John Baxter

Jefferson Exchange Producer

John Baxter's history at JPR reaches back three decades.  John was the JPR program director who was the architect of the split from a single station into three separate program services.  We're thrilled that John has taken a hiatus from his retirement to join JPR as interim producer of the Jefferson Exchange.

Lance Cpl. Julien Rodarte, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52238924

Anybody in your family work as a steam locomotive engineer or maker of buggy whips?  There's not much call for those jobs anymore. 

And there's no guarantee that the jobs we do today will be needed in a few years. 

One study suggests that close to HALF the jobs in the workplace now will be eliminated by technology in the next 20 years. 

The non-profit WorkingNation works to prepare people for this future.  Joan Lynch, Chief Content and Programming Officer, visits with details. 

And the Oregon Employment Department tracks the trends as well.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

The warming of the planet becomes very real to many people in the summertime. 

Thousands of people have died in extreme heat waves since 1980, and the frequency of the heat waves is increasing. 

Research at the University of Hawaii looks at specifically HOW heat works on the body... and the bad news is, there are MANY different ways. 

Camilo Mora is an associate professor of geography at the U of H. 

Pete Souza/The White House

Countries prove all the time, through hacking and other means, that you can mess with your enemies without firing a shot.  The message is not lost on people who might otherwise be fighting wars. 

As journalist David Patrikarakos points out, war is a clash of narratives, and those narratives can be delivered by the internet, rather than bombs and bullets. 

He explains further in his book War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century

Public Domain

Congress is moving quickly toward votes on changing the country's tax system... some reorganizing and some cutting of rates, especially corporate taxes. 

There are goals in this and any tax plan that go beyond just money... like stimulating certain KINDS of economic activity. 

One kind of activity that could help many communities would be more building of housing for people who don't make much money; the lack of such housing is a factor in homelessness. 

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition has a few ideas on what might help, and the Coos Bay-North Bend Housing Authority is one of many agencies working to get people into cheaper housing. 

darex.com

Every place where people work started with an idea.  And the people who come up with ideas about businesses are studied and lauded in our society. 

We begin a new regular feature on The Exchange, "The Ground Floor," visiting with entrepreneurs in our region about how they got started and how they overcame obstacles. 

Up first: Matthew Bernard, the current CEO of Darex, the Ashland-based maker of sharpening equipment.  He is the fourth generation involved in the running of the company. 

Wikimedia

The Supreme Court decision integrating schools, Brown vs Board of Education, was a lifetime ago, in 1954.  And yet our schools are almost as segregated now as they were then. 

And it is both racial and economic segregation, further widening gaps in our society. 

Noliwe Rooks examines the many factors, and finds the profit motive one of the larger culprits.  She explains in her book Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

freethesun / Flickr

Placing a bunch of solar panels in a rural area is often referred to as a "solar farm."  But it's not like actual farming can go on around the solar arrays, and that's what troubles 1000 Friends of Oregon

The land-use group works to make sure property owners and planners comply with Oregon land-use law. 

And the group took exception to a solar farm approved for use on farmland near Medford, appealing the approval and getting it overturned. 

Wikimedia

Plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions often focus directly on the emission sites themselves.  But there's a whole world full of places that can potentially serve as carbon "sinks," absorbing CO2 to keep it out of the atmosphere. 

So land conservation and ecosystem management can also be strategies to curb climate change. 

A recent study lays out the effects; two of the authors are from the Nature Conservancy in California. 

Rickard Ignell, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences/Wikimedia

Urban dwellers get understandably upset when their homes are invaded by rats or bedbugs or other unwelcome creatures. 

But hardly anybody stops to think that the animals are there BECAUSE the city is there.  And that is very likely the case... many creatures evolved differently because of urban environments. 

Marc Johnson at the University of Toronto just published a paper in Science detailing some of the evolutionary changes apparently forced by urban environments. 

Adi, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60335366

Suicide is on the rise in the United States, up in a steady trend since the beginning of the century. 

