A Farm in Kansas is the Purported Site of 100s of Crimes and Tragedies Due To Human Error

Irony sent in this bizarre story.


As any geography nerd knows, the precise center of the United States is in northern Kansas, near the Nebraska border. Technically, the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the center spot are 39°50′N 98°35′W. In digital maps, that number is an ugly one: 39.8333333,-98.585522. So back in 2002, when MaxMind was first choosing the default point on its digital map for the center of the U.S., it decided to clean up the measurements and go with a simpler, nearby latitude and longitude: 38°N 97°W or 38.0000,-97.0000.

As a result, for the last 14 years, every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the United States it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country. This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate. If any of those IP addresses are used by a scammer, or a computer thief, or a suicidal person contacting a help line, MaxMind’s database places them at the same spot: 38.0000,-97.0000.

So all sorts of law enforcement agencies have been showing up at this farm to investigate a cornucopia of crimes and potential tragedy-

stolen cars, fraud related to tax returns and bitcoin, stolen credit cards, suicide calls, private investigators, stolen social media accounts, fund raising events, and numerous other events.

James Arnold (the farm owner)has even been “reported as holding girls at the residence for the purpose of making pornographic films.”

The Arnolds are suing.

Read more.

16 Comments on A Farm in Kansas is the Purported Site of 100s of Crimes and Tragedies Due To Human Error

  1. Their coordinates are off by almost a half mile. The true point is closer to:
    39.82818°, -98.57950°

    The geodetic center of the U.S. prior to NAD83 data was at Meads Ranch in Kansas, one of the most significant survey points in the world.
    It was such an important survey and cartography marker that they buried two bronze markers in case something happened to the first one.

    Meads Ranch Coordinates:
    39.224208, -98.542160

    Yes, I’m real picky with points that are supposed to be in a certain place. My son and I navigated to the swamp in Arkansas where the Louisiana Purchase survey started — the Initial Point. We would have been really pissed if it had been a half mile off, but we walked right up to it using a Garmin eTrex.

  2. I’m 7.2 miles east of there and 4.5 miles south of there and I’ve got 5 goats….what would I need the teenage girls for?…

  3. where can I buy decent beef?….

    In NY, of course. Farmers, ranchers, and fishermen all know that the best of what they have goes for sale in the highest paying places. It is NEVER available where it’s farmed/raised/caught.

  4. Also… I still say there should be TWO spaces after a period. Partly because I’m a bit of a pedant, partly because I’m married.

  5. Wiiygoatsgruff – I’d think any local grocery store with a meat cutter. I have heard good things about the locker plant in Kensington. Wholes, halves, quarters of beef and pork.

  6. Addendum: Something was bothering me about what I wrote above, so I checked a USGS booklet. Those coordinates I gave were probably for an offset monument that has information about the actual point in a different location. But it’s a little more complicated than that.
    You could navigate to the marker with the coordinates I gave. But here’s what USGS said about it in 1964:

    From: Geographic centers of the United States. USGS 1964

    There is no generally accepted definition
    of geographic center, and no completely satisfactory
    method for determining it. Because of
    this, there may be as many geographic centers
    of a State or country as there are definitions
    of the term. The geographic center of an area
    may be defined as the center of gravity of the
    surface, or that point on which the surface of
    the area would balance if it were a plane of
    uniform thickness.
    No marked or monumented point has been
    established by any government agency as the
    geographic center of either the 50 States, the
    conterminous United States, or the North American
    Continent. However, a monument was erected
    in Lebanon, Kansas, by a group of citizens who
    hired engineers to determine the position of
    the “geographic center” of the United States.
    Meades Ranch triangulation station, about
    12 miles north of Lucas, Kansas, is sometimes
    confused with the geographic center of the
    United States. This triangulation station is
    the reference point for all property lines
    and city, county, State, and international
    boundaries on the North American Continent
    that are tied to the national triangulation
    networks of the United States, Canada, Mexico,
    and Central America.

    The actual point probably shifted a bit when they adjusted to NAD83 datum from NAD27.

    And it’s Meades Ranch, not Meads. About one sixth of the earth’s surface was geodetically referenced using the Meades Ranch triangulation station. Very important point.

    I’ve been trying to edit this comment down to a reasonable size for over an hour, lol. I’m putting my own self to sleep.
    can of worms 😉

  7. Bison guy…I’ve been to Kennsington and they do have better beef and pork, but for god sakes they are proud of their product. The crap they sell in the local grocery stores ain’t even ‘choice’, it’s a lesser grade. Within a 30 mile radius of me, I know there have to be 100,000 cattle and the beef sucks at the stores….My biggest disappointment with Kansas. And NO lamb either….

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