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.
Published in Jungles in Paris
Juan Martin spent his boyhood roaming the Spanish countryside as a goat herder and farmhand. When he was a young man, he met a woman as she was bringing cattle in from the fields and fell in love. Her name was Sinforosa. She lived in La Estrella, a tiny village in Teruel, a harsh and hilly province located midway between Barcelona and Madrid.
Juan Martin courted Sinforosa there. In the evenings, they danced at the town's two remaining taverns. The village had 200 residents, fewer than in former days. People had been trickling out for decades, ever since a flood devastated La Estrella in 1883. The Spanish Civil War, which ended in 1939, had created a new wave of painful departures.
Still, La Estrella had everything a functioning village needed, including a beautiful church and two schools—one for girls, one for boys. Juan Martin and Sinforosa married and settled down. Mostly for economic reasons, the village continued to empty out. The schools shuttered; Juan Martin and Sinforosa's children did not stay. For the last 45 years, these two octogenarians have been the only two residents of La Estrella.
Published in Crosscut
When news broke about Bertha’s most recent holdup, it seemed like a new level of crazy. The giant tunnel-borer had created a massive sinkhole! Right downtown! Sure, I knewsinkholes are an issue in Florida, but I figured I was safe here. Is there something about Seattle’s substrate that makes it susceptible to these things? Could we have seen this coming?
Well, it turns out this is far from the first time this has happened. Even in the last couple of months there have been other Seattle sinkholes: one in the middle of the road in Rainier Valley, and one that opened up between two homes in Queen Anne. This isn’t even the first time there’s been a sinkhole blamed on Bertha; the drill caused one that was 15 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 7 feet deep that raised “questions about the project” back in 2013.
And then there’s the sinkhole that was 3 stories deep in West Seattle in 2011, the sinkhole on the waterfront that trapped a 60-year-old man for about an hour in 2009, the sinkhole near the University Bridge that swallowed two cars in 2007 (and nearly another man but, thankfully, he managed to jump out of his van before it fell in), and the “great Ravenna sinkhole” of 1957, which was 50 feet deep, 120 feet wide, and more than 200 feet long—at the time, the biggest sinkhole of its kind, ever.
And you thought the Really Big One was a frightening prospect. Turns out the earth could open up at your feet and swallow you whole at any time.
Published in Grist
Green cred: Polls show that climate change is one of the biggest issues for Latinos. But even within the environmental movement, their voices are often not heard. Which is why Quintero created Voces Verdes, “in an attempt to highlight and elevate Latino leadership on climate change,” she says. “While there’s been a tradition of environmental justice, there aren’t a lot of groups that are Latino led or Latino dominant.”
What to expect in 2016: “Right now we’re really focused on implementing the Clean Power Plan,” Quintero says. Obama’s plan to limit coal-based carbon pollution would not only help mitigate global warming, but could improve the health of Latinos across the country: According to the NRDC, 15 percent of Latinos live dangerously close to a coal-fired plant.
World view: Voces Verdes also tries to communicate how issues associated with climate change — like drought, wildfires, and flooding — will affect people living in Latin America. “The impacts [there] are very real, and very serious.”
Guilty pleasure: Buzzfeed. “After hours and hours worth of hard news, it’s nice to have a laugh.”
Published in Grist
Green cred: As a specialist in climate modeling and alternative energy, Jacobson has spent much of his career trying to understand, and find solutions to, global warming. He thinks the U.S. is now equipped with the necessary technology and economic means to get off of fossil fuels; in fact, he has done analyses to show how each state could do so by 2050. The only thing that’s missing, he says, is the political will.
But Jacobson isn’t just preaching an idealistic vision from behind the ivory tower: In 2013, he co-founded the Solutions Project — with actor Mark Ruffalo, businessman Marco Krapels, and activist Josh Fox — to engage policymakers, businesses leaders, and the public to try to put the 50-state plan into action.
What to expect in 2016: “We want to finalize the 139 country plan.” Yeah, that’s right: He wants to go beyond the U.S. to map out plans for countries across the world on how they can go renewable, and show how it is “technically, scientifically, and economically possible for each state and each country to implement them.”
On the ballot: New York and California have adopted partial versions of his schemes for clean energy — and presidential hopefuls Clinton, O’Malley, and Sanders stand behind them, too.
