I Didn’t Know That…! (U.S. Geography Edition)

When I was in junior high in the mid-60s, I was introduced to “new math.”  I had no idea at the time why it was called that.  And I still don’t, so this is what Wikipedia says about it:

“New Mathematics or New Math was a brief, dramatic change in the way mathematics was taught in American grade schools, and to a lesser extent in European countries, during the 1960s.  The name is commonly given to a set of teaching practices introduced in the U.S. shortly after the Sputnik crisis in order to boost science education and mathematical skill in the population so that the perceived intellectual threat of Soviet engineers, reputedly highly skilled mathematicians, could be met.”

Now it appears that there is a “new geography.”  At least in the sports world.

I am not a sports fan.  I don’t watch it on TV.  I dont’ read about it in the newspapers.

Maybe because I was on the basketball and track teams in high school and so played sports I never developed much interest in watching sports.  That’s consistent with my preference to be a “doer” rather than an observer.   (Although I like to play poker and watch it on TV too but that latter has an “educational” component.)

Also, the anarchist streak in me tamps down any interest in identifying with groups, whether that be a sports team or some other group.  (Of course, the exception to the rule is my Manila high school group since that was a unique experience which few outside the group can understand.)

Nevertheless, I somehow learned that three colleges have joined the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).  The ACC is the conference that Florida State University (located where I live) belongs to.

Two of the new colleges are Syracuse and Pittsburgh.  The former is in New York and the latter is in Pennsylvania.  Both states are on the Eastern coast.

The third college, however, is Notre Dame.  It’s football team is not part of the ACC.  But apparently other Notre Dame teams will play in the ACC.

Interestingly, Notre Dame is in Indiana.  And Indiana is not on the Eastern coast. Yet, Notre Dame teams are part of a conference with “Atlantic” in its name and in which every other team is in a state which borders the Atlantic.

Since I don’t follow sports, I didn’t know if there are other teams participating in a conference even if their geographic location is not in sync with the conference’s purported geography.  So I did a little research and found some additional examples of the new geography.

For example, the University of Massachusetts, a state which borders the Atlantic, is in the Mid American Conference along with colleges in such mid-America states as Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.  And the Western Athletic Conference includes Louisiana Tech.

So there is precedent for Notre Dame being in the ACC despite it’s geographical location.

Since I’m on the subject of geography, you may recall that there was a time when it was said that the “sun never sets on the British empire.”  The British had so many colonies around the world that it was always daylight somewhere that flew the Union Jack.

Well guess what? It may be that the the sun never sets on the Stars and Stripes either.  There are many U.S. territories in the Pacific that when it is evening in the U.S. it is daylight in at least one of the territories.

For example, there is Guam, which at 212 square miles and a population of about 175,000 probably makes it the largest of the Pacific territories.  Guam was…relieved…from Spain, along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines, as a result of the Spanish-American War.

I was on Guam for a few hours for refueling in 1970 when I was flying between Hong Kong and Hawaii in 1970.  In those days, airplanes could not cross the Pacific nonstop.  (In 1995, I flew nonstop between Chicago and Seoul, a 15 hour flight.  It was supposed to be 13 hours but we encountered strong head wind and our airspeed dropped to about 400 MPH.)

Then, there is Midway, site of a pivotal U.S. naval victory during the Second World War. Midway is just 2.4 square miles and is now uninhabited.  A number of U.S. Pacific territories are uninhabited, including Johnston Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef.

Baker, Jarvis and Howland Islands are the remnants of almost 80 territories claimed by the U.S. under the Guano Act of 1856. (I’m sure you learned all about that in U.S. history class.)  Howland is where Amelia Earhart was headed before she disappeared.

Map showing some U.S. Pacific territories

Map showing some U.S. Pacific territories

So if you’re looking for an American Pacific island paradise, you’re not limited to Hawaii.  Besides Guam, there’s American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Now you know!


