TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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October 25, 2016
Combat veterans have started long-distance hiking on wilderness trips across the country as a way to transition to civilian life. Having time in nature can help veterans process the war. A non-profit, Warrior Expeditions, sponsors dozens of combat vets each year to walk the Pacific Crest, the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail. They hike with other veterans who can support each other since they have been through similar experiences. Listen to hear from veterans who have hiked over 2,000 miles together and their reflections on the journey.
October 24, 2016
The Supreme Court is short handed with only eight justices to do the job of resolving the important legal questions of the United States. Since February 2016 when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, the Supreme Court has been evenly divided in important cases. Under the Constitution, the Senate’s job is to confirm or reject the President’s nominee. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that no Obama nominee would get a hearing or a vote and he believes the next president should select a nominee. Listen to hear more about how the presidential election may impact the next appointment to the Supreme Court.
October 21, 2016
Affordable housing is become increasingly scarce in many cities around the country. Many low-income tenants often find themselves unable to pay their rent and at risk of eviction. Most tenants who fail to pay rent and are taken to court have no lawyer, while most landlords do. Some people believe this could be improved by providing free legal help to tenants. Listen to hear stories of people facing eviction and the struggle for affordable housing. Then debate whether the government should have a role in increasing affordable housing.
October 20, 2016
When dog owners talk to their pets, they usually use praising words and speak in an approving, cheerful tone. Neuroscientists studied the brains of dogs to learn more about how they interpret praise. By looking at certain pathways in the brain scans, the research team discovered some interesting results that suggest dogs may process the meaning of the words they hear in addition to the tone of voice. Listen to hear the details of the study about what dogs understand when we speak to them.
October 19, 2016
Hurricane Matthew has left destruction in Haiti, with over 1,000 fatalities. In some towns, 80 to 90 percent of the homes were damaged or destroyed. Aid workers are making their way to the most vulnerable Haitians and trying to overcome the obstacles in getting food and water to some towns. Listen to hear more about the concerns about the spread of disease as well as what it will take to rebuild these devastated areas of Haiti.
October 18, 2016
In Colombia, there has been fighting between the Colombian Government, rebel groups and other factions for over 50 years. FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a rebel guerrilla group, remains in control of some remote areas of the country but has not gained significant political power. An historic peace deal signed by Colombia’s President and the FARC leader was expected to end decades of hostility. Colombia’s President was even recognized for his efforts with a Nobel Peace Prize. But when the deal was put to a popular vote, it was rejected by a narrow majority. Listen to hear more about this conflict and reasons why Colombian voters rejected the deal.
October 17, 2016
Both U.S. Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have said they are committed to creating more economic opportunities for Americans.There is a sense that economic opportunity is slipping away for some Americans, which is causing them to become angry. While both candidates have addressed this topic in their campaigns, they have presented their plans in different ways. Listen to hear how each candidate talks about the economy, and their plans to create more jobs and improve the lives of Americans.
October 14, 2016
Implicit racial bias has been discussed in recent police shootings, preschool suspensions, and in both the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Unconscious attitudes or stereotypes can lead us to draw conclusions about each other that are sometimes opposite of what we consciously think or believe. In this study on bias, over one hundred preschool teachers looked for disruptive behavior in some children more than in others. Listen to hear how race and empathy are involved in how children are viewed, and debate whether you think everyone has a bias.
October 13, 2016
Former Israeli President and statesman Shimon Peres was one of the founders of Israel. His participation and influence in Israeli politics spanned decades. After his recent passing, he is remembered for winning the Nobel Peace Prize and for his optimism about forming peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Listen to learn more about Peres’ legacy.
October 12, 2016
The debates between the U.S. presidential candidates will mark the first time gender is a dynamic. The way women are perceived in a debate setting is different from the way men are perceived. The pitch of a woman’s voice and the way a woman dresses should not affect the debate, but are often highlighted or criticized. Listen to hear more about how some people see women versus men in a debate setting.
