While the weather these days might not be an indicator, spring is officially here. Which got us thinking in the Word of Mouth pod...about the birds and the bees. And also birds and bees. On today's show a conversation about the most awkward talk a parent has to have: "the talk." Also, a bird expert tells us about this year's unusual snowy owl migration. We'll also hear about the next great frontier in self tracking apps: fertility apps.
Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments.
You may have heard news this week that the U.S. is “relinquishing control” over the internet – more specifically, that the Obama administration has decided not to renew its contract overseeing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. The decision has sparked a vocal backlash from conservatives. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tweeted “Every American should worry about Obama giving up control of the internet to an undefined group. This is very, very, dangerous”. But let’s face it – most of us have no idea what ICANN does, or how this decision will or will not change the way the internet functions.
Rob Fleischman joined us to explain all things ICANN. He is chief technology officer at Xerocole, and our explainer of all things wired.
Today on Word of Mouth, we're unpacking big data. Should we fear or embrace it? Then we get a lesson on ICANN - what it is and how the decision made by the Obama administration not to renew its contract to oversee see it actually affects the way the internet functions. Finally, bodies! How do you study the effects of certain conditions on human remains? With a body farm, of course.
Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.
These days, family cars are equipped with all sorts of bells and whistles: from text message alerts to - vacuum cleaners? It might sound superfluous, but mother and family car test driverJamie Page Deaton tells us why the vacuum cleaner - and other family car extras - can be incredibly useful in unexpected life moments. While she appreciates those extra perks, her top two concerns when test driving family cars, SUVs, and minivans are safety and space.
Listen to Virginia Prescott's conversation with Jamie Page Deaton and click Read more to see the full list of best family cars.
We asked Douglas Whynott to stay a few extra minutes for a sticky challenge: a blind maple syrup taste-test. The aim was to test his ability to distinguish between the various grades of maple syrup. We sat down with five cups paper cups - three were filled with varieties of grade “A” amber – light, medium, and dark. There was also a cup with grade “B” syrup, which has a stronger maple flavor and has traditionally been used for cooking, and of course the ringer – a brand-name artificial syrup. And because you can tell a lot by the color of syrup, both Douglas and I donned blindfolds for the occasion – well, not blindfolds exactly. Our producers tied one of my scarves around Doug’s head, and I wore my winter hat over my eyes, to prevent any accidental or intentional cheating. For good measure, we videotaped the taste test, so you can see for yourselves, there was NO cheating.
Top o' the mornin' to ya, lads and lasses! Ahem. We'll drop the attempt at authentic brogue, but our St. Patrick's Day continues with a playlist that has enough Irish inspiration to make up for it. We reached out on Facebook to find out what tunes you play to celebrate St Patrick's Day.
Click Read more for our top St. Patrick's Day songs!
Maria Popova is the founder of Brain Pickings, a fantastic online collection of articles, book reviews, and other assorted musings. In her role as curator Popova has often looked with a critical eye at the under-examined genre of illustrated children’s books. We spoke to her about what makes a great illustrated work, and she shared with us some of her favorite children’s books from the recent and not so recent past.
Author Andre Dubus III talks about his new book "Dirty Love"
A successful professional hopes to win back his wife after proving her infidelity. A bank clerk crowding in on 30 and hoping for a family moves in with her compulsive, demeaning boyfriend. A bartender who fancies himself a poet cheats on his pregnant wife, and a pretty teenaged girl gets shamed on Youtube and reaches out for the promise of a new future and a new love on Skype. These characters all live in the faded beach towns and leafy suburbs of the New England coast. They are united by their clumsy attempts at connection and are the subjects of four loosely connected novellas in a new book called “Dirty Love” by Andre Dubus III. The national book award-winning author of “House of Sand and Fog” and “Townie” again presents gritty, frustrated lives on the skids of the American dream... NOTE: Andre's reading and book signing at the New England College has been rescheduled to April 16th due to weather.
We invited Dr. John D. Mayer on the show to tell us about Personal Intelligence. He's got a quick version of the test at his website. Dr. Mayer defines Personal Intelligence within the theory he's developed as:
“the capacity to reason about personality and to use personality and personal information to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience.” (Mayer, 2008, p. 209)
We’ve all heard it all before: Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. That was a one in a million shot! It’s a miracle! But is there any truth behind these sayings?
Today on Word of Mouth: improbability…it’s more common than you think.
Plus, Ellen’s star-studded Oscar selfie has been retweeted over three million times, setting a new record for twitter shares. Ellen may have posted it, but Bradley Cooper snapped the photo. We’re going to look into who exactly owns the rights to the now iconic pic.
Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments!
We invited Nick Ripatrazone and Natasha Vargas-Cooper onto the program to discuss their difference of opinions on the traditional High School English reading list. Here in the Word of Mouth pod we have our own take on what those reading lists meant to us, and what we think the future public radio hosts and producers of tomorrow should be exposed to while sitting in High School English.
We all agreed that a good teacher can help create lasting memories of books often thought of as staid and not accessible to the average High School student. It also became apparent that required reading lists vary depending on where you went to High School. Zach, Logan & Virginia wish Catcher in the Rye had been required, and Taylor listed it as one of his favorites.
Remember High School English class? Chances are you were assigned the classics: Shakespeare, The Scarlet Letter, maybe a Hemingway novel thrown in for good measure. Today on Word of Mouth—a debate on the required reading list.
And, Sam Lipsyte joins us to talk about his collection of short stories now out in paper back, The Fun Parts.
Also today, this week marks the one year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election. We consider what his papacy has meant to the image of the Catholic Church.
Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments!
Word of Mouth wishes you a happy Daylight Saving Time! (Can you believe it's this Sunday already?) But why exactly does the practice of changing our clocks even exist? We explore the ins and outs of Daylight Saving (without the extra "s") with a guest who wrote the book on it. Then Zach Nugent talks with Marissa Nadler whose most recent album was released in early February. We take an architectural turn with a look at the invention of revolving doors followed by a hot architectural commodity: wood. Finally, producers Logan Shannon and Sam Evans-Brown bring us a story about a wild winter activity. No, not skiing or boarding, but animal tracking.
Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.!