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History

The Takeaway

Water in America: In the Tap We Trust?

Friday, January 17, 2014

How did America’s water system get the way it is today? Martin Melosi, author of The Sanitary City and professor of history at the University of Houston, explains. Jennifer Weidhaas, assistant professor of Environmental Engineering at West Virginia University; Mark Davis, director of the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy at Tulane University Law School; and David Soll, Assistant Professor in the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, provide a snapshot of what the water is like in three different regions of the U.S.

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Japanese Soldier Who Fought On For 29 Years After WWII Dies

Friday, January 17, 2014

For nearly three decades, until 1974, Lt. Hiroo Onoda lived in a Philippine jungle. During those years he continued to battle with villagers. As many as 30 people were killed. It wasn't until his former commander ordered Onoda to lay down his arms that he surrendered. Onoda died Thursday. He was 91.

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Radiolab

Thomas Jefferson Needs A Dead Moose Right Now To Defend America

Thursday, January 16, 2014

There are no moose in America, said the French count to Thomas Jefferson. They don't exist there. Americans see a reindeer and just call it a new name, saying it's bigger. But the only thing that's big here is your American imagination. Jefferson was incensed. You are an ignoramus, he said tactfully. Then he promised to deliver an American moose to Paris. Here's what happened next.

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Poverty: 'We Need To Talk About It As It Is, Not As It Was'

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Host Michel Martin shares her thoughts about why poverty conversations are needed, in her regular "Can I Just Tell You" essay.

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The Takeaway

Examining The Most Innovative Eras in U.S. History

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The idea of standardized service for electricity and for railroads, along with the notion of "a common carrier," was once something new—and rare. In the case of railroads, establishing train lines as "common carriers" set the stage for massive transformations. It's something Edmund Phelps, economics professor at Columbia University and winner of the 2006 Nobel prize in economics, thinks brought in one of the most innovative eras of American history—a time we stand to learn a few lessons from.

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The Takeaway

War on Film: Bridging The Civilian-Military Divide

Monday, January 13, 2014

On and off film, war isn't what it used to be. Nowadays, it seems like war films may represent a dual yearning to revisit combat experiences by those who served, and a desire to better understand conflicts by those who haven't. Award winning film author and lecturer Robert McKee has done extensive research on the depiction of war in the movies. He discusses how public sentiment and the kinds of wars we fight have changed what we see on the screen, and how the box office performs. 

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Death Squads Re-created 'The Act Of Killing' For The Camera

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The film The Act of Killing visits former Indonesian death squad killers who wrought havoc from 1965, slaughtering between half- and 2 million people in a genocide often forgotten. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer about his new documentary, which is shortlisted for an Oscar nomination.

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The Church Bathroom That Stood As A Monument To A Segregated Past

Saturday, January 11, 2014

When the bathroom building went up behind a small Louisiana church in 1959, the doors were painted different colors. Ushers would follow black parishioners outside to make sure they entered the correct door. The once-segregated bathroom recently became part of a discussion of racism, a from-the-pulpit apology, and a demolition.

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50 Years After Surgeon General's Warning, Smokers Still Light Up

Saturday, January 11, 2014

In the 50 years since the Surgeon General's landmark report on smoking, what's worked to convince people not to smoke, and what hasn't? NPR's Scott Simon talks with Kenneth Warner, professor of public health at the University of Michigan, about cigarette consumption before and after the report.

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Israel's Ariel Sharon: A Man Of War's Journey Toward Peace

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Israel's former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who suffered a devastating stroke in 2006 at the height of his political power, died Saturday after spending eight years in a coma. NPR's Scott Simon remembers Sharon with former ambassador Dennis Ross, who has played a leading role in shaping U.S. policy on Israel.

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Franklin McCain: Taking Jim Crow Off The Menu

Friday, January 10, 2014

In 1960, McCain sat down with three friends and made civil rights history when the young men who became known as the "Greensboro Four" integrated a North Carolina lunch counter. McCain died Friday.

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What Happens When A Language's Last Monolingual Speaker Dies?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Emily Johnson Dickerson, the last person who spoke only Chickasaw, died last week at age 93. There were thousands of fluent Chickasaw speakers as late as the 1960s. Dickerson was among about 65 remaining.

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The Takeaway

Should We Declare 'War' on Inequality?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and announced "unconditional war on poverty in America." Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, reflects on the 50 years since President Johnson declared the War on Poverty, and discusses the best policy solutions to eliminate poverty today.

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Think You're Cold And Hungry? Try Eating In Antarctica

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The polar vortex putting much of the U.S. in a deep freeze may have you reaching for the comfort cookies. But in Antarctica — where the coldest temperatures on Earth have been recorded — 5,000 calories a day isn't a bad idea. One thing the continent's history teaches us: When life is stripped down to man versus the most brutal elements, bring plenty of snacks.

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The Ugly, Fascinating History Of The Word 'Racism'

Monday, January 06, 2014

The first recorded utterance of the word was by a man named Richard Henry Pratt, whose legacy among Native Americans and others is deeply contentious. His story illustrates problems with how the word is used today.

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Fresh Air

Visible And Invisible: 'Servants' Looks At Life Downstairs

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Author Lucy Lethbridge explores the history of British servants through their diaries, letters and memoirs. She says, "What I found particularly fascinating was how ... butlers were so butlery"; the old caricature of the clever manservant and the silly master is one "butlers have appeared to play to the hilt."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jeff Daniels; a Divided Korea; Magritte at MoMA

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Elliott Forrest fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: Actor and musician Jeff Daniels talks about playing at 54 Below and his Emmy-winning role as Will McAvoy on HBO’s “The Newsroom.” Robert Carlin describes how North and South Korea have diverged since the end of World War II. Curator Anne Umland talks about the Surrealist work of René Magritte that’s on view at MoMA. Plus, New Yorker contributing writer James Carroll discusses Pope Francis. 

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Two Koreas

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Robert Carlin discusses the division of Korea into North and South after World War II, and how the two countries and countries have diverged since. His book The Two Koreas looks at their struggle for supremacy.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Music from Both Sides of the Civil War

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Randall Poster, music supervisor for Wes Anderson's films and for the HBO show Boardwalk Empire, discusses putting together a new album called Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War. It features recordings by Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Earle, Karen Ellson, and Dolly Parton, Chris Thile, among others.

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Lost Images Come To Life A Century After Antarctic Expedition

Monday, December 30, 2013

Conservators have recovered and processed a clump of 22 negatives taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition to the South Pole.

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