October 11, 2016
National Museum of African-American History and Culture opened on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in September 2016. It started with a vision and a mission to tell the story of America through the lens of black history and culture. Many people have given parts of their lives to this museum, which has collected 37,000 artifacts. The first item to come into the building was Jim Crow-era segregated train car that was lowered underground. Currently, 3,000 artifacts are displayed in the museum, and the curators will keep collecting for future exhibitions. Listen to hear more about this museum that was first proposed by black veterans of the civil war, and was recently opened to the public.
October 10, 2016
Countries that are a part of NATO, including the United States, promise to keep the peace and come to the defense of any member state that is attacked by another country. When the U.S. gets involved overseas, such as in Afghanistan, it acts with international alliances. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have very different views of what the U.S. relationship with NATO should be. Listen to hear about both candidates’ positions, and the goals of NATO as a military alliance.
October 7, 2016
There is a common belief that busy people get more done than less busy people. This may seem counterintuitive, but researchers at Columbia University have discovered there is some truth to this claim. It turns out that there are certain times when being busy can make people feel overwhelmed, and there are other times when being busy can be helpful. Listen to hear about the series of experiments tracking busy people and what they reveal about business, motivation and recovering from setbacks. Then debate whether you think that busy people really do get more things done.
October 6, 2016
Recent police shootings that resulted in the deaths of African-American men have led to protests and serious scrutiny of law enforcement. While there have been many incidents like these in the two years since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the number of fatalities has not accurately been tracked. This makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of police reform trainings. Listen to hear more about the connection between increased scrutiny of law enforcement and police use of deadly force.
October 5, 2016
This year’s presidential campaign has been divisive, partly due to the polarizing nature of candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The social media site, Facebook, has been a popular platform for political conversation in past election years, but has surged this year. There have been over 4 billion posts, comments and reactions about this presidential election. As people take to Facebook to express their views, contentious political posts have been driving people apart, often leading to unfriending. Listen to hear how Facebook users are reacting to political posts.
October 4, 2016
In the fifth year of the Syrian civil war, more than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives and more than 11 million people have fled their homes. The city of Aleppo in Syria remains under siege and rebel areas are being bombarded daily by warplanes, killing hundreds of people. The cease-fire between the Russian supported Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and the U.S. backed rebel groups collapsed. There was a deadly attack on a humanitarian convoy, which led to the United Nations halting aid to Syria. In addition to aerial attacks, there are ground offensives, and the water supply was cut off to the opposition-held half of the city. Listen to hear more about the escalation of fighting in Syria.
October 3, 2016
The next president of the United States will face national security issues, including terrorism and ISIS, along with the role of the U.S. in foreign affairs. Many voters want to know how candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might approach these international issues. This audio story discusses the ways each candidate might make choices and create policies that are similar or different from the existing policies of the Obama Administration. Listen to hear more about the foreign policy challenges the next president will face.
September 30, 2016
Vermont is the new home of many refugees from Somalia and other countries that have become dangerous to live in. Some residents in towns with large concentrations of refugees are concerned that the newcomers will be a burden on taxpayers. For the most part, however, refugees are contributing to the well-being of the communities they have become a part of. The local residents in one town in Vermont, welcome them. Listen to hear about the experiences of residents of Winooski, Vermont and the refugees who have recently moved there.
September 30, 2016
Across college campuses, the idea of "trigger warnings," giving a heads-up to students before uncomfortable topics are discussed, and creating safe spaces for students to feel comfortable talking about their experiences, is gaining traction. Some people think this provides support for people who have been victimized and prevents triggering a recurrence of past trauma. Others people think this makes it possible for students to avoid certain topics and different perspectives that make them feel uncomfortable. The University of Chicago has decided not to give ‘trigger warnings’. Listen to this story to understand why and then debate the different perspectives on this policy.
