All Social Studies

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Current Event February 12, 2018

Teen Screen Addiction

Technology

Many children, teens, and adults spend a lot of time looking at screens. Whether it’s an addiction or merely troubling behavior, too much screen time can interfere with other activities, create changes in your mood, and cause other problems. A former executive from Google was so concerned about the public health risks of too much screen time, he started a company that tries to inform people about how addictive technology can be. Listen to learn how companies are responding to the growing concerns about too much technology.

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Current Event March 26, 2018

Students Walk Out Over Guns

Education Protest

Across the country students walked out of their classrooms to protest the mass shooting that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and called for stricter gun laws. The protest was 17 minutes long in honor of each person killed during the shooting. There was another protest on March 24 in Washington D.C. and cities across the country called March for Our Lives, which aimed to end gun violence and mass shootings. Listen to hear from students at a high school in Philadelphia during the walk out, and more about these protests.

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Current Event February 28, 2017

Schools Reopening in Iraq

Education Middle East

ISIS has been pushed out of the eastern part of the Iraqi city, Mosul. Under ISIS control, children in Mosul were not able to go to school. Now, schools in Mosul are beginning to reopen. In the years that schools were closed, students fell behind in their education. But recently teachers have returned to work, although they haven’t been paid, and schools are still without heat or electric light. Listen to learn more about how the Education Ministry in Mosul is working to rebuild the city’s school system.

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Journalists increasingly using drones to get a sneak peak at a story

Current Event May 15, 2014

Journalists Increasingly Using Drones to Get a Sneak Peek at a Story

Civics/Government Technology Journalism

Drones are not just for military use anymore. They are being used by journalists to report stories. But this is raising some privacy concerns.

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Current Event May 18, 2017

Gender and Diversity in Comics

Race Gender

There is a push in the comics industry to introduce characters that are diverse in race, gender, and sexual orientation. A large motivator for this change is the belief that children from diverse backgrounds deserve to see people in heroic roles that look like them and/or share their gender or sexual orientation. As a result, major comic publishers, such as Marvel, are introducing more characters that are people of color, female, and LGBTQ. Listen to learn more about the growing diversity in comic book characters and the controversies surrounding it.

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Current Event March 13, 2017

Famine Threatens South Sudan

Africa war

South Sudan is currently struggling with both drought and an ongoing civil war. These forces have led to a rising food shortage crisis that the United Nations is now calling a famine. Four million people are without sufficient food, and the U.N. warns that another million people will be affected in the coming months. Unfortunately, the international community has been unable to halt the escalation of famine in South Sudan. Listen to learn more about the crisis in South Sudan, and how the international community monitors and responds to famine.

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Current Event October 25, 2017

Electronic Waste Created by Outdated Cell Phones

Technology Environment

Most people want to buy new phones with the latest technology, but new devices lead to electronic waste, or e-waste, when old phones are discarded. Phone companies used to offer free phones with contracts, which meant people got new phones every two years. Now contracts are changing and there are new ways people are thinking about phones. One way is the modular approach, where the components are detachable and replaceable. Another is to create longer-lasting phones that are better for the environment. Listen to this story about how new technology can help eliminate electronic waste.

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Current Event January 26, 2018

Debate: Should Children Play with Electronic Toys that Collect Data?

Technology Psychology

Electronic toys for children have existed since the 1950s. However, new toys are causing privacy concerns for parents as well as politicians. A new device called Aristotle was created to help children by learning their behavior and providing soothing responses. But after many parents expressed concern about the amount of information the toy would be collecting, the manufacturer stopped production. Listen to learn more about this invention and then debate: Should children play with electronic toys that collect data?

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College debt

Current Event April 28, 2014

College Debt

Economics Education

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.

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Current Event March 4, 2015

Art Stolen by The Nazis

World History II World War II Arts

When the Nazi Party expanded its power and displaced Jews in Germany and other European countries, Nazis confiscated their belongings. Before becoming a politician and leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler was an aspiring artist, so art was a particular target for him. He had plans to build his own personal museum after World War II, using 14 pieces of art owned by Baron Rothschild of Vienna. Listen to learn how the art, jewelry and rare books of the Rothschild family made it from the Nazi’s possession to an art museum in Boston.

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Current Event February 16, 2018

Debate: Are Deliveries by Robots a Good Idea?

Technology

Instead of going to a restaurant to pick up food, you can have it delivered to your home. That’s nothing new. But some restaurants are experimenting with using a robot to deliver orders. The robot is equipped with cameras that allow it to observe the street signs, lights, and roads around them to know how and when to cross streets. Some fear this invention may replace jobs held by people, but the company says they are not a replacement for humans. Listen to learn the capabilities of these delivery robots and then debate: Are deliveries by robots a good idea?

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Current Event June 8, 2018

Should Streaming Services Punish Artists Accused of Harassment?

Gender Entertainment

Spotify recently announced it would be removing singer R. Kelly’s music from its playlists due to the artist’s history of sexual misconduct allegations. In addition to removing music that encourages violence against certain groups from its algorithms and playlists, Spotify’s new policy against hate speech will also stop promoting songs by artists who they determine behave poorly. While many agree with the decision to pull R. Kelly’s music specifically, some experts are concerned about the amount of power this policy gives to streaming services. Listen to learn more about Spotify’s new rule and then debate: Should streaming services punish artists accused of harassment?

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Current Event June 7, 2018

Observing Ramadan Traditions in America

Religion

Ramadan is a month-long Muslim practice during which observers do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Two American Muslim[MB10] women and podcasters recently discussed what it’s like to observe Ramadan in America. They described their coworkers’ reactions to their fasting, their experiences observing Ramadan, and what the holy month means to them. They also provide advice for non-Muslims who want to learn more about the religion from their Muslim friends. Listen to learn more about Ramadan.

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Current Event June 11, 2018

New EU Data Privacy Law Threatens Selfies

Politics Technology Law

A new data protection law in the European Union is designed to preserve citizens’ privacy by fining those who use others’ personal data without their permission. This rule could cause problems for many who take photos in public places and post them online. According to this law, anyone who appears in a photo, even if it’s in the background of a selfie, must agree that the photo can be uploaded to the Internet. This law will likely force photographers to consider their subjects’ consent more carefully. Listen to learn more about this new rule.

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Current Event June 12, 2018

A Good or Bad Apology

Politics Technology Culture Entertainment

Everyone makes mistakes they need to apologize for in order to repair their relationships. Public figures like politicians and celebrities also have to say sorry publicly for inappropriate behavior, as we have seen more often recently. However, not all apologies are created equal. A few key elements make some much more successful than others. An expert in dispute resolution explains what makes for an effective apology in the digital age. He also discusses how cultural differences and other circumstances affect the way you should ask for forgiveness. Listen to learn how to tell a good apology from a bad apology.

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