Tech & Science | KUOW News and Information

Tech & Science

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.

Parking in Seattle could become a thing of the past.
Flickr Photo/James Callan (CC BY NC SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/4mBfBq

We know: It never feels like there are enough parking spots when you are driving around Seattle.

But there are more than you think. There are 500 million parking spaces in the U.S. – the same land area of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

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.

How can Seattle crack down on bike thefts?

May 16, 2017
bikes in Seattle
Flickr Photo/papahazama

When bikes are stolen, there’s no easy systematic way of keeping track. If they are found, returning them to the owner can be difficult.

Just ask ­­­­Christopher Schumaker, a bicycle deliveryman.


Microsoft has had a whirlwind last few days. The company's Windows operating system was the target of a massive cyberattack that took down hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries. While it's too soon to say the worst is over — there could be another wave — the president of the company does have two big takeaways.

One takeaway is sexy and edgy. The other is boring, plain vanilla — but no less important to Brad Smith, president of Microsoft.

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. 

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen," Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday.

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.)


There's a decent chance you — or someone you know — just got an odd email inviting you to edit a document in Google Docs. The email could be from a stranger, a colleague or a friend, but it's addressed to a contact that boasts a whole string of H's in its name.

In other words, it looks a little something like this:

Or, if you're looking at the invite in Gmail, it likely looks more like this:

Either of these look familiar to you? Here's a handy tip: Don't open the link.

FLICKR PHOTO/hackNY.org (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bHLu96

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter about the case of Roman Seleznev. Seleznev's story reads like spy fiction. He is the illegitimate son of a prominent Russian politician and Putin ally. He grew up in poverty, with an alcoholic mother who died when he was a teenager. Without a mother and abandoned by his powerful father, 17-year-old Seleznev ended up living on the streets.

Seleznev went on to steal and sell hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of credit card numbers, many from businesses here in Washington state. U.S. authorities pursued Seleznev around the globe and finally, they arrested him and brought him to Washington for trial.

He was just convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Pages