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The Names of 34 International Sesame Street Co-Productions

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

When Sesame Street debuted in 1969, many producers, teachers, and government officials from different countries contacted the Children’s Television Workshop about airing versions of Sesame Street within their own countries. Show creator Joan Ganz Cooney was astonished: “To be frank, I was really surprised, because we thought we were creating the quintessential American show," she said. "We thought the Muppets were quintessentially American, and it turns out they’re the most international characters ever created.”

Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, France, Israel, Germany, and various Caribbean nations were among the first to begin research for Sesame Street co-productions. The first international co-production to air was Brazil’s Vila Sésamo in 1972. The series ran for five years (it returned to the air in October 2007).

But some countries found Sesame Street to be too controversial for public broadcast. British broadcasters rejected the idea of creating a British version of Sesame Street, although they aired the American version on a limited basis from 1971 to 2001. Even the state of Mississippi banned the children’s television show in May of 1970.

CTW executives met with individuals from each country and worked together to develop a unique curriculum based on the needs of the country’s children. Unique characters, sets, and curriculum goals were developed for each co-production, and American cast members trained puppeteers within each country.

The goal of each Sesame Street co-production is to provide the youth in each country with a program that reflects their country’s culture, values, and educational priorities. They seek to combine universal life lessons with cultural specificity. For instance, in 2003, the South African co-production Takalani Sesame created the first HIV-positive Muppet. The Muppet, named Kami, was created to address the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Russia’s version, Ulitsa Sezam, first aired in 1996 and aimed to prepare Russian children to live in a “new open society,” although the television show is no longer played. The co-productions were also used to encourage peace and understanding among conflict-ridden regions—Shara’a Simsim tried to give Palestinian children a sense of national identity within Israel, and Hikayat Simsim aired in Jordan to “promote respect in the face of conflict.”

Other countries air dubbed American versions or spliced scenes from the American series with country-specific content, but these versions are not considered co-productions.

By 2006, there were 20 co-productions in countries all over the globe. In 2005, the New York Times reported that income from the co-productions equaled roughly $96 million. By the show’s 40th anniversary in 2009, the series was seen in over 140 countries. Currently, there are 34 Sesame Street official co-productions. Here's what they're called.

1. Afghanistan: Baghch-e-Simsim

2. Australia: Open Sesame

3. Bangladesh: Sisimpur

4. Brazil: Vila Sésamo

5. Canada: Sesame Park

6. China (Mandarin): Zhima Jie

7. Colombia: Plaza Sésamo

8. Denmark: Sesamgade

9. Egypt: Alam Simsim

10. France: 5, Rue Sésame

11. Germany: Sesamstrasse

12. India: Galli Galli Sim Sim

13. Indonesia: Jalan Sesama

14. Israel: Rechov Sumsum

15. Japan: Sesame Street Japan

16. Jordan: Hikayat Sesame

17. Kosovo: Rruga Sesam

18. Kuwait: Iftah Ya Simsim

19. Mexico: Plaza Sésamo

20. Netherlands: Sesamstraat

21. Nigeria: Sesame Square

22. Northern Ireland: Sesame Tree

23. Norway: Sesam Stasjon

24. Pakistan: Sim Sim Hamara

25. Palestine: Shara’a Simsim

26. Philippines: Sesame!

27. Poland: Ulica Sezamkowa

28. Portugal: Rua Sésamo

29. Russia: Ulitsa Sezam

30. South Africa: Takalani Sesame

31. Spain: Barrio Sésamo

32. Sweden: Svenska Sesam

33. Turkey: Susam Skokali

34. United Kingdom: Play With Me Sesame

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Why Reading Aloud Helps You Remember More Information
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If you're trying to commit something to memory, you shouldn't just read the same flashcard over and over. You should read it aloud, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

The research, published in the journal Memory, finds that the act of reading and speaking text aloud is a more effective way to remember information than reading it silently or just hearing it read aloud. The dual effect of both speaking and hearing helps encode the memory more strongly, the study reports. The new research builds on previous work on the so-called production effect by Waterloo psychologist Colin MacLeod, who is also one of the current paper's authors.  

