Eating Aliens: One Man's Answer to Invasive Species

Back in high school daze, my buddy Jackson Landers was a hyperactive polymath who could always be counted on to have the most interesting summer plans. One year he swore he was going to walk to Peru and back from his house in Virginia. The crazy thing is, we all believed we would actually follow through with it. He was that kind of guy: seemingly knowledgeable about everything, entirely convincing, and just a teensy bit nuts (in a charming way). I lost track of Jackson for a few years but caught up with him recently, only to find that he's become a hunting instructor and locavore activist -- which means, among other things, that he teaches urban foodies how to hunt and kill and field-dress their own venison.

He was horrified by a recent massacre of 400 Canada geese in Brooklyn's Prospect Park -- the city claimed they posed a hazard to passing aircraft, and perhaps they did -- but it was more the method of their disposal Jackson took issue with. They were gassed to death and tossed into a landfill. “I saw people saying you can’t eat them, and I knew that wasn’t true,” he said, quoted in a recent New York Times article. "Canada geese, Mr. Landers said, taste better than most species of duck. Their diets are more consistent. 'They’re herbivores, grazers,” he said. “In Prospect Park, they’re eating mown grass.'"

So he organized a workshop to teach Brooklynites how to cook goose.

“When people think goose, they think something out of Charles Dickens, that it’s this big thing that you have to roast whole like a Christmas turkey,” Mr. Landers said by phone. “My theme is going to be casual goose. You can take that goose and just do it like fried chicken. You can take the meat off the bones and run it through a grinder and you’ve got gooseburgers.”

It was a practical solution to a pesky problem -- what to do with invasive or otherwise troublesome species, besides throw them away? In a world where so many go hungry every day, and in which privileged westerners are becoming more adventurous about what they eat all the time (in LA, for instance, tongue and brain tacos on a menu are more likely to provoke curiosity than gagging), the answer seemed obvious: eat them. And that is the concept behind Jackson's proposed new reality show, Eating Animals. Check out the trailer and let us know what you think in the comments!

A trailer for Jackson Landers’s proposed show about eating invasive species.

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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