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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Logan Shannon/ NHPR

Malaria threatens more that half the world’s people. Yet there is still no way to immunize against it. Today we will explore why a promising vaccine developed by an upstart in the biotech scene is not getting funded.

Then , once relegated to fanzines and the occasional bookstore, fan fiction is quickly becoming more accessible, more mainstream, and in some cases, more of a headache for authors who inspired the fans in the first place. We’ll find out why some authors are bucking against the trend.

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

David Coxon via www.flickr.com/photos/davidcoxon

The Southern Poverty Law Center is out with its annual survey on hate groups.  The good news? Active hate groups are on the decline.  The bad news? They've relocated online.  Today on Word of Mouth, a disturbing look at the hidden state of hate in America.  Also, a historian reveals the surprising method many early New Englanders used to pass correspondence from colony to colony: Native American couriers.

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

blueforce4116 via flickr.com/photos/blueforce4116

On Friday, Scott Kelly embarks on a one-year trip to the International Space Station to study the physiological effects of long-term spaceflight.  Crucial to the mission is his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, who will be acting as a sort of controlled variable here on Earth.  Today on Word of Mouth, we speak with Mark about being the sibling who stays home.  Later in the show, we celebrate the culture of the Jewish deli, and ask whether restaurants based on thick meaty sandwiches and 'schmaltz' can survive in the age of the kale smoothie.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

Astronaut & Children's Book Author Mark Kelly

Mar 25, 2015
Simon & Schuster

Astronaut Scott Kelly will be heading to the International Space Station for a year-long mission aimed at studying the physiological effects of prolonged space-flight. Crucial to the study is Scott’s twin brother Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut who will participate by staying here on earth, as a sort of controlled variable. Virginia spoke with Mark about the mission.

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! And a discussion about redesigning the car dashboard with the makers of the hit video game Monument Valley.

Kevin Dooley via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/5T2AqR

If science is right, you are a liar. Everybody is. In fact, studies show that human beings lie 2-to-3 times per ten minute conversation. On today’s show, a philosopher says lies aren’t all bad – and argues that deception is a part of every good relationship.

Plus, think Celine Dion is the pits? Can’t stand sappy ballads? We’ll hear why love songs are more than something to sing in the shower.

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

Logan Shannon / NHPR

When you hear about prison work programs, you think license plates or chain gangs – not farm-raised Tilapia, or buffalo milk cheese. On today’s show, artisanal foods and other the under-the-radar products made by prisoners for next to nothing.

Plus, a project aims to solve two global problems by turning sewage into drinkable water, and why revulsion may prevent it from becoming a reality. 

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

Vinoth Chandar via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7Jcr9c

What happens to our minds when we have too little, and how does that shape our choices and behaviors? On today's show, we'll talk to a pair of Princeton professors who set out to answer those questions. Plus, the inspiration for our Good Gig series was a conversation with a person who has one of the most unique gigs on the planet: sketch artist for the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

Simon Whitaker via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/2Wc9GL

From Chicken Soup for the Soul to The Secret, self-help is an 11-billion dollar industry. We’ll talk to a writer who attended workshops, conferences and visualizations to understand America’s fixation with being better. And, any pet owner will tell you that having a dog or cat enriches one’s life, but what about a pet tiger or bear? We’ll take a look into the underground world of exotic animal ownership in America. Plus, common sense tells us that reading to children is good for them, but it’s more powerful than you might imagine. We’ll look into the practice of interactive reading and share tricks for bringing up book worms in the age of screens and digital devices. 

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

5 Songs For St. Patrick's Day

Mar 17, 2015
Giuseppe Milo via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/nBVSXw

What would St. Patrick's Day be without great music? The following, in no particular order, is a list of songs submitted to our Facebook page to get you in the mood for St. Paddy's. 

1. Jerry Garcia & David Grisman Whiskey In The Jar

2. Robbie O'Connell & Finbar Clancy - Kilkelly Ireland Song (1995)

jeffrey james pacres via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/62168f

Once relegated to fanzines and the occasional bookstore, “fan fiction” is quickly becoming more accessible, more mainstream, and in some cases, more of a headache for authors who inspired the fans in the first place. On today’s show, why some authors are bucking against the trend.

Then, the days of the charity 5k may be over. Despite an improving economy, many of the biggest charity races are reporting drops in participation and funds raised. We’ll find out why adventure races like Tough Mudder may be to blame.

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

Granger Meador via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/cfu46W

When you hear about prison work programs, you think license plates or chain gangs – not buffalo milk cheese. On today’s show, we’ll look into the artisanal foods and other under-the-radar, prisoner-made products that line the shelves of stores across the country.

Then, in 1939 Rhett Butler stunned audiences when he uttered the now famous line in Gone with the Wind: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” We’ll talk about the history of onscreen cursing, and how four letter words have come out of the shadows and into the mainstream.

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

Before Maz Jobrani was a panelist on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, he was an actor trying to get a break. On today’s show, we’ll talk to the Iranian-born comedian about being typecast as a terrorist.

Then, we investigate a problem facing many American workers: food theft. What motivates some people to steal another person’s lunch from the office fridge? We’ll talk about the ethics of office food theft, and answer the age old question: is it ok to use someone else’s salad dressing?

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

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Think about the shape of an icicle: it’s pointy at the end and wider at the base. But why are they that shape? The key thing to remember when talking about icicles is that icicles are long and skinny because the tip is growing faster than the base. And there are 3 reasons for why that is:

Every drip, as it travels down the icicle, carries heat away. This is because water is an incredible vehicle for conducting heat. It has the highest specific heat of any material we know of. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

  

Jesús Perera Aracil via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/49YiYx

Across the world more than 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water, and at least two billion don’t have proper sanitation. On today’s show, we’ll look at a project aiming to solve both problems by turning waste into drinkable water. And why disgust may prevent it from becoming a reality.

