NPR

National Public Radio (US)

Pondering "fair": Good or light?

In a recent blog posting for Code Switch, a website examing race, ethnicity and culture, NPR editor and producer Camila Domonoske ponders the word "fair," from its Anglo-Saxon roots as "beautiful" to its modern usage meaning "light-skinned."

Chinese "Tupperware" helped create Japanese tea ceremony

"This is the Chinese version of Tupperware," says Andrew Watsky, professor of Japanese art history at Princeton, about tea storage jars that became a staple of the tea ceremony in 16th century Japan. Watsky spoke recently with Morning Edition's Susan Stamberg about the history of the ceremony.

Teller talks Tempest

In celebration of William Shakespeare's 450th birthday, magician Teller (the quiet one), recently co-directed a new version of the Bard's magicial play, The Tempest. In a video, Teller discusses the production with Mark Mobley for a segment of NPR's The Record.

Vikings gather for Ragnarok

How did you spend Ragnarok? If you are British, you might have celebrated at the JORVIK Viking Festival where warriors fought the Norse gods in an epic battle. Festival director Danielle Daglan spoke with NPR's All Thing's Considered about the event. (podcast)

German brewers demand Reinheitsgebot be recognized by UNESCO

A 16th century German law, Reinheitsgebot, laying out the purity of beer, should be included in UNESCO's list of famous traditions, according to the country's beer industry. Over 5,000 beers still carry the law's seal which requires that only water, barley, yeast and hops may be used to brew beer.

Vatican teams with Bodleian for US$3.2 million digitization project

Thanks to a US$3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation, rare manuscripts from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana will be digitized and made available online through both libraries. NPR's Annaliese Quinn has the story and interview.

Viking and NASA collaboration stirs controversy

Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics graduate student at Stanford University, was looking for an unusual photo shoot when he connected NASA's Ames Research Center with a local group of Viking re-enactors. The results were amazing photos... and an investigation by a member of the United States Senate.

Climate change threatens Jamestown

Venice may not be the only historic city threatened by rising ocean waters caused by climate change. Jamestown, the first successful English colony in America, may soon be under water. Christopher Joyce of  NPR's All Things Considered has the audio story. (photos)

"World's biggest shipwreck collection" revealed under Bosphorus

Since 2006, construction workers in Istanbul have worked along with archaeologists to uncover layer after layer of Byzantine history buried beneath the city and the Bosphorus Strait. Now the transit and tunnel project has revealed the "world's biggest shipwreck collection ever found."

Medieval well found under living room floor

Mrs. Colin Steer is not enthused about her husband's discovery of a medieval well under their living room floor. Curiosity about an indentation in the floor led to the discovery that has now sparked tension in the family. David Greene of NPR has the brief story.

Met exhibit marks Constantinople's first "Arab Spring"

The recent Arab Spring, in North Africa and the Middle East, was not the first, according to a Deborah Amos report on NPR. The first was the conflict of culture between the Byzantine Empire and the new Islamic religion in the seventh century to the ninth centuries.

13th-Century Food Fights Helped Fuel the Magna Carta

The recent loan and display of a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta at the National Achives allows careful readers to note how food security and free trade prompted English Barons to negotiate with King John.

Gladiators banned from Colosseum

Performers dressed as gladiators will no longer be able to make money having their photos taken with tourists, according to city officials. NPR commentator Renee Montagne has the brief audio report for Morning Edition.

The sound of Shakespeare's English

A new British Library recording offers scenes from Shakespeare spoken in a reconstruction of the Elizabethan accent. NPR's Weekend Edition interviewed Ben Crystal, who directed and acted in the project.

Stilt-jousting marks 600th anniversary

In a recent interview, NPR's Robert Siegel investigates the magic of stilt-walking, including the 600-year-old tradition of stilt-jousting in the city of Namur, Belgium. The story is available in print and audio.

Columbus' actions "greatest event in the history of life since the death of the dinosaurs"

How did Christopher Columbus really change history? Not by the "discovery" of the New world, but by ecological convulsion, the exchange of plants, animals and diseases between the two continents. Such is the premise of Charles C. Mann's new book 1493.

Local mead: "It's like it's 1380 all over again"

According to Woody Drake of Brothers Drake meadery in Columbus, Ohio, the mead-making business is booming in the United States, thanks largely to the new trend in eating - and drinking - local products. Tim Fitzsimmons of NPR's Weekend Edition has the audio story.

Smithsonian exhibit sparks controversy

A display of 9th century Chinese pottery, discovered in 1998 in the wreck of an Arabic ship near Indonesia, has sparked controvery in the archaeological community. Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds, was scheduled to be exhibited at Washington's Smithsonian Institution.

Economics of the Middle Ages

Planet Money, which features podcasts about modern economics and news of the economy, recently offered an edition focused on medieval economics, particularly feudalism and guilds.

Old tools never die

Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine, has spent considerable time researching the fate of obsolete technology and tools, and has concluded that old tools never die -- that is, that every technology ever known to Mankind is still in modern use somewhere in the world.

Wanted: People who make their own armor

Photographer E.F. Kitchen wanted to find "people who make or collect their own armor." She found them in the SCA and documented their work in her book Suburban Knights. Claire O'Neill of NPR's The Picture Show has the story. (photos)

16th century violin joins South Dakota collection

The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota boasts instruments ranging from gamelans to medieval mandolins. Now the museum has added a 400-year-old Amati Brothers violin. Gary Ellenbolt of NPR has the audio story.

Mongolian games celebrate "manly sports"

An annual festival dating to the 13th century is considered the Mogolian "Olympics." The event features the "manly sports" — horse racing, wrestling and archery. Louisa Lim of NPR has the story. (audio)

Spider silk tapestry unique creation

It took weavers in Madagascar four years to complete a golden 11-by-4-foot tapestry made completely of spider silk. The only one of its kind in the world, the tapestry is kept safe in a glass case in the American Museum of Natural History. Christopher Joyce of NPR has an audio story.

Music of Lune Heath makes a comeback

Selections of sacred music, dating from the 13th to 16th centuries, can be found on a new CD by the Ensemble Devotio Moderna entitled God Shall Be Praised, Music from Lune Convent. The music is from newly-discovered manuscripts found at the Lune Convent in Northern Germany. Music commentator Tom Manoff of All Things Considered has the story. (photo)

To punt or not to punt...

Only on NPR could the Bard, in the guise of Morning Edition's Frank Deford, comment on the upcoming Super Bowl football game.

"Far Traveler" on NPR's not-to-miss list

On the Christmas Eve 2007 All Things Considered radio program, reviewer Lynn Neary spoke with Laura Miller of Salon.com and blogger Mark Sarvas of The Elegant Variation about which books from 2007 should not be missed. Included was The Far Traveler by Nancy Marie Brown.

Hamlet on trial?

Was Hamlet guilty of stabbing Polonius behind the arras? A jury trial being conducted as part of the Shakespeare Festival in Washington D.C. will decide. Listen to the story from the March 16 edition of All Things Considered.

Drinking songs for the Roman "Apres Slaying Party"

What if...after the Roman senators had killed Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, they had a blow-out party, complete with Roman drinking songs? Robert Krulwich speculated on NPR's March 15, 2007 Morning Edition program.

Thomas Whitehart to be featured on Weekend America

Caidan storyteller THL Thomas Whitehart, also known as True Thomas the Storyteller, will be featured in the Saturday March 17, 2007 edition of Public Radio's Weekend America. His segment will cover Irish lore and storytelling.