TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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August 16, 2018
Scientists recently discovered a variety of million-year-old stone tools in Kenya. These discoveries allow archaeologists to better understand our early human ancestors’ lives and how they developed more sophisticated tools as time went on. As it turns out, there are some important parallels between ancient stone tools and modern technologies. Listen to learn more about this exciting find and hear how it relates to life today.
August 15, 2018
A black state representative from Oregon was going door-to-door to speak with the voters she represents in her district when one of the neighborhood residents called the police. The resident thought the state representative was suspicious for knocking on doors, likely because of her race. Listen to find out how the state representative responded to the police and hear what she thinks can be done to make situations like these better in the future.
August 14, 2018
Israel recently passed a law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israeli religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians, feel that this law discriminates against them and fails to recognize their contributions. Some have even begun to protest it, gaining support from important and surprising allies. Listen to find out more about the controversy surrounding the Nation State law.
August 13, 2018
Facebook recently deleted pages and accounts it believed were run by Russians attempting to influence the upcoming midterm elections. Unfortunately, this also affected a valuable page American protesters were using to gain grassroots support. This issue raises important, unresolved questions about the relationship between Facebook, free speech, and propaganda. Listen to learn what an expert on civil liberties thinks about censorship on social media.
August 10, 2018
Recently, tech workers have been protesting some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. They’ve urged their employers not to work with certain segments of the U.S. government. This is a very unusual request for employees to make of their companies, but it isn’t completely unheard of. Listen to learn more about these protests and what they could mean for the future of technology.
August 9, 2018
Newspapers and magazines around the world have reported on a stunning statistic about how many plastic straws Americans throw away every day. Unfortunately, that number isn’t quite right. As it turns out, a teenager calculated that statistic years ago. Since then, it’s spread far and wide, affecting the way we use plastic straws throughout the country.. Listen to hear the story of how a teenager changed the plastic straw debate forever.
August 8, 2018
Transforming a vacant lot into a small community garden in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood seems to have made its residents happier. Inspired by this example, a professor recently did a study to see what kinds of effects creating green spaces out of empty lots has on people’s mental wellbeing. Listen to find out what she learned from her research on community gardens.
August 7, 2018
Scientists recently conducted a study to see how emotions affect the way children eat. Using key scenes from “The Lion King” and a couple of snack options, the researchers observed how kids’ feelings influenced their food choices. Listen to find out what the study discovered about children’s emotional eating.
August 6, 2018
The Trump administration recently raised tariffs, or fees, on many things the U.S. imports from countries like China. In response to this, some countries have put their own tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, like hogs and soybeans. These new fees are hurting U.S. farmers because they can’t sell as much overseas. Now, the Trump administration has decided to offer billions of dollars in federal aid to the farmers who are struggling with these new tariffs. Listen to learn more about the governmental assistance the Trump administration is offering farmers.
August 1, 2018
The malaria parasite kills more than 500,000 people every year. An engineering professor recently decided to make a difference in this issue by working with her students to find a solution. The answer she and one student came up with is surprising, but genius: magnets. Listen to learn more about the professor’s project and find out how magnets could help people suffering from malaria all around the world.
July 30, 2018
President Trump recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed a wide range of topics. The United States and Russia have had a long history of tense relations dating back to the Cold War. Although President Trump appears to be building a closer relationship with Russia, he insists no president has ever been as tough on Russia as he is. Throughout his presidency, there has been a disconnect between Trump’s words about Russia and his administration’s actions toward the country. Listen to learn more about President Trump’s approach to Russian relations.
July 25, 2018
A team of twelve teenaged Thai soccer players and their coach recently became trapped in a cave that flooded as they were exploring it. Volunteers, military personnel, and expert divers came from around the globe to help save them. After over two weeks of tireless work in this tiny Thai village, the rescue team succeeded. They carried out an extremely challenging, dangerous dive mission to safely remove the boys and their coach from the cave. Listen to learn how they finally made it out.
