All Social Studies

Big fireworks

Current Event July 22, 2019

The Science of Fireworks

Technology Entertainment Chemistry

One of the world’s favorite holiday traditions has a long history. Fireworks started in ancient China where people used explosives because they were believed to ward away evil spirits. From their beginnings as simple noise makers to the dazzling aerial displays that light up our night skies today, fireworks have relied on chemistry to create the sounds and colors that provide excitement and enjoyment. Listen to hear a chemist explain the history and science behind a worldwide celebratory tradition.

Read More
Phone with icons

Current Event August 22, 2018

What Could Replace Facebook

Technology Culture

Facebook is only 14 years old, but it’s the dominant social network used by two-thirds of American adults. With news about it sharing private information or spreading fake news, some are calling on users to boycott Facebook and turn to other social networks. But which ones? Listen to this story to learn why Facebook is so dominant and how it would be very difficult for any new social network to overtake Facebook’s popularity.

Read More
Houston downtown

Current Event August 21, 2018

Concrete Heats Up Cities

KERA Reform conservation

According to a recent study, Dallas is getting hotter faster than most other cities in America. A few surprising factors make this city an especially bad “urban heat island,” but there are certain, simple things the city can do to combat this effect. Listen to learn more about Dallas’ heat and find out what can cool it down.

Read More
Firefighting

Current Event August 20, 2018

Fighting Massive Wildfires

Politics Reform conservation

The largest fire in California history is currently burning, breaking a record that another devastating fire set a mere eight months ago. Scientists, politicians, and firefighters are currently searching for a better way to handle these increasingly intense natural disasters. Listen to learn about some of their surprising solutions for wildfires.

Read More
Injections

Current Event August 17, 2018

Debate: Does the method of execution in the death penalty matter?

Politics Law Violence

The State of Nevada recently had to postpone a scheduled execution of a convicted criminal because it could no longer use one of the drugs it had planned to put in the lethal injection. This case highlights a variety of issues surrounding the substances used in lethal cocktails, including their legality, proper protocol, and potential alternatives. It also raises important questions about the death penalty in general. Listen to learn more about this case and then debate: Does the method of execution in the death penalty matter?

Read More
Stone tools

Current Event August 16, 2018

Stone Age Tools

Technology

Scientists recently discovered a variety of million-year-old stone tools in Kenya. These discoveries allow archaeologists to better understand our early human ancestors’ lives and how they developed more sophisticated tools as time went on. As it turns out, there are some important parallels between ancient stone tools and modern technologies. Listen to learn more about this exciting find and hear how it relates to life today.

Read More
Beautiful black people

Current Event August 15, 2018

Black Lawmaker Experiences Racism

Politics Race Law

A black state representative from Oregon was going door-to-door to speak with the voters she represents in her district when one of the neighborhood residents called the police. The resident thought the state representative was suspicious for knocking on doors, likely because of her race. Listen to find out how the state representative responded to the police and hear what she thinks can be done to make situations like these better in the future.

Read More
Netanyahu

Current Event August 14, 2018

New Israeli Law Seen as Discriminatory

Politics Religion Law Protest

Israel recently passed a law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israeli religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians, feel that this law discriminates against them and fails to recognize their contributions. Some have even begun to protest it, gaining support from important and surprising allies. Listen to find out more about the controversy surrounding the Nation State law.

Read More
Facebook

Current Event August 13, 2018

Facebook Removes Fake Accounts

Politics Technology Law Protest Ethics Censorship

Ear Facebook recently deleted pages and accounts it believed were run by Russians attempting to influence the upcoming midterm elections. Unfortunately, this also affected a valuable page American protesters were using to gain grassroots support. This issue raises important, unresolved questions about the relationship between Facebook, free speech, and propaganda. Listen to learn what an expert on civil liberties thinks about censorship on social media.

Read More
Tech stuff

Current Event August 10, 2018

Debate: Should Tech Companies Stop Doing Business with the Government?

Politics Technology Protest Ethics

Recently, tech workers have been protesting some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. They’ve urged their employers not to work with certain segments of the U.S. government. This is a very unusual request for employees to make of their companies, but it isn’t completely unheard of. Listen to learn more about these protests and what they could mean for the future of technology.

Read More
Plastic straws

Current Event August 9, 2018

How a Teenager Influenced the Straw Debate

Journalism conservation

Newspapers and magazines around the world have reported on a stunning statistic about how many plastic straws Americans throw away every day. Unfortunately, that number isn’t quite right. As it turns out, a teenager calculated that statistic years ago. Since then, it’s spread far and wide, affecting the way we use plastic straws throughout the country.. Listen to hear the story of how a teenager changed the plastic straw debate forever.

