Current Event April 8, 2015
Social media is used to post pictures, follow others, and communicate with friends and family. But it can also be used to share pictures of everyday life with people across the globe, changing perspectives and worldviews. This happened when Ugaaso Abukar Boocow, a Somali refugee living in Canada, returned to Somalia to explore her home country and spend time with her mother. The media often focus on civil war, violence and poverty that has plagued Somalia since the early 90’s, but Ugaaso is exposing the world to the beauty and small moment of everyday life in the Somali capital Mogadishu through her Instagram feed.
The Amish are a Christian religious group who are known for their isolation and rejection of modern technology. Popular culture has shaped our understanding of the Amish community, from the Harrison Ford movie Witness to TLC’s show Breaking Amish. But this lens on the Amish doesn’t show the complexities of their religious culture. Listen to learn more about the Amish and their complicated but thoughtful relationship with technology.
Discussion of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions often occur at the national level. Nations promise to lower emissions and scientists look for alternative energy sources. But new software is providing data for this emission reduction discussion at a local level. The software allows people to have a view into their carbon emissions on the level of a city, neighborhood, block and even household. Listen to learn how scientists and local officials are working together to track and understand emissions at the local level.
Current Event February 19, 2015
Complex computer algorithms designed to weigh options and make choices are consistently outperforming humans. The algorithms aren’t perfect, though, and many people have a hard time trusting them. Why do we feel this way? Would you trust a computer to make an important decision in your life? Listen to learn more about how algorithms work and why humans often mistrust them.
Current Event February 15, 2015
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
Current Event February 5, 2015
People often play video games to escape reality or fight pretend wars. Journalists are combining video games and news to flip this reality - bringing real images of war to viewers through the virtual reality of video games. From the Syrian Civil War to conflict over oil, listen to learn how virtual reality is being used to generate empathy and support deeper understanding of existing conflicts and complex systems.
Current Event January 16, 2015
Human diseases such as cancer impact human cells differently depending on the person. This makes it important for scientific researchers to have access to a variety of human cells - healthy and infected - to find medicines that fight or cure disease. A new technique of growing cells uses a layer of mouse cells to fuel human cell growth. It’s changed the game in cancer research. Listen to learn how this technique developed and how it lead to a breakthrough in cervical cancer research.
Current Event December 12, 2014
Cyberattacks on businesses have the power to shut down day to day operations and compromise security. A recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures, in which five movies were leaked and sensitive information was disrupted, is believed to be a result of North Korea’s cyberwar capacity. Sony Picture’s upcoming comedy “The Interview” in which two American journalists go to North Korea to interview and kill its leader, is not considered funny by the North Korean government. The North Koreans are believed to have conducted the cyber attack on Sony to retaliate for the release of the movie. Listen to learn more about this attack and evidence that points to its North Korean origins.
UPDATE 12.18.14 - Sony Pictures has pulled the release of the movie "The Interview." In a statement Sony said "Sony has no further release plans for the film."
Current Event December 11, 2014
Since the end of the space shuttle program and the beginning of independently funded space exploration, NASA hasn’t been launching many new spacecrafts. This is changing with a recent test flight for NASA’s new spacecraft Orion, which is designed to carry astronauts into deep space. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about Orion’s design and goals.
Current Event December 4, 2014
We use clocks throughout the day to mark the passage of time and organize our days, but what is time? For scientists who study time this is a surprisingly difficult question and it is becoming more complicated as even more accurate clocks are developed. Listen to learn more about a clock that is so accurate the passage of time varies based on where the clock is located.
Current Event November 27, 2014
It is hard for books to compete with the instant communication of Twitter or Facebook and the endless content on websites likes Buzzfeed. Book loving young people are now using these websites to create content honoring or inspired by books. Listen to learn more about these adaptations and their potential impact on literacy.
Current Event October 21, 2014
If you have ever had trouble putting down an addictive video game, you are not alone. Video games are actually designed using behavioral science to ensure that you will want to keep playing. This story gives you a behind the scenes look at how game designers plan to get you hooked.
Current Event September 29, 2014
Last week NASA’s MAVEN probe began orbiting Mars in an effort to measure and map the Martian atmosphere. Today, Mars, known as the red planet, is bone dry and it’s atmosphere is being broken down by the sun’s solar winds, but evidence shows that it was once much more like Earth. From liquid channels to lake beds, there is clear evidence that Mars once had water as well as a magnetic field. So what happened to this water? These are the answers the MAVEN is searching for by mapping Mars’ current atmosphere. Listen to learn more about this important mission.
Current Event September 26, 2014
In 1845 two ships led by Sir John Franklin left England searching for a northern route across the globe, known as the Northwest Passage. They never returned. 169 years later, a helicopter pilot found a clue that led the Canadian government to one of the missing ships. From sonar imaging to video cameras on submarines, archeologists have confirmed that this is one of the abandoned ships from the famous expedition. Listen to hear about the haunting story this discovery has unearthed.
Current Event September 25, 2014
In the last decade, increases in government funding to scientific research through the National Institute of Health (NIH) has spurred massive growth at universities across the country. Now, with congressional reductions in discretionary spending, inflation and increasing cost of research, scientists across the country have lost the NIH funding that was at the core of the research. Listen to this public radio story to hear how scientists at three different research institutes are dealing with this funding squeeze.
Current Event September 11, 2014
The success of workers at the Massachusetts supermarket chain, Market Basket, is making labor movements across the country rethink their strategies. In this labor dispute, workers walked off the job to protest the CEO of the company being fired. They didn’t come back to work until he was reinstated by the board of directors. All this was accomplished without a union. This public radio story looks at the ways the Market Basket strike is unique and how it can and can’t be duplicated by other labor movements or unions. Listen to learn more about the power of using technology to organize and the importance of management joining collective action.
Current Event September 5, 2014
Large rocks on the desert floor in California’s Death Valley have puzzled miners and scientists for years. These heavy rocks have long winding trails in the sand behind them but no one had ever seen the rocks move. For the last 60 years scientists have searched for answers but now with the use of GPS and video cameras they have solved the mystery. Listen to this public radio story to engage your student in the mystery and the science behind the moving rocks.
Current Event September 4, 2014
Earthquakes cause damage and create fear and uncertainty. But a new early warning system called Shake Alert is working to mitigate both. This phone app can rapidly detect earthquakes once they have begun, giving people time to prepare. The app is in the early testing stage but it successfully gave a warning before the recent earthquake in California. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the technology and goals behind this early warning system.
Current Event September 3, 2014
This back-to-school season parents and economists alike are shocked by the costs associated with preparing students for school. Schools are increasingly asking families to buy supplies for the classroom and school, as well as personalized technology. The additional costs have some questioning whether it is reasonable. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about how families and schools are adjusting to increased technological costs.