September 29, 2016
On November 8, 2016, Americans will cast their ballots in the presidential election. In 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, Americans will have the option to vote earlier than the scheduled election day. This allows residents to vote during a 10-day window immediately preceding Election Day. Early voting can result in more people voting, but it's an extra expense for towns. How could early voting could affect the presidential campaigns? Listen to hear more about the early voting process.
September 28, 2016
Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun and missionary, worked for years with the poor in India and was known as a “modern day” saint. She was born to an Albanian family in Macedonia and was a devoted humanitarian until her death in 1997. Recently, she was canonized by Pope Francis and is now officially recognized as a saint. The Catholic Church has spent over a decade examining evidence of miracles attributed to Mother Teresa in order to make her a saint. Listen to hear how the Vatican determined Mother Teresa’s sainthood.
September 27, 2016
Parts of New Jersey and New York were rattled by several homemade pipe bombs set in different areas. One exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York city injuring dozens of people. Police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami based on evidence that he started buying materials to make explosive devices back in June, and that he recorded a video of himself setting off an explosive device near his home in New Jersey. Investigators think the motivation was tied to Islamic terrorism. Listen to hear more about this investigation and what may have motivated this attack.
September 26, 2016
Thousands of Native Americans and supporters are protesting the construction of an oil pipeline from North Dakota to central Illinois, that will transport 470,000 barrels of oil per day. They are against it because a section of the pipeline will run near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe and its supporters have serious concerns about the project affecting their land and water. President Obama has ordered a temporary halt on the construction of the pipeline, but the Sioux tribe wants a permanent halt to the construction. Listen to hear more about this controversy.
September 23, 2016
During elections in the United States, many agencies run polls to predict who will win and by what margin. Using scientific methods, these polls are often somewhat accurate. Before the modern technique of polling, Americans used to place bets on who would win the election. Sometimes the loser would have to give up money, in other cases, the loser would have to do things like carry the winner around on his back or even eat a crow. Listen more to learn about the history of predicting election results and then debate: Should betting on elections be allowed?
September 22, 2016
Sharks can live to be over two hundred years old, and recently a Greenland shark was found who may have lived up to 512 years. These sharks are the longest living vertebrates known to exist. They can be found swimming in the Arctic seas, where researchers are spending time studying the old creatures. Listen to the story to hear more about this fascinating species.
September 21, 2016
Every major presidential campaign has its own logo. The candidates work closely with graphic designers to create logos that represent a certain message the candidate would like to send to the public. In graphic form, they can project a voice, impression and identity to voters. In this story a graphic designer analyzes the logos of two major presidential campaigns.
September 20, 2016
Immigrants living in the United States have a lot to learn when they first arrive. Parents must learn how the school system works in the United States so that they can ensure their children are successful. There are often cultural differences as well as language barriers, which make it difficult to adapt. An organization in Rhode Island helps immigrant parents navigate the school system by providing classes that are translated into several languages. Listen to hear what kinds of challenges immigrant parents face.
September 19, 2016
The next president will face many global challenges including the Syrian refugee crisis, China flexing its power in the South China Sea and Russian aggression. There is also the continued threat of terrorism. U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have very different views on foreign policy. The overall position of the United States in the world will need to be considered as isolationist or internationalist. This policy will be determined and led by the next president. Listen to hear more about the global views held by the presidential candidates and the foreign policy challenges the next president will face.
September 16, 2016
Social media has an interesting effect on teenagers and the way they think. This study used social media and tested how teens responded to various photos online. Teens were shown an image that was deemed to have lots of "likes." The teens tended to like the image also. They found that teens responded strongly to the more popular pictures, regardless of which ones they were. Seeing popular pictures also produced greater activation in the reward centers of the brain. Listen to hear more about the effect of social media on the way teens think.
September 15, 2016
Dolly the sheep became famous two decades ago for being the first mammal to be successfully cloned. Today, four sheep that came from the same cells as Dolly have reached their ninth birthday. This is significant to scientists because it shows that it is possible for cloned mammals to live healthy lives into old age. Listen to hear more about this encouraging milestone for cloned animals.
