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    Re: GPS for chickens and spinach
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2019 Feb 24, 12:27 -0800

    Brad, you wrote:
    "How a GPS receiver is going to compete with that is beyond me.  Even RFID isn't competitive with a barcode and that is a far simpler device."

    Right? I was thinking that perhaps the article is really about other location tech (like RFID), and the author wrote "GPS" simply because that has become a common error, and more importantly a common metaphor for certain types of precision technology.

    Naturally, we don't need exact coordinates, such as are produced by GPS devices, to track the history of our food (or most other components in the economy). Rather we need "gate-crossing" data. We don't need to know why the chicken crossed the road. But we certainly want to know when she crossed that road. When did the chicken cross a given "gate", or enter a particular phase, in the path from hatchery to farm to market and then to the table? The time of the event is important to some degree, perhaps recorded to the nearest minute, but not the exact location (unless somehow that's cheaper than ID-ing some steps in the process). It's telling that the article referenced in the NPR piece points to a Chinese company that is using blockchain accounting to store this economic data and prevent counterfeiting. That makes sense, and it reduces the issue of fake, random data for the Life of Colin the Chicken. There's no reference to GPS at all in that backing article...

    Needless to say, the original NPR article is as light as hen's feathers, and I'm not suggesting we take it too seriously. But I am quite serious about developing a sextant for chickens and other creatures lacking opposable thumbs. I suppose an octopus could get along ok, but for all the other fish in the sea, the micrometer has gotta go!

    Frank Reed


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