27 May 2005
Submitted by eve on Fri, 05/27/2005 - 11:06am. Funny
"Well, I'm an American, so it's my god-given right to misunderstand your geography."
--A guy joking to his friends at the Parkway
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Posted by Apple on Tue, 11/15/2005 - 4:24pm.
I only scanned the last comment and had to reread to make sure Disco Recovery really wasn't what I read. Pity. It wasn't.
Posted by shelley on Mon, 06/27/2005 - 12:43pm.
I'm not sure how to respond to a lot of your comments guys, cuz really you're saying that it is alright that you know nothing about the world around you.. (Note: I'm talking to the average american) I'm not sure about anywhere else but up north, yes I do mean Canada (insert dog sleigh joke here..) we learn all about everywhere.. I'm in no way able to point out all the countries in Africa or the pacific rim without looking for their names but I still know in what general area they are located. As for Europe, the Middle East and South America as well as pretty much all the states, I can point them out on a map without having to search for the names. As do ~95% of high school graduates up here do. I don't think ignorance of the world in the form of general knowledge about other cultures and countries is at all acceptable or in anyway excusable and it is definitely not your "god-given right"! By general knowledge I don't mean date of origins and specifics like that but more so to know where they are and at least some real facts about them. Unfortunately the US has developed a very poor reputation in the world for their knowledge of other cultures and countries. But then again you also have not shown the world much else, so what else are we supposed to believe?
Posted by paul on Mon, 06/27/2005 - 4:48pm.
Interesting thought just occurred to me. We have people all over the place outraged that our knowledge of geography or other languages and cultures tends to be lacking... yet it's still rather acceptable for people to be unable to do basic algebra (or for that matter, be able to balance a checkbook). And lack of knowledge about the sciences is also acceptable, as is ignorance about technology. (How many people do you know who are unable to even change the oil in their car?)

So ignorance can be acceptable if it's not about other peoples' cultures?

Interesting indeed. There might be a good thesis in this for someone...
Stupid people or ignorant for that matter...
Posted by shelley on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 7:30am.
Basically those people annoy me.. and I can't get away from them, they're everywhere!!! *screams and hides under the bed in the fetal position* he he he

-It floated through space exactly the way bricks don't...
Stupidity vs ignorance
Posted by paul on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 11:18am.
I think I would refine that a little, myself.

Stupidity means a lack of intelligence. I know a hell of a lot of people who are not as intelligent as I am, and a lot of people who are far more intelligent than I am (some of the latter being regular posters on this site). People whose intelligence is less than mine- or even a good bit less than the norm- don't bother me. In fact, there are quite a few people of lesser intelligence that I like quite a bit.

Ignorance means that one has not been educated on a given subject- for instance, I'm woefully ignorant on quilting or British history or collecting Barbie dolls. This can, of course, be corrected. I can learn to sew and can study British history (although the Barbie thing is where I draw the friggin' line). Similarly, there are a lot of people who are ignorant on a wide variety of subjects that I know a lot about, and if they're interested I can educate them.

What frustrates me is really what I would term arrogant ignorance- when a person is ignorant on a given subject and then declares that since they don't know anything about it it must be unimportant. Not being interested in something is perfectly understandable. Dismissing it as trivial without looking into it at all is not. This is known as prejudice, and is generally considered to be a very low quality trait.

*clap, clap, clap (genuinely)
Posted by shelley on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 5:46pm.
Well put. I would have to agree. However I'm not sure the term prejudice fits perfectly, I also don't know of a better word.
Posted by Somnambulist on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 6:14pm.
Prejudice: To judge something without having sufficient knowledge (i.e. ignorance).
In my opinion, it's le mot juste... that is to say, just the right word.
All these 'Go to France' ads are starting to affect the vocabulary that pops up when I try to express myself.
Posted by Matt on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:40pm.
Which is funny exactly because everything solid pretty much floats through space the same way, even bricks, at least until it hits something else. Or gets pulled by some gravitational force.
Posted by shelley on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 10:14am.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy strikes again! ah ha ha ha! (evil laugh) :-)

It floated through space exactly the way bricks don't...
Posted by daen on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 10:51am.
You know, I don't have my copy of Hitchhiker's right to hand, so I can't be 100% sure of this... but I'm fairly certain the quote is "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

braces self for correction
Posted by steff on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 3:36pm.
no correction... though you might need rapped on the knuckles for not having your copy of hitchhiker's within arm's reach. i, however, DO have, and can thus say with authority that your memory of the quote is in fact 100% correct. yay!
Posted by Cebu on Fri, 07/08/2005 - 6:36pm.
Am I going to lose my IP membership for never having read or owned a copy of Hitchhikers? The boyfriend is trying to get me to read it but, meh. :D

...I did see the recent movie. It was odd.
Posted by tim on Fri, 07/22/2005 - 11:22am.
how the hell are you?

