TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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August 23, 2019
Should some animals be considered “persons”? One lawyer is working to classify certain animals as “persons” so they can be protected under the law. Specifically, the lawyer wants to send three elephants from the “Big E” fair in New England to a sanctuary, where they will no longer have to give rides to customers. The fair owner disagrees and wants to keep the animals. Listen to hear the arguments on both sides of this complex animal rights issue and then debate: Should elephants be considered property?
August 22, 2019
Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry. These short poems traditionally describe impressions of nature. Haiku are quite popular among poets with a wide range of experience. Listen to hear some examples of modern haiku-inspired poetry and find out why one author says, “if you want to write something perfect, write a haiku.”
August 21, 2019
Many California immigrants become their own bosses. For example, one immigrant from Thailand started a Thai food business that will likely be expanding very soon. Experts note that there are some good reasons why immigrants are likely to become entrepreneurs. Listen to learn the causes behind this Californian trend and hear more of one immigrant’s story.
August 20, 2019
In 1969, a police raid of a bar frequented by homosexuals called the Stonewall Inn, led to a riot. The bar’s patrons began protesting and reacting violently to discrimination and harassment by the police, who regularly targeted gay bars. About ten years later, the HIV/AIDS epidemic began. This deadly auto-immune disease disproportionately affected gay men, and therefore was essentially ignored by doctors and lawmakers, leading the gay community once again to turn to activism. Listen to learn how the Stonewall riots influenced the fight against AIDS.
August 19, 2019
Boris Johnson was recently elected the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. His first challenge will be to withdraw Britain from the European Union, which is required under a referendum voted by a slim majority of citizens in 2016. This is a difficult and controversial issue, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Johnson is a distinctive and divisive figure. Some British citizens like and believe in him, while others find him unlikable, incompetent, and even dangerous. Listen to learn more about this new British leader and what he promises to do as prime minister.
August 16, 2019
YouTube has started removing videos containing extremist content promoting white supremacy. Some people and organizations support this policy as a way to make social media platforms safer. Others point out that the system for removing videos is imperfect, and this policy could interfere with video creators’ right to freely express themselves. Listen to learn more about YouTube’s new restrictions and then debate: Should YouTube remove extremist videos?
August 15, 2019
Has a dog ever given you “puppy eyes”? If so, you probably did whatever your furry friend wanted. According to a recent study, “puppy eyes” result from thousands of years of evolution impacted by the relationship between humans and dogs. This distinctive expression comes from a specific muscle and creates unique effects that help dogs become “man’s best friend.” Listen to learn more about why “puppy eyes” are so powerful and how studying dogs can help humans learn more about themselves.
August 14, 2019
As India produces more and more garbage, giant mountains of trash are growing around its cities. The mountain of waste in New Delhi is nearly as tall as the world famous Taj Mahal. This creates an awful smell and a variety of safety issues, but some poorer Indians have also used it as an opportunity to create their own waste-based businesses. Listen to learn more about how these entrepreneurs turn trash into treasure and the risks they take in mining these man-made garbage mountains.
August 13, 2019
Retired Supreme Court Justice Paul Stevens recently died at the age of 99. Appointed in 1975, he served on the Supreme Court for decades. He authored numerous important majority opinions for the court and helped to decide many significant cases, even through difficult times and political changes. Listen to learn more about the judicial legacy of Supreme Court Justice Stevens.
August 12, 2019
“Are you a U.S. citizen?” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot include that question on the 2020 census, even though the Trump administration wanted to add it. However, the administration is still trying to get as much citizenship data as possible, and the controversy over whether to add this question could still affect the way undocumented immigrants answer the census. Listen to hear about the controversy over adding a citizenship question to the census and where it stands.
August 9, 2019
AirDrop allows people with iPhones to share pictures and other media with others who are located near them through Bluetooth technology. This means that sometimes, people receive photos or memes on their phones from strangers. While AirDrop offers a convenient way to share files, and many teenagers are having fun with it, some use it in ways that could be harmful. Listen to learn about “AirDrop crossfire” and other uses of the technology and then debate: Do the risks of AirDrop outweigh the benefits?
August 8, 2019
Have you ever wondered how far humans can push themselves physically? A scientist recently conducted a study to help answer this question. He studied athletes who ran six marathons a week for months to learn about what determines their capacity to expend energy over time. Listen to find out more about what researchers understand about human endurance and hear one scientist’s surprising take on what constitutes the height of human capability.
