The origins of some last names are pretty self-explanatory, whether it's Baker, Shepherd or even Rotten.
It’s been almost 600 years since the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, and her memory hasn’t faded.
In the twenty-first century, wrote Elizabeth Pleck in the Journal of American Ethnic History in 2001, it remains "one of the most lasting innovations of United States black nationalism of the 1960s. Maulana Karenga, a prominent member of the black nationalist community, designed the holiday “as a celebration of African American family, community and culture,” according to History.com.
When I reach Hunter Hoffman, director of the Virtual Reality Research Center at the University of Washington, he’s in Galveston, Texas, visiting Shriners Hospital for Children. Shriners is one of the most highly regarded pediatric burn centers in America. They treat children from around the country suffering from some of the most horrific burns possible - burns on 70 percent of their bodies, burns covering their faces.
In deepest Cuba, some places remain almost virgin. People live in bohíos - thatched-roof huts made of palm boards. Cuban guajiros (farmers) still make coffee in a cloth sieve and go to bed with their chickens. Reality here contrasts sharply with the unrestrained cacophony presented by the island's tourist advertising, which conveys the false idea that we are a people immersed in endless revelry, laughter, and carnivals.
DNA testing on teeth has officially confirmed the cause of London’s 1665-1666 Great Plague, which tore through the city killing almost a quarter of its population in just 18 months. The final diagnosis: Bubonic plague.
Different people know different things about Roald Dahl. You may recall his short story about a woman who clubs her husband to death with a leg of lamb and disguises the murder weapon by roasting it; or his marriage to Hollywood star Patricia Neal and the agonies that slowly destroyed it; or the first of his best-selling children’s books, James and the Giant Peach, or the richer, fuller later ones written during his second, happy marriage.
“Paul Robeson was one of the greatest black internationalists of the twentieth century,” writes historian Peter Cole. “A gifted actor and singer, he was also an unabashed leftist and union supporter. This resulted in his bitter persecution, destroying his career and causing, to a surprising degree, his disappearance from popular — if not academic — memory.”
The problem were their letters: An old custom in England, the Christmas and New Year’s letter had received a new impetus with the recent expansion of the British postal system and the introduction of the “Penny Post,” allowing the sender to send a letter or card anywhere in the country by affixing a penny stamp to the correspondence.
British nonprofit Alzheimer’s Research UK hopes to help the public understand Alzheimer’s better by putting people in the shoes of someone living with the disease through virtual reality. The organization has just launched an app called A Walk Through Dementia, which talks users through three first-person scenarios depicting life with Alzheimer’s. The app is designed to work on an Android phone, and a user can slip the phone into a specially designed cardboard headset for an immersive experience.
Imagine if mobile phone service was sold like solar energy. From an operator’s perspective, it would have made great sense to try to sell customers 10 years of phone calls in advance, so as to quickly earn back the money invested in building cell towers. But the person who suggested such a strategy would have been fired immediately.
For years, fabric designer Marianne Fairbanks made solar-charged handbags. Her company, Noon Solar, was geared toward the high-end, urban-based fashion market and, at its peak, was selling in 30 stores in the United States and Canada. While Noon Solar closed its doors in 2010, Fairbanks, who joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 as an assistant professor in the school of human ecology, was still intrigued with the concept of solar design.
In his 1907 autobiography, cowboy Nat Love recounts stories from his life on the frontier so cliché, they read like scenes from a John Wayne film.
Crack – a smokable form of cocaine which is all too common – is highly addictive and very dangerous. At $50 to $100 per gram on the street (that's a Google-fueled guess by the way; sorry if I have that wrong, but I've never been in the market for crack), it's also a lower-cost alternative to those cocaine addicts who need a hit but don't have the dollars for the straight, snort-able kind. Oh, and in most places, it's illegal – including in the United States, which includes the state of Tennessee.
Thomas Jefferson’s shocking affair with Sally Hemings was recognized years sooner than historians thought.
The French Alpine town of Albertville sits in the southeast of the country, near the border of Italy, and is home to only about 10,000 people. Like most French communities, the people of Albertville rely on cheese. But unlike most other French areas, cheese is more than just a snack or part of a meal for the residents of Albertville. It, quite literally, powers part of the area.
What scandal nearly cost President Grover Cleveland the election? Get the inside story on this episode of Now I Know. The Presidency of Grover Cleveland is already unique for the well-known reason that his two terms were not consecutive. Cleveland won the 1884 Presidential election by a narrow margin – less than a half a percent of the popular vote – and took the Presidency.
Today, the United States celebrates the fake holiday known as Groundhog Day. The tradition, which dates back to the 18th or 19th century, is pseudoscience, but probably the harmless variety. People gather around in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, waiting for a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil to emerge. (And yes, there are other Groundhog Day groundhogs, too, but Phil's the OG, assuming the "G" stands for "groundhog".)
President Barack Obama pardoned his fourth turkey today, in what many believe is a Thanksgiving tradition dating back to 1947, when President Harry Truman, standing outside the White House, was presented with a holiday bird by the National Turkey Federation.
Last year, Eighth Day Farm in Holland, Michigan, planted some squash seeds they were given, not knowing what they would produce. When the plants eventually grew in as bright orange, two-foot-long squashes, farmer Sarah Hofman-Graham invited Michigan Radio reporter Rebecca Williams over for some soup. The squash "tasted sweet and mild," Williams reports for Michigan Radio.