: D

~Between placenta and the Big surprise~
Posted by Cebu on Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:53pm.
Why hello! I am not around as much anymore. Clearly. :P I am excellent and spending lots of time with the boyfriend. Plus we're going to Disney World tomorrow, so things are good and fun. :D
Posted by Jon on Fri, 07/29/2005 - 6:30am.
Welcome back timmycakes!

- My mind is in the gutter, but it keeps out the bad weather.
Posted by Mia on Wed, 07/13/2005 - 10:26am.
This is totally unrelated to anything, but I saw a vehicle the other day (something like an SUV...a Tacoma, maybe?) with a bumper sticker that said "I love CEBU". The love was actually a little heart, but it amounts to the same thing. And that would be my story for today. :)
Posted by Matt on Wed, 07/13/2005 - 11:59pm.
Well, considering we all know Cebu is a Veggie Tales reference, I wouldn't be too impressed.
Posted by Mia on Thu, 07/14/2005 - 5:14am.
Matt, I do not watch Veggie Tales, and I can say with some certainty that I have never been around to hear the background on several names. So, apologies to everyone--I just thought it was kind of cute.
Oh, come ON!
Posted by steff on Thu, 07/14/2005 - 5:38am.
it's still far too cute!

'sides, were it strictly a veggie tales ref, it should say "i love cebuS" (or possibly "i love my cebu" which, hee), as in the song "cebu" isn't a name, it's a noun. a species, specifically. so, there.

what color minivan was it? *GRIN*
Posted by Mia on Thu, 07/14/2005 - 1:08pm.
The minivan was dark green. Oddly enough, I saw a purple one a few blocks later. :)
Posted by S_Kat on Fri, 07/08/2005 - 9:48pm.
I think the debate is which medium (radioplay, video game, book, movie, etc.) or how many of them must you have experienced to really get the story?

Anyone else catch the recent BBC4 new series that covered the whole book series? I've heard some folks dont like "So Long..." but I thought it was pretty spiffy to brign everything in. :)
Posted by Matt on Fri, 07/08/2005 - 10:48pm.
Aw, come on, it's all about the books. I liked "Mostly Harmless" the least and "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" is underrated. Maybe because not many people have read it, being as how it's most readily available in the Complete Guide compendium.

"Harmless" just tried too hard to pull everything together and--I think this was in "Harmless"--Adams finally explains why it is, in the first book, the flower pot said, "Oh no, not again."

I was devastated to find out the answer, ruining one of the funniest jokes ever put to paper.
Posted by umrguy on Sat, 07/09/2005 - 9:59pm.
The flowerpot was explained in "Life, The Universe, And Everything" if I'm not mistaken (I don't feel like walking 20 feet into the next room, grabbing my copy of the Ultimate Guide, and looking it up).

But yeah, "Mostly Harmless" really did feel just too not quite together. I mean, what, you couldn't keep Fenchurch around?

-There's someone in my head, but it's not me.-
Odd? i didn't notice anything odd.
Posted by steff on Fri, 07/08/2005 - 7:25pm.
lose your membership, no.

have us diabolically assisting said boyfriend at every opportunity? oh, yes.

read it. reeeeeaaad iiiiiiiiit.....
Posted by Somnambulist on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 6:00pm.
Not having the guide is a faux pas, but as long as she has her towel, everything will be O.K.
Posted by shelley on Wed, 06/29/2005 - 5:42pm.
I stand corrected, well sit because standing at my computer would not be very comfortable..

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't...
Posted by Saint on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:54am.
Oddly enough, just after reading your comment, Paul, I checked my e-mail and read This is True. Included was a story about school officials in Victoria, Australia, changing the year 12 physics exam to make the acceleration of gravity at Earth's surface a flat 10 instead of 9.8 meters/second/second. Reason being, it's too hard for students to calculate equations using the 9.8 figure. The Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority has, sportingly enough, allowed that students using the 9.8 figure won't be penalized.

