Kansas Classrooms


I can’t teach you about safe sex because it might encourage you to become promiscuous.

I can’t tell you what airbags do. That information will make you think it’s okay to start crashing into things.

I’m sorry class. We can no longer study Mexico. As you’d all run away to Tijuana if I told you what was there.

If I teach you girls how to rescue a burnt casserole, how can I trust you to follow the teachings of Héloise?

I’m afraid I can’t tell you how Hannibal crossed the Alps. If I did, you crazy kids are likely to conquer the prom with elephants. Oops.

Trigonometry will no longer be taught. You could use that knowledge to calculate the trajectory of eggs thrown at my Geo Metro.

We won’t be using safety glasses this year in shop class. I believe anyone who gets a word chip in their eye have it coming.

Science has been cancelled because your parents prefer to believe in magic.

Big Fat Whale, Brian McFadden 2006

Death of the Dinosaurs


The fifth extinction
65 million years ago

Boom. Extinction. 65 million years ago, a huge chunk of rock from outer space smashed into what is now Mexico. The explosion was devastating, but the longer-term effects were worse. Dust was thrown into the upper atmosphere and blocked out sunlight, and in the ensuing cold and darkness Earth suffered its fifth and last mass extinction. The dinosaurs were the most famous casualties, but pterosaurs and giant marine reptiles were also wiped out.

See other: History of Life

10/ix mmxv


Mexican mole sauce can include chillies, cinnamon, garlic, chocolate, lard, and plantains.

Though Jones is the most common surname in Wales, there is no ‘J’ in the Welsh language.

A sheet of paper is a million atoms thick.

Sigmund Freud destroyed 14 years’ worth of notes, letters and manuscripts in order to confound future biographers.

The chance of cracking the enigma machine, used by the Germans to scramble their wartime messages, by chance is about the same as winning the lottery 11,000,000,000,000 times.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Geographic Illiteracy


Over a decade ago, National Geographic organised a global survey to measure the developed world’s geographic literacy.[1]

On average, fewer than 25 percent of young people worldwide could locate Israel on the map. Only about 20 percent could identify international news hotspots like Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

‘Geographically Illiterate: Someone who sucks at geography.’ – Urban Dictionary

More recent research shows no improvement. When the Russian Federation invaded the Ukraine in 2014, the Washington Post conducted a survey which showed that only 16% of Americans was able to locate the Black Sea nation on a map.[2]

More importantly, it was found that this lack of geographic knowledge is related to preferences and decision-making: namely, the farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.

Whatever your views on this political squabble, the following conclusion is inevitable: whether people are in possession of a certain geographic fact determines their opinion in a certain way.

As for geography, knowledge of the location of places and the physical and cultural characteristics of those places are a requirement to function more effectively in an increasingly interdependent world.

On top of that, knowledge of the geography of past times and how geography has played an important role in the evolution of a society, their ideas, and its environment are not only prerequisites for historical knowledge, but also necessary for making sound decisions in the present.[3]

“If geography is prose, maps are iconography.” – Lennart Meri

These findings only underline the importance of teaching Geography. However, as always with formal education, it does not tell the whole story: besides teaching Geography as a core subject on the national curriculum, National Geographic researchers found that geographic knowledge also increases through travel and language proficiency.

In the highest-scoring countries of the National Geographic Survey (Sweden, Germany and Italy) at least 70 percent of the young adults had travelled internationally in the last three years, and the majority spoke more than one language (at the time, no less than 92 percent of young people in Sweden).

In the U.S. and Mexico only about 20 percent of young people had travelled abroad during the same period and the majority spoke only one language.

