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Current Events

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February 27, 2014

3:52

Grand Canyon’s Real Age

The Grand Canyon was thought to be around 6 billion years old, but new evidence proves that maybe only some parts are—and some parts are even older. Listen to this story to understand the confusion over the canyon’s age.

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February 26, 2014

5:22

Age and Race

Rosa Finnegan did not stop working until she was 101. Now 102, she lives at a nursing home and comes to realize her perceptions on race and the end of life.

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February 25, 2014

4:35

Former Ukrainian President’s Zoo

Peacocks and ostriches in his private zoo. Marble floors and crystal chandeliers in a mansion. Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych left behind an estate that has shocked the people of Ukraine. While he claimed to live modestly, he actually lived in an extravagant estate which has a personal golf course and a zoo of exotic animals. Anti-government protesters hope to keep the outrageous estate intact as evidence against the former president.

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February 24, 2014

5:13

Lunch Counter Protests of Civil Rights Era

During Black History month, it’s important to learn about the small protest that sparked the civil rights movement. Four black teenagers demanded service at an all-white lunch counter in 1960. One of those protesters recently passed away and this story reflects on his life and impact.

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February 21, 2014

5:28

Ukraine Unrest

The fast moving crisis in Ukraine is threatening the stability of that country. Nationalists are fighting the elected government. The unrest is tied to Ukraine’s past as part of the former Soviet Union. Listen to this story with your students to understand the history of the conflict.

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February 20, 2014

3:52

Teacher Unions vs Students

A potentially landmark lawsuit goes to trial Monday in California. At issue: whether job protections for public school teachers undermine a student’s constitutional right to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit see it as a potential model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. Unions and state officials say the lawsuit demonizes teachers and has no merit.

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February 19, 2014

5:48

Throwing Away Food

On average, we throw away around 40% of our food. Sarah Ramirez, a Stanford Ph.D, decided to fight hunger by picking crops from fields and yards that would’ve been trashed. Listen to this story to learn if her efforts are successful.

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February 18, 2014

4:29

Woolly Mammoths Depended on Flowers

50,000 years ago, the arctic was not icy—but grassy, full of life and of course, woolly mammoths. After studying these giant animals’ DNA found in feces and soil, scientists hypothesize their extinction may be due to a flower. Listen to this story to find out why.

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February 17, 2014

4:42

Chinese Oreo Cookies

Twist, lick, and dunk is familiar to Americans growing up with Oreos, but it did not make sense to Chinese cookie lovers when Oreos were first introduced. It was only after the Oreo team changed the shape and taste of the Oreo did it succeed. Listen to this story to learn what the Chinese Oreo looks like.

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February 14, 2014

4:13

Valentine’s Day Spending Decreases

Valentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday, right after Christmas. But this year, Valentine’s Day spending went down compared to previous year’s. Is this a response to the war on Valentine’s Day? Listen to this story to find out why.

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February 13, 2014

3:20

CVS Drops Cigarettes

All 7,600 CVS Caremark stores will no longer be offering tobacco products for sale. The change is part of the company’s move into healthcare. Listen to this story to hear if this move will really help curtail smoking and promote healthy living.

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February 12, 2014

3:41

Subjectivity in Olympic Judging

In past Olympics, vote trading, where one judge trades for votes with another judge, skewed judging in ice skating; however, when anonymity was enacted, vote trading just got worse. Listen to this story to learn how subjectivity has a role in judging.

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February 11, 2014

3:27

Curling Provides Quick, Effective Workout

Curling is the Olympic sport of propelling a rock across the ice field with a broom called a brush. Although it looks simple, curling has been known as “chess on ice” and requires a lot of athletic ability to move the rock forward accurately. Listen to this story to learn what skills curlers need.

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February 10, 2014

3:03

Sochi's Man-Made Snow

The Sochi Olympics started with lots of snow—lots of man-made snow, guaranteed by machines. This time last year, Sochi was dry, but they have enough snow now to cover almost 920 football fields. Listen to this story to learn how the machine works.

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February 7, 2014

3:51

Kraft's Orange Cheese Fraud

Kraft’s Mac and Cheese products are going through a change because parents and nutritionists believe that the food coloring caused hyper activity in children.

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February 6, 2014

3:56

Bill Nye Debates Creationist Ken Ham

Bill Nye, television show host and science educator, debated Ken Ham, president of the Creation Museum, on creationism versus evolution in a spirited exchange. Listen to this story to hear each side's argument.

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February 5, 2014

3:54

Ancient Plague DNA Found in Tooth

One of the first instances of a plague was found during the Roman Empire. The plague, which occurred during the 6th century, spread through Europe, Africa, and Asia. Today, an ancient burial site may hold DNA evidence of why and how it occurred. Listen to this story to learn the difference between ancient and modern bacteria.

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February 4, 2014

2:25

Death Penalty for Boston Marathon Bomber

The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing suspect could face the federal death penalty. Some victims of the bombings actively argue for capital punishment. The majority of residents in Massachusetts, where the bombing happened, do not support the penalty and it is not legal for state crimes. Listen to this story to learn what the bomber's fate might be. And then listen to this story about how a federal death penalty law trumps a state law that prevents it.

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February 3, 2014

3:56

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

11:45

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 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

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 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

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

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

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

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 13, 2014

8:01

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

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 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

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

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 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. Listen to learn about the economics and environmental impact of animal farming.

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