-Can't stop, the weasels are closing in!
Posted by Saint on Sun, 07/03/2005 - 9:55am.
As an ancillary to the above: When I told my brother about this, he put on his best old-man voice (and he's got a good one) and wheezed, "Why, in my day, it was 9.81 meters per second per second. Damn lazy youngsters...." So I guess standards just continue to fall. But how can they make it any easier than '10'? Remove it from the test altogether? I guess only time will tell.

-Can't stop, the weasels are closing in!
Posted by Matt on Sun, 07/03/2005 - 10:16am.
My dad learned all his physics back in the old days, when it was, "32 feet per second per second."

Never made one bit of sense to me.

And while I'm talking science, random nigh-useless factoid:
Mr. Farenheit was an alcoholic, so when he was creating a temperature scale, he used his body temp as 100 and the freezing point of pure alcohol as zero. Problem is, he was drinking at the time, so his body temp was elevated, oh, 1.4 degrees Farenheit above normal.

Stupid 98.6.
Also useless
Posted by marinerd on Tue, 07/05/2005 - 12:39pm.
I was reading somewhere recently about how 98.6 is a myth, as far as it's being the normal, or even average, human temperature. Can't remember where, but I'm sure you could google for it.
37 Celsius (centigrade, if you prefer)
Posted by S_Kat on Wed, 07/06/2005 - 12:12am.
When a German scientist studied human body temperature he found a range of 36.5ish to 37.5ish Celsius and rounded to the nearest degree. But when the figure was converted to "English" they forgot about rounding. It turns out mean normal body temperature is a little below 37 C so there are a bunch of us who have low-grade fevers at 98.6 F and others who are normal at nearly 100 F.

No such thing as normal in a population of one.
Posted by Matt on Wed, 07/06/2005 - 6:24am.
Except that the Farenheit scale came first. The metric scale based on the freezing and boiling points of water was developed later. By the French, I believe, soon after the Revolution of 1789.

But I might be wrong.
Yes and no...
Posted by S_Kat on Thu, 07/07/2005 - 1:05pm.
Fahrenheit's scale (a German), 1724, predates Celsius' (a Swede), 1742, and the Fahrenheit scale took off in the English-speaking world along with the mercury thermometers Fahrenheit developed. The French went bananas for everything metric system during their First Republic and popularized centigrade so it became standard in the non-English speaking world by 1868 when Wunderlich published his study on body temperature.

So yes, Fahrenheit came first but it's not the scale the study used so the results were converted from C to F.
Posted by Saint on Tue, 07/05/2005 - 9:43pm.
I'd believe that. I've always been on the cool side--around 97.3, give or take--which made it annoyingly hard to convince school nurses I was really sick (since every school nurse knows, no kid is sick unless they've got a temperature of 100 degrees or more).

-Can't stop, the weasels are closing in!
This comes as no surprise.
Posted by paul on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 4:07pm.
I've come to the conclusion that 80% of humanity are idiots anyway.

This does, however, remind me of something that happened in Dynamics class. The professor was explaining that gravity is not really a constant, but varies slightly depending on where on the globe you are- at sea level, the pull of gravity is greater than at the top of Mt. Everest, for instance. But for all intents and purposes it can be treated as a constant 9.81 m/s^2.

One guy was freaked out by the concept that gravity was not a constant, and couldn't let it go. He questioned the teacher for several minutes on this, and the teacher patiently repeated that the variations were so tiny as to be negligible unless you're doing something like launching a space probe. The kid just couldn't get past this for some reason, and was bothered by gravity not being constant.

I finally turned to the kid and said, "Look, it's a tiny amount. If you piss in the ocean does mean sea level rise?"

That effectively ended class.
Posted by steff on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 6:38am.



this cannot ACTUALLY be true. just... no.


*flees to hide under blankets, whimpering & twitching*
Posted by Mia on Tue, 06/28/2005 - 12:36pm.
Actually, it is. I took physics last year (Introduction to Classical Physics and Thermodynamics... for a BFA in Dance?), and our teacher informed us we had the option of using 9.8 or 10. Since our textbooks (which were published about four years ago) used 10, he told us we wouldn't be penalized for using the round number. He preferred 9.8 on tests and homework, but would accept rounded answers. When I failed the class the year before (this time I passed with a C), my other teacher only used 9.8.

Rounding wasn't the reason I flunked, though. I think it had something to do with spazzing out halfway through the semester... or the teacher locking me out of the classroom when I was right on time. Not late, but walking to the door as the minute hand hit eight. Or not being able to finish the tests within the class period. Strangely enough, I had no problem with the lab section--it was the lecture that screwed me up.
Live the Dream!
Posted by brian65401 on Mon, 06/27/2005 - 7:36pm.
My ad on this page.

