Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Sampling of Historic Spirits, Part 2

The second episode of this two-part podcast covers historic alcohol that’s still (mostly) drinkable. Tune in to learn more about the world’s oldest Champagne, a bottle of beer from the Hindenburg, and whisky from the failed Endurance expedition. Advertisements

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Tamerlane and the Battle of Ankara

Timur the Lame (that’s Tamerlane to the Westerners) conquered areas from Persia to Russia throughout the late 1300s. His last great battle was in Ankara against Sultan Bayezid I. But how exactly did he gain the upper hand? Tune in … Continue reading

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A Sampling of Historic Spirits, Part 1

Ancient alcohol can tell us a lot about a society. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina cover millennia-old residues left behind in Chinese pottery, Egyptian jars and more. They also explore the science behind identifying the ingredients of these brews.

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The White Ship and Empress Matilda

In 1120, the heir to the throne, three of the king’s other children, and many of the kingdom’s youths drowned at sea. This left a woman named Matilda as heir. Yet her cousin Stephen seized the prize, triggering 19 years … Continue reading

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5 Historical Hoaxes

Historical hoaxes are surprisingly common. For example, a N.Y. cigar maker once commissioned a gypsum skeleton to pass off as a 10-foot-tall petrified man called the Cardiff Giant. Join Deblina and Sarah as they explore history’s most successful hoaxes.

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Orson Welles and the War of the Worlds

In 1938 Orson Welles produced a series of radio dramas, including one based on “War of the Worlds.” The broadcast aired the night before Halloween and caused a mass panic. But why did so many listeners believe the show was … Continue reading

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Who was the Indiana Jones of Botany?

Nikolai Vavilov traveled to 64 countries gathering seeds and plants and established the first seed bank. Stalin had the botanist sentenced to death, but his seed bank endured: Other scientists guarded the stores from rats, starving Russians and the Nazis.

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