TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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September 22, 2016
Sharks can live to be over two hundred years old, and recently a Greenland shark was found who may have lived up to 512 years. These sharks are the longest living vertebrates known to exist. They can be found swimming in the Arctic seas, where researchers are spending time studying the old creatures. Listen to the story to hear more about this fascinating species.
September 21, 2016
Every major presidential campaign has its own logo. The candidates work closely with graphic designers to create logos that represent a certain message the candidate would like to send to the public. In graphic form, they can project a voice, impression and identity to voters. In this story a graphic designer analyzes the logos of two major presidential campaigns.
September 20, 2016
Immigrants living in the United States have a lot to learn when they first arrive. Parents must learn how the school system works in the United States so that they can ensure their children are successful. There are often cultural differences as well as language barriers, which make it difficult to adapt. An organization in Rhode Island helps immigrant parents navigate the school system by providing classes that are translated into several languages. Listen to hear what kinds of challenges immigrant parents face.
September 19, 2016
The next president will face many global challenges including the Syrian refugee crisis, China flexing its power in the South China Sea and Russian aggression. There is also the continued threat of terrorism. U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have very different views on foreign policy. The overall position of the United States in the world will need to be considered as isolationist or internationalist. This policy will be determined and led by the next president. Listen to hear more about the global views held by the presidential candidates and the foreign policy challenges the next president will face.
September 16, 2016
Social media has an interesting effect on teenagers and the way they think. This study used social media and tested how teens responded to various photos online. Teens were shown an image that was deemed to have lots of "likes." The teens tended to like the image also. They found that teens responded strongly to the more popular pictures, regardless of which ones they were. Seeing popular pictures also produced greater activation in the reward centers of the brain. Listen to hear more about the effect of social media on the way teens think.
September 15, 2016
Dolly the sheep became famous two decades ago for being the first mammal to be successfully cloned. Today, four sheep that came from the same cells as Dolly have reached their ninth birthday. This is significant to scientists because it shows that it is possible for cloned mammals to live healthy lives into old age. Listen to hear more about this encouraging milestone for cloned animals.
September 14, 2016
Although the Republican party is dominated by older Americans, some teenagers and young adults attended the Republican National Convention to represent their state. This story explores the political viewpoints of the youngest generation of Republican voters, and how they may differ from the views of their parents and grandparents. Young Republicans share why they are at the convention and why they consider themselves Republican. Listen to hear from an 18-year old delegate and other young voters in the Republican party.
September 13, 2016
There is a currently a surplus of cheese and dairy products in the United States, and it’s a global phenomenon. Two years ago, dairy farmers expanded production due to the high demand in China and Russia. After a sudden drop in demand, there is a surplus of 1.3 billion pounds of cheese in storage. The U.S. government is helping these dairy farms by buying some of the extra cheese and giving it to food banks. Dairy farmers will get some relief from falling prices and food banks will be able to give more cheese away. Listen to hear more about this huge surplus of cheese.
September 12, 2016
One of the big issues of the 2016 presidential election is immigration. The two major party candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have opposing viewpoints on the subject. As Trump launched his campaign, he promised to build a wall to keep Mexicans out, and then later stated that he would prevent Muslims from entering the United States. Clinton has proposed comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. She sees immigrants as contributing to American society and the economy. Listen to hear more details about each candidate’s policy on immigration.
September 9, 2016
Driving after dark is more dangerous than driving during the day, especially for teens who don’t have a lot of experience. A recent study found that most crashes happened before midnight, but states that restrict teen driving don’t start until midnight, which is too late to make a big difference. Listen to hear ideas about setting regulations for teens who are learning to drive, and debate whether you think teenagers should be allowed to drive after dark.
