trends

Enrollment is increasing for an online K through 12 school in Massachusetts entering its second year.

What Makes a Good Flag Design?

Jul 21, 2015
UNIDO / Creative Commons

Think about the Connecticut state flag. Could you draw it from memory? What does it mean? Did you know that the three grapevines in the seal represent the state's three oldest settlements?

Seattle Municipal Archives / Creative Commons

A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted that Americans would work 14-hour weeks by the year 2000. Needless to say, their prediction was a little off. Fifty years later, the five-day, 40-hour work week remains the standard here in the U.S. 

Sean_Marshall / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy said new statistics show Connecticut is "moving in the right direction" in efforts to reduce crime.

Brian Garrett / Creative Commons

In 1972, there were only seven active osprey nests in Connecticut. The birds were listed as endangered or threatened in many states -- due to the widespread use of the toxin DDT, which was banned that same year.

Wayback Burgers

Gillian Maffeo said it all started as an April Fool's Day joke. Wayback Burgers, a resturant chain headquartered in Cheshire with locations across the state and country, started advertising a new type of milkshake: one infused with protein, from bugs. 

Jameziecakes / Creative Commons

A 2014 Nielsen report yielded some dismaying news for jazz connoisseurs: the once-coveted genre is now one of the least-consumed in the United States.

Why are so many turning away from jazz, and toward other styles of music like rock, pop, and country? 

This hour, a panel of experts and musicians weigh in, and share their thoughts on jazz's future both in America and abroad.

GUESTS:

Patrick Breltenbach / Creative Commons

Podcasts weren't born last year with the arrival of Serial, the wildly successful story of an unsolved 1999 murder that you could hear solely on podcast.

Serial likely provided the first encounter with podcasts for a lot of listeners, but podcasts first entered the consciousness and our iPods ten years ago last weekend, when early adopters saw in them the next great media revolution. The New Oxford American Dictionary even named "podcast" the word of the year in 2005. What wasn't to love?

Nothing like a good measles outbreak to get people thinking more kindly about vaccines.

One third of parents say they think vaccines have more benefit than they did a year ago, according to a poll conducted in May.

That's compared to the 5 percent of parents who said they now think vaccines have fewer benefits and 61 percent who think the benefits are the same.

Crime in America may be on the rise again. It's too early to talk about a national trend, but there have been troubling spikes in shootings and murders in big cities such as New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Until recently, crime decreased steadily for two decades, and the national murder rate is half what it was in the early 1990s — so police departments are under pressure to crack down. But at the same time, their tactics are under more scrutiny from the public, and they have to be careful not to appear too heavy-handed.

Starmanseries / Flickr Creative Commons

In some ways, the 'bro' is not new. He's there, for example, in Philip Roth's "Goodbye Columbus" as Ron Patimkin, the big athletic empty-headed brother of Brenda. 

What's different is that in the 1960s, it seemed fundamentally untenable to be Ron for an extended period of time. Ron only really made sense as a college athlete, and now he's stuck with a bunch of mannerisms and interests that seem vaguely out of place.

The Confederate battle flag and three other symbols of the Confederacy were taken down Wednesday from the Capitol grounds in Montgomery, Ala., after their removal was ordered by Gov. Robert Bentley amid a growing backlash against the symbols following last week's racially motivated mass shooting at a black church in South Carolina.

When you hear the words "green brewery," you might picture gleaming solar panels or aerodynamic wind turbines. But the most valuable piece of technology at the $24 million headquarters of Smuttynose Brewing Co. on the seacoast of New Hampshire isn't quite as sexy.

"The place you have to start is the building envelope," says Smuttynose founder Peter Egelston.

Nathan Reading / Crea

The presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has increased over the past few decades, and the development of new antibiotics has decreased. It's a trend raising fears among physicians that, without quick and deliberate action, antibiotics could become useless.

lculig/iStock / Thinkstock

We usually think of propaganda as a tool used by autocrats eager to manipulate minds and limit rights we take for granted in the West. Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un or King Salman bin Abdulaziz wouldn't have a chance with us.

But Western culture is steeped in propaganda that's more insidious and less blatant.

Song of the Summer 2015

Jun 18, 2015
Felipe Skroski / Flickr Creative Commons

How do you define “The Song of the Summer?” DJ Brendan Jay Sullivan likens it to a summer romance: Fresh faces only (no repeat artists), love at first sight (or first three seconds of the song), and you don’t want to be anyone’s summer fling (it lasts a while!). With that in mind, what’s your song of the summer so far? On this show, we’ll narrow down and try to define the winners and losers.

