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

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Mayan Apocalypse
2:51 pm
Fri December 21, 2012


Some people believe the world is ending today (and they are completely wrong about that). But let’s say today really is your last day on Earth. How would you want to spend it?  It’s kind of like your one day bucket list.  We’ll hear from listeners and special guests including John Moe, formerly of KUOW and now host of Wits

School Design
11:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

School Safety In The Age Of Gun Violence

It's counterintuitive, but transparency is the key to safety, says Architect Kevin Flanagan.
Credit NAC Architecture

Designing safer schools doesn't mean turning them into military bunkers. That might have been an easy remodel back when schools were built like jails, filled with "cells" and controlled by bells. Today's schools are open, flexible spaces that allow students to combine and recombine into groups that learn from each other as much as they learn from the teacher.

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11:35 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Harvard Prof. Says Placebo Effect More Powerful And Useful Than We Imagine

The act of taking pills is one part of the complex mental reward system known as the placebo effect.
Credit Flickr Photo/pig pog s

Before 1970, doctors used to lie to their patients all the time. They knew that some hypochondriacs became noticeably better when doctors gave them a sugar pill.

This was called "the placebo effect." After 1970, we thought of placebos differently. Researchers decided that for a drug to be deemed effective, it had to outperform a placebo. But we never stepped back and took a good hard look at the placebo and why it worked.

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Holidays In Seattle
11:33 am
Thu December 20, 2012

What Do The Holidays Mean To You?

Laszlo Ilyes Flickr

Hanukkah has come to a close, and Christmas and Kwanzaa are still on the way. These are the three we hear about, but how do you celebrate the holidays? David Hyde takes calls from listeners and hears what the holiday season means to Seattle.

10:34 am
Thu December 20, 2012

State Rep. Larry Seaquist On The Future Of Higher Education

Rep. Larry Seaquist, a former US Navy warship captain, says he strongly believes in worker safety, adding he stressed safety to each and every person under his command, never losing a sailor in all of his 32-year career. (March 9, 2010)
Wash. State Department of Transportation Flickr

Ross Reynolds talks about the future of higher education in Washington state with Rep. Larry Seaquist who heads the House Higher Education Committee.   Larry Seaquist is also a former US warship captain and Pentagon strategist who served for 32 years in the US Navy.

Animal Rights
11:30 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Should Zoos Have Elephant Exhibits?

A newborn female Asian elephant calf in the elephant maternity ward with her mother Rose-Tu at the Oregon Zoo, November 30, 2012.
Oregon Zoo, Michael Durham AP Photo

Critics of Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo say that the elephants there are not being treated well and that they don’t do well in captivity. Defenders say zoos are key to global conservation efforts. Should zoos, including Woodland Park, continue to display elephants?

David Hyde talks with Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, University of Guelph researcher Georgia Mason who has studied elephants in zoos, and Michael Berens, the investigative reporter for the Seattle Times who has written about the Woodland Park Zoo.

Eating Animals
11:29 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Why Don't We Eat Our Dogs?

Why do most people love animals they consider cute, like puppies or panda bears, but they don’t have a lot of love for animals they consider ugly, like naked mole rats? Western Carolina University Psychology professor Hal Herzog explores the paradoxical relationship people have with animals in a new book, "Some we love, some we hate, some we eat: Why it’s so hard to think straight about animals."

Pedestrian Safety
11:16 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Distracted Walking: How Your Smart Phone Could Be Your Literal Downfall

A woman walks down the street while enjoying a conversation on her phone. October 2011.
UltraSlo1 Flickr

According to a new study nearly 1 in 3 pedestrians is distracted by a mobile device like a smart phone when walking into high-risk intersections. Only 1 in 4 looked both ways before crossing the street.  

David Hyde talks with Dr. Beth Ebel who was the lead author on the study. She directs the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research center at the University of Washington.

Health And Housing
11:50 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Homeless And Under Age 25

Jacob was homeless for more than two years. Now he's in technical school and high school in Mount Vernon.
Phyllis Fletcher KUOW Photo

It’s estimated that in King County, around 700 people under the age of 25 don’t have permanent housing. Among adolescents in general, LGBTQ youths are more vulnerable to health and psychological problems than heterosexual youths. Many are victims of parental physical abuse, turn to substance abuse, and have both mental and general physical health problems.

Ross Reynolds sits down with three people currently living without permanent housing to talk about what issues they have had to deal with as homeless youth.

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Author Interview
11:35 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Zadie Smith Talks "NW"

British author Zadie Smith relaxes in north London, Sept. 19, 2005.
Sergio Dionisio AP Photo

Novelist Zadie Smith’s most recent work, "NW," is named after the postal code for an impoverished neighborhood in London. It’s just been called one of the 10 best books of the year.

Zadie Smith talks with Ross Reynolds about "NW," the difference between pleasure and joy, and why it took her  a long time to appreciate Joni Mitchell.

2:49 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Seattle: Welcome To The Internet Fast Lane

Seattle is launching a pilot project to bring ultra high-speed broadband service the city. The city is working with the University of Washington and the tech company, Gigabit Squared, to launch the new service.

There will be 12 “demonstration fiber projects” in neighborhoods around the city. Ross Reynolds talks with Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in computer science and engineering at the UW, about the pilot program.

Elder Care
11:35 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Facing The Challenges Of Taking Care Of Elderly Parents

As the human lifespan increases, families are putting more time and effort into caring for their aging parents and grandparents. By 2008, it was estimated that the average woman could expect to spend more years caring for an older family member than for her own children.

But providing in-home care doesn't work for everyone. For many families, finding the right nursing home or assisted-living arrangement is crucial. Ross Reynolds talks about the issues surrounding elderly care with Wendy Lustbader, a p​rofessor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.

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Gun Laws
11:28 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Have You Changed Your Mind On Gun Control?

Newtown Police Officer Maryhelen McCarthy carries flowers near a memorial for shooting victims Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
Jason DeCrow AP Photo

Most of us spent the weekend following the coverage of Friday's tragic mass killing in Newtown, Conn. Have you changed your mind on gun control? Were you pro-gun rights until last Friday? Ross Reynolds takes your calls.

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11:15 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Seattle Children's Hospital Tries New Treatment For Leukemia

Leukemia is said to be the most common form of cancer found in children. Now Seattle Children’s Hospital says it is ready to try a brand new method of treatment. Leukemia is usually treated with a bone marrow transplant, but researchers say that there might be a better way to fight off the disease.

Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Rebecca Gardner, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington and an attending physician at Children’s Hospital about the latest in leukemia treatments.

Energy Independence
11:36 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Amory Lovins On Reinventing Fire

Amory Lovins, head of the Rocky Mountain Institute, sees a future beyond oil and he has a plan to take the country there.
Noah Berger AP Photo

Energy expert Amory Lovins outlines a path to eliminate use of oil and coal in the United States by the year 2050 in his new book "Reinventing Fire." Lovins says the path will grow the US economy by 158 percent, and it can happen with no new federal taxes or subsidies.

Ross Reynolds talks with Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder Amory Lovins about energy independence.

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