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6

Teachers Share Their Weirdest Fun Facts From Students

Teachers will occasionally ask students to share something about themselves with the class, often in the mode of telling a "fun fact" or maybe in the game "two truths and a lie." The thing about students is that they are young, and sometimes more honest than they should be. Redditor Kriss0509 asked teachers to share those kinds of stories, and the answers will make you laugh or cringe or both.   

My first year, as an earnest and ideological teacher in a very rough underserved area, I got all the students in a circle on the first day to talk about what we’d done that summer. I pointed to a student who’d been engaged w me before class and said, “what did you do this summer that could inspire us?” His answer: “I did the last 2 months of a sentence for stealing a car.”

Um. I hadn’t expected that. So I pointed to another student and said, “OK! That’s great! Let’s talk about what you did this summer!”

That student said, “YES. I had such a good summer. I went to camp and...[laughing] lemme stop lying. I did the last 2 months of a sentence with that guy cause I stole that car w him.”

-markfromhtx

Not a teacher, but on the first day of 9th grade we had to form a circle and say one thing about ourselves that we thought was unique. When it was this dudes turn (lets call him mike) Mike stands up and says in a really serious tone goes '' My mom and dad grow weed''

His house got raided the next day and his dad got arrested smh

-RatedRSoopastar

Read the entire reddit thread here, or you can find a ranked list of the 30 best answers at Bored Panda. 

(Unrelated image credit: Flickr user Howard County Library System)


5

Super Pigs Do Exist

A wild pig population that’s growing at a rapid pace is terrifying experts. Called a “feral swine bomb,” these pigs have a population of at least six million and are growing quickly. These super pigs can bear piglets at only three months old! Most of these wild pigs are a mixture of domestic breeds and European wild boar, so they get massive benefits from all that genetic mixture, as Yahoo News details: 

The wild pig population has “expanded from 17 states to at least 39 over the last three decades” and causes an estimated $2.5 billion in damage a year, The Atlantic said.
“I’ve heard it referred to as a feral swine bomb,” said Dale Nolte, manager of the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program at the USDA to The Atlantic. “They multiply so rapidly. To go from a thousand to two thousand, it’s not a big deal. But if you’ve got a million, it doesn’t take long to get to 4 [million], then 8 million.”

Image via Yahoo News 


6

What Is Math?

High school student Gracie Cunningham recently went viral with a TikTok video asking about math: how does one define math, is it real, and what is it good for? While some derided her video, mathematicians admit those are profound questions that they themselves struggle with. Is math a science, a part of science, or something on a completely different plane? The comic above illustrates, but does not answer, this conundrum. There are different schools of thought about the nature of math- some consider it a natural thing that we have discovered, while others say it was invented.

Some scholars feel very strongly that mathematical truths are “out there,” waiting to be discovered—a position known as Platonism. It takes its name from the ancient Greek thinker Plato, who imagined that mathematical truths inhabit a world of their own—not a physical world, but rather a non-physical realm of unchanging perfection; a realm that exists outside of space and time. Roger Penrose, the renowned British mathematical physicist, is a staunch Platonist. In The Emperor’s New Mind, he wrote that there appears “to be some profound reality about these mathematical concepts, going quite beyond the mental deliberations of any particular mathematician. It is as though human thought is, instead, being guided towards some external truth—a truth which has a reality of its own...”

Many mathematicians seem to support this view. The things they’ve discovered over the centuries—that there is no highest prime number; that the square root of two is an irrational number; that the number pi, when expressed as a decimal, goes on forever—seem to be eternal truths, independent of the minds that found them. If we were to one day encounter intelligent aliens from another galaxy, they would not share our language or culture, but, the Platonist would argue, they might very well have made these same mathematical discoveries.

