Monday, August 20, 2018

Improved Technology

Did you read that a mountain in Wales has been downgraded from a mountain to a hill?  Did it shrink or erode? No... in fact, it hasn't changed.  However, technology is behind this new determination.

What did I say?  Technology?  How can this happen?  This is the case of Fan Y Big in the Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales.  Mountains, or Hewitts in the UK, have to be at least 2,000 feet high with a minimum drop of 98.4 feet from top of the peak to the lowest point of the valley between 2 peaks.  Fan Y Big is definitely tall enough to qualify at 2,351 feet high.  Unfortunately, the lowest point is 5 feet shorter than the minimum required to be designated as a mountain.

Surprisingly, it seems that the use of satellite technology is to blame.  A mountain surveyor used this new method which collected hundreds of data points to determine the new measurement of 93.4 feet.  While the park is taking this change in stride, it made me wonder about the role of technology in changing our beliefs, impacting our points of view. and dispelling myths.

Throughout history, humans have had new ideas that pushed the boundaries of their beliefs.  The earth was once believed to be flat, but evidence was produced to the contrary.  I'm sure that this shook many people.  With the advent of science and exploration, many myths and beliefs were dispelled or disproved.  Now that technology is an integral part of our daily lives, is this the new method of changing our outlook and belief?

I think it is!  There is so much being discussed about truth in media right now.  It's everywhere you look.  There's also a lot of misinformation pushed to the public.  Our lives are busier than ever, and information is coming at us faster and through such a variety of means.  We have to be diligent in our search for what is true, and our use of technology is critical to that end.

I was interested in reading about the science behind this new measurement in Wales.  It is based on satellite technology like that used by GPS.  I'm very familiar with GPS due to geocaching.  It is a very reliable tool.  As a result, I'm willing to believe that Fan Y Big no longer qualifies under the scientific test for a mountain.  However, I bet that anyone who has climbed it still believes that they climbed a mountain!  This new measurement cannot take away their feeling of accomplishment or the joy they felt upon reaching its peak.   Just as it should be!

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