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Tangents: A New Definition of GPS

July 2, 2009
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An ABC News Science & Technology article recently posed the question, Will GPS Make Us Dumb? With international headlines like "Faith in GPS sends Mercedes downstream," "GPS causes accident in France," and "Man follows GPS straight into a train," it isn't a long stretch of the imagination to think that--for some people--maybe it already has. Retired Xerox executive Al Byrd, of Georgia, might agree.



From the June 24 POB eNews: An ABC News Science & Technology article recently posed the question, Will GPS Make Us Dumb? With international headlines like "Faith in GPS sends Mercedes downstream," "GPS causes accident in France," and "Man follows GPS straight into a train," it isn't a long stretch of the imagination to think that--for some people--maybe it already has. Retired Xerox executive Al Byrd, of Georgia, might agree.

Two weeks ago, Byrd received a phone call notifying him that his 1950s family home, built by his father, who is now deceased, had been torn down. This was a surprise to Byrd.

The man who maintained the yard at the house, which no one lived in, called Byrd late Monday, June 8, to deliver the unfortunate news. Byrd immediately jumped in his car and called the Sheriff's Department. When he pulled into his old neighborhood, all that remained of the home he grew up in was a pile of rubble and a load of excuses. "It's incredulous," the still-shocked Byrd told reporters. When Byrd called to get answers the following morning, a representative of North Georgia Container told him they were hired by Southern Environmental Services to raze the house. According to the sheriff's report, Southern Environmental Services was hired by Austin-based Forestar Group.

Southern Environmental Services told Byrd that the demolition crew was led by some paperwork and GPS coordinates to 11 Byrd Trail, which is named for his family. Yet no one ever contacted him before leveling the house.

Byrd suspects a substantially different house on the other side of railroad tracks was the intended target. He's hired a lawyer, but he hasn't mapped out what his next step will be.

As more people place their faith in GPS-based technology and put their critical thinking skills on cruise control, perhaps a more-appropriate abbreviation for GPS might be Great Potential for Stupidity.

Have a great week,

Wendy Lyons, eNews editor

P.S. See photos and read the story at ABC News or the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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