17 responses to “I Didn’t Know That…! (U.S. Geography Edition)

  1. There may have been a time when football conferences conformed to their geographic regions, but that hasn’t been true for some time. Now it’s more about…well, I don’t know what it’s about, but I think it has something to do with money, TV time, and other financial considerations. Perhaps pt will weigh in on this issue.
    As for the geography part, that was enlightening. I didn’t know that Midway is uninhabited. I’m pretty sure that for a time there was a military base there, even after the end of WWII, I liked your use of the word “relieved”–to the victors go the spoils. I find geopolitical divisions to be strange and interesting. Like, why was Iraq created, and why wasn’t it divided into three countries instead of just one? And why was Israel created at all, in the middle of Palestine? (Well, I know the answer to that one.) But in both cases, it isn’t working out well and never has.

    • The answer to most “strange” countries in the Third World is usually “colonialism.” The Europeans just draw lines on a map without knowledge of, or regard for, indigenous ethnic groups.

      For example, why is Brazil the only Portuguese speaking country in the Americas? Because when the Pope divided the Americas between Spain and Portugal, the line (drawn before the Americas had been fully explored) included the part of Brazil which juts out towards Africa. And so Portugal just moved inland from there.

      Most of Africa is that way. The British created Nigeria with boundaries that included three major ethnic groups. No wonder there was civil war. Look at Rwanda, with the wars between Tutsi and Hutus.

  2. I have been reading about conference realignment for 2 years now and it makes my head hurt. But………basically there are no NCAA rules prohibiting restructuring, only conference rules. TV revenue has risen so dramatically recently that universities have departed from traditional partnerships and entered into new more lucrative packages. In the process they have tightened up the new conference contracts making it financially prohibitive to exit. It makes no legal difference whatsoever where a college is located as to which conference they align with. Louisville is also joining the ACC in 2014 and that should round out the conference.

    Realignment is all about money!

    As for not being a sports fan, well many of us are also doers, and many of us feel our college experience as unique as a high school experience in Manila. Ask folks from Mississippi (Ole Miss) to tell you about The Grove. Or Arkansas to tell you about SOIEEEEEEEE Pig! Or watch the Notre Dame silent guard march around campus prior to each game.

    It’s all wonderful fun for those who enjoy it, but it’s fine that others do not, less competition for the seats. I have taken folks to Doak who afterward think we’re all crazy. And maybe for a time each Fall we are. Oh…. but then there’s basketball in the winter and baseball in the summer. Maybe we’re crazy all year after all. Or maybe all non sports fans are abnormal, it’s all in the eyes of the beholder isn’t it.

    • > Realignment is all about money!

      Of course it is…That’;s what college sports has become…

      > As for not being a sports fan, well many of us are also doers,

      I understand that and did not mean to suggest otherwise, only that that is a reason why I am not a sports fan

      Of course, by the end of the month I won’t be doing much of anything at all! if you have any suggestions for non-fiction history books, preferably World War 2 related, I’m open…

      I think I mentioned the book “Honor in the Dust”…a 400 page history of the resistance to the U.S. occupation of the Philippines. I decided to buy it and found it at Amazon for about $10 hardcover. Then I found it somewhere else (Amazon link or maybe half.com) for a penny for the hardcover and $3.99 shipping!

  3. So, in other words, I was right 🙂 I don’t play or watch either, but I do keep up with sports, if only in self defense. Socially, I know so many people who are avid sports fans that if I didn’t know, for example, who won the NBA championship, I would have been out of the loop. And I sort of like and respect their passion for it. Even though (here comes the disclaimer), I think it’s an avoidance of real life. But I’m not immune either…I avidly followed the Triple Crown races this year and bet on them all.

    • I don’t know who won the NBA championship….

      If I HAD to watch sports, it’d be basketball. A fast moving sport. Football and especially baseball, are too slow for me, especially since I was a sprinter on track team.

