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Debates Forum

  1. 18 Aug '14 19:49 / 3 edits
    "...for the first time, ever, two Asian teams did (win medals in the open
    team competition at a Chess Olympiad)"
    --ChessBase (18 August 2014 from its website)
    (ChessBase might be citing GM Lubomir Kavalek in the 'Huffington Post'.)

    ChessBase's referring to the 2014 Olympiad, when China won the gold
    medal (by 2 points!) and India won the bronze medal (on tie-break).
    But the claim by ChessBase (which has a Eurocentric bias) is untrue.
    Here are earlier cases of two teams from Asian countries winning medals:

    At the 1992 Olympiad, Uzbekistan won the silver and Armenia won the bronze.
    At the 2006 Olympiad, Armenia won the gold and China won the silver.
    At the 2008 Olympiad, Armenia won the gold and Israel won the silver.

    In fact (as the US National Geographical Society would confirm), Armenia
    and Israel are countries in Asia, not Europe. Now *if* ChessBase's usage
    of 'Asian teams' is supposed to be 'racial' (broadly speaking, referring only
    to East or South Asians as 'real Asians' ) rather than geographical, then one
    might as well say that the USA's recent teams at the International Mathematical
    Olympiads have been 'Asian teams', given that most of its members have
    been of East Asian (particularly Chinese) heritage.

    (By the way, Twhitehead considers himself a Zambian and an African,
    regardless of the extent or absence of his recent black African ancestry.)
  2. 18 Aug '14 20:21 / 1 edit
    Although Israel is technically in Asia, I tend to think of it as 'Middle Eastern' rather than 'Asian'. (and no, its got nothing to do with race.) And I had to look on a map to find out where Armenia was. In my mind it was Eastern Europe, but I see it is much further East than I thought.
    And my geographical knowledge is well above average.

    Reporters should do their fact checking properly, but these days, just about anyone can be a reporter. I have recently been investigating a number of stories for work related purposes, and found that factual errors frequently get copied from article to article without the writers ever bothering to check. But there are practically no penalties for getting it wrong, so who cares? They get paid for quantity not quality.
    But having said that, I am more likely to stick with a news source that does their fact checking and produces quality work.
  3. 18 Aug '14 20:30
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Although Israel is technically in Asia, I tend to think of it as 'Middle Eastern' rather than 'Asian'. (and no, its got nothing to do with race.) And I had to look on a map to find out where Armenia was. In my mind it was Eastern Europe, but I see it is much further East than I thought.
    And my geographical knowledge is well above average.

    Reporters should do their fact checking properly, but these days, just about anyone can be a reporter.
    "And I had to look on a map to find out where Armenia was ...
    And my geographical knowledge is well above average."
    --Twhitehead

    If your 'geographical knowledge' of Asia and Europe is 'well above average'
    for someone in South Africa, then what I could say about the geographical
    ignorance of the average person there (or elsewhere)?

    While I never formally studied geography in school, I could readily identify
    almost all countries in the world on a global map with their names removed.
    About the only problems that I would have would be with identifying some
    of the countries on small islands. I don't regard my geographical knowledge
    as exceptional, but most other people around me seem to regard it as such.
  4. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    18 Aug '14 22:08
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "And I had to look on a map to find out where Armenia was ...
    And my geographical knowledge is well above average."
    --Twhitehead

    If your 'geographical knowledge' of Asia and Europe is 'well above average'
    for someone in South Africa, then what I could say about the geographical
    ignorance of the average person there (or elsewhere)?

    While I never ...[text shortened]... ographical knowledge
    as exceptional, but most other people around me seem to regard it as such.
    Who cares? And so what?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF9Yn5mgrjY
  5. 18 Aug '14 23:35
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_people

    has interesting info on Definitions of "Asian people" by country doing the defining. Of course, these are generalizations.
  6. 19 Aug '14 00:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Although Israel is technically in Asia, I tend to think of it as 'Middle Eastern' rather than 'Asian'. (and no, its got nothing to do with race.) And I had to look on a map to find out where Armenia was. In my mind it was Eastern Europe, but I see it is much further East than I thought.
    And my geographical knowledge is well above average.

    Reporters sh ...[text shortened]... more likely to stick with a news source that does their fact checking and produces quality work.
    I have to say that I don't understand the purpose of your post.
    Are you (Twhitehead) implying that because you ignorantly assumed that
    Armenia's in Europe and you suspect that many other ignorant people also
    assume that, then Armenia *should* be considered a country in Europe?
    Are geographical questions to be decided by holding popularity contests
    among ignorant people?

