science

Michelle Souliere via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/DtUCm

Ancient archaeology is the kind of thing that, with the right find, can quickly capture the public’s attention and fascination.

And yet a New Hampshire group that studies ancient stone structures is turning 50 this week – and few Granite Staters have heard of it.

What's Next For The Electric Car?

Oct 20, 2014
James Pouliot / NHPR

With charging stations expanding across New England, including a new super-charger coming to Portsmouth, this niche automobile market is growing.  We’ll dig into the science of electric cars: how they work, new technology to expand their range, and why – depending on where you live – they may not be as green as you might think.

(originally broadcast August 4, 2014)

GUESTS:

Faith Meixell / NHPR

In recent years, the Red Planet has been bombarded with space craft, rovers, observers, orbiters and studied intently from here on Earth.  But the idea of human boots on Mars has remained in the realm of science fiction. Now though, serious planning is underway, for missions and even colonies there, and possibly much sooner than you might think. (digital post by Faith Meixell)

GUESTS:

Isabelle via flickr Creative Commons

In the early sixties, social psychologist Stanley Milgram tested the limits of humans’ obedience to authority with an actor, an unsuspecting volunteer and a fake electroshock machine. On today’s show: the experiment that stunned the world and the repercussions Dr. Milgram faced as a result. 

Then, we’ve all heard the self-help mantra: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Turns out, there may be some truth behind it. A psychiatrist explores the benefits of adversity.

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

Sara Robertson via flickr Creative Commons

As the air grows colder, we leave behind the hot summer blockbusters, and move to more serious films, many of which will be vying heavily for award show attention. On today’s show we go behind the spotlight to examine the art of how actors create characters. Then, we’ll explore the next frontier: exo-solar planets.  The search for planets outside our solar system – with the idea that discovering one just like ours – is a real possibility.

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

hillary h via flickr Creative Commons

USA Today recently published the U.S. Senate handbook, a 380 page document of rules intended to keep Senate offices running smoothly. On today’s show, from carpet color to telephone hold music, we reveal the handbook’s most confounding regulations.

Plus, ‘tis the season of ghosts, witches, and vampires. We’ll explore how cultures around the world interpret the supernatural.

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

Davide De Col via flickr Creative Commons

As more and more countries plan their future lunar missions, the question becomes, who gets to decide what happens to the evidence of past missions that has remained perfectly preserved on the surface of the moon? We'll hear from a space law expert and an anthropologist about plans to preserve America's lunar legacy. Plus, a sociology professor thinks that men need to make more friends. A study published by the American Sociological Review found that white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends of any American demographic – which may be why the 'bro-mance' movies like I Love You, Man hit so close to home.

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

Hadley Paul Garland via Flickr/CC http://ow.ly/C7DIV

Humans can't see ultraviolet light - but many types of wildlife can. And a man in Nashua is researching whether that difference may help humans and wildlife better co-exist in the future.

David Brooks writes the weekly GraniteGeek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and Granite Geek.org.

Matt Novak via flickr Creative Commons

In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey, future technologies take center stage in the form of Hal 9000, a sentient, yet sinister, computer aboard the spacecraft Discovery One. On today’s show, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a brighter future, in which the interaction between humans and technology will be useful, and even playful. 

Plus, a science writer plays nuclear tourist and visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, where he finds some surprising imagery.

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

Brady Carlson, NHPR

A 16 year old inventor from New Hampshire has caught the attention of federal environmental officials.

Deepika Kurup of Nashua has won a President’s Environmental Youth Award from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency for her work in finding sustainable ways to purify water.

She joined us to talk about her invention.

How does this method that you’ve developed work?

Jonathan Haeber via Flickr/CC http://ow.ly/AKBvK

There are lots of ways to make and transmit electricity – solar energy hitting photovoltaic panels. Or causing turbines to spin with wind, or fossil fuels.

