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The College Board attempts to tackle inequality in admissions; the Philippines and Canada are in a spat over trash.
Can an “adversity score” tackle inequality in college admissions?
- Students applying to college will now receive an “adversity score” from the College Board to measure their social and economic background. [WSJ / Douglas Belkin]
- The College Board, a nonprofit that oversees the SATs, will calculate a score out of 100 using 15 factors, including neighborhood crime rates and family education levels. The idea is that the higher the number, the more disadvantages the student experienced. [CBS News / Brian Pascus]
- The score is part of a larger rating system, the “environmental context dashboard.” Students won’t see their score, only colleges. [Washington Post / Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga]
- The “adversity score” tackles the question of fairness in the college application process — a debate that reignited after a federal investigation revealed a nationwide scheme to get the children of wealthy parents into elite schools via bribery and other methods. [NYT / Anemona Hartocollis]
- The adversity score does not address race, which is notable since colleges’ affirmative action policies have recently been challenged in court. Still, college admissions experts say it will inevitably lead to increased racial diversity on campus because of the correlation between ethnic background and average household income, which is reflected in test scores. [BuzzFeed News / Ellie Hall]
- An evaluation of a student’s background has never been done in such a systematic way, and experts are hoping this will finally make the admissions process more holistic. [Atlantic / Natalie Escobar]
The Philippines wants Canada to take back its trash
- Canada and the Philippines are in a diplomatic spat after Canada failed to collect trash it sent to Manila six years ago. [Reuters]
- The dispute dates back to 2013, when the Canadian business Chronic Inc. sent more than 100 shipping containers worth of plastic to be recycled in the Philippines. Further inspection, however, revealed that the containers were mostly filled with household waste — a claim that Chronic’s owner denied in 2014. [CNN / Paula Newton and Sandi Sidhu]
- Canada has tried to address the issue by tightening its laws so that global shipments of hazardous waste are more regulated. However, it’s yet to take back the trash — part of which has been disposed of in landfills and part stored at the Manila port — and failed to meet a May 15 deadline to collect the waste. [BBC]
- The Philippines has taken a strong stance in the conflict by recalling its envoys in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not apologize for missing the deadline but said he hopes to work closely with the Philippines to solve the problem. [Globe and Mail / Steven Chase and Jeff Lewis]
- Waste isn’t just a problem for the Philippines. Ever since China, the world’s largest importer of waste, announced it would no longer accept trash, garbage has been piling up in Southeast Asia. [NYT / Jason Gutierrez]
- The Philippines situation mirrors a larger global trend: Small nations are pushing back against being the dumping ground for wealthier countries. [Washington Post / Amanda Coletta]
- Taiwan made history today by voting to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s the first place in Asia to do so. [BBC]
- This chef has a new approach to eliminating environmentally destructive invasive species: eat them. [Vice / Meredith Heil]
- Are you an expert at crafting the perfect Instagram feed? The queen may want to hire you as her social media manager. [CNN / Amy Woodyatt]
- Google is tackling the global language barrier by translating your speech into a different language — and retaining your voice in the translated audio. [Futurism / Kristin Houser]
- From sparkly vampire to brooding superhero: Robert Pattinson is reportedly in talks to play Batman in an upcoming film. [Variety / Justin Kroll]
“This is about finding young people who do a great deal with what they’ve been given. It helps colleges see students who may not have scored as high, but when you look at the environment that they have emerged from, it is amazing.” [David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, on the new “adversity score”]
Watch this: What we get wrong about affirmative action
The latest allegation that Harvard discriminates against Asians could kill affirmative action altogether. [YouTube / Alvin Chang and Ranjani Chakraborty]
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Lil Nas X and Wrangler’s “Old Town Road” clothing line inspires country music fan backlash
“Old Town Road” star Lil Nas X’s latest move is into fashion, courtesy of a collaboration with Wrangler, the legacy denim and apparel brand that’s become a signature element of the Western aesthetic.
The chart-topping rapper has partnered with the company to launch a capsule clothing collection inspired by his hit song and featuring graphic T-shirts, jeans, and other denim apparel. The collaboration is essentially an extension of one of the most memorable lyrics in “Old Town Road,” which shouts out Wrangler by name: “Cowboy hat from Gucci / Wrangler on my booty.”
Wrangler describes the capsule collection, which launched May 20, as “fresh remixes of classic Wrangler styles for the kind of modern cowboy that can’t be put in a box.”
That’s a cheeky reference to “Old Town Road” itself, which sparked an intense debate over whether the song counts as country music when it debuted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in March, and was subsequently removed. Despite its references to established Western themes and imagery — the song’s lyrics revolve around a lone cowboy riding his horse into the sunset, after all — Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Some country music fans and industry observers agreed, arguing that “Old Town Road” qualifies more as hip-hop than country. Others criticized Billboard for feeding rigid ideas about who or what qualifies as country enough, and suggested that Lil Nas X’s race played a part in the song’s reclassification; the fact that Lil Nas X is a black teenager from Atlanta and country is a predominantly white genre did not go unnoticed.