August 7, 2019
One of the first female U.S. Navy pilots and the first woman air squadron commander recently died. Rosemary Mariner entered the U.S. Navy in the 1970s and rose through the ranks to become a great leader. She inspired many friends and colleagues with her strength of character, her intelligence, and her respectful and supportive attitude. Listen to learn about the effect Rosemary Mariner had on one of her fellow women aviators and on the world at large.
August 6, 2019
In Hong Kong, protesters have been clashing with police as ongoing conflict on the streets of Hong Kong continues. Activists fear Hong Kong’s democracy is in danger because of the influence the government of mainland China has on their leaders and their lives. Listen to learn why protesters are concerned about the future of Hong Kong and its citizens, and find out what they are willing to do to protect it.
August 5, 2019
It has been 50 years since the first moon landing. Astronaut Michael Collins orbited the moon while his more well-known colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on its surface. As someone who was just 15 miles away from this world-famous event, Collins offers a unique perspective on the moon landing. Listen to learn about his experience and hear why he believes humans should continue traveling into space today.
July 31, 2019
When the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the 2019 World Cup, they paraded down the streets of New York City while people tossed confetti to celebrate. This type of ticker-tape parade has been happening for over a hundred years, but this particular event was especially significant for women in America. Listen to find out what made this parade both traditional and unique.
July 29, 2019
A policy adopted by the Customs and Border Protection agency known as “metering” has significantly reduced the number of immigrants being processed daily at the U.S.-Mexico border. While the agency says that they cannot keep up with the large numbers of asylum seekers, migrants and immigration reform advocates say that this slower processing speed causes serious problems. Listen to hear about how metering has affected those seeking asylum in the U.S. through its southern border.
July 24, 2019
Far from the bright lights of cities and suburbs, amateur astronomers gather to stargaze in the dark at events known as “star parties.” Stargazers enjoy sharing the experience with others who are passionate about dark skies and the faraway places they make visible. Listen to hear about what happens at star parties and what amateur astronomers are viewing in the dark night sky.
July 22, 2019
One of the world’s favorite holiday traditions has a long history. Fireworks started in ancient China where people used explosives because they were believed to ward away evil spirits. From their beginnings as simple noise makers to the dazzling aerial displays that light up our night skies today, fireworks have relied on chemistry to create the sounds and colors that provide excitement and enjoyment. Listen to hear a chemist explain the history and science behind a worldwide celebratory tradition.
July 17, 2019
Would you eat a scarred, lumpy carrot or an apple that is oddly shaped? Grocery stores do not typically sell these types of “ugly” produce, but some new companies aim to reduce food waste by selling fruits and vegetables that are rejected by stores. Listen to learn about the benefits of these efforts and find out what else you can do to reduce food waste.
July 15, 2019
In recent years, traveling has become easier for people all over the world. This has led to many popular tourist destinations being overcrowded, which can impact the tourist experience as well as the sites themselves. Cities like Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan have been hosting more visitors than they can handle, and special attractions in out-of-the-way places are also drawing unmanageably large crowds. Listen to this story to hear about the reasons for this tourist overcrowding and what tourist destinations are doing about it.
July 10, 2019
Many kids want to go to Disney World, but a family trip costs a lot of money. A teen boy started his own business and earned enough to make a fun-filled trip to Florida possible for his whole family. Listen to learn how he did it and what his next goal is.
July 8, 2019
The 75th anniversary of D-Day marks an important World War II operation and offers an opportunity to commemorate all the people who made sacrifices on D-Day and throughout the war. Though often forgotten, women were critical contributors to the war effort and a key part of the invasion of Normandy by the Allied forces. In particular, women were involved in the French resistance D-Day preparations and took on unique risks and some of the most sensitive jobs. Listen to hear about some of the brave women heroes of the Second World War.
July 3, 2019
A group of college students recently came together to attempt an extremely challenging task: launching a rocket into space. Large companies and universities invest a lot of time, money, and resources to launch a rocket, but these ambitious students were determined to do their best with much less. Listen to find out how the idea was hatched, what happened at their first launch, and what they hope other students might learn from them.
July 1, 2019
Climbing Mount Everest has long been the ultimate achievement for many mountaineers. Now many more people are able to attempt the climb, making an already dangerous trip even more so. A variety of factors have come together to make 2019 one of the deadliest years for climbers on Mt. Everest. Listen to this story to hear more about what has increased risk on the tallest mountain in the world.
June 26, 2019
Can taking a photo of yourself be dangerous? There has been a recent rise in selfie-related deaths. Many visitors to national and state parks are putting themselves in dangerous situations to get the perfect photo, and some have even lost their lives in the process. Listen to learn about why people risk their lives for selfies and what some organizations are doing to stop this troubling trend.
