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November 20th, 2018

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People Different From Us | Suspicions Confirmed

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published May 5, 2017

People Different From Us |   Suspicions Confirmed

"Every major event in my life has been about insects," Aaron Rodriques, 26, told The New York Times in December, home in New York City during a winter break from his doctoral research at Purdue University on the "sweet tergal secretions" of German cockroaches, and on his way to buy a supply of crickets and hornworms. ("Hornworms," he said, have an "amazing defense" where they "eat tobacco for the nicotine, which they exhale as a gas to scare away predators.") "When I'm feeling stressed out," Rodriques said, he might take one out to "calm me down." He met his first girlfriend when she was attracted to his pet giant African millipede (as long as a human forearm), but admits that "for the vast majority" of time in school, "I was alone." [New York Times, 12-29-2016]

Schools' standardized tests are often criticized as harmfully rigid, and in the latest version of the Texas Education Agency's STAAR test, poet Sara Holbrook said she flubbed the "correct" answer for "author motivation" -- in two of her own poems that were on the test. Writing in Huffington Post in January, a disheartened Holbrook lamented, "Kids' futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to (poorly) made-up questions." [Huffington Post, 1-5-2017]

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