All Social Studies

Soldier in iraq

Current Event January 15, 2019

The Real Cost of War

Economy War Conflict

The Costs of War project at Brown University releases an annual report on the financial cost of the ongoing U.S. war on terror globally. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. has been involved in operations related to terrorism all over the world. According to the Costs of War report, these operations, both military and civilian, cost trillions of dollars. This includes both the immediate costs of waging war and also related indirect costs, such as those associated with supporting returning veterans and pursuing secretive counterterrorism efforts. Listen to hear more about how researchers calculate the financial costs of the war on terror and what they hope to achieve by reporting them.

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Current Event January 12, 2016

Saudi Arabia Upsets Middle East Alliances

Politics Religion Middle East

The relationship between two powerhouses in the Middle East is deteriorating. Iran and Saudi Arabia are battling for domination and control of the Middle East. The withdrawal of the United States and the recent collapse of three Arab states has created a void of power. More recently there is also heightened tension between Sunnis and Shiites because Saudi Arabia recently executed a well known Shiite cleric. A mob in Iran then ransacked the Saudi Embassy. Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran and other Gulf states and recalled ambassadors from Shiite Iran. Listen to hear how this affects the United States policies and threatens peace talks in Syria.

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No.to.torture.square

Current Event December 18, 2014

Is Torture Justifiable?

Civics/Government Psychology

On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Senate released part of a 6,000 page report on abusive interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the post-9/11 War on Terror. For some, this report is evidence of immoral and illegal torture by the CIA. But others say it's more complicated. Did the torture program produce useful information? Does it serve as a deterrent to terrorists? Is there any justification for torture? Listen to hear more about this complicated issue from a legal analyst.

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Better barn owl

Current Event October 11, 2018

What Owls Can Teach Us About Attention and Focus

Life Science biology

Researchers are studying barn owls to better understand how they are able to focus so intensely, with the goal of shedding light on why some humans struggle with focused attention. Specifically, they are studying how the owl brain ignores all the information that distracts from what is most important to the owl’s survival. Listen to learn how and why research on owl brains might be able to help people with attention issues.

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Current Event April 19, 2016

Choosing Not to Drive

Culture Elementary Transportation

According to a new study, fewer and fewer Americans are getting their driver’s licenses and owning cars. This has been a young adult trend for a long time, but now older adults are driving less, too. People across age groups cite a variety of reasons for choosing other modes of transportation, especially in cities that offer public transportation and have ridesharing services. Listen to the story to hear more about why people are choosing not to drive and opting to get around in other ways instead.

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Inside atc

Current Event January 14, 2019

Government Shutdown Could Impact Safety

Civics/Government Politics Transportation

The current partial government shutdown is affecting many employees and contractors who are not being paid while the president and Congress are arguing about whether the federal budget should include funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. One important area where the shutdown may pose a safety risk is air traffic control. Uncertainty about the future is influencing the day-to-day work of these federal employees as well as the experiences of the flying public. Listen to this story to hear about the various ways that the shutdown is impacting airport travel.

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Current Event December 6, 2016

The Death Penalty and Intellectual Disabilities

Civics/Government Law

In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court barred the execution of the intellectually disabled. But states have the ability to decide who is given the label of "mentally retarded." (This outdated term is used throughout this story since it’s the language in the court case.) The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that questions what standards states may use in determining whether a defendant convicted of murder is mentally deficient. Listen to hear about this argument.

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Current Event April 30, 2018

Racial Bias Training

Race Education

Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were there for a business meeting and when they didn’t order drinks, the manager called the police. The men were arrested on suspicion of trespassing and were later released. Starbucks is now conducting racial bias education for all employees at their 8,000 stores. Implicit bias is our automatic processing of negative stereotypes that become embedded in our brains. The workshop is hoping to take a step toward retraining people’s brains to see others differently. Listen to hear more about the ways people can override our racial bias.

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The bsoton globe

Current Event August 29, 2018

Editorials on Importance of Journalism

Politics Ethics Journalism

President Trump recently called the news media “the enemy of the American people.” Now, one news publication has started a movement to respond to this claim. Over 300 news publications have decided to support the effort and run editorials about the importance of a free press. Listen to learn more about one journalist’s project to defend the free press.

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Current Event October 14, 2016

Debate: Do You Think Everyone has a Bias?

Race Education

Implicit racial bias has been discussed in recent police shootings, preschool suspensions, and in both the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Unconscious attitudes or stereotypes can lead us to draw conclusions about each other that are sometimes opposite of what we consciously think or believe. In this study on bias, over one hundred preschool teachers looked for disruptive behavior in some children more than in others. Listen to hear how race and empathy are involved in how children are viewed, and debate whether you think everyone has a bias.

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Current Event January 11, 2017

Comparing Black Lives Matter to Civil Rights Movement

Race Protest Civil RIghts

There are parallels between the race struggles of Martin Luther King half a century ago and the Black Lives Matter movement of today. This story tells of how attention is being brought to the disparities between races in the United States, and how the message has changed from an aspirational tone to a commitment to truth-telling. Protesters in both struggles were working to transform America and focus on respect. Listen to hear more about civil rights activism in this interview recorded on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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Cupcakes

Current Event November 16, 2018

Debate: Should Teachers Reward Students with Junk Food?

Education Health

Many teachers use food to reward students, but often these foods are unhealthy. Since childhood obesity is a growing problem nationally, there is concern that celebrating with junk food at school may be contributing to students’ poor health. Listen to hear why one California school district is discouraging the use of edible prizes in school and debate: Should teachers reward students with junk food?

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Current Event May 9, 2018

Lynching Memorial

Race Civil War Slavery

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama. This memorial is devoted to the more than 4,000 African Americans who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. Killing for an alleged offense and without a legal trial was allowed in some parts of the South during this time period. Visitors are reminded of what happened in our past and encouraged to confront America’s continued racial divide. Listen to this story about this memorial that helps us to remember the thousands of Americans who were killed because of racism.

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Burnt up paradis

Current Event November 26, 2018

Wildfire Destroys a Town Called Paradise

Environment conservation

The deadliest wildfire in California history has devastated a town called Paradise, burning homes and killing dozens of people. The town’s mayor, Jody Jones, lost her own home and has been evacuated along with 26,000 other residents. Jones said the town looks like a war zone, but she and others are committed to rebuilding. Listen to hear the mayor’s reflections on the current state of Paradise and plans for its future.

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George w bush

Current Event December 26, 2018

How 9/11 Helped Define George W. Bush's Presidency

Civics/Government Politics Branches of Government

President George W. Bush was the governor of Texas before he became the 43rd President of the United States. Bush, who is the son of President George H.W. Bush, was elected in 2000 in a close, controversial race involving a recount in Florida and was reelected in 2004. His presidency was defined by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, eight months into his presidency. Listen to learn how this event shaped Bush’s legacy.

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Soowoo rooster

Current Event January 11, 2019

Debate: Should rooster fighting be legal in Puerto Rico?

Culture Law Violence

The Farm Bill recently passed by the U.S. Congress includes a provision outlawing rooster fighting throughout the nation and its territories. This provision of the law is having a big impact on the island of Puerto Rico, where the rooster fighting industry is important to the economy. Supporters of the law say that rooster fighting is cruel and should have been made illegal years ago. Some Puerto Ricans view the ban on the centuries old tradition as an attack on their culture. Listen to the story to hear both sides of the issue, and then debate: Should rooster fighting be legal in Puerto Rico?

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