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February 3, 2014

3:56

Chinese new year fireworks

Chinese New Year Fireworks

Many Chinese citizens did not light fireworks this year to ring in the year of the horse because many parts of China already have toxic air pollution levels. Lighting fireworks during the Chinese New Year is traditionally done to bring good luck. Listen to this story to learn why the Chinese are especially worried about air pollution.

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January 31, 2014

2:50

Drought cripples community

Drought Cripples Community

A third of the country's produce is grown in California, but more than half of the state is under severe drought conditions. The financial loss is huge since land cannot be planted and produce is not grown and sold. Listen to this story to learn who else a drought affects.

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January 31, 2014

3:04

Drought hurts ski resorts

Drought Hurts Ski Resorts

Farms aren't the only things suffering in a severe drought - ski resorts are also hurting. With little to no snow fall, ski resorts delay openings to unprecedented dates. Listen to this story to learn more about how communities are living with this reality.

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January 30, 2014

3:48

Superbowl economics

Super Bowl Economics

This year's Super Bowl will be held at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium—but many mistakenly believe it will be held in New York. This could have tremendous economic impact on New Jersey since business will flow to Manhattan rather than stay in New Jersey. Listen to this story to hear what the mayor of the host city has to say.

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January 29, 2014

4:50

State of the union 2014

State of the Union 2014

President Obama laid out a sweeping agenda in his State of the Union address. He called for a "year of action" on many important government changes. He told Congress he wants to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment, fix immigration laws and ensure equal pay for women. Listen to this story for a short wrap-up of the one hour speech and then discuss with your class.

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January 28, 2014

7:47

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Robotic Arms Change Lives

Brittle bones disease is a congenital disease that makes a person's bones extremely fragile and twisted. Currently, there is no cure — but engineering students at Rice University came together to build a robotic arm for one brittle bones patient. Listen to this story to learn how it changed the teen's life.

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January 26, 2014

4:36

Gentrification.square

The Pros and Cons of Gentrification

Gentrification holds a negative connotation for many people, who believe it pushes the less fortunate out of their homes to benefit the more affluent. However, recent studies have shown that gentrification may actually benefit lower income families. Listen to learn more about the history of gentrification and its possible benefits for low income families.

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January 24, 2014

4:39

Mexican national executed in u.s.

Mexican National Executed in U.S.

There are 48 Mexican nationals on death row in the United States. The third Mexican national was executed this week in Texas, despite push back from Secretary of State John Kerry and the Mexican government. Listen to this story to learn why this precedent could be risky for US citizens living abroad.

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January 23, 2014

11:50

Syrian teenager

Syrian Teenager Supports His Family

Since the Syrian Civil War began, more than 2 million people have fled the country. Half of the Syrian refugees are children. A majority of Syrians have crossed borders into neighboring countries in the Middle East. Listen to this story to hear about a seventeen-year old Syrian refugee in Lebanon that must now support his family.

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January 22, 2014

7:27

Racial integration in arkansas

Racial Integration in Little Rock Decades Later

Nearly six decades after schools were ordered to desegregate, students at a Little Rock High School still believe today there is work to be done to feel fully integrated. Listen to this story to learn how Arkansas high school students feel about race at their school.

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January 21, 2014

7:43

Slave owning past

Slave Owning Past

Kate Byroade knew her family once owned slaves. She feels uncomfortable acknowledging that her ancestors dominated other people, but she knows that the story is important. As Kate has learned more about her family’s past, it has become increasingly personal for her and hard to reconcile. For instance, she felt troubled when she learned that an ancestor once owned an 8-year-old child. Listen to this story to hear more about how Kate thinks about her family’s slave-owning past.

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January 20, 2014

5:41

Martin luther king's boston ties

Martin Luther King's Boston Ties

Martin Luther King Jr. had many ties to Boston in the 1960's. He donated his personal papers to his alma mater, Boston University. Listen to this story and hear how many people in Boston remember the young King.

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January 20, 2014

7:49

A family's slave history

A Family's Slave History

The movie '12 Years a Slave' has inspired some people to uncover connections between their own families and slavery. A San Francisco man talks about how he felt when he discovered his ancestors had been slaves in North Carolina. He studied old documents and record books that revealed both struggle and resilience in his family’s past. These stories feel deeply personal to him, and they’ve affected him in powerful ways. Listen to learn more about what this man and others have learned about their ancestors.

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January 17, 2014

9:56

Civil rights song

Civil Rights Song

Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” became a sensation in the African-American community and an anthem of the 1960's civil rights movement. Listen to this story to learn why “A Change is Gonna Come” was written and the impact it had on the Civil Rights movement.

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January 16, 2014

3:56

Political parties agree to help poor

Political Parties Agree to Help Poor

This month, 50 years after a war on poverty was declared by President Lyndon Johnson, politicians are still fighting over how to help alleviate poverty. This week the two major political parties in the U.S. agreed they need to do more to help the poor, but differ on how. Republicans call to repeal state aid and Democrats claim that those safety nets saved the economy.

