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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. 

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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.

NASA Builds A Laser From The Moon To The Earth

Jul 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/NASA Goddard Photo and Video

NASA is returning to the moon this summer, but not to plant a flag and hit a golf ball. The space agency is building lasers to send information. Why are lasers the new technology for space communication? Ross Reynolds hears from Don Cornwell, the mission manager for the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration at NASA.

Union Tries To Block Downtown Hotel Deal

Jul 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge

There are plans in the works to build a huge convention hotel on the site of Seattle’s Greyhound bus station. But the developer behind the hotel is threatening to cancel the project unless a union trying to block the project at city hall relents.

The union says the hotel would bring too many low-wage jobs to downtown Seattle. Ross Reynolds talks to Mark Stiles, a reporter at the Puget Sound Business Journal, who has been covering the story.

Wilderness Survival Guide

Jul 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/Dois Espressos

With the summer sun, more people are hitting the trails and enjoying the outdoors. But just because the weather is nicer doesn’t mean the wilderness is any safer. Lee Callahan shares what it was like to get lost in the woods at night. Then Jason Knight, co-founder of Alderleaf Wilderness College, talks to Ross Reynolds and callers about how to survive out in the wilderness.

Is The Minimum Wage Too Low?

Jul 18, 2013

Correction 7/24/13:  In the original broadcast of this interview we misstated that Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant advocates a minimum wage of $21.72 an hour. According to her campaign representative Devin Matthews, Sawant is calling for a $15.00 dollar minimum wage. 

A recent economic survey showed it costs over $52,000  for a one parent and one child family to live a modest lifestyle in Seattle. Would raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour bring more people closer to earning a living wage? Or would a $15.00 minimum wage just discourage employers from hiring? Ross Reynolds talks to Felix Salmon, financial reporter for Reuters, about the case for each side, and callers share their opinions on if we should raise the minimum wage.

Hypoallergenic Dogs: Myth Or Fact?

Jul 18, 2013
White House

Last week when we were talking about dogs in bars, restaurants and grocery stores the conversation turned to people who are allergic to dogs. One woman called to say her dog was hypoallergenic. But is that a real thing? Veterinarian Dr. Karen Hoffman reveals the truth to Ross Reynolds.

Digital Dementia

Jul 18, 2013

Got a question? Ask Google. Can’t remember a name? Go to your smart phone. But are digital conveniences making us more forgetful? Tom Stafford psychologist at the University of Sheffield in the UK says no. He explains why our brains are just actually adapting.

Copping Copper: State Struggles With Illegal Scrap Metal Trade

Jul 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/Grant Hutchinson

Copper wire theft is a persistent problem. Most recently it put out the lights for property owners along Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway. Why is copper such a valuable thing to steal? And where is it being sold? Jay Sternoff is the legislative liaison for the Washington Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. He talks to Ross Reynolds about the world of stolen copper.

Foraging For Food

Jul 17, 2013
Rebecca Lerner's book "Dandelion Hunter"

Rebecca Lerner is the Dandelion Hunter. She’s a forager for wild plants for food and medicine, twine and paint, soap and incense. Ross Reynolds walked around the University of Washington campus with Rebecca to see what they could find. Her new book is called "Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness."

Bill To Protect Veterans Against Discrimination

Jul 17, 2013
United States Congress

If you are a veteran looking for a job in Washington state, employers can’t refuse to hire you because of your military status. That’s because of a 2006 law protecting veterans against discrimination. But in most states that’s not the case. United States Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06) wants to change that. Ross Reynolds talks to Representative Kilmer about how his bill would protect all veterans and service members from employer and housing discrimination nationwide.

Meet Mayoral Candidate Peter Steinbrueck

Jul 17, 2013
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ballots for the August 6 primary election go out today. Former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck hopes to lead the nine-person race and have a shot for getting elected mayor in November. Ross Reynolds talks to Steinbrueck about what he would bring to the mayor’s office.

