Published in RootsRated
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner has a gentle presence. Her voice, shaped by an Austrian accent, is soft; her words chosen through a thoughtful, compassionate disposition.
But make no mistake about it: In the world’s highest mountains, this woman is a force of nature. After reaching the top of K2 in 2011—after six summit attempts over four expeditions—she became the second woman to have climbed each of the 14 peaks above 8,000 meters, and the first to have done so without the use of supplemental oxygen.
Before she comes to Olympia to speak at the Washington Center on Friday, February 19, RootsRated had the chance to speak with Kaltenbrunner, 45, about her climbing philosophy, coping with tragedy in the mountains, and the relationships she forms with every peak she climbs. Here’s what she had to say.
Seattle Aquarium cancels annual Valentine’s Day mating ritual, fearing cephalopods might turn to cannibalism.
Published in Crosscut
It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, which means one thing: It’s time to show a little love for one of our most enigmatic local creatures from the deep — the giant Pacific octopus. Yes, it’s Octopus Week! Only this time without the sex.
Every February for the past decade, the Seattle Aquarium has hosted this celebration of cephalopods, and these 8-armed mollusks give us plenty to ooh and ah over: shape-shifting abilities that let them squeeze their bulbous bodies through pencil-thin crevices; the ability to instantly change the color and pattern of their skin to blend into their environs; and a surprising cunning and intelligence.
The highlight of Octopus Week is usually the “blind date,” in which the aquarists bring two of their octopuses together to mate in front of a large audience. (Really, I could not make this up.) Unfortunately, the octopus copulation has been cancelled this year — not because it was deemed too sordid an affair, but because staffers were worried that this year, one of the animals might get eaten instead.
Published in Crosscut
When a doctor determines a patient has a brain tumor, the next step is usually surgery. Knife in hand, the surgeon is soon presented with an inevitable conundrum: how much is the right amount to cut away? Too little and, if the tumor is malignant, the patient will be subjected to more toxic chemotherapy or radiation than necessary. Too much, and the doctor will be slicing into healthy tissue—and possibly causing the patient undue brain damage.
Yet this high-stakes surgical process can be surprisingly rudimentary. “Surgeons don’t have a very good way of knowing when they’re done cutting out a tumor,” Jonathan Liu, a University of Washington assistant professor of mechanical engineering, said in a press release. “They’re using their sense of sight, their sense of touch, pre-operative images of the brain—and oftentimes it’s pretty subjective.”
Which is why research groups and companies around the world have been working to build technology that can distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, right in the operating room. A device developed by Liu’s UW research group, along with partners at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University and the Barrow Neurological Institute, is on the frontlines.