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I am the author of the forthcoming revisionist, non-fiction history, of the the voyages of Henry Hudson, entitled "Henry Hudson and the Bastard Map." I have authored articles on early cartography of North America, for a number of specialist magazines, including "Mercator's World," "The Explorers Journal," and the Canadian National Historical Society's bi-monthly, previously named "The Beaver," and "The Portolan." All of this work was predicated upon a series of airborne expeditions which I conducted in Arctic and Sub Arctic Canada, and the evidence that those expeditions provided. Those Expeditions were in part funded by Rolex Watch USA, TRW Corporation, Eastman Kodak Co., and Olympus Camera. The aviation experiences lead to a number of articles in General Aviation publications.
My bachelor's degree is in Economic History, from Columbia University, The School of General Studies in1967. I have done graduate work in Marine archaeology and Accounting. I hold a SEL FAA License, with an Instrument rating, am a certified NAUI open water diver, and have served in the U.S.Army, from which I was honorably discharged.
The most important aspect of my experiences, which I would share with students, is the love of, and necessity of learning, not as rote memorization, but helping students to see the connections between data points. Things aren't what they necessarily appear to be, and discovering at first hand what the underlying reality is, can provide incredible excitement. I assure students that there is noting quite like the moment when I found the document, dating to 1609, linking Henry Hudson to both English Intelligence, and to a previously un-noted voyage. That bit of espionage, solved one of England's major economic problems of the age, the unavailability of a mordant to fix dyes in fabric, England's principal export item.
Latino and Hispanic students have been particularly short-changed in studying the age of "Discovery," the 15th - 17th century period in European History wherein all the great "geographic discoveries" were made. Portuguese exploration was built upon the shoulders of the Phoenicians, whose literature was uncovered by the Portuguese.
The process of marshaling the data for these publications has brought me more joy than most humans have in a lifetime. The five years I have invested in this project has provided at least weekly "Aha!" moments. One should properly think about learning as exploration and discovery, the revelation of new knowledge and understandings. The world becomes a slightly more comprehensible place. And in the art of writing, one is forced to arrange complex data in understandable form.
The pending publication of my book in the Fall of 2012, will preempt certain blocks of time.
History in general and American history specifically has been variously described by such illustrious scholars as George Santyana, as "…a pack of lies, written by people who weren't there, about events that didn't happen." For reasons that escape me, History is taught as a set of microscopic sub-sets of data, each completely unconnected to anything else. In reality, history is the broad sweep of human activities, motivations and conditions, including economic, religious, political and intellectual. The Greek geographer, Strabo, wrote about the requirements for a geographer, as the ear of a poet, the focus of the scientist and mathematician and the skills of an astronomer. The student of History will find more excitement than is found in a James Bond flick if properly pursued.
European History in general has been variously described by scholars as George Santyana, a Spaniard, as "…a pack of lies, written by people who weren't there, about events that didn't happen." The list of ascerbic quotations deriding the teaching of History is virtually endless. "The Economist" however, captured the goodness of historical understanding perfectly several years ago. They wrote, paraphrasing Santayana "…those who misinterpret the past are doomed to bungle the present." In reality, history is the broad sweep of human activities, motivations and conditions, including economic, religious, political and intellectual. The Greek geographer, Strabo, wrote about the requirements for a geographer, as the ear of a poet, knowledge of the historian,the focus of the scientist and mathematician and the skills of an astronomer. The student of History will find more excitement in the realities of history, than is found in a James Bond flick if properly pursued. Reality is much stranger than fiction.
The GED is a test of logic and close reading as much as anything else. The questions themselves will yield to basic analysis. Comfort with your own rationality is the most important factor in successfully preparing for this test.
Geography in its simplest form is the study of the Earth, its resources, its dimensions, and its inhabitants. But that is what makes it interesting; how to make whole intellectual cloth out of these seemingly unconnected topics. One cannot study an ocean, without understanding its inhabitants. The concept of continental drift/plate techtonics and subduction are ideas barely a half century old for us, but topics that were discussed in antiquity. Ptolemy of Alexandria writing in the 2nd century CE noted that "…care must be taken in the latest researches because the Earth undergoes change over time."
The study of government and politics is the study, of what Adam Smith described in 1750 as the invisible hand of economics, made palpable. The flux and flow of political ideas is a reflection of those invisible forces, or as an English esssayist wrote describing the Malthusian calculus of population growth, the "dismal Science." The study of political systems raises the undertaking to something invisible and/or dismal"
Grammar, in engineering terms, is the exploded view of our language, where one can visualize the ways grammatical components fit together. It also defines the components' functions within the sentence. Unfortunately, it is, in general, no longer taught in secondary schools. Those who want/need to write and speak professionally need to understand how our English language works.
The notion of "World History" is a bit of an oxymoron. Family history, tribal history, city/ state history, national history, all are worthy subjects for study. The first time anyone saw the "World" as a whole was late in the last century when American Astronauts caught a glimpse of our home planet from above, returning from the Moon. Therefore, it should be treated as a new, and potentially interesting subject of study.
Writing is the art of initially gathering ideas, then winnowing them to eliminate the chaff from the grain, and only then planning what is to be written.
In order to successfully execute one's plan, the following issues must be firmly understood: grammar, the underlying structure of the language; punctuation, and its impact on how ideas flow; and lastly, vocabulary appropriate to the task.
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