Q: In what country is Venice, Italy located? A: Paris. Q: What is the biggest city in the world? A: Asia? | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |

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An Alternative View

By Diana Diamond

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Q: In what country is Venice, Italy located? A: Paris. Q: What is the biggest city in the world? A: Asia?

Uploaded: Jul 6, 2021
A segment of one of Jay Leno’s TVs shows had a man-on-the-street interview, this time with some older teens and young adults in their early twenties. The questions focused primarily on geography, with a few science topics included. It’s a very funny segment -- and extremely upsetting.


Sure, this could be simply a spoof, but from much of what I have read, American students are getting hardly any civics or geography courses, a bit of history and some “social studies,” which is “an amalgam of disciplines largely dominated by history, but depending on the curriculum adopted by a district or school, it also may incorporate geography, political science, economics, religious studies, psychology, sociology, and archaeology.”

So from that definition, I guess many courses, like archaeology(?), can be labeled social studies. Most colleges require the equivalent of two years of social studies (or civics or history); Stanford wants three.

Why this dramatic change from two decades ago? Because in 2002, the government started the “No-child-left-behind program, which ended in 2015. High school curricula adjusted in accordance with this law. More important, several years ago our education leaders decided the U.S. needed more techy people to adapt to this country’s needs, so the STEM program started – and continues (courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics were considered most important and most necessary). In order to accommodate, many other courses such as art, music, civics, geography, world history, etc., fell by the wayside.

Some of that STEM philosophy carries over into college and university course offerings. I have a grandson who went to Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey (akin to a MIT-like school), with a technology curriculum. As usual, he came over for a Thanksgiving dinner during his third year at school, and when I asked what he was taking, he listed off a bunch of engineering courses. “And humanities courses,” I asked? “We can take one a year,” he replied. Obviously, I was aghast, but he told me he will be able to get a great job. And he did.

I’ve seen some other surveys that show a remarkable lack of knowledge about our government, geography, American and world history. A NYT article the other day said that American students could answer one out of three of all the questions that are asked on a U.S. citizenship test given to immigrants who want to become citizens. The immigrants’ score: 91 percent, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Try taking a portion of the test yourself:


What about our civics courses in high school?

They are nonexistent in some states and required in several. Only nine states and the District of Columbia require one year of U.S. government or civics, while 30 states require a half year and the other 11 states have no civics requirement. While federal education policy has focused on improving academic achievement in reading and math, this dearth of civics and geography courses has come at the expense of a broader curriculum.

One “official” definition of civics is: “…the study of the great theoretical and practical aspects of citizenship, its rights and duties; the duties of citizens to each other as members of a political body and to the government.”

In simpler terms, it’s knowing about the Constitution, how the government works, and voting. The fact that civics isn’t taught much is appalling.

Nationwide, students score very low on the AP U.S. government exam. The national average AP U.S. government exam score is 2.64 out of 5.0. And when these no-civics students grow up, they don’t learn about civics in their adult years. A 2016 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial), which was a significant decline from previous years.

And what about our geography studies? “A Grosvenor Center survey found that 17 states require a stand-alone geography course at the middle school level (five states have a combined geography and history course), 11 states do not have a required geography course at the middle school level, and 23 states are local control states, therefore, local school districts mandate course requirements.”

Not an outstanding example of teaching American students about geography. Just where in Europe is Brazil?

Social studies fares a bit better. Nearly all selective colleges want to see at least two years of social studies, and many want to see three years.

I am upset about the lack of knowledge about civics, geography, history and social studies that our kids are not getting today. I thought we wanted an educated society—one of the values of a democracy and our country. But instead, the focus has been on STEM courses.

That’s fine for some, but only taking engineering or tech courses is not, in my mind, a real education. It’s a technical education, yes, but we should know about literature, the arts, biology, zoology, history, philosophy, psychology, music, economics, etc., not just exclusively engineering or computer-oriented courses.

So what can we do about this, if anything? Well, if we have young adults give such inane answers to questions they were asked on the Jay Leno show, we should all realize we are in deep trouble. Other nations are academically outdistancing themselves from us.

