We at Word of Mouth would like to remind you that while you may be feeling the pressure and stress of another jam packed December, you should definitely make time to relax with an hour long block of our prodigious Saturday show. Make a cup of hot cocoa, put down the remote, and curl up next to the dog/cat/heater/fireplace/snuggie and let the sweet calming sounds of public radio fill your ear sockets.
On this week's show:
- Inside the World of Competitive Laughter: Think you've got what it takes to be a laughing champion? We talk to filmmaker and journalist Albert Nerenberg who hosted the first official laughing contest in Montreal back in 2011. He’s also the director of the 2009 documentary, Laughology.
- It's Sounds Like a Dirty Job, But Someone's Got to Do It: The Gates Foundation challenged engineers to develop commodes that are clean, cheap, and don’t require electricity, a sewage system, or even water. But as with any new product, you have to test it. John Koeller is principal engineer at Maximum Performance, a company who tests toilet efficiency.
- The First Skiers: Heading out on the slopes this weekend to score some fresh pow? Mark Jenkins, a contributing writer for National Geographic traveled to the northern most fringe of western China where skiing was invented many millennia ago.
- Invasion of the Tumbleweeds: They're not a common sight here in the Northeast, but in the west, tumbleweeds are a scourge. George Johnson is a writer based in Santa Fe, and a regular contributor to National Geographic, where he wrote about fighting the tumbleweed menace in his own backyard.
- Is the Era of the MOOC Over? Rebecca Schuman is education columnist for Slate and adjunct professor at the University of Missouri. She wrote about Sebastian Thrun -- the acknowledged godfather of MOOC’s -- and his pivot away from them.