On a frigid Saturday in March, two dozen members of The New York City Drone User Group (or NYCDUG, a local Meetup dedicated to amateur drone builders and pilots) convened at Van Cortlandt Park in the upper reaches of the Bronx. The group gets together every month or two to fly, build, and talk shop about unmanned aircraft. The group is a place where enthusiasts are trying to “find out what our position is in this crazy drone world—to find our footing and figure out how we can fit in the larger scheme of things,” said Fred Masson, one of its active members.
• "Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show."
If you're thinking of starting a We The People online petition to force the White House to respond to some nonsense like "building a Death Star" or "declaring the Sasquatch a threatened species" or "bringing our barbarian gun laws maybe halfway up to the basic standards of 21st Century civilization," you will need more online friends to share your dream. As of now, White House petitions require 100,000 electronic signatures, which is a fourfold increase from the 25,000 required to make the Obama Administration do a cute response to the Death Star thing, even as the Obama Administration rains death from imperial robots upon the rebels (and [...]
"i swear to god i could make a beat with a banjo and a church organ only and someone will call it 'dystopian sci fi'." —A couple weeks ago, rapper/producer and Def Jux Records founder El-P wrote a funny and true tweet about the cliches that critics use to describe his work. But with stuff like this new trailer video for his forthcoming album Cancer 4 Cure, can he really blame them? Not that I mind at all. I like dystopian sci-fi.
People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, Hausfrau magazine editor Stephen Kosloff tells us more about what it’s like to have a drone smack into your head and cut you up while you’re trying to play some foosball at a Gizmodo party.
Rancho Mirage sits between Palm Springs and the Coachella festival. The people are rich and generally Republican—the moderate show-biz GOP reigns in this land of Gerald and Betty Ford, Dwight Eisenhower, Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono and his widow, the longtime congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. And now this fancy desert resort town is deciding whether to ban aerial drones from the skies, which would make Rancho Mirage only the second town in the nation to outlaw the robot spy planes. (The first is tiny St. Bonifaciuis, Minnesota; a Virginia city passed a resolution "urging" the state to do something about drones.)
It would be wonderful to realize our rich citizens [...]
Robots: friendly helpers or heartless monsters that will destroy humanity? This is no longer just a question for the movies that play all the time on "Spike" or TNT. As you may or may not have noticed, aggressor nations such as the United States are getting out of the people business when it comes to fighting wars. Drones and robots are where the action is today, because drones don't urinate on the corpses of innocent people in Afghanistan, and drones don't burn the Koran, and drones don't come home missing a couple of limbs or a chunk of brain and end up standing alongside a freeway ramp with a [...]
"A group of Pakistanis met in Islamabad late last month to discuss the impact of U.S. drone strikes in their communities. One of the attendees was a 16-year-old boy named Tariq Aziz who had volunteered to learn photography to begin documenting drone strikes near his home. Within 72 hours of the meeting Aziz was killed in a U.S. drone strike. His 12-year-old cousin was also killed in the Oct. 31 attack." —U.S. drones have killed 175 children. (via)
Dogs have been nothing but kind to man. In return, man has bred dogs in such thoroughly impractical ways that they cannot easily survive without us. We have left our pets in a terrible post-cataclysm position! Cats that don't go outside, dogs that must be "walked." Horrible. Here is a short film imagining how, in death, we might earn our dogs' forgiveness.
Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul has been a disheveled weirdo for the entirety of his political career, because the apple does not fall far from the tree of liberty, but last night he won the hearts of many people on Twitter because he was up most of the night reading blogs aloud as part of a filibuster against Barack Obama's pick for the new CIA chief. (The last CIA chief resigned over sexting.)
The moral issue of drone assassins is very important, and there are obvious constitutional and police-state issues both domestically and internationally, but this is less a political shift than a technological evolution. Remotely controlled flying war machines [...]
"The Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Arlington, Va., has published a code of conduct for manufacturers and operators of the thousands of drone aircraft that are expected to be flying in U.S. airspace by 2015." —Oh great, sounds fine then! Drones just wanna drone. Just let them drone, everything will be fiiiiiine.
Nothing to be concerned about! Just unmanned robot planes, flying along our border with Mexico, and they work great! Don't think of them as scary robots. Think of them as puffy, blue, flying teddy bears. Or cats! Think about them as Enormous Robot Border Cats. Far less menacing.