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History Myths Buzzkilled

Climate Change Science 1750-1900

Climate change is a much older subject than is commonly assumed. As early as 1750, Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume and Thomas Jefferson analyzed and wrote about the role that human activity played in climate change. French scientist, Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect in the 1820s. So, the study of climate change did not come from a bunch of hippies in the 1970s! Dr. Andrew Ramey from Carnegie Mellon University joins us to explain the early history of climate change research, and we dispel a lot of climate change myths along the way! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf James Rodger Fleming, Historical Perspectives on Climate Change Provides a thorough examination of the historical roots of global climate change as a field of inquiry, from the [...]

Poland and World War II

Myths about Poland during World War II are everywhere. Professor Philip Nash and I destroy some of the biggest ones in this episode. They include: Polish cavalry going up against Nazi tanks, and the story that Poland fell quickly and easily. Not only that, the overall Polish contribution to Allied victory in Europe is generally unknown and overlooked. Listen to us explain it all. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Halik Kochanski, The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War Rescuing the stories of those who died and those who vanished, those who fought and those who escaped, Kochanski deftly reconstructs the world of wartime Poland in all its complexity-from collaboration to resistance, from expulsion to exile, from Warsaw to Treblinka. The Eagle Unbowed [...]

Albert Einstein: “A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing.” Quote or No Quote?

Ah yes, Albert Einstein. Perhaps number 3 or number 4 on the all time mis-quoted list. No, he didn’t say that thing about the disappearance of bees, and the disappearance of bee pollination being the sign that animal life on the planet, especially humans, was doomed within four years. No, he didn’t say “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” And, as we’ve shown in an earlier episode of Quote or No Quote, he didn’t say “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” But people keep crediting these kinds of quotes and ideas to Einstein over and over, even though they’re mis-attributing to good old Albert what other important and thoughtful people [...]

Muhammad Ali: “No Viet Cong Ever Called Me Nigger.” Quote or No Quote?

Buzzkillers by the score have asked us here at the Institute for shows on the Vietnam War. The Ken Burns film on PBS, The Vietnam War, the 18-part, 10-hour interview-thon, is provoking many of you to ask questions about the war and about the protests against it. So today we're going to look at one of the most well-known quotes from the Vietnam era. When asked about being drafted for the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers in history, as well as one of the most controversial, is often quoted as saying, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong." This was immediately followed by the now-more-famous quote, “No Viet Cong ever called me nigger,” in a [...]

Man Crush Monday – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

There are a lot of very tall statues all over the world. Organizations, countries, and governments set up statues to heroes of all kinds. Sometimes real, sometimes spiritual, sometimes allegorical. The Statue of Liberty is certainly very tall (46 meters, 151 feet), and is an allegorical figure of Liberty, the central ideal of the American nation. But it’s only the 48th tallest statue in the world, and is dwarfed by “The Motherland Calls” in Volgograd, Russia (85 meters, 279 feet). That’s a gigantic, beautiful, and stirring statue of a woman warrior holding aloft a massive sword, calling Russians to defend and protect their people and culture, which is probably their most deeply felt ideal. But The Motherland Calls is only the 9th tallest statue in [...]

When Did the NRA Become Extremist?

Sadly, tragically, infuriatingly, it seems that every time there is a mass shooting in the United States, the same sorts of arguments come up from the same, opposing, sides. Gun control advocates say there is only one solution, and that is, not surprisingly, more gun control. Gun rights advocates argue that gun ownership and the right-to-carry are inviolable and almost sacred. Near the sidelines of this debate in the United States, you sometimes hear a little bit about the history of the most powerful gun rights organizations in the United States (indeed, one of the most powerful political organizations of any kind) -- the National Rifle Association. But you never hear very much about the NRA’s history. The story sometimes told is that the NRA [...]

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American History, British History, and World History Myths Busted by Professor Buzzkill
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