Great Moments in Geography Illiteracy, Part 3

South Carolina Panthers

Nike recalls Carolina Panthers shirt incorrectly labeling South Carolina as North Carolina.  (The Panthers play in Charlotte.)  Full story.

Geography Poems: Jorge Carrera Andrade’s Micrograms

andrade-colorJorge Carrera Andrade (1902-1978) was an Ecuadorian poet who worked as a journalist and editor before holding diplomatic positions in Peru, France, The Netherlands, Japan, and the United States (among many others).  It’s from this worldly perspective that Carrera Andrade cultivated one of his most enduring contributions to global literature: the microgram.  Loosely defined as a short poem that examines the natural world, the microgram is an amalgamation of such concise predecessors as the epigram, the proverb, the song, the saeta, the riddle, and the haiku.  It was Carrera Andrade’s goal to unite these forms in a boundless and borderless tradition.  In his collection, Micrograms — which is equal parts essay, anthology, and original poetry — he writes:

I try to testify to an ordinary man’s orbit in time.  At first he feels as a stranger in the midst of a changing world but later receives the visit of love and discovers deep within himself a feeling of solidarity with all men of the planet.  In this sense I have traversed new countries in different latitudes and have returned to others already known, in a pilgrimmage as passionate observer rather than as curious traveler.

Published below are five Micrograms by Jorge Carrera Andrade, translated by Joshua Beckman and Alejandro De Acosta.

What The Snail Is

tiny measuring tape
with which God measures the field.

The Earthworm

Constantly tracing in dirt
the long inconclusive stroke
of a mysterious letter.


Living pink tube,
the fish writes glass zeros
in the fishbowl.


silver amulet
or little devil with goiter,
creature of dawn.

Memory of ruins,
fleeting animated mine,
shudder of field,
misanthropic lizard.

Palm Reader

Atop the lines of a leaf
the slow finger of the caterpillar
deciphers good fortune.

Poems from Micrograms by Jorge Carrera Andrade, translated by Alejandro de Acosta and Joshua Beckman. Copyright 2011. Reprinted with permission of Wave Books and the translators.

Great Moments in Geographic Illiteracy, Part 2

Chelsea Handler lobs a softball to Noel Fielding, co-star of the British TV show The Mighty Boosh.

Chris Hayes on Climate Change and “The Crisis of Authority”

from his book, Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy

By the end of the fail decade, belief among Americans in the basic, scientific consensus on climate change was plummeting.  A comprehensive Pew poll on the issue released in October 2009 found that only 57 percent of people thought there was evidence of warming, down from 71 percent the previous year.  The number of people who thought climate change was a serious problem was down to just 35 percent.

In order to doubt the science of climate change you must believe in a vast conspiracy to deceive, one that involves thousands of scientists, bureaucrats, and journalists.  And implausible as this may be, it is precisely the theory that prominent media figures are selling to their audiences.  In 2010, Rush Limbaugh told his 15 million listeners that the list of untrustworthy institutions extended way past Al Gore.  He described “government, academia, science, and media” as making up what he called the four corners of deceit.  “Those institutions,” he told his listeners, “are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit.  That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.”

Think about what it would mean to dispatch the duties of citizenship while discounting every single piece of information that emanated from government, academia, science, or the media…

Agree?  Disagree?  Thoughts?  Ideas?