A Tale of Two (Government) Screwups!

You can count on the federal government to screw up almost anything.

What do drones and ancient skeletons have in common?

The answer is the US government. It’s hard to say which is worse and therefore where to start.

Let’s try drones. Technology simply changes faster than the arthritic bureaucracy, much faster Amazon, and Google are trying to get packages less than five pounds delivered to your door in just in minutes. The technology is there as videos prove daily, but the Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) has only authorized six testing sites.

Obviously, Amazon.com and Google are worldwide corporation so they are not going to wait. Both are testing in Australia, and soon in India.

The FAA says that we have much more aviation traffic, which is certainly true, and they say they want to get it right the first time, which you can hardly argue with, but 2015? Gimme’ a break! Drones are not new. The technology is what we called radio¬¬-controlled aircraft.. I hired a battery-powered airplane a guy assembled from his back seat a decade ago. Using an Apple Computer he repositioned the plane and when I said “Yes” he took a picture. I did that again in 2008 with a guy who had the same system with a battery powered Helo.

Sigh!

Now, about that ancient skeleton — a couple of guys in Kennewick, Washington discovered a scull while kicking along the banks of the Columbia River. Being responsible individuals, they took the skull to the Coroner — who promptly took the skull to an Anthropologist.

The Anthropologist was Gobsmacked, and called in other experts — the skull was obviously very old, so they notified the Army Corps of Engineers, because, for several decades there has been a systematic effort by the US Government to return all Indian relics to Indian tribes for burial and the burial site was on a river bank controlled by the Army Corps. There have been Indian skulls, and scalps in museums from time immemorial — and this has rightly enraged Indians who have serious religious burial rites.

The problem is that the Anthropologist team knew in their own minds that the skeleton was not Indian! That skull bore no resemblance to Indians, but initial testing said it was 9,000 years old and with no scientific basis for claiming the skeleton except the age, the local Indian tribe put up a fuss.

The US Department of the Interior said it was giving the skeleton to the Indians for secret burial and there would be no more scientific examination. End of discussion. The initial Anthropologist decided to sue the federal government from his own pocket, but much of the scientific community opposed that because they had a good relationship with the Feds.

Finally, after many years, a Federal judge ordered Interior to permit scientific examination, awarded the Anthropologist $2,394,000, and declared the Kennewick Man to be a non-Indian, but to this day, more than a decade later the skeleton is still locked in a vault controlled by the US Government and unavailable to science with, now, more technological means of examination!

In addition, and in what can only be seen as spite for challenging them, the US Army Corps of Engineers dumped a million pounds of fill and gravel over the original burial site, so science cannot examine that, either1

The skeleton isn’t Indian! Which begs the question: Why is it still in a vault, unavailable to science?

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