatoes outdoors on farms across central California for the University of California Cooperative Extension.

They're the kind of tomatoes that "end up on sandwiches at Subway," Stoddard says. "Also, at any of your common hamburger places, In-N-Out, McDonald's, you name it."

Comic Mike Birbiglia's new film, Don't Think Twice, was inspired by an observation his wife made when she came to one of his improv shows.

"She goes, 'It's amazing that everyone is equally talented in this show, and yet this one person is on Saturday Night Live and this one person is a movie star and this one person lives on an air mattress in Queens,' " Birbiglia tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And I thought: Not only is that true and a great observation, but it's also a movie."

They call it "The Hummus Wars."

Lebanon accused the Israeli people of trying to steal hummus and make it their national dish, explains Ronit Vered, a food journalist with the newspaper Haaretz in Tel Aviv. And so hummus became a symbol, she tells us, "a symbol of all the tension in the Middle East."

The war began over a 4,532-pound plate of hummus.

When the school year ends, some kids go to camp, summer school or daycare. But a lot of these options are expensive for families who have to come up with creative, cheaper alternatives, whether that means sending kids off to the city's rec center, or to stay with grandparents.

NPR's Lynn Neary spoke about the economic hardships of summer with KJ Dell'Antonia, who's written about the topic for The New York Times.

This week's episode of Sound Effect contains adult language that, while "bleeped," may not be suitable for all audiences.

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. For this episode, the Sound Effect staff brings us stories of going solo.

Table For One

Who do we have to thank for countless wasted hours playing Solitaire on the computer over the last twenty-five or so years? Wes Cherry didn't invent solitaire, but he did invent solitaire for the modern age.

In 1988, he was an intern for Microsoft, and on his own time he wrote code that would become Solitaire for Windows.

These days, he runs a cidery on Vashon Island with his wife and his son. Out at his orchard, he talked about his motivation for creating the game, and some of the inside stories as to why it ended up looking the way that it does. 

Sarah Brandabur was no stranger to hiking. Before heading out, she would read up on the trails, check the weather conditions, and have a pretty solid idea of what she was getting herself into.

Last October, her plans for a hike to Ingalls Lake in Central Washington was similarly prepared for. It was supposed to be a day hike.  The weather was beautiful, and she brought a friend along to make the trek with her.

After her friend wasn't able to continue shortly after starting the hike, Sarah decided to go the rest of the way solo.

Why Is Roger Valdez Lonely? And Is That So Bad?

Jul 16, 2016

Roger Valdez is known for his work in politics and as an advocate for micro-housing with Smart Growth Seattle and he walks that walk by living in an apodment. 

Gabriel Spitzer met with Valdez at his (very small) home on Capitol Hill and the two discussed loneliness and how a divorce lead him to move out, downsize and move forward. 

The following essay contains adult language that may not be suitable for all audiences. It was originally published on Billfold (which, by the way, makes no attempt to obscure the potentially objectionable language). 
 

You’re telling your own story: You graduated college and you’re a grown-ass woman now. Tina Fey is your hero; Beyoncé, your preacher.

 

It has been said that when we come into this world, we come alone, and when we leave this world, we die alone. Though that sentiment may be true, some hospitals are doing what they can to make sure that anyone that wants company in their final hours, has it.

 

St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia is just one of many hospitals with a No One Dies Alone (NODA) program.

 

Don't Do What I Do: How Getting Out Of Sync Can Help Relationships

Jul 16, 2016

"Whatever! Just leave me alone!"

Tammy stomps her feet up the stairs to the bedroom. A few moments later she slams the door, leaving for work. Jack is exasperated, angry and hurt. He wanted to rush outside and demand that Tammy treat him with respect. He imagined giving her the silent treatment until she apologized. But he knew this would prolong the fight and compound the resentment.

He goes upstairs, tidies their room and does her laundry. He arranges some flowers on their nightstand and goes to work.

Where Did Agriculture Begin? Oh Boy, It's Complicated

Jul 15, 2016

Sometime around 12,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors began trying their hand at farming.

First, they grew wild varieties of crops like pea, lentil and barley, and herded wild animals like goat and wild ox. Centuries later, they switched to farming full-time, breeding both animals and plants, creating new varieties and breeds. Eventually, they migrated outward, spreading farming to parts of Europe and Asia.

What does it mean to be middle class in America? Nearly a century ago, in Detroit — which was then the burning core of the country's middle class — the answer might have looked like a hot dog: a Detroit Coney, to be precise.

At its most basic, a Detroit Coney is a kind of chili dog — "a steamed bun, with a natural-casing hot dog, beef and pork," explains Joe Grimm, author of the book Coney Detroit. "And on top of that hot dog — which should be grilled, not boiled, not deep-fried — goes the sauce, the most important part."

The food processor is, for me, hugely disappointing. Before owning one, I used to see them looking all shiny and powerful in the department store, and I'd fantasize about never chopping a vegetable by hand again. I failed to consider that cookbook authors have particular ideas about how each ingredient should be prepped. The food processor, no matter how many blades it may come with, often doesn't cut it.

For this episode, the Sound Effect team curates some of our favorite segments dealing with law and justice.

First we hear from two observant men, a gutter punk named Shake and the captain of Seattle’s West Precinct, about the laws being broken at Seattle’s Westlake Park.

What do a gutter punk and a police captain have in common? They are both keen observers.

In this segment from Sound Effect's second episode, host Gabriel Spitzer takes a tour of Westlake Park from two men on opposite sides of the law.

First we hear from a man who would only give his name as Shake and then Precinct Captain Chris Fowler

Drawing Out The Green River Killer

Jul 9, 2016

Detective Tom Jensen spent more than 20 years looking for the Green River Killer. After Gary Ridgeway was arrested and charged, the lead detective and the murderer spent 188 days together as authorities made efforts to collect as much information as possible.   

You may have dreamt of doing it yourself, but Shon Hopwood made most people's action-movie dreams his reality and it ended with a stark dose of reality.

 

In 1998, when Hopwood was 22 and living in Nebraska, he robbed a bank. The 11-bank crime spree started as a joke with his friend, but that didn't stay a joke for long.

From bank robber to jailhouse lawyer to having cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, we hear a tale of how breaking the law turned into practicing it.

For 27-year-old Adnan Hussain Nanjee of Karachi, Pakistan, postage stamps are more than just postage stamps: They tell the history of his country.

"Take a look for yourself," says Nanjee, who was in New York last month to take part in the World Stamp Show, a once-a-decade international convention that welcomed approximately 250,000 stamp collectors and enthusiasts, eager to display, view, buy and sell everything philatelic.

I have lived in eight countries and 10 cities. I have never lived anywhere for longer than six years. But the one constant in my life, my anchor in a changing world, my defense against perpetual culture shock, is my pot of daal.

Daal -- yellow, red, brown or black — is a staple across India. It is often described, inadequately, I think, as lentil soup. Except it's so much more.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

Until she was 54 years old, Kim was totally unaware that there were things in the world she couldn't see.

"This was the whole problem," Kim says. "I had no clue what the problem was."

In Chile, 'Marraqueta' Is The Daily Bread

Jul 7, 2016

Invoking the expression "to be born with a marraqueta under his/her arm" in Chile is to speak of a child that has their future assured. It's a little more common than a silver spoon in one's mouth, and far more democratic, as the marraqueta, pan batido or pan francés — as it's called outside of the capital city of Santiago, where I live — is a staple food eaten sometimes as many as three times a day.

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