Free newsletter on France.
Crammed with tips on visiting or living in France.
Live the dream.

Live the dream? OK, what do I have to do to get the paid survey ads back?
Working Abroad Get expert ad
Posted by paul on Mon, 06/27/2005 - 7:42pm.
Working Abroad
Get expert advice on moving abroad, as well as a free country guide.

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Free financial calculators. Plus interest rates, news and more!

Yeah, right. Like I'm gonna move anytime soon...
Posted by Matt on Thu, 06/23/2005 - 8:15pm.
Wonderful ironic statement about the pathetic geography abilities of the average American, considering 60% of high school seniors can't point out their home state on a map of the country.

And something like 80% of Americans can't find Iraq on a map, either.
Almost makes me want to become an ex-pat.
On the other hand...
Posted by paul on Thu, 06/23/2005 - 10:17pm.
I admit it, I don't know geography worth anything. I have to look on a map to find most of the European countries, and have to search them for their names.

But there's a reason that Europeans are better at geography than Americans are. It's the same reason that so many of them can speak multiple languages fluently. The other countries are all fairly nearby, so they have more contact with people from other countries than most Americans do. If the people in Tennesee spoke a truly separate language from what we speak in Virginia, chances are I would know that language because I would have contact with it. People along the Mexican border tend to know Spanish, after all. But since the only country that uses a different language is a thousand miles from me, I've never had a need to learn any language besides English (not including the years of high school French, of course). Similarly my awareness of the location of Belgium or Botswana or Qatar is not strong, because I rarely have contact with them. They're more than 5000 miles away from me. I know *of* them, in that they make the news, but I don't know a lot about them. Yet I do know a lot about the states around me, and the ones between here and my family in New York because I have contact with them.

I think Americans get a really bad rep that is not wholly deserved. I daresay that the Europeans would have difficulty pointing out on a map where Idaho is. Not because they're lazy or stupid- but because they have little need for that knowledge.

It makes me a little sad that American bashing is so popular and acceptable that some of us do it ourselves...
The Bad Rap
Posted by Michael Burton on Fri, 07/01/2005 - 9:58pm.
I think Americans get a really bad rep that is not wholly deserved.
Well, no.

We Americans don't get a bad reputation because of our ignorance -- we get a bad rep because we're ignorant, we refuse to learn, and we behave as if only WE possess the truth.

And we get offended if someone doesn't like that. Yeah, I'll bash that behavior.
Posted by Matt on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 6:29am.
I daresay most Americans can't find Idaho either. I can find Idaho and then tell you where Coeur d'Alene, Boise, Caldwell, and Pocatello are, but that's partly because I lived there for nine months.

And if our soldiers are in another country, risking their lives--and dying just about every day--at the behest of our government, we should all have a pretty good idea of just where that place is.
On the other other hand...
Posted by peegee on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 12:52am.
There is an additional reason why many Europeans speak several languages fluently: they have to if they want to communicate with the rest of the world. Many people around the world speak English or French or Spanish, but compared to that hardly anyone outside e.g. Denmark would ever bother to learn Danish. Therefore the British and the Germans tend to be those worst at foreign languages because they depend on it the least.
I would have trouble pointing out Botswana and Quatar as well (though I'm sure I'd get the continent right), but I do know where Idaho is. *g*
Posted by ParU on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 4:33pm.
Well some of us, know geography, cause the world's an interesting place. (Yes I know where Botswanna and Qatar (note the lack of a 'u' peegee) are - though Botswanna gets little press these days.
And, of course, everyone knows where Legoland, I mean Denmark is... *g*
It's Amino world without Chemists
Posted by Matt on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 7:47pm.
I know where Botswana (note the single "n," ParU,) is, too, but so what?

Legoland is in San Diego, CA. Be fair.

If it weren't for Legos, I'd never be able to figure out how to assemble furniture from Ikea as fast and as well as I do.
Posted by hypoxic on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 10:29pm.
you're wrong. It's in Carlsbad. A suburb to the North of San Diego.

heh :)
Posted by Desert Fox on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 8:00pm.
Actually, Legoland is in Carlsbad. :)

"Life is too short for grief. Or regret. Or bullshit." -- Edward Abbey, Vox Clamantis in Deserto
Posted by Matt on Fri, 06/24/2005 - 8:56pm.
Next you're going to tell me not all of Orange County is like Newport Beach, the town featured in The OC TV show.

Oh, wait; that's true too.
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