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!

Community

## Facebook group brings people together IRL to make meaningful friendships

True

Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

If you want to meet the group in person, NYC Brunch Squad, along with many other locally-based New York groups, is participating in the upcoming Facebook IRL event on December 2. This pop-up experience in New York City’s West Village will provide a space to discover new hobbies, find new friends, and connect with others around the things they love.

Not in the New York area but still want to get involved? As a result of NYC Brunch Squad’s popularity, the group is expanding across the country.

“With a robust community established in NYC, we're now excited to announce our expansion with pop-up events in the works in 15 additional cities. What's more, we're launching a travel club, extending our mission to foster connections beyond the city limits and to help people build life-changing friendships in new and exciting places,” Liza says.

If you’re ready to make new meaningful connections, join NYC Brunch Squad! You might just meet your new best friends.

Family

## People kept telling me to watch 'Bluey.' I still was not prepared.

### Some adults say it's healing their inner child, but there's something in the popular Australian kids' show for everyone.

"Bluey" is popular with all ages, despite being aimed at kids.

I have a confession to make. I'm 48 years old, my youngest child is in high school and I can't stop watching "Bluey."

For the uninitiated, "Bluey" is a kids' cartoon from Australia aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds. It's been nearly a decade since my household has seen that demographic, so when people kept telling me I should watch "Bluey," my reaction was basically, "Yeah, I've already done my kiddie show time, thankyouverymuch."

Then my almost-15-year-old started watching it just to see what the fuss was about. And as I started tuning in, I saw why people love it so much. I figured it was going to be a wholesome show with some good lessons for kids, and it is.

But it's also laugh-out-loud hilarious.

As I got sucked deeper and deeper down the "Bluey" hole, I also saw why so many adults say the show is healing their inner child. It doesn't just have good lessons for kids; some episodes are a masterclass in creative, engaged, positive parenting. Now I'm hooked, along with the rest of my family of 40-somethings and young adults. We even have favorite episodes that we rewatch, for goodness sake.

So what is it that makes "Bluey" such a beloved show for all ages?

### The kid actors are fantastic. Seriously, so darn funny.

The children who play 6-year-old Bluey, her 4-year-old sister, Bingo, and their various cousins and friends are outstanding. Their voices are cute, but they're also top notch comedians.

One of my personal favorite bits on the show is when the kids pretend to be grannies. Here's a clip with Bluey, Bingo and their cousin, Muffin, pretending to be grannies at their neighbor's yard sale.

It gets even funnier when the "grouchy granny" encounters an actual, real-life grouchy granny who wants to buy the granny mobile and haggles with her. (We've watched this episode four times. It only gets funnier.)

### The parents teach lessons through imaginative play

The clip below shows how Bandit (Bluey and Bingo's dad) creatively uses a unicorn puppet to drive home the importance of good manners and personal care habits when Bluey won't stop chewing with her mouth open.

Using characters that struggle with whatever a kid needs to learn is a great way to help drive home a lesson. And doing it with silliness and creativity makes the learning process both enjoyable and effective.

Also, the parents' love for each other shines through in the show in adorable ways.

### The parents share their own learnings along the way

Bluey episodes are short—the full episode below is less than 7 minutes—and it's amazing how much they can squeeze into them. Here, Bluey's mom teaches Bluey not to compare herself to others by sharing her own comparison story from when Bluey was a baby, which also includes a lesson for the parents who may be watching as well. It also tugs right at the heartstrings at the end.

I'm just consistently amazed at how well the show executes on every level.

### It's therapeutic—literally.

For folks with positive childhoods, the show is nostalgic and comforting. For those with tough childhoods, the show can feel healing. And for people who raising their own kids, it can be a resource to help them be better parents.

My colleague (and Licensed Clinical Social Worker) Jacalyn Wetzel says she recommends "Bluey" to clients who are having a hard time with parenting.

"When parents of young children mention that they're struggling with being able to emotionally regulate through their child's tantrums, outside of talking to them about ways children express unmet needs, I often recommend the cartoon 'Bluey,'" she says. "Bluey behaves very much like a typical preschooler, which sometimes means she accidentally pushes buttons or does something wrong. The way her parents interact with her in those moments are great examples of acknowledging a child's emotions and responding with kindness, understanding and age appropriate terms."

The show includes real-life parenting moments that can be hard to navigate, so she encourages parents to watch how the parents interact with Bluey and Bingo. "Parenting doesn't come with a handbook but 'Bluey' is helping those that maybe didn't have the best example of it growing up, and that's special," she says.

It's just a near-perfect show in almost every way. There's even some silly potty humor if that's your jam. (See what I mean? A little something for everyone.)

You can watch full seasons of "Bluey" on Disney + and find clips and some full episodes the "Bluey" YouTube channel.

