TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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November 19, 2014
For many, Henry David Thoreau is best know for his 1854 experiment in simplicity, living in the woods of Massachusetts on Walden Pond. The resulting book 'Walden, or Life in the Woods,' has connected generations of readers to Thoreau's vision of self-reliance, closeness to nature, and transcendentalism. An art museum located near Walden Pond has launched a show, Walden Revisited, with works inspired by and responding to Thoreau’s work.
November 18, 2014
Walnuts, pecans, peanuts and cashews are all nuts you typically see in the store and are healthy to eat. But what about acorns? Acorns, the tough nuts that fall from Oak trees are beloved by squirrels but rarely make it to the dinner table. In this public radio story we hear from a wild food advocate who is teaching people to eat acorns. We also hear about the history of eating acorns and the role of acorns in traditional Native American food.
November 16, 2014
Man has made it to the moon, rovers have made it to Mars, and now a lander is on a comet. On Wednesday, November 12th the European Space Agency landed a probe on comet 67P, which is 300 million miles from Earth. Sticking the landing was a huge achievement and gives scientists an opportunity to better understand comets and their role in providing the foundations for life.
November 14, 2014
Every day across the country, school cafeterias try to balance serving food that students want to eat and food that is healthy for students to eat. When federal nutrition standards increased the amount of fruits and vegetables students must have on their plate each day, schools and school districts adopted creative approaches to make sure that these fruits and vegetables didn’t go directly in the trash. This public radio story takes us to one of these innovative lunch rooms in Fort Collins, Colorado.
November 13, 2014
Traditional charity models give people in need food, clothing, job training, or health care. But they don’t typically give cash. This is changing with a new charity called Give Directly, which gives money directly to recipients, no strings attached, and then lets them choose what to spend it on. This public radio story takes you to Kenya to hear how the process works and what people spend their money on.
November 12, 2014
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism in West Germany. The Berlin Wall was a physical and emotional divider of democratic East Germany and communist West Germany. When it was torn down in 1989, an unlikely American TV star played a surprising role in the fall of the wall. David Hasselhoff of the hit TV show Baywatch, sang a concert to crowds at the Brandenburg gate. This public radio story remembers that moment in history and its impact on German citizens.
November 11, 2014
Bacteria and viruses are the source of most illnesses. A new source of ancient viruses has been found in the Canadian Arctic in the poo of caribou. Caribou, also known as reindeer, have lived and pooped in cold weather for millennia, so their frozen excrement is a source for ancient viruses. This public radio story introduces us to the scientist who discovered the DNA of two new viruses in 700 year old frozen Caribou waste.
November 9, 2014
The National Mall in Washington, D.C. has long honored the fallen of American war heroes, but what about those who survived but lost parts of themselves to war? The first memorial honoring disabled veterans opened Sunday, October 5, 2014 after twenty years of fundraising and advocacy by disabled veterans primarily from the Vietnam war. This public radio story brings you the voices of disabled veterans and analyzes the impact of war and the memorial that honors these veterans.
November 7, 2014
From New Jersey to Maine, there are ongoing discussions about how far quarantine should go to prevent the spread of Ebola disease. But what is quarantine? This public radio story explains the origins of government action to prevent the spread of infectious disease like the bubonic plague and influenza. It will get your students talking about the pros and cons of proactive government efforts.
November 6, 2014
When people don’t get enough sleep they aren’t able to think clearly, but why? A new study has uncovered what happens in the brain of animals as they sleep. These findings shed light on why people and animals need sleep and help researchers better understand the links between sleep and Alzheimers. Listen to this public radio story about why sleep is important to brain health.
November 5, 2014
Being the top student in your high school class is difficult under the best of circumstances. This audio tells the story of a remarkable young woman, Rashema Melson, who graduated as valedictorian of her high school, despite six years of homelessness. Listen to learn more directly from Rashema herself.
November 4, 2014
Human embryonic stem cells are able to become any kind of tissue in the body. Because of this, many researchers see huge potential for curing and preventing disease. Up until now this has been theory, but a new study has had early success in using stem cells to improve the eyesight of the blind. This sound-rich story takes you into the operating room to hear the eye surgery and meet someone whose life was changed by the procedure.
November 2, 2014
World War II was full of battlefronts, Europe, Africa, Asia, but what about on the shores of America? Nautical archaeologists have found evidence of secretive fighting that was going off right off America’s East coast between German submarines, known as U-Boats, and American freight vessels carrying supplies to Europe. A new discovery of a sunken German U-Boat and U.S. freight vessel side by side is helping historians better understand this period of WWII history, known as The Battle of the Atlantic.