July 23, 2018
Since Justice Anthony Kennedy resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump has chosen Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a Circuit Judge in the U.S. Court of Appeal who also served in the George W. Bush administration, to replace him. Because Kavanaugh has a long history of experience in Republican politics, he is a controversial choice for this position. Kavanaugh’s opinions from the bench could have a major influence on abortion law and other important issues. He now faces what will most likely be difficult confirmation process. Listen to learn more about Kavanaugh and his potential influence on the Supreme Court.
July 18, 2018
Getting bitten by a tick is never fun, but recent research shows that it can also cause you to become allergic to red meat. As ticks spread, more and more people across the US and even around the globe are becoming allergic to red meat. Scientists believe it may have something to do with alpha-gal, a special sugar only animals produce. Listen to find out more about this increasingly common allergy.
July 16, 2018
After months of being caught up in various ethical scandals, Scott Pruitt recently stepped down as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Despite the criticism Pruitt faced, President Trump and many conservative groups supported his work in this position. Andrew Wheeler, a lawyer and former lobbyist for the coal industry, will replace Pruitt as the leader of the EPA. Listen to learn more about Pruitt’s decision, Wheeler’s approach to his new job, and what the future holds for the EPA.
July 11, 2018
Birds evolved from dinosaurs, but scientists still don’t know exactly how. The species Ichthyornis is a creature that falls directly between a dinosaur and a bird. A recently discovered fossil of this ancient seagull-like animal revealed some fascinating information. Its characteristics are helping scientists solve the mystery of how ancient dinosaurs became modern birds, complete with beaks and large brains. Listen to this audio story to learn more about the Ichthryornis.
July 9, 2018
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he is retiring from the United States Supreme Court after 30 years. Kennedy was often the swing vote in many of the most important cases that the court has faced in the last three decades.. Known for his far-reaching opinions, Kennedy has always been a very confident and active justice. Kennedy’s opinions on major social issues such as gay marriage or abortion rights made some conservatives upset and his retirement has some liberals worried about the future of those decisions. Listen to this story to hear about Justice Kennedy’s retirement and what effect it might have on the court.
July 5, 2018
Most often, poachers illegally hunt wild animals like elephants for their tusks, but a recent case proves that plants can also fall victim to this crime. Succulents have become the target of poachers. Succulents are drought-resistant plants like cactus that retain water in their leaves. They are very popular now as house plants and that’s causing an underground trade of stolen succulents. Listen to learn more about this strange crime.
July 2, 2018
Around national holidays many visitors come to Washington DC, the capital of the federal government. On the National Mall, a large park surrounded by national museums, they shared what they believe defines patriotism. They noted service, sacrifice and freedom. Listen to hear what patriotism means to some Americans.
June 27, 2018
Every four years, Adidas designs a custom soccer ball for the World Cup, and the 2018 event in Russia is no different. In past years, the style and structure of the balls have actually interfered with how they move, making the games unpredictable for athletes. That’s why this year, scientists tested the new Telstar 18 ball to make sure it works properly. Experts explain how this new ball compares to past years’ and the real reason Adidas creates a new ball design for every World Cup. Listen to learn more about this high-tech soccer ball.
June 25, 2018
President Trump recently decided that the U.S. would charge tariffs (taxes added to specific imported goods) on aluminum and steel from certain countries. The nations affected by this decision, such as the European Union and Canada, argue that this breaks agreements the U.S. has made with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The U.S. argues that these tariffs protect American national security. If the WTO cannot resolve this conflict, it may lead various countries to begin raising tariffs on each other, ultimately hurting the global economy. Listen to learn more about this possible trade war.
June 20, 2018
The Hawaiian volcano Kilauea recently erupted, destroying dozens of homes and putting many more at risk. Despite the constant danger of eruption, Hawaiian residents feel passionately about where they’ve chosen to live. Even while anxiously waiting in evacuation centers or being forced to start all over again after their houses are destroyed, many Hawaiian homeowners wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. They’re willing to accept the dangers of natural disasters like these in order to enjoy everything Hawaii has to offer. Listen to learn more about what makes living near a volcano worth it.
