Thanks for the references. Those articles are interesting, more for the psychology than the technology. As GPS has spread from the enthusiasts to the general public, false expectations are inevitable. The early adopters who learned about the technology and its limitations would not be surprised.
I'll add another confounding phenomenon: "rogue" positions due to reflections of the signals, most common in canyons--urban or natural--but can happen anywhere. The poor position of a wrist watch, shielded by the wearer's body from many of the GPS satellites, does not help. When I map the track points made during a ride or a hike, occasional single points will appear dozens or hundreds of feet off track. They add considerable distance to the GPS reading, but are easy to delete on a computer. Some of the reported high readings are probably due to rogue positions.