Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

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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.

Woody Guthrie, often considered America's greatest folk icon, authored hundreds of ballads during his lifetime. His most famous song "This Land is Your Land," like many of his songs, sketched both the political and geographic American landscape.

"When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me"

Courtesy Faried Alani

As an orthopedic surgeon in Iraq, Dr. Faried Alani had a highly successful career working at a hospital and a prosperous, happy life with his wife and two daughters. Many of the people he operated on were victims of bombs and bullets, but he forced himself to keep the violence at a distance emotionally, in order to do his job more effectively. 

But that changed one evening, as Alani was leaving work. 

Investing for retirement doesn't have to be hard. You read up on how to put together a diverse mix of low-cost index funds, bonds, etc. Then keep setting aside all you can into that retirement account. Easy.

But when you actually retire and start spending that money, that's like going from playing checkers to playing chess. It can get a lot harder.

Credit Ken Wilcox via Flickr

This week Sound Effect brings us stories of rivalries.

Rivalries In Sports

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

What makes sports rivalries so contentious, so impassioned and so much fun? KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that it has a lot to do with proximity and stakes. While Seattle sports teams have often been accused of playing out of "Sound Alaska," Pacific Northwest teams still have managed to develop some consistent contention with other teams, especially if there is a lot on the line. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Caros and Ben Fodor didn’t always hate each other’s guts.

“Like, at birth, when he was first adopted, we were close, because he didn’t talk,” Caros said.

The irritation is mutual.

“Caros and I really didn’t get along growing up,” Ben said. “I don’t even know how to describe that guy. He’s kind of an a------, but he’s not like your stereotypical jerk. He’s got his own little way of ruining things.”

Patrick Rodriguez via Wikimedia Commons

Tacoma has been known as the “City of Destiny” for more than 140 years. While the city’s slogan has had a unique longevity (when was the last time you heard Seattle referred to as "Jet City?"), the slogan's originator is even more extraordinary.

George Francis Train is often credited with naming Tacoma the “City of Destiny.” At the very least, he popularized the slogan, using it over and over in his bombastic syndicated newspaper column called, inexplicably, “Train’s Vander-Billion Psychos.”

When it comes to music, the idea of band rivalries goes back decades. The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones has been a classic matchup that goes back five decades.

In the Pacific Northwest, the most visible example of a band rivalry started 25 years ago, when Nirvana and Pearl Jam were two of the biggest bands in the country.

Why is this Passover different from any other? Because the story that the Jewish holiday commemorates — the exodus of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom — resonates more strongly than ever in a world embroiled in a refugee crisis that encompasses approximately 60 million people, the highest number ever recorded, according to United Nations statistics.

After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters 'Chase The Burn'

Apr 20, 2016

Right now, and in the coming weeks, from Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.

"Sometimes we call it 'chasing the burns,' " mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.

Alex Adkins / Flickr

This week Sound Effect is revisiting stories about leaving home.

Leaving The Church

Author Nicole Hardy told a lot of people she was a 35-year-old virgin. When her essay “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone” was published in 2011 in a New York Times Modern Love column, it sparked a lot of attention.

(Public Domain/NASA)

Soyeon Yi makes her home in Puyallup, Washington. But to get there, she had to leave home — twice. Soyeon is the first, and so far the only astronaut in the Korean space program. On April 8, 2008, she boarded a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and for about nine days, left her home planet behind. 

Spaceflight was a dream come true for her, but it came with some unexpected consequences. And those pushed her eventually to make another break with home - this time, with her country - and nearly everything she knew.

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