Album Cover: Flight of the Conchords

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Posted on May 04, 2006 3:05 AM in Miscellaneous
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I noticed tonight that Digg points to an article at titled Study: Geography Greek to young Americans. The article suggests that because many young Americans can not identify prominent countries or even states within their own country, "that young people in the United States...are unprepared for an increasingly global future." I suggest that the article is full of crap.

How much good does it do anyone to know where Louisiana is on the map? If you live in Texas, Arkansas or Mississippi, chances are you're going to have a pretty good idea. However, someone living in Washington or Maine or Colorado probably doesn't really have any use in their life for that information. We may learn it in school, but our brain doesn't require the use of that knowledge frequently enough (if ever) to make it worthwhile to store. I see it as a good thing that that particular information doesn't linger around in my head when I don't need it.

Even the ability to identify Iraq on a map seems a little superfluous to me. Just because someone can't point to it on a map doesn't mean they don't understand the makeup of the country, who its neighbors are, and where it lies on the global terrain (who hasn't heard "middle east" enough to make his or her ears bleed?).

Geography may have been interesting back in the day of big ol' ships like the Santa Maria, but despite the popularity of Google Maps and other similar applications, it just isn't as important it was back then. State and country maps are kind of like the Periodic Table — extremely useful to a distinct niche of people, slightly interesting to a distinct niche of others, and completely useless and irrelevant to everyone else.

So if you're reading this from some place like Laguna Beach, California, and don't quite know where Wyoming falls on a map, don't worry. You probably won't need to know that for at least another couple of decades.


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