Education

# 3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

### They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.

Mansfield said:

"The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius."

"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."

The tablet predates Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who has long been regarded as the father of trigonometry. Mansfield's colleague, Norman Widberger, added:

"Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years. It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."
"A treasure trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us."

People were understandably excited by the news.

Some mathematicians actually think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we do trigonometry today.

Of course, there were the haters...

But all in all, Twitter users were pretty impressed with the Babylonians' skills.

And they figured it out 3,700 years ahead of me...and counting.— Marty (@Marty) 1503631905

Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry exciting!

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21

Education

## A school assignment asked for 3 benefits of slavery. This kid gave the only good answer.

### The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

A school assignment asked for 3 "good" reasons for slavery.

It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.

Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.

And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.

## Trameka Brown-Berry was looking over her 4th-grade son Jerome's homework when her jaw hit the floor.

"Give 3 'good' reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons," the prompt began.

You read that right. Good reasons ... FOR SLAVERY.

Lest anyone think there's no way a school would actually give an assignment like this, Brown-Berry posted photo proof to Facebook.

In the section reserved for "good reasons," (again, for slavery), Jerome wrote, "I feel there is no good reason for slavery thats why I did not write."

Yep. That about covers it.

## The shockingly offensive assignment deserved to be thrown in the trash. But young Jerome dutifully filled it out anyway.

His response was pretty much perfect.

We're a country founded on freedom of speech and debating ideas, which often leads us into situations where "both sides" are represented. But it can only go so far.

There's no meaningful dialogue to be had about the perceived merits of stripping human beings of their basic living rights. No one is required to make an effort to "understand the other side," when the other side is bigoted and hateful.

In a follow-up post, Brown-Berry writes that the school has since apologized for the assignment and committed to offering better diversity and sensitivity training for its teachers.

But what's done is done, and the incident illuminates the remarkable racial inequalities that still exist in our country. After all, Brown-Berry told the Chicago Tribune, "You wouldn't ask someone to list three good reasons for rape or three good reasons for the Holocaust."

At the very end of the assignment, Jerome brought it home with a bang: "I am proud to be black because we are strong and brave ... "

Good for Jerome for shutting down the thoughtless assignment with strength and amazing eloquence.

This article originally appeared on 01.12.18

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Family

## Teacher Bret Turner thought he'd kick off the morning with his first-grade students using a little riddle.

On the whiteboard in the front of the class, he scrawled it out in black marker:

"I am the beginning of everything, the end of everywhere. I'm the beginning of eternity, the end of time & space."

One student raised their hand, the first to venture a guess.

Now, the answer, of course, is the letter "E." (Get it!?) But the student had a different idea.

"Death?"

Turner later described the incident on Twitter in a post that's now gone massively viral. "Such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the class that I didn't want to tell them that actually the answer is the letter 'E', which just seemed so banal in the moment," he wrote.

## People on Twitter got a huge kick out of the somewhat dark, existential moment. But there might just be an important lesson buried in this story somewhere about how to process "the end."

Many users who replied to the Tweet were impressed by the unnamed kid's thoughtfulness and ability to understand the concept of death at such a young age. (How many first graders would peg death as "the beginning of eternity?")

But it turns out that kids are much more perceptive than we give them credit for.

An article in National Geographic breaks down the three key truths that children must eventually learn about death. First, that it's irreversible (people who die aren't just on vacation). Second, it makes your body non-functional (people who are dead aren't just asleep). And third, it's universal (everything and everybody dies eventually).

Some studies have shown that kids start to understand the concept as young as 3 years old and gradually learn to accept the many layers of it in the years that follow.

## It takes time for anyone to fully grasp the gravity and foreverness of death. But we ought to learn to appreciate the whimsical, partial understanding that young children have.

Some Twitter users who read Turner's account of the riddle accused the student in question of having a morbid personality or an unusual fascination with the macabre. After all, few adults would be brave enough to blurt out something so dark.

It's a lot more likely the kid just hasn't been conditioned to fear death yet, to speak about it in hushed tones — if at all. This might be the same kind of kid who finds out his grandma has died and says, casually, "Oh, OK. Bye, grandma! See you soon!"

When you think about it, that's actually a pretty sweet and remarkably peaceful way of thinking about death. So let's stop rushing kids into having adult-sized worries about the world and let them discover it at their own pace.