September 8, 2016
The faces of comic books are changing with the times. The original superheroes in comic books are almost all white men. Think of Superman, Batman and Spiderman characters. The next generation of superheroes is far more diverse. DC Comics is releasing four new Superman characters who reflect different cultures. New Superman #1 is Kong Kenan, a chinese boy who inherits some of Clark Kent’s powers. Listen to the story to hear from one of the writers of New Superman #1 talk about why he thinks it is important to show diversity in comics.
September 7, 2016
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s central campaign theme is “Make America Great Again.” During the nominating convention he tweaked the phrase to be, “Make America First Again.” This phrase has a unique historical background. The America First Committee was created in 1940 to try to prevent the United States from joining the second world war. Listen to learn more about the America First Committee and its modern connection to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
September 6, 2016
Over the past few years, China has turned reefs in the South China Sea into artificial islands. Rival countries in the region have disagreed about who owns the islands. Satellite images show that China is possibly militarizing those islands by building ports, landing strips and military aircrafts. New images indicate China is building large hangars for aircraft. Listen to the story to hear about this possible militarization and what it could mean for the region.
September 5, 2016
For many voters, a candidate's’ religion is an important factor in deciding whether or not they will vote for them. Last week we looked at HIllary Clinton’s Methodist faith. This story looks at Trump’s faith. He was baptized in the Presbyterian church but does not claim to be devout. He later joined a Protestant church with a preacher who promotes the Prosperity Gospel. Governor Mike Pence calls himself a “born again evangelical Catholic” and brings his strong support from conservative Christians to this race. Listen to hear more about how these candidates’ religious beliefs shape their outlook.
September 2, 2016
New Delhi, India has some of the the most polluted air in the world. Levels of pollution reached hazardous levels many days of the year. For the people of New Delhi, this has meant an increase in health problems such as asthma and other sicknesses. As India’s growth continues, it consumes more energy, which creates pollution. This story illustrates the balance between economic growth and the health threats of pollution produced by all this growth.
September 1, 2016
Colleges and universities in the U.S. can consider a student’s race when they are deciding if they will admit that student or not. Selecting a racially balanced student body has been important to many colleges and now the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the affirmative-action program at the University of Texas at Austin is legal. The difficulty will be to consider race without discriminating against other students during the admissions process. Listen to hear more about the issue of promoting diversity in admissions policies of colleges and universities.
August 31, 2016
Scientists have discovered evidence of gravitational waves, which show ripples in space and time. A new machine has made it possible for scientists to observe space in a whole new way. Recently, the machine picked up vibrations from the collision of two black holes. The discovery comes a few months after the very first detection of gravitational waves. With these tools, scientists can look at the universe in a new way. In this story you will hear the signal from the black holes converted from gravitational waves to soundwave.
August 30, 2016
Floods have devastated parts of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The flooding hasn’t spared schools, and 15 of the 46 schools in Livingston parish have flood damage. Three to six feet of water has swamped schools and homes in the area. The Superintendent has opened one of the schools as an emergency shelter. He is providing housing for residents whose homes have been flooded. Listen to hear the Superintendent talk about how the uncertainty of the situation means even he doesn’t know when schools will be opening this year.
August 29, 2016
The role religion plays in political candidates’ lives is an important topic during elections. Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton has occasionally spoken about her growing up Methodist. Her running mate, Tim Kaine, is very open about his Catholic faith and brings it up frequently on the campaign trail. In this story, you will hear about Clinton and Kaine’s religion and how they present it to the public.
August 26, 2016
New research shows that black students in kindergarten through high school are almost four times as likely to be suspended from school than white students. Some people think that suspension should not be allowed in preschool at all. One reason given for the higher levels of discipline of black, male students is implicit bias. Specialists say that with more funding for public education, preschool teachers can receive better training, and more support to avoid resorting to suspension. Listen to the story to hear about one school that is making an effort to help disruptive students, rather than kick them out.
