Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Everyone in the office was thrilled when Pamela showed up for her first day at DigitalMania Studio, a video game company in Tunisia. She couldn't code. She was worthless as a beta tester. She had a habit of farting and urinating on people who annoyed her. But wow, could she moo.

"And we got used to the smell," says Sami Zalila, DigitalMania's communications manager.

Pamela's job? Prove to skeptics that the company really would give a cow to the top scorer of Bagra the Game.

Though it's mid-May, warmer, milder weather has yet to make its way up to the 6,288-foot peak of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, as a pair of weather observers can attest.

KPLU's Community advisory council will hold their quarterly meeting on Monday, May 23 @ 2 - 3:30pm at the Seattle office. If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the general manager's office @ (253) 535-8732 for more information.

Courtesy Howard Behar

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Office of Financial Management estimates Washington Initiative 732 will cost as much as $900 million per year. OFM’s analysis concluded the bill would cost as much as $900 million over four years.

Former Starbucks International President Howard Behar is one of three executives responsible for taking the coffee giant from a small regional chain to an international powerhouse. He’s also the author of popular business books that argue a big part of the company’s success has been its focus on putting people ahead of profits.

In Hindi, the saying goes that to survive, you need three things: roti, meaning bread or food, kapda or clothing, and makaan, shelter.

India has a roti problem. While the country has catapulted to No. 3 in the world for obesity, it's also the hungriest country in the world.

Known for freeways more than forests, Los Angeles isn't the first place one thinks of when it comes to foraging for food in the wilderness. But for Pascal Baudar, the city is a treasure trove of hundreds of varieties of wild plants and insects that he uses in unusual culinary creations.

Ah, the cardigan: your granny's cozy go-to used to be available year-round, but in limited quantities and colors. It was considered the sartorial equivalent of flossing: necessary, but not glamorous.

"The cardigan used to be something to keep you warm in the work place," explains Teri Agins, who covered the fashion industry for the Wall Street Journal for years. "It was not really an accessory you left on—unless you wore it as part of a twin set."

That look, sweater upon sweater, was considered too prim for a lot of young women. It was their mother's look.

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

This week Sound Effect takes a look at some interesting people and "that other thing they do."

Paul Allen Band

We begin by talking to KPLU All Blues host John Kessler about covering the release of Paul Allen's blues/rock album. Yes, Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner also plays the guitar, and we hear how he lined up some musical all-stars for his recording project.

Cemetery Tree-nabber

(Courtesy Brittany Cox)

Brittany Cox has had a pretty interesting career. She's a watchmaker and expert on antique clockwork and automata (mechanically-coded, self-operating machines). But just after Christmas in 2008, she found her "other thing."

Cox was driving to Sea-Tac airport to pick up a friend. She got there a little early and the cell phone waiting lot was full, so she decided to drive around to kill some time.  

Soon she found herself at a cemetery near the airport.  It was so close, in fact, that she could see the control tower and watch planes take off and land.

Susie Lee Sculpts Dating With Siren

May 14, 2016

After divorcing her partner, Susie Lee found herself once again on the dating scene. But she discovered romance had a new dimension, and it was a big one – the internet. Rather than be simply discouraged by the aspects of online dating she found dehumanizing, she created her own dating app, called Siren, together with co-founder Katrina Hess.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Bob Kramer found his love for knives after he decided to leave the circus.

He landed a job in the kitchen at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, and realized he was fascinated by the craftsmanship that went into a good knife.

Rather than stay a knife hobbyist, Kramer decided to set out on a course to become one of the world's most renowned knife makers.

Gabriel Spitzer traveled to Olympia to talk with Bob Kramer about his not-so-pointed path toward making knives from meteorites. 

Dick Stein's Decorum Forum: Your Northwest Etiquette Queries Answered

May 14, 2016
Dick Stein

Pacific Northwesterners are not known for being blunt. Sometimes our shyness can get in the way of decorum. Here to help is KPLU’s advice expert Dick Stein to answers etiquette questions from Sound Effect listeners.

 

Courtesy of Michele Mulholand

For a brief period in the 1970s, KPLU's own production manager Nick Morrison ran a strip club in downtown Seattle. It was called The New Paris Follies and it employed a number of dancers including local burlesque favorite, Eartha Quake. She heard Morrison talking about his time at The New Paris Follies on KPLU and decided to call in about her own story.

This Bud's for you, America.

Budweiser is renaming its beer "America" for the summer. The special cans and bottles will be available May 23 through the presidential election in November, owner Anheuser-Busch said Monday.

Flickr

This week Sound Effect dips into the world of startups to understand what’s so exciting, and so maddening, about working in a DIY enterprise.

Warrior Pose

We begin by meeting Othmane Rahmouni, co-founder and CEO of Yoga Panda. It is, to use a startup cliché, Uber for yoga. Rahmouni explains to Gabriel Spitzer what drives him to take risks as an entrepreneur. They then repair to a hot yoga studio, where Rahmouni makes a heroic show of not laughing while Gabriel attempts the poses.

