Posts Tagged ‘geography’

American Sports Teams and Geographic Deception

Posted in Sports and Games on July 24th, 2015 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, currently only one game ahead of the Houston Astros for control of the AL West, are visiting town next week in a series that will prove to be tense and interesting. Hopefully the Astros will regain the lead of the division during the series, but regardless of how things turn out, the Astros have one thing to be proud of: they're not geographically deceptive.

See, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are, as the latter half of their name suggests, based in Anaheim, CA. A city, that, for the record, is not even in Los Angeles County. These Orange County wannabes look to their northwest and see love for the Los Angeles Dodgers, based in, believe it or not, Los Angeles. They are understandably envious of the admiration that big city living gives you. And frankly, I can't blame them. When they changed their name from "Anaheim Angels" in 2005, they gave a nod to their beginnings, they created a more easily marketable franchise name, and they began their geographic deception.

After thinking about the Angels, I got interested: are other baseball teams practicing geographic deception of the same caliber? What about teams of other sports?

As it happens, in baseball, they are the only team to lie about their location, and even that's not quite a full lie, as they maintain the "of Anaheim" qualifier. The other twenty-nine MLB teams are accurate about where they are located, although five (Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays) are vague enough to facilitate a possible future-though-nearby move.

And it turns out that this geographic deception is actually not very rampant outside of football: the NFL is by far the most egregious pit of lies. Of thirty-tw teams, only twenty-six play where they call home, and six of those (Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, and Minnesota Vikings) are quite vague, hedging where they actually play. That leaves a whopping SIX teams that are geographically deceptive in the NFL: New York Giants (East Rutherford, NJ), New York Jets (East Rutherford, NJ), Dallas Cowboys (Arlington, TX), The Washington Professional Football Team (Landover, MD), Buffalo Bills (Orchard Park, NY), and the San Francisco 49ers (Santa Clara, CA). After all, what's in a name?

The NBA and NHL are much more honest, basically on the same level as baseball. The NBA has only four 'hedgers' (Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, and Minnesota Timberwolves) and only one liar: the Detroit Pistons (Auburn Hills, MI, but can you blame them?) Frankly, the NBA should get bonus points for their aboveboard honesty in the form of the Brooklyn Nets. Where every other NY-centric team in any sport claims just "New York," the Nets are specific enough to name their borough. The NHL, similarly, has six 'hedgers' (Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and Minnesota Wild) and only one liar: The Ottawa Senators (Kanata, Ontario – I expected better from you, Canada… shame.)

The conclusion from all this? Minnesota is one big state with no individual cities, at least as far as sports are concerned.

Why don't we know geography?

Posted in Ridiculum on June 27th, 2012 by Nathan – 1 Comment

As you can see from this map, the southernmost part of South America belongs to Chile. Yet, some idiot pubquiz in New Jersey insisted on Argentina. If only geography was important...Last night, I was talking with some friends when we realized that three of us had won spelling bees at some point in our lives. The topic quickly moved to the geography bee, and it was as quickly revealed that not only had none of us won the event, but none performed all that well.

I vividly remember the geography bees of my middle school years, in which I would almost certainly be eliminated within the first round. But the competitions didn't last very long for anyone else either. The spelling bee I won lasted two days before I was declared winner. Geography bees, on the other hand, rarely lasted more than two hours. People were eliminated quickly, and with the exception of the guy who won every year, it seemed that none of us knew much geography.

It seems like geography is probably an important thing to know. We are taught from a young age the fifty states, even though fewer than ten or so are actually important. We also learn postal codes for those states, and if we're really lucky we learn the capitals. But we don't learn much more than that.

If you don't know where you are, how can you truly understand who you are? It seems to me that geography is important, and yet, we don't know much about it. If we were to ask people throughout the world to name states, I bet many could name at least the important ones. And yet if asked to name parts of their countries, we would be at a loss.

We take geography as a class in ninth grade in Texas, formally, but we learn much in the years of history and social studies before that. We don't retain the information, though, because it's not considered important. When it's time to get into college, you need to know how to read and how to do simple math. If you take the ACT instead of the SAT, you also need to know how to read a chart. But you don't need to label a blank map. You don't need to name foreign capitals. You don't need to know about large rivers or deserts. You don't need to know how many oceans there are. So after ninth grade is over, any geography you've learned is quickly forgotten.

That's odd. Math is important, and reading comprehension is as well, but why isn't geography in the same boat? Why do we put so little emphasis on this subject?

“It’s just Pub Quiz”

Posted in Ridiculum on September 7th, 2011 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

I know very well that pub quiz questions are not always perfect. There are mistakes in the sources of the information, in a question’s ambiguity, and even simply in the way quizmasters read the questions. No pub quiz is perfect, and it would be folly to expect it.

However, when a mistake is made, it is up to the quizmaster to fix it, either by awarding points to both the listed and correct answers, by throwing the question out, or by awarding points only to the correct answer when the answer is overwhelmingly wrong.

In the past, I’ve faced lots of problems like this and the quizmaster has always – except once – rectified the problem with one of the above solutions.

Last night, in Hoboken, I participated in a pub quiz with a variety of problems (cheaters included), but in which the largest problem was an obstinate quizmaster. The question “which country contains the coastline where the Atlantic and Pacific meet” yielded the answer, according to the quizmaster, “Argentina.”

Of course, the point is actually in Chile, at Cape Horn. Panama, which many people suggested, should also be an acceptable answer, as technically this is a point where the two oceans meet, thanks to the canal.

However, rather than accepting the correct answer of Chile, the quizmaster responded “No, this is a trivial pursuit question. This is the answer.” To which I responded that many TP questions are wrong and that TP can’t possibly be more reliable than the actual earth, a map of which showed that TP was wrong.

He then responded “It’s just pub quiz” and refused to award us the point. Well, yes, it is “just pub quiz” and it only matters so much. But if you feel that way, why would you be a quizmaster?

There are only four oceans

Posted in Ridiculum on October 11th, 2010 by Nathan – 1 Comment

The title of this entry is a fact.

This map clearly displays FOUR oceans. Because that's how many there are. Four. The other day, Yoni informed me that he had learned the five oceans as Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian, and Antarctic, and that some people had changed the name from Antarctic to Southern. I told him to back up for a second: there are only four oceans, and I had never heard of this Southern/Antarctic nonsense.

And nonsense is exactly what it is. Yoni then tried to convince me that in fact there are five oceans, and that I learned geography wrong. Of course, considering that this is a guy who didn’t know that Manhattan is an island or that his home state of Michigan borders Wisconsin, I’m not sure his argument was that sound.

Nonetheless, a quick glance at Wikipedia and some other untrustworthy website informed me that according to some International Oceanographic Wizardry Organization (maybe not wizardry, but with about the same credibility), the Southern Ocean is all the water (including the frozen water of the Antarctic) below the sixtieth parallel. This definition was created in 2000.

This is completely ridiculous, made up, and on par with Pluto not being a planet and the Triceratops not being a dinosaur. Seriously, you cannot delineate an ocean by using some meaningless manmade definition and just expect that the earth will conform to that. That’s completely unreasonable.

Before 2000, the Earth was content to have four oceans. Then the IOWO (if I had called it association, it would be a state) or whatever they call themselves comes in and decides there’s five oceans? I think not. There are four oceans and that’s that.