There are so many amazing, heroic stories of people who risked their own lives (and the lives of their families and friends) to protect Jews and other people at risk before and during the holocaust. Yad Vashem honors people with the title of Righteous Among the Nations on behalf of Israel. These are non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust – and as of Jan. 1, 2013, 24,811 people had been awarded this honor. Some of these people have become quite well-known today, particularly bureaucrats and deep-pocketed, well-connected civilians who pulled strings and paid bribes. (Oskar Schindler is perhaps the most famous example.)
There are also a few stories of rescue that are so improbable that it’s hard to believe they actually worked – and they’re also a testament to the lengths some people will go to protect other human beings. We look at five of these stories in today’s episode.
Billy Idol had it all wrong about the connotations of brides wearing white at weddings. Although he was trying to insinuate that his “little sister” in “White Wedding” shouldn’t have been wearing white to her nuptials since she had — gasp! — had sex, the tradition of brides wearing white actually has nothing to do […]
We pick up part two of our two-part episode on Audre Lorde (here are notes for part one) with her marriage to Edward Ashley Rollins, who was also father to her two children. She became an award-winning poet and an influential activist, as well as a teacher. In 1978, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she died of cancer in 1992.
If Instagram had existed during the Victorian era, selfies would probably contain a lot more prune-face than “duckface.” By the mid-19th century, camera technology was still in its infancy, and exposure took several minutes. Beginning in the first British photo studio, as academic Christina Kotchemidova discovered, photographers would request patrons to say “prunes” instead of “cheese” to make them purse their lips together.
Audre Lorde called herself a “black feminist lesbian mother poet warrior,” but for a lot of people, she’s best known for the “poet” part. She gained the admiration and support of other prominent poets really early in her career, and she went on to become a teacher and activist, using language to raise awareness and fight against discrimination in all forms. Her life, which naturally influenced her creative work, was so rich that we’ve divided her story into two episodes. Part one begins with her parents and early family life, taking us through her college years. In part two, we’ll talk about her life as a wife, a mother, a teacher and a poet, along with her experience with breast cancer. (In part two, we’ll also share one of her poems.)
We’re closing out October with a change of pace – Sophie Blanchard, balloonist at the height of a massive 18th-century ballooning craze. The balloons at that point in history used hydrogen as their fuel, so if you’ve heard our Hindenburg episode, you can guess how this one goes down.
Here’s a link to the animated documentary we discuss!
We didn’t entirely mean for today’s episode to be another in the Halloween theme … we’ve already talked about a vampire panic, Sweeney Todd, the Bride of Frankenstein and Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion (those last two for two episodes apiece). But listener Elin put in a request for encephalitis lethargica, also known as “sleepy sickness.” It turned out to be one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever heard of – an illness that rendered people awake and aware but visibly “asleep” for months, then returned years later to inflict progressively debilitating Parkinsonism, which rendered otherwise young and healthy people virtually comatose. We still don’t know for sure what caused it. Pleasant dreams!
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion took many revisions and more than a decade of work to go from an idea to a reality, and in this episode we pick up after a hiatus that lasted years. The second half of the story, sadly, also includes the death of Walt Disney and how the team kept moving once he was gone.
Disneyland was always supposed to have a haunted house, but it took years and years (and many revisions) for the Haunted Mansion as it exists today. This episode – part one of two – is full of Disneyland back story, classic visual effects trickery, and reassurance that even the most convoluted, troublesome projects can eventually reach a successful conclusion.
Forensics is a rare area of science that needs no help recruiting more women into its ranks. Although some people seem surprised that young women would be attracted to such a potentially grisly profession that involves analyzing blood ‘n’ guts via forensic toxicology, forensic chemistry, crime scene analysis and so forth, they now comprise an overwhelming majority of those in classrooms and crime labs. And the reasons behind the exponential growth of women in forensics both exemplifies how to attract more girls and women to STEM careers and reflects the challenges of retaining female science talent to top-tier academic programs, labs and leadership positions…
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Stuff Mom Never Told You
Stuff to Blow Your Mind
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The Stuff of Genius
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Stuff They Don't Want You To Know
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Stuff You Missed in History Class
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