October 31, 2014
When we imagine a witch today, we think about a halloween costume with a pointy black hat, warts and a broom. This public radio story takes us back to a darker period in colonial America, when people believed that witches lived among them unnoticed. At this time, accusations of being a witch led to the Salem witch trials and the execution of more than a dozen women. We hear from an author who recently compiled a book about the reality behind these accusations of witchery, and what they say about society and stereotypes.
October 30, 2014
What happens to a group of people who have no state to represent them? This happened to the Kurdish population after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. The Kurds, a cultural and ethnic group, wanted a unified state but instead European powers split their community among four states - Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. This public radio story can be a great starting point for a conversation about statelessness, identity and minority rights.
October 29, 2014
California is in the middle of a four year drought. The city of Santa Cruz has stepped up its conservation efforts with tough water restrictions. Water use is rationed by household, pushing residents to conserve in every way possible. This public radio story takes you to Santa Cruz and sheds light on how the city uses high penalties and water school to get people on board with water conservation.
October 28, 2014
On Tuesday November 4th, there is a national mid-term election with all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives up for election and 33 of 100 Senate seats are contested. 38 states are electing governors. 33 states allow qualified voters to cast their ballots early. But that’s more complicated than it sounds. Listen to this public radio story to learn how voting early can be problematic.
October 27, 2014
The price of a gallon of gas is dropping dramatically, in some cases more than 25 cents a gallon. This drop in price will mean people have more money to spend on other things. This public radio story analyzes the true economic impact this price drop could have on the economy as a whole.
October 24, 2014
Although the concept of genocide has been around for a long time, the word “genocide” is relatively new. A new documentary tells the story of a Polish man who coined the term in 1943, and then advocated for its widespread adoption and recognition. He possessed a strong sense of justice, and he felt determined that crimes related to genocide should be prosecuted. Listen to hear more about this inspirational man and the powerful documentary that tells his story.
October 23, 2014
Illness can be caused by viruses and bacteria, but some very serious illnesses come from your actual genes, your DNA. Scientist have been able to identify genes that cause illness but until now they haven’t been able to fix them. A new discovery creates the framework for editing these problematic genes. This public radio story tells the unlikely story of this discovery and discusses its potential.
October 22, 2014
When Michelle Howard was growing up, women weren’t admitted to the Naval Academy. Now she is second in command of the Navy. And she is the first African American woman to earn the rank of a four-star admiral. This conversation with her will inspire listeners to pursue their dreams, overcome barriers, and find community no matter where you are.
October 21, 2014
If you have ever had trouble putting down an addictive video game, you are not alone. Video games are actually designed using behavioral science to ensure that you will want to keep playing. This story gives you a behind the scenes look at how game designers plan to get you hooked.
October 20, 2014
The first in person in the United States has died of Ebola. This has health officials, health workers, and everyday people worried and curious about the disease. This public radio story answers questions about Ebola and deals with the facts about how Ebola is being treated. No hype - just serious questions and answers that can help us all better understand this deadly disease.
October 17, 2014
The creamy chocolate, hazelnut spread called Nutella is experiencing a surge in popularity. Kids eat it on bread for breakfast, adults snack on it with bananas and restaurants serve nutella crepes. The increase in demand is putting pressure on the world’s hazelnut crops, which are primarily in Turkey. Listen to this public radio story to learn about the history and current day economics of Nutella.
October 16, 2014
Cave painting has long been thought to be developed by early humans in Europe. A new discovery of equally old cave paintings on an island in Indonesia has upset this perspective and is pushing scientists to look even farther back to our human origins in Africa. Listen to this public radio story to hear more about the cave paintings themselves and to learn how archeologists discovered their true age.
October 15, 2014
India successfully sent a spacecraft and probe to orbit Mars in September. The United States also has a probe orbiting Mars- but their mission costs ten times as much as the India mission. Why is that? From spacecraft, to orbit shape, to payroll - this public radio story explores why these price tags were so different.
October 14, 2014
The Secret Service has been under scrutiny this month for high profile failures to protect President Obama and the First Family. First there was the successful attempt of fence jumper Omar Gonzalez to enter the White House with a knife. Then an armed man was found on an elevator with the president. Now there are calls for the Secret Service to tighten up its efforts to keep the President safe. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about these lapses and what can be done to strengthen the Secret Service.
October 13, 2014
The Seattle City Council is launching a mandatory composting program to stop people from throwing food waste in the trash. Mandatory recycling has expanded from yard waste, to normal recyclables, and now to compostable food waste. With the addition of a third trash bin, the city hopes to collect 100,000 tons of food waste a year. Listen to this public radio story to hear about the motivations, logistics, and goals of the program.
