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Steven Larsen, CC BY 3.0,

"I did NOT mean to say that!"  Ever uttered that phrase? 

You have lots of company, and it's just possible that you're all wrong.  Psychologists can demonstrate that many things we do emerge from our unconscious minds, instead of from the turned-on conscious brain. 

Dr. John Bargh knows the unconscious mind well, and he gives us a tour in his book Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do

Can we turn our knowledge of the unconscious into more deliberate behavior?  Yes!

If you want to start a conversation that you know will last a while, ask Josh Gross about favorite bands. 

He loves music, and across a wide spectrum of genres and styles. 

Josh makes music, and writes about music for the Rogue Valley Messenger

And once a month, he visits the studio with "Rogue Sounds," a compilation of musical samples and news of coming band dates. 

Oregon State University Archives

The debate over immigration into the United States occasionally gets to the issue of workers INVITED into the country from Mexico. 

Lina Cordia, a Medford librarian and local historian, lays out the facts and figures in a lecture on the program. 

It is part of the Windows in Time series of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and it's called “The Fruits of their Labors: the Bracero Program in Southern Oregon 1942-1964.”

Lina Cordia presents the program today (November 1) at noon at the library in Medford, and November 8 at noon at the Ashland library. 

Choe Kwangmo/Wikimedia

Take a look at your property tax bill and note how much money goes to local government.  And still schools and cities and counties struggle to provide services with the money that comes in--especially in counties that traditionally depended on federal timber receipts, now mostly gone. 

So counties and cities look to the private sector to take on what were public services, from libraries to mental health. 

Matt Rowe is a former mayor of Coquille, with a perspective on what leads smaller cities to consider outsourcing. 

Bruce Sorte from the Rural Studies Program at Oregon State University studies policy options that face smaller governments. 

Shahbaz Nahian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Catching some Zs.  Getting 40 Winks.  Slipping into the Arms of Morphius. 

We have many expressions for getting some sleep, but our knowledge about what we get from sleep was fairly limited, until recently. 

Now we have a better idea what benefits sleep gives to us; physically, mentally, and even creatively.  The knowledge comes from places like the sleep lab at the University of California-Berkeley, run by Matthew Walker. 

He is the author of a new book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Seven BILLION dollars.  That's not chump change, and it is what Americans spend on Halloween every year... decorations, costumes, candy, all of it. 

Sure, it's a party, but it's a party in part about scaring people. 

Why DO we like to scream, at least if it's followed by a good laugh?  That's the domain of sociologist Dr. Margee Kerr, the rare academic who is considered a "scare specialist." 

She shares the findings of some of her research with us... and psychologist David Zald from Vanderbilt University visits to talk about the biological roots of fear.


Maybe between answering the doorbell for trick or treaters and helping yourself to the candy, you wonder about the history of Halloween. 

Not the long-ago stuff, the Celtic festival of Samhain and all that... but the way in which we Americans observe October 31st. 

Historian Ben Truwe of Medford has looked at the stuff we bought and used in Halloween celebrations past, and even wrote a book about it. 

By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA - Counter-protest against Donald Trump rally, CC BY 2.0,

Remember the talk of American becoming a "post-racial society?"  It seems like a while ago now. 

Social justice activist Paul Kivel has watched with great interest as the country has twisted and turned in dealing with people of different colors and nationalities. 
He has completely updated his 1995 book, for a fourth edition of  Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice

Robert Goodwin, who hosts our segment The Keenest Observers, handles the interview. 

Dicklyon, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The images of devastation from the California Wine Country fires moved many of us.  And they moved a few of our friends and neighbors into action. 

With fire crews stretched to the breaking point, firefighters from Oregon traveled south to help with the firefighting effort. 

Kelly Burns of Ashland Fire-Rescue was among the people who made the temporary move.  He visits with details of what he did and saw, joined by firefighters Tim Hegdahl and Dave Roselip.

And we visit again with Ashley Tressel, who covered the fires for the Ukiah Daily Journal


Massive die-offs of bees in recent years convinced many people that it was time to pull back on the use of the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. 

And while there is evidence that they are being used less, studies show neonics are still showing up where bees live... at levels above what is safe for them. 

