Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
Since, all the backlogs on my non-serious discussions, I thought I'd start a serious one. Here's a great decision from our president.

(link)

I AM BEING SARCASTIC WHEN I SAY GREAT.

Mike Eberhart | December 16, 2004
I don't see any problem with this policy. It's clearly stated that this would never happen unless a national crisis happened. I'm glad that they are working out plans to be as disruptive to terrorists as they can be. Besides, much like last time, I'm sure that if something happened again, the Airlines would be grounded anyway so they wouldn't need the GPS. Besides, the military would still have their own GPS satellites in place so they would still be effective.

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
Yeah, how about this? They need to use GPS to track planes, that may have been hijacked. I think shutting it down is much more involved than they are making it out to be. This is a bad idea. GPS is not something you can just "shut down" If several satellites go down, then you can fuck up the entire network. It could take a seriously insane amount of time for the network to get back up. Also, There are thousands of other ways to tract aside from GPS. This isn't disruptive, it'll hurt us more than them.

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
Weirdly enough, I'm going to have to agree with Mike on this one. The article sounds like they can selectively shut down areas of GPS, which would allow them to track one plane if they wanted. And I really doubt it would ever be used - if we did use it, I don't think it would cause many problems, considering what kind of national crisis level we would be at - I think they're talking about another 9-11 situation, which hopefully we will never have.

Mike Eberhart | December 16, 2004
I seriously doubt that, Scott. If the nation has been grounded, any rogue aircraft would easily be trackable from NORAD, and interceptor aircraft could be directed to them. Are you a satellite communications technician? How do you know what's invovled with bringing system back online? As you say, it could take awhile to bring the commercial system back online, but this isn't something that they would have to worry about until the initial crisis is over. After that, you can focus on restoring normal order.

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
Also, we didn't always have GPS, right? I seem to feel like it has been something within the last ten years. So does radar, etc. work on different principles than GPS? GPS is awesome and amazingly accurate, but I'm sure essential government services could operate without it.

Mike Eberhart | December 16, 2004
Exactly Anna. We have other ways of tracking other than GPS. But like I said, the military GPS sats. would probably not be shut down anyway during a crisis. Plus, places like NORAD use other, more effective, methods of tracking airborne objects than just GPS. This article is basically saying they would shutdown the commercial use GPS sats. Which, many civilians have access to.

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
I've actually done quite a bit of work with GPS in college. But that's besides the point. What get's shut down? DC? NY? It's not hard to extrapolate a course based on what you see. And for every 1 satellite that goes down, at least 3 others try to cover the area. It's set up with it's own contingency plan. It's much more complicated than the article is making it sound. GPS has been around for at least 30 years, just FYI. And, I'm sure the terrorists have better ways of tracking anyways.

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
Perhaps the terrorists DON'T have a better means of tracking - wouldn't it make sense to be able to knock out a big part of their means of doing so? You said that there are thousands of ways to track besides GPS - but it IS true that GPS is widely available for civilians to use - I mean, it's in CARS now, for crying out loud. So it's widely available. This is one of those rare instances where I see the government's point in having the ability to turn this off - it could be a useful safeguard in an emergency.

Scott Hardie | December 19, 2004
Hmm... The other Scott H. got serious? I guess I should get jokey.

I want to see protestors oppose this policy with signs saying "Yo Bush... globally position THIS."


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