October 10, 2014
Columbus Day is celebrated every October, but our understanding of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America has changed dramatically since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. This change of perception has come with more knowledge of what the Americas and Native American cultures were truly like before Europeans arrived. Highly complex and organized communities could be found in places like the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This public radio story paints a vivid picture of the Americas before Columbus and compares our original understandings of the area with reality.
October 9, 2014
Germany is one of the top three exporters of weapons but the new economy minister is working to curb exports by enforcing arms rules and stopping sales to countries not in the European Union or NATO. His actions have politicians, arms exporters and workers upset that he is risking German jobs, security and reputation. Critics argue that other countries will take over production from Germany. This public radio story looks at both sides of the issue and can spark debate about who is responsible for weapons falling into the hands of dangerous groups.
October 8, 2014
In recent years natural disasters have highlighted the dangers of living along the coast in a time of rising sea levels and unpredictable weather. People with homes on the coast face a difficult decision as their homes lose value. Should they try and sell their homes and move, or stay and hope for the best? State governments and environmental groups are increasingly supporting people moving away, so that land can be reclaimed as a storm buffer. Listen to this public radio story to hear from homeowners who are in this difficult position.
October 7, 2014
Nearly two years ago Hurricane Sandy devastated communities on the New Jersey coast, leaving governments, scientists, architects, and citizens looking for innovative solutions to protect against natural disasters. This public radio story looks at the design and thinking behind the New Meadowlands Project in New Jersey. From the appeal of a new Central Park, to the protection wetlands provide neighboring communities from flooding, this story will get your students thinking about the benefits and challenges of implementing big environmental protection projects.
October 5, 2014
Protests in Hong Kong, which is controlled by China, escalated in the past week. Hong Kong transitioned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Now thousands of demonstrators are expressing their displeasure with the way China is running Hong Kong. They want the Chinese picked Chief Executive to resign and a more democratic process to choose a new one. Listen to this public radio story to hear a first hand account of the protests and what’s at stake.
October 3, 2014
It is apple picking season and apple lovers are gearing up to eat some tasty and unique apples. The apples we are used to seeing in the supermarket are the same basic size and shape. And they have the familiar flavor profiles. But there are more apple varieties than you might imagine. There's a whole world of biodiversity in apples. This public radio story takes you to a heirloom apple orchard in Vermont that specializes in grafting and maintaining historic varieties of apples. Get ready to visualize (and almost taste!) some unique looking apples.
October 2, 2014
The United States and its allies are currently bombing terrorist strongholds in Iraq and Syria after the group ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, stepped up its violence against non-Sunni muslim Iraqis and Western hostages. ISIS now controls territory in both Syria and Iraq. The terrorist group is moving towards the goal of creating a unified Islamic State. This public radio story helps explain who this group is, what their goals are and how they are different from al-Qaida.
October 1, 2014
The line between appropriate discipline and child abuse has been debated in the news lately in response to the child abuse allegations against Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson. In this public radio story we hear about the history of corporal punishment in the United States, the frequency of punishment in the home and in school, as well as how different parts of the country punish children differently.
September 30, 2014
Crickets are seen as a little but loud insect, some might think they are creepy, others cute, but most Americans don’t see crickets as food. This might start changing as the world searches for more environmentally sound sources of protein. Whether people fry crickets or use ground cricket flour to enrich their baked good - crickets are coming. This public radio story takes you to a farm that grows crickets in Ohio and provides a rich framework to understand the advantages to eating insects.
September 29, 2014
Last week NASA’s MAVEN probe began orbiting Mars in an effort to measure and map the Martian atmosphere. Today, Mars, known as the red planet, is bone dry and it’s atmosphere is being broken down by the sun’s solar winds, but evidence shows that it was once much more like Earth. From liquid channels to lake beds, there is clear evidence that Mars once had water as well as a magnetic field. So what happened to this water? These are the answers the MAVEN is searching for by mapping Mars’ current atmosphere. Listen to learn more about this important mission.
September 26, 2014
In 1845 two ships led by Sir John Franklin left England searching for a northern route across the globe, known as the Northwest Passage. They never returned. 169 years later, a helicopter pilot found a clue that led the Canadian government to one of the missing ships. From sonar imaging to video cameras on submarines, archeologists have confirmed that this is one of the abandoned ships from the famous expedition. Listen to hear about the haunting story this discovery has unearthed.
September 25, 2014
In the last decade, increases in government funding to scientific research through the National Institute of Health (NIH) has spurred massive growth at universities across the country. Now, with congressional reductions in discretionary spending, inflation and increasing cost of research, scientists across the country have lost the NIH funding that was at the core of the research. Listen to this public radio story to hear how scientists at three different research institutes are dealing with this funding squeeze.