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Salmon poisoning disease in grizzly bears

Salmon in the northwestern continental United States often carry a fluke containing bacteria that can produce a deadly disease in bears called salmon poisoning disease (SPD). Current recovery plans for grizzly bears in the North Cascades of Washington and the mountains of central Idaho, where infected salmon currently occur, call for using bears from several interior populations; however, a new study reveals that such bears with no history of salmon consumption are likely sensitive to SPD.

The Journal of Wildlife Management findings indicate that identifying a source of bears that would be resistant to SPD may be difficult.

Charles Robbins

“We are hopeful that the bears used in the initial restoration effort will feed exclusively on terrestrial-based foods as there are currently very few salmon returning to the North Cascades; however, any bear that moves into lower elevation areas where they might consume salmon will be closely monitored,” said lead author Dr. Charles Robbins, professor of environmental studies at Washington State University. “If they eat salmon containing the bacteria, we suspect they will get sick. We are hopeful that they will be able to recover.”

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Science Daily

A view of space from space

WSU professor shows Hubble Space Telescope’s greatest images, details history

About 50 people tilted their heads back, gazed up at the Washington State University Planetarium dome and took in images from space Sunday at Sloan Hall on the WSU campus in Pullman.

Long before Sunday’s sunset, viewers sat in the dark room looking up at sharply-focused images of planets, stars and galaxies. One image showed a detailed shot of a purple ring at the top and bottom of Jupiter.

Guy Worthey
Guy Worthey

Guy Worthey, WSU associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, displayed the images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Worthey discussed the history of the telescope, named after the late American astronomer Edwin Hubble, and how it revolutionized astronomy.

He said American physicist Lyman Spitzer developed the idea in 1946 of a telescope beyond the atmosphere rather than on the ground, as turbulence and air currents make telescope views from the ground blurry.

“If you were to go above the atmosphere, you could defeat that completely,” Worthey said.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Offering an avenue to redemption

WSU professor instructs prison art program to benefit California inmates

Anna Plemons

Through her work at California’s second oldest prison, Washington State University professor of English Anna Plemons is helping incarcerated men take on leadership and teaching roles to benefit their families on the outside.

As an instructor in a statewide program called Arts in Corrections at New Folsom Prison, Plemons helped develop a 24-part curriculum to teach inmates literary principles they can use to teach their children, grandchildren, spouses or other loved ones how to express themselves.

“Over the course of the last almost 10 years, I started to realize there were a lot of people who were incarcerated who were looking for ways to do positive things,” Plemons said. “I also realized a lot of them were interested in being positive role models or influences in their own families outside the prison.”

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

As Americans Age, Their Support for Environmentalism Declines

It’s not easy staying green.

Younger Americans tend to be more environmentally conscious than their parents and grandparents. This has lead science educators such as Bill Nye to argue societal attitudes toward the topic will shift as older generations die off.

Disturbing new research suggests that may be a false hope. It reports Americans grow less supportive of spending money to protect the natural environment as they age, no matter the year of their birth.


“There is no inexorable march toward greater environmentalism as younger cohorts with greater environmental awareness replace older ones,” warn Erik Johnson, professor of sociology at Washington State University, and Philip Schwadel of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Their study, in the journal Environment and Behavior, suggests organizations urging Earth-friendly behaviors may be targeting the wrong demographic.

The researchers analyzed data from the General Social Survey, a large, nationally representative sample of American adults, from 1973 to 2016. They focused on responses to one question: whether we are spending (a) too much, (b) about the right amount of money, or (c) too little on “improving and protecting the environment.”

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Pacific Standard Magazine
560 KPQ

Three Reasons Russians Smile Less Than Americans

World Cup soccer fans in Russia have been laughing, crying, and screaming as their favorite teams win or lose. But Russians themselves aren’t known for their emotional displays. In fact, in the lead up to the World Cup, Russian workers actually got training on how to smile at visiting fans. Which raises a question: Why?

Masha Gartstein

Why do some cultures smile more than others? Masha Gartstein is a professor of psychology and director of advanced programs at Washington State University and she’s written about what she calls, “the smile gap.”

“Russians are suspicious of people who appear to be smiling for no reason, and at worst are probably thinking that perhaps there is some intellectual deficits, or maybe even mental illness behind this seemingly unnecessary expression of positive emotionality,” Gartstein said.

There are a variety of reasons for this cultural difference. One of them is the fact that historically, there used to be vast differences in commerce.

“Back in the days of USSR there was of course no pressure to provide any kind of customer service because nothing was consumer driven.”

That’s part of the backdrop. Another part, Garstein noted, is that there really isn’t a smiling deficit in Russia. It’s a smiling gap.

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Living Lab Radio

The Washington Post