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Word of Mouth 12.01.2012

tiny cc via Flickr

Word of Mouth's weekend program includes some of our favorite stories from from the daily program.

Part 1: Syria/Chemical Dangers

The conflict in Syria is reaching the one year mark, and a newly reformed Syrian coalition has just been officially recognized by Britain as the unifying voice of the opposition. Vice Magazine, a publication known for its willingness to cover sensitive subjects, recently devoted an entire issue to exploring Syria’s complex resistance.

Joining us in this interview to talk about the country’s ongoing civil war, and the Free Syrian Army, is Vice’s Senior Editor Aaron Lake Smith.  Also joining us is independent journalist and producer Anna Therese Day, who wrote about gunrunning with the Free Syrian Army.

And now to dangers much  closer to home…

The FDA requires pharmaceuticals to be tested, but most of the chemicals found in many household products,  are never tested at all. We spoke to Arianne Cohen, a journalist who describes herself as a “paranoid and curious person.” Arianne decided to have every man-made substance in her body tested through biomonitoring technology…a process she wrote about for Popular Science. We spoke to her when the article was published in 2009, and asked her to tell us about chemicals we’re exposed to everyday…

Part 2: New Hampshire's Secessionists/Canada's Rebrand

In the aftermath of the election, talk of secession is stirringin every Statein the Union. The first petition came out of Louisiana the day after the election. A few months earlier, the secessionist sentiments of the Old South were stirring right here in the Great North. Word of Mouth correspondent Sean Hurley recently met up with members ofThe Foundation for New Hampshire Independenceto find out more.


Canada, as the old Robin Williams joke goes…"is like a really huge loft apartment above a really great party.” Americans tend to think of Canada as a punch line…or the mystical country where healthcare is free and Justin Bieber came from.

But now, Canada’s conservative government is spending millions of Looniesto do their own rebranding, thank you very much… Canada’s new image is of a strong nation of uncompromising fighters, an aggressive economy, and a force on the world stage. Leon Neyfakh, wrote about Canada’s campaign to be a player for the Boston Globe, where he is staff writer for the Globe’s ideas section.

Check out Studio 360's piece of "What Americans Should Know About Canada:

Part 3: A Photographic Mystery/Robot Love

In 2005, the International Center of Photography opened an exhibit called “Young America”.The exhibit largely featured a collection of ghostlydaguerreotypes - antique images made through the pioneer process that paved the way for modern photography. The exhibit opened to rave reviews - but within weeks many of the historic images began disappearing before the curators very eyes, aging decades in a matter of days.

It was one of the greatest museum mysteries to date, and an art conservationist’s worst nightmare.  Daniel Grushkin is a freelance journalist – his article “The Case of the Disappearing Daguerreotypes”was published in the December Issue of Scientific American.


From C-3PO to WALL-E, the loveable robot has long inhabited popular imagination. Today we examine the increasing melding of fantasy and reality…the social robot has begun to win the hearts and minds of people all around the world.

From the Japanese made “Paro” to pillow pets to Roomba the vacuum cleaner, these robots are engineered to be social. Notable is their growing role in a rehabilitation setting, where they aid the lonely, dementia-suffering, or autistic patient. However, the idea of robot attachment is not without its objectors. Joining us today to discuss the growing phenomenon is Robert Ito, who wrote an article called “The Love Bot” for Pacific Standard Magazine.

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