“All I ever wanted was a world without maps.” – Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

‘Our daily lives are interwoven with geography. Each of us lives in a unique place and in constant interaction with our surroundings. Geographic knowledge and skills are essential for us to understand the activities and patterns of our lives and the lives of others. We move from place to place, aided by transportation and navigation systems. We communicate using global networks of computers and satellites. We strive to live in healthy physical and social environments. We work to avoid the negative consequences of exposure to natural and technological hazards. We search for interesting destinations and vacations. We observe and learn about our own culture and other cultures around the world. We want to lead satisfying lives and contribute to the welfare of our communities. Geographic knowledge and understanding is fundamental to reaching our goals, and in attaining a higher quality of life.’
Why Geography Is Important (2005), Grosvenor Centre of Education


[1] The National Geographic–Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.
According to Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C., “The survey demonstrates the geographic illiteracy of the United States.”
About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn’t even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean’s location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent. Less than 15 percent could locate neither Israel nor Iraq.
“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” – Ambrose Bierce

[2] From March 28 to 31, 2014, The Washington Post asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: in addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, they also asked the survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. The newspaper wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. The survey also found that 5 out of 2,066 Americans thought the Ukraine was located in the U.S. corn belt.

[3] The importance of geographic knowledge is of paramount importance, not only for a better understanding of historical and present geopolitical issues, but also as a scientific measuring device to help humans to make better decisions about the environment. Consider the intellectual poverty of young people who are ignorant of:

  • The basic physical systems that affect everyday life (e.g. earth-sun relationships, water cycles, wind and ocean currents).
  • Relationships between the physical environment and society.
  • How the processes of human and physical systems have arranged and sometimes changed the surface of the Earth – and still do.
  • The fact that the Earth is the homeland of humankind and knowledge of that planet provides insight for wise management decisions about how the planet’s resources should be used.

12/ii mmxv


Henry IV of France promoted green parks in Paris. He is responsible for a street called the Street of the Bridge of Cabbages.

10,113 Americans insured themselves against giving birth to the messiah at the millennium.

The 10th President of Nigeria (that is, the 3rd President of the Fourth Nigerian Republic), was called Goodluck Jonathan.

Scorpions navigate by starlight.

More than 50% of the world’s languages are located in just eight countries: India, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Cameroon.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

26/i mmxv


Michael Sata, the president of Zambia, previously worked as a cleaner at London Victoria railway station.

The longest duck penis ever found was 17 inches (43 centimetres) in length.

Under extreme high pressure, diamonds can be made from peanut butter.

The film Grease was released in Mexico under the name ‘Vaselina’.

In the autumn of 1940, students at Oslo University started wearing paperclips on their lapels as a non-violent symbol of resistance, unity, and national pride. When the occupying German forces caught on to the fact, wearing a paperclip promptly became a criminal offence.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Courtship Ritual of the Red-Eared Slider


red-eared slider

Trachemys scripta elegans

The red-eared slider is a semi-aquatic turtle owing its name to the bright red spots on the side of its head.

Additionally, they are called ‘sliders’ because of their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly when startled.

The red-eared slider, or Trachemys scripta elegans, is native to the United States and Mexico, but is a popular pet all over the world due to its low maintenance.

The shells of adult males are roughly 5 centimetres smaller than those of females, but their claws are longer. These help them to hold on to a female during mating, but are also used in courting displays.

During courtship, the male swims around the female and flutters or vibrates the back side of his long claws on and around her face and head, possibly to direct pheromones towards her. The female swims towards the male and, if she is receptive, sinks to the bottom for mating. If the female is not receptive, she may simply swim away or become aggressive towards the male. Courtship can last 45 minutes, but mating only takes 10 minutes.

Linguistic Diversity


According to the Swedish linguist Mikael Parkvall: ‘Languages are very unevenly distributed among the countries of the world.’ He lists the world’s countries with the largest number of languages:

  1. Papua New Guinea [823]
  2. Indonesia [726]
  3. Nigeria [505]
  4. India [387]
  5. Mexico [288]
  6. Cameroon [279]
  7. Australia [235]
  8. DR Congo [218]
  9. China [201]
  10. Brazil [192]
  11. United States [176]
  12. Philippines [169]
It’s curious how the linguistically most diverse country in the world is Papua New Guinea – because it’s also the place with the biggest biodiversity anywhere, one of the last places in the world where new species get discovered regularly. It leads one to wonder whether there could there be a single explanation for both phenomena?