W10002 via Flickr CC

 Anyone who has taken a personality test knows that they tend to be long, indepth, and even invasive. But today we discover how a group of researchers is testing levels of narcissism with one simple question. And, we’ll look into what an inflated sense of self means for society at large. Then, a philosopher and ethicist joins us to discuss the delicate balance between confidence and vanity in the age of the selfie. Plus, New Hampshire has a bigger role in cinema than you may have realized. We look at what roles put our state on the map.

istolethetv via Flickr CC

As long as transplants have been medically possible, there have been horror stories about the black market organ trade.  Today, an anthropologist sheds the trappings of academia to take on, and even indict, illegal organ brokers.  Plus, a less frightening example removing body parts – we’ll investigate the growing controversy behind men who shave, wax, or Nair their backs. And now, some hairy men are fighting back against a standard of beauty few of us even knew existed. Plus, the future is now – we investigate an algae powered building that actually works.

8.14.14: All About Language

Aug 14, 2014
Taylor Quimby

Prove it, learned behavior, survival of the fittest, organic produce… scientific terminology is part of our common language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today is all about language: starting with our frequent misuse of scientific terms. Plus, France’s government is banning English words like ‘fast-food’ and ‘hashtag’ in the name of cultural preservation…we find out why the words are unlikely to disappear from the vernacular anytime soon. And, deaf Americans who work in science have a unique challenge – helping to develop a scientific vocabulary for sign language.

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

CybherHades via Flickr CC

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are on a chase for what some consider the holy grail of the information age: Quantum computing. And some of that research is going on right there in New Hampshire. But one big challenge is to get the quantum bits to dance how we want them to. 

Before getting too high-tech, let's go back to 1938. A brilliant physicist, an Italian named Ettore Majorana, withdraws all his money from a bank and boards a boat. Then, somewhere between Palermo and Naples, he vanishes without a trace.

dicktay2000 via Flickr CC

Dr. Joy Reidenberg caught us up on the new PBS series she hosts, Sex in the Wild. She brought some crazy stories and fun facts with her, the best of which we’ve compiled here. We’ll add a quick warning: Dr.

blieusong via Flickr CC

Today, we have a conversation with an anatomist behind a new PBS series that puts the lens on mammals who reproduce under extreme circumstances, like dolphins. And if you think it’s tough for mammals to find a mate, try finding one in the vast ocean when you’re a nearly microscopic crustacean. We’ll look into the mating rituals of copepods. And then, a different sort of nature when Chuck Klosterman tells us more about the traits of villainy.

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


various brennemans via Flickr Creative Commons

Prove it, innate, survival of the fittest, organic… scientific terminology is part of our everyday language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today we’re testing the theory of misusing scientific terms. And, with the state breaking ground on a new women’s prison next month, we’ll consider whether the specific needs of female inmates can be addressed by re-thinking prison design. Then, mental illness creates a stigma that is almost impossible to erase, even for sports celebrities. We wonder: why isn’t Delonte West in the NBA?

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


Word Of Mouth Voted Best N.H. Radio Talk Show

Jun 26, 2014

We are so proud to have been voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show by the readers of New Hampshire Magazine.

Six years after launching Word of Mouth, we still feel like upstarts and appreciate our listeners coming through. Thank you!  It's pleasure to bring you stories that spark curiosity and wonder about the world around us, and will continue spreading interesting information the best way we know how: through Word of Mouth.

And not only was Word of Mouth voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show, but NHPR was voted Best FM Radio Station!

With all that in mind, here is a look back at some of your favorite Word of Mouth stories from the past year.

6.21.14: The Germ Show

Jun 20, 2014
Alexis Chapin

Today on Word of Mouth we're exploring the macro influences of the micro world. First, a conversation with John Timmer about the recently discovered pithovirus which has been sealed in the Siberian permafrost for more than 30 thousand years. Then, a look at a new approach to cleanliness: bacteria-rich body sprays. Plus, Jason DaSilva talks to us about his most recent film about his journey with multiple sclerosis. 

