Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth airs at 2 pm Monday through Thursday, weeknights at 9 pm, and noon on Sunday.

Word of Mouth is the sound of new ideas, hosted by Virginia Prescott, and produced by Taylor Quimby, and Logan Shannon. Our Senior Producer is Maureen McMurray

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Leveling The Playing Field: Digital Games & Children

15 hours ago
amanda tipton via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/c8fYHA

In 1983 Ronald Reagan gave a speech at Disney’s Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida extolling his new found understanding of the virtues of video games: “I recently learned something quite interesting about video games.

Joseph McKinley via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/e6Cw1P

Worried that your kids are spending too much time playing video games? On today’s show we look at how video games can not only level the demographic playing field, but help kids learn and potentially, heal. Plus, discovering the secret to happiness has inspired a robust self-help industry and pre-occupied philosophers since the days of Aristotle and Epicurus. Contemporary philosopher Frederic Lenoir shares some practical advice from the world’s great minds.

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We’ve heard the claim before – low-income urban kids aren’t getting to spend enough time in the woods.  But what if outdoor education isn’t just about where you live – but how you’re being raised?

On today’s show, our station wide series The First Decade continues, with a look at environmental education. Plus, a bee researcher explains two new studies that offer increasing evidence that a common form of pesticide is harmful to wild bees. And, Dr. Kanye West?  We discuss the function and failures of honorary degrees.  

Make Your Own Bee Hotel

May 20, 2015
Farrukh via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/a3XVAo

After our interview with Dave Goulson author of A Buzz in the Meadow and A Sting in the Tailwe asked him what else we could do to help bees, aside from planting bee-friendly gardens. He mentioned making a "bee hotel." We often think of honeybee hives buzzing with activity, and while communal living is a trait for some bees, other bees are more solitary and they like to nest in holes. Often these holes are left behind by wood boring insects in tree trunks. These days, those holes become harder for bees to come by; the bee equivalent of a housing shortage. For these types of bees, it's a nice gesture to provide them with a place to stay. 

The Educational Benefits Of Time Spent Outdoors

May 20, 2015
Logan Shannon / NHPR

We’ve heard the claim before – low-income, urban kids aren’t provided the opportunity to spend enough time in the woods learning about the natural world in a hands-on environment.  But what if outdoor education isn’t just about where you live and what’s around – but is also a product of parenting, classroom based school standards, and an increasingly limited freedom to explore?   

How Scarcity Can Hijack The Brain

May 19, 2015

Studies show that growing up below the poverty line can have serious health implications, but can it have a lasting effect on the brain? We continue NHPR’s series The First Decade with a look at how scarcity can hijack a person’s neural pathways in the brain. Eldar Shafir is Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where he studies human behavior and decision making in the context of poverty. He is co-author of the book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.

dierk schaefer via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/5vGNkE

Studies show that growing up below the poverty line can have serious health implications, but can it have a lasting effect on the brain? On today’s show we continue NHPR’s series The First Decade by examining scarcity and how it can hijack a person’s neural pathways, affecting a child’s decision making later in life.

Then, a look at a technological issue that is threatening the livelihoods of farmers across the U.S. how the increasingly computerized nature of automobiles – and a far-reaching  copyright law –  is preventing farmers from maintaining their own equipment.

The Architecture & Design Of Affordable Housing

May 18, 2015
"Pruitt-igoeUSGS02" by United States Geological Survey - United States Geological Survey, from their website. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pruitt-igoeUSGS02.jpg#/media/File:Pruitt-igoeUSGS02.j

“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.” Winston Churchill said that in an address to Parliament in 1944, and it remains true today. As part of our station-wide series, “The First Decade,” we’re looking at how the environmental and familial circumstances a child’s first ten years can influence – even determine -- their later lives. Today, housing, neighborhoods and the built environment.  

Tig Notaro: Comedy Meets Tragedy

May 18, 2015

When comedian Tig Notaro was diagnosed with cancer she did what most of us would never dream of doing, she went on stage and told the packed house at the Los Angeles comedy club Largo the news. her cancer diagnosis was the culmination of a long line of tragic events that happened over a very short period of time in 2012, and even though she initially thought of backing out of the gig, unsure of what her routine would be, she realized she needed to acknowledge what she was going through.

