TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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January 30, 2015
President Obama gave his State of the Union last week, officially entering his seventh year as president. With two years remaining in his presidency, Obama is officially a lame duck president. But, he is taking action to make these years meaningful by making large policy changes using Executive Action. Listen to learn more about the history of lame duck presidencies and how having a Congress controlled by the opposition party might lead to more rather than less debate.
January 29, 2015
Great apes such as orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas have long been known for their intelligence and have been thought to be early ancestors of humans. Orangutans who could whistle led scientists to discover even more fascinating orangutan vocalizations. Listen to learn more about this discovery and what it may mean for the origin of human speech.
January 28, 2015
The attacks in Paris, on a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket initially appeared coordinated but were far from it. Al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the magazine attack, a response for offensive cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, while the supermarket terrorist suspect was affiliated with ISIS. Listen to learn more about the deep-seated division between these two Islamic militant groups.
January 27, 2015
A federal judge has found oil company BP responsible for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and resulting oil spill. Now the question is how much should BP pay for the damage caused by 3.19 million barrels of oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico. Some argue that BP should receive the maximum penalty for the environmental and economic damage caused by the spill. But BP wants credit for the money its has already spent on damages and cleanup. Listen to learn more about this complicated decision.
January 23, 2015
As you drink your morning orange juice, you might not think about where it comes from. Oranges and other citrus are an important base for the Florida economy. The citrus industry and the related jobs in Florida are under threat from a new insect borne infection known as “citrus greening.” Listen to learn more about this disease and how citrus farmers are coping with this changing landscape.
January 22, 2015
Time capsules are used by communities across the United States to capture a moment in time and preserve artifacts for future generations. Colonial leaders in Boston, Massachusetts buried a time capsule under the Massachusetts State House in 1795. The contents from this time capsule have been removed and displayed. Listen to learn more about who buried the time capsule and what they found inside.
January 21, 2015
Potatoes are a staple in many households. So it’s natural researchers have worked to create a better potato with genetic modification. Geneticists have been able to change and improve potatoes to make them safer and cut down on waste, but potato buyers are refusing to buy them. Listen to learn more about how the potato has been improved, but why many food manufacturers don’t want to use them.
January 20, 2015
Islamic extremists in the Middle East and France have dominated the news. But they’ve also attacked innocent civilians in Nigeria. A group known as Boko Haram kidnapped young school girls in April of last year. Most recently they appear to be behind brutal attacks and killings in the lawless north of Nigeria. The Nigerian government seems powerless to stop their attacks. What is Boko Haram and are they connected with other Islamic militant groups? Share this story with students to help them understand this growing threat.
January 19, 2015
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we remember this icon through the eyes of his eldest son. Martin Luther King III shares childhood memories of a segregated amusement park, forging his own path while honoring his father’s legacy, and more. This public radio story features audio from the civil rights era and Martin Luther King III himself.
January 16, 2015
Human diseases such as cancer impact human cells differently depending on the person. This makes it important for scientific researchers to have access to a variety of human cells - healthy and infected - to find medicines that fight or cure disease. A new technique of growing cells uses a layer of mouse cells to fuel human cell growth. It’s changed the game in cancer research. Listen to learn how this technique developed and how it lead to a breakthrough in cervical cancer research.
January 15, 2015
The 1965 voting rights march in Selma, Alabama exposed police brutality to the world and set the stage for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The movie ‘Selma’ tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movement in Selma in a new and authentic way. Listen to learn more about traditional Hollywood depictions of civil rights and how this movie has broken that mold.
WARNING: THIS AUDIO STORY CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE
January 14, 2015
The highest level of punishment for committing crimes in the United States is death. Since 1976, lethal injection, or death by poison, has been the most common way the death penalty is enforced. In recent years it has become more difficult for prison systems to get access to these lethal poisons. States are trying new drug formulas that are not always successful. Listen to learn why pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell drugs to prisons and how this is affecting the implementation of the death penalty.
NOTE: THERE IS A DISTURBING DESCRIPTION OF A LETHAL INJECTION EXECUTION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY
January 13, 2015
France and the world community were stunned when Islamic radicals carried out two attacks in Paris last week. One attack was on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for its anti-Islamic cartoons, the other on a Jewish grocery store. The terrorists killed 17 people. The attack on journalists was a first, but targeting Jews isn’t new in France. Listen to learn more about the attacks and the response of the French and Jewish communities.
