3.19.14: Big Data, ICANN & Body Farm

Mar 19, 2014

Credit via amazon.com

Today on Word of Mouth, we're unpacking big data. Should we fear or embrace it? Then we get a lesson on ICANN - what it is and how the decision made by the Obama administration not to renew its contract to oversee see it actually affects the way the internet functions. Finally, bodies! How do you study the effects of certain conditions on human remains? With a body farm, of course.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Big Data

  • In a new book, futurist and science writer Patrick Tucker urges us not to fear big data. He advocates for harnessing that data to level the playing field and make the powerful more accountable. His new book, The Naked Future: What Happens in a World that Anticipates Your Every Move?, is filled with examples of how citizens can use data to help them live much healthier lives, realize personal goals more quickly, avoid inconvenience and danger and increase our ability to accurately predict the future.


  • The World Wide Web turned 25 this month, time to go out on its own. You may have heard murmurings about the U.S. ceding control of the internet. Sounds scary, right? Up next we’ll cut through the hyperbole and explain what the decision really means for the future of the internet.
  • For a primer and links to more on ICANN, click this link.

Body Farm

  • One thing we can control is our body – and what happens to it when our number is called: be it buried, cremated, donated for organs or other study. How would you feel about donating your body to the study of decomposition? Rene Ebersole is features editor at Audubon Magazine and a contributor to Mental Floss, where she wrote about “the body farm” – one of several four such facilities in the country where forensic anthropologists and police investigators learn firsthand how to “read” a body.