Innumerate Americans

Jo Anne over at Cosmic Variance just posted a truly sad statement on our country’s reputation, even within itself.

from her post:

I arrived in the San Francisco airport on Monday night, passed passport control, picked up my luggage, and went to hand in my customs form, which is the last step in the arrivals process. The customs agent stopped me dead in my tracks. He first asked, “Are you an American.” Obviously I answered “yes” straight-away. Then he asked, “OK, then, what is the square root of 98?”

So, after I gave my intelligent answer of “HUH,” the guy burst out laughing and said, “Yes, of course you’re an American. You don’t know anything!”

I wonder what would have happened if I had been awake. My normal, instantaneous response would have been “7 times the square root of 2”. I wonder if I would have been arrested if I said that….

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Filed under Education, Math, Politics

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