The song quickly became the catalyst for an industry-wide discussion about the definition of country music and racially tinged gatekeeping within the genre. It also became the top song in the country, and has now been No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks straight.
Just like the song itself riled some country music fans amid an outpouring of support for Lil Nas X from his own expansive fanbase, the rapper’s collaboration with Wrangler has met with a polarized response.
The Lil Nas X capsule collection is clearly intended to celebrate and capitalize on the success of “Old Town Road.” Although many Lil Nas X fans have expressed interest in buying the collection, Wrangler is also facing criticism from some consumers, many of whom are threatening to boycott.
Much of the backlash is playing out on social media, where Wrangler has received thousands of comments from customers expressing anger and “disappointment.” (It is unclear if customers have also been contacting the company via other, less public methods; Vox has reached out to Wrangler for comment.) And much of the current conversation revolves around how Wrangler seems to be promoting inclusivity by branching out from its reputation as a brand worn by cowboys and farmers.
Two recent Instagram posts from Wrangler showcasing items from its Lil Nas X collection have received more than 1,000 comments each. While plenty of people have commented on how awesome it looks or asking questions about where to buy, several have declared that the “Old Town Road” items are “ruining the cowboy name that y’all have.”
“Wranglers are to be worn by cowboys and farmers not rappers this is very disappointing,” reads one representative Instagram comment.
Some commenters have more explicitly mentioned race — or called out others’ racism.
“This is the dumbest thing i have seen all day,” one user wrote. “Wtf @wrangler? Why is it about diversity and equality ? There jeans. Quit playin politics.”
WRANGLER JUST PARTNERED WITH LIL NAS X AND THE RACIST ARE MAD GO BUY UP ALL THE WRANGLER LIL NAS X COLLAB JEANS YOU CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT DIVERSITY pic.twitter.com/gwH2G7dULj
— tyler (@tylerujhazy) May 21, 2019
Lil Nas X, for his part, seemed mildly surprised by the response.
i mean honestly white people act like they are the only ones who are cowboys. come to my town in louisiana, we pull up to mcdonalds on horses and have rodeos every weekend.
— Blair Waldorf (@teonnyspears) May 21, 2019
These comments are in the same vein as those used by some country music fans to describe “Old Town Road” when the song made its chart debut, arguing that rappers have no place in the genre (often while neglecting to acknowledge modern country’s own hip-hop influences). Lingering over this debate is race, which many Instagram users have called out in the comments on Wrangler’s posts. Country music is perceived as an insular, predominantly white genre, while Lil Nas X is a black rapper who draws influences from black artists and musical styles.
But Wrangler’s continued support of Lil Nas X is clear; the brand has been actively responding to its detractors on social media, simply repeating on that is devoted to creating high-quality products for all of its customers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the drama over the Lil Nas X collection has only served to draw more attention to it. Some pieces have already sold out, like a pair of shorts that say “Wrangler” on the booty, in keeping with the lyrics of “Old Town Road.” Considering that items in the collection cost between $39 for a graphic T-shirt and $129 for a pair of jeans, the outcry, at least from Wrangler’s perspective, seems to have paid off.
20 Times People Snapped Something Truly Exceptional and Shared the Pics With the World
We are living in the world that is full of surprises where every single day is a new chance to see something so unusual that it makes you doubt your own vision. A treble clef in a bag of fries, a cat whose fur went gray only on his ears, or a person with 6 fingers — these are just a few extraordinary sights that made people reach for their phones and take a pic.
Here at Bright Side we can’t wait to share our list with you of pics showing the standout things people snapped on their ordinary days.
20. Someone found a treble clef in their fries.
19. The pattern on this dog’s chest resembles a cat’s silhouette.
18. Someone saw a landscape on the bottom of their coffee mug.
17. This stone looks like a pile of mini chocolate bars.
16. This cloud looks like a shark.
15. “This stick I found looks like a burning torch, flame included!”
14. “My sweater sort of matches my pillowcase.”
13. “This truck is carrying nothing but a toy dump truck.”
12. “My empanadas have the filling stamped into them.”
11. “I randomly found the tiniest snail I’ve ever seen! (standard bobby pin for scale)”
10. “My cat has double fangs on both sides.”
9. “This tree near my school track has absorbed a fence and shows the pattern on its bark.”
8. “This is an X-ray of my hedgehog.”
7. “My 12-year-old sister made this perfect cake on her first ever try making one.”
6. “I won every single prize on this lottery ticket.”
5. “I made a giant cardboard statue of my face.”
4. “My cousin’s wedding dress from last night has its own pockets.”
3. This is one million dollars in $10 bills.
2. “A customer came in and let me take a picture of her hands that had 6 fingers on each.”
1. “My aunt’s cat’s ears grayed to here a couple years ago and haven’t changed since.”
Have you ever spotted something truly rare? Did you manage to take a picture of the unusual sight?
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