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Old July 19 2013, 10:35 AM   #31
teacake
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

But it's not. People are perfectly content. That's why I need to get over my snobbishness.
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Old July 19 2013, 03:12 PM   #32
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

I had to explain to a friend the other day the stars were not planets. He thought they all reflected light from the Sun.
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Old July 19 2013, 05:27 PM   #33
Vendikarr
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

I always stressed using an 'expanded vocabulary' with my children, and making sure they were never afraid to ask what something means. They are all very comfortable using 'big words.'

My younger daughter is currently working in insurance, where part of her job is sending letters to policyholders. Her boss goes over her e-mails before they go out, and my daughter constantly gets her e-mails corrected. The boss told her the average American reads at a 6th grade level, and that she has to dumb down the e-mails, otherwise she may offend the reader by making them feel stupid. Her boss even told her she's had to go to the dictionary to check the meaning a word or two that my daughter used.

I am both very proud of my daughter, and saddened by the poor reading skills in this country.
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Old July 19 2013, 06:47 PM   #34
rhubarbodendron
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

Sadly, those problems are not restricted to a single continent or country. Today I read of a whole high school class in Eastern Germany that failed the final exams in their mother tongue! How utterly embarassing!

I love doing crossword puzzles and lately I keep finding that more and more of the questions and definitions are wrong (a dolphin is a mammal, NOT a fish!! - Nor should it be spelled with an F, the name being derived from the Greek city of Delphi). It's apparently a global trend that people in 1st world countries neglect their education and get stupider and stupider. Our last German spelling reform was just a sign of the times, changing the spelling to the most primitive level you can imagine.
When it comes to culture, using the smallest common factor is a lethal mistake.
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Old July 20 2013, 10:19 AM   #35
RJDiogenes
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

^^ I agree completely.

teacake wrote: View Post
But it's not. People are perfectly content. That's why I need to get over my snobbishness.
Cows are content. I think our society needs all the elitism it can get.

StarMan wrote: View Post
I had to explain to a friend the other day the stars were not planets. He thought they all reflected light from the Sun.
Now that you mention it, I used to work with somebody who thought that.
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Old July 20 2013, 12:59 PM   #36
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

^And many others. I do my best using relative scales to illustrate the mind-bending scales of creation. A small outdoor table of mine is a good starting point for mapping out the solar system. When I place the closest star to our home star on the other side of the city, there's always a "wow!".

I know in my own experience I'm in the minority so far as conceiving of the larger structure we find ourselves in. I will always remember when, as a child, I first picked up a 'LIFE' book simply titled 'The Universe'. I opened it up to a poster of the solar system and - to my astonishment - discovered the big bright thing in the sky was way, WAY bigger than the big thing I was walking around on. That discovery started a chain of inquiry that has been continually evolving.

I suspect a lot of us here share that spark of curiosity. However, a good number of people I interact with on a daily basis have hardly given it a second thought. Odd. We've all found ourselves in this thing we call The Universe. Yet, there have been times I've been ridiculed for not having more grounded interests.
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Old July 20 2013, 01:00 PM   #37
JarodRussell
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

All this poll shows is that a large percentage of people don't listen to the questions they are asked. That's a basic problem of streets surveys. You basically ambush people with a set of questions when they are occupied with a thousand other things.

Stuff like "What is George W. Bush's first name?" or "How long does it take the Earth to travel around the sun?" always gets weird answers.
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Old July 20 2013, 01:07 PM   #38
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

To be fair, if someone asked me this question, I would get it wrong. Most likely, I'd ignore the question and answer something fairly random. If I did think about it, I'd probably start wondering if it was 364.25 days or 366.25 days until it takes me a couple of minutes to figure out those are sidereal days, and the revolution is in fact 365.25 normal solar days. I always have those two mixed up. I know that one of the two (rotation around the axis, and the revolution about the sun) is not what first comes to mind, but I never remember which.
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Old July 20 2013, 01:26 PM   #39
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

And of course the Earth takes approximatly 23hours and 56 mins to complete one full rotation on it's axis (aka a sidereal day) as apposed to the solar day which is 24hours.
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Old July 20 2013, 01:52 PM   #40
Alidar Jarok
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

Vendikarr wrote: View Post
My younger daughter is currently working in insurance, where part of her job is sending letters to policyholders. Her boss goes over her e-mails before they go out, and my daughter constantly gets her e-mails corrected. The boss told her the average American reads at a 6th grade level, and that she has to dumb down the e-mails, otherwise she may offend the reader by making them feel stupid.
To be fair, this is actually good advice in an industry that deals with people. It's one thing to know lots of words, it's another to assume everyone else does. When it comes to business communications, it's smarter to be simpler. This is a problem many bad trial lawyers have. The good ones speak simply, the bad ones speak complicatedly.
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Old July 20 2013, 02:02 PM   #41
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
All this poll shows is that a large percentage of people don't listen to the questions they are asked. That's a basic problem of streets surveys. You basically ambush people with a set of questions when they are occupied with a thousand other things.

Stuff like "What is George W. Bush's first name?" or "How long does it take the Earth to travel around the sun?" always gets weird answers.
I am not shocked so much by the survey's results but by the fact that my own best friend did not know. It was not a matter of how the question was asked. We discussed it for a couple of minutes and she definitely had no idea what a year was nor did she understand that the Earth rotated once each day.
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Old July 20 2013, 02:04 PM   #42
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
Vendikarr wrote: View Post
My younger daughter is currently working in insurance, where part of her job is sending letters to policyholders. Her boss goes over her e-mails before they go out, and my daughter constantly gets her e-mails corrected. The boss told her the average American reads at a 6th grade level, and that she has to dumb down the e-mails, otherwise she may offend the reader by making them feel stupid.
To be fair, this is actually good advise in an industry that deals with people. It's one thing to know lots of words, it's another to assume everyone else does. When it comes to business communications, it's smarter to be simpler. This is a problem many bad trial lawyers have. The good ones speak simply, the bad ones speak complicatedly.
By the same token, it's much harder to write with nuance in a way that's accessible to the broader public than it is to simply type everything you know about a topic. For me at least. I know I put more work into a 3,000-word magazine piece for the general public than a 10,000-word peer-reviewed article.
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Old July 21 2013, 04:43 AM   #43
scotpens
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
All this poll shows is that a large percentage of people don't listen to the questions they are asked. That's a basic problem of streets surveys. You basically ambush people with a set of questions when they are occupied with a thousand other things.
Aaaw, stop making excuses for them. Let's face it, a lot of people are just plain DUMB.
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Old July 21 2013, 06:55 AM   #44
RobertVA
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
It's depressing, not only how low standards are in society, but how disinterested people are in the world around them. How can we improve the educational system when people are so apathetic about learning?
See the part I made bold?

Well there's your problem!
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Old July 21 2013, 09:50 AM   #45
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Re: I am shocked, absolutely shocked

It certainly is.
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