    Many ignorant people make incorrect assumptions about many subjects.
    I see no reason why ignorant assumptions should be taken more seriously
    in geography than they would be in, say, matters of science or law.
  7. 19 Aug '14 00:39
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    Who cares? And so what?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF9Yn5mgrjY
    It's already well-known that RJHinds, a notorious anti-intellectual troll,
    cares nothing about factual accuracy or scientific or historical knowledge.
  8. 19 Aug '14 21:00
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I have to say that I don't understand the purpose of your post.
    Are you (Twhitehead) implying that because you ignorantly assumed that
    Armenia's in Europe and you suspect that many other ignorant people also
    assume that, then Armenia *should* be considered a country in Europe?
    Are geographical questions to be decided by holding popularity contests
    among ignorant people?
    Not at all. I am saying that ignorance of geography is widespread and its not at all surprising that the writer got it wrong. It is of course no excuse for such sloppy fact checking by the writer - but again, not surprising. I find many writers don't even bother to use a spell checker.

    A shocking number of people couldn't even find their own country on a map.
  9. 19 Aug '14 21:06
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    While I never formally studied geography in school, ....
    I did some geography in Secondary School, and we did not learn the locations of countries. I doubt you will find any course that teaches that.

    Could you correctly locate the provinces of Canada on a map? The states of the US? What about the provinces of China?
  10. 19 Aug '14 21:07
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Not at all. I am saying that ignorance of geography is widespread and its not at all surprising that the writer got it wrong. It is of course no excuse for such sloppy fact checking by the writer - but again, not surprising. I find many writers don't even bother to use a spell checker.

    A shocking number of people couldn't even find their own country on a map.
    Thanks for your clarification.

    "A shocking number of people couldn't even find their own country on a map."
    --Twhitehead

    I suspect that many people here (particularly Americans) could not care
    less about not being able to find any country besides their own on a map.
  11. 19 Aug '14 21:19 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I did some geography in Secondary School, and we did not learn the locations of countries. I doubt you will find any course that teaches that.

    Could you correctly locate the provinces of Canada on a map? The states of the US? What about the provinces of China?
    "Could you correctly locate the provinces of Canada on a map?"

    Yes. Canada has only ten provinces (in addition to three territories).

    "The states of the US?"

    Yes. When I was traveling around the USA, I often referred to US maps.

    "What about the provinces of China?"

    In general, yes, though sometimes I might be uncertain of the technical
    distinctions among a province, municipality, autonomous region, or special
    administrative region (I know the last refers only to Hong Kong and Macao).
    It's worth noting that the People's Republic of China has changed some
    provinces' borders and even officially abolished some provinces. So when
    I read modern Chinese history, I sometimes have to keep track of which
    provinces were supposed to exist at various times. In general, the subject
    of Chinese provinces is more complicated than that of the US states.
  12. 20 Aug '14 07:32
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I don't regard my geographical knowledge as exceptional, but most other people around me seem to regard it as such.
    Well given your responses to my questions, it seems you should regard your geographical knowledge as exceptional.
    I did study the provinces of Canada as School (many years ago) and more recently did a course on China in which we were encouraged to learn the provinces of China. Given a map with province outlines, and a list of province names, I could not correctly place them all for either country.
  13. 20 Aug '14 14:15
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "And I had to look on a map to find out where Armenia was ...
    And my geographical knowledge is well above average."
    --Twhitehead

    If your 'geographical knowledge' of Asia and Europe is 'well above average'
    for someone in South Africa, then what I could say about the geographical
    ignorance of the average person there (or elsewhere)?

    While I never ...[text shortened]... ographical knowledge
    as exceptional, but most other people around me seem to regard it as such.
    You condescension is almost as endearing as your superior knowledge.
  14. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    20 Aug '14 14:59
    Originally posted by techsouth
    You condescension is almost as endearing as your superior knowledge.
    Heh. Thumbs up for the high road.
  15. 20 Aug '14 18:59 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Well given your responses to my questions, it seems you should regard your geographical knowledge as exceptional.
    I did study the provinces of Canada as School (many years ago) and more recently did a course on China in which we were encouraged to learn the provinces of China. Given a map with province outlines, and a list of province names, I could not correctly place them all for either country.
    I don't regard my geographical knowledge as exceptional because I never
    formally studied geography in school. As a historian, however, obviously I
    have had to learn to identify the locations of various countries when I was
    studying international conflicts. I tend to know less about countries that
    have less historical significance in terms of international conflicts or trade.

    Apart from their usual ignorance and ethnocentrism, why does it seem so
    hard for Americans to accept the fact that a scholar who's often concerned
    with European or Asian history could be familiar with maps of Europe and Asia?

    If, as a young student, I had been asked about your country (Zambia), my
    first impression would have been like this: 'Zambia, a land-locked country
    in southern Africa. Former British colony. Economy based on copper exports.'
    I know this is superficial, yet I think that having some accurate knowledge
    of Zambia is better than having none at all.