Outside Magazine - Is Your GPS Scrambling Your Brain? 13min

But after stopping on a desolate gravel road next to a sign for a gas station, Santillan got the feeling that the voice might be steering him wrong. He’d already been driving for nearly an hour, yet the ETA on the GPS put his arrival time at around 5:20 P.M., eight hours later. He reentered his destination and got the same result. Though he sensed that something was off, he made a conscious choice to trust the machine. He had come here for an adventure, after all, and maybe it knew where he was really supposed to go. ... It’s comforting to know where you are, to see yourself distilled into a steady blue icon gliding smoothly along a screen. With a finger tap or a short request to Siri or Google Now—which, like other smartphone tools, rely heavily on data from cell towers and Wi-Fi hot spots as well as satellites—a wonderful little trail appears on your device, beckoning you to follow. ... The convenience comes at a price, however. There’s the creepy Orwellian fact of Them always knowing where We are (or We always knowing where They are). More concerning are the navigation-fail horror stories that have become legend. ... Enough people have been led astray by their GPS in Death Valley that the area’s former wilderness coordinator called the phenomenon “death by GPS.” ... By turning on a GPS every time we head somewhere new, we’re also cutting something fundamental out of the experience of traveling: the adventures and surprises that come with finding—and losing—our way. ... Individuals who frequently navigate complex environments the old-fashioned way, by identifying landmarks, literally grow their brains.

Fast Company - A Plane Crash, A Glacier, And An Entrepreneur: How Icelandair Opened Up Air Travel For Everyone 6min

In the winter of 1951, Alfred Eliasson’s company, Icelandic Airlines, was about to go under. The founder and his executive team had decided to pull out of the transatlantic market just a few months prior, after established carriers like Pan-Am proved to be tougher competition than expected. Low domestic demand in Iceland, a country of just 200,000 inhabitants at the time, also proved to be a challenge. By December of 1950, the airline known as Loftleiðir in Icelandic had only one scheduled route. It was between the capital city of Reykjavik and a small group of islands off Iceland’s east coast. ... That year, most of the company’s revenue came from odd jobs that Eliasson scraped together. He spotted schools of fish from the sky for local fisherman and shipped cargo for local businesses. By New Year’s it appeared the six-year-old airline would have to fold.