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Americans lacking in geographic knowledge

  1. May 2, 2006 #1

    ZapperZ

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  3. May 2, 2006 #2

    Gokul43201

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    So, is this part of the generic problem with inadequate (middle/high) school level education; is it mostly a problem (in general) with the attitudes of the students; or is this something specific to teaching/learning geography (& science & math) ?

    Opinions ?
     
  4. May 2, 2006 #3
    I'd say its sheer lack of education in everything. The level of education is horribly low, spawning a culture that gobbles up the ambivalent nothingness of empty entertainment. It's not focused on one area of academics: its a problem that covers every level of education. Consider the literacy rate, general knowledge of science, or basic geography such as this.
     
  5. May 2, 2006 #4

    Astronuc

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    Probably some combination of the educational system and attitudes of students. I don't believe it is unique to geography.

    The attitudes of students are influenced by the attitudes of parents, and sadly, I think many parents are not sufficiently concerned about the education of their children.

    I visited the local high school last year, and I was very disappointed in the majority of students as reflected by their comments.

    There are bright students out there, but they are a minority.
     
  6. May 2, 2006 #5
    I have to say when I was in grade school, I was awful at geography. I would get a sheet of paper with unlabeled countries or states and be clueless. I had a general idea of where the states or nations were, but I was unfamiliar with the shapes. Now if I had recieved a map with some of the other locations labeled around it, I would not have had much trouble. I ended up learning that way, I memorized the locations of a few key states, and filled in the rest through being somewhat familiar with the regions.

    30% thought the US/Mexico was the most fortified border? How odd, almost funny.
     
  7. May 2, 2006 #6
    You get what ou ask for. We don't make education a priorit - in fact people who know more are often looked down more then respected, so it's no suprise when education suffers.
     
  8. May 2, 2006 #7

    arildno

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    I HATED geography; we had a teacher who went under a name like Old Foggy, and I can say with absolute honesty that I haven't got a clue to what his classes were about. (I remember some excursions to look at some stones, but that's all).

    Can't find Lousiana on a map?
    Heck, I'm not always able to find my way home..:frown:
     
  9. May 2, 2006 #8

    Pengwuino

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    I wonder how many countries do well in geographical knowledge in the first place. I know vector calculus, bits of quantum physics, and a fair amount of computer science.... but damn, i can't find my nose on my face with a mirror let alone all 50 capitals.

    I think an insignificant part of the problem (although its a big problem for me personally) might be that... who cares? I personally would never waste my time learning what all the capitals are if i could be using that time to learn more quantum mechanics.

    I also seem to notice that there is an absolutely illogical connection between 'knowledge of world events' and geography. Not that it has anyhting to do with the thread.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  10. May 2, 2006 #9

    Pengwuino

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Hell im lucky I only have my house, university, and big fast-food area to remember in my city. Anything more and i'd be lost 1/2 the day.
     
  11. May 2, 2006 #10
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Ok, I'm good....no i'm not

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Ok...weeee.....
     
  12. May 2, 2006 #11

    JasonRox

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    Considering most people think that too much education is retarded, I'd say things will only get worse and not better.

    Reading itself is considered a weird/odd past time. Most people react like "Why the hell would you read a book that is not assigned to you by the teacher or even the book that IS assigned to you when you can just watch the movie?".

    Being curious is also considered odd and sometimes probably stupid/retarded. Their usual answer is simply... "That's the way it is.", "Who cares.", and/or some non-sense explanation like they thought of it on the spot.

    Choosing to learn something is also considered weird/odd, stupid/retarded or flat out f@c&ed up. This is why choosing to become anything that does not concern money is basically not socially acceptable. Choosing to become a professor, scientists, and/or the like is just weird until you get the job if the job pays well otherwise still weird. Choosing to become a doctor is only acceptable because it makes money. Consider the reaction people get when you say you want to be a doctor, "Man, you'll make lots of money!", and/or "What kind of car will you drive?". It's never for the benefit of the people. Becoming a lawyer is like "Whoa! You must be very smart. You'll be rich too!" while being completely oblivious to the fact that being a scientists requires the same amount of intelligence if not more. (You can't compare really, so let's avoid that debate).

    The focus of western society is simply the three y's easy, lazy, and money.

    Things that seem to be socially acceptable...

    For careers...

    - Doctor
    - Lawyer
    - Business Person
    - Teachers (sometimes not though)

    Mechanics, plumbers, scientists, and so on are not one of those because you must either be dumb or f@c&ed up.

    Why isn't Engineer on the list? This is because an Engineer would have to work hard during school, and to get things going at the beginning. This is considered too much work for the money.

    For past times...

    - Reading Newspaper and/or Magazine articles, but not necessarily finishing them because some are just too long.
    - Watching TV.
    - Drinking Beer.
    - Staring at the wall.
    - Sleeping after sleeping.
    - Eating.
    - Ocassional book, but it must be VERY popular and fiction.
    - Gossiping. The more the better. However annoying it is sometimes for everyone, everyone enjoys it anyways because it's entertaining.

