History

Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Dec 14, 2012
Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Dec 14, 2012
Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Part 1:

aagius via Flickr Creative Commons

We spoke with Linda Rodriguez McRobbie about the history of boredom. Not surprisingly, scientists avoided studying the subject until the last century.  Studies suggest that boredom can lead to depression and other adverse health conditions, even death.  

To keep the doctors away, we've curated a motley assortment of "boring" film and television clips.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth's weekly program. This week's show features an art blog that uses Google Earth images to show the battlefields of drones, a radio show produced in an an insane asylum, Ty Burr's "Gods Like Us," and history's badass-iest nuns. Plus, webcast funerals!

Part 1:

4 Surprising Facts About Popular Board Games

Dec 4, 2012
Z Andrei via Flickr Creative Commons

After researching our segment on the unknown origins of Monopoly, we decided to keep looking for other games with surprising backstories.  We hope that they will inspire your game-based holiday gift-giving.

1. Clue was originally invented as a game to play in underground bunkers to wait out lengthy air raid drills during World War II. Due to such turbulent times,  its initial production was heavily delayed due shortages of material.

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I hate Monopoly. Always have. The reason is simple: it's impossible to play the game and feel good, even if you win. Monopoly, simply put, is all about crushing  your fellow players through bankruptcy, even if they're your own kids. Turns out, there might be a reason for my hatred of Monopoly.

The most popular game in the world, according to this amazing article in Harpers, is, simply put, theft. And it has an incredible, almost unbelievable history:

If you don't know the name, Dayton Duncan, you'll most likely be familiar with his work. He's an award winning writer and filmmaker who has been Ken Burn's right hand man for decades. The two have collaborated on multi-hour films on topics that have ranged from Lewis and Clark to the Civil War to Baseball to our National Parks. Last Fall, I spoke with Duncan before a live audience in Keene about his long time collaboration with filmmaker Ken Burns, what it takes to put together these multi-hour collaborations and gained some insights on some of his latest projects. 

chascar via Flickr Creative Commons

In the lead up to last night’s powerful landfall in Southern New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy was branded as a so-called “franken-storm”, lacking precedent among meteorological records…  here to explain more, and look back at some of history’s strangest and most destructive storms is Christopher Burt.  He’s a weather historian with the online service Weather Underground, and author of th

EliasSchewel via Flickr Creative Commons

For those who live under oppressive regimes, weapons are the subduing tool of tyrants.  But for many others, they’re thought of as the great equalizer.  Consider the principle behind the much debated 2nd amendment:  “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In the latest issue of New-Scientist, Laura Spinney investigates an opposing theo

virginsuicide photography via Flickr Creative Commons

New England's gruesome brush with supernatural hysteria did not end with the Salem witch trials in the 17th century.  Almost two centuries later came the great New England vampire panic.  Wait… what?  Abigail Tucker is a staff writer for Smithosonian magazine – she wrote about historians who are documenting cases when rural residents set aside their Yankee piety and feverishly exhumed graves and mutilated the corpses of suspected blood-suckers.  The panic is la

1493 (Rebroadcast)

Oct 8, 2012

In a new book, author Charles Mann explores what happened in the years after Columbus’s famed voyage to the Americas. He says it altered everything: sparking a new era of globalization and not just in commerce: but radical changes in crops, cultures, and politics. We’ll talk with Mann about this expansive look at this new era and how the world changed after Columbus.

Guests

  • Charles C. Mann - Author of 1493:Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
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American audiences will have to wait until January before the popular drama, Downton Abbey returns to PBS.

Bonnie And Clyde's Guns, Other Items Go On Auction

Sep 27, 2012

Nearly 80 years after the deaths of bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde, a few, shall we say, "tools of their trade" are going up for auction. Among them are his Colt .45 and her .38 Special, which could each go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer eventually caught up with Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in 1934, a newsreel announcer declared "the inevitable end: retribution. Here is Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who died as they lived: by the gun."

Part 1: Big Fundraiser Flame-Out, Circa 1884

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Chasing Lightning/Birth Photography

From the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus. / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, a construction worker in Brazil suffered a strange and grisly construction accident - an iron rod fell from the fifth floor of the building on which he was working. The bar broke through the worker's helmet -- and his skull, eventually exiting through one of his eyes.