Jenny Cestnik via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/bak3Qg

Despite the fact that New Hampshire has one of the nation’s lowest poverty rates and is often rated as a top spot to raise children, indicators show that the gap between poor and wealthy families is growing.  On today’s show we join NHPR’s series, The First Decade, with a broader view of the impact of housing and neighborhoods on a child’s well-being. Then, an inside look at what really goes into designing effective affordable housing and how even the most seemingly trivial details can make or break a project.

mclcbooks via flickr Creative Commons| / flic.kr/p/9gvwfF

For some people, the day to day grind of the work week can be soul sucking, but for some, a job is more than just a paycheck, it's a passion. On today's show we'll talk to a rare book dealer who found his calling in the pages of antique books. Also today, in the early days of medicine, doctors weren't always revered by their patients. We'll hear about the so-called "Doctors Riot" that happened in 1788 New York City.

David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

On today’s show, a special presentation of Writers on a New England Stage with David Brooks, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. The New York Times columnist, author, and commentator known as the “liberal’s favorite conservative”, Brooks climbed the ladder of America’s media elite by sparring with civility against left-leaning pundits on TV and NPR.

New Hampshire's Poet Laureate Is Hooked On Bach

May 12, 2015
Keene State College

Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” were first published in 1741 and consisted of an aria and 30 variations made up of 32 measures each – a sampler of Western dance music enjoyed during his time.  In her new collection, New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice Fogel borrows that structure to invent 30 poems of 32 lines each.  The book is called “Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s Goldberg Variations.”

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The Red Sox and the Yankees, Ali versus Frazier, the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers. These are some of America's most notable sports rivalries, but they’ve got nothing on international cricket. On today’s show, we explore the epic sports rivalry between India and Pakistan.

Plus, everybody knows about the Titanic - so how come nobody remembers the sinking of the Sultana, the deadliest maritime disaster in American history?  We explore why some of the biggest historical events don’t take up much space in the history books. 

Matthew Stinson via flickr Creative Commons| / flic.kr/p/eTSb9

With thousands of empty luxury apartments in china’s new cities, desperate measures are being taken to lure buyers. On today’s show we’ll explore the booming business of renting foreigners as props to give these ghostly city centers an air of international glamor.    

Also today, America’s population will certainly look different in 2050, but what will it sound like? A linguist suggests that to find out, you should listen to young women.

5.10.15: Happy Mother's Day

May 8, 2015
Logan Shannon / NHPR

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, time to shower mom with flowers, candy, and homemade cards.  On today’s show we’ll hear the story of Anna Jarvis, the woman who spent ten years trying to establish Mother’s Day as a holiday, and the rest of her life trying to end it.

Then, the late night TV monologue is one of few times American audiences can still share a good laugh. We’ll talk to seasoned comedy writer Jon Macks, about the one time of day when power, rather than partisanship, is the punch line.

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Serving today’s ultra-rich may not be so much about finicky Downton Abbey-esque table settings, but it often involves lots of unexpected duties. On today’s show, we’ll talk to a writer who enrolled at the nation’s foremost “Butler Boot Camp,” where students learn to navigate the whims and habits of today’s elite. Then, the story of Sylvester Graham and his signature snack: the graham cracker, which was borne out of philosophy that promoted chastity, temperance, and the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and spices. All of which could excite our animal desires. 

Karen Dalziel via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4EZvKX

Ever heard of Philip Glass the plumber?  Kurt Vonnegut the car salesman?  On today’s show we pay homage to artists who didn’t quit their day jobs, even after hitting the big time, like poet/banker T.S. Eliot.

We'll also talk with pioneering jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton, he’s won seven Grammy awards and played alongside music legends from Stan Getz to B.B. King. Despite these accomplishments, he knows he won’t be remembered for a great solo, instead he’ll always be the guy that played with four sticks.

m01229 via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dTC9q5

Last week, the New Hampshire supreme court unanimously upheld the death sentence for Michael Addison, who was convicted in the slaying of a Manchester police officer. On today’s show we’ll look at the bipartisan politics of the death penalty, and why fewer Americans – both Democrat and Republican – support it.

Plus, nearly 60,000 books have covered the Civil War that ended 150 years ago this month. We’ll speak to an illustrator about his new graphic novel that goes for a human-scale history from the ground up.

