TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
New current events added daily. Get Our Weekly Roundup.
May 3, 2014
George Lucas’s Star Wars films are an empire unto themselves. With two movie trilogies and another on the way, the films are prolific, as are the universe they build. This is matched and raised by hundreds of Star Wars books that mirror and expand the narrative of the movies. Some hardcore fans even prefer the books, which cover 25,000 years and include 17,000 characters. Listen to learn more about the unprecedented success of this movie based book franchise.
May 2, 2014
Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With The Wind was an instant success when it was published in 1936. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was a national bestseller. Mitchell was inspired by her family’s history as Southern planters and their stories of the past. The novel’s themes of love and survival resonated with some, but her portrayal of slavery and the Civil War, through the eyes of a slaveholding woman, remains controversial. Listen to learn how the Georgia county that served as inspiration for the book is dealing with this legacy today.
May 2, 2014
A rising number of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children due to a variety of reasons. Doctors are alarmed at this rise of unvaccinated children, which may be connected to a series of measles cases.
May 1, 2014
The 1972 film The Godfather introduced the world to the Italian Mafia. This story of family, honor and betrayal was based on a best-selling novel by the same name. The movie, which won three Oscars and had two sequels, has withstood the test of time and ranks as one of the greatest American films ever made. Listen to hear why the movie resonates with the viewer well beyond the first time watching it.
May 1, 2014
Does law enforcement have the right to search cellphones? The Supreme Court is hearing a case about whether it is lawful to search a person’s cell phone log during arrest. The case goes to the heart of the fourth amendment. Listen to learn more about cellphone searches.
April 30, 2014
Is there a possibility for humans to live on another Earth-like planet? Scientists claim that there are potential candidates out there, and for the first time can estimate how many. Listen to this story to learn more about other planets that could sustain life.
April 29, 2014
A few seconds lost over millions of years seem irrelevant, but atomic clock scientists say that better clock precision will help us study and feel the heartbeat of the universe.
April 28, 2014
The level of college debt has risen in the last 20 years, where students now have to choose between overwhelming student loans or community colleges. Reform can start by fixing the financial aid system.
April 27, 2014
Plays and poetry written by William Shakespeare are studied in schools around the world. The British playwright is acknowledged as one of the great literary minds of all time - but not everyone believes that the works attributed to Shakespeare were actually written by him. No existing documents link the William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon to the famous plays. In addition, Shakespeare’s lack of education makes many question how he knew so much about language and the worlds of the rich that he writes about. Listen to learn more about these doubts over Shakespearean authorship and make up your own mind!
And check out this additional PBS resource on the authorship debate “Much Ado About Something”
April 24, 2014
Starfish are mysteriously becoming infected by a deadly disease that causes their arms to fall off and makes regeneration impossible. Scientists are urgently trying to figure out how their sickness is affecting the rest of the marine environment.
April 23, 2014
The reason why some people dislike cilantro may not be due to taste, but to smell. This cilantro experiment indicates that certain people are genetically-inclined to “hate” cilantro.
April 22, 2014
A cracked dam in Washington endangers farming near the area with lower water levels and the looming threat of a summer heat. Lowered water levels have caused a temporary increase in tourism in spots but also revealed old graves.
April 21, 2014
A family-owned prosthetics business in Dorchester, MA fitted more than half of the Boston Marathon bombing survivors with new limbs. New marathon runners look to them to fit them with legs that can run 26.2 miles.
April 19, 2014
On April 15, 1947, African American baseball player Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was an interesting choice by the Dodgers to break the race barrier in baseball because he was an older player and not seen as the best player in the Negro league. Listen to learn how Robinson’s strong character, as much as his talent, helped to successfully integrate baseball.
April 19, 2014
John Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath” was released more than 75 years ago. The tale of poverty and hope is still frequently read today. The book is the story of the Joad family heading West from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl. The novel’s depiction of poverty shocked readers at the time but remains relevant in America today. Listen to learn how themes of the book reflect the 1930s and the present.
April 18, 2014
Many refugees who have settled in Vermont are used to eating lots of goat meat back in their home countries. However, until recently, this meat has been expensive and hard to find in New England. Now, the Vermont Goat Collaborative is helping refugees find the meat they want. The project makes use of male baby goats are often disposed of because they can’t produce milk. Listen to hear more about this initiative and how it is benefiting local populations.
April 17, 2014
Tijuana, a young city, grew out of the construction of the US-Mexico border in California. The physical barrier represents Mexicans’ gateway to opportunities as well as a separation from loved ones.
April 16, 2014
The search for the missing Malaysian airplane has gone underwater. The Bluefin robotic submarine is using sound waves to gather images of the ocean floor. It’s mapping out the bottom of the ocean, so that searchers can spot anything unusual.
April 15, 2014
One year ago two explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people and injuring at least 250 people. Sixteen people lost limbs including the man featured in this story who lost both his legs.
