Topic: Economics

Current Event May 5, 2015

End Negotiations, End the Pay Gap

Economics Gender Psychology

On average, women are paid less to do the same jobs as men. This pay inequity often starts with salary negotiations. Men are much more likely to negotiate a higher salary and women are more likely to accept what is first offered to them. This initial gap then continues throughout careers even when people switch jobs. Companies are trying to address this gender gap in pay by publishing salaries online or establishing set pay for different positions. Listen to learn more about this problem and some new solutions.

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Current Event May 1, 2015

Unrest In Baltimore

Civics/Government Economics Race

On the morning of April 12, 2015 Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man from Baltimore, was arrested by police and fell into a coma as a result of spinal cord injuries sustained while in police custody. He died on April 19th, a week after his arrest. The officers involved have been suspended with pay but there have been no public answers about what happened. Peaceful protests in Baltimore turned violent, leading to riots and property destruction. This incident tapped into anger and resentment in a city known for racial segregation, economic marginalization and police violence. Listen to learn more about the way these tensions played out in one neighborhood during the violence.

Update: The six police officers involved in Gray's death were charged with a range of crimes including murder. They have pled not guilty.

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Current Event April 12, 2015

Same Deal, Different Stories

Civics/Government Economics World History II

The United States, Iran and five other world powers have agreed on the basic principles of a nuclear accord. This agreement is being presented as a victory in the U.S. and Iran but the two sides are offering different stories on some of the key points of the deal, including when economic sanctions will end. Listen to learn more about how these differing narratives may lead to problems finalizing the deal.

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Current Event April 9, 2015

Modern-Day Slavery

Economics Geography Ethics

Where does your fish come from? A year-long journalistic investigation found that some of the fish that ends up in U.S. food products appears to have been been caught by slaves. People from Burma are being held against their will and forced to work loading and unloading fish on a remote island in Indonesia. When this modern day slavery was uncovered, reporters traced the route of this fish all the way to American stores, tables and pet food. Listen to learn more about how slavery still exists in parts of the world.

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Current Event April 5, 2015

Oil Glut

Economics Earth and Space Science

The United States has become one of the world’s largest producers of oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia. But the US might be running out of space to store all the oil. If companies sell off large amounts of oil to open up storage space, what will happen to the price? Listen to learn more about this debate of supply, demand and cost when it comes to oil production, speculation and storage.

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Current Event March 27, 2015

Women on the Money

Civics/Government Economics Gender US History II

When you look at traditional American currency, from bills to coins, you will see the portraits of presidents, founders, and inventors. And almost all of them are men. A group of women in New York is trying to change this in time for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020. The campaign Women On 20s is proposing that Andrew Jackson be removed from the twenty dollar bill and replaced with a famous woman chosen by popular vote. Listen to learn more about the candidates they are proposing and why they think Jackson is the ideal president to replace.

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Current Event March 23, 2015

Should College Athletes Get Paid?

Economics Sports Ethics

With college basketball’s March Madness Tournament heating up, all eyes are on college sports and the money they generate. From ticket sales, to merchandise, and TV rights, college sports bring more than just pride to their schools; they also generate huge amounts of money. College athletes are awarded scholarships to cover tuition, but they don’t get paid anything else. Is this fair? Athletes are speaking out and telling their stories of financial need. Listen to hear about one former college athlete who is challenging this system in court.

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Current Event March 19, 2015

Hospitals of the Future

Civics/Government Life Science Economics Health

Hospitals have a reputation for being drab and sterile, but a new wave of hospital design is changing what patients can expect. An aging population, and increased access to healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act, has spurred a new era in hospital development. Listen to learn how two new hospitals in Dallas are revolutionizing the look of of patient care.

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Current Event March 1, 2015

Oklahoma Has More Earthquakes Than California

Civics/Government Economics Earth and Space Science

When Americans think of earthquakes, they often think of California. However, in the last few years, Oklahoma has become the leader in earthquakes in the continental United States. Some areas in Oklahoma experience two to three earthquakes a day! These quakes are being linked to a modern oil production technique known as hydraulic fracturing. It’s the process used to dispose of wastewater created during the extraction of oil from shale. Listen to learn how communities are responding to the quakes and the oil companies that might be creating them.

