Author Archives: Matthew Green

Matthew Green runs KQED’s News Education Project, a new online resource for educators and the general public to help explain the news. The project lives at kqed.org/lowdown.

See How America Reacted on Twitter During Obama’s State of the Union Address

whitehouse.gov

whitehouse.gov

President Obama on Tuesday gave his sixth State of the Union address, delivering it, for the first time, to a Republican-controlled joint session of Congress. With an estimated 30 million people watching, Obama laid out a far-reaching vision for his final two years in office, emphasizing economic opportunities for middle and  lower-income Americans. Among other appeals, he called on Congress to impose new taxes and fees on the highest income earners, increase tax credits for education and childcare and make community college free for most students.
Continue reading

A Half-Century After the March on Washington, Would King Be Satisfied?

Includes interactive charts

“What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

[Jump to charts showing where race gap has narrowed or widened]

In late August 1963, on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a quarter million demonstrators converged on the National Mall in the nation’s capital to partake in what would become one of the largest human rights demonstrations in United States history.

Continue reading

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement?

Although Monday is officially recognized as Martin Luther King Day, today is the civil rights leader’s actual birthday. Born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, King would have turned 86 today. How much do you actually know about him and the movement he led? (Article continues below quiz.)

Continue reading

Despite Hottest Year on Record, Congress’ 170 Climate Deniers Aren’t Breaking A Sweat

Frozen toes and polar vortexes aside, 2014 was the hottest year on record globally, according to recently released data from the Japan Meteorological Agency. In fact, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. Bottom line: climate change is happening; it’s as real as gravity. And among scientists studying the issue, an overwhelming majority have confirmed that human activity is what’s driving the warmth.

But 131 representatives and 39 senators in the recently convened 114th Congress — more than half of all congressional Republicans (including eight from California) — aren’t buying it, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal-leaning advocacy group. Continue reading

Preview: What Different Stages of California’s High-Speed Rail Will Look Like [Interactive Map]

Even the Golden Gate Bridge, that most hallowed of local landmarks, had its naysayers.

Photographer Ansel Adams worried the bridge would despoil the pristine view (he later made peace with it). Ferry companies lobbied hard to kill the project. And even the Commonwealth Club of California passed a resolution, stating the timing was “inopportune,” according to historian Kevin Starr.

Continue reading

7 Billion and Counting: How Our World Got So Crowded So Fast [Videos]

Roughly 1 billion people lived on our planet in 1800. And that was a pretty major deal, considering it took all of human history — at least 50,000 years — to reach that.

But today, just a little more than 200 years after, our population is at 7.2 billion and growing.

So what happened? How’d our population get so big? And how much room is left before we reach maximum capacity? Continue reading

What’s the Fastest Way to Board A Plane? (hint: probably not how you’re doing it now)

Rejoice! The holiday travel (and shopping) season has finally come to a close.

If you braved the friendly skies at some point in the last two weeks and found yourself a tad frustrated by the glacial pace of the boarding process, there’s a decent chance you’re not alone. It’s pretty easy to notice the obvious inefficiencies in the boarding methods of different commercial airlines.

Continue reading

News That Moved: The Biggest Stories of 2014

Another year, another year-in-review article.

In the sea that is breaking news, 2014 was a tsunami. A multitude of tumultuous events shook the world this year (sometimes literally). And although it’d be silly to attempt to quantify the “most important” stories,  it is worth looking at the topics that American audiences were most drawn to and that seemed to have the greatest impact. As a gauge, these are the results from the Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and an independent survey of Twitter’s biggest news-related trending topics.

Continue reading

Shopping Math: Percentages and Discounts Explained in Three Animated Videos

Includes animated videos

Happen to be doing some frantic, last minute holiday shopping this weekend? If so, you’ll likely find yourself inadvertently diving head-first into a big stew of math.

Take that $130 pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. Let’s say Macy’s just marked it down 20%. And on top of that, you’ve got a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase. So, you’re looking at a sweet discount of 10% off 20% off $130.

So … how much are those shoes going to cost you?

From sports to the news, to — most importantly — shopping, percentages are hard to avoid. To help make sense of it all, animator-explainer extraordinaire Josh Kurz breaks down the basic math of everyday percentage conundrums (including the answer to the above question) — in three animated acts.

Continue reading

A History of Tension: 50 Years of U.S.-Cuba Relations [Interactive Timeline]

Courtesy of the Center on Foreign Relations

Break out the cigars (the good ones)!

The United States will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, ending 50 years of Cold War hostilities between the two nations, President Obama announced Wednesday. The news comes after the release of an American aid worker who had been held in a Cuban prison for the last five years on charges of espionage. It was part of a deal negotiated over 18 months of secret talks between the two nations, and with the support of Pope Francis.

In a recent telephone call, Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed to play nice. As part of the deal, Obama will use his executive authority to ease restrictions on Cuban travel and trade, and establish an embassy in Havana. Although the president lacks the power to completely end the 50-year trade embargo with Cuba (doing so requires an act of Congress), these actions are big step in that direction.

Continue reading