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, Zach Nugent, and Logan Shannon. Our Senior Producer is Maureen McMurray. Check out a playlist of music used on the program on Spotify. You can leave us a message on the Word of Mouth Listener Line anytime. We reserve the right to use your message on the air: (603) 223-2448

Listen to this week's featured show:

Genre: 
Composer ID: 
5182ad00e1c8493049eeb9e7|5182acf6e1c8493049eeb9c0

Pages

Word of Mouth
9:45 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Writer Takes Typewriter To Park And Incites An Internet Riot

"The Roving Typist" in his natural habitat.
Credit Christopher Hermelin via The Awl

When Christopher Hermelin moved to New York, he lived like countless other jobless 20-somethings: no prospects, no money, and rent due at the first of the month. But instead of kicking around in a café, he hit the streets with a ten dollar typewriter and a sign printed: “Stories while you wait. Sliding scale, donate what you can.” And…it worked! Passersby paid him to write one-of-a-kind stories on the spot. While he isn’t the only person to make a living like this, on the streets of New York, he might be the one person whose photograph showed up on the internet. We’ll let him pick up the story from there. Christopher Hermelin is “The Roving Typist.”

Read more
Word of Mouth
2:57 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Why Popular Science Put The Kibosh On Online Comments

Credit via sciblogs

The internet provides a forum for public conversation, debate and interaction. At times, it may seem more less public square and more like the Roman forum…where sniping, shaming and mean-spirited insults can devour conversations and proclaim judgments by like an unruly mob.

Media outlets have long-debated how best to moderate online comments, where some of the worst internet trolling takes place…last month, Popular Science shut down comments on its website, citing, in part, a study from the University of Wisconsin measuring the influence negative comments have on other readers. (We spoke with study co-author Dietram Scheufele back in March about the phenomenon he calls “the Nasty Effect.")

Jake Ward is Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science, he’s with us to talk more about the decision and response so far. 

Read more
Word of Mouth
2:03 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

The Weirdest Quick Rich Scheme: Buying Stamps

Credit farm9 via Flickr Creative Commons

Last month, the United States Postal Service proposed plans to raise the price of a first class stamp from forty-six to forty-nine cents. The change should generate about $2 billion in additional revenue for an institution desperate to stem a projected $6 billion dollar deficit this year.

Meanwhile, the Forever Stamp, introduced in 2006 and impervious to changing price rates, may present an unexpected opportunity for a bold profit. Allison Schraeger is an economist and writer whose work is featured regularly in Quartz, where she and Ritchie King co-wrote a step-by-step guide to making big money from tiny stamps.

Read more
Word of Mouth
1:23 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Gangs Take Their Street War To Social Media

Credit via justkhaotic

Gang violence is nothing new, but the rise of social media has catapulted even local gangs into the spotlight...for the police, and for each other.

Ben Austen is magazine writer based in Chicago. He wrote in Wired magazine about how hundreds of youth gangs of Chicago are using social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Read more
Word of Mouth
3:11 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

What Do International Weapons Inspectors Do, Exactly? We Talked To One To Find Out.

UN/IAEA Inspectors
Credit IAEA Action Team

Only a few days after international weapons inspectors arrived in Syria, they’ve begun destroying Syria’sstockpile of chemical weapons along with the equipment used to make it. The team is reportedly using blow torches and heavy trucks to crush weaponry, working as an active war rages on around them.

For a better sense of what weapons inspectors do, we spoke to Tim Trevan. He worked as a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq in the early 90’s and is currently Executive Director of the International Council for the Life Sciences.

Read more
Word of Mouth
3:04 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Drag Queens And Covered Bridges

Two great things that look great together?
Credit Andre Rosa

New Hampshire is known for its White Mountains and maple syrup. But one local artist would like to add another pair of regional highlights to that list: covered bridges and drag queens.

Andre Rosa is an artist and software engineer working out of Manchester. He’s just recently funded a photo calendar through Kickstarter and joins us to talk about the project.

Read more
Word of Mouth
2:20 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Amy Grace Loyd: The Woman Who Made Playboy A Great Read

Credit iphonebookstore via Flickr Creative Commons

We turn now to that exemplary literary magazine, Playboy.  Hugh Hefner’s magazine has always been about the centerfold and male fantasy and an air-brushed version of female sexuality…but it's also a great read. Really.

In 2005, writer Amy Grace Loyd was hired to revive Playboy’s traditions of stories from the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and short fiction from Margaret Atwood, or that scandalous interview with Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter.  Amy was Playboy’s Fiction and Literary Editor for seven years, and she recently wrote in Salon about some of the ribbing she took for a job she loved. She also recently published her first novel, called “The Affairs of Others."

Read more
Word of Mouth - Segment
1:56 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Why Are Some Things Considered Disgusting?