As long as it gives us funny moments like this one, anyway.

This article originally appeared on 01.12.18

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Identity

## Non-Americans are sharing the ‘dead giveaway’ someone is American and they are pretty right

### The dead giveaway is when they call me "honey" or "sweetie" or "darling."

via Flickr, Flickr, and Flickr

Three American tourists enjoying the sights.

One of the most interesting things about traveling the world is noticing how people from your country are a bit different from the place you’re visiting. In America, you’re mostly around fellow countrymen so it’s hard to notice the things that make us stand out.

But when you travel abroad, you quickly notice that no matter how hard you try to blend in, there are a lot of dead giveaways that show people you’re from the states that go way beyond your accent.

A Reddit user named ILoveTallWomen asked the online forum “Non-Americans of Reddit, what is a dead giveaway that somebody is American?” to see what they think makes us stand out. “I'm not American and am curious about what other foreigners think,” they added.

There was one answer that people in the thread repeated over and over again—Americans are very friendly people. Countless commenters noted that Americans will approach anyone and start up a conversation. As a person from the U.S., I think that’s a positive stereotype. There’s nothing wrong with being overly friendly.

​People also noted that Americans tend to carry themselves with a lot of confidence and have an abundance of infectious enthusiasm.

On the negative side of things, a lot of people also noted that Americans are loud and have questionable fashion sense. We stand out abroad because we love staying comfortable by wearing white socks and sneakers on just about any occasion.

Maybe we’re happy because our feet don’t hurt?

Here are 17 of the best responses to the dead giveaways that someone is American.

### Upworthy Podcast: Dead Giveaways Someone is American

On a recent episode of Upworthy Weekly, hosts Alison Rosen and Tod Perry discuss the internet's hottest, most uplifting and most amusing topics - including d...

### 1.

The most popular poster shared a list:

• Wearing sneakers with anything
• Big smiles, firm handshakes
• Lots of Northface products
• Renting Segways for sightseeing tours (sometimes using those on cobblestone)
• Using big adjectives generously ("Wow, your aunt's kidney stones sound awesome!", "This Euroshopper beer tastes great!")
• Clapping and cheering
• Telling one's whole life story within 15 minutes of meeting them
• Loving stories and narratives in general (which makes them fun companions) — [Deleted]

### 2.

"Apart from the accent? Mostly its the 'prepared for anything' look they have about them (fanny pack, backpack, bottled water, camera pouch) compared to various other tourists - Asians tend to herd together for safety, while Europeans vary between blend-right-in Scandinavian to designer-brands-everywhere French and traffic-laws-are-for-others Italian. But Americans are the only ones who seem to view a perfectly civilised, modern city like some kind of uncharted jungle that doesn't have places to shelter in the rain or buy cheap bottled water." — Yorkshire_Pudden

### 3.

"Incredibly loud but incredibly friendly." — kevio17

### 4.

"I asked my wife (Japanese) she said 'In Japan I can spot Americans by the way they dress. Compared to Europeans, Americans tend to lack fashion sense.'" — RegionFree

### 5.

"When you can hear them before you see them." — C1t!zen_Erased

### 6.

"'On the streets they are instantly recognizable. They walk in an ugly indifferent manner, usually with their hands in their pockets. Or they're leaning against a pole or wall with a newspaper in their hand and gum in their mouth. According to the people who met them they are more human than the English, for example, whenever someone needs help they do it quicker and better than the English.' — My Grandpa in the Netherlands. In a letter to his sister. June 4th 1945." — MidnightWineRed

### 7.

"North Face jackets. I went to college in the US (I'm not American) and when I went home for my first winter break wearing my brand new North Face jacket my friend asked me if I was given American citizenship with the purchase." — merbonobo

### 8.

"I'm English, but I've lived here for 14 years. It's pretty obvious just from your demeanour. Americans generally are more confident in the way they present themselves, most other countries tend to be more reserved. Walk into a room full of different nationalities, I guarantee the American person will be the first to introduce themselves. It's a confidence thing, and I admire it." — zerbey

### 9.

"When I was visiting Germany in college, a girl said to me, 'Do you know how I know you're an American? You wear white socks.' Needless to say, I haven't worn white socks since." — ars3nal