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January 15, 2014

2:54

Paleo diet cavities

Paleo Diet Cavities

The remains of hunter-gatherers were found in a cave dating back 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. These people did not grow food, but rather, foraged for it. What interests scientists is that the hunter-gatherers were found with cavities, despite the “paleo diet.” Listen to this story to learn the culprit of cavities.

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January 14, 2014

4:09

Farmworkers struggle to feed families

Farmworkers Struggle to Feed Families

Farmworkers are feeding everyone else’s family – but their own. Many farmworker families find themselves turning to junk food due to cheaper prices compared to fresh food. Listen to this story to learn how this is possible even when they work and live right next to farms.

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January 13, 2014

8:01

War on poverty

War on Poverty

50 years ago President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” The President and Congress created Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start and other programs for low-income Americans. But did we win the war on poverty? Listen to this story and then explore the question with your class.

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January 10, 2014

4:23

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Prison Loaf as Punishment

Food shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment, but some prisons do it. In some prisons, “the loaf” is a bland form of food, given to disruptive inmates. Is this ethical? Listen to this story and discuss the merits of this form of discipline.

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January 9, 2014

3:36

Dead christmas trees find new life

Dead Christmas Trees Find New Lives

There will be 30 million dead Christmas trees lining curbsides in the weeks after the holidays. However, they don’t just go to waste – many groups are finding environmental uses for former trees. Listen to this story to learn about the creative ways former Christmas trees impact the Earth.

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January 8, 2014

3:50

Drivers still texting despite ban

Drivers Still Texting Despite Ban

More than 41 states have laws against texting and driving, but thousands of people are still using their cell phones while they drive. So does imposing a texting ban while driving actually decrease auto accidents? The data says no, listen to this story to learn why not.

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January 7, 2014

4:13

Rare polar vortex creates sub freezing temperatures

Rare Polar Vortex Creates Sub-freezing Temperatures

A Polar Vortex will descend on the majority of the United States within the next two days. Temperatures will be unseasonably low with wind chills of below zero. Listen to this story to learn more about the science and rarity of these kinds of vortexes.

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January 6, 2014

4:36

Animal manure causes water pollution

Animal Manure Causes Water Pollution

Animal manure creates the necessary nutrients, phosphorous and nitrogen, to help plants grow. However, water sources surrounding animal farms are also heavily polluted, mainly due to phosphorous in the water beds. Find out how farmers are trying to be economic about the environment.

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January 3, 2014

7:17

Effect of overpopulation determined by debt

Effect of Overpopulation Determined by Bet

There are over 7 billion people on Earth today, double the population 45 years ago. A famous bet was made between an economist and biologist to determine if a world at risk of overpopulation will adapt and survive. Listen to this story with students to learn the results.

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January 2, 2014

4:16

Flood insurance

Flood Insurance

The federal government provides discount flood insurance. But after paying out many insurance claims in flood prone areas, the program is deeply in debt. So in 2012 Congress raised the flood insurance rates. But there was such an uproar that now Congress wants to roll back the increase. Listen to this story about the complex obligations behind flood insurance.

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December 20, 2013

7:46

F.scott.zelda

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Difficult Life

In "The Great Gatsby" F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the life of the rich and glamorous during the Roaring Twenties. But what happened to the author when the carefree splendor of the 1920s ended and the nation was plunged into the Great Depression? The 1930s were not kind to Fitzgerald or his wife Zelda. The Fitzgeralds moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where the author continued to look for inspiration in the hopes of making a comeback. Listen to learn more about the fate of this glamorous couple of the Jazz Age after the stock market crash.

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December 11, 2013

12:02

Why did mandela protest

Why did Mandela protest?

Nelson Mandela, former South African President and leader of the anti-apartheid movement, was also labeled a "terrorist." As protests against the government grew from peaceful to violent, learn more about why Mandela was forced to call for armed struggle by listening to this story.

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December 10, 2013

5:07

Moderngoldrush

Modern Day Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush of 1849 inspired thousands of prospective gold miners to move to California in search of wealth. The Gold Rush peaked in 1852, but people still find gold in California rivers. When the U.S. economy was in a recession in 2007 and 2008, gold prices started to rise and a new generation of gold prospectors headed to California. Listen to hear from these modern day prospectors and learn what drives them in their search for treasure!

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December 9, 2013

4:54

Jacklondon.sleddogs

Jack London’s Adventurous Life

Author Jack London lived a life of adventure and travel. From a childhood of poverty in San Francisco to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, London took his experiences and transformed them into compelling fiction. 'The Call of the Wild' and 'White Fang' made London the most popular American author of his generation. Literary critics now recognize the talent behind his clearly written adventure tales. Listen to learn more about the extraordinary life of this adventurous, hard working man.

