Teacher sends inspiring letter home with test scores…saying test scores don’t matter very much

July 17, 2014 | 1 comment

When Barrowford Primary School head teacher Rachel Tomlinson sent her students their key stage two test results last week, she included a letter with the test scores…

Test Results Letter

The UK teacher for the Nelson, Lanceshire, school found the letter on Minnesota teacher Kimberly Hurd Horst’s blog last year. Wanting to send a reminder that while test scores are important, they do not define each student, Tomlinson repurposed the letter and sent it to her pupils.

Here’s the full text of the letter…

Dear Charlie Owen,

Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.

However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you — the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.

They do not know that many of you speak two languages.

They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture.

They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.

They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school.

They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.

They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.

So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.

(via Reddit, BBC)

John Oliver demonstrates America’s wealth gap with an actual lottery game

July 14, 2014 | 3 comments

In a recent segment, John Oliver discussed income inequality in America. He makes repeated salient observations throughout the 14-minute lesson/rant, and then culminates with an actual lottery — “America Ball” — which demonstrates our odds of getting rich.

Here’s the short version: We’re ludicrously optimistic. But you really should watch the long version. Skip to 12:00 to just see the lottery segment…

(NSFW language)

What happens when you offer drugs to the president of the United States

July 10, 2014 | No comments

This is funny or depressing depending on how you look at it. As Obama was shaking hands in Denver earlier this week, a local pothead asked him if he wanted “to hit this”…

The recent legalization of weed in Colorado allowed the president to laugh off the offer with the appropriately amused disregard that the question warranted.

Meanwhile, while the president is winsomely avoiding getting high and numerous people in Colorado aren’t, 750,000 people in this country are being arrested each year for marijuana-related offenses and 20,000 people are in prison only because of marijuana possession or distribution.

Cops entrap and fine drivers using a planted pedestrian

July 7, 2014 | 5 comments

In the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, which is just 2 miles outside of Boston and is the most densely populated municipality in New England, the police force has set up a simple but effective method of protecting pedestrians and generating revenue.

At a busy intersection, the cops plant a “pedestrian” who is supposedly on his way somewhere on foot. In fact, however, the pedestrian is repeatedly crossing the street so the cops can pull over anyone who doesn’t come to a stop for him as they drive by.

When a nearby neighbor noticed the scheme he began to film…

(via Free Thought Project)

It is required by law that motorists stop for people in the crosswalk. At the same time, setting people up to commit crimes is generally frowned upon. So what do you think?

Are these cops protecting and serving by reminding us all to stop for pedestrians or are they just fleecing their town’s inhabitants to increase revenue?

Shocking ads show beaten celebrities and the lies they’d tell if tortured [3 pics]

June 27, 2014 | No comments

A recent series of ads from Amnesty International creatively and dramatically points out the futility of torture as a method for gathering intelligence. The ads feature the bruised and bloody faces of the Dalai Lama, Iggy Pop, and Chanel’s head fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. And then beneath each face is a quote that these men would never, ever say…unless they were under extreme duress, that is.

The ads close with the tagline, “Torture a man and he will tell you anything.”

The Dalai Lama

“A man who does not have a Rolex at 50 years of age is a failure”

Anti-torture Ad - Dalai Lama

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Designers from 22 countries Photoshop the same woman to fit their standards of beauty

June 26, 2014 | 28 comments

In order to explore how the perception of female beauty varies across the globe, journalist Esther Honig embarked on a fascinating project called “Before & After.” She contacted nearly 40 designers from all over the world using freelancing websites and sent them this unaltered image of herself…

Original photo

Countries Photoshop 03

Honig’s simple request for each designer was “Make me beautiful.”

With rates varying between $5 and $30 per Photoshop job, the level of skill varied from one designer to the next, with each picture demonstrating both a cultural and personal interpretation of what beauty is…


Countries Photoshop 04


Countries Photoshop 05

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How we discourage our daughters from being good at science (without even realizing it)

June 26, 2014 | 5 comments

If you’re a normal parent, this ad will make you feel a little guilty…but in a good way. Watch how the smallest things we say can redirect a curious girl away from the subjects that would make her most come alive…