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The Record

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Jonathan Raban's book "Driving Home."

Writer Jonathan Raban came to Seattle from his native England in 1991. Microsoft and Starbucks were in their toddler years and Seattle’s music scene had just become an international sensation. What was once a workingman’s town was evolving, and Raban was here to chronicle that change. "Driving Home," a collection of Raban’s essays written over 20 years, is out now in paperback. He talks with Marcie Sillman about the Seattle he first met.

Flickr Photo/Jesus V

Did you know that the phrase "the whole 9 yards" used to be "the whole 6 yards?" It’s true. And cloud nine, that fantastic place to be, used to be cloud seven, then cloud eight. So how did we get to nine yards and cloud nine? Ben Zimmer is back today to talk about phrase inflation as we consider our series on strange language.

Flickr Photo/Adam Russell

This January, changes in federal law made it illegal to unlock cell phones. This was great news for phone companies that like people to be locked into one carrier but bad news for the environment. Ross Reynolds talked with Kiera Butler, senior editor at Mother Jones, about locked phones and e-waste. 

Flickr Photo/Andy Withers

Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 to approve a resolution authorizing US military action against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Congress returns to the Capitol next week where they will debate at length the possibility of military intervention.

One question we haven't heard much about yet is how much money an intervention might cost. Marcie Sillman talks with economist Dean Baker, founder of The Center For Economic and Policy Research, about the costs of war.

Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn

The University of Washington Huskies inaugurated their newly renovated football stadium in style on Saturday night. The Huskies beat number 19 ranked Boise State 38 to 6. It was great news for coach Steve Sarkisian. He's led the team for the past five years and he desperately wants to restore the Huskies to their former glory days.

Twenty-two years ago, in 1991, the University of Washington was on top of the football heap. The team shared a national title with Miami and the man at the helm was Don James. He remembers that night that the national title was finally announced.

Long hours. Little pay. And lots of public scrutiny.

Sounds like a dream job right?

Well it's often the very real experience of school board members, especially here in Seattle. But part of that job description could change. State Representative Reuven Carlyle is considering a proposal that would pay school board members $42,000 per year – the same as state lawmakers. As of now, school board members are only eligible for reimbursements of up to $4,800 per year.

What are the benefits of paying school board members? Does it lead to student improvement? Thomas Alsbury is professor of educational administration and supervision at Seattle Pacific University. He talked with Ross Reynolds about what the research says.

Ben Zimmer: The Roots Of "Pipe Dreams"

Sep 4, 2013
Flickr Photo/Andre Lucero

Yesterday we heard some history on the term "doping" in sports and today, language columnist Ben Zimmer explains where the term "pipe dream" comes from. 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his country won’t be part of a potential US mission in Syria and calls himself a “reluctant convert” to the case for a limited military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Where is Canadian public opinion on Syria? Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer joins us with a check-in from north of the border.

Flickr Photo/Santiago Almada

Things are changing fast regarding the situation in Syria. UN technicians are working around the clock to analyze samples from the chemical attacks in Syria. President Obama says he won’t wait for those results.

But definitive proof that Assad used chemical weapons – either from the UN or from another intelligence agency – could have far reaching consequences.

The BBC’s Middle East editor Sebastian Usher has been keeping tabs on UK politicians since they rejected military intervention last week. Usher says proof that Assad used chemical weapons could be enough to tip the balance of public opinion in the UK. He says that could lead to a second parliamentary vote, a vote that could reverse the country’s position and authorize the UK to join the US led coalition against Syria.

Meanwhile, the UN is urging a more cautious approach. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon suggested yesterday that any offensive strike in Syria without UN Security Council approval would be illegal.

Sebastian Usher spoke today with KUOW’s David Hyde.

Flickr Photo/Sigfrid Lundberg

Is being bored really an endangered state of being? Are you too afraid of missing out to turn off? Seattle Times tech columnist Monica Guzman says that her reliance and dependence on technology is why she decides to go without every few years. Ross Reynolds talks with  Guzman about why she decided that she had to tune out technology to tune into her surroundings.

Flickr Photo/Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Japanese officials are still battling radioactive groundwater that is leaking as a result of the Fukushima Nuclear plant meltdown triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The latest effort to block contaminated water from leaking into the Pacific Ocean is a $470 million ice wall. How do you build an ice wall and how does it work? Larry Applegate, the president of Seattle-based firm SoilFreeze, a company that  creates frozen walls and tunnels, explains the technology to Marcie Sillman.

Flickr Photo/Jinx!

Each year the world’s top Pokémon trading card players travel from around the globe to compete for the title of Pokémon World Champion. This year competitors from 25 countries traveled to Vancouver, B.C., to battle it out.

Playing in the master’s division, James Good of Sultan, Wash., beat 172 world class players to be named the third best player in the world. Although he grew up loving Pokémon, he only began competing seriously in 2012. He explains how luck and skill got him to the top.

Flickr Photo/Robert Gaskin

It has been two months since the last special session in Olympia came to a close. Now Governor Jay Inslee is saying he wants to call another one.

Lawmakers failed to pass a transportation package during the last special session. The special session will only be called if there are enough votes to pass a transportation package that was stalled during the last legislative session.

Senator Rodney Tom said he is holding seven public meetings around the state to assess what the public wants in a transportation plan. Jerry Cornfield of the Everett Herald joins us for more analysis on the compromises and possibilities for a new plan.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

There are many changes afoot at Microsoft these days. CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement last month, giving the company an opportunity to move in a new direction.

Just this week the company also announced it was acquiring Nokia's mobile phone business in a $7.2 billion  deal. So what does the new CEO need to do to keep the company relevant and innovative?

Sandeep Krishnamurthy is the dean of the business school at UW Bothell. He talked with us about the future of Microsoft after Ballmer’s exit.

KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

Ava Anissipour is on a mission to convince Federal Way to re-classify pygmy goats as pets, not livestock. Anissipour has had a pygmy goat since she was nine years old; she's 12 now.

Anissipour says pygmy goats make perfect household pets: affectionate, smart and well behaved. The Federal Way City Council plans to vote on pygmy goat classification in the coming weeks.

Marcie Sillman sat down with Anissipour to talk about her efforts.

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