Dont Know Much

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From the ancients who charted the heavens to Star Trek , The X-Files , and Apollo 13 , outer space has intrigued people through the ages. Yet most of us look up at the night sky and feel totally in the dark when it comes to the basic facts about the universe. Kenneth C. Davis steps into that void with a lively and readable guide to the discoveries, theories, and real people who have shed light on the mysteries and wonders of the cosmos.

Discover why Einstein was such a genius, the truth behind a blue moon or two, the amazing secrets of Stonehenge, and even how one great astronomer lost his nose. Thanks for signing up! We've emailed you instructions for claiming your free e-book.

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    Americans are largely ignorant of their nation’s history.

    Davis We'd love you to buy this book, and hope you find this page convenient in locating a place of purchase. Specialty Booksellers Interest-specific online venues will often provide a book buying opportunity. International Customers If you are located outside the U. Enlighteningall good fun, and interesting, too. Fun, engrossing and significant Recommended for you. Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff. The Universe by John Brockman.

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    The nonliving items were further divided into nonmoving man-made objects such as brooms, nonmoving natural features such as boulders, moving artifacts such as trucks and, finally, moving natural phenomena such as rivers. Mistakes and hesitation would be taken as evidence that the primitive ideas of childhood still retain some power. The scientists were particularly interested in how we think about plants—where our mind tends to put them in the grand scheme of things.

    2. Become fluent in basic technology.

    If plants move at all, their movement is very subtle, hidden to the casual observer. Not surprisingly, kids often misclassify plants as nonliving. But how do college students think about plants?

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    Well, it appears that they, too, make mistakes, even with all that formal education. The volunteers in the study were much more hesitant in classifying plants, suggesting that they had to slow down to deliberately overrule their naive taxonomy. They also made more outright errors than they did when classifying animals.

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    In addition, the students were slower to size up moving things in general as well as nonliving natural things—suggesting that movement and naturalness were the features that stymied them. Stumbling over Plants To be fair, these student volunteers were not biology majors. And we all know that kids can slip into college without much in the way of rigorous scientific training. But here is the really interesting part. The psychologists subsequently ran basically the same experiment but recruited biology professors—people who make their living teaching university students about the natural world.

    Indeed, the volunteers in this second study had been teaching college-level biology for a quarter of a century on average—and at two highly prestigious schools, Yale University and Johns Hopkins University.

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    And guess what? As reported in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science , the professors did better than the undergraduates but not as brilliantly as one might expect of the scientific elite. Even these experts were significantly worse at classifying plants than they were at categorizing animals.