It’s up to parents to make a big fuss, for colleges to be really concerned, for elementary and high schools to change their curricula. Our kids’ minds are at stake, and if we care about them so much their minds must be included. We shouldn’t want to raise stupid kids.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 6, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

A couple of things I have heard. Driving a group of older elementary kids to a field trip to Monterey Aquarium, "which part of the Bay is the Aquarium" reply by another kid "It is the Ocean, not the Bay" and replied "but which bridge are we going to cross". And in my own home overheard during a board game between college students "Alaska is not part of North America but it is one of our States", "No it is attached to Canada" "No, it is an island near Hawaii".

A teacher not showing kids where they are going on a map for a field trip would have taken just a couple of minutes. Handing out maps of US which makes it look like an island with no mention of Canada or Mexico and sticking Hawaii and Alaska in boxes at the side teaches a very poor perspective.

There is no wonder that American education is considered a joke by those educated in other countries and when Americans visit other countries, the questions asked to locals is equally laughed at.

Education is more than just being able to say certain classes were taken and certain grades were achieved. It is also more than just qualifications to get a good job. It is about time this topic was addressed properly.

Posted by Phyliss Johnston, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 7, 2021 at 8:56 am

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I've often wondered about the lack of historical reference points among our younger people and once asked several lower division college students (Millennials) about this awhile back.

Their reply...there is much more history to be taught and learned these days and as a result, the curriculum is compressed.

They also mentioned that it was easier for Baby Boomers to absorb various historical details because much less had occured...thus there was far less material for Baby Boomers to either learn or have to remember.

On the other hand, children today are far more advanced in math. For example, algebra was at one time a freshman high school course and today it is being taught in elementary school.

As far as mapping, this GPS source of information is readily available on any smartphone which 99% of all kids seem to own.

So why bother with paper maps? They are a hassle to re-fold and take up too much space in the glove compartment.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 7, 2021 at 10:25 am

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I don't blame the kids. I do think that the teachers have to take some of the blame. It is not the curriculum per se, but often the way it is taught.

Context matters and if context is not taught properly, then misunderstanding occurs. It isn't just history, or geography. Ask a math whiz to solve a long division problem without a phone (it was a calculator in my day), and if they can't do it then we are in trouble. Multiplication is the same. There is a big difference between 1000 and 10000 and if the decimal point is accidentally put in the wrong place it can cause big problems. The need to have some idea in mind as to how big or small a number is going to be before the problem is attempted, then the result could be out by thousands, or perhaps millions.

Posted by Kevin Lee, a resident of Stanford,
on Jul 7, 2021 at 2:54 pm

Kevin Lee is a registered user.

Not all historical or geographical detail is necessary to learn or absorb unless one is an aspiring Jeopardy contestant.

As long as one can pass a basic U.S. citizenship test and legally operate a motor vehicle is oftentimes sufficient for many people.

Being erudite over non-essential trivialities is best reserved for those with nothing better to do.

The younger generations unlike their elders are on the move and besides, history often repeats itself like a broken record.

Remember phonograph records? If you can, you are most likely an elder citizen and most elders will eventually forget what they once learned in school anyway as time goes on.

And most rest homes do not offer refresher courses

Posted by Common sense, a resident of another community,
on Jul 7, 2021 at 5:10 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

Diana, you give good recent examples, but educational weaknesses you're highlighting are far wider and older.

"The author gave a quiz to his students at the University of Miami and found that most couldn't locate France on a map, or for that matter, Miami" was an advertisement for a popular book on geography around 1990. (If only it reflected on students at just one university!)

One of your fellow Embarcadero bloggers thought India was in "East Asia" (not South Asia, standard language in print and broadcast media); defended that error for days; and instead of just Looking It Up, proposed a reader poll.

From early 1900s to late 1900s, US colleges evolved from something attended by roughly an eighth of high-school grads to roughly half of them, as post-secondary education became a "growth industry" after WW2 and the GI-Bill financing. High-school educations evolved from a respected grounding in essentials (with competence expected, and required for graduation) to awarding diplomas to functional illiterates, along with a priority on teacher job security, not educating the young.