September 14, 2016
Although the Republican party is dominated by older Americans, some teenagers and young adults attended the Republican National Convention to represent their state. This story explores the political viewpoints of the youngest generation of Republican voters, and how they may differ from the views of their parents and grandparents. Young Republicans share why they are at the convention and why they consider themselves Republican. Listen to hear from an 18-year old delegate and other young voters in the Republican party.
September 13, 2016
There is a currently a surplus of cheese and dairy products in the United States, and it’s a global phenomenon. Two years ago, dairy farmers expanded production due to the high demand in China and Russia. After a sudden drop in demand, there is a surplus of 1.3 billion pounds of cheese in storage. The U.S. government is helping these dairy farms by buying some of the extra cheese and giving it to food banks. Dairy farmers will get some relief from falling prices and food banks will be able to give more cheese away. Listen to hear more about this huge surplus of cheese.
September 12, 2016
One of the big issues of the 2016 presidential election is immigration. The two major party candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have opposing viewpoints on the subject. As Trump launched his campaign, he promised to build a wall to keep Mexicans out, and then later stated that he would prevent Muslims from entering the United States. Clinton has proposed comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. She sees immigrants as contributing to American society and the economy. Listen to hear more details about each candidate’s policy on immigration.
September 9, 2016
Driving after dark is more dangerous than driving during the day, especially for teens who don’t have a lot of experience. A recent study found that most crashes happened before midnight, but states that restrict teen driving don’t start until midnight, which is too late to make a big difference. Listen to hear ideas about setting regulations for teens who are learning to drive, and debate whether you think teenagers should be allowed to drive after dark.
September 8, 2016
The faces of comic books are changing with the times. The original superheroes in comic books are almost all white men. Think of Superman, Batman and Spiderman characters. The next generation of superheroes is far more diverse. DC Comics is releasing four new Superman characters who reflect different cultures. New Superman #1 is Kong Kenan, a chinese boy who inherits some of Clark Kent’s powers. Listen to the story to hear from one of the writers of New Superman #1 talk about why he thinks it is important to show diversity in comics.
September 7, 2016
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s central campaign theme is “Make America Great Again.” During the nominating convention he tweaked the phrase to be, “Make America First Again.” This phrase has a unique historical background. The America First Committee was created in 1940 to try to prevent the United States from joining the second world war. Listen to learn more about the America First Committee and its modern connection to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
September 6, 2016
Over the past few years, China has turned reefs in the South China Sea into artificial islands. Rival countries in the region have disagreed about who owns the islands. Satellite images show that China is possibly militarizing those islands by building ports, landing strips and military aircrafts. New images indicate China is building large hangars for aircraft. Listen to the story to hear about this possible militarization and what it could mean for the region.
September 5, 2016
For many voters, a candidate's’ religion is an important factor in deciding whether or not they will vote for them. Last week we looked at HIllary Clinton’s Methodist faith. This story looks at Trump’s faith. He was baptized in the Presbyterian church but does not claim to be devout. He later joined a Protestant church with a preacher who promotes the Prosperity Gospel. Governor Mike Pence calls himself a “born again evangelical Catholic” and brings his strong support from conservative Christians to this race. Listen to hear more about how these candidates’ religious beliefs shape their outlook.
September 2, 2016
New Delhi, India has some of the the most polluted air in the world. Levels of pollution reached hazardous levels many days of the year. For the people of New Delhi, this has meant an increase in health problems such as asthma and other sicknesses. As India’s growth continues, it consumes more energy, which creates pollution. This story illustrates the balance between economic growth and the health threats of pollution produced by all this growth.
September 1, 2016
Colleges and universities in the U.S. can consider a student’s race when they are deciding if they will admit that student or not. Selecting a racially balanced student body has been important to many colleges and now the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the affirmative-action program at the University of Texas at Austin is legal. The difficulty will be to consider race without discriminating against other students during the admissions process. Listen to hear more about the issue of promoting diversity in admissions policies of colleges and universities.