Friday, November 5, 2010

You Can't Always Trust Google

I don't know how I missed this: two weeks ago Nicaragua invaded Costa Rica. It didn't get much news coverage up here, mainly because to the U.S. media other countries don't exist unless there's a heinous disaster or we're invading them.

And to be honest it wasn't much of an invasion: if you were picturing armed commandos storming Costa Rican strong points and Costa Rican soldiers valiantly defending la patria, you're in for a disappointment. Costa Rica has no fortified strong points to storm and they don't have any soldiers. Actually they haven't had an army since 1948.

Apparently Nicaraguan troops under the command of one Eden Pastora crossed into Costa Rican territory, dredged a river, ousted a family from their ranch, and established a camp of some sort. Pastora claims to have thought he was still in Nicaragua--in spite of the fact that his troops spent some time taking down Costa Rican flags down from buildings and replacing them with Nicaraguan flags.

His defense? He was using Google Maps, according to which he was still in Nicaragua.

I don't what's more ridiculous: the possibility that he thinks this is a plausible excuse, or the possibility that military commanders actually use Google maps.

Of course, on the scale of mistakes that a military can make, this is fairly trivial compared to some others.

(Hat tip to Searchengineland, where I first learned about this.)


3goodrats said...

I too have been led astray by Google Maps, but thankfully it hasn't caused me to invade a country.

Kevin said...

I think it would be awesome if you invaded a country.

3goodrats said...

That might be just the career boost I need.

Kevin said...

It did wonders for Napoleon at first: the trick is knowing when to stop.

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