The converse view is empiricism, in which scientists deal with things they can observe. This school of thought regards the idea that "a realm that exists outside of space and time" borders on religion and has no place in science. However, they know that math is useful for scientific observations. And there is disagreement about whether our math would be understood by alien civilizations. Read about the complexity of defining math at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Randall Munroe at xkcd)


6

Star Wars Opening, Mission Impossible Style



YouTuber Likeonions remixed Star Wars (now known as A New Hope) as a 1960s-style television intro. Specifically, the introduction to the series Mission Impossible. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to watch and enjoy the video before it self-destructs. -via Geeks Are Sexy


5

A Cosmonautics Museum Inside a Church



A small but ornately-styled wooden church 80 kilometers from Kyiv is the unlikely home of a museum dedicated to the history of the Soviet space program. Visitors are often surprised when they enter to find they are in Ukraine's Museum of Space Exploration instead of a church. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a genius idea for preserving the old church architecture by finding a new use and a new sponsor for the building. But the reason the museum is there is much more complicated. The church was never actually abandoned, although the museum exhibits have been there since 1979. Journalist Sébastien Gobert explains.  

The building is a physical manifestation of the Soviets’ attempt to eliminate religion and replace it with space dreams. For now, it looks like the building will remain a museum. Today, the museum’s uncertain future reflects the religious tensions in the country, sparked by the Ukrainian Othodox Church’s split from the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, one of the biggest schisms in Christian history.

As Gobert explains: “Local church authorities have struggled to have [the museum] back as a church. It has become even more complicated because of the Ukrainian church’s feud: the church used to be claimed by the Moscow patriarchate. Now it is claimed by the newly established church of Ukraine. The Moscow patriarchate local priest kind of gave up on his claim provided it does not go to the church of Ukraine. ‘Better a museum than schismatics’, father Feodossiy said.”

Take a look inside the Museum of Space Exploration at The Calvert Journal. -via Nag on the Lake


5

The Saga of Midori Naka

Midori Naka was a popular stage actress in Japan. She and her troupe were in Hiroshima in August of 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Naka was less than a mile from the blast. She survived the explosion, but died 18 days later and was the first person ever whose cause of death was listed as radiation poisoning. Specimens of her tissues were taken during the autopsy, as Japanese, and later American, scientists wanted to understand what the new weapons could do to a human being. These specimens are now in the possession of Hiroshima University’s Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine.

It might seem obvious that Naka’s remains would be in Hiroshima, and in an institution devoted to understanding and treating radiation sickness. But those two glass jars arrived there only by a strange and circuitous route, after having spent decades abroad along with thousands of other body parts, wet specimens, and autopsy materials from the victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—a unique collection that existed in a medical and political gray area. Like the relics of saints, these body parts took on a strange afterlife: They resonated with invisible power, and their significance changed over time as they were moved through different locations and contexts. Irreplaceable and beyond value, they were coveted, fought over, held up as a singular archive of a world-changing event, and then, gradually, mostly forgotten.

The remains of atomic bomb victims were useful to study, but they were also human remains that had a spiritual tie to their families and to Japan. Read the story of the body parts taken from the first atomic bomb victims at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Delphine Lee for Atlas Obscura)


7

This Fish Statue Looked So Obscene That It Was Demolished

A fish statue in Morocco has sparked outrage and controversy from social media users. Located in the coastal town of Mehdia, the statue, which shows two peach-colored fish jumping into the air, was called ‘pornographic’. Some locals complained about the local government’s decision to erect the statues instead of spending money elsewhere, as the Daily Mail detailed: 

The mockery and outrage was so intense that local authorities in the coastal town of Mehdia began demolishing the statues on Thursday
'People in Kenitra and Mehdia told authorities they want reforms in the city. And authorities bring them these statutes,' one social media quoted by Morocco World News said.
'Pornographic fish. People in Kenitra asked for reforms, authorities [brought them this],' another posted. 
Mehdia, where the statues are located, is in Kenitra province but is not part of the city of Kenitra.

