Sunday, July 13, 2014

Math and geography

Geography and math—differences, measurements, terminology, surprises, oddities.

A few things to consider: Metric system, counting in 12s (dozen, gross, 360-degree circles (180, 90 degrees. Crore and lakh. One billion people in India. They went with the American numbers on that. Britain gave up their definition of "a billion" when I was already an adult.

Rs. 16 Crore Bugatti India’s Most Expensive Car Say HOW much? But you can get a Tata for just 1,96,141 rs. (That comma IS in the right place, for Indian numbers.) That's less than two Lakh!

One favorite project of U.S. homeschoolers used to be to collect post cards from every U.S. state. Because of the extreme differences in the populations of states and the number of unschooling families, the lists of participants would have maybe 200 or 250 families in California and Texas, and two in New Mexico, and one in Wyoming. (I'm using a real memory for this one). Many states had fifteen or twenty participants!

The rule was to send a postcard when you got a postcard. When I pointed out that I would go broke if I answered every postcard, the organizer explained condescendingly to me that no family would send more than 49 post cards. I tried to explain, but she said if I didn't return a card I would be removed from the project. Well, then! The families organizing such things were thinking only of geography, and not of mathematics.

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