Safe for people, perhaps, but bad for bees. 

Bee expert Dr. Dewey Caron gives us the basic science, Dr. Susan Kegley at the Pesticide Research Institute talks about the poisons; John Jacob, president of the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association, gives a local view. 

Narender Sharma, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Marijuana is now officially out in the sunshine in Oregon and California, legal to grow and legal to use.  But that doesn't mean the practices that developed to make and market cannabis during the prohibition years have changed. 

Journalist Nick Johnson demonstrates how the industry continues to use old, environmentally damaging practices even though the purported reasons for them no longer exist. 

Johnson's book is Grass Roots: A History of Cannabis in the American West, from Oregon State University Press.      

Demi, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It's not quite the same thing as the "tiny house" movement, but Ashland is one city stepping into the cottage housing realm. 

As the name implies, the cottages are smaller houses clustered together, designed for more walkable urban environments. 

The high cost of land and housing in the city led to the program, at least in part.

Maybe the band name "Chumbawamba" rings a bell. 

Try the lyrics to the group's best-known song: "I get knocked down, but I get up again..."  You can take it from there. 

Danbert Nobacon (not his birth name) was a key figure in Chumbawamba, but an outspoken believer in anarchy and ecology before and since. 

He's also an author, with works including 3 Dead Princes: An Anarchist Fairy Tale.  Nobacon visits Ashland for words at the Ashland Literary Arts Festival and songs at a pair of Rogue Valley venues. 


Just because people are happy alone does not mean they're happy alone ALL the time. 

Introverts do fall in love, even with other introverts. 

Sophia Dembling speaks up for introverts in the column "The Introvert's Corner" at Psychology Today. 

She extended her writing into book form for  Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

FEMA is the federal agency we hear about in disasters, but it has a role in preventing disasters, too. 

FEMA sets out rules for development in and near flood-prone areas.  And its identification of areas off-limits to development is drawing resistance in Oregon. 

The City of Coos Bay filed suit against FEMA. 

Oregon Encyclopedia

When Charles Applegate moved into his house in Yoncalla, he probably was not thinking much about the year 2017.  Because Applegate moved in in 1852, and that makes his house the oldest one in Oregon continuously owned by the same family. 

As you could probably tell by the many places named Applegate, the family has been an influential one in the state's history. 

That's why a team from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon spent some time there recently, digging for artifacts. 

That's the topic of this month's edition of Underground History, co-hosted by our friends at the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology

The fire season just ending (we hope) was a subject for debate even while the fires were raging; in fact, BEFORE the destructive fires in the California wine country. 

Pretty much every fire season now resumes the debate over whether more work should be done to remove fuel from wild lands or whether they should be burned deliberately or BOTH. 

We take a look back at the season and its lessons with the help of several knowledgeable guests.  

Erik Christensen was National Fuels Program lead for the Interior Department before his retirement. 

John Bailey teaches at the School of Forestry at Oregon State University. 

And J. Keith Gilless is dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of California-Berkeley. 

Dominick Dellasala/Geos Institute

The fires in the Northern California wine country are just the latest example of the dangers of houses set close in to areas with a lot of vegetation, like forests. 

It's a concern of any residential area at the edge of the forest, and that includes the entire city of Ashland. 

The city fire department long ago adopted the Firewise campaign to help people take steps to defend against the possibility of wildfire. 

Sonya Thompson, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series just a year ago, and delighted fans who'd waited all their lives for a championship.  Fast-forward a year, and fans are back to disappointment: the Cubs didn't make it to the Series. 

None of this should surprise Ashland's Mark Scarpaci, who has learned to ride the ups and downs of Cub fandom. 

Scarpaci is the author of two books, including the novel Wrigley Sanders, about a boy born in the bleachers at the Cubs' home park.  It's not a typical sports success story, that's for sure. 

Little Mountain/Wikimedia

The list of dams now removed from the Rogue River and its tributaries is getting longer: Gold Ray, Savage Rapids, Bear Creek, Wimer... and that's just a start. 

It didn't happen overnight, and it didn't happen without resistance. 

The major point: giving fish a chance to get upstream to spawn once again. 

The Rogue River Watershed Council plays a part in recent and planned dam removals.