April 14, 2014
Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Following the blasts, thousands of runners were told in the middle of their race that they could not reach the finish line due to the bombings. This year many runners are returning, and they are set on finishing what they started.
April 11, 2014
The illegal animal smuggling trade is right behind drugs and weapons smuggling because there is a large market actively seeking exotic, illegal animals. Smugglers have found many creative ways to sneak animals in, from stuffing them in pant legs to tires.
April 10, 2014
Marian Anderson was denied a performance at Constitution Hall, but 75 years ago, she was able to perform to a desegregated crowd at the Lincoln Memorial. Listen to this story to learn more about how she used art and lyrics to fight racism.
April 9, 2014
Chemotherapy has been known to make patients nauseous. The science behind the nausea shows that the medicine does affect the taste cells. But doctors have found alternative methods for patients to “taste” during chemotherapy.
April 8, 2014
Rwanda marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide this week. The ethnically driven killings led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, as the majority Hutu faction targeted ethnic Tutsis. Today, as people remember their loved ones, many feel traumatized by the horrible events of the past. Some feel that the country has become much more progressive since the genocide, but others argue that there is still a long way to go. Listen to the story to hear more about how Rwanda’s past still affects its present.
April 7, 2014
It has been three years since thousands of Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries have worked or attended school. They were forced from their country due to the war. Life is difficult for the refugees, but it is also hard on the host country’s economy as well as international aid groups. Listen to hear more about Syrian refugees.
April 6, 2014
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby” has inspired many adaptations. From film to opera, this story of wealth, love and reinvention in the Jazz Age has stood the test of time. In 2013 the most recent and epic film adaptation was released. It includes scenes in 3D and music from rap artist Jay-Z. Director Baz Luhrmann shaped the film and its production around Fitzgerald’s writing style and contemporary subject matter. Listen to learn more about how F. Scott Fitzgerald’s style shines through in this contemporary retelling.
April 4, 2014
Theories abound about what happened to the Malaysian Airlines flight 370. It’s been about a month since it mysteriously disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysia and Australia are leading the search effort about 1,100 miles off the Australian coast. What happened to the airplane remains a mystery.
April 3, 2014
The Hubble Telescope has been transmitting data from space for 24 years. It has endured several changes in U.S. Presidents and it will continue to stay in space until at least 2020. What have we learned from the Hubble Telescope over the last two decades?
April 2, 2014
The same compound found in Subway sandwich breads and other commercial breads is also found in yoga mats. Research shows that the amount of this food additive is not toxic to one’s health, but it all comes down to how comfortable you are eating this ingredient.
April 1, 2014
The severe drought in California has affected the usual salmon migration. Typically the fish swim 270 miles from fresh water in Northern California to the Pacific Ocean. But because of low water levels, California hatcheries are ensuring their migration by transporting them in climate-controlled trucks to the ocean.
March 31, 2014
After Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, NATO looks to strengthen defenses around allied countries in the face of possible aggression from Russia. The international community gathered recently to discuss ways to deter Russia.
March 28, 2014
In Washington state the clean up effort is still underway after a large mud slide killed at least two dozen people. Landslides are hard to predict. Scientists can determine which hills are most vulnerable, but getting the information to people that could use is it difficult.
March 27, 2014
The human nose is actually more powerful than your eyes because it can detect more than one trillion unique smells. Scientists believe that if the universal code behind each smell could be deciphered, you can do things like send smells over the internet.
March 26, 2014
The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 caused extreme environmental damage as well as long-lasting impact on the Alaskan farmer community. What are the lessons learned from the spill?
March 26, 2014
What does it take to be successful in school and life? Research shows that success is strongly correlated to something called “grit.” Grit combines determination, persistence and resilience. People with grit are able to push through difficulties, learn from mistakes, and pick themselves up and try again when they fail. Schools and teachers are trying to instill grit in their students, but is this possible? Listen to learn more from people who support and challenge this new direction in education.
March 25, 2014
The United States is only one of three countries that does not support mandatory paid paternal leave, which often results in economic hardship for families. Examples from other countries show that paid family leave supports the economy and stronger families.
March 24, 2014
The drought didn't just close down ski resorts and impact agriculture— it also increased coffee bean prices due to a bean condition called "coffee disease rust." The widespread impact might even have customers at the local coffee chop feeling the price change.
March 21, 2014
Nevada's farms are few and far between, and the recent drought has not made survival easier. Some farms decided to "hack" the drought by adapting to the region's water shortage by growing better suited crops.
March 20, 2014
A year after Pope Francis was elected, the Catholic Church has seen progressive, sweeping changes that bring both Catholics and non-Catholics to his side. From internal change to social issues such as divorce and homosexuality, the Pope has been addressing them publicly.
March 19, 2014
The Malaysian Airlines airplane, carrying 239 people, is still missing after a week of intense searching by more than a dozen countries. The Malaysian government now believes that its off-course route was deliberately planned.