Admission requirements for "Harvard College" in 1900 included four years of English, three of math, and a "working knowledge" of two modern and two ancient languages. (It'd be embarassing to check how many PhD graduates of even respected US universities -- never mind HS students! -- satisfy that today.)

I hope the young people quoted in another comment outgrow the "there is much more history these days" fallacy, which could be claimed by anyone in any era who hasn't yet thought through how everyone, any time, has a similar amount of recent past history to learn.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:04 am

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Dreadfully ignorant attitude to suggest that geography and history do not matter to intelligent individuals.

This is exactly the arrogant attitude Americans are being criticized with having by the rest of the world.

Education is not being done well if there are those who say this type of thing.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:04 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

When it comes to school curriculum, stick to the basics. Focus on the three R's. Pay close attention in English class. Spelling and grammatical correctness. Take courses that are necessary for your chosen profession. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Posted by AMRW, a resident of another community,
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:12 pm

AMRW is a registered user.

The citizenship test link redirects to Mark Cuban's amazon page. Oh interwebs!

Posted by Pat McPheeters, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jul 9, 2021 at 10:25 am

Pat McPheeters is a registered user.

As one gets older, many minor historical details are forgotten so why bother learning them unless one is majoring in history?

And if a GED or American Citizenship Test requires only the basics in American history and civics, why should high school kids be forced to learn more than their non-graduating peers?

And the same applies to English literature. This should be optional curricula.

On the other hand and as Jennifer noted, the 3Rs are important to learn and afterwards applied only to what an individual feels like applying them towards.

There's no need to read about Shakespeare if one's primary interest is in reading comic books or Barbara Cartland novels and absolutely no need to learn algebra unless planning a career where it is actually needed or used.

And as far as mapping skills are concerned, that's what GPS (or the Boy Scouts) are for.

Posted by III, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 9, 2021 at 3:20 pm

III is a registered user.

I always thought Kooking and Kleaning were two cities in China...
What do you call someone that speaks 2 or more languages? Bi Lingual.
What do you call someone that speaks only one language? American.
I donno, did my best to learn what I could, be open, chase the
almighty dollar, and keep Palo Alto nice.... Got passed up anyways LOL.

Posted by Betsy Grimes, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 9:07 am

Betsy Grimes is a registered user.

There is no point in knowing where certain places are unless they are pertinent to your objectives or curiosity.

"It's a little known fact" is best reserved for the Cliff Clavens of the world.

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 2:32 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Ignorance is bliss, that's why you've got so many brain-washed Holocaust deniers, fools who don't know how many branches of government we have, what the Electoral College is and why it exists and matters, etc etc.

Pathetic, esp. since these comments are coming from people in a supposedly educated area.

Posted by Barry Jameson, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 2:51 pm

Barry Jameson is a registered user.

"Ignorance is bliss,"

Bliss is not having to process useless information.

Besides, 97% of all Americans now carry a smartphone and with a Wikipedia app you can research just about anything and get a comprehensive synopsis.

No need for school past the 8th grade providing one can read and with spell checker, no need for a dictionary either.

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 2:53 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Why even school kids to 8th grade?

Are you unaware how Wikipedia's going broke from having to spend too much money deleting false information? When did you last donate to them? Are you aware that Fox News has repeatedly sued for the right to lie and defends itself on the grounds that no "reasonable person" can be expected to believe its, er, lies / nonsense?

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 4:18 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I don't think anyone is saying education or knowledge isn't important. It's whether or not you think certain subjects are necessary to succeed in life.

If you want people to believe you're pro-education, you might want to learn a simple grammatical rule. Periods and commas go inside the quotes.

Nobody will judge you on whether you can find France on a map. Poor spelling and grammar will leave people with the impression that you're illiterate.

Posted by Lars Dietrich, a resident of Los Altos,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 4:37 pm

Lars Dietrich is a registered user.

> Fox News has repeatedly sued for the right to lie and defends itself on the grounds that no "reasonable person" can be expected to believe its, er, lies / nonsense?

No different than Lemon & Cuomo on CNN, the polar opposites of Carlson & Hannity.

