This weekend marks the centennial of the Titanic disaster. One hundred years ago Saturday, the ship that, as legend had it, "God himself couldn't sink," struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It was about 20 minutes to midnight on April 14, 1912. Two hours and 40 minutes later, the Titanic was gone.
A Civil War soldier poses for a photograph, in this image contributed to the Library of Congress by Tom Liljenquist and his family.
Credit Ramona Martinez, NPR
To determine the height of the unidentified Civil War soldier, an employee of The Horse Soldier store in Gettysburg, Pa., recreated the pose in the photo. He stood on a book to bring his height to an even 5 feet 8 inches.
Credit National Archives
The cover of the compiled military service record of Thomas A. Ardies, of the 14th Brooklyn regiment. The unit retained its name despite attempts to change it to the 84th New York.
A Washington, D.C.-area collector and his family have donated more than 1,000 Civil War photographs to the Library of Congress. But you won't find the men in these photos in history books — they're enlisted soldiers, and most of them are unidentified.
In one striking photo, the man depicted has crazy sideburns, a steady expression, and very clear eyes — maybe gray, or perhaps blue. He holds a rifled musket at his side. He is a Union soldier in the Civil War. And the only things we know about him are what we can learn from a single photo.
A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.
But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.
Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.
Thirty years ago, on April 2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, leading to a short but bloody war with Britain. Argentina lost, and the islands in the frigid South Atlantic stayed under British control.
Argentina still claims the islands, however, and is pressuring Britain like never before.
On a recent day, the ornate Palais de Glace museum in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, was packed with visitors browsing through a collection of photographs from the Falkland Islands war.
Amelia Earhart. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Credit / AP
This image was provided by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery. Taken in late 1937 off the South Pacific island of Nikumaroro, it interests investigators because of the object on the left side of the photo. Something is sticking out of the water. Enhanced analysis indicates that could be part of Amelia Earhart's plane, investigators say.
New analysis of a photo taken in 1937 has led investigators to think it might show a piece of the landing gear from aviator Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane, which disappeared in June that year somewhere in the South Pacific.
Globally, the prevailing form of polygamy is of one man with multiple wives – generally older men marrying younger wives. Social scientists have quantified that crime rates are higher in those cultures, with younger men having few prospects for family life. And it is no great shakes for young, often pre-pubescent girls forced into marriage by culture, economics, and tradition.
There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.
Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.
A detail from what is thought to be one of only three existing manuscripts containing Einstein's most famous formula about the relationship between energy, mass and the speed of light — in his handwriting.
Greed...avarice...a thirst for power. Sure, these things all describe our modern corporate and political landscape, but they're also just a few of the themes at play in Macbeth. This weekend, The Acting Loft in Manchester is staging a new version of the play, one that doesn't forget the times we live in...or Shakespeare's intent.
We can’t say with any authority when the first con artist found his mark. But we can trace the term “confidence man” to an article in The New York Heraldin 1849. The Herald reporter urged citizens to stop by the city’s notorious tombs and peer at the suspect known as Samuel Williams. Many came to peer at the flim-flam man who described his effect on his marks as “putting them to sleep.” The willingness to be duped, is of course, the genius of the con.
Brownies from Troop 65343 in Brookline, Mass. recite the Girl Scout pledge. Enrollment in the organization has declined since the 1980s, but a modernizing makeover and new focus on minority and immigrant communities have helped some.
Credit Tovia Smith / NPR
A member of Brownie Troop 65343 works on an art project at a troop meeting.
It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.
Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.
"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.
Crewmen of the USS Monitor pose on the deck of their ironclad ship in July 1862. Robert Williams, standing at the far right with his arms crossed, is a candidate for the older sailor whose remains were discovered inside the wreck's gun turret.
Credit Louisiana State University
According to a Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command report, the older sailor is believed to have smoked a pipe.
Credit Louisiana State University
The JPAC report also states that the younger sailor had good oral hygiene.
In 1862, the USS Monitor — a Civil War-era ironclad warship — fought one of the world's first iron-armored battles against the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. Less than a year later, a violent storm sank the Union ship off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The wreck was discovered more than a century later, and subsequent searches have turned up more than just a crumbling ship — they also found the skeletons of two of the Monitor's sailors in the ship's gun turret.
Two weeks ago, Florence Green -- the last known surviving veteran of world war one -- died. She had been a waitress in Britain’s Royal Air Force. The story of the war that was to end all wars survives in historic accounts, novels, poems and pictures. Millions of British and American viewers recently got a glimpse of the battlefield on PBS’s popular Downton Abbey.