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The Crab Nebula was one of the first objects that NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory examined with its sharp X-ray vision.
Flickr Photo/ NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/249nNXy

As an undergrad at MIT, Emily Levesque discovered the three largest stars in the known universe. She was drawn to the project because of a long-seeded fascination with black holes.

That inspiration came from a book she read when she was eight — “A Wrinkle in Time,” which has now been released as a grand production for the big screen.

There’s a line in “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” by Maria Semple, that triggers pained recognition among locals.

“The drivers here are horrible,” she begins. “They’re the slowest drivers you ever saw.”

In this Jan. 29, 1962 file photo, the Spalding family, left, and the Richmond family demonstrate how people of the town would sit out a nuclear attack and its radioactive aftermath in Los Alamos, N.M., birthplace of the atomic and hydrogen bombs.
AP Photo, File

If you follow the news, you might get the impression that things are pretty bad.

Not just "why bother" bad. It's "throw your hands up" bad.

Or even "eat a large bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting because we're all doomed anyway" bad.

Courtesy of Red Hen Press

If you’re familiar with the Dear Sugar advice column, you know who Steve Almond is. For the uninitiated, he was the first “Sugar” — a purportedly female advice columnist on The Rumpus. After a while, Almond says, that got weird.

Courtesy of Penquin Random House

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is famously small in stature—and has a penchant for short jokes about himself — but he has big ideas about democracy, patriotism, work, leadership, and the American experiment.

From left: Tracy Rector and Sara Marie Ortiz
Courtesy Tracy Rector and Sara Marie Ortiz

Can you predict the social media cycle of #metoo? First, the allegations. Then the apology, lackluster or seemingly heartfelt. Then the backlash: shows canceled, jobs lost, formerly prominent men stricken from the public domain. It's happened in film, in television, in comedy. And now it's happening to author Sherman Alexie.

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Ben Blum about his new book "Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family, and Inexplicable Crime." The book tells the story of his cousin, Alex Blum, and how he turned from an Army Ranger to a bank robber.

Parents: Be gardeners, not carpenters

Mar 8, 2018
Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik
Wikimedia Photo/Kathleen King (CC BY-SA 3.0) http://bit.ly/2miDSmR

Bill Radke sits down with child psychologist Alison Gopnik, author of the new book "The Gardener and the Carpenter." Gopnik explains her problems with modern parenting and how to better face the unexpected that comes with raising a child. 

Christopher Sebastian Parker and Arlie Russell Hochschild at Seattle University, Feb. 12, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

We hear all the time about the social-political divide in the United States, mostly from the comfort of our respective bubbles. When UC Berkeley-based sociology professor Arlie Russel Hochschild realized the extent to which she didn’t understand the experience of right-leaning Americans, she decided to do something about it. She choose to embed herself in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for an ethnographic experiment.

KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

For 26 years, Seattle’s African-American Writers’ Alliance has held a reading at The Elliott Bay Book Company on the last Saturday in February. The group’s mission is to provide support for new and published writers, provide peer review and create opportunities for public readings.

Courtesy of Anne McTiernan

Bill Radke speaks with Anne McTiernan about her new memior called, "Starved: A Nutrition Doctor's Journey from Empty to Full." McTiernan is a research professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine and a member of the public health sciences division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Fantasy author Tamora Pierce has inspired young people for decades with her stories about strong girls who do things like disguise themselves as boys so they can defend their kingdoms as knights. Among her inspired readers was a young Lindy West, now a New York Times columnist.

We invited West to interview Pierce at KUOW.


Writer Stephanie Wittels Wachs got a phone call from her loving and accomplished brother Harris just three days before her wedding, in which he shared some surprising news.

What was it? "He told me he was a drug addict," Wachs says. He died two years later, of an overdose. Harris Wittels was a hilarious and respected Hollywood comic writer, who had become co-executive producer of NBC's Parks and Recreation by the time he was 30, and worked on award-winning shows like Master of None.

KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

Marriage conjures up so many things, but here’s a longish shortlist: union, promise, vow, relationship, interdependence, security, sacrifice, contract, commitment, hard work, choice. Why do people get married? According to a Pew Research Center study, the top three reasons are for love, long-term commitment and companionship.

KUOW photo

If you listen to David Barsamian’s long-running public affairs program Alternative Radio, you know his distinct voice, full of passionate analysis and notable raspiness. But while as host he always introduces his featured speakers, a who’s who of progressive thinkers, we don’t normally hear Barsamian himself at length.

