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The Great American Textbook Scandal

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    Words can lead you to conclude and believe, some facts may be true, while others may not.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2007
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      Words can lead you to conclude and believe, some facts may be true, while others may not.
      The Great American Textbook Scandal
      ONE DAY IN MARCH OF last year Leonard Tramiel, a balding, dark-bearded man of 45, sat alone in a science classroom in Milpitas, a middle-class community on the south end of San Francisco Bay. Having earned a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University and having made a bundle in Silicon Valley, Tramiel now taught occasionally around the Bay Area as a volunteer.
      Savoring a few quiet moments before 30 eighth graders surged into the classroom, Tramiel opened their astronomy textbook, Prentice Hall's Exploring The Universe, to the lesson for the day. Tramiel was surprised to see that Prentice Hall had inadvertently reversed two photographic images, giving a misleading impression of how the moon looks as it passes through its phases. Tramiel turned back a page. The book said that the moon probably had been born when a giant asteroid had struck the earth, tearing a chunk of material from the planet, and that the Pacific Ocean may be the hole left behind. What was this doing in a science textbook? The asteroid theory hadn't been taken seriously for over 30 years. Tramiel turned back another page and read that the far, or dark, side of the moon had been photographed for the first time by the Lunar Orbiter, a U.S. space probe. He knew for a fact that the Soviets had taken those first photographs.
      Three errors in three pages. At home that night, Tramiel read the textbook cover to cover and found dozens of errors--of fact, of interpretation, of concept.
      Read the rest of the article at the link above.
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