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.
You may have heard that Americans throw away more than any other nation, but any idea of just how much? Each of us is on track to toss 102 tons of garbage in our lifetime. More than 7 pounds a day, and twice what we chucked out in 1960. Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes believes we are living in a state of garbage denial. His new book is called Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. In it, he looks at the science, politics, and economics of waste.
The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.
Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 12:09 pm
It's hard to pinpoint exactlywhat it is about Fenway Park. A century after it was built, fans still gush about this "lyric little bandbox," as John Updike called it. To guys like Ed Carpenter, Fenway is history and home, magic and mystique.
"I love this place," he says, tearing up. "I mean, it's not mortar and bricks and seats."
Carpenter first started coming to Fenway with his dad in 1949, when he was 6.
"We walked up this ramp right behind this home plate," he recalls. "I can still see everything was green, emerald green. It was love at first sight."
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 Library of Congress
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 Ramona Martinez, NPR
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.
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.