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Two years ago, Eqbal Dauqan was going to work in the morning as usual. She's a biochemistry professor. And was driving on the freeway, when suddenly: "I felt something hit my car, but I didn't know what it was because I was driving very fast," she says.

Dauqan reached the parking lot. Got out of the car and looked at the door. What she saw left her speechless.

"A bullet hit the car, just on the door," she says.

The door had stopped the bullet. And Dauqan was OK. She has no idea where the bullet came from. But it turned out to be an ominous sign of what was to come.

President Trump has often accused the news media of not covering terrorist attacks adequately. In a speech in February he said, "Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino [...] It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported."

A one-paragraph letter, barely a hundred words long, unwittingly became a major contributor to today's opioid crisis, researchers say.

"This has recently been a matter of a lot of angst for me," Dr. Hershel Jick, co-author of that letter, told Morning Edition host David Greene recently. "We have published nearly 400 papers on drug safety, but never before have we had one that got into such a bizarre and unhealthy situation."

Two years ago, a mental health advocate named Steve McCaffrey stood at a lectern in the Indiana statehouse, testifying in favor of an addiction treatment bill. After years of rising overdose rates, lawmakers in the health committee were taking action to combat the opioid epidemic. And they often turned to McCaffrey, who leads Mental Health America of Indiana, to advise them.

His brief testimony appeared straightforward. "We rise in support, urge your adoption," said McCaffrey. He said the legislation would move the state "toward evidence-based treatment."

I am a man of science. Okay, perhaps not of science, but certainly near it. As a science journalist, I'm science-adjacent. But I consider myself to be bound by logic and facts.

Which is why it was weird when I took my infant son in for his first vaccines and started peppering his pediatrician with questions. I inspected the boxes, telling myself that I was concerned about a recent bad batch of vaccines in Chiapas, Mexico, that made a bunch of kids sick. But really, I was looking for a label that read "not the autism kind of vaccine."

When Ebola erupted in West Africa a few years ago, it was catastrophic.

But one good thing emerged from the outbreak: The development of an Ebola vaccine-- a powerful vaccine.

What do you do when you find a mammoth molar?

May 25, 2017
A Columbian mammoth molar estimated to be at least 19,000 years old was found in Sequim, Wash.
Lori Christie

A molar from a mammoth estimated to be at least 19,000 years old was found on a public beach in Sequim, Washington. 

Most anyone who has encountered a flamingo has probably been impressed by its signature ability to balance on a single long, spindly leg for remarkably long periods of time.

But actually, scientists have now shown that what appears to be a feat requires almost no muscle activity from the bird.

Bill Radke gets hooked up to the encephalophone.
KUOW Photo/Ann Kane

Bill Radke talks with Dr. Thomas Deuel, a musician, neuroscientist and inventor of the encephalophone, an instrument you play with your brainwaves. Deuel explains why he was inspired to create the instrument, how he feels it will help people with disabilities, and he even lets Bill strap it on. Listen until the end to hear Bill's brain play a solo.

Dozens of scientists recently glued fake green caterpillars onto plants around the world in an unusual study to see how the caterpillars' risk of getting eaten varied from pole to pole.

Any ant, slug, lizard, bird or beetle that attacked the soft clay caterpillars left telltale bite marks that were later analyzed by a lab in Finland.

Farmland near Ritzville, Washington.
Flickr Photo/John Westrock (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/GwCkwW

Ten years ago, University of Washington professor David Montgomery published his influential book “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.” One year later, he received a MacArthur Genius fellowship, and continued his research in geomorphology: “the branch of geology that is concerned with the structure, origin, and development of the topographical features of the earth's surface.”

It had been a timeless love story. A garden snail with a rare genetic condition can't mate with normal snails; scientists launch an international search for a mate; the snail becomes a media sensation; and miraculously not one but two possible mates are found.

That's where we left the tale of Jeremy, the rare left-coiling snail, last November.

The dark side of moderating Facebook

May 15, 2017

Bill Radke spoke with UCLA assistant professor Sarah Roberts about the psychological risks of moderating social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Roberts describes some of the personal issues moderators have faced by viewing objectionable material. She also describes ways in which such a difficult job could possibly be made better. 

