Word of Mouth
2:04 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

7.28.14:The Fuel Walk, The Power Of Whale Poo, And The Biggest Company You've Never Heard Of

Credit National Marine Sanctuaries via Flickr CC

The oil boom is on in McKenzie county, North Dakota. More than 4000 wells have been drilled since 2008, and the county expects to be pumping for decades. Today, a UNH professor explains why he set out to learn more about North Dakota’s oil country, by walking 65 miles across it. Then, about 70 percent of the earth’s oxygen comes from marine plants. We slip beneath the surface to find out how a rebounding whale population could help spur phytoplankton growth…and slow climate change. Plus, we take a look at the China-based e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, the most powerful company you’ve never heard about.

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


A North Dakota Fuel Walk

Earlier this summer, journalist and UNH professor Tom Haines went to North Dakota, a major player in the domestic oil boom the US is experiencing. He walked 65 miles through the heart of McKenzie County to get a closer look and speak with ranchers, geologists, and oil workers. He tracked his trip on a blog called “Fuel Walk.”

Star Island Goes Solar

Sam Evans-Brown set out to explore Star Island’s shift to solar power, an effort that could prove to be a model of how the future of energy could look on a much larger scale. He and Sara Plourde went to Star Island and brought back the story.

The Climate Saving Power of Whale Poo

Philip Hoare is a writer and cultural historian who wrote the article “Why Whale Poo Could Be the Secret to Reversing the Effects of Climate Change” for the Guardian. His most recent book is The Sea Inside (which he spoke about with us in the spring), co-curated the “Moby Dick Big Read” project, though this newest article focuses on the less subtle topic of the carbon-absorbing benefits of whale feces.

A Single Question

A single question can be a powerful force. It can open up an entire field of study. It can inhabit someone, shaping who they become. And it can jump inside other people, infusing them with a burning curiosity. Producers Ari Daniel and Meisa Salaita from Small Matters tell the story of just such a question.

Alibaba: China’s E-Commerce Giant

EBay, Pay-Pal and Amazon are e-commerce giants in the US, but there’s one company that’s bigger and more profitable than all of them combined…and there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of it. Rob Fleischman is chief technology officer at Xerocole, and chief explainer of all things wired here on Word of Mouth. He sat down and gave us a primer on the biggest company you know nothing about.

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