    The list goes on.

    Things that are not socially acceptable.

    For past times...

    - Reading a book, especially if you finish it and/or if it is non-fiction.
    - Learning something new. Taking a new course, exploring for yourself, and/or reading a textbook. Especially going back to school.
    - Playing sports for fun. (Considered a waste of time if you're not going/planning to become pro.)
    - Thinking.

    The list goes on.

    Anyways, this is the image of the general public that I see. People say it's cool to you're face, but personally you can see that they rather do something else or take another way because what you are doing is just too much work if any at all. Like keeping the same lame job and trying to win the lottery because that's easier.

    Of course, I seem pessimistic about this, but I was once optimistic. I tried to pass on the idea of a positive happy life, but that itself is considered retarded. For that reason, this society is just digging itself into a big hole of nothingness and closed-mindedness.

    Even though I am pessimistic right now, I still do try to pass around the positive happy life. I don't advertise or anything, but when people complain (I complain too), I try to bring in another perspective for them to see although it's usually always rejected as retarded.

    There is just so much emphasis on being right, making money, and the world circling perfectly around them that whenever of one these things goes slightly wrong everyone goes nuts. Since the world is clearly never perfect, they are always going nuts.

    Note: I know it's a long post, but I did re-read it.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  13. May 2, 2006 #12
    Whaaa?

    How can one possibly understand world politics without knowing such "trivia" (:grumpy:) like, oh say... Iraq has a border with Iran? India has a border with Pakistan? The United States does not, in fact, compromise 95% of the world's landmass (as some of our nationalists actually believe)? The distance between California and North Korea is much greater than the range of their No Dong missiles (though Japan isn't so lucky)? The Ukraine sits between central Europe and Russia?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  14. May 2, 2006 #13

    Pengwuino

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    I'm not talking about those kinds of things. I'm talking about these silly studies where they ask someone to point to argentina on a map or brazil or niger and when they can't, they make this stupid connection towards the person's knowledge about internaitonal affairs.
     
  15. May 2, 2006 #14

    Danger

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    Reminds me of when I was living back East. Middle of July, 105 degrees F., 99% humidity, and people were coming south across the border from Detroit with skis on top of their cars. When they looked around all puzzled and asked where the snow was, we'd tell them to turn around the way they came from and go about 1,000 miles. :biggrin:
     
  16. May 2, 2006 #15

    BobG

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    I'll give you a hint. Your home isn't in South America. hehehehehehe :tongue2:

    Instead of trying to find all 50 capitals on your face, you should try Proactive. It works wonders. :rofl:

    :devil: Oh, I'm going to hell for sure now. Making fun of some poor soul's acne problem. :frown:
     
  17. May 2, 2006 #16

    berkeman

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    I agree 100%. You can look up the answer to basically any geographical question in a couple minutes with an encyclopedia or a globe, or in a few seconds with google. You cannot figure out how to solve a complex DiffEq or design a high-speed FPGA circuit without having studied the subjects in great detail. It's important to be able to look up geographic info accurately when needed. IMO, it's not an important thing to keep at hand mentally -- that space is too important for other things.
     
  18. May 2, 2006 #17

    Astronuc

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    When I was growing up, I was intrigued by people from other parts of the world. My father worked for the World Council of Churches for a brief period. We entertained people from all over the world.

    One of my fondest gifts was a world atlas, and I used to spend hours looking at the continents and countries. I have several atlases, since the world has changed quite alot in 40 years, and is still changing. I also like to collect atlases in other languages. :biggrin:

    I don't think knowledge of geography should be trivialized. I hope to visit as many countries as possible in my lifetime. :tongue2:

    As for current events, it's nice to have some knowledge since I don't count on the media to get it right. :biggrin:
     
  19. May 2, 2006 #18

    Pengwuino

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    Oh boy! That reminds me of some strange as hell conversation I had a while ago with someone saying physics is easy and that all science was easy "because I can just look it up in a book and know what you will study for years to know". Sounds like a future welfare-client.
     
  20. May 2, 2006 #19

    Gokul43201

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    Well, I guess if National Geographic conducted tests on Math or Science or Engineering, they'd find Americans doing better than the rest of the silly world that wastes brain space on easily lookupable geographic trivia ? :tongue2:

    Pengwuino : How would others have done ?

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=101350&highlight=geographic

    As for the questions asked, we are NOT talking about knowing where Argentina is (though in my opinion, South America - excluding the Caribbean - is maybe the only continent where you don't have an excuse for not knowing every country); we are talking about Louisiana, New York (only 50% could point out NY state on the US map), Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea - the first places any good xenophobe should know about.
     
  21. May 2, 2006 #20

    Pengwuino

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    So the rest of the world is more xenophobic then us? :confused: :confused: :confused: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
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