The current study tested 95 college students over the course of two semesters, asking them to remember as many words as possible from a list of 160 nouns. At one session, they read a list of words into a microphone, then returned two weeks later for a follow-up. In some situations, the participants read the words presented to them aloud, while in others, they either heard their own recorded voice played back to them, heard recordings of others reading the words, or read the words silently to themselves. Afterward, they were tested to see how much they remembered from the list.

The participants remembered more words if they had read them aloud compared to all other conditions, even the one where people heard their own voices reading the words. However, hearing your own voice on its own does seem to have some effect: it was a better memory tool for participants than hearing someone else speak, perhaps because people are good at remembering things that involve them. (Or maybe, the researchers suggest, it's just because people find it so bizarre to hear their own recorded voice that it becomes a salient memory.)

The findings "suggest that production is memorable in part because it includes a distinctive, self-referential component," the researchers write. "This may well underlie why rehearsal is so valuable in learning and remembering: We do it ourselves, and we do it in our own voice. When it comes time to recover the information, we can use this distinctive component to help us to remember."

The message is loud and clear: If you want to remember, you should both read it and speak it aloud.

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The Brooklyn Public Library is Now Home to a Tiny Mollusk Museum
Courtesy of MICRO
Courtesy of MICRO

The Brooklyn Public Library is one of America’s largest public libraries—and now, its lobby is home to what’s being billed as the world’s smallest mollusk museum (and its first, no less). The vending machine-sized installation contains 15 different educational “displays,” all of which highlight fun facts about bivalves, snails, octopuses, and other soft-bodied creatures, according to The Washington Post.

Installed on November 10, the mollusk museum is the brainchild of Amanda Schochet, a computational ecologist, and media producer Charles Philipp. In 2016 they co-founded MICRO, a nonprofit organization that makes and distributes compact science museums.

MICRO's Smallest Mollusk Museum at the Brooklyn Public Library
Courtesy of MICRO

“Science museums are amazing,” the duo said in a video about their company, which is supported by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation. “There’s just not enough of them. They’re all in wealthier neighborhoods. It’s fundamentally important for everyone to have access. So we decided to reinvent the museum, taking everything that we love about museums and putting it inside a box that can go anywhere.”

The factory-made museums are designed in collaboration with scientists, and created using 3D printing techniques. They’re easily reproduced, and can be set up anywhere, including libraries, airports, or even the DMV.

MICRO's Smallest Mollusk Museum at the Brooklyn Public Library
Courtesy of MICRO

The BPL’s Smallest Mollusk Museum is MICRO’s first public project. Why mollusks, you might ask? For one thing, they survive in every habitat on Earth, and have evolved over hundreds of millions of years. Plus, a mollusk museum of any type—large or small—didn’t exist yet, as Schochet learned after she once misheard Philipp say he was going to the world’s “mollusk museum.” (He was instead going to the “smallest” one, located inside a Manhattan elevator shaft.)

MICRO's Smallest Mollusk Museum at the Brooklyn Public Library
Courtesy of MICRO

The Smallest Mollusk Museum is “packed with exhibits including miniature movie theaters, 3D-printed sculptures of octopus brains and leopard slug hugs, optical illusions showing visitors what it’s like to experience the world as mollusks, and a holographic mollusk aquarium,” Schochet tells Mental Floss. “We've identified nearly 100,000 species of mollusks, but there could be as many as 200,000—they’re all around us, all the time. Every one of them is a lens onto a bigger universe.”

Librarians have also joined in on the mollusk mania, prepping an accompanying series of books for kids and adults about the many creatures featured in the museum's exhibits.

MICRO's Smallest Mollusk Museum at the Brooklyn Public Library
Courtesy of MICRO

MICRO's Smallest Mollusk Museum at the Brooklyn Public Library
Courtesy of MICRO

MICRO's Smallest Mollusk Museum at the Brooklyn Public Library
Courtesy of MICRO

The Smallest Mollusk Museum will gradually circulate through several of the library system’s branches. Meanwhile, MICRO’s next public offering will be a second mollusk museum, which will open in the Ronald McDonald House in New York City in December 2017. Additional locations and projects—including a small physics museum called the Perpetual Motion Museum—will be announced soon.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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