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November 29, 2020

Smithsonian

Meet Xiao Qi Ji, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s star panda cub

CBS News
CBS News – For more and to sign up click here The giant panda cub, born in August at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is a star attraction, with an online audience via the zoo’s “Panda Cam.” Correspondent Rita Braver reports on the birth of Xiao Qi Ji......

The Ten Best Books About Food of 2020

Smithsonian
This stay-at-home year has translated, at least for me, to more time spent in the kitchen, baking and cooking comfort food, and to feeling nostalgia for restaurant chatter. Of the plethora of food-filled books published this year, these are some of my favorites, selected so there will be, hopefully, a......

Why the P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II Beast of the Airways, Ruled the Skies

Smithsonian
In the skies high above Germany on November 26, 1943, Major Gabby Gabreski was pushing his Republic P-47 Thunderbolt hard. The 56th Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces had been ordered to cover the withdrawal of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses after bombing the industrial city of Bremen. Gabreski,......

Why the Myths of Plymouth Dominate the American Imagination

Smithsonian
As reliably as summer turns to autumn, when leaves start to fall Americans start to think about a meal with turkey at the center. Though Virginians (among others) have argued for earlier feasts as the first real Thanksgiving, the small settlement of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has an enduring claim to this......

Hegra, an Ancient City in Saudi Arabia Untouched for Millennia, Makes Its Public Debut

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Nov. 23, 2020, 3:42 p.m. In the scrub-speckled desert north of AlUla in Saudi Arabia, rocky outcrops and giant boulders the size of buildings, beautifully carved and with classical-style pediments and columns, poke out of the sands like divinely scattered seeds. As the sun sets, the dusty colors......

A Brief History of the Falklands War

Smithsonian
For ten weeks in the spring of 1982, a sparsely populated string of islands hundreds of miles east of South America dominated headlines around the world. In a chapter of global history that represents one of the last gasps of a shrinking British Empire, the United Kingdom—otherwise beset by high......

The Very Nuanced History of Giving

Smithsonian
People moved quickly to the water’s edge that September day in 1794. A boy, around eight years old, was in the ocean and in distress. Alerted to the crisis by a young child, old Captain Churchill called out for help. A few people came running, but the tide was rising......

The Storied History of Giving in America

Smithsonian
People moved quickly to the water’s edge that September day in 1794. A boy, around eight years old, was in the ocean and in distress. Alerted to the crisis by a young child, old Captain Churchill called out for help. A few people came running, but the tide was rising......

A History of Felines, as Narrated and Illustrated by a Cat

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Nov. 23, 2020, 8 a.m. When Paul Koudounaris visited Los Angeles’ North Central Animal Shelter one sunny afternoon in 2011, he didn’t intend to adopt the feline who would go on to become the inspiration for what is almost certainly the most unique cat history book ever published.......

A Special Air Delivery from the U.S. Navy Arrives with Only a Few Dings

Smithsonian
You could hear it before you saw it. The distant roar of the powerful twin jet engines grew steadily louder as the streaking navy blue jet with yellow trim approached. Then it was on you before you knew it. The sleek aircraft soared by in a blur, turned and came......

How History Records the Peculiar Role of America’s First Ladies

Smithsonian
The job of First Lady is rarely sought-after by the office holder. The position comes with no official duties. And Americans’ widely diverse expectations of what they want from a First Lady makes it an especially fraught occupation. Some 55 women have made the best out of what being married—or......

What the Survival of the Hawaiian Language Means to Those Who Speak It

Smithsonian
The Hawaiian language has no term for “virtual reality.” At least, it didn’t in 2017, when the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center held its first event in Hawai’i. Visitors to the Honolulu festival—called “ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence”—could learn about Hawaiian fabric-making and surfboard-crafting or watch Hawaiian films......

The Case of the Autographed Corpse

Smithsonian
On a Saturday afternoon in February 1933, at the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona, a White Mountain Apache Indian named Silas John Edwards and his wife, Margaret, stopped by a friend’s place to visit and relax. Edwards, a trim middle-aged man with a penetrating gaze, was an influential figure on......

How Denim Became a Political Symbol of the 1960s

Smithsonian
In the spring of 1965, demonstrators in Camden, Alabama, took to the streets in a series of marches to demand voting rights. Among the demonstrators were “seven or eight out-of-state ministers,” United Press International reported, adding that they wore the “blue denim ‘uniform’ of the civil rights movement over their......

The Inspiring Quest to Revive the Hawaiian Language

Smithsonian
Pelehonuamea Suganuma and Kekoa Harman were bright-eyed high schoolers in Honolulu when they first crossed paths, in the 1990s. The two were paired for a performance—a ho‘ike, as such shows are known in Hawaiian. Both teenagers had a passion for hula and mele (Hawaiian songs and chants), and they liked......

The Courageous Tale of Jane Johnson, Who Risked Her Freedom for Those Who Helped Her Escape Slavery

Smithsonian
Colonel John Wheeler, a North Carolina politician and ambassador to Nicaragua, had been cautioned repeatedly about traveling to Philadelphia. Headed to Central America by way of New York, Wheeler arrived in the Quaker City in July of 1855 knowing full well that the woman traveling with him as his enslaved......

Archaeologists Are Just Beginning to Unearth the Mummies and Secrets of Saqqara

Smithsonian
A giant trove of ancient coffins and mummies has been discovered at the vast Egyptian burial site of Saqqara. After hinting at a big announcement for days, the Egyptian antiquities ministry revealed the details this morning: more than 100 intact wooden coffins with brightly painted scenes and hieroglyphs, and well-preserved......

14 Fun Facts About Princess Diana’s Wedding

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Nov. 13, 2020, 8 a.m. When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer exchanged vows on July 29, 1981, the archbishop officiating the ceremony declared, “Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made—the prince and princess on their wedding day.” Departing from the standard storybook ending of......

A Brief History of Presidential Memoirs

Smithsonian
Next week, the first volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs, A Promised Land, hits bookstores. Will it be any good? For Rutgers University historian David Greenberg, the answer depends on which writing mode the former president, who’s already written two earlier memoirs, chooses. “His first memoir, written before he was......

Only One Factory in North America Still Makes Washboards, and They Are Flying Off of Shelves

Smithsonian
Since Covid-19 broke out in the United States this spring, one unlikely item has seen a spike in sales: washboards. For the uninitiated, washboards are used to clean laundry, and typically have a wooden frame surrounding a rippled metal surface. You soak clothes in soapy water, then rub them against......

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