Job-Title Bingo

Chelon Lone Photography

Being involved in a startup can be exhausting, expensive, stressful and risky. As a result, the people involved in such ventures can often be found taking their work, and themselves, pretty seriously.

Bridget Quigg is a Seattle writer who has worked in the tech world for a decade.  She recently completed the run of her one-woman show "Techlandia," which skewers startup culture — with love. 

(credit Sam McHale)

The concept started in a coffee shop a block away from their school. The first run of 65 shirts sold out in under an hour, next to a table of Girl Scouts selling cookies outside the cafeteria. Less than two weeks later, more than a thousand requests poured in for a t-shirt that began as a high school class assignment.

Greta Zorn, Alex White and Taya Christianson found that, without meaning to, they had a startup on their hands. The three are seniors at Seattle's Northwest School, and they created the punky t-shirt at the center of this story.

Courtesy of Jonathan Sposato

It’s no secret that gender equality is an issue for the tech and startup world. According to the tech data firm, CrunchBase , only about 15 percent of U.S. startups that received investor funding from 2009 to 2015 had at least one female founder.

Courtesy of Monica Washington

K. Wyking Garrett always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a young kid, he started his own car wash business. In high school, he launched a clothing line. Garrett always had strong role models in business, especially his grandfather.

If I say Kentucky Derby, you say ... mint julep?

Well, if you're a Kentucky dame like me you do. As my fellow Louisville native Jesse Baker once pointed out: "It ain't Derby without a mint julep."

Race fans have been drinking mint juleps at Churchill Downs in Louisville since the racetrack's inception in 1875, according to bourbon historian Fred Minnick.

For an "authentic" Mexican meal, why not cook up crepes?

¿Que qué?! You ask. Hear me out.

Impressed, we are. With your #StarWarsDay celebrations, that is. The fourth is strong on the Interwebs.

It's a time for Star Wars-themed treats.

(Even here at NPR.)

And an excuse to show your creative side.

Of course, even this sacred day is not free of the presidential campaign.

Imagine your bright young son or daughter comes to you, high school mortarboard in hand, and says, "Mom, Dad, I'm not going to college next year." What's your reaction?

If you're the commander in chief or first lady, the answer is, reportedly, supportive. Their older daughter, Malia Obama, made headlines this week by announcing that she would put off matriculating at Harvard University until 2017.

It turns out that this decision is becoming more popular at Harvard and around the country.

Idaho Press Club Honors Our Regional Reporters

May 2, 2016

A state representative admits he's not one of the cool kids and nobody wants to sit by him on an airplane full of lawmakers.

A rancher tells of a wildfire so out of control, flames jumped and reached across a highway.

Santa and Mrs. Claus are introduced to a room full of refugees in English and Arabic.

These stories and more from our reporters were awarded six honors Saturday from the Idaho Press Club, recognizing the best Idaho journalism in 2015.

The food glitterati will gather in Chicago Monday night for the black-tie James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards, known as the "Oscars of the food world." Most of the categories sound like industry fare: Outstanding Restaurant Design. Best Chef: Great Lakes. Best New Restaurant. Rising Star Chef of the Year. There's not much of interest for anyone outside the foodies and food world orbit. Except, that is, for a sneakily subversive category: America's Classics.

Ricky Gervais always seems to be working on something new. Whether it's producing a TV show, writing a movie, voicing a cartoon character, or hosting the Golden Globes, the comedian keeps busy.

Jayel Aheram / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect we present stories of war and peace.

Ground Zero

Courteosy of Tom Rogers

Naval base Kitsap-Bangor, located on the Kitsap Peninsula is one of only two military bases in the United States that houses strategic nuclear weapon facilities. It's home to several Trident submarines, which are armed with nuclear weapons. The nuclear capabilities of these submarines have long made the naval base a focus of controversy and protest.

Courtesy of Vanessa Davids

Vanessa Davids did most of her military service “inside the wire,” as an Arabic translator on a base in Iraq. Her job called on her to translate audio and video recordings, in hopes of gathering intelligence, foiling attacks and probing enemy action. She translated bomb plots, beheadings, even in some cases child pornography. As a result, she got an intimate, and dark, perspective on human nature.

“Doing the work that I did, it really seemed to me at the time that evil was in every single person, and it was just a matter of how well they hid it from you,” Davids said.

(Credit Anders Beer Wilse/Public Domain)

During World War II, in a frozen wilderness in southern Norway, on the edge of an icy cliff sat a hydroelectric plant called Vemork. This winter fortress was the center of some of the most important sabotage efforts of the war.

That’s because besides electricity, the plant manufactured a rare substance Hitler needed for an atomic bomb: heavy water. The allies thought that if Hitler got his hands on this stuff, the Germans could win the war. So they wanted to destroy the plant. And their first plan was an outright air attack.

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