Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Bad News Is That Pessimism Sells

I was reading the Drudge Report and saw this post that said that our GPS satellite system will fail in 2010. Sigh, more pessimism. Me, being the eternal optimist, cannot understand why anyone would buy into this line of crap.

First off, you gotta understand that any article declaring that the sky is NOT falling would never get published in any news organization. Beyond the fact that by definition it would not be news it would have no "head turning" ability. Who'd glance twice at a news paper bearing that headline? Newspapers and other publications, including radio and TV exist solely to deliver an audience to someone paying to advertise to that audience.

Second, in most, if not all cases, you have to read well into the article to find words such as "...if nothing is done...". They are often the optimum words that indicate that the angle that the writer is taking is that someone is willfully refusing to action that is required. That is rarely the case. Most often, the person refusing to take the action required has a perfectly logical reason for doing so: it is actually not needed or an upgrade is in the works. Other times the writer is talking to some dolt who doesn't have the insight to speak with knowledge to current situation. The writer then takes the angle that the person speaking without insight has the correct view and the person who does have insight is the person forced to defend the indefensible.

Lastly, we need to ask ourselves the optimum question whenever we read a news story: Does this make sense? Look at the current question: Is the GPS system going to have a total breakdown in 2010? Is the US military going to let that happen to a system that is key to the operation of aircraft carriers, JDAM bombs, fighter jets, tanks, and the common ground-pounder? I doubt it. Neither will they let airliners, trains, semi-trucks, and common citizens end up without GPS service. The same goes for politicians, who would have to answer to everyone who relies on GPS service if it were going to suddenly go dark. Yet, you can be assured that in a few days or weeks you'll have folks running around exclaiming that the GPS system is failing and all of the satellites will suddenly fall to Earth.

If any of the satellites truly do fall from the sky, with any luck they will land on the heads of the folks who go around spreading this crap.

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