All Social Studies

Wildfire

Current Event November 5, 2019

California Wildfires Create State of Emergency

Environment Weather and Climate Industry

Wildfires are raging across California, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and prompting neighboring states to send supplies to help fight the blazes. Adding to the confusion, some areas have gone dark as California’s biggest electric company has shut off service. The company claims blackouts are necessary to contain the fires, but California’s governor blames the company for creating the problems that led to an unsafe electric grid. Listen to hear the governor of California describe how Californians can stay safe and why he feels such urgency about the electric company fixing the power grid.

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Amazon echo

Current Event February 1, 2019

Debate: Should students ask Alexa for homework help?

Technology Education

A recent viral video showed a young child asking for help solving a math problem from Alexa, an automated virtual assistant that searches the internet. Some worry that with such ready access to technology, kids will miss out on important learning gained through independent problem solving. Others feel that kids should be able to get assistance from technology in the same ways adults do. Listen to multiple perspectives on the issue represented in this story and then debate: Should students ask Alexa for homework help?

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Ballot

Current Event November 4, 2019

Ensuring Election Security

Politics Technology

For many years, Americans have questioned whether our election system is secure. After Russians meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, officials have been trying to replace old voting machines and add other safeguards to ensure secure elections in 2020. In spite of their efforts, however, experts predict that millions of people will still vote on outdated machines in the next presidential election. Listen to hear about the risks to voting security posed by digital technology, how old-fashioned technology can help, and why more election interference is expected in the future.

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Bats2

Current Event October 29, 2019

Vampire Bats

Animals Biology Viruses

With their sharp teeth and thirst for blood, vampire bats can be frightening. They have been known to bite the feet of sleeping children, and they sometimes spread disease. But these fuzzy, wrinkle-nosed creatures are also loving friends. Listen to learn more facts, both scary and surprising, about the legendary vampire bat.

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Current Event September 2, 2016

Debate: Which is More Important: Development or Preventing Pollution?

Health Climate Change Economy Air Pollution

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.

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Current Event August 15, 2019

Puppy Dog Eyes

Psychology Animals Evolution Biology Diversity Neuroscience Adaptation

Has a dog ever given you “puppy eyes”? If so, you probably did whatever your furry friend wanted. According to a recent study, “puppy eyes” result from thousands of years of evolution impacted by the relationship between humans and dogs. This distinctive expression comes from a specific muscle and creates unique effects that help dogs become “man’s best friend.” Listen to learn more about why “puppy eyes” are so powerful and how studying dogs can help humans learn more about themselves.

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Current Event August 16, 2019

Debate: Should Extremist Videos be Removed?

Politics Technology Law Ethics Violence Business Industry Censorship Media AI

YouTube has started removing videos containing extremist content promoting white supremacy. Some people and organizations support this policy as a way to make social media platforms safer. Others point out that the system for removing videos is imperfect, and this policy could interfere with video creators’ right to freely express themselves. Listen to learn more about YouTube’s new restrictions and then debate: Should YouTube remove extremist videos?

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Current Event October 24, 2019

Revitalizing Neglected Urban Spaces

Environment Arts

Landscape architect Walter Hood is famous for transforming worn out urban spaces into beautiful and useful places. The winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” Hood researches the history of a neighborhood, talks to residents, and then incorporates their ideas into his designs. Listen to learn how Hood’s childhood memories influence his work and how he integrated a slave ship drawing into a museum design project.

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Ocean2

Current Event October 21, 2019

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating

Culture Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts Oceans

A recently released United Nations report looks at changes in the world’s oceans caused by a warming climate. The report found that oceans are rising at a faster rate than ever before and becoming more acidic, threatening human and fish populations. Communities that depend on the sea for their food and way of life are especially vulnerable. Listen to learn more about the challenges humans will face as sea levels continue to rise.

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Current Event October 28, 2019

Who Are The Kurds?

Culture International Ethnic and Religious Conflict

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the Middle East without a country of their own. The population is spread among Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and many have been fighting to create an independent Kurdistan. Recently, the U.S. withdrew troops from northern Syria that were protecting the Kurds, and Turkey attacked Kurdish areas because of a longstanding conflict. The Kurds’ ethnic identity and their freedom to express it depend on which country they call home. Listen to the voices of a Kurdish guide and poet explain what it means to be a Kurd and describe the experience of living in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

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Current Event October 23, 2019

Fighting Aggressive Seagulls

Environment Animals Human Impacts

The boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, was plagued by food-stealing seagulls. They would dive down and snatch French fries, pizza, and even ice-cream right out of people’s hands. The city devised a creative solution to remedy this situation–more birds! Listen to learn how bringing in bigger birds made the boardwalk a friendlier place.

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Tiny plastics

Current Event October 18, 2018

Tiny Plastics Everywhere

Life Science Ecology Biology

When plastic is thrown away, it crumbles into tiny pieces, known as microplastics. These small bits of plastic, less than 5 millimeters (or 0.2 inches) in size, are polluting rivers, lakes, oceans, and even soil. Scientists are studying how microplastics find their way into the ecosystem and what happens when they do. Listen to hear what research ecologists are doing to learn more about how microplastic waste may be affecting us and our world.

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Light sassy recropped

Current Event October 10, 2019

Vaping Ads Target Teens

Health Culture Ethics Media

Vaping has been linked to illness and even some deaths, and critics are arguing that ads targeting young people contribute to this growing public health problem. Vaping advertisers are looking to successful cigarette ads of the past to help them attract new users. They emphasize flavored varieties that appeal to young people and promote vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking. Listen to hear how vaping companies are working with advertisers to skirt regulations and craft ads that attract teens to the risky practice of vaping.

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Current Event November 11, 2012

Veterans' Voices

US History II

On this Veterans Day take time with your students or children to share some voices of soldiers who fought and died in Vietnam. This is a compelling story using old reel to reel recordings of a US Marine in the Vietnam War. Note: You can stop playing at 7:46 and still have a very good sense of the story.

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College cheating

Current Event October 3, 2019

Cheating in College

Education Culture Ethics Business

College students overwhelmed by challenging assignments and deadlines are turning to a growing industry for help: essay writing companies. These companies produce original papers written by ghostwriters that students buy and submit as their own. Colleges are trying new technologies to prevent cheating and also working to change campus culture. Listen to hear students, teachers and experts discuss the problem of cheating on college campuses and how to combat it.

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Current Event August 8, 2019

Low

The Limits of Human Endurance

Health Sports biology Human body energy motion butrition

Have you ever wondered how far humans can push themselves physically? A scientist recently conducted a study to help answer this question. He studied athletes who ran six marathons a week for months to learn about what determines their capacity to expend energy over time. Listen to find out more about what researchers understand about human endurance and hear one scientist’s surprising take on what constitutes the height of human capability.

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