  4. “Of course, by the end of the month I won’t be doing much of anything at all! if you have any suggestions for non-fiction history books, preferably World War 2 related, I’m open…”

    Here’s a site I buy a lot of books from. They are a brokerage networked with book sellers worldwide and have some really great books at really great prices.

    • Thanks PT! They sound familiar, so I may have ordered from them before but I sure do not remember them so now I can bookmark them for future use.

      I checked out their price on a book I plan to read during my retirement. I may actually finish it in a few years…lol!

      Book is “Honor in the Dust” about the Philippine resistance to the Americans after the Spanish-American war. It is 400 pages. Abe wants $1 for the hardcover edition, plus 2.95 shipping. That is five cents lower than a place I found that wants one cent for hardcover and $3.99 for shipping. Strange pricing….

      Amazon want $4 for the hardcover but if total order is $25 then shipping is free. So if I have something else to order that will bring total to $25, then I’ll use Amazon. Otherwise, it’ll be Abe.

  5. If you are going to use Amazon in the next year it is still tax free in Florida, But they are now in negotiation with Hillsborough County to site a million sq. foot distribution center in Ruskin and several additional satellite sites around the state so they will then have to collect Fl sales tax on all orders.

    Abe does not! Also with Abe it is the individual book sellers that determine shipping charges, and they vary by company. It’s not uncommon to find the same book at different prices and different shipping charges, sometimes none.

    Abe is usually cheaper on older books, while Barnes and Noble and Amazon compete for best prices on new releases. I maintain a $25 annual membership at Barnes and Noble which gives me free shipping and an additional 10% off their best price. For me it saves money, perhaps not for you. I love browsing at a real brick and mortar store, find surprises I don;t know were out.

    I read about 4- 6 books a month depending on the content.

    • Yes, I read about the incentives Amazon is being lured with. In Polk, it is $4.5 million. Not sure what Hillsborough is offering.

      I presume these warehouses reduce shipping costs, despite their operations cost…

      I don’t buy that much these days,and if I have to pay sales tax with Amazon I think I’ll still come out ahead.

  6. I love Amazon. That we haven’t ever paid taxes on Amazon purchases is a failure of government, so I figure we’ve skated all these years. If they locate a brick and mortar building in FL, then we’ll just be catching up.

  7. “That we haven’t ever paid taxes on Amazon purchases is a failure of government”

    Just about split a gut when I saw that comment. As if Government has a fiduciary duty to tax anything that can pay. I do not accept any tax any of these clowns warble about as necessary. They say its not fair to not collect internet sales tax as if the sales tax laws descend from heaven, when in fact they are purely arbitrary and established by them in the first place.

    How about it was a business success??

  8. BTW sc, the Miami Heat won the NBA championship 🙂 Beating the San Antonio Spurs.
    So pt, is it your position that there should not be sales tax at all? I don’t have a dog in that fight, but if there are to be sales taxes, then it seems to me that fairness would dictate that Internet businesses should pay too. Not that I’ll be happy about paying them. Florida at least has exemptions for food and medicine, which is not true in every state.

    • I prefer sales tax to income tax. Seems to me if you can afford to buy, you can afford the tax. Also, “use” tax, such as gas tax is much preferable to income tax. Again, I can choose to buy a gas efficient car and so have some control.

      And since so much of the federal income tax code is social engineering, I don’t like it.

      Did you see there’s now talk in Congress about trimming the mortgage deduction? There’ll be a cap and only primary home can be deducted, not that beach or mountain vacation home.

      • So sc, what say you to the charge that sales taxes are regressive? Disproportionately affecting those who can least afford to pay?

        • 1. If they can afford to buy, they can afford to pay. I notice many “low incomes” appear to have expensive stuff. for example, at work, many clerical staff buy lunch; I brown bag it.

          2. Life is never fair. Why should those who have more, pay more just because they have more? That is why that French actor became a Russian citizen; confiscatory French taxes.
          And there are more like him….So now the French get zilch from him, when if they had been more “fair” they would have gotten something.

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