The Weekend Links

"¢ This being the first Saturday in May means that it's time for the Kentucky Derby! There's a new documentary out on the subject, which I reviewed last month. Occasionally at work they let me out of my cage to do fun stuff ... one was a podcast with actor Haaz Sleiman from The Visitor. Ladies, prepare to swoon ... he sings. Check it out.

"¢ This week, our own Miss Cellania compiled a definitive post on Indiana Jones. Links, jokes, video, and all three previous Indiana Jones movies in pixel gif form .... simply glorious. Definitely check it out!

"¢ We asked Michael Caruso from The Daily Tube ("The Best New Videos on the Web") to send us one great video each weekend. He came through.

"¢ Katie D sends in a story about a real Pinball Wizard. No, he's not deaf, dumb and blind ... but he sure plays a mean pinball. (Actually, he makes them.)

"¢ Salt and pepper, fries and ketchup, Romeo and Juliet ... some things were just meant for one another. Here's a list of other beautiful pairings of two of my favorite things: books and the beer with which to enjoy them (as suggested by their authors). (Thanks Jan!)

"¢ If you're still feeling intellectual about your booze, try this quiz to see how much you know about common drinks and their origins. Unfortunately, I was very good at it and scored 90% ... how did you guys do? On the subject, I'm reminded of this vintage Achewood comic.

"¢ From Paul, a chance to stump a snarky internet trivia guru. Even if you can't think of any tricky questions, you may learn something from ones that have already been asked. What does a bulletproof vest, laser printer and a fire escape have in common? And why can't pigs look up?

"¢ An '80s Week Quiz that didn't make the cut:

"¢ Then check out the complete '80s Quiz Week archive. And get ready sitcom and music video fans—I'm told there are still a few more quizzes to be posted this weekend.

"¢ I must defer to reader Dail's own explanation of this link, "You've heard of the horse whisperer, and the dog meet the breast whisperer!" No, it's not QUITE what you think.

"¢ This site may seem kinda nerdy, but I think it's fantastic. Basically, it outlines every single kind of knot, explains when to use it, and then (drum roll please ...) an animated look at how to tie it! Seriously one of the most useful things I've ever stumbled across on the internet (well, that Paul stumbled across on the internet and sent to me, at any rate).

"¢ You may remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine tries to get off the phone with the Long Talker but can't, so she uses a blow-dryer to feign being on a static-y car phone? Now you no longer have to go to such lengths—this site has an mp3 library that can help you bring a stop to seemingly endless phone calls. Maybe THIS is the most useful thing on the internet.

"¢ From Angie, one of the best links-hunters around, pictures of amazing bird formations in Denmark. Also, a gallery of seriously twisted trees. Some were manipulated for art, though some just adapted to their environment in an interesting way. I remember we had a neighbor with a tree that grew straight up through a purposeful hole in their garage roof ... we never did know which came first.

"¢ Finally—lift everyone's spirits with a city-wide pillow fight. They did it in Rome, and I think they should consider it on college campuses as a stress-reliever around exam time.

Thanks as always for sending in so many great links this week—keep it up! Send all links, pictures, and shameless plugs to Have a great weekend!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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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