Science

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Nurses, teachers and other school staff will likely have more flexibility next fall to give adrenaline shots if a student goes into allergic shock. Both houses of the Legislature have unanimously approved a bill that loosens restrictions on how and when schools can use an epinephrine injector. 

The change is meant to save the lives of kids who have a severe allergy, including some rare cases in which the first-ever reaction to a not-yet-diagnosed allergy takes place at school or on a field trip.

Keith Seinfeld / kplu

College and high school athletes are typically in top physical shape. Except a few have an invisible heart condition that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, where they drop dead on the court or field.

A new study by a group of physicians led by a team doctor for the University of Washington Huskies recommends all student athletes get a high-tech heart scan called an electrocardiogram, or EKG.

The catch is their doctors probably need additional training.

Department of Health

For the first time since 1998, Washington is getting a new secretary of health. Mary Selecky is retiring, and her replacement starts today.

Selecky has been a familiar face during health emergencies, such as the pandemic flu. She made tobacco her top health priority, and saw smoking rates drop year after year. But, as she steps down, the anti-smoking crusade is at a crossroads.

Lynn Kelley Author / Flickr

You might imagine everyone without health insurance will gladly sign up for free or subsidized coverage once it’s available this fall, under the Affordable Care Act.

However, it hasn't worked out that way for children. A high-profile effort to cover all the uninsured kids in Washington has stalled.

Well, the tears don’t fall. And you’ll want a handkerchief, says Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield.

“It just forms a ball on my eyes,” he says. “So if you keep crying, you’re just going to end up with a bigger and bigger ball of water in your eye.”

ESA and the Planck Collaboration

Close your eyes, press the play button and travel back 14 billion years in time.

That’s the sound of the Big Bang, in high fidelity.

“It sort of sounds like what an airplane sounds like flying over your house in the middle of the night,” says University of Washington physics professor John Cramer who recreated the sound using cosmic microwave data. “A very low frequency that sort of builds up them falls off again.”

Courtesy of Stratolaunch Systems

Billionaire Paul Allen’s spaceship project has reached a milestone in the form of the world's widest garage door. 

The door will make way for a strange vehicle under assembly in the Mojave Desert. 

Allen's team has the most unusual plan, out of several private space ventures, for sending people and satellites into orbit. They'll launch their rockets from the belly of a gigantic airplane, which looks like two Boeing 747s bonded together. And constructing that bizarre jet requires a building wide enough to shelter it.

Having a walkable neighborhood has become a hot selling point for real estate. It’s also supposed to be better for your health — if it gets you out moving more.

But a study in Seattle suggests people don’t necessarily walk more just because they live in a walkable area.

The skies over Alaska lit up with “one of the best displays (of the northern lights) seen in recent memory” last Saturday, according to the photographer who captured it.

Last October, a freshman at Washington State University passed out after consuming hard liquor and an energy drink. The student later died in the hospital. His blood alcohol level was about five times the legal limit.

That led to some soul-searching on the campus in Pullman, Wash.

It turns out an average of 200 students each year end up in the ER at Pullman Regional Hospital for alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related injuries.

ESA and the Planck Collaboration

New results from looking at the split-second after the Big Bang indicate the universe is 80 million years older than previously thought and provide ancient evidence supporting core concepts about the cosmos — how it began, what it's made of and where it's going.

The findings released Thursday bolster a key theory called inflation, which says the universe burst from subatomic size to its now-observable expanse in a fraction of a second. The new observations from the European Space Agency's $900 million Planck space probe appear to reinforce some predictions made decades ago solely on the basis of mathematical concepts.

LasseSH / Flickr

Game designer Jane McGonigal thinks gaming can save the world, or at least help make it a better place.

“I know you’d rather hear that these games are turning kids into brain-dead zombies,” McGonical told a packed room at the University of Washington today, for the School of Social Work’s annual breakfast.

But the evidence suggests otherwise and that gaming is better than harmless. It could be a powerful force for good. Gaming is building a library in Ghana, for starters. More on that in a bit. 

Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center

Good news for fans of the Honeycrisp apple: a similar variety is being developed right here in Washington state. 

Scientists at Washington State University have created a new apple variety specifically designed to thrive on the eastern slopes of the Cascades and win over consumers. It's a cross between the Honeycrisp with a variety called Enterprise, and is described as crisp and slightly sweet. 

"I was very excited by it. It’s a really nice eat," says Kate Evans, an apple breeder and horticulture professor at WSU's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.

CERN / Associated Press

The search is all but over for a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe.

Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.

Teen smoking rate drops below pot usage

Mar 14, 2013
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Washington high school students who participated in a statewide health survey say they are twice as likely to smoke marijuana as cigarettes.

Overall, though, the trends show teenagers are drinking, smoking and abusing prescription drugs less than in the past.

In fact, 8th and 10th graders are half as likely to drink alcohol compared to those in 1998.

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