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4.28.16: Fishpocalypse, Preserving Lenin, & Overheard

Dennis Jarvis via Flickr CC

Recent public health crises like Ebola and Zika show how fear grabs public and media's attention. But there's another virus potentially be more harmful on a mass scale that's crept under the radar. Today, we'll hear about a virus that's killing off Tilapia by the millions - and what that could mean for our global food supply.

Then, Vladimir Lenin died in 1924 - but you wouldn't know that by looking at his exquisitely preserved corpse. So what's the secret?

Listen to the full show. 


A little more than a year ago, panic over the Ebola virus reached its peak. Now, the mosquito-borne Zika virus has public health officials shuddering and scientists scrambling come up with vaccines and treatments. The head of the US Centers for Disease Control now acknowledges that Zika is "scarier than we initially thought".  Yes, it's scary. And fear gets the media - and the public's - attention. Meanwhile, there are far less headline-grabbing pathogens you've likely never heard of that could potentially be more dangerous to humans.

Ed Yongis a science writer for The Atlantic, where he wrote about a virus that's killing off large numbers of a fish called Tilapia and why it and other diseases may have dangerous implications for the future of our food supply. His book is I Contain Multitudes : The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life


Throwing Fish at Pike Place

Despite the shaky state of Tilapia, the fish trade is thriving in markets across the world. Rachel Solomonbrings us this audio postcard from Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market, where the enthusiasm is tangible and the fish are flying.  

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Preserving Lenin

A must-see for any visitor to Russia, Moscow's Red Square is home to the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin Wall, and Lenin's Mausoleum, a macabre attraction where the embalmed corpse of the communist leader has been on public display since shortly after his death in 1924.

Not surprisingly, maintaining the freshness of a man who died in 1924 is no easy feat-and requires great care and money. Marina Korenwrote about the process in an article for The Atlantic: "The Cost of Keeping Lenin Looking Like Lenin".

Preserving Lenin

When Taxidermy Went Rogue

Taxidermy isn't unusual, especially in rural communities where hunting is a way of life - like parts of the Midwest. What is more unusual is preserving bodies of, say, a three-headed squirrel, or a chimera. Those are some of the pieces Sarina Brewer has created over her long career as a taxidermist. An animal lover, she's found a way to honor them by re-imagining their corpses in creative ways, but this fantastical "rogue taxidermy" is not for everyone. This segment was produced by Lila Cherneff.  

You can listen to this story again at

Overheard: April

One of the things we love about producing Word of Mouth is encountering interesting sound every day. We scour record store bins, rare tape, and the web for the work of independent composers and producers. We find random podcasts and discover pieces of music to use for what we call tags and bumps. We have so much fun sharing bits of lost and found sound amongst ourselves, that we want to pass it on to you, so we've started a monthly segment we're calling "Overheard."

We got the entire crew around the table – Virginia, Logan Shannon, Maureen McMurray, Molly Donahue, and Taylor Quimby (see below) - and with that let the wild rumpus begin. 

Overheard: April

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