Hail to the conquering hero!

After great consideration and furrowing of brows, we are proud to announce the winner(s) of our stupid-sports contest. We wanted a sport we could actually play, so we ruled out entries that involved guaranteed physical pain (ski bowling, businessman bowling, "sit on your brother's head and suffocate him," a soccer/basketball hybrid called "broken nose"). We didn't have enough hot 18-year-olds on staff for jello dodgeball, and our men were a bit too macho for "World Macrame Competition." We were totally up for "sky surfing" but we couldn't afford a plane. "Bocquet" had potential but we couldn't figure out how to pronounce it. That left us with three finalists"¦

Bronze: SudokuJitsu. Wins the medal for the name alone -- Derek, we're sure there's a book deal out there for this.

Silver: Finger Jousting. Beautifully described here. We totally would have given this first prize, except it appears to already be somewhat established, thus constituting a slight bending of the rules.

Gold: Team Bobbing. Explained to an almost frightening degree here. We like that this is a new take on an old favorite -- and we also like that it's guaranteed to make every single player (a) laugh and (b) look ridiculous. We also have to commend John for his enthusiasm for all odd sports. He's a man after our own hearts.

As the gold-medal winner, John gets a copy of Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets. As a consolation prize, Julian -- the self-styled "Lord of the Joust" -- gets the pleasure of knowing that the mental_floss staff will be testing out finger-jousting at our staff gathering in New York next week. We'll post evidence, assuming we don't come off as total idiots.

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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