Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth is the sound of new ideas, hosted by Virginia Prescott. Airs at 2 pm Monday through Thursday, weeknights at 9 pm, and noon on Sundays.

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Space! The final frontier, an immense void populated by our imaginations and as far as we know, not much else. Since the NASA shuttle program topped headlines for one last nostalgic time this summer, there have been few newsworthy developments in space exploration until now. Here to share some big news is freelance science journalist Lee Billings , whos working on a book about the inter-galactic search for earth-like planets. Links Earth Twin Article Asteroid Landing Alien Craft ?

The Life and Times of a Post College

Dec 12, 2011
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The Life and Times of a Post College The First Week of Interning at NHPRs Word of Mouth By Ryan Edward Brown Like an honorable dung beetle struck by majestic lighting or stale cat fish served atop a bed of greasy fries, my first week as an intern at Word Mouth went nothing like what was just iterated, but something close to what I was not and what I was suspecting. So something like this In very short it was a great deal of fun, by comparison to what I was doing prior to landing said...

A conversation with NPR s All Things Considered host Guy Raz , recorded live at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, VT. 

(Photo by David Murray of <a href="http://books.simonandschuster.com/Jack-Kennedy/Chris-Matthews/9781451635089" target="_blank">Clear Eye Photo</a>)

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, Hardball with Chris Matthews. Whats lesser known is that hes a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip ONeill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man hed later write two books about, John F. Kennedy. Matthews new book is Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero . In this special broadcast, recorded...

Our guest embodies two very different worlds the ivory tower, and the fitness center. By day, Lianne McTavish is a professor of art history at the University of Alberta Canada, she lectures on the seventeenth-century history of the body, and its representation in medieval art. After class, she heads to the gym for weightlifting and toning. Her enthusiasm for fitness got her thinking about working out as a woman and led her to create a new identity as feminist figure girl and enter the...

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Jon Greenberg is executive editor here at NHPR and representing today for the Politifact New Hampshire Partnership, a joint effort that also includes the Nashua Telegraph and the Valley News. You can hear their truth-o-meter tests of candidate statements right here on Word of Mouth.

(Photo by Pedro Netto via Flickr Creative Commons)

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the day that John Lennon was shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of his home in New York City. Reams of words have been written about that senseless, irrevocable act. But writer and critic Tim Riley prefers the parts of John Lennons story that are not so well known. In this special extended interview, I talk with Tim about some of the myths he debunks about John Lennon, including Yokos role in the breakup of The Beatles, Lennon and McCartneys...

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A story to restore your faith in music superstars this holiday season. Elvis Costello is rallying his fans to save money by *not* buying a shiny new gift box set of his music called the return of the spectacular spinning songbook. The title comes from a trademark of Costellos live shows with his band, the Attractionshe invites audience members to get to go up on stage and spin a massive, game-show style wheel of song titles from his back-catalogwhatever comes up, Elvis & the Attractions...

Photo by Khalid Almasoud, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Car makers have a long standing tradition of keeping their forthcoming models under tight wraps, sometimes going to extreme lengths to disguise new cars even as theyre being road tested. But of course, wherever theres a secret to be uncovered, there are spies trying to get a look under the hood Photographers who will do just about anything to capture a clear picture of a car before its being manufactured. Here to uncover the details of the business behind Auto-Paparazzi (and tell us whether...

For more than twenty-five years, readers have puzzled over the mysterious Harris Burdick. Heres the legend: a man walks into a publishing house and drops off a set of 14 drawingseach with a tantalizing caption. He promises to return the next day with stories to accompany them, but is never seen again. The illustrations are eerie and unsettlingbirds fly off wallpaper, a seated nun hovers placidly mid-air in a cathedral, a giant cruise ship plows through a venetian canal. Since then, thousands...

Photo credit by Randy Cox

Sales have been brisk for guns this holiday season. Black Friday 2011 surpassed the single day record for FBI background check requests on gun customers by 32%. Today, a background check of sorts on the Freedom Group, which has swiftly become one of the worlds leading manufacturers and sellers of guns. Natasha Singer a reporter in the Sunday business section of the New York Times, investigated the shadowy Wall Street investment company that has quietly acquired some of Americas most venerable...

