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History Myths Buzzkilled

LBJ and the Space Program

President Kennedy usually gets all the credit for inspiring American to reach for the moon. And President Nixon’s signature is on the ceremonial plaque laid there at the end of the Apollo 11 landing. But President Lyndon Johnson hardly ever gets credit for the American space program. The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Shesol joins us to explain LBJ’s pioneering efforts in the space race. Read more about Jeff Shesol’s here: http://www.westwingwriters.com/team/jeff-shesol Read Jeff Shesol’s New Yorker article here: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/lyndon-johnsons-unsung-role-in-sending-americans-to-the-moon --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: J. Logsdon, John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon This book uses primary source material and interviews with key participants to provide a comprehensive account of how the actions taken by JFK's administration have shaped the course of the US space program [...]

Climate Change Science 1900-2000

We continue our discussion with Dr. Andrew Ramey from Carnegie Mellon University about the long history of climate change science. The study of climate change grew rapidly in the 20th century, almost as quickly as climate change itself started to affect the earth dramatically. By the 1970s, however, countervailing forces (including the fossil fuel industry) moved into the scientific debate and started well-funded political campaigns to stop any effective governmental action to reduce climate change. Just at the time when the scientific evidence was undeniable and compelling, politics got in the way. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming This is one of the [...]

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 [...]

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