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Some craziness around the world

Published February 12. 2011 09:00AM

Deadly GPS directions, foxes that apparently were man's original best friend and the resurgence of Al "the Weathermonger" Gore all topped news in the last week or so as well as a possible UFO spotted over the Jerusalem Dome. Let's begin our survey of the unusual and weird with global positioning systems.

In a recent story on the Fox News website, people are being warned by National Park Service personnel especially in the western United States that your blindly following your GPS unit into the desert can be lethal. According to one spokesperson, people are venturing into remote areas like Death Valley with nothing more than a GPS to guide them and possibly a cell phone. The units are leading people astray on roads that are dead ends or places where there are no roads at all. When people end up lost, they quickly discover that there is no cell coverage in the desert and are unable to find their way back.

Last summer a hiker disappeared after following his GPS into Joshua Tree National Park and no one has found his body. In 2009, a woman and her son traveled into Death Valley and became lost. She barely survived the searing temperatures and her six year old son died.

Granted we do not have deserts and large remote areas locally, but the advice probably is sound. One should always have updated maps of the areas in which you are traveling especially if you are going somewhere new. GPS systems are not infallible. I know my GPS system continually has tried to send me down dead end roads on some routes as well as once in a while insisting on pointless U-turns to take me out of my way. They are good guides but should always be viewed intelligently and not considered omniscient.

In other news, some scientists believe based on some ancient graves unearthed that foxes may have preceded dogs as man's best friend. By foxes, we are talking the animal not the supermodel. Scientists unearthed a grave in which a man appeared to have been buried with a fox whose skeleton appeared to reveal it had been killed and buried with the man. They estimate the grave to have been over 16,500 years old which predates by four millennia the first discovered dog-man burial site.

Scientists speculate foxes were never successfully domesticated and once dogs became more faithful companions, they replaced the former as man's favored pets. Of course with the proverbial reputation of the fox and its cleverness, maybe science has it backward. Maybe we were the pets of a breed of sentient foxes and we overcame their powerful but corrupt society to form our own. Oh, wait. That's the plot of "Planet of the Apes". Never mind.

Speaking of foxes, one fox who was crafty enough to have scammed the world for a Nobel Prize for the lack of work he did on global warming now known as "climate change" since the former term is hard to sell in a country that has had such a vicious winter has resurfaced. Yes, Al Gore is back and claiming that the massive snowstorm that wreaked havoc over 60 percent of the country a week or so ago is the result of, hold on to your seats … global warming.

Yes, Mr. Gore has actually stated in a blog post that "increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming." Fortunately there are scientists standing up to this guy now and claiming Al may not know of what he speaks. One critic, Dr. William M. Briggs, a statistician and climate scientist says Gore has a lack of understanding of precise predictions. "Activists like Gore are great at identifying events after the fact as being caused by global warming, but terrible at predicting them beforehand," said Briggs in a recent interview reported in a recent news story.

It's good to see people speaking out over this scam which I called a few years ago. Climatology is a macro cycle and looking at eighty to one hundred years of records in a climate cycle that typically lasts tens of thousands of years is statistically wrong. That is using 8 thousandths of one percent of a cycle's records to predict a cycle. It's something my understanding of statistics would call hogwash

Finally, a recent news story claims that a UFO was filmed over the Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock. The video which has made the YouTube circuit apparently shows a mysterious light over the holy shrine with the claim that it hovered there before shooting off into the sky. The video seems to be convincing and a kicker is that aircraft are forbidden from flying over the area which appears to confirm the sighting.

Before we start preparing for the end or rolling out the red carpet, it should be pointed out this initial story may not be what it seems. Upon further review of this tape, critics point out there appears to be some jumpiness in and around the sighting as well as some shakiness that is normally found in faked footage.

In addition, in a crowded city it seems incredible that only one person was able to capture this footage. While it looks good, it probably is not what it appears. Probably the best thing that could be said is nice try, better luck next time.

And that's a bit of the craziness around the world this week. Til next time …

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