Geek Buffet Answers Reader Questions, Volume 1

I’ve been having a good time watching the search terms people use to get to Geek Buffet. Sometimes, we get them, Jeopardy-like, in the form of a question. So, in an effort to be responsive to our public, I sent out some of our recent search term questions to our geeks for comment. Geek Buffet now presents unto you their answers.

Q: How tall is the librarian in the discworld?

A: Given that the Librarian in the Discworld is described as being a large male orangutan, and male orangutans can reach 5’9” tall, I would guess that the Librarian is probably about 5’9″. I can find no official confirmation for that guess, however. That’s a darned big ape (NOT monkey!)

Q: When do you plant raspberries in NC?

A: In Central and Eastern NC, raspberries grow poorly or not at all because it is too hot in the summer and not cold enough in the winter. (Although I understand NCSU is working on developing more heat tolerant varieties.) But in the mountains and foothills of Western NC, raspberry plants should go into the ground in the spring after the average date of last frost.
-B Barron

Q: Should greek Mythology be in public schoool?

A: Yes, no question about it. The religions and mythologies of civilizations are key to helping understand them; expecting children to learn about the ancient Greeks without hearing Greek myths is like trying to teach a course on medieval Europe without mentioning Christianity – the result will be so skewed by omissions as to be worthless. Culturally it’s also very valuable – as the child grows older and comes across the innumerable mythological references in other books and stories, he’ll be able to pick up on them instead of being confused or not noticing them or their significance at all.

Plus, the stories are just flat-out good, and if the children in question are learning them in elementary school, they may well get more out of them than they might if they didn’t learn them until they were high school age or more. Children of eight or ten who are learning Greek myths won’t usually be bringing a particularly analytical mind to them, and that can be a good thing – that way they can simply enjoy the stories for themselves, and will also be more inclined to remember them as they grow older, and perhaps look them up again or read more on their own time. (They could always start with the racier material that the teacher prudently didn’t mention). If you don’t encounter Greek mythology until college, no matter how much you love it, you’ll inevitably be analyzing it as you go along “Ah, a symbol of XYZ” or “Ah, every mythology has this kind of goddess figure in it, and here she manifests as ….”. Learn it young enough and it will just be part of the fabric of the child’s mind.

I’m biased here – I went to an elementary school which taught a unit on Norse myths in the fourth grade and Greek myths in the fifth. To this day I’m grateful that I came across them before I was old enough to think of them analytically and could simply enjoy them. There was plenty of time for retrospective analysis later on.

Want more answers? If you have a question that you’d like answered before trying to use it as a search term, you can always contact us, and we’ll do our best to answer it.


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