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December 9, 2013

9:02

Veteran remembers pearl harbor

Veteran Remembers Pearl Harbor

FDR proclaimed that December 7, 1941 will go down in infamy. On that day, 2,000 U.S sailors at Pearl Harbor died from a surprise Japanese attack which started America's involvement in WWII. This veteran witnessed both the beginning and the end of the war.

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December 8, 2013

5:51

Marktwain.framedlife

Mark Twain’s Life Framed His Writing

In 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'Huckleberry Finn' author Mark Twain wrote about his childhood along the Mississippi River, but he did so as an adult living in Upstate New York. From his vagabond youth to forming a family and beginning to write novels, learn more about Mark Twain’s life and about how and where he wrote his greatest novels.

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December 8, 2013

9:37

Jessejames

Understanding Outlaw Jesse James

Outlaw Jesse James and his gang have become synonymous with the Wild West and horseback outlaws of the era, but the story behind his actions is far more complex. James and other members of the James-Younger Gang were Confederate guerrillas, known as Bushwhackers, before and during the Civil War. At the end of the war ex-Confederates were on the losing side and suffered the consequences. Disenfranchised and numb to violence after what they had witnessed during the war, they sought justice and revenge from the winners of the war. Listen to learn more about the life and exploits of these well-known outlaws.

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December 7, 2013

8:57

Samclemens

Samuel Clemens, The Man Behind The Writer

The works of American author Mark Twain are widely studied, but the man behind this famous pen name is less understood. Samuel Clemens was born in a small Missouri town and through challenges, travels and adventures he became and created Mark Twain. This self-educated “border ruffian” became a successful and famous “Connecticut Yankee” by combining his life experiences, sense of humor and renowned writing talents. Listen to learn how the life of Samuel Clemens created the Mark Twain we know and love.

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December 7, 2013

3:00

Steinbeck.travelswithcharlievehicle

Retracing Steinbeck’s Travels

In 1960, American author John Steinbeck took a 10,000 mile road trip around the United States with his poodle, Charley. They rode in his pickup truck, which he converted to a camper and named Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse. This counterclockwise trip from New York to Maine, to the Pacific Northwest, California, Texas, the Deep South and back to New York inspired Steinbeck’s novel “Travels with Charley” and allowed Steinbeck to see his country and answer the question “What are Americans like today?” A modern day journalist retraced Steinbeck’s journey, using the novel, Steinbeck’s letters and some old-fashioned detective work.

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December 6, 2013

3:59

Arthur.stone

The Magic and Message of King Arthur

The British legend of King Arthur dates back to the late 5th and early 6th centuries. The details of his life story are populated by folklore and medieval fiction and have been expanded by authors throughout the centuries. The tale of the sword and the stone has resonated through the ages. A young King Arthur learns from sorcerer Merlin with no knowledge of his noble blood. This concept of childhood and the unexpected hero has transcended time and resonates in tales of unlikely heroism today. Listen as modern author Lev Grossman discusses his favorite version of this tale 'The Once And Future King.'

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December 6, 2013

8:53

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Nelson Mandela Dies

The former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95. Mandela was the founding president of the democratic nation. Listen to this story to learn about Mandela's life and legacy.

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December 5, 2013

2:51

Phillis wheatley portrait 2

America’s First Black Poet

Phillis Wheatley lived an extraordinary life. Born in West Africa and sold into slavery in Boston, Massachusetts, Wheatley became the first published African-American woman and poet. In addition to being a poet, Wheatley exchanged letters with religious leaders and philanthropists. Some of her letters have survived, including one in which she reflects on the American Revolution. Listen to learn about this valuable letter, which was auctioned off in 2005.

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December 4, 2013

4:26

African slave ship diagram

The Power of Slave Narratives

Slavery is a horror of history. The capture and transportation of human beings from Africa to North America through the Middle Passage is an experience that is hard to imagine. First-person slave narratives were the first honest account of the experience and were used by the abolitionist movements in Britain and the United States to show the reality of slavery. Listen to learn more about the first-person account of freed slave Olaudah Equiano, shared in his autobiography in 1789.

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December 3, 2013

5:10

Benfranklin

The Multi-Talented Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s most influential founding fathers, but he was much more than that. An author, printer, politician, scientist and diplomat Franklin lived a surprising and fascinating life. Listen to learn more about the path of this great statesman from a printer apprenticeship in Philadelphia to an influential scientist and diplomat in Paris.

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December 2, 2013

3:58

Emilydickinson

Emily Dickinson, the Reclusive Poet

American poet Emily Dickinson was known as an eccentric recluse throughout her life. Dickinson maintained friendships through letter writing. She wrote poetry privately. Her unusual poetry style wasn’t truly discovered until after her death in 1886 when her sister Lavinia found nearly 1,800 of her sister’s poems. Though Lavinia had promised to destroy her sister’s papers, she instead had the poems published, which led to Emily’s fame as a great American poet. Listen to learn how her poetry continues to be an inspiration today.

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