Rogue Valley resident Shoshana Alexander experienced it in her own life; her sister committed suicide.  Alexander put that experience and others into an original play, "Taking Our Life: Suicide, Ecocide and Daring to Live."

Alexander and other actors will perform the play this weekend (Nov. 17-19) in Ashland. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

"Midlife crisis" comes with a stock photo in America, and usually one question: Corvette or Mustang?  Or some other red sports car? 

Kieran Setiya offers another choice: Aristotle or Schopenhauer?  Those are not sports cars, as you might have detected. 

Kieran Setiya is a professor of philosophy at MIT, and he offers up the wisdom of the ancients (and some more recent thinkers) in his book Midlife: A Philosophical Guide

Oregon Cultural Trust

Maybe you've seen the "Cultural Trust" Oregon license plates and never quite knew what they were about.  They're about a program around for 15 years now, helping boost cultural organizations and activities around the state. 

The Oregon Cultural Trust has handed out more than $18 Million grants over the years, supporting a wide variety of programs. 

Wikimedia

The story of "exclusion laws" is well-known in Oregon.  The state skirted the slave-vs-free question at its birth by just banning all black people from living within its borders. 

But what about people who lived here BEFORE it was a state?  There are examples, including the shipwrecked black sailor James D. Saules, who arrived before many white settlers. 

His story is told in the book Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon

Wikimedia

Communities all over the country look for ways to get people off the streets. 

Homelessness persists, despite--or perhaps because of--an improving economy. 

One answer that works on a local level is to get homeless people out of town, literally. 

Good News Rescue Mission in Redding is one of several agencies that provide transportation to send homeless people from Redding back to places where they have a support network. 

More than 100 people have used the program since the mission began offering it three years ago. 

Trent Spurlock/Oregon Digital

Inspectors from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs are expected in Oregon again this week to pay visits to the VA facilities in Roseburg and Eugene. 

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) asked for inspectors to follow up on complaints about the VA from current and former employees. 

Those complaints focus on what they see as poor-quality care, and retaliation on the people who speak up about it. 

Dr. Scott Russi was a surgeon at the Roseburg VA (Eugene clinic) who says he's been fired (VA will not confirm). 

Dr. Russi visits with an explanation of what he saw and responded to. 

SSgt Alesia Goosic/U.S. Navy/Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22686562

You may wait a while to get an appointment with doctor, and may wait a while to SEE the doctor, but how long in the room WITH the doctor? 

In most people's experience, it's not a very long visit. 

And that is precisely the issue Victoria Sweet, herself a physician, has with modern medicine: the speed. 

She says good medical care takes time, and she advocates for it in her book Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing.  How slow? 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Any public building erected in recent years includes ramps and other devices to get people in wheelchairs inside with minimal effort. 

So we've adjusted our physical spaces, but how about our literature?  The depictions of people with disabilities are changing there as well, and University of Oregon Associate Professor Betsy Wheeler is observing and assisting the changes. 

Wheeler's work includes studies of disabilities in literature, but also postwar (WWII) literature and culture, including comic books. 

She is our guest in this month's edition of cUriOus: Research Meets Radio. 

www.martinezbeavers.org

Oregon is the "beaver state," but the designation does not help beavers much.  The title confers no protection, and beavers are still killed all the time. 

Some are killed by government workers, and that is the reason for a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Environmental Law Center

They say up to 400 beavers a year are killed as pests by federal Wildlife Services, an agency of the Department of Agriculture. 

Victor Bezrukov, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10465998

You've probably heard it said that the central factor in whether a person is pleasant to other people (or not) is empathy. 

But psychology professor Abigail Marsh has been digging even deeper, and has concluded it's a shorter word: fear. 

The response to the fear we recognize in OTHERS is central to empathy, or its lack.  Dr. Marsh expands on what she's learned in The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, & Everyone In-Between

sou.edu

It's not like we can interview characters from TV's long-running cartoon "The Simpsons." 

But... there IS a play based on Simpsons characters coming to a stage in Ashland soon. 

"Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play" is a production of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, and it brings to life--even in song!--the creepy nuclear power plant boss from the TV show. 

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