For the infant who has everything (but hair)

Here at mental_floss, we know a lot of people (our president included) who have recently had babies. May we present the perfect shower gift, from Baby Toupee?

And yes, that one on the left is called "The Donald."

The history of wigs, after the jump.

Wikipedia says:

Wigs have been worn for thousands of years; the ancient Egyptians, for instance, wore them to protect their shaven heads from the sun. Other ancient peoples, including the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans also used wigs. Curiously, they are principally a Western form of dress; in the Far East they have rarely been used except in the traditional theatre of China and Japan.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the use of wigs fell into abeyance in the West for a thousand years, until revived in the 16th century as a means of compensating for hair loss or improving one's personal appearance. They also served a practical purpose; the unhygienic conditions of the time meant that hair attracted head lice, a problem that could be much reduced if natural hair was shaved and replaced with a more easily de-loused artificial hairpiece.

Royal patronage was crucial to the revival of the wig. Queen Elizabeth I of England famously wore a red wig, tightly and elaborately curled in a "Roman" style, and King Louis XIII of France pioneered wig-wearing among men from the 1620s onwards.

Periwigs or perukes for men were introduced into the English-speaking world with other French styles when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, following a lengthy exile in France. These wigs were shoulder-length or longer, imitating the long hair that had become fashionable among men since the 1620s. Their use soon became popular in the English court. ...

With wigs becoming virtually obligatory garb for men of virtually any significant social rank, wigmakers gained considerable prestige. A wigmakers' guild was established in France in 1665, a development soon copied elsewhere in Europe. Their job was a skilled one, as 17th century wigs were extraordinarily elaborate, covering the back and shoulders and flowing down the chest; not surprisingly, they were also extremely heavy and often uncomfortable to wear. Such wigs were expensive to produce, as the best examples were made from natural human hair; the hair of horses and goats was often used as a cheaper alternative.

During the 18th century wigs became smaller and more formal, with several professions adopting them as part of their official costumes; this tradition survives in a few legal systems. They were routinely worn in western European countries and the British colonies of North America. The wearing of wigs as a symbol of social status was largely abandoned in the newly created United States and France by the start of the 19th century, although it persisted a little longer in the United Kingdom. Women's wigs developed in a somewhat different way. They were worn from the 18th century onwards, although at first only surreptitiously, and full wigs in the 19th and early 20th century were not fashionable.

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

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North America: East or West Coast?
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