Ann Coulter is an ultra-conservative American columnist. She’s known for her stance on evolution (she doesn’t believe it’s true) and climate change (she thinks it’s a conspiracy). While those views are pretty ridiculous, in my opinion, they are practically mainstream in the USA. Normally I wouldn’t even think to highlight any of her rants because a) I don’t like to give dolts attention and b) she’s not usually very original. But recently she posted an article slagging off football/soccer () that is sooooo stupid I can’t help but attempt to take her down a peg or two.
Archives for June 2014
Some of you will know that I do some math tutoring (or MATHS tutoring if you’re English) in the York area. Many of my students are in primary school and so sometimes they need practice with teasing out the important information in a problem along with deciding what type of operation to use. And doing the pertinent calculation of course. Some of the parents also felt that their children needed practice with their reading as well so I’ve tried creating linked ‘story problems’ with no mathematical symbols or digits, just words. Here’s an example, see what you think!!
America has three very popular professional sports: baseball, football and basketball. If your local team is lucky enough to get into post-season play it can be pretty exciting. I remember when the Seattle Mariners first made it into the playoffs. Everyone in the Puget Sound region became a fan. During that time I called some government office and the complete stranger I spoke too brought up Edgar Martinez. The championship games in all three sports are big ratings winners on television. Many Americans, even non-football fans, will have Superbowl parties. Usually most of the women congregate in the kitchen while the menfolk drink beer and shout at the TV. The sponsoring networks carefully plan their broadcasts to enable as large an audience as possible. The Superbowl is always on a Sunday afternoon and the World Series games are generally in the evenings.
I lived in America until about a year before George W Bush was elected president. Except when I was taking physics or chemistry courses or volunteering on an archaeological dig I mostly used the ‘Imperial’ measurement scheme. Distances were in inches or feet or yards or miles. Weight was ounces and pounds. Volume was ounces or quarts or gallons except when cooking when it was all teaspoons and tablespoons and cups. The price of gasoline was listed in dollars per gallon. A big gulp was 32 oz . . . I think. Or was it 64? And 72 degrees was a good temperature for being outside.
I live near York which is about 53.5 degrees north in latitude. Where in North America would that be? Just a bit south of Prince Rupert, BC. Sadly, York lacks all the lovely ski resorts of British Columbia. On the longest day of the year we get about 17 hours of daylight. Let me rephrase that: the time between sunrise and sunset is 17 hours. Some days you don’t see the sun so we have to take sunrise and sunset times on faith. I used to wonder why England had so many famous astronomers and then I realised that when you can’t see the sky all the time you have to learn how to predict when celestial events were going to occur. Stonehenge is probably a 5000 year-old ‘observatory’. On December 21st, the shortest day of the year, we get about 7 hours of ‘daylight’. At that time of year it’s cold and wet and dark the whole time you’re NOT at work.
When I moved to the Pacific Northwest it took awhile to come to terms with the perpetual grey skies and rain. I was used to the weather in the mid-west: really cold winters with feet of snow and really hot summers with tornadoes. There were even laws about shovelling your walk within 24 hours of a new snow fall. And, generally, lots and lots of sunshine. People really did go ‘snow blind’ in the winter because of the bright sunshine reflecting off fresh, clean snow. Eventually I acclimated to living in the Puget Sound region but I did still miss being really hot at least a few days out of the year. But I didn’t miss the snow. Been there, shovelled that, glad to ditch the tire chains.