Getting Fresh With Ross and Sheryl

Jul 17, 2013
Flickr Photo/La Grande Farmers' Market

What’s fresh at the farmers market this week? Raspberries! Sheryl Wiser from Puget Sound Fresh program at the Cascade Harvest Coalition tells Ross Reynolds how to buy 'em, and some good things to make with them.

Prayer Vigil For Trayvon Martin

Jul 17, 2013

Saturday George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Rallies and protests opposing Zimmerman’s acquittal have popped up across the nation. Today in Seattle the Greater Mt. Baker Missionary Baptist Church is holding a prayer vigil for Trayvon Martin. KUOW’s Liz Jones talks to Ross Reynolds live from the event.

Hallucinating With Oliver Sacks

Jul 16, 2013
Oliver Sacks' book "Hallicinations"

 Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. They’ve also been associated with spiritual enlightenment and disease. They can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep, when people have visions ranging from luminous blobs of color to beautifully detailed faces or terrifying ogres. Those who are bereaved may receive comforting “visits” from the departed. Ross Reynolds talks with noted writer and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks about hallucinations and his book by the same name.

Seattle Mayoral Candidate Mary Martin

Jul 16, 2013
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Meet Socialist Worker’s Party candidate for mayor of Seattle, Mary Martin. She says the next mayor of Seattle must defend the working class. What exactly would she do as mayor to protect the working class? Ross Reynolds talks to her about that and what else she would bring to the mayor’s office.

The Legacy Of Kip Tokuda

Jul 16, 2013

  Former State Legislator Kip Tokuda passed away this weekend. The South Seattle Democrat served four terms in the House of Representatives. He was a champion for Asian-American rights, co-founding the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation to encourage young people for leadership roles in politics and nonprofit organizations. Ross Reynolds discusses his legacy with Jill NiShii, a longtime friend and former mentee of Tokuda.

Surprise, Seattle! City Council Members Are Up For Election, Too

Jul 16, 2013

The crowded Seattle mayor's race is sucking up a lot of attention, so you may be surprised to know there are contested City Council races on your primary ballot as well. 

Four incumbent City Council members are up for re-election: Nick Licata, Sally Bagshaw, Mike O'Brien and Richard Conlin.

McGinn Makes The Case For A Second Term

Jul 15, 2013
Flickr Photo/Mayor McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn faces tough competition in his campaign for re-election. He came to office as a political outsider, championing public transit and environmental issues. But many question whether he has followed through on his campaign promises. Ross Reynolds talks with Mayor McGinn about what he would bring to a second term in office.

Flying With Fido

Jul 15, 2013
Flickr Photo/Mayan Explore

 During the summer travel season it can be hard to leave pets at home. But instead of having Fido miss out on a fun vacation, many animal lovers choose to bring their pets on the trip. How can you make sure your furry companion is safe and happy on the way to your destination? Ross Reynolds gets travel tips for pet owners from Dr. Karen Hoffman, a veterinarian at Maple Leaf Pet Corner.

How To Settle A Dispute Without Going To Court

Jul 15, 2013
Flickr Photo/SalFalko

Have you ever had to deal with a difficult, noisy neighbor –  but you don’t want to call the cops? Maybe what they’re doing is not so clearly illegal, but it is making your blood boil. There’s an alternative you may not have considered: dispute resolution. Julia A. Gold is board president of the King County Dispute Resolution Center and can be reached at 206.443.9603.   She talks to Ross Reynolds about how to settle a fight without going to court.     

Imagining The Future With Seattle Luminaries

Jul 12, 2013
Portrait of Maggie Wilson watching a 3-D movie
Flickr Photo/Mike Licht

When science fiction author and casual prophet Isaac Asimov wrote about his visit to the World’s Fair in New York in 1964, he imagined what the world would be like in 50 years. Almost 50 years later he seems to have gotten a few things right: “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The IBM exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English.”

Google translate anyone?

Jaron Lanier Asks: Who Owns The Future?

Jul 12, 2013
Jaron Lanier's book "Who Owns the Future?"