Image via the Daily Mail 


7

This Fashion Show At Home Ended In The Pool

I believe that the models in this story deserve the highest praise or a pay raise. Christian Siriano decided to have a fashion show in his backyard in Westport, Connecticut. Fashion editors and guests sat socially distanced, but the models strutted on very squelchy-looking grass and crossed a small bridge over Siriano’s pool in their elaborative outfits and high heels. The Daily Beast has more details: 

the models, decked in all manner of vision-obscuring ruffles, tiered gowns and diaphanous skirts and wearing HEELS somehow walked as if this were the most natural thing in the world. There was the odd stumble. Most of us would have ended up on our asses with one step.
The clothes, as ever, were for women of different shapes and sizes—even the strangest outfit, which looked like it had lots of black creatures squashed on to it. Another dress was covered in flowers. 
Siriano told WWD that it had been the most expensive fashion show he had ever produced, that Sarah Jessica Parker had supplied the shoes, and that the show had been inspired by movies like Clueless (Alicia Silverstone is a friend of Siriano’s), and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, where Christina Applegate ends up hosting a fashion show at home, bridges over the pool.

Image via The Daily Beast


6

Happy 60th Anniversary To Nixon’s Unfinished Sandwich!

Okay, this might seem unusual, but hey, it’s been sixty years since late US President Richard Nixon didn’t finish his sandwich. But how did we know that? Steve Jenne, 74, of Sullivan, Illinois, preserved Nixon’s half-eaten bison barbeque sandwich when the president left on September 22, 1960. Jenne preserved the sandwich by storing it in his freezer for decades, as Oddee details: 

But how come Jenne came to possess the lunch of Nixon, whose legacy would years later become forever tarnished in the Watergate scandal?
For answers, let’s accelerate to 88 mph and take a trip back in time. We find ourselves in the city of Sullivan on that more or less fateful date: 9/22/1960.
In case any Europeans are reading this, that’ll be 22/9/1960. Don’t get too confused, now.
On this date, Nixon was out on his presidential campaign. He was running against a Massachusetts senator, one John F. Kennedy.
As we know from history, a couple months later Kennedy would win the presidency. Nixon would have to wait until 1969 for his turn in the White House.
But on this September day, Nixon was in Sullivan on a campaign trip. For lunch, he was served the aforementioned bison barbeque sandwich.
Whether he wasn’t all that hungry or just straight-up didn’t like the sandwich has been lost to history. The facts are that he ate about half of it before proceeding to the park where he was supposed to debate Kennedy. However, Kennedy failed to show up, so Nixon took the chance to give a speech of his own.
While he was speaking, Steve Jenne – then a 14-year-old Boy Scout – kept an eye on the Senator’s unfinished lunch.
“Being the good Boy Scout that I was, I stood there and guarded that sandwich,” Jenne recounted to the University of Illinois.

Image via the Journal Gazette


6

Helicopter Hoists Horse Out Of A 60-Foot Ravine

A horse trapped in a 60-feet ravine was saved by California firefighters. They used a harness and a helicopter as they hoisted the poor creature out of the ravine. Lola, the 8-year-old horse, fell down a ravine at Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano after bucking her rider, as UPI detailed: 

Firefighters said the Orange County Fire Authority technical rescue team's helicopter was summoned to the scene after rescuers determined the terrain was too rough to attempt to walk Lola out of the ravine.
A veterinarian sedated Lola so she could be harnessed and air-lifted to safety.
Lola was reunited with her owner, who was not injured from being thrown from the horse.

Image screenshot via UPI


6

The "Coronavirus Romeo and Juliet" Met in Quarantine on Balconies in Verona

For now, we're going to ignore the fact that Romeo and Juliet is about two idiotic teenagers who got themselves and four other people killed in four days. And we're going to hope that this couple has a happier life.

But, like the lovers in Shakespeare's tale, they did meet in Verona and woo from balconies. Quarantined in apartments across a street from each other, they felt an immediate attraction. The Washington Post describes their love story:

Michele D’Alpaos, 38, first laid eyes on Paola Agnelli, 40, in mid-March when she walked out on her balcony. Agnelli spotted D’Alpaos that night on his terrace, and said it was love at first sight.
“I was immediately struck by the beauty of this girl, by her smile,” D’Alpaos said. “I had to know her.”
Agnelli stood directly across from him on her sixth-floor balcony while her sister performed a violin rendition of “We Are The Champions” as part of a nightly 6 p.m. musical performance, intended to uplift the quarantined neighborhood.
“It was a magical moment,” said Agnelli, who has lived in the same apartment complex since she was 5 years old. She had never met D’Alpaos, even though he has lived opposite her, on the seventh floor, for most of his life.
“I immediately thought, ‘What a beautiful boy,’ ” she continued.

They met online and dated that way, eager for the next ten weeks to meet in person.

Barred from stepping closer than 200 meters away (about 220 yards), a smitten D’Alpaos was desperate to show his affection to Agnelli. He started by sending multiple bouquets of flowers, but then decided that wasn’t enough.
In an effort to put his love on full display, D’Alpaos hung an old bedsheet with “Paola” emblazoned in big, bold bubble letters from his apartment complex in late March.

They finally met in person in May and are now engaged.

-via Dave Reaboi | Photo: Paola Agnelli


11

How Aztecs Reacted to Colonial Epidemics

When Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492, the Americas were not a sparsely-populated wilderness ready to be exploited. However, by the time serious colonial settlement began, a majority of the native people had succumbed to diseases the Europeans introduced, which made them easier to conquer. A plague called cocoliztli wiped out 80% of the Aztecs in the 16th century, opening the door for Spanish rule. Aztec authors wrote about the effects of the infectious disease that destroyed their defenses against invaders. Some of these accounts still survive. A writer thought to be Don Mateo Sánchez said,

On the first day of August [of 1576] the great sickness began here in Techamachalco. It was really strong; there was no resisting. At the end of August began the processions because of the sickness. They finished on the ninth day. Because of it, many people died, young men and women, those who were old men and women, or children… When the month of October began, thirty people had been buried. In just two or three days they would die… They lost their senses. They thought of just anything and would die.

Read about the epidemics of colonial Mexico and the accounts left by the Aztecs at Jstor Daily.  -via Digg


10

A Socially Distant Halloween



Now that autumn is here, you may wonder how trick-or treating can work in the era of social distancing. Matt Thompson figured out a way to deliver candy to costumed children without getting close to them- with a zip line! He recruited friends and neighbors to dress up their kids to demonstrate how it will work in this video. We assume that these people will be wearing face masks when everyone is out trick-or-treating. -via Laughing Squid


11

Artificial Intelligence Turns Head Shots Into Cartoon Characters

Justin Pinkney and Doron Adler have been working on a project called Toonify, which can turn a photographic face into a cartoon character. It's not yet perfected, but the story behind how they did it is kinda neat. The normal way to train an algorithm to do this would involve a large dataset of portraits and their corresponding cartoon characters. Since that does not exist (yet), they had to start from scratch and create such a dataset.

First, Doron Adler trained a StyleGAN model—the same tech behind This Person Does Not Exist, a site which randomly spits out photorealistic people that, as the name implies, are entirely computer generated—on Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks characters so it could recognize features are quintessentially cartoony. The model then automatically selected fake people from the This Person Does Not Exist universe and augmented them with those cartoon features. But StyleGAN globbed all the styles from computer generates images, cartoons, and photographs together equally, which meant that the same person might have tufts of realistic hair, CGI meatball cheeks, and eerily flat hand-drawn eyes.

This is where Justin Pinkney came in with his model, which they blended with Adler’s.

Pinkney developed a “layer-swapping” process to parse out the desirable characteristics from each image: the cartoon half affects only the structure of the resulting toonified face, while the human half contributes the lighting and other high-resolution details.

There's a lot more to it, of course. Is there an app where I can make my own face into a cartoon? Yes, but you can't do it (yet). First, the program doesn't use your face. It will select a computer-generated photorealistic face from the This Person Does Not Exist library that looks like you -and the program is pretty good at that, although it takes some time. Second, when they launched the online app, so many people invested the necessary time to try it that they couldn't afford the bandwidth bill, so they took it down. Adler and Pinkney hope to work out the kinks and make it available to the rest of us soon. Read the story at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: Justin Pinkney and Doron Adler)


10

Man Almost Falls From Truck

A man in blue can be seen on the cargo space of the truck. Suddenly, he trips, but he has a quick reaction time, and manages to hang on the truck, albeit in a weird position. Thankfully, a car happens to pass by in the area, and the car’s driver helps him to climb back again on the truck.

Lucky man, I would say.

See the full video on Reddit.

(Video Credit: u/PowerModerator/ Reddit)






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