Family

## Mom’s blistering rant on how men are responsible for all unwanted pregnancies is on the nose

### “ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it."

Mom has something to say... strongly say.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, are a conservative group who aren't known for being vocal about sex.

But best selling author, blogger, and mother of six, Gabrielle Blair, has kicked that stereotype to the curb with a pointed thread on reducing unwanted pregnancies. And her sights are set directly at men.

She wrote a Cliff's Notes version of her thread on her blog:

If you want to stop abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And men are 100% responsible for unwanted pregnancies. No for real, they are. Perhaps you are thinking: IT TAKES TWO! And yes, it does take two for _intentional_ pregnancies.

But ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it. Let's start with this: women can only get pregnant about 2 days each month. And that's for a limited number of years.

Here's the whole thread. It's long, but totally worth the read.

Blair's controversial tweet storm have been liked hundreds of thousands of time, with the original tweet earning nearly 200,000 likes since it was posted on Thursday, September, 13.

The reactions have earned her both praise and scorn.

Most of the scorn was from men.

But Blair wouldn't budge.

For other men, the tweet thread was a real eye-opener.

Women everywhere applauded Blair's bold thread.

Joy

## Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

### He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.

The volunteer slowly entered the kennel with the terrified dog, crouching on his knees for an easy escape if needed. But the dog attempted to essentially become invisible by avoiding eye contact and staying curled in a tiny ball. It seemed like it was going to take a long time for this nervous pup to warm up.

Before long, he's offered a treat. Success! The brown dog takes the treat, and as minutes pass you can see his body slowly relax, eventually coming to sit directly next to Kanaka for pets. In the few minutes of the video, you see such an amazing transformation that proves this little guy just needed some love.

"It was so cute when he started wagging his tail. You could tell his whole demeanor just changed, and he was happy. Just a few kind words and a little attention. That’s all animals need. Well, besides food. Lol," one commenter says.

"That moment when he starts to realize he's actually safe. That gradual tail wag, and the ears perking, the eyes lighting up. You don't have to be an expert to show an animal love and respect," another writes.

"After that first treat his entire demeanor changed. He went from not trusting you to thinking you may be kind and he could feel less stressed. That was really amazing to see," someone gushes.

This sweet scared dog just needed human connection by someone taking the time to sit with him to know he was safe. Once he was sure the shelter was a safe place, the dog even welcomed those who came to visit him after seeing the video.

"I went to the shelter today to visit 'Bear'! Everyone would be thrilled to hear that he seems very happy and energetic! He has a little red squeaky bone toy that he loves. He licked my hand immediately and rubbed his head on my legs and arms, eager for affection. What a sweetheart," a commenter writes.

Thanks to Kanaka's sweet gesture, the dog, now named Shadow Moon, was adopted and is now living his best life with his new human dad and husky brother. You can follow Shadow Moon's journey on his Instagram page.

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.

Education

## 8 changes that were made to a classic Richard Scarry book to keep up with the times. Progress!

### All the misogyny and racism you may not have noticed are now gone.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

Updating the kitchen.

## Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books?

Books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them.

And now, I read them to my kids.

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Apple Car.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

## But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

Scarry started publishing books in the 1950s, when times were, well, a little different. So some of the details were quietly updated.

Alan Taylor, a senior editor for the photo section of The Atlantic, noticed differences back in 2005 and decided to photograph them. From his Flickr album:

"The 1963 edition is my own, bought for me in the late 60's when I was a toddler, and read to tatters. The 1991 edition belongs to my kids today. I was so familiar with the older one that I immediately started noticing a few differences, and so have catalogued 14 of the more interesting differences here in this collection."

Taylor found 14 pages with differences between the original and updated versions.

Here are eight changes that reflect some of the progress society has made:

## 1. First up: The cover got a makeover. It might seem subtle at first glance, but look closely.

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

The original has a woman (bunny) in the kitchen, while the updated cover has both a man and a woman (still bunnies) in the kitchen. Also: The "policeman" bear changed to a woman, and the label changed to "police officer." The word "mailman" became "letter carrier," and a female farmer was added. Oh, and we went from a cat-mom pushing the stroller to cat-dad! Progress!

(The bunny brushing its teeth in the house was changed from a boy to a girl, but I'm not gonna read into that because hopefully all bunny-kids brush their teeth, right? I mean, for the sake of their little bunny teefs!)

## 2. Men can be flight attendants and women can be pilots. And, you know, they don't have to be hot.

Pretty stewardess to flight attendant.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

While the gender of each role remained the same in the newer version (which is, unfortunately, pretty legit, given the glaring lack of female pilots in real life), the stereotyping was eliminated by making the "handsome pilot" more of an everyday "pilot" (raccoon?) and by turning the "pretty stewardess" into a regular flight attendant.

