In the Media

Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 9:46am

Minnesota legislators will make another push to require those who want to talk on the phone while driving to use hands-free devices.

Similar bills have fallen short in the recent past. But even those who once opposed such measures now say they think horrific crashes caused by distracted drivers have become too prevalent to vote no again. Gov. Tim Walz says he will sign a bill if he reaches his desk.

But to get to passage, supporters of the legislation have to either ignore or rationalize the research behind distracted driving. Research done by psychologists and others shows that calls made with hands-free systems are not, in fact, significantly safer than calls made while holding a cellphone.

“It is as distracting to have a hands-free conversation as to have a hand-held conversation,” said Ira Hyman, Jr., a professor of psychology at Western Washington University. “It’s really not about what your hands are doing. It’s about where you head is, where your mind is. When it is occupied trying to hold a conversation, you can fail to see things that pass directly in front of you.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 9:35am
Bellingham Business Journal

Now that the elections are over, the holidays are upon us, and our lawmakers are gearing up to gather in Olympia for the 2019 legislative session. Their job this year won’t be easy. This is the year the Legislature must write the next two-year state budget, weighing many competing and important demands in the process.

Fortunately, there is one thing on which everyone can agree: people need good, well-paying jobs, and the majority of those jobs require training and education beyond high school. This is true across the state, whether legislators represent urban or rural areas and whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 11:35am
National Geographic

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, an associate professor of seismology and volcanology at Western Washington University, says that the paper “actually highlights how unlikely it is that a quake could trigger an eruption.”

How, then, could this long-term trend be explained? What may happen during those months is that ruptures caused by quakes open up new pathways for viscous magma to follow, gradually, to the surface. The shaking, over time, could also create additional bubbles in the magma, which increases its pressure–a bit like shaking up a can of soda.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 11:23am

Through mutual friends, the couple had met a scientist named (WWU Professor of Psychology) Jeff Carroll, who, like Vallabh, researches his own disorder—in his case, Huntington’s disease. He had recently partnered with a company called Ionis Pharmaceuticals to develop a therapy. Both fatal familial insomnia and Huntington’s result from a mutant protein that is toxic to brain cells. So how do you eliminate the protein? The simplest answer, Carroll explained, was to cut out the middleman. If DNA contains the architectural blueprint for a protein, a molecule called RNA is the contractor; it reads the schematics and specifies how the protein should be assembled. If you can intercept the RNA before construction has begun, you can affect the final shape of the building.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 11:13am
The Spokesman-Review

Cash and Mishka were the first Karelian Bear Dogs to work for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Over the course of their respective careers, they assisted in hundreds of wildlife conflict calls. The two canines helped bust poachers, find and save orphaned cougar kittens and proved that a couple lied about being attacked by a cougar.

Mishka first started at the agency in 2003, as a puppy. He worked alongside (WWU Huxley alumnus) Rocky Spencer, a wildlife biologist specializing in large carnivores, particularly cougars.

Monday, January 14, 2019 - 11:50am
National Geographic

Possible links between these two geologic titans have long fascinated—and divided—scientists. Here’s what the latest studies have to say.

Monday, January 14, 2019 - 9:32am
My Edmonds News

A reminder that Disney Institute is bringing its renowned professional development course, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence, to the Lynnwood Convention Center on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Sponsored by Western Washington University and the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce, the one-day event “will help area professionals begin to understand the power of leadership values, discover how customer loyalty can be established, and gain insight into how organizational culture is strengthened,” an announcement from WWU and the Lynnwood Chamber said.

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 11:26am
City of Bellingham
After a four-month investigation, the Bellingham Police Department has determined an associate coach for the Bellingham Slam basketball team acted alone when he illegally recorded 90 videos of 19 victims in locker rooms and bathrooms.
On September 4, 2018 Bellingham Police began an investigation after receiving a complaint from two adult males who believed they were being video recorded while taking a shower after a sporting event at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle in August 2018.  The suspect was identified as Kip Leonetti who was listed as an associate coach on the team website and an employee of Western Washington University’s Wade King Student Recreation Center.  
Friday, December 28, 2018 - 9:24am
The Verge

A tsunami can also be caused by other things that move vast amounts of water, from storms to underwater landslides, which experts think is the most likely explanation for what happened in the Sunda Strait.

“Anything that rapidly displaces water can cause a tsunami, whether or not it also shakes the ground. The fact that there was no major earthquake means that whatever caused the tsunami near Krakatau put most of its energy into the water rather than into the ground. This would be the case for a submarine landslide.“ Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, a geophysicist at Western Washington University, told The Verge in an email.

Friday, December 21, 2018 - 2:02pm

A GRAPHIC ARTS STUDENT at Western Washington University, Brooklyn Bell is a lover of nature and an avid outdoor athlete, but she says the outdoors don’t always feel culturally relevant, which is a barrier that cuts across socioeconomic lines. One of the problems may be an issue of marketing, as the parks (and the outdoors industry, generally) rarely target people of color, even those who can afford technical gear and outdoors vacations. “If I don’t see anybody there that looks like me, or is welcoming me in to the point where I would feel comfortable being in the space, I would just rather not be there,” Bell explained at the November brainstorm session.