The key is not to be GULLIBLE & this has nothing to do with academics, just common sense.

Besides, historians have also been known to embellish the facts & their interpretation of past events can also be subject to question including full-on lies.

As a high school history once told us, "the only important date is a hot date!"

As Pink Floyd sang in 'The Wall', "We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control."

Everything is an illusion & perhaps best to get used to it.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 6:33 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Personally, if someone can't find France on a map, I might judge them. If they put the periods and commas inside they may have been educated elsewhere, and American English may be their second language!

It is beyond comprehension to excuse poor history and geography. Written language skills can be put through a grammar and spelling check.

San Jose and Dublin are cities outside of California! Stockton, Windsor and Brisbane are also. People speak English in many countries, but it is important to understand that American spelling is not universal. Leaving the United States and visiting another country is an education in itself, but assuming you will get by with an American high school knowledge of the world is not going to bide anyone well.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jul 10, 2021 at 7:43 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

No, if you put the periods and commas inside the quotes in America it means you're grammatically correct. It has nothing to do with English as a second language. See Diana's writing. Journalists are in the 98th percentile. They have to be.

I attended UCLA. Undergrad and grad school. I'm well travelled, but I don't judge someone if they don't know a country in Europe. Not everybody travels to Europe. I do judge people that don't know grammatical rules that were taught in elementary school, especially if they're trying to sound "educated."

Posted by Preston Layne, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 11, 2021 at 7:28 am

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Finding France on a map should ordinarily be within the grasp of most people with at least an 8th grade education. If not, blame it on the district curriculum or the teacher.

On the other hand, many educated adults cannot quickly name or locate various independent 3rd world countries like Gambia, Rwanda, Senegal, Lesothro in Africa or Mynamar (Burma).

You can add all of the countries ending in 'stan' as well and other than a news journalist or perhaps a National Geographic article writer, who cares?

Not important.

Posted by Judy Hoag, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 11, 2021 at 8:54 am

Judy Hoag is a registered user.

Education is kind of like a toolbox.

Some tools you use more than others depending upon need and the task at hand.

For some...a hammer, a screwdriver, and a crescent wrench is they need to get by.

For others...maybe some additional tools.

Concurring with the above poster...when it comes to awareness of 3rd world country location, who cares?

The only time it might be of importance is if one is going to be militarily deployed there or considering a cheap vacation to some hole in the wall.

Posted by Madison Winters, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 11, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Madison Winters is a registered user.

If one cannot pick out the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, or China on a globe then we might have an educational issue.

But as others have noted, knowing the exact location of trivial 3rd world African or Latin American countries is not that important because in the larger scale of things, they're not that important.

And the same goes for various countries in the Middle East.

Posted by Seer, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 11, 2021 at 1:44 pm

Seer is a registered user.

First, Jay Leno interviews lots of people to find a dummy, then shows only those. Older people would do just as badly.

Second, lack of STEM education seems to have allowed you to install a virus that corrupts your links redirecting them to strange Amazon pages. Fix your stuff! (but I easily passed the citizen test after escaping from your Amazon page)

Third, why not just insist that everyone pass a comprehensive civics exam to graduate highschool. Minorities would fail at higher rates, there'd be a bunch of woke angst and angry deconstruction of the test. But absolutely insist on passing the test and everyone will be better off.

Posted by Jason Brown, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jul 11, 2021 at 3:34 pm

Jason Brown is a registered user.

To a certain extent, a basic understanding of U.S. history, geography, and government provides for a better informed citizen.

On the the other hand, it is not necessary nor worth the time or effort to have a thorough understanding of some other country's history, geography, and political systems unless specifically studying it at one's option.

This includes Ancient History because what the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians did thousands of years ago is immaterial in today's world.

While they may have been significant back in their time, Egypt, Greece, and Italy are insignificant countries today with minimal impact on world affairs.

Perhaps it's best to stay in the present and spend minimal time dwelling on the past because history not only repeats itself but it is also a very subjective depending on who wrote it and from what perspective.

We are experiencing the connundrum today with revisionist history, critical race theory, adherences to cancel culture sensitivities and what not.