## 3. Christmas isn't the only holiday people celebrate.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

Shhhh: Don't tell the Starbucks Christmas cup haters this, but there are a lot more winter holidays than just Christmas. The newer version of the book included a menorah in the blank space to recognize those who celebrate Hanukkah.

## 4. Mommy Bears are no longer expected to have breakfast prepared for Daddy Bears...

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

...and the subtle change from "called to breakfast" to "goes to the kitchen to eat his breakfast" reflects that.

(Side note: Do Daddy Bears realllllly want to be treated like Kid Bears by being called to a meal, where they must promptly appear? I'm thinking not.)

## 5. Because guess what?! Dads can cook, too! (Even Dad Bunnies.)

Dads can cook, too?

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

And Richard Scarry's book was updated to reflect the late-20th-century realization that everyone belongs in the kitchen!

## 6. Helping professions aren't just for men.

No more cowboys.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

The updated version recognized that fact by changing "policeman" to "police officer" and "fireman" to "fire fighter." The ever-important job of cowboy was eliminated ( sigh ... how many career hopes and dreams were squashed?), replaced with a gardener and a scientist, both of which are filled by female characters. Three cheers for women in STEM! Also: The milkman was replaced by a taxi driver, but I'm pretty sure that was had to do with the fact that milkman (or woman) isn't a growing occupation any longer.

## 7. Regular people need rescuing, too.

Cat is in danger.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

The newer version did away with the "beautiful screaming lady" (sigh... how many career hopes and dreams ... oh, wait — none) and replaced her with a regular "cat in danger." The "jumping gentleman" label was removed altogether, and the "fireman" became a "fire fighter" again.

## 8. "I" is for "ice cream" — and not stereotypical depictions of Native Americans.

Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

We're still waiting for our football teams to get with the times, but the folks behind the Richard Scarry book update eliminated the "Indian" character that was wearing stereotypical clothing.

Yay, progress! And before you shrug and say "It's just a book," listen to this:

Florida State University recently led "the most comprehensive study of 20th century children's books ever undertaken in the United States." As you can surely guess, they found a gender bias toward male lead characters, even in books about animals — books like those by Richard Scarry.

Janice McCabe, the assistant professor of sociology who led the study, wrote:

"The widespread pattern of underrepresentation of females that we find supports the belief that female characters are less important and interesting than male characters. This may contribute to a sense of unimportance among girls and privilege among boys. The gender inequalities we found may be particularly powerful because they are reinforced by patterns of male-dominated characters in many other aspects of children's media, including cartoons, G-rated films, video games and even coloring books."

It's kind of cool to think these changes were made at least two and a half decades ago! That's something.

And we need changes to keep happening! Kids should be able to read books with same-sex couples and characters who have disabilities, for example, because those are everyday occurrences and books are a great intro to the world for kids.

## Anyone else up for modernizing other classic kids' books so we can feel good about sharing them with our kids?

This article was writen by Laura Willard and originally appeared on 11.11.15

Education

## Voice recordings of people who were enslaved offer incredible first-person accounts of U.S. history

### "The results of these digitally enhanced recordings are arresting, almost unbelievable. The idea of hearing the voices of actual slaves from the plantations of the Old South is as powerful—as startling, really—as if you could hear Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee speak." - Ted Koppel

Library of Congress

When we think about the era of American slavery, many of us tend to think of it as the far distant past. While slavery doesn't exist as a formal institution today, there are people living who knew formerly enslaved black Americans first-hand. In the wide arc of history, the legal enslavement of people on U.S. soil is a recent occurrence—so recent, in fact, that we have voice recordings of interviews with people who lived it.

Many of us have read written accounts of enslavement, from Frederick Douglass's autobiography to some of the 2,300 first-person accounts housed in the Library of Congress. But how many of us have heard the actual voices of people who were enslaved telling their own stories?

ABC News' Nightline with Ted Koppel aired a segment in 1999 in which we can hear the first-person accounts of people who had been enslaved taken from interviews conducted in the 1930s and 40s (also housed in the Library of Congress). They include the voice of a man named Fountain Hughes, who was born into slavery in 1848 and whose grandfather had "belonged to" Thomas Jefferson.

As Koppel says in the segment, "The results of these digitally enhanced recordings are arresting, almost unbelievable. The idea of hearing the voices of actual slaves from the plantations of the Old South is as powerful—as startling, really—as if you could hear Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee speak."

Indeed, hearing formerly enslaved people share their experiences of being bought and sold like cattle, sleeping on bare pallets, and witnessing whippings for insubordination is a heartbreaking reminder of how close we are to this ugly chapter of our history. The segment is well worth ten minutes to watch: