Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Parker Miles Blohm

Anton Schwartz abandoned his doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence in order to pursue a career in music.

Schwartz made the decision to leave academia after suffering from chronic fatigue.

This might seem like a drastic career change to most of us, but Schwartz doesn't look at it that way. The way he looks at it, he just consistently followed his passions. 

Friendship is unlike any other relationship in a person’s life. It can be difficult to define and may carry different meanings for different people. Two friends may describe the degree of their relationship in totally different ways.

While family bonds are typically considered unconditional, friendships are voluntary and thus subject to being set aside when people enter adulthood and “more important” events arise.

Wikimedia Commons

What would you do if a stranger tried to throw a party at your house and invited all 700 of their Facebook friends? Sound Effect Senior Producer Arwen Nicks lays out local artist and prankster Derek Erdman’s scheme to watch "Singles", a classic grunge film from the 1990s, in the courtyard of the apartment building where it was filmed.


Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme and this week we bring you notes from “Underground.” 

sharkhats / Flickr

Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer spoke with phonographer and sound artist Chris DeLaurenti about his journey into the tunnels beneath Washington's mothballed nuclear power plant.


Justin Steyer / KPLU

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer.

As you may have heard, KPLU is now in a transition period and there is much uncertainty around the future of Sound Effect. So what do we do when we’re feeling frightened or anxious? We watch videos of cute animals.

Stevens Pass Mountain Resort

Workers at Stevens Pass Mountain Resort made snow angels and played in the white stuff as Mother Nature added nearly 5 inches to the ski area Tuesday night. With more on the way this week, they’re hoping to be open before Thanksgiving this year.

Star Power: Sound Effect, Episode 44

Nov 7, 2015

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme and this week we reach for Star Power.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

The Hubble Space Telescope is incredible. The space-based observatory has captured images that have stunned scientists and the public alike. Some of those have been used to shed light on new planets and parts of space never before seen.

But Julianne Dalcanton is pushing for what she calls "the grandchild of Hubble", a new and improved version that could capture more of space than we could have ever imagined.

A Symphonic Interpretation of Space

Nov 7, 2015
Hubble Space Telescope / NASA.gov

Composer Nan Avant has been in love with classical music since she was a teenager. While her sister and her friends were listening to pop records, Avant was becoming entranced by the music of Antonio Vivaldi and Erik Satie.

It wasn't long after she began her study of classical piano that Avant was composing original pieces, hoping then that she would one day become a conductor. 

Courtesy of L'Oréal

Dr. Sarah Ballard was one of the very first guests we ever had on Sound Effect. In Newness, Sound Effect's very first episode, Ballard told us about what it feels like to discover a new planet.

Ballard has not only discovered four new planets, she also discovered a new way to discover planets.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

The e. coli outbreak tied to Chipotle restaurants in the Pacific Northwest continues to expand. Twenty-five people in Washington and 12 in Oregon have confirmed infections, with dozens more suspected.

All 43 Chipotle restaurants in Washington State and the Portland area are closed while public health officials investigate the outbreak.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

It was going to be an adventure.

Even before they came aboard the Holland America cruise ship Prinsendam, John Graham and his 13-year-old daughter, Malory, knew that much.

This month, we asked our audience to offer advice on how to make the best of a student program in the developing world. From dozens of tips, shared on Twitter using #NPRTravelHacks, we chose 13 of our favorites.

1. Get those Zzzs

2. Bring a Polaroid camera

Halloween: Sound Effect, Episode 43

Oct 31, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week the team tears a page from the calendar and embraces Halloween.

Northwest Women Filmmakers Aren't Running From Horror

Oct 31, 2015
Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Courtney Sheehan, Northwest Film Forum's Artistic Director, shares two upcoming cinematic events brought to you by local women filmmakers.  

A Life Dedicated To Searching For UFOs

Oct 31, 2015
Art-pop via Wikimedia Commons

Bill Puckett will investigate your UFO sighting. In fact, it’s part of what he does as the head of the group UFOs Northwest.

The former Washington resident now lives in Helena, Montana; but his belief that the truth is out there started when the first waves of UFO sightings began, right here in Washington state.

Gabriel Spitzer talks to Puckett about the flying saucer phenomenon and one specific incident that took place in Washington over the Cascade Mountains.