### 10.

"We (Americans) describe distances in driving time, as opposed to miles or kilometers. My European relatives always make fun of me for having no clue how far away the next town is, but knowing exactly how long it takes to get there." — hbombs86

### 11.

"Canadian here...the dead giveaway is when they call me 'honey' or 'sweetie' or 'darling.' I fucking love Americans and I love those terms of endearment!" — AraEnzeru

### 12.

"Dead giveaway: They're surprised we can drink a beer (or any alcohol) in public in my country." — P1r4nha

### 13.

"European here ... there's a noticeable trend among Americans to wear jeans, t-shirts, and hooded sweaters when they're abroad. Lots of branded goods too (North Face, A&F, Hollister, Ed Hardy mostly). And in summer, a great percentage of the cargo-shorts-wearers are Americans. But among all that, visible tattoos on otherwise 'normal-looking' people (i.e. not looking like street thugs) are a common indicator too. Americans love tats." — I_AM_A_IDIOT_AMA

### 14.

"In WWII, my grandpa's company had a problem with German spies. At night the guards could not tell if intruders were returning patrols or enemy soldiers; especially since the spies spoke with flawless American accents. Before opening the gates, they tried asking questions like "What's the capital of Nebraska?" but it didn't always work since the Germans were highly trained and could answer most of the trivia questions. Finally, they stumbled upon a simple but effective test. They would ask them to sing the 4th verse of the Star-Spangled Banner. He told me 'If they start singing, then you shoot 'em. No American knows the 4th verse.' Turns out the whole song had been included in one of the German espionage training manuals." -- [Deleted]

### 15.

"They ask you what you do." — Askalotl

### 16.

"They say 'like' a lot and seem to start sentences with 'so' for no apparent reason. Good bunch, though." — [Deleted]

### 17.

"MM/DD/YYYY." — dusmeyedin

This article originally appeared on 2.20.23

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Parenting

## Teenage girl shamed for her ‘distracting’ outfit fights back in a very funny way

### “[Because] she has a figure she was told she had to change.”

Photo from Facebook page.

A clever message written on her T-shirt.

A Lawton, Oklahoma, student who goes by the Facebook user name Rose Lynn had the last laugh after being sent home from school for wearing an outfit deemed "distracting." Rose Lynn believes her outfit attracted the attention of school officials because of her figure.

She proved it by posting a photo on Facebook of her modest outfit, which consisted of black leggings, a t-shirt, long cardigan, and boots. In her post, she wrote that she was sent home "because I'm developed farther than the average girl my age," and because she's a "CURVY woman." Rose Lynn also thinks the appropriate response shouldn't have been to tell her to cover up, but to teach boys to "to respect the boundaries of young ladies."

Her father, Lance Miles, agrees with her. "If she was built like a board or as round as a ball she wouldn't have been sent home but [since] she has a figure she was told she had to change," he said in the comments of her Facebook post.

"This is 100 percent on [Lawton Public Schools] because they have left the rule up to interpretation. She has been taught that if you believe in something, do what you must and be prepared for the consequences. She has done that," he continued.

Rose Lynn's post:

"So today I was sent home from class, after being in school for two hours, for my outfit. Because I'm developed farther than the average girl my age, I am required to go home and change... Because I look like a CURVY woman and may distract young boys, I have to miss class and change my outfit.

So once again, society has failed to advocate young ladies, by confining them in a box, where they are stripped from their sense of self respect and self expression, rather than teaching young men to respect the boundaries of young ladies. My response: #Feminism #YoullDistractTheBoys #SocietyIsFailing"

The before and after images for following a dress code.

Photo from Facebook page.

On the day Rose Lynn was sent home, she was due to take a 20-minute algebra exam. She asked school officials if she could take the test before changing her outfit, but her request was denied. So the next day, she got her revenge.

Rose Lynn returned to school wearing an oversize t-shirt. On the front she scribbled a quote from school officials in black Sharpie, "It doesn't cover your crotch"; on the back, "You'll distract the boys." That day, Rose Lynn was called to the office and sent home again. This time it wasn't for her outfit but for not wearing her student I.D., which she had left in the classroom after being called to the office.

This article originally appeared on 05.17.19

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Science

## She tattooed half her face and you'd never know it. Her skills are just that good.

### This incredible medical tattoo technology is giving renewed hope to burn victims.

All images via the CBS/YouTube

Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts...

