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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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Survival Guide
12:40 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Surviving Washington's Wilderness

Creating a tipi-style shelter out of forest debris can help insulate you from the elements.
Courtesy Jason Knight/Alderleaf Wilderness College

Part of the lure of the Northwest is the proximity to wilderness areas to hike, snowshoe and camp in. But every year dozens of people hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park get lost or injured, requiring the help of search and rescue teams. Jason Knight is a co-founder of Alderleaf Wilderness College and program director of the Wilderness Certification Program. He talks with Ross Reynolds and answers listener questions about what you should know before you journey into Washington's wilderness. Below are some highlights from the interview. 

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Health Care
12:03 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Welcome To The New Health Care Of 2013

The Affordable Care Act is enacting big changes in the nation’s health care system. Here in Washington state, a health care exchange called HealthPlanFinder is scheduled to open in October. It’s supposed to guarantee everyone can get health insurance. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler talks with Ross Reynolds about the new facets of health insurance reform arriving in 2013.

12:00 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Are Seattle's Seahawks Super Bowl Bound?

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll on the sidelines after they defeated the Redskins 24-14 in their NFL playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2012, in Landover, Md.
Richard Lipski AP Photo

The Seattle Seahawks are one game closer to playing in the Super Bowl with a come-from-behind victory against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Political sportswriter Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation, talks with Ross Reynolds about the Seahawk's prospects.

Gas Tax
12:21 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Can All The King's Horses And All The King's Men Put Washington's Roads Together Again?

Should we increase the gas tax to fund road repair?
Tom Check Flickr

Outgoing governor Chris Gregoire, the state transportation commission, and the state’s biggest business lobby are calling for an increase in the gas tax to pay for the massive backlog in road repair. Will that deal with the funding problem?

Ross talks with Steve Mullin from the Washington Roundtable, Dan O’Neil of the Washington State Transportation Commission, Rob Johnson of the Transportation Choices Coalition, and Mark Hallenbeck from the Washington State Transportation Center.

12:00 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Initiative 522 - Genetically Engineered Food Act

  This year Washington voters could be voting on whether foods that have been produced using genetic engineering would have to be labeled as such. Trudy Bialic is the director of public affairs for PCC Natural Markets and a member of the campaign steering committee for Label-It-WA, the campaign that supports Initiative 522. Ross Reynolds talks with her about why she supports the labeling initiative.

Words And Phrases
11:35 am
Wed January 2, 2013

What Words From 2012 Would You Banish?

Totes, amazeballs, schweet: plenty to pick from here.
Sam Easterby-Smith Flickr

Bring us your tired metaphors, overused phrases and words that summon an unpleasant visceral reaction. Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe, explains why these words and phrases bother us so much. Sometimes a word variant sounds odd to our ear, even if it’s correct, such as “pleaded” rather than “plead.” Other problems arise when words reveal disparities, such as a lack of an equivalent term for the opposite gender. And jargon can become offensive when it migrates from its original community to more common use in mainstream media or by different age groups.

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Arctic Drilling
3:13 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Oil Rig Adrift In Alaska

The tug Nanuq and the tug Aiviq (not pictured) tow the mobile drilling unit Kulluk in 15 to 20-foot seas, 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, 12/29/12. The tug Aiviq lost the initial tow Thursday and suffered several engine failures.
Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis US Coast Guard

An oil rig that was on its way to a Seattle shipyard from Alaska went adrift in the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday. John Ryan told Ross Reynolds about it on The Conversation.

Looking Back
12:27 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

What Defines 2012 For You?

Here's wishing you many tripple-word scores in 2013.
Sally Mahoney Flickr

It’s the time of year when media outlets do stories on the top 10 news stories of the year. But we don’t live our lives in the news. What are the top stories from your personal life in 2012? A birth, a death, a graduation, a move? Did you finish that book, get that small business rolling? Learn to make sushi? What are the hallmark events of 2012 in your life? Ross Reynolds reviews the year with KUOW listeners.

The Conversation's Top 5
8:00 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Top 5 Shows In 2012: David Hyde's Favorite Conversations

Nancy Pearl action figure.
Credit KUOW Photo

  Here are five programs we did in 2012 that I loved. Each is an interview about a Seattle person. And they all have big, bold personalities. Who knew?

1. Who Is Nancy Pearl? 

You’ve heard librarian Nancy Pearl share her picks for great books and stories on NPR and KUOW. But what is Nancy Pearl’s own story? What does she do when she’s NOT reading books? Much is revealed when she sits down with Ross Reynolds.

2. Who Is David Brewster? 

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11:56 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Giving To Panhandlers

Credit flickr/Kdt

To give or not to give? That's the question many of us face when encountering panhandlers on Seattle's sidewalks. Some people make up their minds about how to act and don't deviate from the script. For others, the ethical questions resurface with every encounter.

Now, it seems we're at a crossroads. Many people are still out of work. Yet social services will probably be cut even further next year. Will that change how you give?

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The Future
11:48 am
Thu December 27, 2012

How To Create A Mind

Author and inventor Ray Kurzweil, 56, sits in front of a music mixing board in his office, in Wellesley, Mass., Jan. 12, 2005.
Steven Senne AP Photo

Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil thinks we’re headed for a future where machines will become more like people, people will integrate computers and machines into their bodies, and we will live longer — much longer. Ross Reynolds talks with Ray Kurzweil about his latest book, "How to Create a Mind."

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The Conversation's Top 5
1:00 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Top 5 Shows In 2012: Arwen Nicks' Favorite Conversations

I feel extremely fortunate that I get to work on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds and David Hyde (and the interns — hi interns!) But! I've been tasked with picking a mere five conversations that are my favorite from 2012 and thus, in no particular order here are my favorites. 

1. There is a joke around here that if a book has been written about the way the brain works, I will pitch a show on it. It is funny because it is true. My very favorite interview from the year was when Ross sat down with neuroscientist Simon LeVay to talk about his book on the science of sexual orientation, "Gay, Straight and the Reasons Why."

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The Conversation's Top 5
1:00 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Top 5 Shows In 2012: Ross Reynolds' Favorite Conversations

Charles Royer, Greg Nickes, Norm Rice, KUOW's Foursquare Mayor Ross Reynolds, and Paul Schell.

So many great interviews and call-ins to choose from! Novelist's Jennifer Egan and John Irving, William Broad on the science of yoga, Sam Harris on free will, Charles Duhigg on the power of habit, Portlandia's Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, director Lynn Shelton, actor Gary Oldman, our Sub Pop Records tour with Megan Jasper.

But if I had to boil it down to my top five (and I do!) here they are in no particular order.

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Santa Facts
11:13 am
Mon December 24, 2012

What Do You Really Know About St. Nicholas?

Michael Sciaraffois, costumed as Santa Claus, makes a toy delivery to a home in the Bell Harbor neighborhood of New York, Dec. 18, 2012.
Bebeto Matthews AP Photo

You think you know him: red suit, white beard, jolly old elf, etc. But do you why St. Nicholas became the Patron Saint Of Prisoners? David Hyde talks with Adam English, author of "The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life And Trials Of Nicholas Of Myra."

9:22 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Top 5 Holiday Cocktails

Bartender Kristen Naranjo helps us think beyond peppermint patty and egg nog for holiday drink ideas.
aya padron Flickr

The weather outside is frightful, so why not curl up by the fire with a nice holiday cocktail? David Hyde talks to veteran bartender Kristen Naranjo about her favorite holiday cocktails.

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