Nineteen firefighters died fighting a wildfire in Arizona yesterday. The Arizona forestry department is still investigating how the crew died, but many suspect that the blaze was just too quick and unpredictable. Washington state has also lost firefighters to fast spreading wildfires in the past. In 2001, four firefighters died in the Thirty Mile Fire in the Okanogan National Forest. Ross Reynolds talks to Peter Goldmark, the Commissioner of Public Lands at the Department of Natural Resources, about how wildfires get out of control so quickly.
This week a research ship is retrieving dozens of seismometers that have spent the last year on the ocean floor off the Northwest coast. Earthquake scientists hope the data they're about to get will shed more light on the structure of the offshore Cascadia fault zone. That plate boundary will be the source of the Big One whenever it rips.
We’re long overdue for a catastrophic disaster based on studies of Earth’s past. Scary? It probably should be, considering that during our most recent disasters, more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out.
Annalee Newitz is a journalist and editor of the science website i09.com. She’s also the author of “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.” Annalee Newitz talks about how, even though catastrophe may be inevitable, humanity's chances for survival are better now than ever. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 22.
A rattlesnake is something that you’re not supposed to see in Seattle. But one was spotted this week around North 120th and Fremont Avenue North, sunning itself on a rock wall. Don Jordan, director of the Seattle Animal Shelter says an animal control officer was able to bag it and take it back to the shelter.
The National Institutes of Health Wednesday announced it will retire the great majority of chimpanzees used in federally-supported medical research.
The institute director says the use of our closest animal relative for invasive studies can no longer be justified in most cases. That means more than 300 chimps are headed into retirement. But neither of the two chimpanzee sanctuaries here in the Northwest say they're prepared to take new chimps.
Today, President Barack Obama announced he's taking aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. He also said he'll only support the controversial Keystone XL pipeline if it doesn't lead to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. David Roberts writes about energy policy for the environmental magazine Grist. He talked with David Hyde.
The Northwest is well positioned to make wine into the future despite global climate change. So says a scientist who presented his findings on climate change and wine at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Monday.
Wine grape vines can be productive for decades. But how will climate change affect that? That’s the question Antonio Busalacchi, with the University of Maryland, sought to answer.
With summer officially upon us, swimmers will soon head to beaches all over the Pacific Northwest. But swimmers might find their usual watering holes more dangerous this year. Large clusters of jellyfish are becoming increasingly common. Some scientists blame climate change for the large jellyfish blooms. What are the threats to swimmers and the environment? Timothy Essington, an associate professor of aquatic and fishery sciences at the University of Washington, talked with David Hyde about it.
Civilian use of aerial drones is still greatly restricted, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has won permission to test a small unmanned aircraft off the Olympic Coast of Washington.
A two-week trial run by the federal science agency is now underway.
The NOAA drone looks like an oversized remote-control model airplane. It has a 9-foot wingspan and can fly for about two hours on battery power.
If you’ve been working in the garden lately, or have taken a trip down to the basement, you’ve probably encountered a few spiders. Maybe you’ve even wondered if you’re in danger of being bitten by a brown recluse spider, whose venom can be toxic. A Washington State University entomologist says odds are you probably won’t run into one, at least not in the Pacific Northwest.
Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy visits Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington on Wednesday. Among the issues he will have to deal with are the leaking underground tanks of radioactive waste and the troubled waste treatment plant.
From his resume, it appears Moniz isn’t short on brainpower. He’s been on the faculty of MIT since 1973. Secretary Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.
The federal agency in charge of approving Northwest coal export terminals delivered a setback for environmentalists, telling a congressional panel Tuesday morning that it will not be considering the area-wide effects of transporting coal, or the global impact of burning it in Asia.
Seattle's tiny Statue of Liberty stands watch over Alki Beach
Seattle's Statue of Liberty was one of around 200 such statues erected by Boy Scouts across the country.
Credit BSA Troop 101, Cheyenne, Wyoming
West Seattle historian Clay Eals (left) stands with WW2 veteran and West Seattle resident John Kelly. John was a Boy Scout troop leader in 1952. He was present on the statue's dedication day.
Memorabilia from the statue's dedication day on display in the annex of the Loghouse Museum.
The statue was recast in bronze in 2007 after vandals tore the spikes off her crown and twisted off her arm (the arm's been patched). The original statue is stored in the Annex at the Southwest Seattle Loghouse Museum.
Out on Alki Beach in West Seattle is a statue. It’s called the Statue Of Liberty. It's a replica of the one in New York Harbor. Only this one is tiny, about six feet tall. It was part of a national Boy Scout campaign to erect statues like this across the country: a campaign called "Strengthening The Arm Of Liberty."
The original Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor symbolized America's freedom from colonial powers and its friendship with France. Over the years immigrants passing the statue on the way to Ellis Island adopted the statue as a sort of patron saint, and the famous quote "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" was eventually added to the statue's base.
By the time Seattle's Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1952, its meaning had changed yet again. Liberty was no longer a revolutionary idea. It was something old and familiar, a sign of stability in a time of great social and political instability.
You can get a sense of that instability from this 1951 newsreel. We sampled it in today's story:
In a classroom at South Seattle Community College 14 local residents shimmy into hazmat suits, waving their arms like Michelin men and women. They’re part of a program run by the EPA to train people who live near Superfund sites to qualify to work on the cleanup.
Berkley law professor Andrew Guzman’s new book "Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change" warns about the eventual disasters that unchecked climate change could cause. He even begins his book with a dedication to his sons: “To Nicholas and Daniel, Whose Generation Will Face The Consequences.” David Hyde talks to Guzman about the rapidly changing state and uncertain future of our planet.