The Missing Links: Sky Blue & Ice Blue

Bilbo Baggins vs. Thorin Oakenshield
A real-life attorney evaluates the legal contract of one famous ring-carrying Hobbit to see if it would have held up in a court of law. It’s an interesting, and delightfully obsessive, read. (Via @smaucere)

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Attack of the Clones: NYC Edition
How do you not read an article with the following headline:

Cloned Dogs Run Wild In Central Park, Attacking Other Pets and People

Who knew you could pay $140,000 to clone your dog?

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How Can the Sky and Ice Be the Same Thing?
Tommy Edison explains how he doesn’t understand what colors are or what they look like.

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Jeffrey MacDonald DEFINITELY Is or ABSOLUTELY Is Not A Murderer
It just depends which journalist you ask. You’ll find this article engrossing whether you have or haven’t heard of the famous Jeffrey MacDonald murder case (I hadn’t).

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Gigantic Underground Ice Slides
I want to climb one so much, but I won’t because I would definitely die.

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TED Gets Serious About Pseudoscience
The idea-sharing organization has made it a goal to rid their “Ideas Worth Spreading” campaign of certain types of ideas.

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It’s Good to Be Pope
Unless you like riding in convertibles. Because this thing is pretty much the opposite of that.

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Conan Gets Serious With Nate Silver
The late night host recently welcomed the elections number cruncher to his new show Serious Jibber Jabber.

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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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