Friday, November 7, 2008

OK. I Can't Help Myself...

I know I said I was off of politics for a while. I did. But, I can not help myself. This is just too mind blowing for me not to comment on.

I homeschool my kids for various reasons, not the least of which is that I want them to learn things that I think they skip in school. For example, I think they still use the Mercator Projection Map rather than the Peters Projection Map and its equal area representation of the world. In terms of geography, not only do I want my kids to learn the countries, regions, continents of the world, I also want them to learn about the relative sizes of the countries.

The Mercator Map, that we're all so familiar with, shows Greenland as almost the same size of land mass as Africa...that's completely wrong. Greenland is much smaller. Africa is much bigger. There is a dilemma for cartographers as to how to accurately represent the world with the least distortion in size or shape when converting the globe to a two dimensional map. Distortion happens.

Cartographers have always corrected the distortion in favor of shape over size. Africa has this shape. Greenland has this shape and so on. But, the shapes have been the wrong size--completely out of proportion. The Peters Projection Map corrects that. It distorts in favor of size and the shapes get a little wonky. But, unless you're going to try and negotiate the coastline of any of the countries represented, maybe shape is not as important as size when considering the world. At least, many charities think that way and use the Peters map as does

So, I want my kids to see it too. That is why I homeschool--so my kids can learn about the world. It's important to know things. You know?

It has just come out that Sarah VP-wanna-be Palin...are you ready for this? I almost can't type it, it is so appalling. OK. Here I go. Sarah Palin didn't know that Africa was a continent and not a country!! I wish they were freakin' kidding us, but they're not. SHE DIDN'T KNOW!!

Oh. My. God.

Having heard this about Sarah Palin made me curious about my own Peters Projection Map loving kids. This exchange between me and my 8 year old daughter happened a couple of minutes ago:

Me to my daughter,

"Is Africa just a country, or is it a continent with lots of countries?"

My daughter to me,

"It's a continent with lots of countries."

Yep. You betcha. You got that right, daughter.

Thank you American electorate. Thank you for voting for Obama/Biden who both know that Africa is a gigantic continent with several countries and is the cradle of humanity. Thank you for voting for reason and hope instead of ignorance and hate.

OK. Now no more political posts...I think. At least until the next mind blowing revelation.


DoulaMomma said...

I share your shock - how is this possible?

But back to the maps - thanks for this explanation - I think I will invest in a Peters map for my kids. We don't homeschool in the sense that you do, but I sure hope every family is homeschooling at least in terms of supplementation.
I'm thinking also of donating one to the kids' schools...

Laura said...

If you click on the link at the left side of my blog, you can get a more thorough explanation about the map. They have all sorts of packets including teaching materials.

My husband doesn't think that it is possible. He doubts the story.

I don't...

Christina said...

We use a globe that has sat on a shelf near our kitchen table for years. I got it before we ever began HSing when I realized how paltry my own geographic knowledge was; I'd read the newspaper and I had a general idea where countries were, but I didn't know specifically. No longer. We play "find this country" (our daughter's idea) and we've all learned a lot. Sometimes when she's eating breakfast she'll idly turn the globe around, just taking it in.

Of course political boundaries are just that; the really interesting stuff is learning what life is like in different parts of the world. One book that we really like is Material World: A Global Family Portrait; there is a sequel called Women in the Material World that we have on hold at the library.

Lea said...

Why are you so full of hate? Palin never did anything to you.
You need to give thought to the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt -
"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."
I will not be reading your blog anymore because it appears that you ridicule and hate those that do not think as you do. What a sad thing to model for your children.

Neo-agrarian said...

To Lea:

This blog is not filled with hate for those who think differently, but points out the true absurdity of a many fallacies that are purported to be truth by a chunk of the population. The issue is not Palin as a person, but what Palin and the Neocons try to depict her as. Now when the election is over and truths come out, there is still a small section of people trying to defend the indefensible. That is the real disgusting thing here, how some are making excuses for her lack of knowledge. Look at it this way, I could care less if my doctor has any knowledge about astrophysics, but he should know that the heart is part of the circulatory system. Since she was running for the 2nd highest position in the US, the lack of knowledge of basic facts is an insult not only to the position of the VP but to the American people. (Many who they duped.)

And as a side when using a quote to make your point try to use one that does not point out your hypocritical views. Your post talked about Laura (a person) so I guess you are categorizing yourself as a small minded person.

Anonymous said...

Lea, I'm right there with you!
I've been following this blog since the beginning of the year.
I started following b/c I thought the topic was fantastic- not buying anything new for a year- what a great concept! As a mom of four kids I hoped to get ideas and guidance about living a more frugal, intentional life. It started out that way and went off the political deepend. Any judging Ree at Pioneer Woman? Why?
Do you resent her because she does have money? Her husband and daughters are out helping those less fortunate and you want to know why she is sharing her trinkets? I have to echo, why the hate? Did she do something to you?
As a blogger, I'm sure you know that you don't share your entire life with the public, only glimpses- I'm sure she's doing the same. And you want to know who she voted for and why she's not sharing her political view? Why do you feel entitled to that information? Does EVERYTHING have to be about politics?

The concept of your blog was really interesting, but it has turned into a political rant that has nothing to do with "We don't but it". As the blogger, you absolutely have that right, just as much as I have the right to just skip it. Take a lesson from Elenor Roosevelt. -Kate

Dawn said...

I sometimes wonder if a lot of this with Palin is simply scapegoating by the McCain people. No doubt there's some truth but I can't help thinking it's getting exagerrated in an attempt to lay the blame somewhere other then at their own doorstep.

As for those accusing you of being full of hate, I'm always surprised at how quickly people will pretend offense of their delicate nature and yet accuse others of such ugly intentions. It couldn't be that you were just shocked by the report (on FOX no less), could it? No. It has to be that you're filled with hate. Puh-lease.

Anyhow, good post. I'm guilty of using the mercator map myself but I'll have to change that or at least balance it with the projection.

Anonymous said...

Dawn- For the record, I'm a VERY libral dem. from California. Just someone who is tired of all of the BS. Obama won, our candidate won, why are we STILL harping on the "stupid" republicans. That to me is hate. Regardless our choice of president, we are not going anywhere until we can stop the hate and nitpicking that goes on. The election is over, Obama won, can we all just move on and unite?

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