Ships of Stone: Concrete Shipbuilding from the World Wars to Today | Episode 236

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Concrete may seem like an odd material for shipbuilding, but during World War I, severe shortages of steel led to this innovation. Devised by Norwegian immigrants the Fougner brothers, they built one of the first such ships in the US at their shipyard in Flushing, Queens. The technology reached its apex during World War II, when the US built over 100 ships and barges, and they were used as freighters, tankers, and even floating ice cream factories. Large-scale concrete shipbuilding is a thing of the past, but we will examine the fates of these wartime ships, and discuss many examples of concrete boatbuilding today.

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Chinese New Year Traditions | Episode 193

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Celebrate the Chinese New Year with our team as we share the history, traditions, and foods of one of the world’s most widely-celebrated holidays. While the actual New Year falls on February 12 this year, the celebrations stretch on for more than three weeks around the holiday. Our staff member Gina Gao will teach us about the mythology of the holiday, how people prepare for the New Year, and the origins of traditions like the red envelopes (hóngbāo) and the Lantern Festival (Yuánxiāo jié). We will also learn about New Year traditions unique to Gina’s hometown of Wuhan, and look at the evolution of celebrations in New York City’s Chinese communities. Though public celebrations are subdued due to the pandemic, we will also go live to Flushing, Queens to see how the community is marking the holiday.

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