I went to a "progressive" school, which means I never learned the multiplication tables, parts of speech, or the fundamentals of geography. We were expected to absorb such banalities from the ether and focus on more crucial matters, like the agricultural practices of the
. The ether never did it for me, so I've relied on my fingers for math, poetic license for grammar, and hemming and hawing for geography. Recently, however, I've discovered that I quite enjoy that last subject, via National Geographic's
iPhone app. The game, organized into 15 social-studies-like tests, is quickly getting me up to speed on eighth-grade basics. Some rounds are multiple choice:
was the Greek name for what present-day city in Turkey? A) Ankara B) Istanbul C) Izmir. In others you must locate a city (Tehran, say), or the image of a famous monument (
) on a world map. GeoBee makes an excellent companion for long train rides or meals with dull people.