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Book review: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall

Book cover: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall, by Mahlon E. Kriebel.Influenced by real events of fall 1998 to spring 1999, when the Makah harvested their first whale in seven decades and made headlines worldwide, Mahlon Kriebel (’58 zoology) blends fact with fiction and explores the history of the whale hunt as well as complex cultural issues and tensions past and present. He provides historical context peppered with references to Native works of art, fiction, films, museum exhibits, and more. » More …

Ask Dr. Universe: How do mountains form?

Dr. Universe. A cartoon cat in a lab coatWhen you walk around on land, you are walking on top of Earth’s rocky crust. Below the crust is another thick layer of rock. These layers form Earth’s tectonic plates and when those plates collide with each other, they often form mountains.

To find out about how mountains form, I visited my friend Julie Menard, a professor at Washington State University who is very curious about geology. » More …

Music student wins international competition

Timothy Schrader holding a tuba. Timothy Schrader, a music performance major from Blaine, Washington, recently earned first prize in the European music division of the 2021Charleston International Music Competition with a performance of Georg Philipp Telemann’s Sonata in F Major.

Schrader studies with Chris Dickey, assistant professor of tuba and euphonium in the WSU School of Music, and regularly performs with » More …

Improving WARNS, a K-12 at-risk assessment tool

Stacked books.An interdisciplinary team of Washington State University researchers received a $1.4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to refine and expand the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students program (WARNS), an assessment that helps address truancy in K-12 schools.,

Developed in 2008, the program uses evidence-driven procedures to track and improve interventions with students. More than 100 schools in Washington state and across the nation » More …

Sociologist’s new book examines changing rural economics

Jennifer Sherman holding her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream.Even before COVID-19 prompted thousands of city-dwellers to seek new lifestyles in the country, sociology professor Jennifer Sherman had been researching and writing about a remote place she calls “Paradise Valley,” where efforts to revitalize the local economy with an influx of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and souvenir shops dramatically changed the community.

Her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream tells the story of » More …

Wildfire changes songbird plumage

Red backed fairywren.Fire can put a tropical songbird’s sex life on ice.

Following habitat-destroying wildfires in Australia, a team of researchers led by WSU biology doctoral student Jordan Boersma found that many male red-backed fairywrens failed to molt into their red-and-black ornamental plumage, making them less attractive to potential mates. They also had lowered circulating testosterone, which has been associated with their showy feathers. » More …

Dr. Universe: How do trees give us air to breathe?

Dr. UniverseOur planet is home to all kinds of different plants, and they help make a lot of the oxygen we breathe. To find out how plants make oxygen, I asked my friend Balasaheb Sonawane, a scientist at WSU who researches photosynthesis, or the ways plants use energy from the sun and make oxygen. He said that in a way, plants breathe, too. » More …

Finding his voice

Brandt Fisher playing a saxophone.During recess, most third graders go outside to play. Some, however, play the marimba with their fellow students. Brandt Fisher was one of those recess marimba players.

“When I joined the marimba band in third grade, we learned music by ear,” Brandt said. “This taught me how to truly listen to music and the musicians I played with. And, playing during recess was so much fun.” » More …

Radio program connects NW past to present

Keren Phoenix and Brenna Miller.A Spokane resident whose invention transformed the shipping industry;  a woman who passed as a man and worked as a bartender, bronco buster, and longshoreman; plus preachers, prisoners, ranchers, immigrants, cowgirls, and soldiers are among the myriad people whose stories illuminate the history of the Northwest in Past as Prologue, a new radio program created by WSU historians Karen Phoenix and Brenna Miller. » More …