TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
New current events added daily. Get Our Weekly Roundup.
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.
December 4, 2014
We use clocks throughout the day to mark the passage of time and organize our days, but what is time? For scientists who study time this is a surprisingly difficult question and it is becoming more complicated as even more accurate clocks are developed. Listen to learn more about a clock that is so accurate the passage of time varies based on where the clock is located.
December 3, 2014
Fifty years ago, on June 21, 1964, three young men went missing. They were part of Freedom Summer, an effort to register black residents to vote in segregated Mississippi. They were murdered by the local Ku Klux Klan. When their bodies were found a month later, the outrage led to the passage of civil rights protections. On November 24, 2014 President Obama posthumously awarded these three men the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to honor their sacrifice and work towards equality.
December 1, 2014
On Sunday November 23rd, a grand jury in St. Louis, Missouri decided there was not enough evidence to indict, or bring a case against, Darren Wilson. Wilson is the white Ferguson police officer who killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. The city and surrounding communities erupted into protests at the news that the police officer wouldn’t be charged. There were also peaceful protests around the country. Use this public radio story to discuss the decision and the protests.
November 29, 2014
When Jack Kerouac’s novel 'On the Road' was published in 1957 it shocked a generation of readers. The novel followed Kerouac’s travels and counterculture lifestyle. But it was the stream of consciousness style that set the literary world on its head and made it the anchor text for the Beat Generation. Kerouac didn’t always write this way; in fact his first novel didn’t have any spontaneous prose. What inspired Kerouac’s dramatic departure to stream of consciousness? Listen to learn more about his inspiration and the “holy grail of the Beat Generation.”
November 27, 2014
It is hard for books to compete with the instant communication of Twitter or Facebook and the endless content on websites likes Buzzfeed. Book loving young people are now using these websites to create content honoring or inspired by books. Listen to learn more about these adaptations and their potential impact on literacy.
November 26, 2014
The number of child migrants coming to the United States from Central America has slowed, but efforts to stop the underlying violence in these countries is growing. The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) is partnering with local government and police forces in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to bring violence prevention efforts that have worked in the United States to these communities. Listen to learn more about this programming and its impact.
November 25, 2014
In 2002, bats brought SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) to humans in China and killed 800 people. Now camels have brought MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) to people in the Middle East, sickening nearly 900 people already and killing one-third of those infected. Researchers in North Carolina have been studying MERS so they can better understand the virus. But this research has been shut down because the US government believes it's too dangerous. Listen to learn why this research is considered so dangerous, and yet so important.
November 23, 2014
On Thursday November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an Executive Action to provide relief from deportation to some undocumented immigrants. Republicans argue that Obama doesn’t have the authority to take this action alone, while immigration activists are disappointed that the plan does not go further. This public radio story outlines the specifics of the Executive Action.
November 20, 2014
In 1967, a brief war between Israeli and Palestinian forces led Israel to capture the Old City of Jerusalem, which included the holy of sites in both Jewish and Muslim religions. The Temple Mount has become a point of tension among Israeli and Palestinian communities. From who can visit and pray there to who controls the space, this is igniting conflict as right wing Jewish politicians fight for more control and access to the site.
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 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.