Yippee Pi Day! And a Happy B-Day to Our Favorite Genius!

It’s been a mighty fine two weeks for the mental_floss store as we’ve celebrated the Life of Pi with Pi Products of the Day and daily Slice of Pi tidbits from the very exciting and fulfilling life of this mathematical constant.

Here is What We've Learned:

That a talented, pun-loving artist named Kate Gabrielle can turn a Dean Martin croon into a mathemagical Floss-Exclusive tote.

That it’s easy to wear your love of pi in close proximity to your sleeve with handmade pi cuff bracelets.

That folks continue to enjoy a good ole edible pi—in both pizza and actual pie varieties.

That, while we may remember that, like pi, the need to shower is a constant, we may need to be reminded that so is the need to attractively display cheese.

That the aforementioned pun-loving artist also managed to turn “Life of Pi” into a sweet vision of a life filled with infinite happiness—what’s more, you can adorn either your wall (Floss-Exclusive Life of Pi Print) or yourself (Floss-Exclusive Life of Pi Tee) with it!

And Let's Not Forget The Birthday Boy!

We’ve added new Einsteinery to our already-respectable collection of super geniussy stuff in honor of our fave super genius.

You can wear Einstein socks (even though the man himself preferred not to wear socks at all). You can cuddle with Einstein. Or you can sport a presumably-Einstein-approved bow tie and spin under your new DJ pseudonym, MC Squared.

So, with many lessons learned, we bid you Yippee Pi Day, Mental Flossers!

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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