The Jefferson Exchange

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JPR's live call-in program devoted to current events and news makers from around the region and beyond. Participate at:  800-838-3760.  Email: JX@jeffnet.org.   Check us out on Facebook.

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OEA

We can't seem to go a week without some news about standardized testing.

It's the accepted way to measure the progress of students. 

But when student progress is extrapolated to measure teacher quality, that's when the National Education Association and its state affiliates get their backs up. 

The national Representative Assembly this week includes Oregon Education Association President Hanna Vaandering. 

New is apparently better for Oregon gamblers, at least in one sense.

The Oregon Lottery began installing new video lottery machines (VLMs) last year, and its revenues are up ten percent since that time. 

The machines come with new features, like allowing players to gamble smaller amounts of money. 

That's no consolation to organizations that treat problem gambling, like Emergence in Eugene. 

Thinking Of Economies As Computers

Jun 29, 2015
Basic Books

You would not expect your first computer from years ago to be able to stream video.

Likewise, it's perhaps unrealistic to expect developing countries to register economic growth by leaps and bounds. 

MIT associate professor César Hidalgo sees economies as akin to computers... information systems that process information at different speeds. 

He fleshes out the concept in his book Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies.

BLM

The arrival of fire season, summer, and hot weather reminds us of some of the major points of living near potential wildfire zones.

Like leaving defensible space around the house, so fire can't burn to and through it. 

But the finer points of being fire-wise can include things like gardens containing fire-resistant plants. 

Fire District 3 in Jackson County (generally north of Medford) set up three gardens at fire stations in the district to demonstrate the principles and plants.

Wikimedia

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus--HIV--is no longer the death sentence it once was. 

But modern drugs still can't shrink distances, so treatment can be difficult for HIV patients in rural areas. 

The HIV Alliance, based in Eugene, is ramping up a "telehealth" program to provide services to HIV patients in rural Southern and Eastern Oregon. 

Basic Books

Several books and movies exploited our thrills (and fears) about the future and its technology. 

Can we just laugh off dramas like "Rise of the Machines"? 

Maybe not, according to ethicist Wendell Wallach.  In his book A Dangerous Master, looks at technologies that already exist, and explores some of the ethical dilemmas they raise. 

Think drones and computer stock trades, for starters. 

Wikimedia

The ongoing drought in California has been tough on trees.  Or has it?

While it's apparently true that 12 million trees have died in recent years in California, the deaths are probably caused by a combination of drought and insects. 

Naomi Tague at UC-Santa Barbara's Ecohydrolab is one of the authors of a study that assessed the various causes of various tree deaths. 

It clears up the relationship between bugs and droughts, and provides possible future patterns for tree deaths in certain climate conditions. 

Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Bosses who want to get more out of workers may suggest multitasking. 

And Devora Zack says they're wrong when they do. 

Zack is an executive coach and consultant, and she has put multitasking behind her, forsaken as an empty promise. 

Her book Singletasking explains the approach, focusing on ONE task at a time. 

Wikimedia

You take medicine because it's supposed to be good for you.

Oregon voters made marijuana a medicine in the belief that it would help people. 

But a recent investigation by The Oregonian (Oregon Live online) found holes in regulations and testing regimes led to the presence of pesticides in some medical pot. 

Oregon Growers Analytical tests marijuana for pesticides and other contaminants. 

USDA/Public Domain

Summer vacation carries some dangers for the health of low-income children. 

Not the dangers of swimming and climbing trees, but the danger of poor nutrition caused by being separated from free meals at school. 

The federal government provides money for summer food programs in Oregon and other states, but there can be obstacles to families making use of the programs. 

Is it finally time to put the Confederate battle flag away after 150+ years? 

Even South Carolina's governor now favors a retirement.  That's one of our VENTsday topics. 

The other: letting Oregon counties that voted strongly against legalizing marijuana to opt out of retail sales, something the legislature is considering. 

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts the listeners front and center. We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics.

Basic Books

The Great Recession featured many arguments over the correct role of government in restoring the economy to health. 

Austerity and tax cuts?  Or "Keynesian-style" stimulus? 

The man whose name is at the center of that phrase is also at the center of a new biography: Universal Man

Author Richard Davenport-Hines wanted a more accessible biography of John Maynard Keynes, one that goes beyond a simple focus on economics. 

Wikimedia

The role of police is supposed to be straightforward: catch bad guys and protect the people.

But it's seldom that simple, and gets extremely complicated when police have to deal with mentally ill citizens.

Which happens with regularity, and such a confrontation led to shooting death of Brian Babb by Eugene Police in late March.

Babb was a veteran with PTSD, and social worker Becky Higgins was on the phone with him right before his death.

PenguinRandomhouse

The top-selling music album in the year 2000 sold nearly ten million copies. 

The top album last year sold about a third of that number. 

Many fewer people pay for music these days, when they can get it for free on the Internet. 

Exactly the point of Stephen Witt's book "How Music Got Free." 

Wikimedia

Oregon's love of natural areas, the push for economic development, and a governor who resigned under pressure... these are just some of the elements that converge in the state's proposed land swap in the Bandon area. 

A deal approved last year would turn 280 acres of the Bandon State Natural Area over to a private developer for a golf course. 

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Henrietta Bingham is not a household name today, but she was quite a sensation 80 years ago. 

She was the daughter of a wealthy newspaper publisher, a bisexual, and the lover of both actor John Houseman and tennis champion Helen Hull Jacobs.

The story of her fascinating life is told by her great-niece, Emily Bingham, in the book Irrepressible

Wikimedia

The hippies arrived in the 1960s and never left. 

That's one way to look at the Oregon Country Fair, if a bit pejorative. 

But it is safe to say there's nothing else for miles around like the music/art/food festival. 

And it is coming back to the woods near Veneta for the 46th time, the weekend of July 10th. 

Wikimedia/JPR titling

While it's true marijuana will be legal for recreational use in Oregon in just days (July 1st), that does not mean a "smoke 'em if you got 'em" free-for-all. 

First of all, the law phases in, so there will not be retail sales until probably fall of 2016.  Second, pot cannot be smoked in a public place. 

A recently launched "Educate Before You Recreate" campaign aims to communicate the law's nuances to the public. 

University of Chicago Press

Environmentalists tend to tread carefully around the subject of population.

In a planet of finite resources and no place to throw things "away," overpopulation could devastate the Earth. 

Philip Cafaro has been talking for years about the intersection between environmentalism and population studies. 

In his latest book, "How Many Is Too Many?," Cafaro narrows the focus on immigration into the United States... and makes a rare progressive (not conservative) argument for reducing it. 

Wikimedia

Harmful algae blooms are so common in the Pacific Ocean, they get their own acronym (HAB). 

But the current bloom in the Pacific is decidedly uncommon: it spans much of the West Coast, and has forced shutdowns in shellfish fisheries. 

The federal Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle observes and responds to algae blooms, and this one brings some of the highest levels of natural toxins ever observed, from California's Central Coast to Washington and even Alaska. 

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