Current Event January 17, 2018
Paleontologists now have proof, as a result of a recent discovery of fossil remains, that giant penguins existed long before whales even entered the ocean. It's an ancient species of penguin that swam off the coast of New Zealand between 55 and 60 million years ago, soon after dinosaurs became extinct. The smaller penguins we know today stem from prehistoric penguins that were once the size of a human. Listen to learn why these animals went extinct and the timeline of their existence.
Dante Alighieri finished writing the three-part epic poem “Divine Comedy” in 1321. The poem is written in three parts: hell, purgatory, and heaven. It follows one man on his journey through all three places. This great work of Italian literature has survived the ages and remains a classic today. There have been many translations of Dante’s work. This story interviews Clive James, the most recent English translator, as he talks about this epic poem and his translated version of “Divine Comedy.”
William Shakespeare wrote some of the most famous and recognizable love poems of all time, but some historians think that Shakespeare had no intention of publishing these private messages. His sonnets were largely biographical and it is believed they were written to another man. When a collection of these personal sonnets were published by a shady publisher named Thomas Thorpe, Shakespeare tried to stop their distribution. Listen to learn more about Shakespeare’s sonnets and their unwanted publication.
Current Event June 26, 2015
Napoleon Bonaparte is a controversial figure in France and Europe as a whole. The French Revolution began as a fight for democracy, but it ended with Napoleon Bonaparte naming himself emperor. Napoleon brought progress and equality through his Napoleonic Code, but he betrayed the revolution with his concentration of power and military expansion throughout Europe. Napoleon was defeated by English and Prussian forces for the final time at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. As Belgium and England celebrate their victory 200 years later there is uncertainty in France about how to mark Napoleon’s defeat and remember his mixed legacy.
Current Event June 23, 2015
The journey of slaves from Africa to the New World has been well documented but very few artifacts from the time exist. The founding director of the Smithsonian's African American Museum has been hunting for the remains of a slave ship for years and has finally found one off the coast of South Africa. Listen to learn more about the discovery, the story behind the boat and how the Smithsonian hopes to use parts of the boat in museum exhibits.
Current Event February 27, 2015
When Voltaire wrote Treatise on Tolerance in 1763, it was an important and relevant work. The work’s message of religious tolerance is experiencing a resurgence over 250 years later in modern day France. After attacks by religious extremists on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, people in France who are looking for answers and a denunciation of violence in the name of religion are finding it in Voltaire. Listen to learn what inspired this 18th century book and why people are turning to it today.
Current Event February 4, 2015
The militant group ISIS has displaced Christians from Northwestern Iraq in their quest to create an Islamic state. This displacement has threatened the community and its ancient heritage. A group of monks in Iraq have saved a library of ancient Christian manuscripts from destruction. Listen to learn more about this community and their rescue mission.
Current Event October 16, 2014
Cave painting has long been thought to be developed by early humans in Europe. A new discovery of equally old cave paintings on an island in Indonesia has upset this perspective and is pushing scientists to look even farther back to our human origins in Africa. Listen to this public radio story to hear more about the cave paintings themselves and to learn how archeologists discovered their true age.
Current Event October 10, 2014
Columbus Day is celebrated every October, but our understanding of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America has changed dramatically since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. This change of perception has come with more knowledge of what the Americas and Native American cultures were truly like before Europeans arrived. Highly complex and organized communities could be found in places like the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This public radio story paints a vivid picture of the Americas before Columbus and compares our original understandings of the area with reality.