Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Courtesy of Benjamin Kantner

There are lots occasions when bending the truth is something we want to happen. This is what more than 60,000 people do every summer in the Nevada desert for Burning Man, the iconic week-long festival with art, music and lots of partying. It’s an event that attracts the likes of hippies, Hollywood celebrities and tech billionaires. However, Burning Man is also sometimes described as one, giant, utopian lie.

Before going to Burning Man, where he is known as Konifer, 31-year-old Benjamin Kantner’s life in Seattle looked good on paper. But it felt like he was lying to himself.   

Simone Alicea / knkx

For our show this week, we wanted to talk to someone who hears lies all the time: Tow truck drivers. That’s what Sound Effect Executive Producer Erin Hennessey suggested. She sent 88.5’s Simone Alicea to a towing company in Bellevue to talk to someone who’s heard it all.

But it turns out Erin wasn’t being totally forthcoming, herself, about the role she had cast for these drivers. She and Simone sat down to compare notes about their impound experiences.

It's been an extraordinary election season, so we will offer extraordinary coverage. 

The 88.5 Newsroom will bring you live, local updates along with live, national coverage from NPR, both on-air and online at knkx.org.

Around-the-clock on-air election coverage starts at 3 p.m. on Election Day and continues until 9 a.m. the next morning. Host Kirsten Kendrick will be with you when you wake up for all the results and analysis. 

Courtesy of Michal Lebl

This week on Sound Effect, we tell stories of risks and rewards and why people make the decision to take the leap. 

Up, Up And Away

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence knows the risks and rewards of space travel very well. She remembers what it was like to travel into space on the first mission after the space shuttle Columbia exploded while returning to Earth, killing all seven crew members back in 2003.

Stardew Valley

Evening Jazz host Abe Beeson will present The New Cool, Saturday afternoons from 3 to 5. The show will feature artists pushing jazz to cool new places, artists such as Kamasi Washington, Snarky Puppy, and Northwest favorite Industrial Revelation. The show will feature players who have come of age in the 21st century understanding hip hop, punk rock, modern soul and electronic, and have incorporated those styles into their music.

As part of the Save KPLU campaign’s community outreach, the station held informational meetings in a number of Western Washington communities.  88.5 knkx is returning to those communities to meet and thank listeners, and talk about the evolution and future plans of the “new” 88.5 FM. 

"UNCLE SAM WANTS YOUR PRIVACY" BY JEFFSCHULER IS LICENSED UNDER CC BY 2.0 BIT.LY/1YJNAO9

This week Sound Effect listens in on stories of eavesdropping.

Allie Ferguson / KPLU

Anacortes, Washington is home to a tight-knit and lively local music scene and prolific indie musician Karl Blau has long been at the center of it. He released over 30 albums in the his nearly 20-year career.

Blau's latest project was an all-ages music venue and online radio station called the Anacortes Music Channel. He created it to highlight and support local music. The space, housed in a beautiful old brick building in downtown Anacortes, became a hub for the small town’s artists.

Facebook

Sometimes on Facebook you might read what seems like a cry for help from a friend, someone struggling to cope who might need you to intervene.

Or maybe it’s nothing -- just someone quoting song lyrics or something. It’s hard to know, and it’s often easier to just ignore it.

The suicide prevention group Forefront is helping create tools for people who notice red flags in a friend’s post.

These are tools that Stephen Paul Miller didn't have several years ago, when he saw a concerning post on by a friend on Facebook.

Amy van Cise

Deep down on the sea floor off the coast of Alaska, about a dozen underwater microphones sit, anchored down by big heavy wheels from old trains. They sit and listen to the world of sounds around them.

Courtesy of David Liston

Private investigative work is dangerous, thrilling, romantic – or at least, that’s the impression you’d get if you just hear about P.I.s from TV and movies. In reality, according to David Liston, it can be so tedious that “there has to be something kind of wrong with you in order to be able to do it.”

Photo Courtesy of Marcos Lujan

In 2001, producer Warren Langford found a toy cassette recorder at a yard sale in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was not any old recorder. This was a Talkboy, the must-have Christmas toy from Warren’s childhood that he never received. And the 50-cent asking price was too good to pass up.

Those first bubbles were almost a revelation. A couple of days before, I had mixed together flour and water into a paste. But now pockets of gas percolated through that seemingly inert glob. It was breathing. It was alive.

This gloppy mess, exuding a whiff of vinegar, was my nascent sourdough starter. When mature, it would be a pungent brew of yeasts and bacteria, a complex ecosystem that would hopefully yield delicious loaves of sourdough bread.

When Katlyn Burbidge's son was 6 years old, he was performing some silly antic typical of a first-grader. But after she snapped a photo and started using her phone, he asked her a serious question: "Are you going to post that to Facebook?"

She laughed and answered, "Yes, I think I will." What he said next stopped her.

"Can you not?"

That's when it dawned on her: She had been posting photos of him online without asking his permission.

He leaned against the subway doors in a faded denim jacket, camo cargo pants, combat boots and, to top it off, a black ski mask. I wondered if he had a gun. I wondered if he was a white supremacist. I wondered if he had seen my friend and me, with our brown skin and black hair. Our Islamic faith and immigrant parents — could he somehow see that, too?

