Zero and One

In the US when you dial a number from a land line, you start with a “1” if you wish to call a number that is outside the local area. In the UK, a “0” is used to indicate that it is not a local number that you are dialing. Where the two countries really differ, as the choice of number is arbitrary, is how they write those numbers. In the UK, you would always include the zero; numbers are always written as 01753 646156 and never 1753 646156. Here in the US, the one is optional; a number can be written as either 1 626 555 4249 or 626 555 4249. The latter is, in fact, the more common representation; which confused me when I first tried to call an outside line. US mobile phones hide this ambiguity, as the 1 is optional when dialing from a cell.

Published in: on 8 January, 2015 at 20:01  Leave a Comment  

Start of Spring

I received a couple of desk calendars for Christmas. One of them is a daily trivia question. The other is a “This Day in History”. The former sits on my desk at work, the latter on my desk at home. 

My niece works at the same office as I do and during College breaks, she works every day and we carpool. This saves her fuel costs and now exposes her to a daily interesting historical fact; she does not see the latter as a benefit. 

On January 5, the first day after the New Year break, the calendar marked the anniversary of Dubček becoming first secretary of the Czech Communist Party in 1968. He started a period of political liberalism known as “The Prague Spring”. This may not seem a terribly relevant historical event, but it has personal resonance. The “Prague Spring” ended in August with a Russian led invasion of the country. My parents had been due to fly to Prague on the day of the invasion; their holiday plans obviously had to change. This was the first world event of which I have any memory, at the tender age of three. This was not the start of a stream of awareness of major news; I can recall nothing else until early 1971 and the UK switch to decimal currency. 

Published in: on 5 January, 2015 at 18:35  Leave a Comment  

Money in Education

Teaching is not a profession associated with high salaries, either here or in the UK, but there is a way to earn a large wage in educational the US. College sports in the US is big business. College American Football teams play in massive stadiums, some of which have cost several hundred million dollars in renovations over recent years. The University of Nebraska play in an stadium with a capacity of over 90,000; which is generally filled for every game. To put this into perspective, only two cities in the state have a population greater than that of the Stadium. Lincoln, in which the stadium sits, has a total population of just three times the capacity.

The money in college football was emphasized last week when the coach of the San Francisco 49ers left his $5m a year job to coach the University of Michigan. He is not losing out financially by this move from be wealthiest sports league on Earth , as his new salary from the college is $8m a year.

Published in: on 1 January, 2015 at 11:16  Leave a Comment