Then, we investigate a problem facing many American workers: food theft. We’ll find out why some people feel it’s ok to steal treats from the office fridge. 

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

Good Gig: Lighting Designer* Laura Frank

Mar 11, 2015
Photo: LuminousFX.com

Laura Frank is the founder of Luminous FX, and as she says in her bio on her website: “I am not a designer, and I am not a technician. What I am is a creative partner. I’ve called my role a technologist, a visualist, a mediator, but ultimately I think I am a great editor. I take the genesis of the designer’s concept and make it thrive in the chaos of production.” The Super Bowl halftime show with Paul McCartney? That was some of Laura’s work. 

Koshy Koshy | Sea Turtle via flickr Creative Commons / Birds: flic.kr/p/cdLdas | Bees: flic.kr/p/dgg8w4

Social media sites are teeming with sexual imagery, jokes, and questionable content. Yet their official policies prevent sex-ed organizations from crafting a message that might actually resonate with the people who need it.

On today’s show, are social media sites censoring sex-ed?  Plus, our series Good Gig continues with a lighting pro who’s illuminated everything from Olympic ceremonies to Super Bowl half-time shows.  

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

Wikimedia Commons

We’ve seen this dance before: presidential hopefuls stumping in New Hampshire. On today’s show, we’ll talk to the official candidate from the Transhumanist Party who says we need a new political party and new tactics for the issues of our time.

Then, Jackie Robinson’s major league debut was an obvious, watershed moment in America’s troubled racial history. But we’ll look at a lesser known moment for American civil rights: breaking NASA’s color barrier and the story of the first African Americans in the space program.

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

MazJobrani.com

Before Maz Jobrani was a panelist on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, he was an actor trying to get a break. On today’s show we’ll talk to the Iranian-born comedian about being typecast as a terrorist.

And like Maz, many Hollywood hopefuls get their start as extras, making less than minimum wage, hoping to be noticed. We’ll hear about an elite group who have made blending into the background an incredibly lucrative career.

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

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Kale Poland does ultra-marathons, but that sport's name is a little misleading, as it now encompasses a lot of really long races of every sort, including triathlons. You may have heard of the Ironman competition: 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon. 

But not for Kale Poland. He has done many 50-mile running races, of course, also a few double-ironman races, even triple and quintuple ironman distance events. But in 2012, he was the seventh American ever to complete what he calls a “deca”. That’s ten times the distance of an Ironman.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years.  But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. 

On today’s show, the history and science behind the mostly unregulated vitamin market.

And, with new measles outbreaks discovered each week, parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are in the cross hairs. We’ll talk to reporter who asks: are mothers to blame? And the story of an extreme athlete who balances work, family, and 400 miles of running and biking per week.

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

Good Gig: DJ Soul Sister Melissa Weber

Mar 5, 2015
Photo: Frank Aymami / Courtesy of Melissa Weber

Today's good gig is Melissa Weber a DJ who was raised on vinyl, listening to her father's vinyl albums at a young age and saving them from damage.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

When Executive Chancellor Jones mentioned she'd be "all ears" if someone were to work on a fight song for Oaksterdam, we saw that as an opportunity. 

Watch the Dartmouth Glee Club sing the fight song producer Taylor Quimby came up with for Oaksterdam, with a whole lot of music-writing help from the group's director, Louis Burkot.

Artwork By: Kate Adams / kck.st/1zWdSus

There are jobs, and then there are dream jobs. On today’s show we’re featuring good gigs and odd jobs.  From a DJ who lives to uncover rare soul albums and share them with the world, to a woman who studies and creates board games for Dartmouth College’s Tilt Factor game lab. Plus, a broke writer who’d much rather read Dostoyevsky than Fifty Shades of Grey tries to break into the lucrative erotic lit genre.

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

Colin Dunn via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7GCv8P

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years. But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. On today’s show, we’ll look at the history and science behind a largely unregulated market. Plus, a new hotline for emotionally distressed teens aims to help teens by communicating in a space where they feel comfortable – via text message.     

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

VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections / flic.kr/p/27g6S7

An overwhelming majority of medical researchers and pediatricians advocate for vaccinating kids. Vocal anti-vaxxers include celebrities Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider. On today’s show we’ll find out why women are more likely to distrust doctors and go anti-vax.

Plus, we’ll bust some of the myths behind anti-oxidant rich super foods, and find out how advertisers turned Listerine into a cure-all – and virtually created the concept of bad breath.

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

The Walking Show

Feb 27, 2015

Even as a child, Charles Dickens was an avid, sometimes compulsive walker. So much so, he once wrote, “If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish.” Today’s show is all about walking, from the ancient origins of labyrinths, to the early 20th century phenomenon known as pedestrianism, to its ongoing benefits in a world built for cars. 


Raising Awareness Of Malaria With Poetry

Feb 26, 2015

Cameron Conaway is a writer, poet, editor and former Social Good fellow. His article, “A Working Malaria Vaccine Can’t Get Money”, was published at Newsweek and chronicles the story of a small upstart trying to bring their working malaria vaccine to market.

Good Gig: Denim Historian Tracey Panek

Feb 26, 2015
Photo: Levi Strauss & Co. Archives

The Levi Strauss & Co. is an American icon dating back to the gold rush days in California. Today's Good Gig is Tracey Panek, denim historian for Levi Strauss.

Today would have been the 186th birthday of Levi Strauss, born Loeb Strauss in Bavaria. He came to the US to find his fortune, and made his mark on fashion and history when he patented the now iconic Levi's jeans.

Tracey told us about Levi Strauss and Co.’s New Hampshire connection:

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