Mark Dumont via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s a film festival coming to New Hampshire, but it’s not what you might expect. Instead of featuring independent films by aspiring artists, this festival will screen videos that have been stuffed into storage bins and garbage cans. Today we have a conversation with the curators of the Found Footage Festival. But first, biologist Frans de Waal on altruism, empathy, kindness and ethics among bonobo chimps. Plus, we catch you up with the Granite State Music Festival, coming to Concord this weekend.

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


Kip Evans

Fabien Cousteau hopes to break the record for longest time spent in an underwater lab, and he's well on his way to achieving that goal. He spoke to us from 63 feet below the surface about Mission 31, a research and outreach adventure intended to promote ocean education and conservation. Plus, between online hacking, stored search histories, social media settings, and malware, protecting one’s privacy has become more important, and more complicated than ever. So, how much is our anonymity worth? And finally, there are over 700 different Emojis out there, and plenty of interest groups asking for more. Why, for example, is there no hot dog Emoji? Turns out, the answer is surprisingly complicated.

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


They are one of the least-enjoyed elements of the warm weather landscape in New Hampshire.

Ticks.

They bite. They carry Lyme disease and other nasty illnesses – and they’re pretty creepy looking as well.

Mike Saechang via Flickr Creative Commons

From hand sanitizers to anti-bacterial soaps, we go to great lengths to keep our skin microbe-free, but is all that scrubbing necessary, or even healthy? Today a look at a new approach to cleanliness: bacteria-rich body sprays. Then, The Thing In The Spring is fast approaching, and we’ll speak with the founder and creative director of the festival about some of the acts hitting the stage in Peterborough. Plus, the film “Snowpiercer” stars two Academy Award winners and is opening the Los Angeles film festival this month. So why is it unlikely to come to a theatre near you?

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


Robert Bell via Flickr CC

Gardeners are gearing up for this year's growing season, and many New Hampshire gardeners are hoping to grow their vegetables organically this year.

But that term, "organic," doesn't mean that same thing to every gardener.

WalterPro4755 via Flickr Creative Commons

In 1986 there were an estimated 50,000 Civil War re-enactors in the U.S. Since 2000 their ranks have been cut in half. Today on Word of Mouth: the decline of Civil War reenactments, and what drives someone to take on the identity of a 19th century solider. Plus, after millennia of selective breeding, there are now over 3000 known varieties of apple. But, are our beloved Galas and Honeycrisps in peril? Why the extinction of wild apple species in central Asia could spell disaster for their descendants. And, when it comes to rice, why brown may not be the healthier.

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


Unknown, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, at the same time, the internet has been widely embraced. Coincidence? Today on Word of Mouth: does the internet spell the fall of religion? Or is it more of a correlation than a cause? Plus, we peruse the new release section of the bookstore and notice a trend, Catastrophe 1914, 1914: History in an Hour, 1914: Fight the Good Fight. A look into the downside of treating years as celebrities.

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


Sara Plourde / NHPR

If it seems like, these days, everyone is talking about STEM - that now common acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs - it's because they are.

In this animated two-way, we take a look at what the push for STEM means for the state - from our public university system, to the State House, and through the business community - and for students.

Human Behavior In Bonobos

May 7, 2014
Alaina Abplanalp Photography via flickr Creative Commons

Frans de Waal is a distinguished biologist, university professor, and author who specializes in primate social behavior. For years, he’s been bucking prevailing ideas about the nature of human morality and ethics. Over decades of research, he’s found evidence of altruistic and empathic behavior in a number of species, concluding that there is a biological foundation for human morality that emerged from our animal origins.

Cloudtail via flickr Creative Commons

Have a taste for variety? From human-like bonobos to beauty pageants, we offer the variety you crave. Join us for our Tuesday show and share comments and suggestions on Twitter and Facebook! (Praise also welcome).

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

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