Geography bell ringer: What’s wrong with this map?

December 4, 2007

Penguin Transit Map of the World

Fun map. Readers at Strange Maps noted lots of geographical challenges in these train routes. Wouldn’t this make a great warm-up/bell-ringer, to have students find the geographical difficulties, errors and impossibilities?

And then there’s the book itself. The perfect gift for Dr. Jack Rhodes*, perhaps, or for Jim Lehrer, or someone else to whom transportation has been a great and grand pastime, as it has been for author Mark Ovenden.

Cover, Transit Maps of the World

Cool. Funny. Maybe instructive.

This would be a heckuva two-week study in geography, no? There are those great films on the construction of the New York subway system; there must be wonderful photos of the art in the Moscow system.

Or am I being too pedantic?

(Click thumbnail below for a larger view of the map.)


Tip of the old scrub brush, and go visit, Strange Maps.

* Jack Rhodes was director of forensics at the University of Utah when I was an undergraduate there — my old debate coach. He was so familiar with bus and train schedules, as a hobbyist, that we frequently tried to stump him with questions about a passing train or bus we’d see driving around the nation. To my knowledge, he always got the name of the train right, and the bus’s scheduled next stop right. You sorta had to be there, but it was an amazing series of feats of memory.


Bill of Rights Day, December 15

December 4, 2007

We get e-mail, sometimes good stuff — this piece from the Bill of Rights Institute. [I copied it, art, links and all — please pass it on.]

Are you ready for Bill of Rights Day, December 15? The Bill of Rights Institute has resources for teachers:

Celebrate Bill of Rights Day with the Bill of Rights Institute!

The Bill of Rights Institute invites you to celebrate Bill of Rights Day on December 15, 2007 by taking advantage of the resources on the Constitution and Bill of Rights we are offering educatorsFREE of charge. These activities will engage your students and demonstrate the importance of the Bill of Rights in their lives. Utilize the lessons on December 14th as part of a Bill of Rights Day celebration for your students or save the lessons for use throughout the school year.

Access our website and find:

  • Founders Online includes audio clips, biographical essays, classroom activities
    videos on our nation’s Founding Fathers
  • Readings for your students on the Bill of Rights
  • Free, complete lesson plans for middle and high school students
  • Background information from Princeton University professor Dr. Ken Kerch
    on First Amendment freedoms
  • Links to other Bill of Rights Day resources

Check out the Bill of Rights Institute’s Bill of Rights Day site today!

The whole world is watching: Evolution in Texas, or new Dark Ages

December 4, 2007

The whole world should be watching.

Today’s New York Times editorial, “Evolution and Texas”:

It was especially disturbing that the agency accused Ms. Comer — by forwarding the e-mail message — of taking a position on “a subject on which the agency must remain neutral.” Surely the agency should not remain neutral on the central struggle between science and religion in the public schools. It should take a stand in favor of evolution as a central theory in modern biology. Texas’s own education standards require the teaching of evolution.

Those standards are scheduled to be reviewed next year. Ms. Comer’s dismissal and comments in favor of intelligent design by the chairman of the state board of education do not augur well for that review. We can only hope that adherents of a sound science education can save Texas from a retreat into the darker ages.

It remains a mystery how an education agency official could take such a public stand against the state’s education standards and still keep the job in these days, but no one is seriously talking about even investigating the odd events at TEA under the new highly-political director Robert Scott, or the Republican Party operative Lizzette Reynolds.

Texas is a particularly ironic location for these events, being the home of George Bush, who staked his reputation on education reforms that require higher standards, not lower ones; Texas being a state whose money and history rest on oil and natural gas, two fossil fuels found with the geology the TEA now repudiates; Texas being a state trying to get rid of the cotton boll weevil and the imported fire ant, both of which have nationally-coordinated eradication programs based on thorough knowledge of evolution to prevent the insects from evolving resistance or immunity to pesticides. Texas A&M University is one of the nation’s leaders in creating new food crops, using the evolution principles Ms. Comer was fired for noting.

Talk in Austin Rick Perry’s mind ponders whether Gov. Rick Perry has a chance at a vice president nomination. Perry is a typically-weak-by-state constitution Southern governor. He still has clout with agencies, if and when he chooses to use it. Perhaps Perry will read the New York Times today while sitting in an Iowa coffee shop, and wonder what’s up in Texas.

What passes for leadership these days.

Also see:

%d bloggers like this: