arts & life

Job Skills
12:00 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Even With Google Translate, Language Skills Still Valuable

Michael Erard's book "Babel No More."

It might seem that tools like Google Translate make the ability to speak different languages less valuable to employers. But Michael Erard, author of “Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners,” says that being bilingual or multilingual is still important.

All kinds of organizations from Starbucks to the World Health Organization seek out people who are proficient in multiple languages.  Erard calls them the "staff hyperpolyglot." Marcie Sillman talks with Erard about multilingualism in the workplace.

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Director Interview
11:50 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Lynn Shelton's New Film "Touchy Feely"

Rosemary DeWitt in director Lynn Shelton's newest film "Touchy Feely."
From the "Touchy Feely" Facebook page.

Seattle cinephiles have known about director Lynn Shelton for years, starting with her 2004 film, "We Go Way Back" to her 2009 hit, "Humpday." Shelton's newest film, "Touchy Feely" is, at its heart, a story about love.  And "Touchy Feely" is once again deeply entrenched in Shelton's home the Northwest. Marcie Sillman talks with the filmmaker about her latest project.

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Math and Parenting
11:11 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Almost Everyone Can Master Algebra In 90 Minutes By Playing This Video Game

DragonBox Adaptive, a game developed by the UW Center for Game Science.
Credit UW Center for Game Science

Master Algebra in 90 Minutes: KUOW's Ross Reynolds interviews Zoran Popović from the UW Center for Game Design

The University of Washington's Center for Game Science has an outrageous claim: By playing a computer game called DragonBox Adaptive for 90 minutes, 92 percent of first graders can master algebraic linear equations.

But that's not just an untested claim — it's the result of tests done in Washington state's public schools. Amazingly, that statistic also held for the few kindergarten classes that have tested the game. Most school districts don't introduce this material until middle school. Today, Ross Reynolds speaks with the Center for Game Science's director, Zoran Popović.

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Underwater Mortgages
9:19 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Foreclosure Crisis? Seattle's Numbers Don't Add Up

Distressed homeowners and housing advocates testify before the Seattle City Council.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

A correction and  further information on the story 9/14/2013:

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Seattle Sex Store Anniversary
5:04 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Twenty Years Of Babeland

Babeland is known for creative store window displays.
Flickr Photo/joaquin uy

In 1993 Seattle was famous for Nirvana, the internet and Tom Hanks' insomnia. But two woman decided that the city was missing something, something they believed there was a need and market for — the city's first women-friendly sex shop. Co-owners Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning launched Babeland (originally Toys in Babeland) 20 years ago this month and Cavanah spoke with Ross Reynolds about the many ways the industry of selling 'sexcessories' has changed. 

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Author Interview
12:27 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Author Nicole Hardy On Leaving The Mormon Church And Virginity Behind

Nicole Hardy's book "Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin."

Author Nicole Hardy was a virgin until she was 36 years old. Hardy wanted to be a good Mormon, but eventually left the church. That journey is chronicled in her new book, "Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir". Ross Reynolds talks with Hardy about growing up in the church and leaving it behind.

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Internet Privacy
10:41 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Should Parents Post Baby Pics Online?

Michael Clinard

We’ve all seen them: cute baby pictures in our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds. For many parents, it’s hard to resist the temptation to share just how adorable their kid looks in their first rain boots or winter hat. But some are saying parents should pause before hitting that "share" button. Marcie Sillman talks with Amy Webb about why she doesn’t post anything about her daughter online.

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"Distraction Addiction"
12:28 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang On Putting Our Devices Down

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang's book "The Distraction Addiction."

Author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang has spent years studying people, technology and how devices have invaded our lives. In his book, "The Distraction Addiction," he explains how overusing technology is "destroying our souls." Ross Reynolds talks with Pang about how people can be more mindful with their technology.

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Food Art
10:39 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Photos: Enter A World Of Cupcake Sledding And Broccoli Lawns

Broccoli Mower: "Douglas stubbornly refused to accept his wife's opinion that he had let the lawn go too long without attention."
Christopher Boffoli Courtesy Workman Publishing

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 9:28 am

Lots of us play with our food. But for photographer Christopher Boffoli, it's become a full-time career.

Boffoli rose to fame a couple of years ago. You may have seen some of his photographs — amusing dioramas featuring miniature plastic figurines in dramatic settings crafted from food — when they went viral back in 2011. More than 200 such images — at least half of which, Boffoli says, have not been previously published — are collected in a new book, Big Appetites.

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Author Interview
10:19 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Jamie Ford's "Songs Of Willow Frost"

Jamie Ford's book "Songs of Willow Frost."

Jamie Ford’s debut novel was a sensation: "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” was the story of a Chinese-American boy who falls for a Japanese-American girl.  Unfortunately, their love affair was stymied by World War II and the girl’s internment in Minidoka, Idaho.

Ford follows his bestselling novel with another book that comes out of Asian-American history.  “Songs of Willow Frost” is the story of a Chinese-American girl forced to give up her young son to an orphanage when the Depression hits. Ford says the book was inspired by his own family history. He spoke with Marcie Sillman today.

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Long-Distance Swimming
9:43 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Cuba-To-Florida Swimmer's Feat Draws Skepticism

United States endurance swimmer Diana Nyad talks to the media about her record-setting swim from Cuba to Florida, during a press conference in Key West, Fla., September 3, 2013.
AP Photo/J Pat Carter

A Seattle open-water swimmer is questioning whether Diana Nyad really swam to Florida on her own.

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Public Sculpture
8:49 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Fremont Troll: From Counterculture Jab To Cultural Icon

Fremont Troll co-creator Steve Badanes.
Credit KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle is a city full of icons. Visitors stop to gawk at the Space Needle. They marvel as Pike Place Market fishmongers blithely toss a fresh salmon to one another as the crowd cheers them on. And they trek to a dead end street in the Fremont neighborhood to pay homage to a homely gray cement sculpture.

This is the Fremont Troll, and he's been a hulking presence under Highway 99 for the past 23 years. Co-creator Steve Badanes, a University of Washington architecture professor, and two of his students submitted the idea for the troll in 1990. The Fremont Arts Council was holding a contest to create an artwork for this street end. A panel of judges would pick three finalists, then the public would vote at a booth at that year's Fremont Solstice Festival.

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Strange Language
11:18 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Ben Zimmer On Having And Eating Cake

Flickr Photo/Jeff Anderson

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, but how are you supposed to eat cake you don’t have? Language guru Ben Zimmer is back today and he explains the whole having, eating and not having cake thing. And what that has to do with how the Unabomber was captured. Really.

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Seattle Music Scene
10:47 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Voices From Pioneer Square: Jay Boone

Jay Boone, owner of Emerald City Guitars.
Credit KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

Jay Boone owns Emerald City Guitars in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. If Jimmy Paige or Keith Richards come through Seattle and are on the hunt for a new guitar to shred on, it is not out of the question to find them at Jay's guitar shop.

Ross Reynolds ventured down to Pioneer Square to talk to Jay Boone about the neighborhood he has been running his business from for the last 18 years.

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Seattle's First Neighborhood
10:39 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Voices From Pioneer Square: Mike Hall And Charles Royer

Mike Hall has been selling Real Change News in Pioneer Square for the past 13 years.
Credit KUOW Photo/Nick Danielson

Charles Royer served as Seattle's mayor from 1978 to 1990. During his tenure, Royer saw the historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square surge with violence as Seattle handled the crack epidemic. More than two decades after finishing his fourth term, Royer now lives and works in Pioneer Square. He told KUOW's Arwen Nicks his thoughts on the challenges currently facing the neighborhood and why he thinks the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Downtown Seattle Association are good candidates to manage Occidental park, but not without help from the city.

Real Change vendor Mike Hall has been living in Pioneer Square for 15 years, and for the last 13 years he has stood at the corner of First and Main. Ross Reynolds spoke with Mike Hall about his experiences in Seattle's first neighborhood. 

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