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Current Event February 20, 2015

The Reality of Roads

Civics/Government Economics

Large American cities are known for their traffic jams - roads full of cars going nowhere. A new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts that in 30 years this gridlock will be occurring in nearly all cities. As the U.S. population and U.S. manufacturing grow, more people and manufactured goods will be on the move. Our current infrastructure of roads and bridges will need a major overhaul to keep up. Listen to learn more about the problems and proposed solutions to this infrastructure puzzle.

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Current Event February 17, 2015

A Rare Earth Monopoly

Economics Earth and Space Science

As the game Monopoly taught us as children, having a monopoly on something can be very profitable. In the 1990’s one man found himself selling Scandium, a rare chemical element used in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and realized he was the only person with that particular job. Listen to learn how he found this job and how different types of monopolies have different financial outcomes and economic impact.

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Science

Volcanoes are a Source of Renewable Geothermal Energy

Economics Earth and Space Science Energy Physical Science

As nations look for clean energy alternatives many are turning to wind and solar, but Indonesia is turning to its volcanoes. Indonesia has 130 active volcanoes. These volcanoes generate geothermal heat that is releases through vents and hot springs throughout the country. Power companies are learning to harness and redirect this heated steam into power plants in order to generate electricity. Indonesia’s geothermal energy potential is huge, but start up costs and oil subsidies might prevent this burgeoning clean energy from taking off.

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Science

Supply and Demand of Solar Energy

Economics Earth and Space Science Environment Energy

To lower dependency on fossil fuels, some Americans have installed solar panels on their homes to produce their own clean energy. This decision involves a cost-benefit analysis of cost value and environmental impact. In some regions this cost-benefit ratio has been upset by fracking, and the cheap natural gas that it produces. How does supply and demand impact the cost of energy? How does the cost of energy impact people seeking alternatives such as solar energy? Listen to learn how one family has dealt is dealing with this shifting energy landscape.

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Current Event February 15, 2015

The End of Office Supply Stores?

Economics Technology

Two office supply giants are hoping to join together to increase their value. Staples is planning to buy Office Depot so that they can compete with the sale of inexpensive office supplies at stores like Walmart as well as online. This shift says something larger about the economy and the way we work, buy and use technology. Listen to learn how the market is changing as we digitize work

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Current Event February 13, 2015

Careers in a Skilled Trade

Economics US History II Engineering Labor

American high school students are going to college at some of the highest levels in history. This increased emphasis on college readiness has meant a loss of focus on vocational education programs. As a result it’s created a void of skilled trade workers, such as mechanics, plumbers and electricians. As a generation of tradesmen retire, the U.S. education system might have to rethink how they approach teaching skilled trades. Listen to learn more about this debate.

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Current Event February 12, 2015

Where to Put the Snow?

Civics/Government Economics Earth and Space Science Weather and Climate

New England has been hit hard by snow in the last month. Storm after storm has left unprecedented amounts of snow to be removed from the streets in cities like Boston, Massachusetts. Where does all of this snow go and what happens to it? Listen to hear how the City of Boston is dealing with mounds of snow.

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Current Event February 8, 2015

Budget Priorities

Civics/Government Economics

President Obama’s 2015 White House budget reflects a new focus on the middle class. After cutting the deficit and coming out of the recession the President is using the budget to target uneven economic growth and support the middle class. Listen to learn why and how the president is shifting his budget focus.

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Current Event February 1, 2015

Nuclear Power in India

Civics/Government Economics Earth and Space Science World History II

The demand for electricity in India is rising, but India relies on coal for the majority of their power. The hope of a new deal with the United States is to help India transition from dirty coal to cleaner nuclear energy. U.S. companies will sell nuclear technology to Indian power companies so they can transition to a cleaner energy source. This might be good for the earth, but what about for security? Listen to learn about the pros and cons of this international energy deal.

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Current Event January 27, 2015

BP Pays Up

Civics/Government Life Science Economics Environment

A federal judge has found oil company BP responsible for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and resulting oil spill. Now the question is how much should BP pay for the damage caused by 3.19 million barrels of oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico. Some argue that BP should receive the maximum penalty for the environmental and economic damage caused by the spill. But BP wants credit for the money its has already spent on damages and cleanup. Listen to learn more about this complicated decision.

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Current Event January 23, 2015

Florida Citrus in Crisis

Life Science Economics Agriculture

As you drink your morning orange juice, you might not think about where it comes from. Oranges and other citrus are an important base for the Florida economy. The citrus industry and the related jobs in Florida are under threat from a new insect borne infection known as “citrus greening.” Listen to learn more about this disease and how citrus farmers are coping with this changing landscape.

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