Women in the U.S. are having more babies — exactly 3,985,924 last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preliminary data show that birth rates in the U.S. were up by 1 percent last year from 2013. It's the first increase in seven years.

But teenagers aren't having as many babies. The birth rate in that group dropped by 9 percent in 2014 compared with 2013. For context, teen births have been on the decline since 1991.

What Will Be the Song of the Summer?

Jun 15, 2015
Anonymous Accound / Creative Commons

In 1985, it was "Shout." In 2003, it was "Crazy in Love." In 2012, it was "Call Me Maybe." In 2014, it was "Fancy."

The song of the summer for 2015, though, is still up for grabs. 

Exploring European Conservatism

Jun 10, 2015
Bobby Hidy, Creative Commons

Just listen to Republican candidates for president of the U.S., and you have a pretty good idea of what modern, American conservatism is all about: lower taxes, gun rights, and smaller government, to name a few notions.

But in Europe, where political, social, and economic climates are much different, what does the political right look like? 

Gilberto Santa Rosa / Flickr Creative Commons

There are many kinds of nudism - or naturism. There are people who just like doing stuff while not wearing clothes. And there are those who believe there are hygiene benefits. And people who link nudism with various utopian movements that break down barriers among people.

And there are people who believe in de-stigmatizing the parts of the human anatomy ordinarily covered by a bathing. The way this plays out in life, therefore, is that some naturists just want the chance to live in the raw in fairly private settings.

Boston is home to one of the country’s first great public libraries: the Boston Public Library. Founded in the middle of the 19th century, it is free to all, offering a public space and access to a world of books and ideas.

For generations, Americans have embraced public libraries as essential civic institutions — but now, in the age of Google, Wikipedia, Amazon and Kindle, traditional libraries face an existential quandary. With so much information so easily accessible, who needs libraries and their musty stacks of books?

Although it's a tropical island, perhaps surprisingly, Puerto Rico produces very little of its own food. After decades of industrialization, the U.S. territory imports more than 80 percent of what's consumed on the island. There are signs, though, the trend is changing.

The AMC series The Walking Dead, about a band of survivors in a zombie apocalypse, is known for killing off characters without much warning. But while the show's sudden plot twists keep viewers engaged, they can also create explosions of fan grief and rage on social media. Much of the audience's ire has landed on Scott M. Gimple, the series' executive producer and this season's showrunner.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose: to reward good service. Workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

Jonathan Tan / Creative Commons


Today more than ever college students face an uncertain future.

We hear more and more about the importance of a top-notch education and how increasingly, studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics offer the only promise of a successful road forward. But as the pragmatism of STEM fields is professed, and the ivy leagues declared the place to study them, has the importance of the humanities been forgotten?

The unpredictable schedules of retail and fast-food workers is a big issue in workers rights campaigns. Now, the New York attorney general is investigating the way some of the country's biggest retailers handle scheduling.

In New York, if a worker shows up for a shift that he doesn't end up being needed for, the law says he still is due four hours of pay. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says retailers, especially, rely heavily on systems that require workers to be ready to work a shift — regardless of whether they end up working. It's called on-call work.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

The data breach that affected Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in February affected more than a million and a half current and past Connecticut members. Most recently, Anthem announced they’ll be sending letters to those whose data was possibly leaked, offering them two years of free credit monitoring. We'll get an update. 

Goodbye to All That

Mar 26, 2015
Rob Choucroun / Creative Commons

Socio-technological bulletin:

I have decided to get rid of my CDs.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I believe it’s time. I’ve pretty much crossed over to the download/streaming side, and I just don’t play the discs much anymore.

Johnny Reynolds knew that something was wrong as far back as 2003. That's when he first started experiencing extreme fatigue.

"It was like waking up every morning and just putting a person over my shoulders and walking around with them all day long," says Reynolds, 54, who lived in Ohio at the time.

In addition, Reynolds was constantly thirsty and drank so much water that he would urinate 20 or 30 times per day. "And overnight I would probably get up at least eight or nine times a night," he says.

The White House

Sunshine Week is supposed to be dedicated to transparency and openness in government, but President Barack Obama's administration seems to have thumbed its nose at the idea by announcing that the executive office would not comply with Freedom of Information Act requests.  

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