The Effect of Tin Foil Hats on Telemetry Success in Middle Georgia

Given the events of the fall of 2013, a new theory has developed regarding the black bear (Ursus americanus) population of Middle Georgia.  Further research is needed to confirm this theory, however the evidence we will present in the following paragraphs does heavily suggest this as the most plausible explanation for inconsistent reception of GPS data and VHF signal.  We theorize that the black bears of Middle Georgia have obtained skills necessary to create tin foil hats with which they are obstructing the effective transmission of GPS and VHF signal.

For years there has been discussion on the effectiveness of tin foil as a deterrent for alien brain probing.  While there has been hesitancy about the truthiness of these claims, it has come to our attention that a similar phenomenon has occurred within the Middle Georgia black bear population.  Essential components to the research projects surrounding this particular population are: 1) the use of GPS location information sent by collars on the bears, and 2) the triangulation of VHF collars on other bears.

GPS collars use cell phone towers to transmit location information to the computer system used for analysis.  However, the transfer of data is dependent on several factors: 1) the continued functionality of the collar battery, 2) cell service, and 3) the avoidance of tin foil hats.  VHF collars simply give out a beep on a high frequency radio wave, and thus are not dependent on cell service, however the other two factors are important.  While there is fair to good cell coverage across our study area and our telemetry gear is fully functional, there are particular bears that continue to evade our observation.

In particular, bears 109 (adult male), 140 (sub-adult male), and 128 (adult female with 2 year old offspring) have been known to disappear for abnormal lengths of time.  109 has gone off the grid for weeks at a time, only to pop back up on the GPS downloads, with a back-log of the time he was gone.  140 has remained inside the virtual fence, a geographical area surrounding highway 96 in which the location transmission is more frequent, however he continues to seemingly disappear from VHF transmission.  Similarly, 128, who is only a VHF bear, appears to cover great distances within a short period of time.  While this is plausible for a bear that is on the move, the direction, frequency, and instances in which she appears to hop back and forth between two locations is abnormal.

After careful consideration, it is my conclusion that these individuals have discovered the tin foil hat method of avoidance.  109, who is trap-happy, has had these mysterious disappearances over several months, and has a questionable character (given his tendency to be drawn to tranquilizing drugs).  Therefore it is considered a viable option that he has utilized tin foil hats to avoid detection while on unscrupulous errands.

While 128 does not appear to be drug-dependent, she has continually presented a challenge to multiple biologists who have attempted to track her for visual observation.  Upon triangulation, the biologist will then begin to walk into the center of that polygon to attempt a visual observation.  It is common to reach the suspected location of 128 and not find her, nor hear any bear movement during the entire track.  After returning to the beginning location to re-triangulate, it is also common to find her a considerable distance away, repeat the process, and still come up with nothing.  Therefore, it is considered an option that 128 has discovered the utility of tin foil in deflecting and refracting the radio emissions in order to send the biologist in an incorrect direction.

Finally, 140, though a sub-adult, appears to have also utilized the tin foil hat method in evading observation.  It is common for the biologist to hear a radio blip every other beat, or every three beats, when it should be heard at 40bpm.  In this situation, the conclusions to be drawn could indicate a faulty collar, but given the geographical closeness of 109 and 140, in addition to the possibility of relatedness of 109 and 140, I would also offer a tin foil hat as an explanation for this telemetry difficulty.

Ordinarily this theory would be thrown out, however given the unique circumstances regarding our particular study population (primarily the bottleneck effect on the population due to geographic and genetic isolation), I propose this to be the simplest solution.  Moreover, see Fig. 1 below as proof that this has occurred within other species of bear across the country.  Finally, the surrounding human population is a unique combination of backwater individuals and air force professionals.  Given this environment, it is possible that the paranoia regarding conspiracy theories has crept into the black bear population, resulting in the apparent use of tin foil hats to foil research attempts.

Fig. 1: This is, up to the present day, the only photo documentation of a bear utilizing a tin foil hat.  While this is a brown bear (Ursus arctos) it is useful to illustrate the plausibility of our theory.

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