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When writer Michael Crichton died of lymphoma in 2008 he left behind a legacy of larger-than-life science fiction novels; some, like Jurassic Park , made into popular films, along with the memorable television drama, ER . He also left behind a number of works in various stages of completion. Richard Preston stepped in to finish one of those works, which is now on the best-sellers list as the novel Micro . Crichtons estate chose Preston -- best known for the Hot Zone , a terrifying biography...

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Produced by Avishay Artsy The writer Douglas Adams wrote the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series In one of those books, the hero, Arthur Dent, is stranded on a planet populated by primitive people. Dent thinks to himself: I could show them the wristwatch! The internal combustion engine! The toaster! Ill be crowned their emperor. The trouble is that without other humans around, he has no idea how to make any of those things. All he can make is a sandwich. After which hes elevated to the...

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Hard times and new technology are making for a resurgence in old-school range robbery. But these are not the rope twirling thieves of yore todays black hats are using GPS tracking, four-wheelers, and apparently, some inside knowledge of the industry to wrangle cattle. Freelance writer Laura Zuckerman talks about the upward trend of cattle rustling in the American West. LINKS Lauras article from Reuters New York Times article on modern cow rustling

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The holiday season, were often reminded, is a time for people to come togetherexcept, when it isnt. This years War on Christmas skirmish revolves around the Christmas tree. Tree growers planned a promotional campaign under the auspices of the department of agriculture and funded by an industry-wide fee. The campaign was scrapped after GOP lawmakers cried that the feds were looking to tax Christmas trees! Word of Mouth Producer Taylor Quimby spoke with Mary Clare- Jalonick , a reporter for who...

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The international conference on aids and sexually transmitted disease in Africa, or ICASA is convening this week in Ethiopia. Over the past few decades, activists and educators worldwide have endeavored to dispel rumors and misinformation about aids and people with aids. Today, more HIV positive people can disclose their status without shame and stigma. But theres a downside to those advances. Relaxed attitudes toward HIV may be contributing to a trend of complacency toward the disease, even...

Word of Mouth for 12.03.11

Dec 3, 2011
Photo by Tom Maglieri, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

PART 1 Clean coal, refers to technologies that reduce heavy metal, carbon and other emissions from the burning of coal. The development of technologies that could, potentially, filter greenhouse gases and store CO2 permanently is moving ahead. Carbon Sequestration is an important step in testing the potential of clean coal technology. We spoke with Maggie Koerth-Baker, Science Editor for Boing-Boing ; she visited a carbon sequestration demonstration in Alabama. plus A conversation with...

7:30 pm | The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH Ticket Information The host of MSNBCs Hardball and author of Lifes a Campaign and Kennedy and Nixon , joins us with his new work Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero . Matthews examines JFKs life, presidency, and influence on America, and shows how Jack Kennedy (all political opinions aside) was a true American Hero. Chris Matthews joins NHPRs Virginia Prescott for Writers on a New England Stage . Each literary evening features an author presentation followed by...

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplerich/2187363093/" target="_blank">Simple Rich</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Clean Coal, refers to technologies that reduce heavy metal, carbon and other emissions from the burning of coal. The development of technologies that could, potentially, filter greenhouse gasses and store CO2 permanently is moving ahead. This week, a large demonstration of clean coal technology is being staged in Illinois, testing the viability of so-called carbon sequestration, an important step in testing the potential of clean coal technology. Maggie Koerth-Baker is Science Editor for...

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/marsdd/2986989396/" target="_blank">mars discovery district</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Word of Mouth keeps its eye out for stories that are interesting, counterintuitive, many of which come from the world of science. Its part of our mission to find the under-reported, simmering, surprising ideas that make us go what? But that demand for fascinating findings may be part of the problemperhaps pressuring researchers to manipulate their data to make it snazzier? The recent scandal involving outright fabrications by social psychologist Diederik Stapel has raised the question of...

