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    Dependence on GPS
    From: James N Wilson
    Date: 2009 Oct 24, 21:04 -0700

    I am disturbed that too many people use GPS without recognizing that it could 
    become disabled. I still think that practical knowledge of celestial 
    navigation should be a requirement for any navigator. I just found this:
    
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10189-solar-flares-will-disrupt-gps-in-2011.html
    
    Civil engineers have long used the idea of "100 year floods" to design 
    drainage systems. The idea there is to allocate resources wisely. I wonder if 
    GPS is designed to survive a "100 year solar storm"?
    
    I tell my students that, "When the batteries go dead, you still need to know 
    where you are." That's to get their attention. But it is the truth. And, if 
    GPS were to become useless, you would still need to know where you are.
    
    I spent my career creating interplanetary spacecrafts, and I know first hand 
    the many ways that they can fail. We think that our first one, Mariner 2, was 
    hit by a meteorite, but we didn't have enough instrumentation aboard to tell. 
    There are many hazards out there, not all of them known.
    
    I'm finding that common sense is not only not common enough, but is impossible to sell.
    
    Jim Wilson
    
    
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