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The Exchange returns for the last week of the year, but starting with a few favorites from programs past. 

At 8:00 - A Chinaman's Chance: One Family's Journey and the Chinese American Dream.  Author Eric Liu writes about his own experience in America, and casts a wider focus on Chinese Americans generally.


The Exchange crew could resist neither the allure of Santa Claus nor a three-day weekend; our program takes a break in favor of these holiday specials: at 8:00 - Earth Is Our Home: Living on Earth's annual holiday show is back!

The program features and stories from three performers about living on Earth, sharing the planet and universal themes of the season.

The roster includes storyteller Jay O'Callahan, singer Denny Breau, and green hip-hop artist Tem Blessed.

Ropable, Public Domain,

Reduce, reuse, recycle.  We're pretty well along in the third of those, but not so organized on the first two. 

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity wants to focus on the second one: reuse.  Its "ReStore" in Medford and a sister store in White City already sell items for home and construction that have been used already. 

Now there's a plan to go further into repairing items for re-sale, to cut down on the financial and environmental costs of obtaining new raw materials for manufacturing. 

Oregon Department of Transportation, CC BY 2.0,

John and Gordan Javna are no strangers to the sound of laughing. 

They produce a lot of it themselves: John started, and Gordon continued, the series Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. 

The brothers Javna leave the restroom and join forces on Life Is a Joke: 100 Life Lessons (with Punch Lines).  Good jokes abound, but good lessons come from them, too.

How did so many things get "-ista" on the end?  Sandinistas we understand, but fashionistas?  Fermentistas? 

You've probably heard that one less, but it's a thing.  Self-applied, too, by the likes of Applegate Valley farmers Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. 

Earlier this year they released a new book on preparing fermented foods.  We go back to an interview about their earlier book, called simply Fermented Vegetables, in this re-run. 

Oregon Department of Transportation

It's been more than a year since the Ashland City Council passed the "10 by 20" ordinance.  It was a citizen idea to require the city to generate 10 percent of its power by the year 2020. 

The council adopted the ordinance rather than hold a public vote on it.  But passing ordinances and building electric facilities are two different things, with a number of obstacles on the building part. 

We get an update on putting a major solar installation on city property. 


The prevailing theory until lately was that humans arrived in North America on foot... across the Bering Land Bridge, before polar ice melted and covered it with the Bering Strait. 

But that's a VERY long walk, and boats might have worked just as well.  And probably did, as new evidence shows. 

Our monthly underground history segment pairs us up with the researchers at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA)

And this month we hear about Matthew Des Lauriers' work at Cedros Island in Baja California, finding artifacts from 13,000 years ago. 

Penguin Random House

Men are lucky in that they do not have to deal with menstruation every month.  They've also been lucky to mostly avoid the subject: women have generally steered clear of very public discussions of menstruation. 

Naama Bloom blows up that silence with her book HelloFlo: The Guide, Period; The Everything Puberty Book for the Modern Girl

It is a print version of the offerings Bloom put on her health site,

Oregon Fish & Wildlife

Many people and organizations are working hard to bring back Pacific salmon.  Fishing and habitat loss depressed salmon populations; some are on the endangered species list. 

But some of the impacts do not come from people.  Marine mammals are voracious eaters of salmon, and the mammals have been protected by law for nearly 50 years. 

Recent research shows that while human harvest of chinook salmon dropped, killer whales and harbor seals ate more of the fish. 

Google Street View

The epidemic of opioid drugs has kept people who help people recover from addictions busy. 

So it was a blow to the greater Medford area when OnTrack, a longtime provider of addiction treatment, went through some major wobbles this year. 

OnTrack fired its executive director of several decades, and was forced to close and modify some of its programs.  Dr. Alan Ledford is now the executive director at the agency. 

USDA/Public Domain

You can tell a lot about a person by how they eat.  And evidently, you can tell a lot about a country by the food it consumes. 

The British empire is the focus of Lizzie Collingham's book The Taste of Empire

It shows how items on the British table--and the quest for them--dictated where in the world English people went, and how they treated the people and products they found. 

Oregon State University

We admit to being just a little uneasy in a recent discussion of artificial intelligence, especially when the talk turned to autonomous weapons. 

Think of drone swarms gathering overhead... we'll leave it there. 

But we explore it further with the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute at Oregon State University, which is working on drone swarm technology, along with other projects. 

Google Street View

We get skads of information from the federal census every ten years: how many people live in the United States, where they live, how much money they make, and much more. 

But that's every ten years, and it is a gigantic undertaking.  It is augmented in non-census years by the less comprehensive, but still expensive, American Community Survey (ACS).

Couldn't we use other, available information to come up with more frequent and cheaper data on people?  The answer appears to be yes, especially if we use Google Street View to view cars and trucks and make some assumptions about their owners. 

Timnit Gebru at Stanford University led a team that examined the viability of such a process. 

Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A professor of Yiddish literature and a journalist walk into a studio. 

You were expecting a joke?  Actually, there will likely be several as we visit with Jeremy Dauber, the author of the book Jewish Comedy: A Serious History

The book takes in the development of Jewish comedy in America, but also extends much further back into the history of the Jewish people.  When you're often persecuted, a sense of humor can help. 

Tuality Healthcare/Jeff Schilling

Oregon's budget is tight enough that keeping all the programs required a new revenue source.  So the legislature narrowly passed a tax on health insurance premiums last summer. 

And it surprised no one when a small group of legislators organized a petition drive to force the measure to a public vote. 

Ballots for Measure 101 will go out the first week of the new year for the January 23rd election, and campaigns are already organized, pro and con.  Yes for Healthcare chose a name that makes its position clear.

Things are humming these days at Gary West Meats in Jacksonville. 

It is a true "fourth-quarter" business, making most of its sales and money around Christmas. 

Gary West himself is out of the picture now, but his daughter Whitney Murdoch and her husband Paul keep the business going, providing all manner of meats to happy carnivores. 

We learn more about the business in our monthly chat with entrepreneurs and their followers, The Ground Floor. 

Georgios Giannopoulos/Wikimedia

The stories of the refugees are truly sad: they fled in a hurry from their homes with few possessions and a risky journey ahead. 

The stories of the people who live near refugee camps are anguished, too.  Why do the refugees need to be near them?  This is one of the central questions in today's immigration debate. 

Like the immigrants themselves, the debate crosses national boundaries.  Sasha Polakow-Suransky explores the situation in the book Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy

Ffbri, CC0,

The criminal justice and mental health systems have become intertwined in America, with many people who need mental health services ending up in jail instead. 

Mendocino County provides a good example; its psychiatric hospital closed nearly two decades ago. 

But voters passed Measure B in the November election, putting local money into mental health services.  Sheriff Tom Allman was a booster of the effort, and happily watched it pass. 

Oregon State University

Oregon State University took some heat when it announced plans for a new building at its Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, because the building is in a tsunami inundation zone. 

A tsunami caused by earthquakes either near or far could cover the nearby ground with water. 

So OSU took the situation into account, and designed the building to include ramps to get people from sea level up to the roof of the three-story building.  That's a "vertical evacuation."  We get a full explanation of what that means.

Sharon Draper inherited the last of her grandmother's journals from her own childhood. 

And what Sharon read in that journal became a central part of her novel Stella By Starlight

It's about a girl entering her teen years, in a North Carolina not terribly friendly to people with skin as dark as hers. 

Sharon Draper joined us in January 2015.