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The Conversation covers current events in politics, public affairs, culture and science. Host Ross Reynolds opens the phone for listeners to participate in spirited discussions on the issues of the day. 

Twitter: KUOWRoss | Facebook: KUOWRoss

To find stories by The Conversation older than October 15, 2012, go to and select "The Conversation" from the show dropdown menu in the search function.

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Hybrid Election Structure
11:11 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Should Seattle City Councilmembers Be Elected By District?

 Beginning in 2015, Seattle residents might see a big change in how they’re represented in city government. A proposal that is likely to make the ballot this fall would create a hybrid system with seven geographical districts and one councilmember representing each. Two council seats would remain at-large.

Currently, Seattle voters elect nine at-large councilmembers who represent the entire city, and that’s fairly unusual. For cities with more than 500,000 residents, only Detroit, Mich. and Columbus, Ohio currently have at-large city council systems. So what are the arguments for creating a hybrid system? What are the arguments for keeping things the same?

David Hyde talks to Eugene Wasserman, president of the North Seattle Industrial Association and campaign coordinator for Seattle Districts Now, an organization proposing its own map of districts. David also hears from former city councilmember Jim Street and University of North Carolina government professor Kimberly Nelson.

First Edition Of Getting Fresh
11:06 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Getting Fresh With Sheryl: How To Cook With Scape

Ever come across an unfamiliar item at a farmers market? Sheryl Wiser offers her advice on getting adventurous in a farmers market.
Flickr Photo/ilovebutter

 Have you ever wandered through a farmers market and found yourself staring at a beautiful vegetable and thought, “Man, I have zero idea what that is.” If so, it’s time to pull out a pad and paper. David Hyde kicks off a brand new segment called "Getting Fresh with Ross and Sheryl" featuring Sheryl Wiser of the Cascade Harvest Coalition and manager of the Puget Sound Fresh program.

Smart Phone Theft
10:52 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Tech Columnist Monica Guzman On Privacy And "Halfalogue"

A "halfalogue" is the one-sided part of the conversation you overhear when someon is on the phone, which can be unavoidable in public places.
Flickr Photo/Emiliano

 According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans with smart phones has just exceeded the halfway point. But more fancy phones could mean more cell phone theft. A recent Harris Poll showed that one out of every 10 mobile phone users has had their phone stolen at some point.

Seattle Times Tech columnist Monica Guzman had an article in the Sunday paper about smart phone theft specifically. She’s also a writer for GeekWire, and she appears regularly on The Conversation to talk about the latest tech news. This time she discusses cell phones and “halfalogue” with David Hyde.

Hygiene Culture
10:34 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Are Americans Too Obsessed With Cleanliness?

Who doesn't have a little bottle of hand sanitizer in their bag? The question is, does it help or harm in the long run?
Flickr Photo/Tattooed JJ

Compared to the rest of the world, Americans take hygiene and cleanliness very seriously. But Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a medical school professor and recent author of a New York Times op/ed article, says Americans are taking cleanliness too far. Dr. Gupta tells David Hyde that not all bacteria are bad, and listeners weigh in on the discussion.

Environmental News
10:28 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Environmental Update With Ashley Ahearn

The cleanup of the Duwamish River in Seattle is a continual hot topic in local environmental news.
Flickr Photo/Tom Sparks

 From the Duwamish River cleanup efforts to coal terminals to chuckling frogs; David Hyde talks with KUOW and EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn about the latest in Northwest environmental news. Plus, Ahearn talks about EarthFix’s upcoming documentary, "Voices of Coal: And EarthFix Multimedia Special."

History of Insanity Plea
10:56 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Insanity Plea: A Rare And Misunderstood Defense

Last summer 12 people were fatally shot and 70 others were injured when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. James Holmes, the suspect in that shooting pleaded not guilty last week by reason of insanity.  David Hyde explores the history and myths behind the insanity plea with author and law professor Michael Perlin.

