11.18.15: Greening Death, How to Win an Inn, & Science...for Her!

Nov 18, 2015

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In times of mourning, we emphasize the cyclical nature of life and death - and yet, American burial practices are mostly designed to halt the natural process of decomposition. Today on Word of Mouth, a look at the historical forces that pushed America towards embalming and containment, and the growing "green burial" movement. Plus, how American judges are grappling with a difficult to interpret form of evidence that's starting to be introduced in the courtroom - the emoji.

Listen to the full show. 

Greening Death

Common burial practices and funeral traditions have long up-ended the natural process of death and decomposition by preserving bodies as long as possible - but that may be changing. Suzanne Kelly is author of Greening Death: Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to the Earth

Suzanne Kelly will be speaking tonight, November 18th, at New England College Concord

How to Win an Inn

Owning a quaint country inn in a beautiful place …it’s a romantic dream for many. But historic properties come with hefty price tags and operating costs, requiring more than a rosy attitude and love of meeting new people. Some inn owners have found a way to change that though.

Doreen Cooney has been innkeeper of the Deerfield Valley Inn in Vermont for 17 years and plans to hand the operation over to whoever comes up with the best answer to the prompt “This Is My Dream: To Own a Vermont Country Inn Property.” 

If you think you have what it takes, you can enter the essay contest here

Science...for Her!

Megan Amram is a writer for the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. Her work has also appeared in McSweeneys, Vulture, and The Awl. Her book is called Science...For Her! and is now available in paperback. 

Interpreting Emojis in Court

Since a computer science professor first used a text based smiley face in 1982, people have been using text-based emoticons and graphic emoji to convey tone in text. And for just as long, people have been misinterpreting what those symbols mean. That doesn’t work in a courtroom, where emojis and emoticons have been used to demonstrate intent, and lack thereof, and are becoming tools for prosecution and defense teams. Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer and author of the article “Exhibit A: ;-)”