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  1. #1
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    Default "How good are you at Geography...?"

    An innocent enough question, I thought, when I was asked it at work today.

    That was before the next question made me very suspicious of being the unwitting victim in some wind-up..." Do you know where the North and South Poles are?" But no, the question was a serious one...the fella got out a desk diary with a map of the world in it and asked me to explain where they were. The map, though, had the top and bottom cropped off like this so that the Arctic zones weren't shown...



    It took a bit of explaining where they were and why they weren't on the map, and he was eventually satisfied because what I'd told him independently tied up with what another workmate had just told him shortly beforehand. "What I don't understand, though" he said," is that I always thought that it got hotter and hotter the further south you went...!"

    He really wasn't aware that the equator is the hottest area and that it then got cooler the further south you went; he actually thought that where we were telling him that the South Pole was, was in his mind the hottest part of the planet!

    How do you react to someone who hasn't a clue about something which you take for granted that everyone knows, but apparently not? It wasn't easy trying to keep a straight face and answer his question in all seriousness, but I wouldn't have been ignorant and laugh because he was being serious. But it makes me wonder, what percentage of our population actually don't know basic facts like this?

    How good do you think your knowledge is about the world around us?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    " Do you know where the North and South Poles are?"
    Rotational or magnetic? (Actually not everyone's aware that there are two sets of poles, but one of them's obviously confused enough as it is! His reaction to how the world ceases to get hotter once you get halfway down reminds me of "How far can a dog run into a forest?")

    I wish my knowledge of geography were a bit better. Geography at school in my day was sheep farming, map reading, how the weather works, rather than the "maps and chaps" of teaching about explorers, which country's where and who exports what, as it was in Dad's day. I dare say I'd have found it more interesting if we'd done maps/chaps and then all the other stuff plus geology in order to explain why the world is the way it is. Now I can see why they did it the way they did it, but it seemed a waste of effort at the time, especially since learning to read OS maps took up six weeks of the syllabus - I was spoilt by magical teachers at junior school who had the skill to teach us that in a couple of mornings. Truly!

    So I wish I knew where places were. Does anywhere know where all the Baltic bits are, but if anyone said where's Chad, I'd know the continent... I couldn't tell you precisely where Birmingham or Staffordshire are, that's how badly they taught us what's what in our own country. It didn't help that we had a quick turnaround of geography teachers in one year, one of whom terrified me, and another was so useless i didn't even learn his name, but that's another story.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Wallis View Post
    Rotational or magnetic? (Actually not everyone's aware that there are two sets of poles, but one of them's obviously confused enough as it is! His reaction to how the world ceases to get hotter once you get halfway down reminds me of "How far can a dog run into a forest?")
    Don't even go there...!

    I just received a blank look in reply when I asked that, and guessed that he'd be happy with a vague "South Pole in Antarctica/North Pole under the Arctic Ice Cap" answer, which he was. I was just rather gobsmacked that someone didn't know something as simple as that...I just thought that it was basic common sense, even if people just vaguely thought of them as the most northern and southern tips of the world...

    As for geography in general, I'm pretty much like yourself. I found geography quite boring at school...I don't know why, because I was always interested in seeing where places were in the world but the subject as taught in schools back in the 70s didn't do much to hold my attention. It was always more interesting looking at Atlases at home than it was doing geography homework. In general, I have a vague idea of what part of the world/continent a country may be in, (Sudan and Nigeria are in Africa, for example but I'd have to check a map to find out where exactly). And I'm awful when it comes to where many large English towns and cities are in relation to each other...

  4. #4
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    So you're not being sent to post any letters either!

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