Employment Background Checks
10:49 am
Mon June 10, 2013

City Council Might Change The Rules For Hiring Criminals

The Seattle City Council is voting this afternoon on whether to ban employers from immediately asking about the criminal history of new applicants. They would have to wait until after an initial review of the application. After that, a past conviction can still figure into the hiring process. But that’s only if the employer proves that there’s a direct relationship between applicant’s crime and the job they’re applying for.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has opposed this legislation from the beginning. Due to its influence, several changes have been made since November. However, the chamber still takes issue parts of the proposal. David Hyde talks to George Allen, the chamber's senior vice president of government relations. We also hear from local attorney Merf Ehman, one of the driving forces behind the City Council’s proposal.

Prenuptial Credit Check
10:38 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Financial Expert: Check Your Fiancée’s Credit

Jane Bryant Quinn's book "Making the Most of Your Money Now."

In some states you still have to get a blood test before you get married, but no state requires you to get a credit check before getting married. How important is it to sit down with a bottle of wine and talk debt before you walk down the aisle? David Hyde talks to financial expert Jane Bryant Quinn who says it should be at the top of your list. She’s the author of a book called "Making the Most of Your Money Now."

Seattle Nudity Laws
10:32 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Are Nude Bike Riders Breaking The Law?

Fremont Solstice Parade
Flickr Photo/Jonathan Morris

Nude cyclists broke out the body paint on Friday for Bellingham’s annual Naked Bike Ride. Seattle will get its chance to do the same on June 22, for Fremont’s annual Solstice Parade. The Fremont Arts Council, which organizes the event, obviously doesn’t have a problem with public nudity. But are bare-bodied cyclists breaking any laws? David Hyde talks to criminal defense attorney Lance Fryrear about Seattle’s public nudity laws.

Campaign Finance Reform
10:24 am
Mon June 10, 2013

City Councilmembers Push For Publicly Funded Elections

The Seattle City Council is considering a proposal to publicly fund council campaigns through a new property tax levy.  Supporters say using public funds strengthens our democracy by allowing candidates to focus on important issues, not just the issues of big donors. Opponents say public financing in other cities hasn’t made races more competitive or lessened the power of incumbents. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is sponsoring the public financing legislation and joins us today.

Music Industry
7:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Sub Pop Records: Going Out Of Business Since 1988!

Megan Jasper, vice president of Sub Pop Records, poses for a portrait at their office in downtown Seattle on May 9, 2013.
The Seattle Times/Genevieve Alvarez

This audio is pending

Sub Pop Records may have started small but the label has always made a big impression. Sup Pop, which began as a fanzine and evolved into a record label in the late 1980s, is considered the epicenter of the grunge movement. Megan Jasper, vice president at Sub Pop, gives Ross Reynolds a tour of the office.

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Olympia Special Session
11:25 am
Fri June 7, 2013

This Week In Olympia

Flickr Photo/MathTeacherGuy

 Lawmakers are rapidly approaching the deadline for the special session in Olympia. Still, it remains unclear whether the Senate Majority Coalition and the Democratically controlled House will reach an agreement on a budget deal. David Hyde discusses it with Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins during this week’s update from the state capital.

News Review
11:20 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Conversation News Quiz!

 Do you have what it takes to win public radio honors? Join us once again for The Conversation’s weekly news quiz! This week David Hyde finds out who’s been listening closely.

Frozen Eggs
10:38 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Egg Freezing: A Game Changer For Women?

Last October, the National Reproductive Society removed the experimental label from egg freezing. Along with advances to the technology, egg freezing is now available to more women than ever before. Some tout it as the biggest revolution for women’s choice since the birth control pill. Others say the high price tag is prohibitive for most women and could put off real systemic changes needed for women’s rights.

David Hyde talks with Dr. Angela Thyer, founding partner of Seattle Reproductive Medicine, Sarah Elizabeth Richards author of “Motherhood Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It,” and Jacoba Urist, a journalist for Forbes, NBCNews and The Atlantic.

Kal Penn Interview
10:29 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Actor Kal Penn: From Kumar To Cultural Diplomat

Kal Penn in the KUOW green room.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Kal Penn is best known for his stoner role as Kumar in the "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” films. But Penn is also a former member of President Obama’s administration, where he worked on youth, art, and Asian American outreach.      

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