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Australia and Japan do not have different road rules

Three student tourists from Japan recently took a trip to Australia. Because it’s the 21st century, they used a global positioning system (GPS) navigation system to get around. If they had arrived in Australia 30 years ago, perhaps they would have used a map.

Which navigation device is more authoritative – a GPS device, or a map?

While one can claim that a map can easily become outdated, a GPS device can become outdated also.

Yet even the most up-to-date map or GPS device cannot serve as a replacement for common sense. As ABC (the American ABC) News reports:

The three…set out to drive to North Stradbroke Island on the Australian coast Thursday morning, and mapped out their path on their GPS system.

The road looked clear, at low tide — but the map forgot to show the 9 miles of water and mud between the island and the mainland.

As the three drove their rented Hyundai Getz into Moreton Bay, they found the GPS device guiding them from a gravel road into thick mud….

Noda and her friends made it about 50 yards offshore before they realized they were stranded….

Read the rest here. (Apparently people in Australia are very nice; the students want to return.)

When Alister Macintyre shared this story on Google+, he made the following comment:

Some people have a belief in technology which goes into a fantasy world.

They are living in a science fiction world where technology is vastly superior to the real world.

However, I don’t know if it’s a belief in technology. I think it’s a belief in authority. I suspect that if those three students had used a map, they would have gotten into the same predicament.

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