People collect the darndest stuff - Part 1: Fruit & Veggie stickers

Coin and stamp collections are tired, didn't you know? What's wired in the world of collecting? I'll let you know by taking a look at a few categories over the next month or so. Let's begin with fruit stickers"¦

Now, I don't mind peeling the dang things off, say, a banana, where they're pretty harmless, but I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally ingested a sticker while eating an apple or a pear because I thought I got it off already, only to discover a second one waiting on the underside--an unwanted bastard sticker-sibling.

While they may annoy me, and probably you, too, I'm guessing, for others, like Roger Harris, fruit stickers are collectables. On his Web site, for instance, you can click through scans of more than 1,000 different stickers. And if you think that's a lot, Xavier Heyte, in Belgium, claims on his Web site that he has over 11,000 in his collection. There's also Mark Wickens who doesn't collect stickers, but boasts over 12,000 fruit wrappers going all the way back to the 1800s (to say nothing of his impressive olive oil label collection!).

del-23.jpgWhy not, right? Kids love collecting Pokemon stickers, so why shouldn't adults spend their time collecting fruit and vegetable stickers? Also, like baseball cards, many sticker enthusiasts like to trade to complete their collections. Have an extra 2000-series Spanish Honeydew? I'll trade you my extra Brazillian Papaya from 1998, which I bet you can't find anywhere in your country.

canaleros-1.jpg On one of the Web sites I visited for this post, a collector even specified his area of interest: "General fruits and vegetables collector but with special emphasis on mangoes, melons of all kinds, apples and bananas."
But enough poking fun. Here's some cool trivia I picked up along the way:

fruit-labels-blog.gif

The codes on the stickers are called PLU codes, or price look up codes.
The PLU numbers also tell you how the fruit was grown
Conventionally grown fruit has 4 digits
Organically grown fruit has 5 and starts with the number 9
Genetically engineered has 5 numbers and starts with the number 8

unifrutti-2.jpgAs for them being annoying, there does seem to be hope for sticker-ingesters like me: static electricity is being used more and more in place of the old food-grade adhesives, making them much simpler to peel off.

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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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