Conversation

No longer on air.

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 www2.kuow.org and select "The Conversation" from the show dropdown menu in the search function.

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Spring Cleaning
12:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Training Your Brain To Have A Composed Domain

Where do you start your spring cleaning?
Flickr Photo/Sheila Y

It’s not officially spring, but we are only 24 hours away! Sure for some spring means blooming flowers, chirping birds and if we are lucky, warmer weather. But there is another thing that many people associate with spring — cleaning. But where do you start? How do you tackle that pile of mail that has been multiplying like rabbits and is now taking over your desk? Is less, more? What is "bus-stop clutter"?

Economy
12:21 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Take My Dog, Please! And Other Tales From The Sharing Economy

Would you let this guy sleep on your couch?
Flickr Photo/Jiuck

You've heard the phrase, "It's not personal, it's business." But as people start to share everything from their bedroom to their dog it can, and often is both. So what is the sharing economy? A personal exchange of goods and services, sometimes for free, sometimes for money.

Think couch surfing, where homeowners allow people to sleep on their couch or in their spare bedroom for free. Or AirBnB where you can rent out your house or apartment. Or the Phinney Neighborhood Association's tool library that allows you to borrow tools without a fee. Or new services that allow you to rent out your car. There is even a co-op to share dogs. Ross Reynolds talks to listeners about their experiences, both good and bad, in this new sharing economy.

Drug Laws
12:05 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

How Washington's Pot Legalization Breaks International Law

US Attorney General Eric Holder is pondering what to do about Washington and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, a substance still illegal under US law. But it’s also become an international issue. Last Thursday, the United Nations issued a press release stating Washington state’s legalization actually violates international law. This statement comes amidst criticism from Latin American leaders calling America’s inconsistency between foreign and domestic drug policies hypocritical. The Obama administration has said a legalization strategy — at least abroad — is off the table. Ross Reynolds talks with Bruce Bagley, a professor of international studies at the University of Miami and expert on US-Latin America relations.

Retirement Planning
12:05 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Trying Not To Die Broke: Saving For Retirement Before You Hit 40

Dreams of early retirement.
Flickr Photo/Volker Neumann

A new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that people under 40 are more anxious than ever about their retirement. With Social Security benefits dwindling and pension plans becoming more and more scarce, many experts say planning early is more critical than ever. But for many under 40, rent, student loans or cars are far more pressing financial matters. So, how do you start? Ross Reynolds talks with National Institute on Retirement Security Executive Director Diane Oakley about the most recent trends in retirement, and gets advice on how and what to save from certified financial planner, Mindy Crary.

Housing Market
11:47 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Housing Prices Climb In Seattle, But Have They Climbed All The Way To Recovery?

Zillow Cheif Economist Stan Humphries.
Twitter Profile Photo

Seattle homes are now worth 14.4 percent more than they were a year ago. That’s according to Seattle based real estate firm Zillow, who release monthly reports on the value of homes in Seattle and elsewhere in the region. On the national level, the US has just made it through our 12th straight month of increasing home values. Top Zillow officials say that these numbers are a good indicator that local and national housing markets are showing significant improvements. Ross Reynolds talks with Zillow's Cheif Economist Stan Humphries about buying, selling and renting in western Washington.

Education
11:39 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Online College: Valuable Tool Or Waste Of Your time?

Do online classes work for you?
Flickr Photo/Ed Yourdon

Online learning may be widening the education achievement gap for some community college students in Washington state, according to a new study by researchers at Teacher’s College at Columbia University. They looked at 500,000 courses taken by 40,000 students over a four-year period. And in that study more of the online students dropped out compared to students who took traditional classes in brick-and-mortar buildings. Plus, more online students got failing grades. Ross Reynolds talks with Western Governors University chancellor, Jean Floten about the benefits and drawbacks of online education.

Author Interview
11:49 am
Fri March 15, 2013

"Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us"

Cover of "Salt, Sugar, Fat" by Michael Moss.

David Hyde sits down with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Michael Moss to talk about the role that processed food companies play in obesity and the health of consumers and what they learned from tobacco companies. 

Washington State Politics
11:48 am
Fri March 15, 2013

This Week In Olympia With Austin Jenkins

Washington state capitol in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova

Where do we stand on universal background checks, education funding and impacts of the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration?

David Hyde checks in with everyone's favorite Olympia correspondent, Austin Jenkins for an update on the latest in state politics. 

News Savvy
11:46 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Conversation News Quiz!

Don't just walk the walk, take the quiz!
Flickr Photo/An Untrained Eye

A pope, an environmentalist and an actor walk into a bar. Well that is not exactly what happens in this week's Conversation news quiz, but hilarity does ensue. 

Public Views
12:28 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

What Iconic Seattle Views Should Be Protected?

Proposed zoning changes in South Lake Union would obstruct the view of the Space Needle from Lake Union Park.
Space Needle Corp. Courtesy Photo

New construction in South Lake Union would block the view of the Space Needle from a park. What views from public places are protected? What Seattle sites are considered so important there are rules to keep them from being blocked? Should there be more?

Ross Reynolds talks with the director of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development Marshall Foster and tries to see the bigger picture when it comes to public views.

Employment Future
12:13 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Will Your Job Be Terminated By A Robot?

The helpful robotic vacuum. The cat is not so convinced.
Flickr Photo/Eirik Newth

Earlier this year IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, took a job with health care company WellPoint. Watson isn’t the only robot taking our jobs. By the end of the century, an estimated 70 percent of current occupations will be replaced by automation. Digital labor will take over assembly lines, write articles and even give legal advice. Where will that leave humans? 

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Interview
12:10 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Nick Offerman Both Is And Isn't Ron Swanson

Actor Nick Offerman from "Parks & Recreation." Taken Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012.
AP Photo/Carlo Allegri/Invision

Nick Offerman plays Ron Swanson, the libertarian government official on the TV show Parks and Recreation. Ross Reynolds talks to actor Nick Offerman about libertarianism, Hempfest, acting and cupcakes — kind of.

Biotech
12:07 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Bionic Bulldogs And Spider Goats: The Future Of Biotech's New Beasts

Artistic interpretation of the future of pets, the Genpet by Adam Brendejs.
Flickr Photo/Adam Brandejs

How is biotechnology changing our pets, our livestock and other wild things? Ross Reynolds talks with Emily Anthes, the author of "Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts," about how biotech will change our pets and livestock.

Inventions
12:12 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Shining Light On The Age Of Edison

An original carbon-filament Edison lightbulb from 1879.
Flickr Photo/terren in Virginia

When Thomas Edison displayed the first lightbulbs the reaction was utter amazement. University of Tennessee history professor Ernest Freeberg talks with Ross Reynolds about how Edison’s wonder invented modern America.

Religion
12:00 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

What Are Your Hopes For The Next Pope?

Yesterday, black smoke rose from the chimney in Rome indicating that the cardinals could not decide on a pope in the first go round. Today, white smoke has risen, indicating that a new pope has been chosen. What are you hoping for from the next head of the Catholic Church? Ross Reynolds talks with listeners about their hopes for the next pope.

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