Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.
E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)
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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.
( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)
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Friday, June 08, 2007
Qu'est-ce qui gravite autour de la Terre? Keiran Healy of Crooked Timber and his commenters have lots of snarky fun with two surveys about the percentages of Americans who do not approve of inter-racial dating (17%) and who did not know or accept that the Sun goes round the Earth (26%). He writes,
There was a degree of understandable concern about the remaining 17 percent, but (some people said) it’s only been forty years since Loving vs Virginia. And, as it turns out, it could be worse. The idea that the Earth orbits the Sun has had rather longer to catch on, but my colleague Omar Lizardo over at OrgTheory brings us new data from this year’s General Social Survey on the popularity of that idea. It turns out that almost three quarters of Americans now subscribe to the Galilean view. Click through to Omar’s post for data on the percentage of Heliocentric-Positive Americans who think the Earth takes a year to orbit the sun, as opposed to a day, a month, or some other time period.I argued that it is ignorance rather than adherence to religious teaching that fuels the heliocentric view. An earlier commenter, Quo Vadis, pointed out this painful clip from the French version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire that shows it's not just the Americans who have trouble with the solar system. Note that it was not just the hapless contestant who got it wrong but a majority of the audience. And 2% thought it was Mars.
British readers, do not feel superior just yet. Michael Jennings sent me this link:
A physics teacher begs for his subject backI only wish the problem were as new and as limited (i.e. to the AQA examination board) as he implies.
My memories of my time as a teacher are beginning to go as fuzzy as a modern physics specification, that being the re-branded name for "syllabus" in this bright new day, but I think one of my pupils once argued that we shouldn't have nuclear power because the atoms might escape. I didn't give him zero marks, either. He was doing better than many.