Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If you write for US audiences, best keep your writing simple, lest a large segment of readers are unable to fully understand what you mean. Some lamentable problems of comprehension among the American general public were found in a survey study by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman.
The U.S. is 11th among developed nations in the proportion of 25-to-34 year-olds who have graduated from high school, 16th in college completion rate, 22nd in broadband Internet access, 24th in life expectancy at birth, 27th among developed nations in the proportion of college graduates who have degrees in science or engineering, 48th in the quality of kindergarten to Grade 12 math and science education, and 29th in the number of mobile phones per 100 people.
Forty-nine per cent of U.S. adults do not know how long it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun. U.S. consumers spend more on potato chips than their government does on energy research and development. The average American kindergarten-to-Grade-12 student spends four hours a day watching TV.
During a recent period when two high-rise buildings were built in Los Angeles, 5,000 were built in Shanghai. Sixty-nine per cent of U.S. public school students in Grades 5 through 8 are taught mathematics by teachers who have neither a degree nor a certificate in math.
Friedman has been-writing about this stuff for a long time. He thought the U.S.'s future in the world's economy should have been the overriding issue in the campaigns for the Senate and House of Representatives. All indications are that more trivial issues occupy centre stage.

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