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Re: OT: Can Americans Compete ?

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> From: "Sharon Robertson" <sharon(--nospam--at)>

> Imagine this...You can be educated and also work on cars!

> One very small but real example of the lack of education problem:
> Many American adults can not tell you what countries border the north and

The most Northerly (and nearest Westerly - 30 miles) neighbour to the US is
an old ally ... Russia.

> south of the United States.  This is not rocket science but it is the
> education that is lacking in our society.

I would suggest that "general" information of anything outside the US tends
to be difficult to obtain for mainstream America. It's not about formal
education but rather about maintaining contact with other ideas and events
beyond the borders. I think that FOX news and MTV may have something to do
with this. Even TV weather satellite images distort geographic perspective.

Here's a little quiz that would stump many "well" educated in America:
Google and other search engines are off limits.

Since the current "troubles", in British parlance, seem to be about oil ...
Which country or region provides the most oil/gas (or energy products, in
current terminology) to the US?
What percentage of US consumption is provided from Saudi oil/gas fields?
(I'm certain that Pres. Bush wouldn't have to think twice for these ones.)

China has recently announced that it will revise monetary policy and peg the
Yuan to a basket of currencies rather than the US$, only ...
With which country or region does the US have the largest annual bi-lateral
How much does the Chinese government hold in US treasury certificates (1 or
2 significant digits is adequate)?

Japan's Toyota recently made the spot as number 3 in the Big 3 auto makers
>From which country or region does the US import the largest number of
Which company did Toyota displace?

Recently, 3 people were arrested related to an illegal cross border tunnel
with one portal in the US. Authorities were stunned by the effort that had
been expended and the complexity of the project. They suggested that the
tunnel would be used to move massive amounts of drugs, people and facilitate
other harm ...
In which state was one of the portals?
How many of the identified 9/11 hijackers entered the US via land routes?
Bonus question: How many of the 9/11 hijackers are known to have received
training or support in Iraq?

I was going to add one about the global capacity of oceanic container
traffic as it relates to US-China trade and the effect of increasing that
global capacity, or why ICANN is becoming a US based security threat to
other countries, including friends. But I thought these might be too

To be fair, most of my acquaintances would have a difficult time with some
of these as well. Education doesn't stop at the school door. However, the
media in the US is either under-reporting significant international issues
or blatantly getting the facts wrong.


Paul Ransom, P.Eng.

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