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Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Five years ago, on June 1, 2011, an F3 tornado, with wind speeds between 150 and 200 miles per hour, swept through eight communities across western and central Massachusetts, from Westfield east to Southbridge.

One of the hardest hit was Monson, where the tornado cut nearly a half-mile swath of devastation through the center of town of about 8,500 residents.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

Over the last year, the Connecticut Historical Society has been traveling the state asking residents "what was it like growing up in Connecticut?" 

"Seventy-one years ago, on a bright, cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed," President Obama said Friday, in the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Hiroshima, Japan.

In 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare on that city, killing an estimated 140,000 people. A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. Within weeks, Japan surrendered, ending the war in the Pacific Theater.

President Obama wraps up a weeklong Asia trip on Friday with a historic visit to Hiroshima, Japan. Obama will be the first sitting president to visit the city synonymous with the deadly nuclear age that began there more than seven decades ago.

Obama said he plans to "honor all those who were lost in World War II and reaffirm our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will accompany Obama, told reporters the trip "will no doubt create further, powerful momentum" toward that goal.

Steven Sussman

If you were selecting a patron saint of jazz for Hartford, a strong contender for canonization would most certainly be Paul Brown, a miracle worker whose countless good works for the music and local jazz musicians over many decades brought great joy, peace and comfort to the capital city.     

NASA / Flickr

The man who once walked on the moon, and helped America define itself as a leader in space travel is now out with a new book. It reads half as a memoir, and  half as a motivational speech to the next generation of explorers who he hopes will carry on America's legacy.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

In the more than six years that it's been on the air, we've never taken The Colin McEnroe Show to the Peabody Museum before. (Crazy, right?) And: In the more than six years that it's been on the air, we've never done a Colin McEnroe Show about dinosaurs before. (Crazy! Right!?)

Smoakandarrow / Flickr

Flash fiction goes by many names: micro-fiction, nano-fiction, short-shorts, and with the emergence of Twitter-fiction; twiction and twisters have also entered the fray. Whatever you choose to call it one thing's for sure: these pint-sized tales often punch way above their weight.

Robert Huffstutter / Creative Commons

Wilhelm Reich was  a once promising psychoanalyst and scientist under the guidance of Freud in pre-World War II Europe. He promoted "sexual revolution" to support his belief that sexual repression was linked to bodily and societal ills like neurosis and even fascism.

AllenRan917 / Creative Commons

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana, 1905

David Rieff isn't against the lessons of remembrance, but he believes it shouldn't be the only morally-sanctioned option. Forgetting may be the better choice.

A public meeting was held last night in New York City on whether to make the Stonewall Inn a national monument.

U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-10) told Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis that it’s important to recognize that the gay rights movement began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

Pratt & Whitney

Pratt and Whitney’s original engine has been designated as a national engineering landmark. The honor for the Wasp comes around the 90th anniversary of its first flight. 

Scientists have had a literal breakthrough off the coast of Mexico.

After weeks of drilling from an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico, they have reached rocks left over from the day the Earth was hit by a killer asteroid.

John Paul Filo / Creative Commons

Wednesday marks the 46th anniversary of the Kent State University massacre. 

Ben Burgraff

In 1800, James Callender, pamphleteer and journalist, wrote this about John Adams, one of America's most revered founding father:

It is not so well known, as it should be, that this federal gem [John Adams], this apostle of the parsons of Connecticut, is not only a repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite, and an unprincipled oppressor, but that he is, in private life, one of the most egregious fools upon the continent. 

He went on to "enquire by what species of madness America submitted to accept, as her president, a person without abilities, and without virtues."

Eric Heupel / Creative Commons

Most New Englanders are no strangers to lighthouses. 

Yale University

Yale University said it will not change the name of Calhoun College. The residential college is named for 19th century alumnus John C. Calhoun, who was an ardent supporter of slavery.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

The Yale Babylonian Collection has been given an immense trove of ancient artifacts from the Near East. Among the items in the collection are hundreds of cylinder seals.

haru__q / flickr creative commons

Everybody loves a bulldozer. In fact, we all grew up loving bulldozers, didn't we? From "Benny the Bulldozer" to Katy and her big snow, from all the Tonka toys to all the die cast model Caterpillars, the bulldozer is more of an icon in American popular culture than we maybe realize.

Michael Kerswill / Flickr

History and literature are filled with their antics. From the Renaissance's Triboulet to Shakespeare's Feste from "Twelfth Night," jesters and fools have delighted us for centuries with their subversive humor and quick wit. But while comedy was their brand, there existed hardships for these characters as well.

Steve Brown / WBUR

Jackie Robinson,” the latest documentary from filmmaker Ken Burns, debuts Monday night on PBS. 

Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima on Monday, making him the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the site since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb there at the end of World War II.

Kerry didn't apologize for the U.S. attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, as some Japanese activists have pushed for. He did honor those who died in the bombings, NPR's Elise Hu reports.

On the visit, Kerry toured the peace museum and laid a wreath at the monument to the attack, The Associated Press reports.

A week after Syrian government forces seized the ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State, soldiers, engineers and archaeologists are tallying up the damage done to the ancient city.

Visiting the site on Friday, journalists from The Associated Press said the modern town of Palmyra is "completely deserted," and the nearby archaeological site full of treasured monuments reduced to rubble.

The state-run SANA news agency said a mass grave had been found in a Palmyra neighborhood, with the bodies of approximately 40 people, according to multiple media reports.

Don Cheadle has been playing Miles Davis for his entire career. To look back now on some of the actor's most exciting performances — as flashy porn star Buck Swope in Boogie Nights, velvet-slick con man Basher Tarr in the Ocean's trilogy, and rabble-rousing deejay Petey Greene in Talk to Me — is to recognize those same larger-than-life elements from the persona of the jazz legend and Cheadle's personal hero.

Josh Hough / Creative Commons

Syrian government troops have recaptured Palmyra from Islamic State fighters. There are reports that experts are working now to clear mines left at the ancient ruins.

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