Revulsion kept early humans from eating spoiled meat, or snuggling up to people covered with oozing sores. Today, some cultures prize cheeses writhing with maggots, or drink liquor made from fermented saliva. This is not a trick to get you to “eeewww” but a way to evoke the visceral nature of disgust, which as Rachel Herz found, is powerful enough to convict suspects, incite genocide, and make us writhe and wretch within seconds. 

Rachel is an instructor at Brown University and expert on the psychology of smell and emotion and the author of “That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion.”

Read more
Writers On A New England Stage
10:16 am
Fri October 4, 2013

A. Scott Berg On 'Wilson'

Wilson was President from 1913 to 1921

 A conversation with historian and biographer A. Scott Berg about his new book, Wilson, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Writers on a New England Stage is a co-production of NHPR and The Music Hall. 

Read more
Word of Mouth
12:35 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Poet Sophie Cabot Black

Poet Sophie Cabot Black will be appearing at the Brattleboro Literary Festival this weekend.
Credit via The Poetry Foundation

The Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac is horrifying, unforgettable and open to interpretation. Faithful Jews, Christians and Muslims regard God’s demand that Abraham sacrifice his beloved son as a lesson about the demands of faith, the rewards for obedience, or for some, evidence of God’s cruelty.  

Others see the essence of the story not in the command not to sacrifice, but the command to stop. The parable is alluded to throughout “The Exchange” by Sophie Cabot Black, one of the poems about the exchange of love and money and sex and time which anchors her third collection of poems. Black is among the many writers who will be sharing her work with audiences at the Brattleboro Literary Festival this weekend. 

Read more
Word of Mouth
12:25 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Is The Recall Going To Be 'The New Normal' In Politics?

Credit dimmerswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

Congressional approval rating hit a new now of 10.5 percent this week. If you’ve found yourself yelling at the radio and TV news coverage of the government shutdown and plotting revenge at the next election, you may not have to wait until 2014.

Last month, two of Colorado’s Democratic state senators became targets of a successful recall after voting for more restrictive gun legislation, adding to the increasing number of recall campaigns launched over the past two years. 

Seth Masket is a political scientist at the University of Denver, and a regular contributor to Pacific Standard.  He spoke with us about his article “The Recall is the New Normal”. 

Read more
Word of Mouth
12:13 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Language Of Dementia Turned Into Poetry

Alzheimer's and dementia can create deep communication lapses between patients and their loved ones.
Credit mollybob via Flickr Creative Commons

People living with dementia can appear to live in their own world, a complicated, non-linear inner world not so easily communicated to, or understood by others. The London-based writer Susanna Howard is attempting to give people with dementia a voice by visiting with them and recording their words as poetry. 

Susanna is artistic director of Living Words, an arts and literature program helping people with dementia feel understood and heard even when communication seems lost. 

Check out the Living Words website here.

Read more
Word of Mouth
11:42 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Mapping The Arsenic Seeping Into Our Diet

A screenshot of the U.S.G.S. map of arsenic concentrations in the U.S.

While many Americans struggle to trim sugar and fat from their diets, a far more dangerous ingredient may be seeping in…from the ground. Arsenic is an odorless, tasteless poison that exists in the earth’s crust. Last winter, the U.S. Geological Survey found that low levels of arsenic were present in forty percent of New Hampshire’s groundwater, for example,  with one in five wells measuring above ten parts-per-billion.

Independent researchers have also identified excessive levels of arsenic in water-intensive crops, including rice grown in the U.S. and abroad. Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist, columnist and blogger for Wired and The New York Times. She was given access to a U.S.G.S. map showing arsenic concentration across the U.S. ahead of its release to the public, and is joining us to share some of the findings. 

Read more
Word of Mouth
2:43 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

The Sometimes Positive Effects Of Trauma

Credit Texas to Mexico via Flickr Creative Commons

The number of  shocking events over the past year is overwhelming … the Newtown school massacre; the Boston Marathon bombings; devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Although the specifics of each catastrophe varies, media coverage adheres to a similar script involving communal resilience, collective support, and predictions of post-traumatic stress among victims and witnesses – even those thousands of miles away. In recent years, a small branch of positive psychology has been exploring the possibility that adversity can be a source of strength and wisdom.  Mark Obbie recently wrote about post-traumatic growth for Pacific Standard magazine.

Read more
Word of Mouth
12:06 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Vanishing Rest Stops

Anthony, NM
Ryann Ford

For the past fifty-three years, rest areas have offered weary travelers a place to pull off and pause and maybe even learn a little local history. Traditional rest areas are disappearing across the country… Louisiana for example, has already closed twenty-four of its thirty-four stops. Ryann Ford is a photographer whose work has been featured in the New York Times and Texas Monthly. She’s been trying to capture these doomed rest areas with her camera… before they disappear. Her project is called “Rest Stops: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside.”

Read more

Pages