I'm rubber, you're glue...

I saw this superglue ad on ettf and thought it was pretty amusing. Oh, if only the UN could invest in a bit of rubber cement or Scotch tape and patch up the world!

Anyway, while I've got this great big pic of the Koreas up here, I figured I'd toss you 3 Crazy Reasons to Visit the Demilitarized Zone (the 155 mile-long, 2.5 mile-wide demarcation territory between North and South Korea) culled straight from our last issue's A Few Good Reasons to Vacation in North Korea feature.

1. EXTREME BIRDWATCHING! (AND GOLF): Heavily mined, baricaded, and patrolled from both sides, the Zone is essentially a no-man's land. However, it is home to several formerly endangered species of birds, now safely tucked away from human contact. Better yet, you can view these amazing creatures as part of your guided tour of the DMZ. Seriously. Both the North Koreans and the South Koreans sponsor Zone tours. Not much of a bird enthusiast? Squeeze in a round of golf on the Joint Security Area's self-proclaimed "World's Most Dangerous Golf Course." But amateurs beware: Landing in the rough can mean treading through live mine fields!

2. MEET THE LOCALS. About the only people living inside the Demilitarized Zone are a group of ex-refugees whom the South Korean government has allowed to resettle in their native lands. Collectively, DMZ residents live in a village called T'aesong-dong (or "Attaining Success Town"), otherwise known by the American military as "Freedom Village." Believe it or not, living in T'aesong-dong has some pretty spectacular perks. Residents are exempt from military service and taxation and are extremely wealthy compared to their counterparts in rural South Korea. Of course, they also have to endure the daily propaganda that's blasted over loudspeakers from the northern side of the border. North Korea, incidentally, has its own border village, which boasts bigger houses, a larger official population, and a much bigger flag than T'aesong-dong. How big is it? So big that it takes eight gale forces of wind to even make the thing flutter—not that anyone cares. Observers have never seen people in the village, and the windows on the houses appear to actually be painted on—leading American soldiers to call it "Propaganda Village."
3. DIG A TUNNEL. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, North Koreans spent a lot of time tunneling under the DMZ and into South Korean territory. The largest of these tunnels, the Third Tunnel of Aggression, was discovered in 1975 and extends a mile into South Korea. U.S. military experts estimate that it could have funneled some 10,000 troops and vehicles across (or, rather, beneath) the border in just an hour. Today, the South Korean government runs 'round-the-clock tunnel detection teams (that reportedly include a few psychics) to keep the North from doing any more of what it called "coal mining." You can even tour the Third Tunnel of Aggression if you like, but only from the South Korean side.

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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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