Friday, April 24, 2009

Inches, Feet, Miles

Question: Which 4 states meet at the Four Corners Monument? If you answered with the names of any 4 states, you are wrong … maybe.

“National Geodetic Survey officials say the Four Corners marker showing the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) west of where it should be, the Deseret News reported.

But wait, “The marker is 1,807.14 feet east of where it should have been placed, said Dave Doyle, chief geodetic surveyor for the National Geodetic Survey, which defines and manages a national coordinate system.”

You have to wonder how anyone could get the monument wrong. All they had to do was wander around until they saw the big “A” and the dashed border lines intersecting.

It was probably some man, assigned to install the monument, who was too proud to ask for directions and just put the marker down where it was easiest to install. “The borders intersect over there, why did you put the monument here?” “The light was better over here.”

What’s possibly worse is first saying the monument is 2.5 miles west of where it should be then saying it is a mere 1,807 feet east (1/3 of a mile, a mere glitch, not worth discussing). They tried to pass this off with some BS about measuring from the Prime Meridian versus the Washington Meridian. Who ever heard of the “Washington Meridian”?

I think what happened is, after the first AP story appeared, President Obama was woken up at 3 a.m. and briefed on the crisis.
“Mr. President, given the state of our economy and the budget you’ve laid out, we can not afford to handle the deluge of lawsuits from people who were duped into thinking they were at the four corners when they were actually just at a flat place in Colorado … or Utah or somewhere. They will claim damages for erroneous souveniers, family photos and related pain and suffering.”
“Isn’t that an issue for those states whose borders are involved, not a Federal issue.”
“Sir, given your socialist agenda, individual states rights and issues no longer exist.”
"Oh. Well, what would Bill Clinton have done in a case like this?”
"He would have lied, sir.”
“Okay then, make up some pseudo-scientific reason that the monument is really correct.”

The best part of the story is that, “In any case, the measurement differences don't matter anymore, Doyle said, because ‘the monument controls.’
‘Where the marker is now is accepted,’ Doyle said. ‘Even if it's 10 miles off, once it's adopted by the states, which it has been, the numerical errors are irrelevant. It becomes the legal definition’ of the Four Corners.” Whatever the Ministry of Truth says is right.


Cali said...

So funny!

The Washington Meridian is always the perfect cop-out, as any good BS-er knows. (C'mon, get with it. ;)

JohnnyB said...

I wish I'd known of that excuse back in geography class in high school.

Anonymous said...

I have pictures from my childhood of standing in the 4 corners of...what? Funny!


Anonymous said...

Scratch that family vacation...

Maybe we'll go to Hollywood and see where they filmed Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.

JohnnyB said...

Karen - see, your childhood memories are destroyed. Sue!

Barb :-D