August 25, 2016
A 2,000 year old shipwreck was discovered off the Greek Island of Antikythera. It was full of expensive items such as marble and bronze statues, gold jewelry, perfume bottles and more. It was discovered over 100 years ago, but divers and scientists have recently returned to the wreck with sophisticated diving gear to search for more artifacts. They have found what they believe is not a luxury item but a torpedo-like device made of lead. Listen to hear how the ancient writings by the Greek historian, Thucydides, helped scientists find out how this was used.
August 24, 2016
For the first time in history, two pilots flew the Solar Impulse 2, a solar powered plane, around the world without using any fuel. This technology will have to be developed more before the public will be able to fly in them. Nevertheless, this flight symbolized the innovative progress made by aviators and energy conservationists. Listen to the story to hear more about the flight from pilot, Bertrand Piccard.
August 23, 2016
A Japanese emperor hasn't voluntarily stepped away from the throne in nearly 200 years. In a televised speech, the current Japanese leader, Emperor Akihito, hinted that he may step down. He talked about his failing health and his difficulty in keeping up with his duties. Changing the Japanese law would be a break from tradition, as Japan has the world's longest-running hereditary monarchy: 2,600 years. Listen to hear more about the Japanese monarchy and tradition.
August 22, 2016
The 2016 United States presidential election is unlike past elections. Many Americans feel strongly that the candidates on each side are unfit to be president. This controversial election season has left the media to make difficult ethical decisions about how they represent the candidates to the public. In this story, leaders of major news outlets explain their philosophies on what news to report, and whether or not it is OK to favor one candidate over the other in journalism.
August 20, 2016
After the death of Baltimore native Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore city police officers and subsequent public outcry and protest, the Baltimore Police Department is attempting to use foot patrols to improve relations between law enforcement and the community. The Baltimore Police Department is requiring all officers to undergo a foot patrol refresher class and asking that officers walk on foot for some portion of their ten-hour shift. The idea is that officers will get out into the communities they serve, forming relationships outside of the suspect or victim dynamic that usually define their interactions with citizens. Listen to learn more about the BPD’s plans to improve community relations as well as what types of foot patrols do and do not work.
August 19, 2016
It costs nearly two cents for every penny produced by the U.S. Mint. The government is actually losing money when a new penny is made. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that the government is reviewing a proposal to stop making the penny. According to recent polls, most Americans are in favor of keeping the penny. Listen to the story to find out how United States currency could change in the future, and debate your opinion on whether or not we still need pennies.
August 18, 2016
Young adults looking to buy a house are facing greater difficulties than generations before them. The price of homes has gone up and renting is becoming more expensive. Researchers have different theories about why fewer young adults own homes. Some researchers believe that people are waiting longer before buying a home. Others believe that the younger generation is just less interested in homeownership. Listen to learn more about the obstacle that many young Americans are facing when buying a home.
August 17, 2016
NASA is preparing to launch a spacecraft that will measure and report space weather and provide live images of Earth. The idea to provide Earth’s images for the public to view started with former Vice President, Al Gore, in 1992. He believed everyone should be able to view and study the earth. The satellite’s ability to measure space weather will help prevent against damaging effects on earth from things like solar storms that can damage electric power grids. After more than a decade, Gore’s vision is becoming a reality. Listen to hear more about this new satellite.
August 16, 2016
Scientists have come up with a new technique to modify the genes of plants, insects and animals. This “gene drive” technique may be able to stop the spread of diseases that insects carry, such as Malaria and Zika, but also has some dangers. For example, releasing genetically modified species could lead to an unbalanced ecosystem, destroy other species, or spread other diseases. Listen to the story to hear more about why this technique is controversial.
August 15, 2016
After the Democratic Party databases were hacked recently, election tampering has become a major concern for election officials. In May this year, a security analyst hacked into a Florida elections website to show that the system is vulnerable. The online voter registration system in Illinois was shut down after a computer gained unauthorized access to data in the system.