Author Jonathan Kauffman.
Courtesy of Jonathan Kauffman

Carob. Some see it as a heroic stand-in for chocolate. Others, like one Twitter wag, see it as "chalky nonsense." Whatever your thoughts, it's a food that evokes a strong response. 

Author Shaun Scott.
Photo by Christopher Grunder


Filmmaker, author and professional millennial Shaun Scott has a bone to pick about participation trophies. They're just one of many broad brushes with which millennials are painted. But, Scott reminds us, millennials weren't the ones giving out the trophies. The parents were.

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Journalist David Cay Johnston has known and reported on President Donald Trump for nearly 30 years. When they first met in Atlantic City, Johnston says he recognized Trump as “the P.T. Barnum of our age.” He has also said about Trump, and repeats in this talk, that “Donald doesn’t know anything.”

The White House
Flickr Photo/joswr1ght (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JeAj3d

Here’s a test for you. Who was the first U.S. President to be born an American, i.e., after the Revolution? Hint: He is the same man who said “As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.”

That would be President Martin Van Buren.

The U.S. Presidency is marked by pomp, circumstance and widespread reference to its occupant being “the most powerful man in the world.”

Courtesy of Red Hen Press

Several years ago, Seattle poet Tina Schumann was inspired to compile an anthology of memoir, essays and poems by children of immigrants in the United States. 

Investigative journalist Maryn McKenna
COURTESY OF DAVID-TULIS

We take for granted living in a post-antibiotic world. Go ahead: climb that ladder to hang Christmas lights, get a stent to open a blood vessel, let your kids slide into home plate. We don’t have to fear scratches and minor injuries.


When author Judy Blume first broached topics like puberty and adolescent sexuality in her writing, it was long before those questions could be asked in a quick Google search.

Yet for those who read her now, her tales of adolescence remain modern – so much so that many of her young readers are surprised to learn Blume's books aren't brand new.

"They don't know that I wrote them generations ago. They think I wrote them yesterday for them, for the most part," Blume, who turns 80 on Monday, tells NPR's Rachel Martin.

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Seattle-based writer Ijeoma Oluo has been widely recognized for some time now as a person who speaks sometimes uncomfortable truths about racism in America. That recognition reached a crescendo in recent days with the release of her first book, “So You Want to Talk About Race.”

Courtesy of Josh Patterson

In a parallel universe, poets stand on street corners and recite for us. We stop what we’re doing and gather together with friends and strangers to listen. Then we pay them some tribute and go on with our days, moved and enriched in some way.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured here 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e41ELr

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts about their new book, "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law."

Phil Yu still remembers reading “Keep Out, Claudia,” from the “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” book series. The story is about a client who did not want Claudia Kishi, a Japanese American member of the club, to babysit her kids. After some investigation, Kishi and her friends discover that the family, which also rejected another non-white babysitter, is racist.

The impact of the story on Korean American Yu, who grew up in Northern California, was lasting. It was one of the rare times he remembers reading about everyday racism as a kid.

Courtesy of Carmen Maria Machado/Art Streiber

There have been so many momentous days recently. Today, for instance, women around the U.S. and the world (and their allies) are participating in the second annual Women’s March. Yesterday, Congress shut down the government due to differences over border security and immigration.

Author Ijeoma Oluo.
Courtesy of Seattle Colleges

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, the United States celebrates the birth of the great non-violence activist and civil rights leader. The federal holiday was signed into law in 1983 by President Reagan, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states officially observed the holiday.

Daniel Ellsberg (left) and co-defendant Anthony Russo talk to news reporters outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1973, during the Pentagon Papers trial.
AP Photo/Staff

The acronym MAD stands for mutual assured destruction. The concept has been a cornerstone of U.S. military security policy since the creation of nuclear weapons. It's based on the theory that no super-power leader would start a nuclear war knowing Armageddon would be the result. To this day, that either helps you sleep at night or the opposite.

Journalist Maria Hinojosa at UW's Kane Hall
Courtesy of Emile Pitre

Maria Hinojosa and her team at Latino USA have been reporting on how Latinos and Hispanics experience and impact the United States since 1992. That ethnic group accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population growth from 2000 to 2014. The Pew Research Center predicts they will make up 24 percent of the population here by 2065.

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