Was it me, or were his eyes darting up and down the crowded subway car? I yanked on my friend's sleeve and raised my mouth to his ear.

"We have to get out of here," I said.

Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face "many" instances of disturbances and distractions from noise.

"In general, if it's coming from another person, it's much more disturbing than when it's coming from a machine," he says, because, as social beings, humans are attuned to man-made sounds. He says overheard conversations, as well as high-pitched and intermittent noises, also draw attention away from tasks at hand.

Lipton tea can be found in almost any grocery store, and the brand is just about synonymous with industrial Big Tea. So tea enthusiasts who sniff at the familiar square bags might be surprised that once upon a time, Lipton was known as the "farm to table" of the tea world. In fact, it was sold with the catchy slogan "direct from tea garden to tea pot."

So how did Thomas Lipton build this tea empire?

Moshe the cat lives in an old brick house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. His owner, Cassandra Slack, moved in a little more than a year ago.

The first floor feels open and airy. Large windows bring a flood of light inside, making the original hardwood floors shine.

But downstairs, in the basement where Slack lives, the atmosphere is different. The floor is carpeted, the lights are dim, and the ceiling is low.

Slack had an eerie experience down here when she first moved in.

Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of virtual reality and what happens when real life meets technology like the internet, video games, and even television.

Hunter Hoffman


Being treated for a severe burn is one of the most physically painful things a human can experience. Dead skin has to be scrubbed away. The skin has to be stretched so that as it heals, it doesn’t get tight. If this is not done, a patient can be maimed permanently. It’s during these treatments, or wound care sessions, that the pain is often the worst.

Ariel Van Cleave / knkx

One of the best parts about playing video games is losing yourself inside whatever world they take place in. Maybe you’re a plumber tasked with saving a princess from a great sorcerer. Or you could be an agent with the British secret service trying to save the world from Spectre. But if you’re Dima Veryovka and Sean Vesce, the objective is a little different. The games they make are all about how you connect to the world around you.

 

Courtesy of Scott Colburn

Scott Colburn has basically spent his entire adult life working in the audio business. In the past he’s been a music producer for bands like Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Mudhoney. He’s done the audio for films. His current job is a sound designer at Microsoft. Colburn is working on their virtual and augmented reality projects. His goal is to get the audio experience of virtual reality to sound just as real as the visual part of it, something that he was inspired to do after going to a local film festival.

Bobby Morton

Twitter is a place where trolls harass and gossip spreads like wildfire. Can it also be a place where a Gig Harbor salesman befriends a homeless hitchhiker?

Shivering in freezing temperatures in a brittle Midwest winter, Bill Krayer was sticking his thumb out, trying in vain to get to Seattle.  In between efforts to get a ride, he’d pull out his tiny phone and tweet details of his journey. One Twitter follower reached out to offer a lifeline. But could their friendship sustain in the real world?

Courtest of MTV

Editor’s Note: The following essay contains adult language that may not be suitable for all audiences.

MTV’s long running reality show,"The Real World,” returned to Seattle this past summer to film a new cast of twenty-somethings.

A group of teenage girls in school uniforms giggle as they share crepes topped with candy and chocolate sauce and oozing hazelnut Nutella. It's a Saturday afternoon and the girls are at the new Nutella shop in Jerusalem's Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp.

The scene is rare in this densely populated and impoverished urban camp. The potholed street outside the café is tense and crowded, as a group of little Palestinian schoolboys fight alongside zigzagging traffic.

Jeffrey Beall (bit.ly/2ea4S4B) / Lee LeFever (bit.ly/2ewBTti) / Flickr

In a few weeks, voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties will make a decision about Regional Proposition 1, also known as Sound Transit 3. But in 2004, voters in eight Colorado counties approved their own rail expansion called FasTracks.

Census data show that both the Seattle and Denver regions were among the top five fastest growing metro areas last year. Both areas have also largely focused on rail as a solution to congestion.

Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we're brining you stories that explore that moment when you realize you are not a kid anymore.

The Puberty Lady

If you’re a parent in the Seattle area, chances are you’ve heard about the puberty classes that Julie Metzger created almost three decades ago. She shares the inspiration behind these popular classes and how to make awkward topics fun.

The Obamacare Kid

Holly Andres / New York Times

If you’re a parent in the Seattle area, chances are you’ve been to, heard about, or will soon learn about the puberty classes that Julie Metzger created almost three decades ago.

Metzger makes what is often a painful conversation actually kind of enjoyable. Strutting around the class with pads stuck to her shirt, she happily says out loud all of the awkward things kids and parents are thinking about puberty.

Courtesy of Gina Owens

Sometimes what we do as children traps us in time. The rest of the world will forever equate you with what you did when you were young, even as you grow beyond whatever it was that gave you that label in the first place. This is what happened to 17-year-old Marcelas Owens of Seattle.

 

Courtesy of Will Jimerson

On March 10, 1994, Will Jimerson was 13 years old. He was hanging out around 23rd and Cherry in Seattle's Central District at 1 o'clock in the morning with a group of other kids. By this point in his life, he had already had a few run-ins with the law, including assault with a deadly weapon and theft.

On this particular early morning, Will says he found a gun in a jacket.

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