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  1. #31
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    I'm not too bad at memorizing numbers, actually. I can recite Pi to ten decimals, e to (counting) thirteen, I know the exact light speed by heart (299 792 458 m/s... yes, I'm a freak. 3 million kilometers a second is way close enough for anything I've ever encountered in my theoretical physics life), know the mass and the charge of the electron,... in short, numbers who have to do with something interesting (yeah right ) like physics and maths.
    But dates? What's so important about 1789(*)? Do I have to use that somewhere in a calculation? Is it an universal constant? Does it tell how matter and energy behaves?

    (*) French Revolution.
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  2. #32
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Dude, I agree with NOT being anal-retentive around dates, but sometimes it's ridiculous. I have no idea how many times some stupid American has asked me one of the following:

    - Is there still an SS?
    - Do Germans have refrigerators?
    - Is the Internet there? (That's classic).
    - Are the Nazis big over there?

    Or people who don't even know basics about the following:

    - When major world/regional wars took place (Revolutionary war, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq war!!!!)

    - When slavery was abolished.

    - When women were given the right to vote.

    - When the Declaration of Independence was written.

    I mean come ON, guys. These are like basic elements of history. That some people don't know that the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, really leading to some major, dramatic political and religious shifts in thinking in the HREGN and in Europe in general is not essential, but it's good to know for other reasons.

    It's also good to know that the AR is considered the 'shot heard round the world' because it prompted other major conflicts for independence/democratic systems and processes, not the least of which the French Revolution, which wasn't only cool because people were getting their heads chopped off. It also lead to Napoleon who created MAJOR, and I'm talking MAJOR!!!!!!, shifts in law and systems that makes Anglo-Saxon countries today so different from Europe. THIS, in turn, is important to keep in mind (for both sides) when doing business, international trade, and other vital decisions.

    If you don't know these things in THEMSELVES, it's not a big deal. But Si helps you MAKE the connections essential to making ACCURATE assessments that are relevant not only today but also in the future.

    And if you don't have a grasp on general trends and logical progression of things, that ain't cool.

    However, if you mean you get an F because you thought WWII started on September 3, 1939 instead of September 1, 1939, well who gives a rat's flying fart gas about that? Then your prof is just a dick.

  3. #33
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Linguist View Post
    Dude, I agree with NOT being anal-retentive around dates, but sometimes it's ridiculous. I have no idea how many times some stupid American has asked me one of the following:

    - Is there still an SS?
    - Do Germans have refrigerators?
    - Is the Internet there? (That's classic).
    - Are the Nazis big over there?
    The refrigerator story is epic. I heard it that way: an american asked a german exchange student if in Germany they have refrigerators ?! The exchange student said slightly puzzled by the question: yes of course. Then the american asked, if in Germany you still live on trees ? The exchange student was pissed now and said: yes of course, what did you think ?

    Then the american asked: How the eff then do you transport the refrigerators onto the trees ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    That would actually be interesting if the subject was taught right. If ZDF documentaries are any clue however, I think I'll pass. Here we often spend like a week on the topic, watch Schindler's List or some Anne Frank movie, and then move on.
    Yes that's the thing. There are countless documentaries about WWII and they are there because people watch them. So the people who made this made a lot of money with them. The thing is, I am roughly now the 3rd generation after the war and the two who came before werent really over it. My grandpa, god bless him, was a total nazi still until old age. He still voted republicians, which is the neo-nazi party in Germany. He was one of three voters of this party in the time after the war but there were many many more living in disguise who still supported the attitudes of the nazis. Of course this was only the value system of the good soldier the nazis tried to generate, they never talked about the 6 million they systematically killed or worked to death in camps.

    My Dad then wasnt untouched by the 1st generation after the war, it's now my generation, who is the first who came clean with that. Why it happens now is because we havent heard as much about the war from our parents like they did from theirs, plus we have the internet what enables one to actually learn a thing about the real world.

    The thing I am sad about is, for example american history is in germany most often only told in the english class. That's ridicoulus cause you talk about british history, chinese history, etc. in history class. And then because we had like 5 years WWII and my english teacher was a jerk who only liked Shakespeare, I roughly now anything about american history thru school.