Read More
Pretty parks

Current Event August 8, 2018

Parks Can Improve Your Mental Health

Culture conservation Class

Transforming a vacant lot into a small community garden in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood seems to have made its residents happier. Inspired by this example, a professor recently did a study to see what kinds of effects creating green spaces out of empty lots has on people’s mental wellbeing. Listen to find out what she learned from her research on community gardens.

Read More
Chocolate beauty

Current Event August 7, 2018

Why We Eat Based on our Emotions

Culture KERA Entertainment

Scientists recently conducted a study to see how emotions affect the way children eat. Using key scenes from “The Lion King” and a couple of snack options, the researchers observed how kids’ feelings influenced their food choices. Listen to find out what the study discovered about children’s emotional eating.

Read More
Sad farmstead

Current Event August 6, 2018

Government Helps Farmer Hurt by Trade War

Politics War

The Trump administration recently raised tariffs, or fees, on many things the U.S. imports from countries like China. In response to this, some countries have put their own tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports, like hogs and soybeans. These new fees are hurting U.S. farmers because they can’t sell as much overseas. Now, the Trump administration has decided to offer billions of dollars in federal aid to the farmers who are struggling with these new tariffs. Listen to learn more about the governmental assistance the Trump administration is offering farmers.

Read More
Horseshoe magnets

Current Event August 1, 2018

Malaria and Magnets

Technology Education

The malaria parasite kills more than 500,000 people every year. An engineering professor recently decided to make a difference in this issue by working with her students to find a solution. The answer she and one student came up with is surprising, but genius: magnets. Listen to learn more about the professor’s project and find out how magnets could help people suffering from malaria all around the world.

Read More
Donald and vlad

Current Event July 30, 2018

Trump's Policies on Russia

Politics War

President Trump recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed a wide range of topics. The United States and Russia have had a long history of tense relations dating back to the Cold War. Although President Trump appears to be building a closer relationship with Russia, he insists no president has ever been as tough on Russia as he is. Throughout his presidency, there has been a disconnect between Trump’s words about Russia and his administration’s actions toward the country. Listen to learn more about President Trump’s approach to Russian relations.

Read More
Thai caves

Current Event July 25, 2018

Dangerous Cave Rescue of Teenage Boys

rescue Thailand

A team of twelve teenaged Thai soccer players and their coach recently became trapped in a cave that flooded as they were exploring it. Volunteers, military personnel, and expert divers came from around the globe to help save them. After over two weeks of tireless work in this tiny Thai village, the rescue team succeeded. They carried out an extremely challenging, dangerous dive mission to safely remove the boys and their coach from the cave. Listen to learn how they finally made it out.

Read More
Ussc

Current Event July 23, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Nominee

Civics/Government Government structures USSC

Since Justice Anthony Kennedy resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump has chosen Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a Circuit Judge in the U.S. Court of Appeal who also served in the George W. Bush administration, to replace him. Because Kavanaugh has a long history of experience in Republican politics, he is a controversial choice for this position. Kavanaugh’s opinions from the bench could have a major influence on abortion law and other important issues. He now faces what will most likely be difficult confirmation process. Listen to learn more about Kavanaugh and his potential influence on the Supreme Court.

Read More
Scott pruitt

Current Event July 16, 2018

EPA Gets New Leader

Politics Ethics conservation

After months of being caught up in various ethical scandals, Scott Pruitt recently stepped down as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Despite the criticism Pruitt faced, President Trump and many conservative groups supported his work in this position. Andrew Wheeler, a lawyer and former lobbyist for the coal industry, will replace Pruitt as the leader of the EPA. Listen to learn more about Pruitt’s decision, Wheeler’s approach to his new job, and what the future holds for the EPA.

Read More
Kim and trump shaking hands at the red carpet during the dprk%e2%80%93usa singapore summit

Current Event June 18, 2018

U.S. North Korea Historic Summit

Politics War

President Trump recently met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a long-awaited summit. North Korea’s expanding nuclear program and strained foreign relations with the United States have caused growing concern over the last several months. As a result of their meeting, Kim Jong Un signed a vague agreement committing to peace and denuclearization, while President Trump announced a surprising change in American military cooperation with South Korea against their northern neighbors. These outcomes give some hope, but leave others confused and worried. Listen to learn more about this historic summit.

Read More