January 11, 2015
Solar power is becoming an attractive alternative to traditional electric as solar panels become more affordable. This shift away from traditional electricity is worrying utilities companies that provide energy and the electric grid itself. Listen to learn how this battle between electric and solar is playing out in sunny California and Colorado.
January 9, 2015
The legal drinking age in the United States is 21, but surveys show that parties with alcohol have become common for underage teens. And often, the parents know the teens are drinking. Some communities are trying to hold the parents accountable for the underage drinking. Listen to learn how one county in Southern California is cracking down on teen drinking by fining parents.
January 8, 2015
Many people use caffeine as a pick me up throughout the day. They drink coffee or tea in the morning, and maybe a soda at lunch. A new powdered form of caffeine has hit the market but it can be deadly. Listen to learn more about the health impacts of powdered caffeine and the effort by some people to ban it.
January 7, 2015
A new study on the lives of American teenagers shows that teens are choosing electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, over traditional nicotine products. These findings have sparked a debate about the safety and long term impact of e-cigarette use. Listen to learn more about this debate from public health advocates and e-cigarette companies.
January 6, 2015
NASA’s Curiosity Rover has found unexpected bursts of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Scientists don’t know where the methane is coming from but some see these bursts as evidence that there are or once were living microbes on the red planet. Listen to learn more about this important gas and the implications of its discovery on Mars.
January 4, 2015
December 17, 2014 marked a dramatic shift in United States relations with Cuba. After over 50 years of a complete embargo, President Obama announced plans to normalize relations with the nearby island. Miami, Florida is the hub of the Cuban American community. From those who fled the revolution five decades years ago to those who have come recently - reaction to the president’s decision has been split. Listen to learn more about these reactions.
January 2, 2015
What you eat doesn’t just impact you; it impacts the environment. This is the argument that some nutritionists are presenting to U.S. Congressional Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee. They suggest Congress should consider the agricultural practices and the environmental impact of some foods when issuing nutrition guidelines. But that suggestion has not been well received by Congress. Listen to learn more about this effort to marry nutrition and environmentalism and the congressional backlash it has provoked.
January 1, 2015
In December 1864, nearly 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho were killed by a United States cavalry who hoped to drive Native Americans out of the Western territory. This year descendants of these tribes returned to the massacre site for the 150th anniversary and received an official apology from Colorado’s governor. Listen to learn more about the massacre and its legacy.
December 31, 2014
Conflict and violence in Syria have displaced women and children to surrounding nations. Refugees living in Beirut, Lebanon have found voice and kinship through the ancient tragedy Antigone. Sophocles wrote Antigone in 441 BCE. The play is about a Princess dealing with the loss of war and daring to challenge the powerful. 250 years later some Syrian women see themselves in Antigone and have adapted the play to reflect their experiences.
December 30, 2014
Our economy relies on long haul truckers driving goods across the country. But the pressure to make deadlines and earn money can come at the expense of sleep. In 2012, 3,500 people died as a result of large truck crashes and in many cases it’s because the driver fell asleep. Congress recently rolled back a regulation that increases the sleep requirements for drivers. Do these regulations fight driver fatigue or do they just push truck traffic to rush hour? Listen to learn more about these regulations and their effect.
December 28, 2014
As parents age and experience sickness or memory loss, caregiving becomes a difficult and sometimes overwhelming task for adult children. Listen to learn about the gesture of kindness that helped Maureen O’Rourke while she was caring for her dying father.
December 26, 2014
Michael’s mother died when he was in the eighth grade. For years, he avoided his Catholic school’s Mother/Son mass, acutely feeling the loss of his mother. But then Michael’s friend’s mom stepped in and invited him to come with her and her son. Listen to learn how this event changed their relationship, giving Michael a second mother.
December 25, 2014
We all have two kidneys, so when someone’s kidneys fail it is possible for someone else to donate one of his or her kidneys. About 6,000 of these live kidney donations happen each year. These donations normally occur between friends and family, but sometimes a stranger is willing to give a kidney to save another person’s life. Listen to learn more about Ben Johnston’s decision to give his kidney to someone he didn’t know.
December 24, 2014
We meet new people everyday but it is rare for someone that you’ve just met to change the course of your life. When Ron Jones got to know Samantha and Joseph, people he met in a local coffeehouse, and heard about the challenges they had faced, he invited them to live with him. Listen to learn how Ron changed the course of the lives of people who were almost strangers.