Wikimedia Commons

It seems like every big city has its own tale of underground tunnels. And the stories of what they were used for are often very similar to each other. For many west coast port cities, the stories often involve drinking establishments with secret traps doors. Bar owners would get a patron good and intoxicated, drop that patron through a trap door and into a basement, which led to a secret tunnel to the port. By the time the poor soul came to, he found himself shanghaied on a boat in the middle of the ocean.

The Scientific Search for Sasquatch

Oct 31, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

When you think of Sasquatch you may think of grainy footage of a large mass moving through the woods or perhaps the movie and then television show, Harry and the Hendersons and that is because the iconic and centuries long hunt for Bigfoot has permeated pop culture. You probably do not think of unmaned drones swooping through the sky to hunt for signs of the mysterious bipedal humanoid, but that is exactly what Professor Jeffrey Meldrum is thinking about. 

tibbygirl via Creative Commons

At one of Seattle's most historic hotels, one of the city’s most historic ghosts stories remains very persistent.

As the story goes, Hotel Sorrento is the place where the late socialite (and pot brownie creator) Alice B. Toklas has chosen to walk the halls for eternity.

But why the Hotel Sorrento? Toklas spent the bulk of her adult life with Gertrude Stein in Paris, and never actually stepped a living foot in the hotel.

Swim around enough in the oceanic photo archives of the Library of Congress and you will spot some strange things — including old doctored photos of two-headed humans and a man-monster superimposition.

But perhaps nothing as bizarre as this photo — labeled General Grant at City Point.

Look at it closely. Notice anything amiss?

Ed Ronco / KPLU

There are a lot of things that have kept Louis Edelman in his Lower Queen Anne apartment for the past 10 years.

It has a view of the Space Needle. It’s less than a minute’s walk to where he tends bar just down the street. And at the time we met this past summer, the rent for this two-bedroom space was $1,400 a month – cheaper than studios in some other neighborhoods.

Exception To The Rule: Sound Effect, Episode 42

Oct 24, 2015
Cepheus / Wikimaedia Commons

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week the team takes on exceptions to the rule.

Courtesy of Timothy Ray Brown

In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown underwent an experimental bone marrow transplant to treat his life-threatening leukemia. The marrow cells he received were no ordinary cells: They contained a very specific mutation that confers resistance to HIV. Brown, who grew up in Seattle but was living in Europe at the time, had been infected with HIV more than a decade earlier.

The procedure was harrowing, involving multiple rounds of chemotherapy, followed by radiation. He came down with graft vs. host disease and had to have a whole second transplant. But in the end, Timothy Ray Brown became the first person in the world functionally cured of HIV.

Jeff Langford

Janell and Warren Langford got married in the summer of 2013. Just one year later, Janell was told that she was losing her eyesight and would be blind in just a few years.

At first, her doctor thought she had macular degeneration. But she tested negative. Only later would they realize she had Stargardt's disease.  

Having just began and intensive graphic design program, Janell Langford was terrified that she was going to have to drop out of school and prepare for her impending blindness.

Ijeoma Oluo

The stereotype about the Northwest is that we are, you know, nice - maybe not always warm, maybe not always effusive, but polite. One could take that as the mark of living in a truly civilized place. But there’s another way to see it too: As a way to avoid uncomfortable truths.

David Nogueras / KPLU

Seattle voters are getting ready to choose who will represent their district. Seven district seats will be decided, as well at two at large positions. KPLU’s election series, Back On The Block, revisits issues affecting each district and introduces us to the candidates.

Etiquette: Sound Effect, Episode 41

Oct 17, 2015

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme, and this week Sound Effect is on its best behavior, discussing the rules of etiquette.

Sound Effect kicks off this week with former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. If you ask McGinn if he lacked political decorum, he will stop you short and say the word is divisive.

  Reporters from the Pacific Northwest weigh in on stories from the week that they believe deserve more ink and analysis.

This week, KPLU's Sound Effect hears from members of Seattlish who describe their blog as a place where you can read about "Seattle, politics, drinking, obscenities and cute animals... brought to you by a trio of mouthy broads.”

Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons

In the late 1980s, Paul Ingram was a prominent member of the community in Olympia, serving as a senior sheriff’s deputy and chairman of the Thurston County Republican Party.

Then he was implicated in a shocking series of crimes: His own daughters accused him of sexually abusing them, repeatedly, over many years. But that was just the first twist in a tale full of bizarre turns.