I’ve been a collector of state quarters since the first year they came out. In fact, just this year I collected the Washington State quarter, an event I’ve been anticipating for eight years!
I got a quiz in the mail a few days ago testing ones knowledge of the backs of the state quarters with the text removed. Go ahead, give it a try. I got 17 out of 20 right, but some of them are mighty tricky.
Seeing the quarter backs without the words made me appreciate the state histories and landscapes that we so often forget about. Divorced from my contemporary perception, I begin to remember that each of the states has their own complicated story of what it means to be from Utah or from Kentucky or wherever. Sometimes I wonder if our obsession with being “true” Americans has devalued our own state identities, which have a rich value in of themselves.
If you didn’t the first time, take the quiz and reflect, for just a moment, on how little we really know about our 49 other neighbors.
Folks over at the NewOpenWorld Foundation have decided to name seven new world wonders. For those not “in the know” six of the seven world wonders have failed the test of time. To name a new seven the organization started with 200 and paired it down the 21 now up for public vote. Feel free to participate.
I voted for the following:
- The Acropolis of Athens (450 – 330 B.C.) Athens, Greece
- Angkor (12th century) Cambodia
- The Pyramid at Chichén Itzá (before 800 A.D.) Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
- The Roman Colosseum (70 – 82 A.D.) Rome, Italy
- The Great Wall of China (220 B.C and 1368 – 1644 A.D.) China
- The Hagia Sophia (532 – 537 A.D.) Istanbul, Turkey
- Sydney Opera House (1954 – 73) Sydney, Australia
I tried to be geographically diverse, but favored older structures over newer structures. The Syndey Opera House, by far the most modern on my list, was not chosen for its location in the Southern Hemisphere so much as I think it’s really cool looking. The Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty can be listed once they’ve stood up for another thousand years. I don’t see how The Great Wall wasn’t already part of the original World Wonders… perhaps my vote didn’t get counted the first time.
Those who study global politics know all about the race to the bottom. In an effort to attract foreign investment countries compete with eachother to tear down barriers to trade… barriers like environmental regulations, labor rights, taxes. You know, laws.
Well, the race to the bottom is usually fueled by an equal and opposite race to the top. Foreign investors looking to make the next quick million dollars… and what do the spend that that hard earned ROI on, you might ask? Well, apparently sending their children to college where they can live like kings.
Behold, the future of residential life in American colleges.
When I lived in the dorms (from 1999 – 2003), I lived in either a double or a triple, usually bunk beds, and always a twin size bed. According to the AP, many colleges are competing with eachother not on academics or opportunity, but with full size beds and luxury rooms. The article makes reference to maid service, professional movers, even limo rides to campus.
During my Junior year the UW upgraded a great deal of its food outlets, brought on a fancy four-star chef to plan the menus, the whole nine-yards. It was outrageous. The cost of food almost doubled, and while the quality got better, it’s freaking college. You’re not there to eat food.
With college tuition breaking $40,000 a year in some places and college professors making significantly less then their peers in industry, you would think we could refocus that money to more wortheir aims.
I knew there was a reason I liked living in Seattle. Turns out of all the cities in the United States it is our fair Seattle that has the highest percentage of college (51%) and high school degrees (90%).
Rather remarkable, actually, but don’t let it go to your head. Seattle is, after all, a pretty small city (563,374) in comparison to Los Angeles (3,694,820) of New York (8,008,278). It’s the 23rd largest city, which means the number of people we have to educate to keep our percentages high is lower. Consider San Fransisco, whose college grad rate is the same as Seattle’s but has a lower high school grad rate. With a population of 776,733 their grad population comes it at 396,133 as compared to our paltry 287,320.
But I’m still proud.