Published in Grist
Green cred: From Uganda to Tonga, Mocine-McQueen and Box have hosted storytelling workshops for more than 1,000 people from 60 countries with the Million Person Project. The goal: Teach unsung leaders how to project their voices and their causes using the public speaking and community organizing techniques developed by Harvard professorMarshall Ganz.
Mocine-McQueen and Box have helped embolden and amplify the stories of people who are already facing climate change — people who stand to lose their land, culture, and more with worsening tropical storms and sea level rise. MPP’s clients have gone on to share their stories everywhere, from the United Nations to international news outlets.
What to expect in 2016: Mocine-McQueen and Box will inch closer to their goal of helping to launch one million leaders into the world. In particular, they will continue working with climate activists in the Pacific Islands. Mocine-McQueen says he will never forget the stories they heard there: “They were honest, they were scary, and they were all very clear on one thing: Climate change is here.”
Proud moments: When their client Karanga John used MPP’s storytelling tips to raise $5,000 in one month to build an internet center in rural Uganda. When they worked with the artist Swoon to tell her story about her mother’s heroin addiction, which resonated with readers around the world.
New Year’s resolution they’ll likely bail on: For Box, sticking to moderate exercise. “I’m really good at extremes,” she says. “So I’m probably going to either end up running a half marathon or doing nothing.”
Spirits were high at Mount Baker Ski Area last Saturday as skiers and snowboarders trickled in to the resort’s White Salmon Lodge after a day on the slopes. The day was bright and clear and the mountain was still laden with the snow from December’s winter storms. But the après-ski fare was a little gloomier than you might expect: a talk about a phenomenon that has potential to kill off the very activity they came here for.
It was the first of a three-part lecture series by University of Washington scientists about global warming in the Pacific Northwest. The brainchild of UW ocean scientist and longtime Baker skier Sarah Myhre, the “1.5 Degrees Series,” named for the target set at the recent United Nations climate summit in Paris to limit warming to just 1.5°C, aims to bring climate science directly to people who have a vested interest in fighting it.
Published in ATTN:
As Jedi superfans across the world count down the days until the Dec. 18 release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," we've seen scant details about the new sequel’s plot. But there's one thing we do know: The new lead character of Rey is a total boss. And she also happens to be a woman.
Played by 23-year-old British actor Daisy Ridley in her first major role, Rey is a scavenger who lives in a ship graveyard on the planet of Jakku. She’s scrappy, self-reliant, and strong: a woman who “does her own thing and has her own story,” Ridley said in a behind-the-scenes teaser. "I hope that women—and men—across the world can see something they relate to in Rey."
Published in ATTN:
Don’t get me wrong: I love going home for the holidays. I love gorging myself on sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, feeling justified in hunkering down and doing absolutely nothing, and most of all, that feeling of time being on hold—as if everything is simply and beautifully still as it once was. But there are also some things that I don’t love about these family visits: having to decide where to spend them given my parents live on opposite coasts, or when grandma inevitably asks when I’m going to start popping out babies, or when dad reminds me how tough a field journalism can be. (“You could still decide to go to medical school!”)
“Holidays can be a source of misery or joy,” Jane Isay writes in her book, "Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents." And, Isay explains, the holidays can be especially tense for young adults—because it’s a time of being caught between adulthood and childhood identities.
Isay, who is now at work on her fourth book on family dynamics (called "Unconditional Love: A GPS for Grandparents"), knows just how tricky and complicated those relationships can be. We got the chance to talk with Isay about handling them as a young adult, what happens when 20-somethings go back to their childhood homes for a holiday visit, and tips on how to keep the spirits high and the drama low while you’re there there. Here’s what she had to say.
Published in RootsRated.
If you have ever rock climbed—and even if you haven’t—chances are you’ve heard of Alex Honnold. Sprung into global fame by his free solo (rope-less) ascents of epically difficult routes like the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome and El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico, Honnold, 30, has climbed all over the world, from crumbly desert towers, to big granite walls, to big mountains.
In his new book, Alone on the Wall, co-written with author and climber David Roberts, Honnold recounts the stories behind his big feats—which, he hopes, will show the world that despite his radical audacity and superhuman athleticism he is, in fact, a real person.
Now at the start of his rapid-speed cross-country book tour, which is coming to Seattle onNovember 19 and December 3, RootsRated got the chance to talk with Honnold about writing Alone on the Wall, his biggest climbs, and whether he ever still gets scared while climbing. Here’s what he had to say.