The weather in my area of Florida has been rather mild the last few years, in the way of major or tropical storms, so when word of tropical storm Collin came to the coast, I saw a variety of interesting reactions.
First there were the people stocking up on goods of all kinds for fear of damage or a major power outage.
Then there were the folks (probably already with stockpiled supplies) who hunkered down and decided to play it by ear. From my point of view, this seemed to be the majority decision.
And one more group, one that I always find the most fascinating.
Animals often react to incoming storms by hiding, going to their burrow, finding a place to roost, finding a way to endure the coming weather. At my place on the canal, the land crabs were on the move, looking for higher ground, literally. I found the critters in the trees in the yard. They were waiting for the tide to rise and it did, maybe a little over two feet higher than its usual high point.
High winds aside, that high tide was pretty much the only bedevilment delivered by Collin in my corner of Pasco county. So, if you happen to be camping or vising the Sunshine State and you notice the beach crabs climbing the trees, you may want to get ready for heavy weather.
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I was doing some research on education today and came upon some troubling and sad statistics. I’m not really surprised of course. Who would be, if they spent only a few minutes examining our popular culture? Or 10 seconds on YouTube?
The information I found came from several sources, including Gallup and various Universities from around the country. Here’s the take-aways that made me want to cry a ham sandwich of sorrow (from Psychology Today.)
- According to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 68% of public school children in the U.S. do not read proficiently by the time they finish third grade. And the U.S. News & World reported that barely 50% of students are ready for college level reading when they graduate;
- After leading the world for decades in 25-34 year olds with university degrees, the U.S. is now in 12th place. The World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. at 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly 50% of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are foreigners, most of whom are returning to their home countries;
- 18% of Americans still believe that the sun revolves around the earth, according to a Gallup poll;
You can find many more sad facts at Psychology Today.
For some reason I find the last one I listed as the most troubling.
What do you think? Has the U.S. lost its ability to compete due to the flashy pressure of pop culture distractions? Are we, as a nation, so unconcerned with knowledge that we’ll go dancing and skipping into a future ruled by idiots? Will everyone outside of the U.S. start to use the term “American” as slang for moron, like they use “Texas” as slang for “mentally disturbed?” Only time will tell I suppose. I guess we’ll know when they replace water with Gatorade to irrigate our crops.