gov-info:

CSPAN Gov Doc: Origins of the Cell Phone

In 1973, Martin “Marty” Cooper, a Motorola researcher, invented the first true cell phone—the DynaTAC, and brought forth the most ubiquitous technology on the planet. It is estimated that the number of cell phones in use in 2014 will actually exceed the world population of seven billion.
In this CSPAN video, Art Molella, the director of the Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, (who has written on the subject), talks to Cooper about the evolution and history of his invention.
Molella’s blogged about Smithsonian blog post
Image: Journalist Lucy W. Morgan uses a cell phone and video camera, ca. 1985. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

(via broadcastarchive-umd)

Seven years ago, NPR aired Michel Martin’s chat with superstar actress Rita Moreno. They covered all manner of topics — her name change, what Puerto Ricans thought about West Side Story, and how many shades of makeup the actors were expected to wear. 

How did Rosa Dolores Alverio become Rita?  ”You know, there was only one other Rita around. It was Rita Hayworth, and they [studio management] thought that was a good and exotic name”. 

For a woman who would stand tall on many stages, her first impression of America was prescient.  “My first American experience was in the harbor of New York City when I saw that amazing big, tall lady. I remember thinking, oh, my goodness, a lady runs this country.”

Original Airdate: October 3, 2007

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14945037

Humor For The High Holidays (And Beyond)

Providing a bit of levity during the Jewish High Holidays of 5771 (aka 2010), Liane Hansen spoke on Weekend Edition Sunday with Sam Hoffman and Eric Spiegelman. Listen to them discuss their book Old Jews Telling Jokes: 5,000 Years of Funny Bits and Not-So-Kosher Laughs.


Swimming in Chocolate     

 
Some people like a little piece of chocolate here and there to get through the workday.  It’s not every day that you visit a facility where swimming in chocolate is at least theoretically possible.  Lucky for Weekend All Things Considered host Arun Rath, he visited just such a place in 2009 and reported back to NPR in conjunction with the We Shall Remain television series that aired on PBS.
 

Original airdate 04/27/2009

Swimming in Chocolate     

 

Some people like a little piece of chocolate here and there to get through the workday.  It’s not every day that you visit a facility where swimming in chocolate is at least theoretically possible.  Lucky for Weekend All Things Considered host Arun Rath, he visited just such a place in 2009 and reported back to NPR in conjunction with the We Shall Remain television series that aired on PBS.

 

Original airdate 04/27/2009

In his book The Grand Complication, author Allen Kurzweil expresses the fascination librarians have held for him since childhood. “I’ve found that librarians are actually activists, they’re renegades, they tend to be subversive,” he mentions in his All Things Considered commentary that aired September 10, 2001.

While not entirely subversive, NPR Librarians definitely are non-traditional in the work they do to enhance the accuracy and depth of NPR’s journalism.

What comes to mind when you think of a librarian?

NPR librarian Robert Goldstein recalls his trip, 45 years ago, to what was rumored to be a major cultural event at a farm a few hours outside of New York City. The official Woodstock message, the festival slogan, was: Three Days of Peace and Music. But food? That was a different story.

(There’s even photographic evidence of his presence at Woodstock! #archivelove)

We hope you Lefties are celebrating today.


Happy Left Handers’ Day!

NPR’s reporting on left-handedness covers two main topics: the causes of left-handedness and successful people who are left-handed (mostly presidents and baseball pitchers). 

This story, from a special series, Science Outside of the Box, takes an interdisciplinary approach to the question of left-handedness.

NPR’s Jacki Lyden talks to researcher Chris McManus who examined archived film footage of British people waving at the camera to see what he could learn about left-handedness, society, and life in the Victorian era. 

Original airdate 9/22/2007.

From the NPR archives: Bob Mondello’s review of Robin Williams in One Hour Photo

Robin Williams died yesterday

It’s probably not shocking that there isn’t a television review of Williams’ first TV hit, Mork and Mindy. Debuting in 1978, TV was still considered “low brow” at that time.

But Robin Williams has a career that’s lasted through a critical cultural transition: from his work in comedy and film being considered pop culture and, therefore, not worthy of serious consideration, to accolades, awards, and social critique. 

Here’s Bob Mondello’s review of WIlliams’ 2002 film One Hour Photo. The film is notable because it’s from Williams “dark” role period. He was experimenting with being something other than the frenetic presence we usually saw on screen.

Too, I’d say that the film captures an interesting moment in our media history: a lonely employee at a one-hour photo lab seeks connection through the photos he develops for a family he covets.

Williams’ character is on the cusp of technological and social revolution as we moved from film cameras to digital. Unfortunately, he decides to be super-creepy about it, foreshadowing the further melding of technology and surveillance. 

(Found by Kimberly Springer, library intern and film nerd. Original airdate 24 August 2002 on Weekend All Things Considered.)

40 years ago today Richard Nixon resigned from his position as the 37th President of the United States of America. This resignation was in the midst of chaos from the ongoing Watergate hearings as well as rumors of possible impeachment. For a refresher, this American Journalism Review article does a very good job of explaining both Watergate and the importance of the press in the resolution of the event.

As for NPR’s involvement, special programming was created to capture the reactions of ordinary Americans from all across the country. Take a listen to the audio as host Mike Waters, with the help of member stations, exposed how Americans truly felt about their president’s involvement in Watergate and his decision to leave office. Morning Edition also did a piece today with Linda Wertheimer, who covered the resignation 40 years ago. She gives her very emotional personal memories of that day, as well as more audio of the reactions of American citizens. 

Check back here to see what other cool material from the ‘70s and ‘80s is being digitized during the Digital Reformatting internship this summer, as well as future This Is NPR blog posts from the interns looking back at their experiences. 

(Found by Cara Shillenn, library intern. Original airdate August 08, 1974.)

Detroit residents are fighting the city over shut-off notices for past due water bills.

About 500,000 Toledo residents were told not to drink nor boil the city’s water after an algae bloom threatened their water supply

And here at NPR, there’s a water challenge: which department can, within healthy reason, drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day

This audio from 1982 digs deeper into President Reagan’s water supply. Like Presidents before him,* he used to travel with his own water supply, both internationally and domestically. This additional travel logistic did not impress many foreign governments—-including France.

*As White House spokesman, Larry Speakes, notes in this report, they don’t really talk about the President’s security measures, which includes his water supply. For that reason, we don’t have confirmation as to whether President Obama, also  travels with his own water supply. Let’s hope he’s staying hydrated!

(Found by Kimberly Springer, library intern. Original airdate 06/04/1982. Photo via tanakawho, Flickr.)