    And those are things I find really stupid.
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  4. #34
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    I don't see the learning of dates as either particularly harmful or useful in itself. It would be nice if people were to learn patterns of historical cause and effect from their study of history so that the mistakes of the past were not doomed to be endlessly repeated, however, and a little more about the cultures of preceeding ages so that they do not automatically committ the fallacy of supposing them inferior to the present one. This would be actively useful knowledge, which most people appear to lack...
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  5. #35
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Linguist View Post
    Dude, I agree with NOT being anal-retentive around dates, but sometimes it's ridiculous. I have no idea how many times some stupid American has asked me one of the following:
    - Is there still an SS?
    - Do Germans have refrigerators?
    - Is the Internet there? (That's classic).
    - Are the Nazis big over there?
    HUH?!? Were they sincere, or were these Americans trying to egg you on?
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  6. #36
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    Ahhh Germans and history, I got some nice stories to share on that front! :rolli:

    Quote Originally Posted by entropie View Post
    The thing I am sad about is, for example american history is in germany most often only told in the english class. That's ridicoulus cause you talk about british history, chinese history, etc. in history class. And then because we had like 5 years WWII and my english teacher was a jerk who only liked Shakespeare, I roughly now anything about american history thru school.

    And those are things I find really stupid.
    This might interest you. It's a talk given by Mischa Honeck of the Heidelberg Center for American studies on the role German immigrants played in the American Civil War. It was interesting how he noted the strong role German nationalism played in why so many fought for the Union; since they fought for unification in Germany, they also would fight for unification in America.

    C-SPAN Video Player - Immigrant Participation in the Civil War

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    HUH?!? Were they sincere, or were these Americans trying to egg you on?
    Sometimes it is; but unfortunately alot of the time it isn't.

  7. #37
    L'anima non dimora Donna Cecilia's Avatar
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    I hate them too. The best History teacher I've ever had said that you can't study History by focusing on dates, but on time periods, since historical events are the result of cause-effect relations, which takes many years to develop, and not a single day.

    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    I think the most important thing is to make history come alive for people. I think the History channel and historical period films are one of the best things to ever happen, and some people don't even like that.
    Agreed.

    If History exams at my University were about doing the same critical analysis and interpretations that documentaries make, I would excel on the subject.

    But they are not, and my professor expects me and all his students to be mindless robots who memorize and transcribe manuals onto the exam papers. That is awful, since I can't memorize even my family and close friend's birthdays.

    If you look at a historical event from a different angle than the one of the manual's author, and make your own analysis of it, you won't pass his exams.

    The good news is that he is going to retire soon. I will pass my History exam next year with the new professor. Who hopefully won't tell me: "you didn't pass because that is not what the manual says". (Like my actual one who is a complete idiot without a mind and ideas of his own)

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  8. #38
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    I'm not too bad at memorizing numbers, actually. I can recite Pi to ten decimals, e to (counting) thirteen, I know the exact light speed by heart (299 792 458 m/s... yes, I'm a freak. 3 million kilometers a second is way close enough for anything I've ever encountered in my theoretical physics life), know the mass and the charge of the electron,... in short, numbers who have to do with something interesting (yeah right ) like physics and maths.
    But dates? What's so important about 1789(*)? Do I have to use that somewhere in a calculation? Is it an universal constant? Does it tell how matter and energy behaves?

    (*) French Revolution.
    I have memorized the numbers in numerical order, really, really high. At least 999,999,999,999,999 :workout:
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  9. #39
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropie View Post
    The thing I am sad about is, for example american history is in germany most often only told in the english class. That's ridicoulus cause you talk about british history, chinese history, etc. in history class. And then because we had like 5 years WWII and my english teacher was a jerk who only liked Shakespeare, I roughly now anything about american history thru school.

    And those are things I find really stupid.
    Don't worry, you probably know more about American History than a properly-educated American high school student. We've systematically whitewashed everything interesting about our history from the curriculum, to make sure anything approaching a dialectic view of history stays out. It's been that way since the 1930s.

  10. #40
    Supreme High Commander Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suchirony View Post
    Memorizing dates is kind of pointless in my mind. What's more important is know approximately when events happen. I don't see why you need to know what exact date the Civil War started but you should probably know what decade it took place in.
    I don't try for such point point accuracy myself - what century does for me.

    Trojan war 12th century BC
    Confusious 6th century BC
    Roman invasion of Britian 1st century AD
    Vikings turn up 8th century AD

    ...and so on.
    Don't make whine out of sour grapes.

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