Bears do it; bats do it. So do guinea pigs, dogs and humans. They all yawn. It's a common animal behavior, but one that is something of a mystery.

There's still no consensus on the purpose of a yawn, says Robert Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Provine has studied what he calls "yawn science" since the early 1980s, and he's published dozens of research articles on it. He says the simple yawn is not so simple.

A screenshot from the U.S. Geological Survey earthquakes website shows the epicenter of a 3.4 earthquake near Bremerton, Wash., early Wednesday.
U.S. Geological Survey

A small earthquake centered near Bremerton shook the central Puget Sound area early Wednesday.

Georgia Tech

To the list of global problems the world’s oceans are facing, you can add another: They’re losing oxygen.

The Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast, from central California to Alaska, is one of the hardest-hit areas.


Bill Nye, here signing books in New York, says he loves you, Vashon, but you're wrong.
Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP

Bill Nye is back. Netflix is now streaming episodes of “Bill Nye Saves the World,” starring everyone’s favorite bowtie-clad scientist. (And of course, we’re still a bit nostalgic for those olden times when Nye traded in his signature tie for exercise shorts and a cape, all for Seattle’s amusement.)


NASA's Cassini spacecraft is giving earthlings their closest-ever views of Saturn's swirled atmosphere and its massive hurricane, beaming a trove of images and data back to Earth after the craft made its first dive between Saturn and its rings Wednesday.

Cassini is "showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

If all goes to plan, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will beam new images of Saturn and its rings to Earth early Thursday, sharing data collected Wednesday from its first dive through the gap between the planet and its striped belt of ice and rock particles.

Today's dive also marks the start of the final phase in the craft's 13-year visit to Saturn. Days ago, it used the gravity of Saturn's moon Titan to bend its path toward its eventual destruction on the planet.

Baby humpback whales seem to whisper to their mothers, according to scientists who have captured the infant whales' quiet grunts and squeaks.

The recordings, described in the journal Functional Ecology, are the first ever made with devices attached directly to the calves.

People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They're made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But the humble wax worm may hold the key to biodegrading them.

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the caterpillar larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm.

science march
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

It rained. 

Interstate 5 was shut down because of downed power lines. 

UW Professor David Montgomery says he'll march for science
Kvasir Society Photo/Joy Mathew

David Montgomery, a science professor and MacArthur Genius award winner at the University of Washington, told KUOW why he's marching for science on Saturday.

The March For Science in Washington, D.C., is happening this Saturday on Earth Day. Smaller science events are happening across the Northwest -- even in conservative southeast Washington.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce
David Hyde / KUOW Photos

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce says the federal budget cuts being proposed by President Donald Trump would be devastating for science. 

So she's speaking up for science, and she told KUOW's David Hyde that scientists should, too:


Screenshot of a brain hat knitting tutorial by Studio Knit on YouTube
YouTube/Studio Knit

What to wear to a protest march for science?  It's a serious debate on the March for Science, Seattle Facebook page.

A rare total eclipse of the sun will cross the U.S. on the morning of August 21, 2017. It starts on the Oregon coast and then sweeps east. In Oregon, all of the reservable public campsites and most hotels in the so-called "path of totality" were booked up long ago.

Flickr Photo/Marius Strom (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6cXw3o

Bill Radke talks to Nick Zentner, Central Washington University geologist, about how the Northwest landscape got so impressive and what geological wonders we can spot around us. 

Last year only 67 percent of toddlers in Washington state were fully vaccinated by age 3.
Flickr Photo/Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

UW philosopher Michael Blake supports a march for science because, he says, basic scientific knowledge is under attack, especially from the right. But Blake told KUOW's David Hyde that liberals are partly to blame, and that the problem goes way beyond science: 


A quick glance around Lake Union and you can tell there’s a lot of science happening in our state. With the Trump administration threatening cuts to research funding, we examined how much money this could mean for Washington state.

First of all, it’s difficult to lasso all the federal dollars going to science. So we zeroed in on two big agencies to get an overview: the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, looking at their reports for the 2016 fiscal year.

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