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life

Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo.
Courtesy Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello

Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo’s career as a musician began at six years old, singing into the dark. 

But with her new cover of the Talking Heads’ classic album, she’s asking us all to "Remain in Light." She spoke to Bill Radke from Los Angeles to explain why she doesn’t believe in cultural appropriation – and why stupidity just might be the thing that connects us all.

Mary Ann Peters, "impossible monument (flotsam)" detail
Courtesy Mary Ann Peters

Last Saturday’s biological weapons attack in Syria set off yet another wave of involuntary migration. Lebanese-American artist Mary Ann Peters says that this water-based lingo isn’t an accident. 


The boom in Seattle's skyline has unintended consequences for the city's gender pay gap.
Flickr Photo/Michael (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/5GKvQy

April 11 was a rather unfortunate holiday: Equal Pay Day.

It's the day when a woman's salary catches up to what the average man earned in the previous calendar year. That amount of time is pretty reliably 15-16 months to a man's 12, and there are some surprising reasons for why the numbers have been so stubborn, says David Kroman in a piece for Crosscut.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, turning his back on the camera as we might wish to turn our backs on his network.
Flickr Photo/Alessio Jacona (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/Du4fYm

#DeleteFacebook is trending right now… on Twitter. And that’s part of the problem, says Abby Ohlheiser. She reports on digital culture for the Washington Post, and says that while we wish we could kick our social network habits, the reality is much more complicated than it seems.

Coming out of the broom closet: Real life witches

Apr 5, 2018
KUOW PHOTO/Zuheera Ali

Are you a fan of "Harry Potter"? Or maybe Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Ever wonder if witchcraft actually involves a wand and broom?

Witch culture is everywhere, from 1990s sitcoms to Halloween costumes. Often, what’s left out of the equation is input from real witches.

We headed down to our local occult store, Edge of the Circle Books, to learn about actual witchcraft practices, cultural differences and witches' takes on media representation.


A woman walks past a large mural of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the side of a diner, painted by artist James Crespinel in the 1990's and later restored, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fifty years ago today, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered on a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Decades later, a motion passed in the King County Council to rename the county for King, rather than a slave owner from Alabama. 

Dr. Tara Westover, author of the new memoir "Educated," at the KUOW studios on April 2nd, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Your views on politics, your understanding of history, your personal identity: You feel pretty solid about them, right? But what if you didn't? 

Standard Oil depicted as an octopus, parodying its status as a monopoly.
Public Domain

In 1890, the Sherman Act was passed. Its purpose was to preserve a competitive marketplace against potential consumer abuses.

But the law isn't supposed to punish "innocent monopoly," or monopoly achieved by merit alone. So the question is: how innocent is Amazon’s monopoly? 

Handing over the keys to a new rental property.
Flickr Photo/harry b (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/xSNB92

If you’ve rented a new apartment in Seattle in the last year, chances are that you ran into the first-in-time law. It required landlords to rent to the first qualified applicant. When enacted, the law was touted as a first in the nation attempt to protect tenants’ rights. Landlords argued that it overrode their property rights – and yesterday, a judge agreed. 

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner displays a pen from the signing ceremony of Washington State's Equal Pay Opportunity Act.
KUOW Photo/Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong

Starbucks claims to have solved the thorny problem of pay equity. At least in their current workforce. At least in the US. And this isn’t a final announcement, just a milestone in an ongoing endeavor…

Closeup of a dictionary page.
Flickr Photo/Marcy Leigh (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/Q34Sfh

"Moist."

Did you get a little grossed out reading that? If so, you're not alone. Moist is one of the most hated words in the American English language. But why do we have such strong feelings about an ostensibly neutral word?

Which world would you rather be flying in? (The Astrovision one, clearly.)
Astrovision promotional materials

"When this movie's over, the audience will be halfway across the country."

This is not because they'll have fled the scene. Instead, it's an introduction to Astrovision, American Airlines' 1960s answer to other airlines' dominant single screen. It allowed individual film choice and a view of the skies - with consequences that ranged from the dangerous to the absurd. 

A Sony Walkman, belonging to a fictional character named Alex, holds a cassette mix tape.
GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser

Let this segment take you back — WAY back.

We’re in your high school computer class. It's the 1980s: Walkmans in backpacks, satin jackets in lockers, Apple IIe computers running BASIC. Where is this nostalgic wonderland, you ask? 

The Granite Curling Club in Seattle's Bitter Lake neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

The Winter Olympics are over — but there's good news for curling fans. You don't have to wait four years to enjoy more thrilling curling action.

The Granite Curling Club in Seattle's Bitter Lake neighborhood hosts league play and will teach you how to throw stones, sweep and score like the pros.  


