History

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

"World record" is a phrase that brings to mind great feats - doing something no one else has ever done.

And that’s what’s happening this Saturday on Lake Winnipesaukee- if all goes as planned, participants will break the  record for “the largest free-floating raft of canoes and kayaks on a single water body.”

The Vault DFW via Flickr Creative Commons

As the summer winds down, so will demand for lobster and its market price. Maine lobstermen are bemoaning low wholesale prices, but far from shore, say New York City’s Lobster Joint, market price today for a roll is $19…a boiled lobster will cost your $34. Today, the crustaceans are coveted, and symbolic of wealth, class, and extravagant living. Not so long ago, lobster was considered lower than the ocean floor on which it dwells. Here to trace its climb up the social ladder from grub for the poor to high-class delicacy is Daniel Luzer, Web Editor at the Washington Monthly. We found his article, “Low Lobster Got Fancy,” in Pacific Standard.

macalit via Flickr Creative Commons

Got milk tolerance? Only about one-third of adults on earth can properly digest dairy. A project uniting archaeologists, chemists and geneticist is studying the history of milk in Europe, where “lactose persistence”, the ability to digest milk as an adult, is thought to have emerged only seven and a half thousand years ago. There’s been a wave of discoveries suggesting that a number of “lactose hot spots” where ancient humans developed the genetic mutation for tolerating milk –  experienced significant advantages which allowed ancient humans to survive and changed the course of human history.  Mark Thomas is an evolutionary geneticist at University College London and co-founder of LeCHE, a collaborative research project that traces lactose persistence in early Europe.

Joe Mud via Flickr Creative Commons

Iodized salt is so common today that you may never have considered the two as separate elements. This wasn’t always the case -- in 1924 iodized salt was first sold commercially in the U.S. to reduce the incidence of goiter – or swelling of the thyroid gland. Within a decade the average I.Q. in the United States had risen three and a half points. In areas that had been iodine deficient, I.Q. levels rose an average of fifteen points. A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research traces this leap in I.Q. back to iodized salt.  We spoke with Max Nisen, war room reporter for Business Insider, where he wrote about I.Q. increases as a result of iodized salt.

Jeff Houck/John Stavely via Flickr Creative Commons

Florida’s Aerospace Economic Development Agency is making plans to build a new commercial spaceport not far from the Kennedy Space Center – home of NASA’s now retired shuttle program. There’s just one problem: the land is already occupied.  To learn more, producer Taylor Quimby caught up with Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittmanwho wrote about Space Florida’s proposal to build on top of an  18th century sugar factory and archaeological site called the Elliott Plantation.

teachernz via flickr Creative Commons

For four decades, Dr. Gerald Cohen has pored over documents, texts and pop culture to study etymology--the history and origins of words and how their meanings change over time. Working with the world’s top language historians, Dr. Cohen publishes “Comments on Etymology,” a journal of the peculiar origins of words and phrases like ‘brainstorm’ and ‘hot dog’. The journal cannot be found online, or even at university libraries…its circulation is under one hundred, and it’s published on paper. Gerald Cohen is professor in the Department of Arts, Languages and Philosophy at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

A New Look At Calvin Coolidge (Rebroadcast)

Jul 4, 2013

Biographer Amity Shlaes say our thirtieth president was deeper than his nickname Silent Cal suggests or what his critics called a man of few words and.. frequent naps.. but a visionary conservative who promoted ideas of limited government and individual responsibility and who oversaw an era of remarkable growth and optimism that preceded the Great Depression.

Guest

A new book aims to tell the stories of some of the most remarkable women in the history of Portsmouth, from colonial tavern keepers to nationally-known artists, politicians, philanthropists and more.

It's called Portsmouth Women: Madams and Matriarchs Who Shaped New Hampshire's Port City.

The book's editor, Laura Pope, talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about some of the women featured in the book.

Americans recently completed that annual ritual, when they file their returns to Uncle Sam.  But over the century of this tax, there’s been lots of debate on its effectiveness and fairness. and a few states, including New Hampshire have decided not to do this at the state level.  We’ll look at the history of the income tax and how it’s evolved.

Guests

A New Look At Calvin Coolidge

Apr 29, 2013

Biographer Amity Shlaes say our thirtieth president was deeper than his nickname Silent Cal suggests or what his critics called a man of few words and.. frequent naps.. but a visionary conservative who promoted ideas of limited government and individual responsibility  and who oversaw an era of remarkable growth and optimism that preceded the Great Depression.

Guest

Keeping History Alive At The Fells

Mar 30, 2013
Seeing New England

John Hay was private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and secretary of state under Theodore Roosevelt. His summer estate on Lake Sunapee was a masterpiece of architecture and of horticultural artistry. In 1987, the estate was deeded to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and opened to the public, and recently became a private non-profit offering programs, tours and classes. David Bashaw is a volunteer docent, guiding tours at the Fells.

via stanford.edu

IAN MORRIS, Professor of Classics and History at Stanford University and a Fellow of the Stanford Archaeology Center, is author of several books including, Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future, which was published in 2010, and his latest, The Measure of Civilization: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations. We spoke with professor Morris about his new book, the seminar he gave at Langley to members of the CIA, and his early heavy metal aspirations.

1763: A Landmark Year In New Hampshire History

Mar 11, 2013

This year, 13 New Hampshire towns are celebrating their 250th anniversaries.  As part of a new series called “250 Years In The Making: Stories From 13 New Hampshire Towns," NHPR’s Keith Shields will travel to each of these places, learn more about their founding and find the unique stories buried within their borders. But before we do, we begin with a look back two and a half centuries to the year 1763.

Broadside quoting Marquis de Lafayette, issued 1800-1899 / Rare Books Collection, Boston Public Library, Flickr Creative Commons

Back in 1779, 20 slaves made the case for their freedom before the New Hampshire General Court.  After noting it wasn’t the right time, the body postponed the decision “to a more convenient opportunity.” 

Lawmakers never took that opportunity, and 14 of the petitioners died as slaves. 

But on Wednesday, a Senate committee unanimously passed the bill.  

We all have one:  the friend who refuses to take part in social media, has only a landline, shuns digital cameras, the Mp3, and just about anything else with a computer chip.  The hearty  souls who refuse such technologies tend to inspire a lot of eye-rolling – with a measure of respect.  For the rest of us, choosing the life of a Luddite hardly seems like an option.  The history of the term “Luddite”, and the man for which it was coined is a surprisingly violent one, tracing back to the late 18th century.  Morgan Meis is a freelance writer and editor at “Three Quarks Daily."  Recently, he wrote about the original Luddite, Ned Ludd, and he joins us to tell us more.

via The Atlantic

Our conversation with Sunni Brown sparked an interest in history's doodles; here are some great minds that weren't afraid to scribble a shape or two on their stationary.

Library of Congress

Every American president has taken the same oath of office that President Barack Obama took earlier today - every president except one.

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.

wootam! via Flickr Creative Commons

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
neilalderney123 via Flickr Creative Commons

American audiences will have to wait until January before the popular drama, Downton Abbey returns to PBS.

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."

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