So why bother taking the time to process all this blather when one can easily be doing other far more productive and interesting things?

Too much education is overated and best reserved for the Ph.D. types who make a career out of debating erudite trivialities.

Posted by Arielle Davis, a resident of Professorville,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 8:04 am

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Imagine having gone to college back in the days when the breadth requirements also included having to study Latin or Greek?

What a waste of time, effort, and energy.

Speaking of Greek, there is an old adage that goes, "mens sana en corpore sano" which means 'a sound mind in a sound body'.

That said, perhaps athletic participation (or at least attaining some level of basic physical fitness proficiency) should be encouraged or even mandated in elementary through high school as the JFK initiated physical fitness requirements of the 1960s has been abandoned by most public schools.

Jocks (especially many football & baseball players) tend to be lacking in certain intellectual capacities while a sizeable number of brainiacs tend to be uncoordinated geeks and weenies.

By encouraging both mental & physical education, an individual will be be more balanced as per the Greek logic.

Critical thinking should be the focal point of a mental education with specific subject matter serving as a means to this end rather than being an end in itself.

Thus, learning a foreign language is pointless unless one needs to either think or read in a particular language as the world revolves around English-speaking proficiency in global politics, science, and business.

Or better yet, let 8th grade & above students decide what they wish to study or learn as it is their future life.

Posted by Loren Pfister, a resident of another community,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 9:18 am

Loren Pfister is a registered user.

"Dreadfully ignorant attitude to suggest that geography and history do not matter to intelligent individuals.

This is exactly the arrogant attitude Americans are being criticized with having by the rest of the world."

A comprehensive understanding of American history and politics is an important aspect of being a responsible American citizen.

What goes on in other countries (i.e. their respective politics, history, and geography) is less important unless one has a specific reason for delving into it.

The various military coups, assassinations, and societal conflicts taking place in other countries is their business and inherent problems to resolve on their own.

Posted by James Fisher, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 11:57 am

James Fisher is a registered user.

Concurring...like who cares about the recent Haitian assassination?

Or if the Taliban resumes control of Afghanistan?

These are lower-end countries not worth knowing about or getting further involved with.

They have nothing constructive to offer in the bigger (aka global) scheme of things and if they wish to fight among themselves it not America's problem

Posted by Willie Jefferson, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 12:44 pm

Willie Jefferson is a registered user.

Having served in the armed forces I can attest that the majority of these 3rd world countries aren't worth fighting for or over.

And why bother learning about backwards countries that have nothing to offer other than internal strife?

On the other hand, picking out France on a globe shouldn't pose that much of a mental strain.

Posted by Anneke, a resident of Professorville,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Anneke is a registered user.

If I were a history teacher in the school system, I would use some of Ken Burn's fantastic historical documentaries, and if I were a geography teacher, I would include some of Rick Steve's visits to different areas of the world.

If I were a math teacher, I might use some of the materials from "The Great Courses." For example, they have a great video on how to build a home and the math needed to get it done.

More emphasis on health might ultimately save billions of dollars in medical costs, and more time spent on finances may help keep future budgets and savings in line.

And if I were an English teacher, I would make sure students used the proper subjunctive (if I were, not, if I was) and the subjective forms with the verb "to be." For example "this is I, not, this is me.) Picky, picky, picky!

Posted by Anneke, a resident of Professorville,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Anneke is a registered user.

Mens sana en corpore sano is a latin phrase, and can be translated as "a healthy mind in a healthy body."

Yes, I was one of those Dutch students who studied Latin and Greek, plus Dutch, British English, German and French, in addition to math, history and geography. It was a heavy load, but children learn fast, and I have never regretted it, as it gave me a vast knowledge base.

I do remember one time I had to come up front, name five countries and point on the map where they were located. I chose the Nordic and West-European countries, leaving the more complicated ones (Turkey, Yugoslavia, etc.) to the next student. Not nice on my part.