June 18, 2018
President Trump recently met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a long-awaited summit. North Korea’s expanding nuclear program and strained foreign relations with the United States have caused growing concern over the last several months. As a result of their meeting, Kim Jong Un signed a vague agreement committing to peace and denuclearization, while President Trump announced a surprising change in American military cooperation with South Korea against their northern neighbors. These outcomes give some hope, but leave others confused and worried. Listen to learn more about this historic summit.
June 15, 2018
A new Sacramento law makes what the city calls “aggressive panhandling” illegal. It forbids people from begging for food or money within 30 feet of a bank or ATM or outside of restaurants. Those caught breaking this law more than three times face fines and jail time. One homeless man is suing the city because he believes this rule violates his right to free speech. The city argues that it is only trying to prevent the most forceful panhandling and plans to defend the rule. Listen to this story about Sacramento’s new law and then debate: Should panhandling be illegal?
June 14, 2018
Illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States is currently a major political issue. Politicians and citizens have strong opinions on both sides. In order to help people better understand what it’s like to attempt crossing the border, a Mexican film director created a virtual reality exhibit that allows users to experience it for themselves. Based on the true stories of immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, the director hopes this exhibit will foster more compassion and empathy. Listen to learn more about this project and its aims.
June 13, 2018
Greenhouse gases trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to climate change. One of the most common greenhouse gases is methane. In the United States, cars and industry are the primary sources of greenhouse gases. In Africa, which has more agriculture than industry, burping cows are the main producers of methane gas. Researchers have found that African and American cows are actually quite different from each other in the amount of methane in their burps. African scientists are studying how cows’ diets affect their methane production. Listen to hear how cow burps affect the environment.
June 12, 2018
Everyone makes mistakes they need to apologize for in order to repair their relationships. Public figures like politicians and celebrities also have to say sorry publicly for inappropriate behavior, as we have seen more often recently. However, not all apologies are created equal. A few key elements make some much more successful than others. An expert in dispute resolution explains what makes for an effective apology in the digital age. He also discusses how cultural differences and other circumstances affect the way you should ask for forgiveness. Listen to learn how to tell a good apology from a bad apology.
June 11, 2018
A new data protection law in the European Union is designed to preserve citizens’ privacy by fining those who use others’ personal data without their permission. This rule could cause problems for many who take photos in public places and post them online. According to this law, anyone who appears in a photo, even if it’s in the background of a selfie, must agree that the photo can be uploaded to the Internet. This law will likely force photographers to consider their subjects’ consent more carefully. Listen to learn more about this new rule.
June 8, 2018
Spotify recently announced it would be removing singer R. Kelly’s music from its playlists due to the artist’s history of sexual misconduct allegations. In addition to removing music that encourages violence against certain groups from its algorithms and playlists, Spotify’s new policy against hate speech will also stop promoting songs by artists who they determine behave poorly. While many agree with the decision to pull R. Kelly’s music specifically, some experts are concerned about the amount of power this policy gives to streaming services. Listen to learn more about Spotify’s new rule and then debate: Should streaming services punish artists accused of harassment?
June 7, 2018
Ramadan is a month-long Muslim practice during which observers do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Two American Muslim[MB10] women and podcasters recently discussed what it’s like to observe Ramadan in America. They described their coworkers’ reactions to their fasting, their experiences observing Ramadan, and what the holy month means to them. They also provide advice for non-Muslims who want to learn more about the religion from their Muslim friends. Listen to learn more about Ramadan.
June 6, 2018
In 2016, professional football player Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before a game in order to protest social inequality and police treatment of minorities. Since then, some football players have continued to kneel during the national anthem, prompting reactions from fans, fellow players, the NFL, team owners, and even President Trump. The NFL recently decided that no players will be allowed to kneel during the national anthem. The football players’ union is unhappy with this decision. Listen to learn more about the NFL’s ruling.
