Topic: Transportation

Current Event October 18, 2020

Weird News: Cardboard Car at a Drive-Through

Culture Transportation Food

Listen to hear about a family trip to McDonald’s in a cardboard car.

Vocabulary: craving, embarrassed

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Current Event August 30, 2020

Weird News: From Outer Space to Ocean Depths

Gender Space Oceans Transportation

Listen to hear about how the first woman to walk in space traveled to the deepest part of the ocean.

Vocabulary: depth, crevice

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Current Event July 20, 2020

View of Earth from the International Space Station

Space Systems Transportation Industry

Crew Dragon, a space capsule launched by the private company SpaceX, recently transported two American astronauts to the International Space Station. In this audio story, the astronauts reflect on their experiences in space and what it feels like to view Earth in the midst of a pandemic. Listen to hear the space travelers describe how space travel today is different from 50 years ago and explain why future space travel could be similar to scuba diving.

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Current Event May 3, 2020

Weird News: Pilot Lands In Tree

Transportation

Listen to hear about a pilot who landed his plane on top of a tree.

Vocabulary: brace, impossible, rescue

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Current Event February 28, 2020

Debate: Should Self-Driving Cars Be Charged for Idle Time?

Technology Transportation AI

Fleets of self-driving cars may hit city streets soon, ready to give pedestrians a lift when they need it. But where will the cars wait to be called? To avoid parking fees, experts say driverless cars may circle slowly or even turn deliberately into heavy traffic, clogging city and residential roads and wasting fuel. To discourage this behavior, some have suggested charging cars not just for parking, but for the time they spend on the road. Listen to learn why some people favor “congestion pricing” and then debate: Should self-driving cars be charged for idle time?

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Current Event October 4, 2019

Debate: Should More Be Done to Keep Cyclists Safe?

Culture Law Transportation

Cycling deaths are on the rise throughout the country. As more cyclists take to roads already crowded with cars, accidents are increasing. One cause may be older urban streets designed for horses, not cars and bicycles. The attitude of drivers unwilling to share the road with cyclists could also be to blame. In some states, laws that increase penalties for drivers who hit cyclists are under consideration. Listen to hear experts describe the upward trend in cycling deaths and how the problem might be addressed, and then debate: Should more be done to keep cyclists safe?

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Current Event August 30, 2019

Debate: Should We Send Astronauts to the Moon Again?

Politics Technology Space Systems biology Transportation Industry Learning Astronomy Air Pollution 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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Current Event August 7, 2019

Woman Aviator Led the Way

Race Culture Gender Reform Transportation War Women's Rights

One of the first female U.S. Navy pilots and the first woman air squadron commander recently died. Rosemary Mariner entered the U.S. Navy in the 1970s and rose through the ranks to become a great leader. She inspired many friends and colleagues with her strength of character, her intelligence, and her respectful and supportive attitude. Listen to learn about the effect Rosemary Mariner had on one of her fellow women aviators and on the world at large.

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Current Event August 5, 2019

Moon Landing Anniversary

Technology Space Systems Transportation Astronomy

It has been 50 years since the first moon landing. Astronaut Michael Collins orbited the moon while his more well-known colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on its surface. As someone who was just 15 miles away from this world-famous event, Collins offers a unique perspective on the moon landing. Listen to learn about his experience and hear why he believes humans should continue traveling into space today.

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Current Event July 15, 2019

Tourism Overcrowding on the Rise

Transportation International Industry Conservation

In recent years, traveling has become easier for people all over the world. This has led to many popular tourist destinations being overcrowded, which can impact the tourist experience as well as the sites themselves. Cities like Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan have been hosting more visitors than they can handle, and special attractions in out-of-the-way places are also drawing unmanageably large crowds. Listen to this story to hear about the reasons for this tourist overcrowding and what tourist destinations are doing about it.

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Current Event July 3, 2019

College Rocket Scientists

Technology Earth and Space Science Space Systems Energy Transportation Industry Motion

A group of college students recently came together to attempt an extremely challenging task: launching a rocket into space. Large companies and universities invest a lot of time, money, and resources to launch a rocket, but these ambitious students were determined to do their best with much less. Listen to find out how the idea was hatched, what happened at their first launch, and what they hope other students might learn from them.

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Current Event May 21, 2019

Earth Calling Space

Engineering Space Systems Space Tech Transportation Mathematics Motion

The job of an astronaut on the International Space Station is demanding, and those interested in the job must have many skills and qualifications. Astronauts must be prepared for spacewalks, science experiments, station maintenance, and many other tasks. Like any job, being an astronaut has its own special quirks and challenges. Listen to hear from some astronauts on the International Space Station about their experiences orbiting the earth for science.

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Current Event April 24, 2019

Flying Cars

Politics Economics Technology Law Elementary Transportation Class Business Industry

If Uber and other transportation technology companies have their way, people who use ride-hailing apps will soon be able to order flying taxis. These futuristic vehicles would quickly transport passengers from location to location, traveling high above traffic on the ground. Listen to find out how and when the dream of flying cars may become a reality, and what issues need to be considered before then.

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Current Event January 14, 2019

Government Shutdown Could Impact Safety

Politics Civics/Government 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 18, 2018

Airport Gun Sightings Increase Across Country

Transportation Bill of Rights

Millions of people travel through airport security each year. When scanning carry-on luggage, TSA agents are usually on the lookout for liquids or wrapped gifts, but recently they have been seeing more guns. Firearms are on the TSA list of prohibited items, meaning that they are never allowed in the cabin of an airplane. Listen to this story to hear more about why this is an issue, how the TSA is managing it, and what happens to those who mistakenly try to carry a gun on an airplane.

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Current Event November 21, 2018

Viruses Hiding in Airports

Health Transportation

There are many potential hassles of air travel, including getting sick. Airports can be virus incubators, and researchers have investigated which particular airport spots carry the most germs. Recent studies have revealed that the dirtiest places in airports might not be where people expect. Listen to this story to find out how air travelers can take precautions to avoid bringing home a cold for the holidays.

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Current Event November 9, 2018

Debate: Should electric scooter rentals be allowed in cities?

Technology Transportation

Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in big cities where traffic is congested and public transportation can be unreliable. Some companies are offering electric scooters that can be unlocked via mobile app, ridden, and dropped off anywhere in the city. This may be convenient for some people, but it can be hazardous for others. Listen to this story to learn about the controversy caused by electric scooters and debate: Should electric scooter rentals be allowed in cities?

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Current Event April 6, 2018

Debate: Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?

Technology Transportation

Uber, a ride-sharing company, has expanded into new areas such as self-driving cars and food delivery. A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. It was the first pedestrian death involving a vehicle that was self-driving. There was a driver in the car in case of an emergency, however the accident was not avoided. Listen to hear how this accident might affect new laws related to safety and self-driving cars, as well as the factors involved in this tragic accident and then debate: Are self-driving cars safe?

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Current Event June 19, 2017

Flying Cars Coming in 2020

Technology KERA Transportation

Recently, Uber announced plans to use new technology to create flying cars which will be ready for demonstration by 2020. Rather than picturing a car from a science fiction story, imagine a vehicle that looks more like a helicopter. In fact, Uber is calling them “vertical takeoff and landing aircraft”. Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas were selected as the company’s first United States partner cities. Listen to an aviation engineer from Uber explain this new technology.

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