All Social Studies

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Current Event September 13, 2019

Debate: Are Online Platforms Threatening Democracy?

Technology Journalism Democracy Media

Congress recently held a hearing to consider how technology companies might be endangering the news industry and threatening democracy. Some newspaper publishers argue that online platforms like Google and Facebook unfairly threaten their existence and are controlling public access to information. Some technology executives say this is not the case, suggesting that the news media are not keeping up with innovative competition. In order to resolve this issue, lawmakers have proposed a bill with bipartisan support. Listen to learn more and then debate: Are online platforms threatening democracy?

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Facialrecognition

Current Event September 6, 2019

Debate: Should Facial Recognition Apps Cause Concern?

Technology Law Ethics Policy

FaceApp allows people to modify photos to change their appearances, trying out different hairstyles or even seeing what they may look like decades from now. While the app is fun and silly, some political leaders have warned against using it due to privacy issues related to its facial recognition capabilities. However, a technology writer argues that FaceApp is no more dangerous than many other social media applications. Listen to learn more and then debate: Should facial recognition apps cause concern?

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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 September 12, 2019

Rural Doctor Tries to Bridge Cultural Divide

Politics Race Immigration Religion Culture

Dr. Ayaz Virji moved to Dawson, Minnesota to help fill a need for doctors in rural America. At first, all was well, but during the 2016 election, the climate began to shift. As a Muslim, he no longer felt as welcome in Dawson, and he regularly faced discrimination. Virji decided to take action to help his community and others like it better understand and tolerate his faith and has since written a book about his experiences. Listen to hear Dr. Virji’s story and learn about his plans for the future.

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Capitol building cops

Current Event June 14, 2019

Debate: Should Public Protests Be Restricted?

Law Protest Ethics Reform

The National Park Service has proposed new rules for protests on park property. The proposed rules would limit the amount of available protest space and require protesters to pay fees to hold a protest. Many people have expressed opposition to these rules, arguing that they would limit the freedom of speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Listen to hear more about why the rules were proposed and why people are concerned about them, and then debate: Should public protests be restricted?

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Current Event August 9, 2019

Debate: Do the Risks of Airdrop Outweigh the Benefits?

technology Entertainment media education culture

AirDrop allows people with iPhones to share pictures and other media with others who are located near them through Bluetooth technology. This means that sometimes, people receive photos or memes on their phones from strangers. While AirDrop offers a convenient way to share files, and many teenagers are having fun with it, some use it in ways that could be harmful. Listen to learn about “AirDrop crossfire” and other uses of the technology and then debate: Do the risks of AirDrop outweigh the benefits?

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Current Event August 30, 2019

Debate: Should We Send Astronauts to the Moon Again?

Politics Technology Space Systems biology Transportation Learning Industry Air Pollution Astronomy 21st Century

It’s been 50 years since man first walked on the moon. Now, decades later, NASA is working on sending a manned spacecraft back to the moon. This time, however, the trip to the moon is part of a larger plan: getting man to Mars. However, NASA will need bipartisan political support to make their goals a reality, and some have dismissed this mission as unnecessary. Listen to learn how and why NASA plans to send astronauts to the moon and beyond and then debate: Should we send astronauts to the moon again?

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Art garden

Current Event September 11, 2019

Edible Art Garden

Environment Engineering Arts Nutrition Plants

When a vacant lot in Sacramento was up for sale, one neighbor had an idea for what it could become. She envisioned an urban farm, so she bought the lot and invited a local nonprofit group to help turn it into an “edible art garden” after gathering input from other community members. Listen to learn what this once bare lot looks like today and how it benefits the neighborhood surrounding it.

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Current Event September 10, 2019

Preparing for Earthquakes in California

Environment Earth Systems

Southern California recently experienced several large earthquakes. Fortunately, the damage caused by these events was minimal, and mostly confined to the desert, where fewer people live and work. However, some experts are concerned about what might happen if a severe earthquake occurred in urban Los Angeles, for example, where the potential damage to infrastructure could cause major problems. Listen to learn how Californians should prepare for a future major earthquake.

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Current Event September 5, 2019

Solar Energy in Communities of Color

Race Technology Education Energy Conservation

Renewable energy sources like solar power can help protect the environment and lower people’s electricity bills. Unfortunately, not everyone is benefitting equally from alternative energy sources and the technologies that harness them. One African-American solar technology professional is trying to reverse this trend. Listen to learn how he is bringing renewable energy to communities of color in Nashville and why this goal is so important to him.

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Current Event September 4, 2019

Condor Comeback

Animals Human Impacts Biology Conservation

In order to prevent the California condor from going extinct, conservationists created a captive breeding program for the unique bird species. In the 1980s, they began gathering all the remaining California condors, breeding them, and releasing their offspring into the wild. Listen to learn more about “chick number 1000” and find out why one scientist thinks California condors are among the most remarkable birds in the world.

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Current Event September 3, 2019

Girls Play War Games

Politics Gender War

Women make up 14% of the U.S. military. In an effort to interest more girls in the military and national security, the non-profit group Girl Security invited a group of young women to play a “war game.” In this exercise, the girls had to role-play two sides in a difficult and complex military conflict. Listen to learn how they played the game and how the experience affected them.

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Current Event May 12, 2015

A New Silk Road

Economics Ancient Civilization

The Silk Road is an ancient transcontinental trade route that connected Asia and Europe. The Silk Road led a period of trade and prosperity that is remembered in Chinese history as an era of power and prestige. The modern Chinese government is hoping to recreate the Silk Road and connect China to Africa, Europe and other parts of Asia. Some argue that this new goal is a great way to improve connectivity and promote economic development, while others question their motives. Listen to learn more about the ancient Silk Road and the potential impacts of creating a modern one.

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