June 5, 2018
A teenager recently discovered what turned out to be the fossil of a large, dinosaur-eating crocodile in northern Texas. Many amateur fossil hunters enjoy looking for ancient animals’ bones in this rocky area. At the site, for example, a combination of harsh living conditions exposed dirt makes it easier to uncover all sorts of fossils. An expert explains how fossil hunters help him discover ancient species. He also describes why dinosaurs fascinate us and how they can help us learn more about science. Listen to learn more about this dinosaur-eating crocodile.
June 4, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided that states can decide for themselves whether or not to make sports betting legal. This means that many states will likely legalize gambling on athletic events soon. Some experts suggest that betting will help engage sports fans in games. Gambling will also make sports leagues much more money. However, others are worried that sports betting could lead to corruption, especially for amateur or student athletes. Listen to learn more about the Supreme Court’s ruling on this issue and what legalizing sports betting may mean for American athletics.
June 1, 2018
Many police departments already use basic facial recognition software, but more advanced technology in this area is raising new questions about what information law enforcement should or should not be able to instantly access. The latest software can rapidly identify people in all sorts of poses and situations, making it appealing for both businesses and law enforcement. If implemented, experts worry that it could make remaining anonymous in day-to-day life virtually impossible. Listen to this story about real-time facial recognition software and debate: Should police use facial recognition?
May 31, 2018
A sound clip of a voice saying a single word has recently sparked intense debate on the Internet. When listening to this now viral piece of audio, some hear “Yanny,” while others hear “Laurel.” A neurobiology professor weighs in on this question and explains the science behind why some people hear one word and others hear another. To finally settle the question, the hosts of the show find the source of the original audio, which reveals the actual word that was recorded. Listen to hear the famous clip and learn more about what it means.
May 30, 2018
A high-tech vaping tool called a JUUL is designed to help adult smokers quit smoking traditional cigarettes by allowing them to inhale nicotine, the main addictive ingredient in tobacco products, along with a variety of flavors. Unfortunately, the cool design and fun flavors of these devices have also attracted teens’ attention. Many have become hooked on JUULing, as it's called by teens. To protect children from JUULing’s harmful effects, this story explains how San Francisco wants to ban all flavored tobacco products. However, opponents to this argue that adults should have access to flavored vape products so they can quit smoking.
May 29, 2018
A gunman recently shot and killed 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. This event was, unfortunately, one of many school shootings in 2018. One student, Kayte Alford, avoided injury herself, but is now grieving the loss and suffering of her classmates. During this interview just one day after the tragic incident, Alford describes how the shooting has affected her daily life and future plans. She’s afraid to leave the house, attend her high school graduation, and even go to college. Her mother and grandmother also describe their reactions to the disastrous event. Listen to hear Alford’s story.
May 25, 2018
Some California school districts recently tried providing the SAT for free during the school day for high school juniors. While the cost for this first year was funded by a grant, future years of free SATs could be provided by a California bill that would allow school districts to to pay for the SAT or ACT rather than standardized tests. Supporters of this bill think it is important to reduce barriers to taking the SAT, while opponents argue that standardized tests are absolutely necessary. Listen to this story about how one high school is offering the SAT for free and then debate: Should the SAT be free in schools?
May 24, 2018
Philadelphia’s public school system has hundreds of broken musical instruments. In order to raise money to repair them, professional musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra along with school children will perform Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Lang’s new piece, “Symphony for a Broken Orchestra.” This composition highlights the “wounded” nature of these instruments to create a unique sound. Listen to how the composer wants to emphasize the community of the orchestra and how diverse musicians can come together to create something beautiful.
May 23, 2018
The United States government recently passed a law that requires all major restaurant chains to post the calories of their dishes on their menus. Studies have demonstrated that having this information about their food causes diners to cut back on the number of calories they consume. This can help them lose weight and avoid the dangers of obesity, especially since some foods have more calories than you might think. Listen to learn more about this law and its benefits from two experts on nutritional policy.