All Science

Dead christmas trees find new life

Current Event January 9, 2014

Dead Christmas Trees Find New Lives

Life Science Religion

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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Yoga mat compound

Current Event April 2, 2014

Yoga Mat Compound

Health Nutrition

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.

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Panama canal expansion slowed by arguments over funding

Current Event June 9, 2014

Panama Canal Expansion Slowed by Arguments Over Funding

US History II World History II Transportation

The Panama Canal was built 100 years ago as a shortcut for maritime trading. Today, construction is underway to widen the canal so larger ships can pass through. With the wide canal, Panama hopes to become the Hong Kong of Latin America, but construction is often halted due to arguments over funding.

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Current Event February 8, 2018

North Korean Figure Skaters

Asia Sports

In North Korea, most citizens are not allowed to leave the country. However, for the Winter Olympics hosted in South Korea, the North Korean regime is permitting athletes to compete. North and South Korea will be united under one flag, and a pair of figure skaters from North Korea has qualified for the games. The International Olympic Committee gave them quota places, a rarely-used form of wild card, to allow them to compete since they missed the registration deadline. Many people are looking forward to a cultural exchange and interaction between North and South Korea. Listen to learn more about these North Korean figure skaters who will compete in the Olympics.

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Losing linnaeus

Science Middle School

DNA Changes the Linnaean Classification System

Life Science Ecosystems Ecology Plants

The system we use to organize life is called the Linnean system, named after Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. The name of every living thing has a place because of Linnaeus. But now new DNA technology is changing the way to think about the classification system. Scientists are debating whether it is possible to change a system that has been strictly followed for the past few hundred years. Listen to learn how scientists discovered this change in the system.

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Current Event December 20, 2016

Astronaut John Glenn a Pioneer

Earth and Space Science Space Systems

The first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn, also had a political career as a U.S. senator. After his historic space flight, he served in Congress for 24 years. At the end of his political career, at the age of 77, he went back into space and became the oldest person to fly in space on the shuttle Discovery. Listen to hear more about the extraordinary life of John Glenn.

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Interstellar travel

Science Middle School

Interstellar Travel on Voyager I

Earth and Space Science Space Systems

It is difficult to conceptualize the magnitude of our solar system but the journey of the Voyager spacecrafts can help. In September 1977 NASA launched the Voyager spacecrafts to gain information about the far off giant planets in our solar system. The spacecrafts and the project endured after studying Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and continued to travel away from earth and through our solar system. Thirty-five years after Voyager 1 left Earth, and over 11 billion miles away, it became the first man-made object to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. Listen to learn what researchers have been researching from the edge of our solar system.

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Bird small

Current Event August 4, 2014

Migratory Birds Bring Immigrants Together

Life Science US History II

Birds like the Black-Throated Blue Warbler are migratory birds that travel from America to Mexico and Central America during the winter. The Bird Ambassadors Program recruits new American immigrants from the same area to plant bushes and flowers for the birds' "pit stop" in the United States. Listen to this public radio story to hear about the connection these immigrants make with the migratory birds.

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Science Middle School

Ice Age Evolution of Rhinos

Animals Evolution Ice Age

The Tibetan Plateau is one of the highest and coldest places on Earth. Many of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mt. Everest, is on the Tibetan Plateau. For millions of years, animals living in this region have needed to adapt to extremely cold temperatures. When an ice age took over Europe and Asia about 2.5 million years ago, this adaptation may have given animals living on the plateau an evolutionary advantage. Listen to hear about the discovery of the woolly rhino on this plateau and the new theories resulting from the discovery.

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Mars hubble

Current Event October 8, 2015

Water on Mars

Earth and Space Science Space Systems

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. When the streaks are widest, there is evidence of water molecules. When the streaks shrink in the cold, water disappears. The water is not the same as a stream on Earth, but more like a hint of wetness. Although scientists are not entirely sure where the water source is, they say it could be from a salty underground reservoir or soaking up moisture from the atmosphere. Listen to hear how water can be important for future explorations on Mars.

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Current Event October 6, 2017

Debate: Should Athletes Be Considered Role Models?