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelaypablo/860181962/" target="_blank">aranarth</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Theres a gathering of developers and code writers taking place globally...and theyre invading Manchester to create apps for doing good. LINKS: Random Hacks of Kindness Manchester gathering info Small Dog Electronics

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/morgnar/4784565610/" target="_blank">Mor Gnar</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Our very own Taylor Quimby runs down some of the weirder products inspired by the Twilight franchise. LINKS: Bellas Engagement Ring Twilight Manllows Twilight (and other really weird) Condoms

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuriousoranj/4911960636/" target="_blank">Grace Fell</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

A bold experiment in Cleaner Coal. Are sciences being driven by sexy press coverage? Random Hacks of Kindness. And our own producer runs down some of the weirder stuff Twilight fans can buy.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/arwing3/3991116008/" target="_blank">That One Doood</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

At the dawn of the MP3 era, music-lovers digitized their CD collections, racking up thousands of hours of songs on their home computers, while clearing out their shelves. The thrill was soon followed by the realization that most of us owned far more music than we had time to listen to. Fast forward to today, when a website called Redigi offers an opportunity to re-sell your old music, an idea that has prompted the record industry to threaten legal proceedings against the site. We wanted to...

A Dental Scrape...

Nov 30, 2011
(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wolkenkratzer/3451977163/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Wolkenkratzer</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

NHPRs Chris Jensen reports on the Molar Express, a non-profit program engineered to delivery basic dental care to North Country kids. Many hygienists argue that their profession be allowed to provide basic services like fillers and cleanings without the supervision of a dentistsimilar tugs-of-war are taking place in many states, including Connecticut, where a recent ruling by the commission that oversees the regulation of dentistry is the target of a lawsuit. Matthew Yglesias is Business and...

Here's What's Awesome

Nov 30, 2011

Word of Mouths Awesomator Brady Carlson is back with his latest super cool round-up from the world of the web. BRADYS AWESOME LINKS: Pepper Spray Cop is a Meme... 10 things Siri will help you get instead of an abortion... An 82 year-old tries Pop Rocks for the first time... The awesomeness of Mario opera... Brian Williams unflappable fire alarm newscast...

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tea_time/2758275087/" target="_blank">Teresia</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

An intellectual property scholar explains the battle between the music industry and a new site that offers to re-sell your dusty old MP3s. Whitening Wars: Dentists say allowing hygienists to operate their own practices would cause decay to their industry. Plus, Awesomator Brady Carlson does some internet spelunking and lives to tell the tale

A washed-up mixed martial arts champs comeback tells a bigger story about the meteoric rise of a sport once derided as human cockfighting. A mortician/blogger answers questions youve never dared to ask. And a campaign thats been resurrected, despite being run like a Mel Brooks parody. Plus, a competition for ultra-smart kids who prefer to solve big problems with an iconic building toy.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5843848811/" target="_blank">Gage Skidmore</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

On Sunday, the Manchester Union Leader endorsed former house speaker Newt Gingrich as Republican candidate for President and enlivened the Sunday talk shows. Salon s news editor S teve Kornacki compares the surprise of newtmentum to another theatrical schemeZero Mostel, playing Max Bialystock to Gene Wilders timid Leo Bloom in the 1968 Mel Brooks film, The Producers . Kornacki says that Newt has run a sure-to-flop campaign that is now succeedingin spite of himself. And hes on the line to tell...

(Photo courtesy <a href="www.mattpolly.com" target="_blank">Matt Polly</a>)

Who doesnt love an underdog? A Rocky in the ring? With the audience for boxing eroding, the new ring is an octagonal cage. In popularity and profits, mixed martial arts, or MMA, has knocked out boxing in the past decade. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, MMAs flagship event, was sold for two million dollars in 2001. Today, its worth an estimated one billion. Our guest today is a definitive UFC underdog. Hes a writer who dove George Plimpton-style into the grueling world of MMA and landed in...

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