Wednesday, 21 November 2007

History Lessons

Myths and legends:

Most Primary school children as part of their history classes learn the difference between a Myth, a Legend and a Fact. This isn’t to denigrate for folk tales or the like but to help them learn the language and ideas of historical study. Here’s a catch up if you need it.

A Myth is story usually based in the past which has no basis in historical evidence or fact (but may have an underlying truth) and based on historical figures or events. The Viking tales of the World being made from the body of giant is myth in that it is based on any evidence but it did hold a underlying important truth for the peoples of the high north.

A legend is a historical story that is grounded in known fact/background but isn’t in its self true. King Canute commanding (and failing) the tide not to come in is a legend because king Canute existed and may well have been to the seaside but we have no record of him ever commanding the sea.

A fact. Is a known idea, event, person etc that we have written evidence of, from (ideally) a number of sources some hopefully contemporary to the event etc.
To test your knowledge here’s some examples from today’s news:

Which is the myth, the legend or fact?
a. In prehistoric times giant scorpions existed that where bigger than a man.

b. Romulus and Remus the founders of Rome where raised in a cave by wolves.

c. That in the age of interconnected computers it’s sensible or ethical to centralised delicate personal information into hands of
the government or similar agency.

Up until this morning this could well have been a myth but apparently it is a fact.

b. This was a legend in that Rome existed and was believed to have named after Romulus but it’s doubtful the wolf thing was true, it was just the Romans trying show they we special (by having no antecedents) and or hard (grrr wolves are scary). The Romans are now trying to show it’s not legend but fact.

c. The moment our information is put on a computer it is unsafe; it can shared world wide in seconds either by accident or malicious intent (or by posting some cd’s). Add to this that even though we invented the thing the UK governments can’t buy computer systems that work and you have total mess. So the idea that ID card will swift, efficient and safe system to use is a dangerous MYTH.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad somebody has mentioned ID cards whilst discussing this cock up. Has anyone seen mention of them in the media?

BLTP said...

A little on the Today programme. I think the guy who messed up and posted the cd's should get a medal not the sack for pointing out how un-safe the whole system is.