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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A world without GPS

As we all know, GPS depends on information beamed down from satellites.  Because of the wonder of GPS -- or so the radio has just informed me -- planes are capable of flying into Queenstown, Middle Earth, in the middle of the night, with satellite-beamed information  safely zigzagging them around the peaks that abound in the Southern Alps.

There are all sorts of stories about cars that blindly followed navsat (satnav) instructions and finished up falling into lakes, but it's no joking matter.  What would happen if a solar flare, a stray comet, or a series of collisions with space junk destroyed those crucial satellites?

It certainly wouldn't be possible to look up your route to wherever on google.

Or get a sneaky image of a street scene, somewhere.

Planes would fly the wrong way and maybe even fall out of the sky. What is the chance that MH370 was a victim of GPS failure?

We wouldn't know that hurricanes and tornadoes are on the way.  Or be able to plan for rain, or drought.

Illegal poachers and thieves who are currently caught because of GPS technology would scoot away free.

GPS-controlled tractors and harvesters wouldn't work any more, so food production would plummet.

Undiscovered ore-deposits and archaeological sites would remain undiscovered.

Your mobile phone would not work.  Nor would eftpos machines.

And flying into Queenstown at night would be a game of Russian roulette.

Read more about it in a book by Lewis Dartnell, with the intriguing title, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch

From the collapse of satellite-based technology, I assume...

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