Warm Weather Heralds Prime Bird Watching Season

May 4, 2015
JD via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/eUKGG8

If this past winter had you longing for sunny days and spending more times outdoors, you’re certainly not alone. As northerly winds make way for the warm southerly breezes, you’ll likely notice quite a few more birds at the feeders and songbirds chirping away out of sight. Spring is prime-time for bird watching and while you may have noticed the return of the Red-winged Blackbirds back in March, and perhaps a surge in waterfowl sightings, there a plenty more feathered friends winging their way north.

Colleen P. via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/nBkdFS

It was a long hard winter – but temperatures are finally climbing and bird song is erupting across New Hampshire. Today is Bird Day and we’ll talk about the sounds of spring migration – and hear how you can keep traveling birds from flying into your windows. Plus, an amateur photographer and creator of the #WorstBirdPic Meme comes to terms with the fact that 99% of his bird photos are blurry.

And two spring traditions come together in a new project that’s just sprouted at Fenway Park: an organic rooftop garden. 

5.3.15: Words, Words, Words

May 1, 2015
Logan Shannon / NHPR

Today’s show is all about words –written, spoken, or spelled – starting with the emotional, and surprisingly partisan debate over whether to continue teaching cursive. Later in the show we’ll explore the art of inventing new words and languages. And, how do you spell stereotype? We’ll discuss the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which has been won by an Indian American student every year since 2007.  

CatWarren.com/press

For most pet-owners, dogs are a symbol of love and loyalty.  Throughout history though, man's bestie has also held darker associations.  Today, we talk about death and the dog, from Greek mythologies three-headed hell-hound named Cerberus, to the modern use of cadaver-detection dogs. Plus, we go on the trail with a blind hiker and his guide dog as they summit 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000-footers in a single winter! 

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While emojis have become a universal cellular language, the origin of the modern-day hieroglyphic is actually rooted in Japan. Inspired by Manga, or Japanese comics, designer Shigetaka Kurita created the early blueprint of the modern-day emoji as a way to motivate Japanese teens to buy pagers in the late-nineties. 

Since then emojis have become a fixture of digital communication. While some decry emoji-culture as a linguistic fast track to the erosion of language, some intellectual and artistic circles are welcoming emoticons with open arms.

L: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum|Public domain

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, and “Operation Babylift” which evacuated thousands of supposedly orphaned South Vietnamese children who were then relocated to homes in American and beyond. On today’s show we’ll revisit the controversial program and get a firsthand account from one of the airlifted children.

windishagency.com

The Juan MacLean will be playing live at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth at 9:00 pm tonight (April 29th). Tickets and more information on the show can be found at this link.

When you think of electronic musicians, DJ's that spin thumping dance tracks to swarms of sweaty dancers at A-list parties, do you think of Dover, NH?

Jana Brooks / facebook.com/theknightshall

With the Medieval Combat World Championships just around the corner, Jaye Brooks, senior instructor and owner of The Knights Hall, doesn’t want to risk any late-in-the game injuries. Usually his men would be practicing judo throws and boxing drills while wearing sixty to eighty pounds of armor. Today, they take turns beating on car tires with two-handed axes, swords, and maces.   

David Goehring via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4mMuQE

After Walter Scott was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer last month, his family speculated he fled the police because he feared going back to jail for unpaid child support. On today’s show: a closer look at child support policies and why some argue it keeps poor men trapped in a cycle of debt, unemployment and prison. 

Then, the modern answer to hieroglyphics, emoji can convey tone and emotion in a single image. Later we’ll delve into emoji use around the world, and what it reveals about cultural and national identities. 

Courtesy of the Carson Entertainment Group / JohnnyCarson.com

The late night talk show monologue is one of few times TV audiences can still share a good laugh. On today’s show, we’ll talk to a seasoned comedy writer about the one time of day when power, rather than partisanship, is the punch line.

Then we’ll speak with an English professor who ditched his tweed jacket and elbow patches and joined a mixed martial arts gym to find out why men love to fight.

Plus, sabermetrics spawned a revolution in how baseball teams were built and inspired a blockbuster movie starring Brad Pitt, but does empirical analysis of baseball statistics still work today?

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Disasters in developing nations bring out the better angels of the world’s governments and citizens, but where that aid goes has a lot to do with media coverage. On today’s show, we discover why the world’s worst disasters don’t always get the most aid. Also today, a political scientist argues that fringe candidates have a shot at the presidency – if they can get the support of their party. And, if you think Chris Christie is the first presidential candidate whose weight could make or break him, think again.

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