So easy you can do it in your sleep

Whenever I feel so sleep-deprived that I just. can't. go. any. further, I think of Randy Gardner -- not because he cheers me up, but because compared to him I have no excuse for whining. As Gelf magazine says:

Gardner holds the world record for sleep-deprivation. In 1965, as a high-school student, he went 265 hours without so much as a nap. In the past 41 years, no one has equaled his mark.

This wouldn't be a terribly difficult feat for an insomniac, but then Gardner isn't one of those: 

Even if his record falls, though, Gardner won't lose any sleep over it. In fact, he hasn't pulled an all-nighter since breaking the record, he says, and generally gets about seven hours of sleep a night.

Indeed, Gardner doesn't have any of the following sleep disorders, featured in mental_floss: volume 3, issue 1:

* Sleep Eating: The most common Sleep Eating episodes entail a person sleepwalking to the refrigerator and munching on a midnight snack that they'll probably never remember. Other times, the episodes are more elaborate, and the fully asleep sufferers head to the kitchen to chop, stir-fry, bake or bust out the George Foreman.

* Pseudoinsomnia: People with this disorder have vivid dreams about not being able to sleep.

* Sexsomnia: It's embarrassing enough to be told that you snore or mumble in your sleep, but imagine being told that you take off all your clothes, moan in ecstasy, and sometimes even pleasure yourself -- all without any memory of doing so.

For two more eye-opening disorders, plus the sleep problem Harriet Tubman and Harold Ickes have in common, check out the magazine.

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


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