What Your House Says About Your Politics

I'm not talking big house vs. small house -- that's too easy, and simplistic. A new study in The Journal of Political Psychology looks at the state of your house -- are you messy or a neatnik? -- and what that says about your politics. According to the study, liberals are messier, conservatives neater. Liberals' homes tend to be "colorful and awash in books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia." Items you're more likely to find around a conservative's home include "calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials."

I'm not sure what this says about me -- I'm pretty liberal, but unless I'm in the midst of some huge project, my house is usually pretty clean. (The study's predictions about my library and music collection are spot-on, however.) I have an iron and a full-size ironing board, perhaps a rare item for an urban-dwelling late-20s dude.

The study moves from the conservative living room into other parts of the conservative home, where "bedrooms and offices are well-lighted and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags—especially American ones." Using myself as the liberal litmus test, I have to admit that the above sounds nothing like my bedroom or office -- no flags or sports paraphernalia of any kind. (I'm an absolute sports moron.) When it comes to lighting, it depends on what they mean by "well-lit" -- I despise bright overhead light, preferring numerous low-key sources spread around the room. Dark spots are OK.

So what do the living situations of liberals and conservatives say about them -- at least, according to this isolated study? The researchers concluded that "liberals gravitate toward art and things that aren't as concrete," whereas conservatives "have a need for order" and despise "ambiguity," which is expressed by "being more orderly, having more cleaning supplies, needing to have everything lined up and organized so that one feels one's environment is predictable and therefore safe."

We want to hear from you -- does your living space line up with your politics, as defined by this study? Or are you a neat liberal or a messy conservative?

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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