Break It Down

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Betsy DeVos was confirmed last week as President Donald Trump’s secretary of education. She has been an aggressive proponent of school choice, but her definition of school choice may not be the same as how other people define it. School choice is one of those phrases that gets thrown around a lot, but is often misunderstood. So, we explain it in another edition of our Break It Down series.  

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A new study from UGA suggests about half of Americans won't get flu shots this year. The CDC recommends just about everyone above the age of six months get an influenza vaccination. But people still seem to have questions about what these shots are and how they work.

So, we explain flu shots in our series, Break It Down. Then, we're joined by Professor Robert A. Bednarczyk from the Hubert Department of Global Health and Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, with more details. 


On Nov. 8, the presidency will be decided once one of the candidates reaches 270 electoral votes. Electoral votes are cast by members of the Electoral College. That's something most people know, but what they don't know is how exactly the Electoral College works.


We add another episode to our “Break it Down” series, where we give proper explanations of commonly used phrases or terms.

In this installment, we examine what “margin of error” means when it comes to polling with help from Pew Research Center senior research methodologist Andrew Mercer. 

Break It Down: Cognitive Dissonance

Oct 25, 2016
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Sometimes people won’t – or don’t – change their minds, even when they’re presented with evidence showing their views aren’t based in fact. One reason why is a psychological term called cognitive dissonance.  

You may hear more and more about cognitive dissonance as we get closer to the election. It's a term used to explain politics all the time. But it's something that not a lot of people really understand. 

More people are prosecuted for illegally crossing the border than any other federal crime. But these inmates are not held in prisons run by the U.S. government. They're placed in a little-known system of private prisons that were set up to save money. Two of these prisons are in Georgia. Host Celeste Headlee speaks with reporter Seth Freed Wessler, who wrote about the history of these prisons and why dozens of men have died in this system. Then, thousands of refugees are detained at the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, Georgia. The majority of them end up being deported.

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Georgia Tech researchers hope to get a clearer picture of what schizophrenia does to the brain. Two biomedical engineers there have developed a tool to simulate the brain's reaction  to schizophrenia. With about one percent of Americans living with the condition, schizophrenia is more common in movies and TV than real life. So for some of us, what we know about the disorder mostly comes from the silver screen.


Recent news of Atlanta’s startlingly high HIV/AIDS rate prompted comparisons of Georgia’s capital city to a "third world country." But is it accurate to use the term in this case? Oglethorpe University history professor Nick Maher joins us to help break down the complicated origins of the phrase and what we really mean when we say it.  

Break It Down: Plutonium

Jun 6, 2016

The Nuclear Security Summit took place in Washington, D.C. in March and Georgia came up in the discussions among international leaders. Why? Because Japanese and American officials have decided to send 730 pounds of highly radioactive plutonium to the Savannah River Site, a nuclear reservation on the Georgia-South Carolina border. There's a lot of concern over this decision, but what exactly is plutonium and why is it dangerous? 

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April is Financial Literacy Month. It was designated in 2003. The Great Recession revealed just how little average Americans know about their finances. So, in the spirit of education, we break down something we hear a lot about, especially during election time: Social Security. We also talk with Social Security expert Mary Beth Franklin, who is a contributing editor with InvestmentNews.