This presentation was given at the Unitarian Universalist church in Peterborough, N.H. on August 26. The presentation will air on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

From the Monadnock Summer Lyceum:

Victor Kumin: A "Soldier Scientist" At Work On The Atomic Bomb

Aug 29, 2012
Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin, Harvard graduate with a degree in Chemistry, helped create the Atomic Bomb under direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He lives in Warner, New Hampshire with his wife, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin. The two exchanged 575 letters back and forth during their courtship. These letters will be the subject of an article, written by Maxine, in the September 2012 issue of the American Scholar.

Photo Credit briandeadly, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Gold medal victories of Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, Kerry Strug, and Joan Benoit...these moments of triumph, sometimes against all odds are what make the Olympics stand apart from other sports competition. The idea that a human being can achieve feats most of us can only imagine.

Photo Credit Ashur, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Following the holocaust was the single greatest forged migration in human history, orchestrated by…the allies. Didn’t know about one of the darkest sides of the allies World War II victory?…well, neither did we. Today we explore why some events make the history books and others are lost in time, and how historians have shaped the history that we remember and the history we choose to forget. Our guest Ray Douglas is chairman of the history department at Colgate University.

Courtesy Roger Goun via Flickr/CC - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sskennel/748581002/in/photostream/

Today is the first day of Sail Portsmouth, a four day festival of tall ships on New Hampshire’s Seacoast.

One of the featured ships in this year’s festival is called The Pride of Baltimore II. It’s a recreation of a topsail schooner that served as a privateer in the War of 1812 - ships that shaped the course of the war between the United States and Britain two hundred years ago.

"Short, easy, infallible"

Photo Credit Tbanneck, Via Flickr Creative Commons

We talk with Brady Carlson about his awesome Kickstarter project that aims to dig up the history of presidential grave sites.

Longtime residents of Manchester may remember a large, stylized sign in the mill district, for Pandora sweaters, one of the area's biggest operations. A recent documentary tells the story of Pandora and of its longtime owner, May Gruber. It’s called “Sweater Queen.”

Nancy Beach is producer of the film, which is screening later this week in Manchester. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about May Gruber's life and career.

jimmywayne via Flickr Creative Commons

We explore the history of French Canadians in the Granite State with Franco-American scholar Robert Perreault. Arguably no other culture has had a greater influence on New Hampshire than Franco-Americans. We'll look at why they came, where they settled, and the idea of "La Survivance," which kept their culture alive and well in such cities as Manchester, Nashua, and Berlin.

From the collections of the Naval Historical Center. USNHC # NH 97551.

Navy officials continue to investigate the massive fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The blaze caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the USS Miami nuclear submarine, which had come to Portsmouth for an overhaul.

For longtime Seacoast residents, the accident brings to mind the tragedy of the USS Thresher, a nuclear sub based in Portsmouth. Nearly a half century ago, the Thresher sank several hundred miles off the East Coast; all of its 129 crew members died.

Photo Credit J.Scaper, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Smartphones make it relatively easy to record and monitor suspected law-breaking in real time, but what about crimes in the pre-smartphone era? Word of mouth producer Rebecca Lavoie tagged along with an unusual gumshoe…one who scours old buildings for evidence of architectural crimes.   

 

(NPR's Larry Abramson is among the correspondents traveling with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Asia this week. In Vietnam earlier today, the government there told Panetta it will open three new sites for excavation — in the hope of finding U.S. troops' remains.

(Photo by multipletrees via Flickr Creative Commons)

The words of Thomas Jefferson ring in the ears and characters of Americans, yet his actual voice remains unknown. Likewise, visitors to Monticello get a window into his daily life and genius, but can only imagine the mix of pastoral and industrious sounds of the farm operating at full tilt.

A Soviet news reel shows teary mourners shuffling past the body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  The Bolshevik leader and chair of the soviet state in its early years died of a he died of an apparent massive stroke in 1924 at age 54. His embalmed corpse still throngs of visitors to his tomb in Moscow’s Red Square, and was the topic of an annual clinicopathological conference held at the University of Maryland.

America loves amateurs. The country was founded by dilettantes and enlightened rebels. Cities, farms and businesses were seeded by adventurous greenhorns and neophytes. Writer Jack Hitt argues that the DIY spirit that generated untold number of patents and subscriptions to Popular Mechanics drives the country’s success and identity. The popular TV shows The Voice and Project Runway continue a long tradition of discovering and rewarding talent.

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