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Posts Tagged ‘History’

1985 was a happening year.  Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union,  Michael Jackson and his friends recorded “We Are the World“,  and Wrestlemania made its debut in Madison Square Garden.

But, 1985 was also a go-go year for geekdom.

Network World has published their fourth annual compilation of the current year’s most notable technology-related 25th anniversaries. The list  includes:

  • Microsoft’s release of Windows 1.0,
  • Registration of the first dot-com domain names,
  • the founding of AOL,  and
  • the debut of the Commodore Amiga 1000 personal computer.

I am sure we will see these and other notables, revisited over the year, but here they are today, neatly assembled, by Network World, for your perusal.

2010’s 25 geekiest 25th anniversaries

via Paul McNamara, Network World, 01/11/2010

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The Arizona State University is  being granted the honor of having Barack Obama, the president of the United States, give its commencement address, and has decided not to award President Obama an honorary degree, as is the tradition for graduation day speakers.

ASU Media Relations Director Sharon Keeler says, unlike other universities, the processes for selecting commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients are independent. She says that honorary degrees are given “for an achievement of eminence” and that Obama was not considered for an honorary degree because his body of achievements, at this time, does not fit within that criteria.

So are we to understand that getting elected president of the United States, not to mention the first African-American president, is NOT “an achievement of eminence”.

Are you kidding ASU?

After all, as the Phoenix-area’s East Valley Tribune editorialized:

Barry Goldwater received his honorary degree in May 1961, three years before his Republican nomination for president and only eight years into his three decades as a U.S. senator. Sandra Day O’Connor was similarly recognized just three years in her 25 years on the U.S. Supreme Court.

This just smells bad. Especially mixed in with the garbage from two decades ago, when Arizona refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday. Put’s me in mind of that annoying garbage bag commercial:

STINKY! STINKY! STINKY!

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Young people today have large and disturbing gap in their knowledge of history and civics.

  • One-third of fourth graders do not know what it means to “pledge allegiance to the flag.”
  • Twenty-eight percent of eighth graders do not know the reason why the Civil War was fought.
  • Nearly one in five high school seniors think that Germany was an ally of the United States in World War II.
  • A little over a third of young Americans can’t tell you the length of a term of a member of the House of Representatives.
  • Graduating seniors at some of our leading colleges and universities cannot correctly identify words from the Gettysburg Address, or do not know that James Madison is the father of the Constitution.
  • Fewer than one in two young people (18-24) bothered to vote in the 2004 presidential election.

These findings are disturbing and threaten the future of our democracy. Our schools have greatly diminished the emphasis on history, social studies and civics. These subjects have lost out to rote preparation for high-stakes tests. Civics education, once a mainstay of the grade school experience, is now just a quaint idea.George W. Bush is not one you will hear me quoting often, but we actually agree in this area:

“American children are not born knowing what they should cherish — are not born knowing why they should cherish American values. A love of democratic principles must be taught.” – George W. Bush (Speech Introducing Civics Initiatives, 9/2002)

The Heinlein Maneuver will address this disparity, study the rights and duties of citizenship, and prepare the young men we touch to be informed and active citizens.The Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) has an online History & Civics Quiz. Check out your civics IQ, and help us develop a civics curriculum.

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