“The authors, independent writers whose past articles on science and technology targeted technical or popular audiences, are at their best when describing complex technology in understandable everyday terms….this well-researched book delivers an accessible introduction to the fascinating—and, it turns out, complicated—story behind GPS.”
–Alan D. Meyer, Technology and Culture, Volume 57, Number 1, January 2016, pp. 276-278
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The Space Review recently published Richard Easton’s article, “GPS origins myths as propounded by Stephen Johnson and Annie Jacobsen.” In the article, he lists a number of credibility-shattering errors found in two popular books that have received positive reviews and (unjustifiable) praise for their scholarship.
In most instances, a simple Google search and an hour or so of reading the results would have informed the writers that the two satellite systems they conflate–Transit and GPS–were developed by different entities at different times and used different technologies.
Public ignorance and misunderstanding about GPS is widespread. That might not matter much, if it were not a system that taxpayers spend around $1 billion a year to maintain and that has become a vital public utility around the planet. It is unfortunate that large publishers and media organizations unwittingly perpetuate errors and misunderstanding through lack of due diligence.
The recent article, “A Smart Bomb in Every Garage: Driverless Cars and the Future of Terrorist Attacks,” by Jeffrey Lewis, PhD, cites GPS Declassified. Lewis, a lecturer in International Studies at The Ohio State University, examines the threat of terrorists using self-driving cars to deliver car bombs. The article appears on The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) website.
On June 30, 2015, Richard joined a panel discussion on the Milt Rosenberg Show to talk about the history and future of space exploration.
Other guests were Bill Melberg, a former aviation executive and now editor of AmericasUncommonsense.com, professional speaker and frequent writer on aerospace topics, and Dr. Paul Spudis, an astrogeologist and moon expert who is senior staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas.
On March 1, Richard Easton and Eric Frazier joined Dr. David Livingston, host of The Space Show, for a discussion about GPS modernization. Topics included new capabilities, schedule delays, cost overruns, international competition and potential threats to the system–a concern shared by many listeners, as evidenced by questions posed by email and callers. You can listen to the podcast here.
“(The authors) tell an interesting story of how humans adapted an existing technology to provide benefits unseen by their original creators, a theme common in the history of technology….Ultimately, GPS Declassified achieves the authors’ goal of introducing the reader to important elements of the story of the development of GPS.”–Raymond O’Mara, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Keely Grasser, author of “From Duct Tape to Drones: Military Inventions That Impact our World,” in the Winter 2015 edition of Phoenix Patriot Magazine, interviewed Richard Easton and Eric Frazier for background information on GPS, one of eight innovations covered in the article. The key point she makes: GPS technology has spread throughout so many military, commercial and consumer industries that economists now find it impossible to accurately put a dollar figure on its overall worldwide impact.