Jaron Lanier is a pioneer in virtual reality and the Internet. But in recent years he’s become more and more skeptical of the promises of the Web.  Ross Reynolds talks to Jaron Lanier about his new book, "Who Owns the Future."

This program originally aired May 31, 2013.

Julia Sweeney's Comedic Journey From Spokane To China

Jul 12, 2013
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Julia Sweeney is a comedian, actress and author. She performed four seasons on Saturday Night Live and now has a new book of memoirs titled, "If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother."

Who Was Your Favorite Teacher?

Jul 11, 2013
Flickr Photo/Todd Petrie

School is out for the summer and for many students, teachers are the last thing on their minds. But today on The Conversation, we’re celebrating teachers that made a difference in your life. Ross Reynolds takes your calls.

Freedom Foundation Fishing For Search Terms

Jul 11, 2013

The Olympia-based Freedom Foundation has filed records requests with four Washington state agencies asking for employee emails and other records containing certain words, including “tea party,” “Catholic,” “Mormon” and “redneck.” Why? Ross Reynolds talks with Glen Morgan, the property rights director with the Freedom Foundation.

Flickr Photo/Penn State

Zombies. The walking dead. The slow moving but inescapable pop culture phenomenon. Even on The Conversation we’ve discussed zombies. We had on Max Brooks, author of "World War Z," now a movie in theaters with Brad Pitt. There are zombie survival guides, books about economic policy with zombies, and even "Pride and Prejudice" with zombies. We seem to be fascinated by the idea of the moving, the living dead.

Well folks, I am not sure if this is good or bad news, but I am afraid zombies are real. At least kind of. Ross Reynolds talks with professor of entomology David Hughes about parasites that can infect animals and change their behaviors, including an estimated 14 percent of Americans. 

Price Of Higher Education Gets Even Higher

Jul 11, 2013
Flickr Photo/Morgan Davis

Congressional inaction results in higher student loan interest payments. It will cost the average student $2,600. Ross Reynolds talks with Megan Davis, the senior associate director of University of Washington's Office of Student Financial Aid about what this will mean for students at the University of Washington. 

City Responds To Need For Potty In Pioneer Square

Jul 11, 2013
Flickr Photo/Ian Fisher

Earlier this week we heard from a Pioneer Square businesswoman Joanna Urrego, who built her own portapotty in an effort to keep people from doing their business in the alley. Well the city has its own plan for public restrooms in Pioneer Square using a what’s called the Portland Loo. Ross Reynolds gets the details from Gary Johnson from Seattle's Department of Planning and Development. 

Smokeless Pot Smoking?

Jul 11, 2013
Coaster 420 (public domain)

Even though marijuana is now legal here in Washington state that doesn’t mean putting smoke in your lungs is good for you. But there may be a technological solution: smokeless devices called vaporizers. Vaporizing heats the cannabis to a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees Celsius. That’s just short of combustion, which occurs at 230 degrees Celsius, and at that point the vapors are released. So vaporizers can produce the same biological effect as smoking – getting high – without the smoke. Ross Reynolds talks with Danny Darko of High Times magazine about some of the smokeless and less smoking marijuana options available to consumers.  

Getting Fresh With Ross And Sheryl: Your Fava-orite Bean Edition

Jul 10, 2013
Flickr Photo/luvjnx

This week Sheryl Wiser talks with Ross Reynolds about fava beans and radishes. She swears that both are good for more than just a creative play in Scrabble. Did you know that radishes have their own holiday in Oaxaca, Mexico? It is true  — La Noche de Los Rabanos is celebrated yearly on December 23. We learn about that and more in this week's edition of "Getting Fresh with Ross and Sheryl."

Merchant Installs Outhouse In Pioneer Square

Jul 10, 2013
The Portland Loo, an example of a public restroom from our neighbors in Oregon.
Flickr Photo/Kevin Christopher Burke

They can arrest her — but she’s not going to put up with the stink.

A Pioneer Square business owner built her own outhouses and put them up last week to cut down on restaurant goers, sports fans and homeless people urinating in the alleys.

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