There is a national exam taken by all students in British high schools known as the GCSE exam and apparently one recent problem has caused an uproar because it stumped most students. Here it is:
When it comes to discussing issues of gender identity and transgender issues, I must admit that I tread very gingerly simply because it is so new to me. Even though I personally know six people who are transgender, I don’t feel that I fully understand all the nuances involved and thus am cautious so as to avoid inadvertently saying something insensitive or even offensive.
Cartoonist and essayist Ted Rall asks a good question.
This is for you older readers: when did news conferences become long-winded acceptance speeches?
I’m too young to remember for sure, but there must have been a time when, after a train derailment or a tornado or a flood or a race riot or whatever, public officials stepped up to the microphones to deliver a status update (“as soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know”), and perhaps some advice to the public (“avoid downed live wires, especially the ones that are sparking, like in that movie The Ice Storm”), answered reporters’ questions and left the stage.
Today’s news conferences are a dreary, undignified mélange of pro forma acknowledgements and sentimental pabulum.
In this nice cartoon, Sarah Glidden looks at all the ways that people in different cultures greet each other, from the handshake to the hug to the kiss on the cheek or to the kisses on both cheeks to the namaste sign and so on, and the awkwardness that can arise when one person expects one thing and the other expects something else.
The police would have you believe that theirs is the most dangerous job and that is why they need to be given the freedom to shoot people at will but actually, as the chart in this article shows, it is nowhere close to being the most dangerous job. Neither are firefighters and security guards.
In clearing out some old files in my desk, I came across a single undated sheet that had the above title and the following text:
The editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know.
“The words we suggest,” says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, “are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language.”
A common trick by magicians is to riffle a deck of cards in front of someone so that the person gets a view of cards as they rapidly pass by their gaze, and ask them to choose one. The magician then produces that same card from elsewhere, say out of their pocket. How is that done?
Two hearse drivers were fired after someone reported that they had stopped at a donut shop while transporting a body from one place to another. What apparently outraged a bystander who noticed the parked hearse was that the casket was flag-draped and thus likely contained the body of a military veteran.
Emily McDowell developed stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 24. As she went through life dealing with it, she encountered what many people dealing with serious illness or personal tragedy face, the utter cluelessness of even well meaning people who somehow, with all the options available to them, manage to say exactly the wrong thing.