## Meet Samira Omar.

The 17-year-old was the victim of a horrific bullying incident.

A group of girls threw boiling water on her, leaving her badly burned and covered in scars and discoloration.

17-year-old Samira Omar

All images by CBC News/YouTube

She thought the physical scars would be with her forever — until she met Basma Hameed. Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts — but her tattoo artistry doesn't look like you'd expect. Basma is a paramedical tattoo specialist. Instead of tattooing vibrant, colorful designs, she uses special pigments that match the skin in order to conceal scars.

It looks like this:

Basma looking at Samira’s facial scarring.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Basma talking over the procedure.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Visible scars and discoloration of the skin.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Tattooing the visible scarring on her hand

assets.rebelmouse.io

With Basma's help, patients like Samira can see a dramatic decrease in their scar visibility and discoloration after a few treatments. She even offers free procedures for patients who are unable to afford treatment. That's because Basma knows firsthand just how life-changing her work can be for those coping with painful scars left behind.

Check out the video below to find out more about Basma's practice, including how she became her very first patient.

This article originally appeared on 01.12.15

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Pop Culture

## Merriam-Webster announced the 2023 'Word of the Year,’ and it says a lot about today’s world

### Plus, some other terms that made 2023 a historic year.

Taylor Swift at 2022 Toronto International Film Festival Red Carpet Day 2.

The wordsmiths over at Merriam-Webster have announced their official “Word of the Year for 2023,” they say it’s something we are “thinking about, writing about, aspiring to, and judging more” than ever.

The word is authentic.

According to the dictionary, the most common definitions of authentic are “not false or imitation,” “being true to one's own personality, spirit, or character,” and “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.”

Merriam-Webster says the word saw a “substantial increase” in lookups this year. That’s probably because we now live in a world where artificial intelligence, deepfake technology and questionable memes challenge our basic notions of reality.

Authenticity is also seen as a commodity at a time when influencers build their brands on social media while attempting to seamlessly pitch their "favorite" products. These days, the average person scrolls through over 43 feet of content every day on social media. After being exposed to countless images of people, it becomes easier to spot the phonies from those who are being their authentic selves.

“When we look at common threads across the thousands of influencer marketing campaigns we’ve run at The Outloud Group over the last 15 years, the similarity between all of our best-performing brand creator partnerships is pretty simple: true authenticity,” Bradley Hoos, CEO of The Outland Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency, writes in Forbes.

Merriam-Webster adds that authenticity is a trait people strove to find for themselves in 2023.

“Celebrities like singers Lainey Wilson, Sam Smith, and especially Taylor Swift all made headlines in 2023 with statements about seeking their ‘authentic voice’ and ‘authentic self,” Merriam-Webster writes. “Headlines like Three Ways To Tap Into Taylor Swift’s Authenticity And Build An Eras-Like Workplace associate this quality with pop-culture superpower.”

The dictionary also highlighted more words that trended in 2023, including:

“Rizz” — Internet slang for "romantic appeal or charm" (noun) or "to charm, seduce" (verb), popularized by YouTuber Kai Cenat, was added to the dictionary.

“Deepfake” — Altered images or recordings that convincingly misrepresent someone's actions or words, making it hard to distinguish between real and fake.

“Coronation” — The crowning of a new British monarch, King Charles III, sent people to the dictionary’s website to learn the term's meaning.

“Dystopian” — In 2023, “dystopian” was a verb applied to many frightening real-world issues and was used to describe the trend in video games, books and movies depicting a dark future.

“EGOT” — Lookups for “EGOT” spiked in February when Viola Davis won a Grammy for the audiobook version of her memoir. That made her one of the 18 people to become an EGOT, or winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

“X” — When Twitter was rebranded as X on July 23, searches for the term spiked at Merriam-Webster.com, where curious people went to discover more about the mysterious letter.

“Implode” — When a submersible that went to visit the remains of the Titanic in June imploded, the term had a considerable spike as people attempted to learn more about the passengers’ fate.

“Doppelgänger” — This term got hot multiple times in 2023. It trended twice due to stories out of Germany and New York involving the attempted murder or suicide of someone’s lookalike. Further, September saw the release of Naomi Klein’s book, “Doppelgänger: A Trip Into the Mirror World.”

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