December 23, 2014
What makes your house feel like home? What would you do if those things disappeared? How would you help a friend or stranger who lost their sense of home? Listen to hear how the kindness of new roommates helped one woman cope with death, divorce and losing her job.
December 22, 2014
College students are turning to a new way to fight global warming. They are encouraging their universities to take a stand against climate change and remove the school’s money from investments in fossil fuel companies - like coal and oil. Listen to hear from students at Harvard University why they are fighting for divestment.
December 20, 2014
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in Maryland and then used her freedom and the Underground Railroad to free more than 70 slaves. Known as the “Moses of Her People,” Tubman lived a purposeful life fighting slavery. She also joined the fight for women’s suffrage after the Civil War. Congress has approved the creation of two national historic parks, one in Maryland and the other in New York, to commemorate and honor the life of this pioneering woman.
December 19, 2014
Electric eels look like water snakes but they can create their own electricity. New scientific studies have gained more insight into how electric eels use different electric volts to find and kill their prey. Listen to learn more about this fascinating creature from an expert neurobiologist.
December 18, 2014
On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Senate released part of a 6,000 page report on abusive interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the post-9/11 War on Terror. For some, this report is evidence of immoral and illegal torture by the CIA. But others say it's more complicated. Did the torture program produce useful information? Does it serve as a deterrent to terrorists? Is there any justification for torture? Listen to hear more about this complicated issue from a legal analyst.
December 17, 2014
While Americans are enjoying low gas prices, oil producing nations are feeling the squeeze as the value of their biggest commodity continues to decline. Why is the price of oil dropping and who is it impacting? Listen to learn more about the international consequences of low oil prices and the interconnectedness of the international economy.
December 16, 2014
Today marks the first night of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights. Hanukkah comes with many traditions both ancient and modern. This story explores the historic origins of foil wrapped chocolate coins given during Hanukkah, known as gelt. Listen to hear how migration to urban areas to and to America changed the traditions of Hanukkah.
December 14, 2014
The grand jury decision not to indict the white New York City police officer responsible for the chokehold death of Eric Garner during an arrest, has led to protests across the country. From die-ins that block traffic to shutting down shopping malls, these efforts require organization, passion and a high degree of communication. This public radio story looks at how today’s social actions are organized and what they’ve learned from the civil rights movement.
December 12, 2014
Cyberattacks on businesses have the power to shut down day to day operations and compromise security. A recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures, in which five movies were leaked and sensitive information was disrupted, is believed to be a result of North Korea’s cyberwar capacity. Sony Picture’s upcoming comedy “The Interview” in which two American journalists go to North Korea to interview and kill its leader, is not considered funny by the North Korean government. The North Koreans are believed to have conducted the cyber attack on Sony to retaliate for the release of the movie. Listen to learn more about this attack and evidence that points to its North Korean origins.
UPDATE 12.18.14 - Sony Pictures has pulled the release of the movie "The Interview." In a statement Sony said "Sony has no further release plans for the film."
December 11, 2014
Since the end of the space shuttle program and the beginning of independently funded space exploration, NASA hasn’t been launching many new spacecrafts. This is changing with a recent test flight for NASA’s new spacecraft Orion, which is designed to carry astronauts into deep space. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about Orion’s design and goals.
December 10, 2014
For developing countries, population growth can threaten its development. China famously instituted a one child policy to ensure that the state could support all of its citizens. Most nations are not willing to tell people how many children they can have, but some nations are getting creative. Niger, a country in West Africa, is one of the poorest nations in the world and it has the highest birth rate in the world. The average woman will have 7 children. The government of Niger and the United Nations teamed up to educate men about the benefits of family planning with a “School for Husbands.”
December 9, 2014
Most streets in the United States were designed for cars, not for people riding bicycles or walking. In densely populated cities this has meant that people are forced to live on streets where they don’t feel safe walking and cycling. A new movement, called “complete streets,” pushes cities to design streets to fit the needs of all the people who use it, not just people in cars. Listen to learn how this “complete streets” movement is being put into effect in cities across the country.
December 5, 2014
In the Marines, ground combat units have always been made up of just men. A new yearlong experiment is putting female Marines to the test to see if they can make it through combat training and join male Marines in ground combat. If women can’t make it through the training some ask if the combat standards be changed. Listen to learn more about this experiment and the debate surrounding it.