history

"Dear Dickie," the woman wrote on thin parchment paper. "Here I am, so please don't scold me ..."

The Jan. 2, 1947, letter had made its journey from Honolulu to Kobe, Japan, courtesy of a 5-cent airmail stamp — evidence of an overseas courtship between two young people. She began with an apology for not writing sooner but quickly eased into flirting and teasing, anticipating the day when they would see each other again.

In 1915, an advertisement proclaiming, "Bake in a glass!" appeared in the pages of Good Housekeeping. Corning Glass Works in New York had created a product that allowed food to be mixed, baked and served all in the same dish. By 1919, 4 million pieces of Pyrex — a new, durable glassware — had been sold to customers throughout the United States.

Even the most commonplace devices in our world had to be invented by someone.

Take the windshield wiper. It may seem hard to imagine a world without windshield wipers, but there was one, and Mary Anderson lived in that world.

In 1902, Anderson was visiting New York City.

Londoners may feel hot this summer, but historian Rosemary Ashton says it's nothing compared to what the city endured in 1858. That was the year of "The Great Stink" — when the Thames River, hot and filled with sewage, made life miserable for the residents of the city.

"It was continuously hot for two to three months with temperatures up into the 90s quite often," Ashton says. "The hottest recorded day up to that point in history was the 16th of June, 1858, when the temperature reached 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit, in the shade."

Only a well-trained ear might be able to hear the difference between a generic keyboard and the IBM Model F keyboard that was popular in the 1980s.

The Model F is considered by many people to be the best keyboard ever. IBM stopped making it in the '90s and the patent expired. But the keyboard is having another moment.

How Russian meddling impacted the American Revolution

Jul 4, 2017
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<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_the_Great#/media/File:Profile_portrait_of_Catherine_II_by_Fedor_Rokotov_(1763,_Tretyakov_gallery).jpg">Wikimedia&nbsp;Commons</a>

No man is an island. It’s as true in diplomacy as it is in ordinary life. And sometimes decisions made far away can have a big impact on our lives.

Russia was one of the great powers of the 18th century and, while far-off, its decisions had an impact on the outcome of the American Revolution.

The first significant impact was at the beginning of the war, before the Declaration of Independence was even a twinkle in Thomas Jefferson’s eye.

“Dear Catherine of Russia. May I please have 20,000 troops to crush American freedom. Regards, George.”

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Warm weather, bad traffic, store-bought tits, the beach, diversity, rudeness and the women.

Miami in a nutshell according to the people we talked at our VoxPop recording booth during RadioFest at the Wolfsonian on Miami Beach.

It was Spring Break, parking was bad, music was bumping and people were more than willing to spout off the things they love and hate about Miami. (Especially when we were plying them with free coffee in exchange for the conversation.)

Take a listen:

Tales from the American West are marked by heroism, romance and plenty of cruelty. Among those stories, the saga of the Donner Party stands alone — a band of pioneers set out in covered wagons for California, and eventually, stranded, snowbound and starving, resorted to cannibalism.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

About 50 protesters gathered on Wednesday in front of the City Hall in Hollywood to demand changes to the designations of three streets: Forrest, Hood and Lee --all named after Confederate generals. 

Protesters held signs reading "Hollywood Stop Promoting Division!" "Take Down Racist Signs"  and "Preserve Dignity not Hate!"  

They emphasized that people who live on those streets, many of whom are African Americans, see those signs every day.

City workers on Tuesday started moving a Confederate statue called "Johnny Reb" from a park in the heart of downtown Orlando to a nearby cemetery, following renewed public outcry that it is a symbol of racism and white supremacy.

Argentine police have uncovered some 75 Nazi artifacts hidden in a secret room in a house near Buenos Aires. The objects include children's harmonicas in a box adorned with swastikas and a large bust relief of Adolf Hitler.

Argentina's Ministry of Security stated that the pieces were all "of illegal origin and of great interest due to their historical value." The finding came after a federal police investigation.

A remarkably complete fossil of a young child suggests that key elements of the human spinal structure were already in place in an ancient human relative 3.3 million years ago.

The child, about three years old, likely died suddenly and quickly drifted into a body of water, where she was covered in sediment that eventually hardened to sandstone, Zeray Alemseged of the University of Chicago tells The Two-Way.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the man who invented recorded sound — Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville. He beat the more well-known inventor Thomas Edison by 20 years, though his accomplishments were only recognized over the last decade.

While the uses of recorded sound seem obvious now — music, news, voice messages — none of it was obvious to Scott or Edison when they made the first recordings. It's a story that has some lessons for today's aspiring inventors.

The morning that the space shuttle Columbia was supposed to return home, Wayne Hale was at the landing site. At age 48, Hale was an up-and-coming manager with NASA. He'd just taken a job overseeing shuttle launches. But since this was a landing day, he didn't have much to do.

Officials in Egypt say they've uncovered 17 mummies in an ancient burial site, most of which are intact.

Egyptology professor Salah al-Kholi of Cairo University said there may be as many as 32 mummies in the underground chamber, Reuters reports.

The burial site, which sits about 26 feet underground, was first discovered a year ago by students using radar. It's located in the Tuna al-Gabal village in central Egypt, about 135 miles south of Cairo.

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