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The Bowery Boys: Electric New York

Mon, 18 Oct 2021

October 21, 1879. It’s late in the evening and a 32-year-old inventor is in his New Jersey lab, tinkering with a carbon thread. When that young inventor—Thomas Edison—lights that thread that night, it isn’t quite a “eureka," lightbulb-over-the-head moment, but the lightbulb in his lab did stay lit long enough to convince him he was on the right track. How did New York City come to light? And how did the rest of the world follow suit? This episode comes from the podcast The Bowery Boys: New York City History. You can listen to more episodes of The Bowery Boys at https://apple.co/3mb4bJD.


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The Sky Is Falling

Mon, 11 Oct 2021

October 11, 1995. Professor Mario Molina is at his desk at MIT when he gets a long distance call from Sweden. It’s the Nobel Committee, telling him he’s won that year’s prize in chemistry, making this chemistry prize the first awarded to a Mexican-born scientist and the first recognizing environmental science work. The Nobel Committee thanks Molina and the other winners for having "contributed to our salvation from a global environmental problem that could have catastrophic consequences." How did two scientists with no background in atmospheric chemistry identify a dangerous, invisible reaction that was putting the planet in peril? And why was the whole world able to pull together to prevent the worst?

Special thanks to our guests, Don Blake, Richard Stolarski, and A.R. Ravishankara, and to the Science History Institute for sharing its oral history interview with Mario Molina.


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The Night Witches

Mon, 04 Oct 2021

October 4, 1938. Soviet pilot Marina Raskova beats a world record: the longest continuous flight ever recorded by a woman. She'll soon break another barrier-- she'll lead the first-ever female air force pilots to fly on the front lines of World War Two. One of her regiments in particular will wreak havoc on Nazi German soldiers and become the most notorious night bombers in the entire Soviet Union. They'll become known as the Night Witches. Who were these barrier-breaking pilots? And how did they become some of the most feared forces on the Eastern front?

Thank you to our guests, Claudia Hagen, author of "Tonight We Fly!" The Soviet Night Witches of WWII, and to Christer Bergström, author of "Black Cross Red Star - Air War over the Eastern Front: Volume 1 Operation Barbarossa."


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Monopoly Money

Mon, 27 Sep 2021

October 1, 1904. Show up at a newsstand this morning, and you'll see that the October issue of McClure's magazine has hit the shelves. Alongside it, newspapers advertise what’s inside: "Ida M. Tarbell renders her final judgment of Rockefeller's Trust." It’s the 19th and last installment in a series that has made people sit up and take notice of a powerful monopoly and the man behind it. How did a scrappy reporter take on the richest man in the country? And how, in the process, did she change corporate America and investigative journalism itself?

Special thanks to our guests, Stephanie Gorton, author of Citizen Reporters: S. S. McClure, Ida Tarbell, and the Magazine that Rewrote America; Kathleen Brady, author of Ida Tarbell: Portrait of a Muckraker; and Steve Weinberg, author of Taking on the Trust: How Ida Tarbell Brought Down John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil.


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The Mother of Level Measurements

Mon, 20 Sep 2021

September 24, 1902. A new cooking school is set to open at Boston’s 30 Huntington Avenue. The rooms will soon be filled with trainee cooks, who will watch in awe as the school’s namesake and principal, Fannie Farmer, lectures on everything from boning meats to baking the perfect reception rolls. Farmer is an innovative cook, and a pioneer in a thriving women's culinary movement known as "domestic science." But her school stands at a crossroads of that very movement and begs the question, what is the purpose of food? Who was Fannie Farmer, “the mother of level measurements”? And how did she shape the way we cook and eat today?

Special thanks to our guests, Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad; Danielle Dreilinger, author of The Secret History of Home Economics; and Anne Willan, author of Women in the Kitchen.


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