Social Studies

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How is Seeing Enders Game a Political Action? | PBS Idea Channel

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The science fiction novel Ender's Game has been a part of the sci-fi canon for the past 30+ years and with its huge new blockbuster movie release, it's bigger than ever. But its author, Orson Scott Card, has inspired more debate than the novel itself. Card has been labeled homophobic, racist, and a handful of other distasteful things, and the opinions held by Card have created a great deal of anger and opposition. Now that Ender's Game has been made into a movie, this leads to a big question: should you see it? Does buying a ticket to a film equal an endorsement of the creator's ideas? Or, should you join the bandwagon of boycotts against the film? Should you avoid it based on your moral beliefs? 

Sandwiches, Modernity, and Lyrics: A Thanksgiving Episode | PBS Idea Channel

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In honor of Thanksgiving, we present two ideas to discuss with your loved ones around the dinner table. First up: sandwiches. They are the perfect food for today's fast-paced lifestyle. But was it the creation of this versatile food that ushered in the period of classical modernity? Next up: music lyrics websites. We all love singing the wrong lyrics and then looking up the actual lyrics on rap genius. But are these sites stealing from the recording industry by profiting off of artist's lyrics? 

How is Jurassic Park A Commentary on Capitalism? | PBS Idea Channel

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It doesn't matter if it was intended or not: the film Jurassic Park (as does its source book) accurately illustrates investment and risk, money as motivation, negligent management of capital, and profit as the ultimate end goal. But can anything in our culture avoid this metaphor of capitalism? By stepping back and looking at all media in our culture, we can see echoes of the capitalism theme everywhere.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Individual Freedom

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Learn about the history of automobiles in North Dakota. The automobile age gave freedom of movement and choice for passengers and freight. With more people driving cars, the push came for better roads.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Peerless Transportation

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Learn about the role of railroads in North Dakota history. In their time, railroads had no peer in their ability to move people and goods, although shipping costs were high. The railroad companies helped increase immigration to North Dakota by actively marketing the opportunities here to foreigners, especially Scandinavians and Germans from Russia.

Red River Land | History of Travel | The Skies

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In the early days of the airplane people put on shows to display their flying talent.  Some notable performing aviators, male and female, were known as barnstormers and were from the Red River Valley.  Today modern jet aircraft transport people and freight all over Red River Land.

Competitive Gaming and E-Sports | Off Book

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Off Book takes a look at the world and culture of competitive gaming, which is now claiming a space similar to traditional sports. As games have increased in sophistication, they have become a medium for expressing human skill and brilliance. The result is a tier of the gaming world filled with disciplined, talented, and highly competitive players. Born out of arcade tournaments and LAN parties, the world of competitive gaming is now entering a mature, global phase.

Are Emoticons the Future of Language? | Off Book

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At times, computers and technology seem to dictate cultural norms. We increasingly use written language in place of face-to-face chat or phone calls. But the advantages of email, chat, and text in speed come with limitations in communicating emotional tone. Enter emoticons and emojis. Not just a playful supplement to language, these new tools allow for complexity in tone and emotion rarely possible in written language and provide new opportunities for creative expression.

The Voice of the South | Georgia Stories

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On March 15, 1922, Atlanta’s WSB (for “Welcome South, Brother”) became the first radio station to broadcast in the South. At that time, almost anyone who could do anything could get on the air. Radio became a source of comfort (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reassuring Fireside Chats), alarm (Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds broadcast) and escapism (adventure shows like The Lone Ranger and The Shadow).

Old Red Trail | Birth of the Interstate

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Crossing the United States before the federal highway system was in place was very difficult.  Future President Dwight Eisenhower traveled in a military expedition from Maryland to California in 1919 and took that experience with him to the White House.  He signed the Federal Highway Act in 1956, which resulted in the opening of the first part of Interstate 94 in October of 1958 between Valley City and Jamestown.  The video clip also includes discussion of how the interstate highway project was funded, its value in national defense, and secondary road improvement projects.

How Will Robots Affect Your Career Options?

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Find out how artificial intelligence could impact the future workforce with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from May 20, 2015.

Design Innovation for Jet-Powered Flight: The Swept Wing

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Discover the origins of the swept wing and podded engine design, two technologies that helped engineers harness the speed potential of jet engines, in this video from WGBH and The Documentary Group. Today, most jetliners share a common design: wings that sweep back from the body of the plane, with engines mounted beneath them. This design dates back to the end of World War II, when Allied military forces discovered secret German research that had been meant to be destroyed. Swept wings delay the formation of shock waves at higher speeds, and podded engines suspended below the wings help bring wing vibration under control. Together, these technologies enabled stable flight at speeds twice as fast as those that propeller engines had previously generated. This resource is part of the Aerospace Engineering Collection.

Fusion: Testing the First Hydrogen Device

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The 1952 test of the first hydrogen device--code-named "Mike," for "megaton"--in the Pacific Ocean's Marshall Islands signaled a new era in weapons capabilities. The devastation presented in this video segment, adapted from American Experience: Race for the Superbomb, demonstrates just how foreboding the signal was. Watch what prompted then-United States president Harry Truman to speak publicly about the dangers ahead for a world in which such weapons existed.

Chastity's Story: Homelessness

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This film module spotlights Chastity’s story and building a support system for students struggling with poverty.

The Computer Industry | Georgia Stories

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Computer technology has turned the old saying, “bigger is better” on its head as computers have gotten smaller and more powerful. While the Internet was considered powerful when it was put into use, the first machines connected to it had a capacity of only 16 kilobytes of memory. Many watches and pocket calculators today have more memory than the entire Internet when it first started. Certainly the Internet has changed the way we do business.

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