Psychology Sports

A role model is a person who can be imitated by younger people, and have an impact on their behavior, choices, and values. Sports stars have been looked up to as role models, however some such as Charles Barkley, a retired professional basketball player, have declared that he is not a role model. What are the responsibilities of people who are paid to play sports? Listen to this commentator’s opinion, and then debate: Should athletes be considered role models?

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Before the black death

Science High School

Plague Before the Black Death Led to Fall of Roman Empire

Life Science Human body Europe Viruses Heath

Scientists have now figured out the genetic code to one of the oldest known plagues. Eight hundred years before the Black Death struck in 1347, there was another plague that occurred in Europe in the 6th century CE. Scientists have now figured out the genetic code to the oldest known epidemic and discovered that the “Justinian plague” was the first outbreak of bubonic plague. Listen to hear about how a farmland gave scientists answers to centuries worth of questions.

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Science Middle School

Microscopic Marine Organisms Can be Beautiful and Deadly

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems

Dinoflagellates are tiny marine microbes that make up the foundation of the aquatic ecosystems. They often go unnoticed because of how small they are, but any seafood you've eaten has eaten a dinoflagellate. A theater group has developed a musical centered around dinoflagellates and through song and dance reveal a lot that is unknown about the sea creature. Listen to learn from the musical numbers and find out how dinoflagellates have the potential to be more dangerous than sharks.

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Current Event December 9, 2014

Building Friendly Streets

Civics/Government Engineering Industrialism

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.

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Science Middle School


Caffeine: Helpful or Harmful?

biology chemistry

For such a small molecule, caffeine has long been a controversial substance. Throughout the day, the human body produces a molecule called adenosine that can induce feelings of fatigue. Caffeine is a molecule that reverses the effects of adenosine. This results in feelings of alertness. But the impacts of caffeine can be dangerous. Listen to hear what determines whether caffeine is beneficial or harmful, and how to prevent caffeine-related deaths.

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Current Event October 1, 2015

Caffeine Throws Off Your Body Clock

Life Science biology

Caffeine in coffee and soft drinks is known for keeping people awake. It alters the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s master clock. Not getting enough sleep and being out of sync with the natural world is harmful and can be linked to diseases such as cancer and obesity. A recent study showed that caffeine can contribute to irregularities in circadian rhythm. People who drank caffeine before trying to sleep showed a delay in the release of the hormone melatonin, which typically surges at night. Studies still have to be completed about whether caffeine affects people’s inner clocks if they drink it earlier in the day. Listen to hear more about the effects of caffeine.

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Current Event January 8, 2015

Powdered Caffeine

Civics/Government Life Science Health

Many people use caffeine as a pick me up throughout the day. They drink coffee or tea in the morning, and maybe a soda at lunch. A new powdered form of caffeine has hit the market but it can be deadly. Listen to learn more about the health impacts of powdered caffeine and the effort by some people to ban it.

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Cloud seeding

Science Middle School

Cloud Seeding for Weather Modification

Earth and Space Science Environment Weather and Climate Physical Science Agriculture Energy

There is a debate over whether cloud seeding is an efficient way to produce more snow and rain in places where droughts are the worst. Opponents claim that the chemicals that are sprayed into the air to create more water are toxic and could cause health issues in the future. Others believe this is the only way to for some gas and electric companies to obtain more energy. Listen to learn about the other concerns at hand and if this the history of this process.

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Current Event March 25, 2015

Body Clocks

Life Science Health

The human body is complex. It has long been thought that body systems are synchronized through a master clock in the brain. But recent studies have found that virtually all cells and all organs in our bodies have their own clock. These systems and cells are often in sync. But what happens when things go awry? Listen to learn more about how clocks in the human body work together to keep us going.

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Current Event February 9, 2017

Anonymous Compliments Via App

Technology Empathy

A new app is available allowing people to send anonymous compliments to one another. A twenty-five year old developer came up with the idea of creating a virtual compliment box able to impact people around the world. On the app, people can leave each other anonymous compliments, see photos of positive reactions and can choose to reveal their identity later. Listen to learn more about the origins of the app, and how the founder hopes to use it to create a kinder, more empathetic culture.

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