Wednesday Roundup: Beware GPS!
Tenner reminds us that this danger isn’t really new, even if the technology is. Two centuries ago, Lansford Hastings published a guidebook for people traveling into California. The book featured a shortcut Hastings claimed to have found. The Donner Party followed Hasting’s directions and died!
Apparently, a couple was driving from Canada to Las Vegas and decided to take a short-cut on some logging roads. They got lost, ran out of gas and were stuck. The husband left to find help and was never found. The wife stayed in the van for seven weeks, when some hunters rescued her.
The couple had been following a global positioning system. That was their downfall, according to Tenner. They should have used paper, Tenner writes, or better, just asked somebody!
• Flooding in Louisiana has started talk about “re-engineering” the Mississippi River.
Louisiana was built by sediment deposited by a flooding Mississippi. “That process was subverted by the straitjacketing of the Mississippi in the name of commerce,” writes Brian Vastag in the Washington Post. “Hemmed in by levees, the river shunts most of its sediment out over the edge of the continental shelf, draining swamps, reducing coastal protection from hurricanes and contributing to the disappearance of about 1,500 square miles of Louisiana coast over the past century.”
The article reviews various plans for re-routing river floods back through the state’s wetlands.
• Europe’s wheat crop (a fifth of the world’s total) is threatened by the driest growing conditions in at least 36 years.
• Deere & Co. continued to sell farm machinery and recorded strong second quarter earnings. Profits were nearly double those of a year ago.
• United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts writes in the Charleston Gazette that he opposes new regulations that “will inevitably lead to large-scale unemployment and massive rate hikes over the next several years.”
Roberts is particularly upset about new rules governing emissions from coal-fired power plants.
• Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is asking Congress for authority to reduce service from six to five days a week. Donahoe made the request at a hearing Tuesday of a Senate subcommittee.