Posted by Hinrich, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jul 12, 2021 at 4:39 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

Today, at the dawn of AI (artificial intelligence) it's most likely that what you understand and appreciate about where humanity has come from will be far more important to you than STEM. The dissolution of society today - from the degraded level of public respect and discourse, to the isolating (not socializing) often brutal destructiveness of social media to disturbing levels of crime and incivility, to the decline in family and community, of shared institutions and mobs toppling statues will only worsen if we don't refocus. The history of humans and of all of us as Americans (while we still treasure that) if humanity is going to survive in a new age described and dominated by machines. In the next few decades and beyond it will be more about displacement with big questions about what to do with the displaced. In Silicon Valley especially most people are focused on their jobs which is to focus on tech but all around are the bad effects of not being focused on the human environment. Those who are clueless about liberty, the Constitution - and it's precedents - and the many, many real achievements made towards a greater good and broader justice (it's become too easy for people who don't know just to scream racism) - those people will not be liberated by the AI that is coming but swallowed and defeated by it. History really matters. Unfortunately, few realize how quickly it is edited down and revised each day on the web. You can't Google a deep understanding of context or a real respect for others (no, it isn't simply a matter of repeating 'inclusion' in unison), or common sense (the bi-product of actual interaction with and in the REAL would. Before it's completely gone.

Posted by AlexDeLarge, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 13, 2021 at 12:38 am

AlexDeLarge is a registered user.

Hahahahahahaha, if we could only convert ignorance into perpetual energy...

Posted by Penny Kobiesky, a resident of Los Altos,
on Jul 13, 2021 at 7:48 am

Penny Kobiesky is a registered user.

Success in life is sometimes a reflection of of one's knowledge and education but there are other avenues...

Athletic excellence and physical attractiveness can open doors that even the smartest person could not walk through because American society values such traits.

Fortunately I was born with good looks and I attract wealthy men. The only education I needed was street smarts as I wound up marrying a successful former NFL player who did not squander away his earnings.

As far as an awareness of world affairs and geography...if it impacts you directly, then it helps to have some understanding and knowledge of certain situations and locations.

But if it doesn't (like the recent Haitian assassination or tribal killings in Ethiopia), who cares?

Posted by L. Malbec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Jul 13, 2021 at 9:40 am

L. Malbec is a registered user.

Being able to pinpoint enemy countries like China and Russia on a globe shouldn't pose that much of a problem because the two countries encompass huge land masses. Like how could one miss or mistake them for somewhere else?

But like the others have said, locating some podunk 3rd world country is unimportant and irelevant...unless you have relatives or friends stationed or residing there.

Posted by Laurian Cannon, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 13, 2021 at 11:49 am

Laurian Cannon is a registered user.

The pervasive disdain + overall lack of concern for unstable and impoverished 3rd world countries is justifiable given that they are minor global players in terms of the big picture with internal problems of their own to resolve.

And the same applies to Afghanistan, another country that both Russia and the United States have found to be not worth their effort in time, human lives and fiscal expenditures.

While the Taliban will return the country to its repressive and fundamentalist roots, why should Americans care?

And the same applies to any other bush league country of minimal importance.

Posted by Lei Ping, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jul 13, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Lei Ping is a registered user.

In mainland China the educational emphasis is on math and science.

The teaching of history and the humanities always adhere to the party line and contradictory teachings are met with imprisonment or banishment to re-education centers.

As in America, the only 3rd world countries worth acknowledging are those with either cheap raw materials or cheap and readily available human labor.

The poorer 3rd world countries with low illiteracy rates and unstable governments are not worth dealing with.

Posted by Larry Delgado, a resident of Ventura,
on Jul 14, 2021 at 9:50 am

Larry Delgado is a registered user.

A basic knowledge of basic geography is advantageous but like those spelling bees where kids spell out obscure words that no one uses, knowing the exact location of obscure countries is irrelevant unless we are going to war with them.

Posted by Devon Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:01 am

Devon Wilson is a registered user.

It is also technically impossible to convert a round surface such as the Earth to a flat representation like a map.

Not sure why I brought this up but perhaps it may be of assistance to those who believe in a limited knowledge of geography as the actual placement and location of various cities, rivers, and mountain ranges are misleading when using a conventional map for reference.

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