This week’s episode of NPR’s new Invisibilia podcast is called How To Become Batman, but a better superhero analogy would be Daredevil — like the show’s subject, Daniel Kish, and unlike Batman, he is blind and uses echolocation to see. But the show isn’t really about echolocation, it’s about the devastating impact of low expectations. It should be compulsory listening for teachers.
Take this Australian language test. Here is the marking key: potato cake, bathers, Speedos, bloomers, spring onion, silverbeet, rockmelon, popper, polony, drink taps, soft drinks, pots and pints, facewasher, free dress, jumper, bindies.
Over 150 years ago a group of anonymous Japanese artists created a 34-ft long scroll titled He-Gassen (屁合戦), literally: “Fart Battle.” … There are people farting at each other. There are people farting through objects. There are people combating farts with fans. There are bags of farts being released. … So why did these artists create this scroll? Some have argued that it’s a form of social commentary depicting anti-foreigner sentiment as Japan was beginning to emerge from isolation. Others feel we try to read too much into the art and that it was created simply because farts are funny.
It’s true, they are.