Portland artist Haley Heynderickx just released a new album, "I Need to Start a Garden."
Alessandra Leimer

Emily Fox talks to Jerad Walker, Music Director of Oregon Public Broadcasting, about Portland artist Haley Heynderickx. Her new album, "I Need to Start a Garden," has just been released

Check back in on Fridays as KUOW profiles new music coming out of the Northwest. 

KUOW Photo/ Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke spoke with Dyer Oxley, co-host of the NW Nerd podcast, and TyTy, a Northwest cosplayer and the creator of Lead by Example Apparel, about what goes into the creation of costumes worn in cosplay.

Tinder date sign
Flickr Photo/Chris Goldberg (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ptjdAP

Deborah Wang talks to Susie Lee, the Seattle-based founder and CEO of the online dating app Siren, about the history of computer facilitated dating. 

Concussion study testing equipment.
Flickr Photo/University of the Fraser Valley (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/fpZHqf

Football verges on being an American religion. But instead of the saints being martyred, they're getting hit. Hard. And often. The ensuing concussions can cause severe mental deterioration, erratic behavior, and even suicide.

2018 Orcas Island 100 Miler race.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Northwesterners have a reputation for loving the outdoors and tirelessly lapping urban lakes. There are a few who push the "active lifestyle" to a cold, dark extreme.

Over a February weekend, 69 runners survived macerated feet, busted knees and mild hypothermia to finish a 100-mile trail run on Orcas Island in less than 36 hours.

Mortician Caitlin Doughty, with some tools of the trade.
Photo by Jeff Minton.

Let’s talk about death.

No, seriously. It’s time we all had a conversation with our loved ones about dying.

It was the summer of 2016, and M was worried her ex-husband was stalking her. She would get out of town and stay with friends. But, as she noted in court documents, her ex seemed to know exactly where she was and whom she visited — down to the time of day and street.

M started to change the way she drove — slowing down, driving in circles — in case a private investigator was following her. She didn't see one. Then she went online and learned about GPS trackers — small devices you can slip into a car to monitor where it goes 24/7. She looked for one and couldn't find any.

Courtesy of Rick Fienberg TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

2017 was a fun, rigorous, informative year for the producers, editor, and host of The Record. Here are some of the segments we couldn’t forget.

Rick Duchaine is the Seattle Seahawks' "Jersey Whisperer"
Courtesy of Seattle Seahawks/Corky Trewin

Rick Duchaine talks about chemistry – a lot.

But he’s not employed at some biotech company in South Lake Union, he’s speaking from the Seattle Seahawks’ Renton headquarters. And what he really means is detergent.


KeyArena in Seattle Center.
Flickr Photo/Doug Kerr (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1WeuApa

Seattle is a step closer to getting a pro hockey team.

The National Hockey League has announced that they will consider a Seattle application for a professional hockey franchise.

From left, Kirubel Daniel, 8, Detective Denise "Cookie" Bouldin and Deeqo Abdullahi, 11, play a game of chess on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at the Rainier Beach Library in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Police Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin believes kids can succeed when they’re given a chance and the right tools. And for her, one of those tools is the game of chess.

For about 12 years now she’s been hosting a free drop-in chess club in South Seattle. 


Between last year's historic November supermoon and August's partial solar eclipse, a lunar event that's coming on Dec. 3 has taken a bit of a back seat. But 2017's first and only visible supermoon is nothing to sneeze at.

The term "supermoon" is popular vernacular. Its scientific name is perigee syzygy. University of Arizona professor Gurtina Besla says the phrase means two specific things in reference to the moon's placement and phase.

Douglas Ng'ang'a stands in the middle of the "slum library" he runs. Only he doesn't take credit for the 3,000 books housed in his childhood home in Nairobi's Mathare Valley.

"The books just showed up," he says.

Well, not exactly. His neighbors brought them.

Ng'ang'a funds the library by working as a driver. He started the collection with 200 of his own books. Members of the community spread the word through social media and pitched in.

In Kenya, the generosity that led to the library isn't an exception.

Dictionary.com has selected "complicit" as its word of the year for 2017, citing the term's renewed relevance in U.S. culture and politics — and noting that a refusal to be complicit has also been "a grounding force of 2017."

The website defines "complicit" as "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity."

Astronaut Scott Kelly has been in orbit longer than any other person in history.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter


Astronaut Scott Kelly has been in orbit longer than any other person in history: more than 500 days in total. During that time, he stockpiled lots of interesting information and experiences, some of which are included in his book, “Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery.”

He has won the Scrabble national championship in the United Kingdom. Self-described as "the world's only scrabble consultant," he has penned or co-written a number of books on the game, including several authoritative reference works. And despite decades of high-level play, he showed few signs of slowing — maintaining a No.

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