August 8, 2016
Mosquitoes with the Zika virus have infected people in Miami, Florida. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has issued a travel warning, especially for pregnant women, for a neighborhood of Miami. This is the first time the CDC has issued a travel warning in the continental United States. Zika is a virus spread through mosquitoes that can cause serious birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected. An emergency response team is working to contain the outbreak and stop it from spreading anywhere else in the United States. Listen to the story to hear how the governor of Florida and the CDC are working together to keep people safe from Zika.
July 19, 2016
Americans have been shocked and saddened by the targeted killing of 5 Dallas police officers in apparent retaliation for the many police shootings of black men. The Black Lives Matter movement has organized peaceful protests to bring awareness to these events. Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet and children’s author who touches on the themes of love, education and race, reflects on the shooting of the officers and the killing of two black men by police - Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. Listen to hear about how he communicates with kids, and why he thinks it’s important for students to think outside of themselves to understand these events.
July 11, 2016
For years, socialist president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, led the country as a dramatic presence. Three years after his death, Venezuela is spiraling downward. It’s economy depended mostly on oil, and with the crash in oil prices there are rolling power blackouts and food shortages. The government can’t pay to import goods, so many grocery shelves are empty, leaving hungry citizens to resort to looting. Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, has refused to allow a recall referendum against him and the country is becoming politically unstable. Listen to hear more about the crisis in Venezuela.
July 7, 2016
Volkswagen, the largest car maker in Europe, is known for making cars that are good for the environment. Last year Volkswagen admitted to knowingly cheating the emissions tests of their diesel cars. They have now agreed to pay more than $15 billion to compensate customers and to fix damage done to the environment. This is the biggest judgment ever made against an automaker.
June 30, 2016
After a mass shooting that killed 49 people at a nightclub in Florida, the U.S. Senate voted down a set of gun control measures. The measure included expanding background checks at gun shows and Internet sales, as well as preventing people on the terror watch list from buying guns. Some people say the National Rifle Association, or NRA, is blocking these laws, and others say the real target should be terrorists, not gun control. Meanwhile, there is another bill being written that would deny people on the no-fly list from buying guns. Listen to hear the reactions to the failed legislation and what the future may bring for gun control.
June 27, 2016
The European Union is a political and economic partnership of 28 countries that’s been in place for more than four decades. In what has been named “Brexit,” the United Kingdom voted by a slim margin to exit the EU. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, campaigned to stay in the EU and stated that leaving would be disastrous for Britain. He is now announcing his resignation. Those who voted to leave the EU stated resentment about immigration, as well as economic and cultural costs of belonging to the EU. Listen to hear more about the economic repercussions as well as political effects of this decision.
June 23, 2016
This story follows a Saudi Arabian teenage girl over two years. It’s a personally narrated audio diary of a young woman who is in college and dreams of being a scientist and getting her PhD. While she is keeping this audio diary, she interviews her family and friends and explores her dreams and beliefs. Listen to hear scenes from her life.
June 20, 2016
An attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 50 people dead and the nation in shock. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talked about their reactions to the tragedy and thoughts on how to prevent these kinds of attacks in very different tones. Clinton used a dignified tone and encouraged “steady hands and clear eyes” during this time. Trump used a tough tone and repeated his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Listen to hear about the different reactions to this tragic event.
June 18, 2016
The Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to find out how bears will react to a new wind project. It will be the first commercial wind project on U.S. Forest Service land and will include 15 turbines.They started tracking bears by using radio collars to see how they move around before the turbines are in place. The collars had many problems, so they started using cameras to track the bears. Now they have data to study bears and wildlife both before and after the wind project begins. Share this story with your students so they can learn more about this wind project in Vermont and its impact on wildlife.
June 15, 2016
In a cave in France, 176,000 years ago, a group of Neanderthals arranged large stones in circles. The meaning of this is a mystery, but they showed signs of being burned. This could have been for warmth, protection, or as a part of a ritual. This stone circle was found deep in a cave and shows that Neanderthals went underground and far from light. This discovery is sparking debate about the previous understanding of the intelligence of human predecessors. Listen to hear more about this discovery.