June 24, 2019
About 250 million years ago, there was a widespread extinction on earth. Scientific investigations into the climate conditions leading to this prehistoric “Great Dying” can shed light on how climate change in the modern world might impact life on the planet. The “Deep Time” exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History explores the state of the earth and its inhabitants in that era. Listen to hear about how the “Great Dying” happened and why it is relevant today.
June 19, 2019
According to a new study, talking about other people who are not present, commonly known as gossip, may not be all bad. Researchers studied gossip by recording and listening in on participants’ conversations. Listen to hear what these eavesdropping scientists discovered and learn about some potential benefits of gossip.
June 17, 2019
While giving her valedictorian speech at her graduation, a Texas high school student was cut off before finishing. School administrators had asked the student to remove what they believed were controversial elements in her speech, but she chose not to do that. Listen to hear more about what the student felt was important to include in her speech, despite the school’s objections, and why.
June 14, 2019
The National Park Service has proposed new rules for protests on park property. The proposed rules would limit the amount of available protest space and require protesters to pay fees to hold a protest. Many people have expressed opposition to these rules, arguing that they would limit the freedom of speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Listen to hear more about why the rules were proposed and why people are concerned about them, and then debate: Should public protests be restricted?
June 13, 2019
Being able to communicate with someone using only mind power is the stuff of science fiction, but it might not be so far off in the future. At the University of Washington, scientists have developed a system that supports a very basic form of computer-assisted telepathy, or thought-based communication. While this technology has many potential positive uses, there are some serious possible risks to consider. Listen to hear how the technology works and what it might mean for the future.
June 12, 2019
Students around the world have been skipping school to protest their governments’ lack of action on climate change. Now, this movement has come to the United States. American students are gathering together to demand that Congress take action to protect them from the effects of climate change. Listen to find out more about what students are asking of their government leaders and why.
June 11, 2019
The middle school winners of this year’s NPR Podcast Challenge chose a topic that few of their classmates or teachers felt comfortable discussing. This group of girls from a school in the Bronx,New York chose to focus their podcast on menstruation and periods. They investigated the stigma of talking about periods and associated feminine hygiene products and discussed changes they would like to see. Listen to hear more about the team’s winning podcast and why they decided to take on the taboo topic of periods.
June 10, 2019
Midwestern states are experiencing extreme flooding caused by excessive rain, which is interfering with planting seasons for farmers. In addition, the ongoing trade war with China has caused agricultural exports to fall. The government has offered a financial relief package for farmers affected by the trade war, but recent news about a possible trade dispute with Mexico is adding to farmers’ worries. Listen to hear about how the recent flooding and trade wars are affecting midwestern farmers.
June 7, 2019
Researchers from the United Kingdom now have scientific evidence that using e-cigarettes is significantly more effective for quitting smoking than other methods. However, U.S. public health officials worry that promoting e-cigarettes could increase nicotine addiction. Listen to this story to hear about the research study findings and debate: Is reducing smoking worth increasing nicotine addiction?
June 6, 2019
The Women in Baseball section of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY has recently acquired some new members. Corrine Mullane and her daughter Molly Mullane-Cavagnaro are the first ever mother-daughter duo enshrined in the library. The women are honored in the Hall of Fame because of their continued service as “Ball Dudettes” for the San Francisco Giants. Listen to hear about how Corrine got started and how the mother-daughter duo made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
June 5, 2019
The most recent recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award does not teach in a typical public school classroom. Rodney Robinson works in a juvenile jail with students of many ages and skill levels, and he is dedicated to helping his students learn and succeed. Listen to hear how this National Teacher of the Year supports his students’ learning and what he thinks needs to change about the American public school system.
June 4, 2019
Up to one million species of flora and fauna are at risk of extinction, according to a new U.N. report on biodiversity. While the findings from this research are alarming, climate scientists believe that there are still a variety of actions that citizens and politicians can take to try to prevent this impending disaster. Listen to hear about this global crisis and what people can do to help make the situation better.
June 3, 2019
The trade war between China and the United States continues with the Chinese government imposing more tariffs on U.S. imports. While the two nations are arguing about business practices and intellectual property, it is mostly individuals who are feeling the consequences of the trade dispute, which seems far from resolution. Listen to hear more about how U.S. residents are feeling the effects of the trade war between the global superpowers and what could come next.
May 31, 2019
Caster Semenya, who has dominated in the 800-meter dash for the last few years has received difficult news about her career. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided that women like her with naturally high levels of testosterone cannot compete in certain track and field events unless they medically reduce those levels. Listen to the story to hear more about this case and debate: Should naturally high levels of testosterone disqualify female athletes?