Thursday, April 11, 2013

North Korea Nuke Confirmed but Apple Maps Guidance System More Worrisome

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Reading from a declassified section of the latest U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) revealed that North Korea may now have the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead on its ballistic missiles. Confirmation of the rogue nation's potential success in miniaturizing a nuclear device to fit on its rockets is an alarming and somewhat unexpected development. But more troubling, according to military experts, is Kim Jong-un's decision to use Apple Maps as the guidance system, making it virtually impossible for U.S., South Korean, and Japanese forces to predict the missiles' trajectories or destinations.

Lamborn made the announcement during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, which caught Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey off guard. When asked for his assessment of the report, Dempsey chose not to comment, replying instead that he had not seen the documents. This decidedly more dire news comes amid another day of elevated threats and ominous posturing from Pyongyang.

Still, the DIA study does not offer conclusive proof that a nuclear armed missile exists or could be launched.

Ban Ki-moon, speaking on behalf of the United Nations Security Council, said the U.N. does not "have any independent information to verify" the findings contained in the DIA report.

President Obama also declined to validate the assessment after meeting with Ban, but did call on North Korea to rein in the bellicose rhetoric.

According to White House staffers, the president invited Kim Jong-un to "chill the [expletive] out, come over for a beer summit, and maybe watch season five of 'Drag Race' on the 60-inch," adding that Kim Jong-un believes his close friend Dennis Rodman and Ru Paul are the same person.

Obama told reporters that "no one wants to see a conflict on the Korean peninsula."

"We agree now is the time for North Korea to end the kind of belligerent approach they have been taking and try to lower temperatures," he said during today's photo opportunity.

Allied forces stationed near the peninsula have been anticipating a test launch from the eastern coast of North Korea at any time. Kim Jong-un's decision to move missiles into firing positions there, along with footage showing the weapons receiving fuel, stoked concerns that Pyongyang's bluster may have taken more serious turns.

On Thursday, the North Korean military raised one of the rockets into an upright firing position, furthering worries of imminent aggression.

South Korea and others in the region continue to weather Kim's saber rattling in stride, but U.S. forces stress that all defensive parties are taking precautions as the North ratchets up its warlike tone.

"It's true most of the countries on Kim's hit list don't believe there's any real action behind these threats, apart from another routine missile lob over the Pacific," said Lt. Lannister Rydell, who helps oversee operations of the THAAD systems being dispatched to Guam.

Rydell's assertion conforms to the unclassified portions of the DIA report: "DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles. However, the reliability will be low."

But for Rydell and others, the low reliability is the true problem.

"They're using Apple Maps as the primary guidance system," Rydell explained, shaking his head. "If one of those rockets takes off, who the hell knows where it'll end up? The path will be erratic and unpredictable. An errant missile, with a completely chaotic and illogical flight pattern, could compromise the effectiveness of U.S. and Japanese missile defense systems. It'd be like trying to hit a dance-fly with a lawn dart."

"I tried Apple Maps once," he added. "I'm no cartographer, but I'm pretty damn sure the Atlantic Ocean separates New York from London -- not a Costco parking lot -- and that the Little Lambs Petting Zoo in Terre Haute isn't part of the Hawaiian archipelago."

Based on initial testing by military forces today, the Apple Maps system for the Korean peninsula and outlying areas would create havoc.

"Best case scenario, the missiles come right back down and obliterate North Korea," Rydell said. "But it's impossible to tell. Apple Maps seems to think Seoul is a restaurant somewhere in Manilla, inspired by the cuisine and black culture of the American South. Apple Maps also couldn't identify any cities in Japan. Instead, it recommended that I download some electronica-glam album by David Sylvian from iTunes. As for other targets, Apple Maps was equally horrifying. It confused Guam with a public restroom in Perth and tracked the waters from Hawaii to Alaska as an alleyway behind a brothel in Djakarta."

Even Apple evangelists have offered harsh criticisms of the company's mapping system, which has been responsible for an unprecedented amount of misdirection and inconvenience. Not only does Apple's product lack the popular features of its Google predecessor, it's plagued by geographical errors and missing information. For example, a farm is listed as an airport, roads simply end in the middle of nowhere, and an entire city has been replaced by an ocean.

Some Apple diehards countered that Google Earth and Google Maps were also experiencing glitches Thursday, showing an empty body of water where North Korea should be. Representatives from Google responded that these were actually updates, prematurely released, to reflect the new look of the region after North Korea is wiped off the map.

2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.

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