It's hard to pinpoint exactly what 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."

It's just after sunrise outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, when 20 B-25 bombers start showing up in the western sky.

Remembering The Titanic's Intrepid Bandleader

Apr 13, 2012

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 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.

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.

The story of how the U.S. wound up with the income tax is the story of two wars, a Supreme Court justice on his death bed, and Donald Duck.

It's also the story of how the government overcame three obstacles.

Obstacle No. 1: Logistics

How do you make sure people pay?

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.

More than 80,000 of Albert Einstein's papers, including his most famous formula — E=mc² — and letters to and from his former mistresses, are going online at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

As NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro says on All Things Considered, "what the trove uncovers is a picture of complex man who was concerned about the human condition" as well as the mysteries of science.

Et tu, Macbeth?

Mar 15, 2012
Photo by Potatojunkie via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

The Long Con

Mar 14, 2012
Photo by Robert Huffstutter via Flickr Creative Commons

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 Herald in 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.

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.

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.

With Town Meeting Day set for March, February is when towns hold public meetings about the budget items and warrant articles that will go before voters.

Mont Vernon, in southern New Hampshire, is no exception; its public hearing is tonight. And one of the items drawing the most attention is a request to change the name of a small body of water known as Jew Pond.

Photo by Leo Reynolds, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons



Part 1: Revenge of the Web-nerds

Photo by Lockhart Steele, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Political Red Herrings

Absent tight races or sex scandals, pundits, op-eds and media-makers occasionally flirt with tantalizing uncertainties to liven things up. Salon news editor Steve Kornacki wrote about five of the biggest non-stories you’ll hear far too much of during campaign 2012 - none of which (he says) will amount to a hill of beans.

Part 2: Ten Revolutionary Tea-Parties you weren’t invited to

Photo by Spychick via Flickr Creative Commons

With the first in the nation primary swirling around us, we turn to the spread of the Tea Party…circa 1774. We’re talking about the Annapolis Tea Party…the New York Tea Party, and other protests that boiled over in the colonies from Maine to North Carolina. These copycat protests were buried by the 92,000 pounds shoved overboard in Boston.

(Photo by Laughing Squid via Flickr Creative Commons)

Author Richard Asma explains why we're afraid of monsters.  And what to do when the zombie apocalypse happens (because it SO will).  

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of teachers from St. Paul's in Concord trades hall-passes for instruments after school.  Two members join us to talk about the art of finely-aged Rock N'Roll.


Zimpenfish / Flickr Creative Commons

Amazon is back in the business of getting books on print - only now, they're hopping the middle man. Jason Boog, Editor of the publishing website Galley Cat, explains.


Karl-Ludwig Poggeman / Flickr Creative Commons

Editor for Scientific American Michael Moyer explains how genetically-modified mosquitoes could stop the spread of Dengue Fever; unless uncomfortable corporate practices don't cause a GMO backlash first.


Kaveh Khodjasteh / Flickr Creative Commons

Deaf Israeli slam-poet Aneta Brodski collaborates with Palestinian interpreter Veronica Staehle, uniting culture and language through art.


herzogbr / Flickr/Creative Commons

Yesterday we talked to the poet laureate of Rochester, who’s been preserving the voices of people who worked at city’s giant factory buildings.

Today we talk with a resident of Manchester who’s preserving the history of the buildings themselves.

Fifty years ago the city of Rochester was home to giant shoe factories. Hundreds of workers made a living working with leather and handling huge machines.

Rochester’s shoe factory era may be gone, but the city’s poet laureate wants to make sure it’s not forgotten.

Postcard from the Rock Swap

Jun 27, 2006
Ian Junor

Over the weekend, hundreds of people from around the world showed up in the town of Gilsum, in southwest New Hampshire.

The Weirs Beach Drive-In Takes You Back

Jun 27, 2002
Fraser Valley Pulse & Metro Vancouver Pulse