Globalization is a brutal phenomenon. It brings us mass displacement, wars, terrorism, unchecked financial capitalism, inequality, xenophobia, climate change. But if globalization is capable of holding out any fundamental promise to us, any temptation to go along with its havoc, then surely that promise ought to be this: we will be more free to invent ourselves. In that country, this city, in Lahore, in New York, in London, that factory, this office, in those clothes, that occupation, in wherever it is we long for, we will be liberated to be what we choose to be.- Discontent and Its Civilizations (excerpt), by Mohsin Hamid (previously); reviewed [more inside]
It's 2015, so first-person-view quadcopter racing is a sport now. [more inside]
Danny Cooke’s Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl summons a lost history of familiar and alien dreams. The drone-mounted camera glides deliberately through the spaces within and above the empty city. The soundtrack is haunting, or “haunting.” We think of drones moving relentlessly forward: into the hidden terrain of surveillance, into the kill zone, into the future. Yet many of the shots point the lens in reverse, effectively pulling back to show first a figure and only then its surroundings. A diving platform with paint peeled away, then the empty pool. A circular emblem, large and sculptural, then the great apartment block on whose roof it sits, visible for miles. Not all shots follow this rule, and not all are taken by drone, but this is the general approach of Danny Cooke’s Postcards From Pripyat, Chernobyl, a three-minute video from last year. It’s quite beautiful. [more inside]
The Marines Are Building Robotic War Balls
A research team from Stamford, Conn. has developed an amphibious drone that they are currently testing with the Marines. The GuardBot is a robot ball that swims over water at about 4 miles per hour and then rolls along the beach, at as much as a 30-degree incline and 20 miles per hour.
This article, about a software rollback, explains that drone maker DJI can use software updates to limit the places where drones can take off.
As armed UAVs (don't call them drones!) proliferate, the Pentagon is working on how to shoot down UAVs in an exercise called Black Dart (YouTube)
Will Killer Robots Destroy Humanity? What The Future Of Robots Reveals About The Human Condition. Peter Thiel says 'Robots Are Our Saviours, Not the Enemy,' via. Brad DeLong reponds with The Rise of the Robots. Don't forget your 'Terrifying Robot Update,' especially when robots grow our food. Or maybe we'll get the Robots of Resistance, with human values. New World Order: Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy. AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs. [more inside]
Inside Google's Secret Drone Delivery Programme The Australian test flight and 30 others like it conducted in mid-August are the culmination of the first phase of Project Wing, a secret drone program that’s been running for two years at Google X, the company’s whoa-inducing, long-range research lab.
How the US Stumbled into the Drone Era [WSJ] As ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions.
Depending on one's point of view, Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works. You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video. [more inside]
In May, David Barron was confirmed as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, after a half-hour filibsuter by Rand Paul, and opposition stemming from a confidential memo (previously) he wrote, justifying the use of targeted drone strikes against terrorists, e.g. Anwar al-Awlaki (previously). After a court ruling in the FOIA lawsuit filed by the ACLU and New York Times, Court Releases Large Parts of Memo Approving Killing of American in Yemen. [more inside]
Pitchfork: "A few weeks ago, 4AD confirmed that musician Scott Walker and drone metal outfit Sunn O))) would release a collaborative album. Today, the two parties have announced that album. It's called Soused, and it's due out September 22 in Europe and 23 in North America." [more inside]
The Skunk is designed to control crowds without endangering the lives of security staff. Bright strobe lights and on-board speakers enable operators to communicate with and warn the crowed. If things get out of control the Skunk can use its four paintball guns to disperse or mark people in the crowd. Four ammunition hoppers can load different types of ammunition such as dye marker balls, pepper spray balls or solid plastic balls.The early customers are South African mine owners, who hope to use them to control striking workers.
Gofor is a Drones-as-a-service concept. "Drones are summoned much like taxis in other popular service apps. Your desired task is either noted at the outset using presets, or customized using voice commands." [more inside]
Previously on the blue. Raphael Pirker, a.k.a. "Trappy" was the first person ever to to fined by the FAA for the commercial operation of a drone. However, instead of paying up, Pirker decided to contest the ruling with a little pro bono legal help. Last Thursday evening, the judge issued his ruling. The judge dismissed the FAA's case, agreeing with the defense that since the FAA never created any legally binding rules for small drones to begin with, they cannot now apply rules that would be used for a pilot flying a full size manned aircraft to drone operators. For now, the ruling means that commercial operation of SUAS in the United States is, basically, legal. Within 24 hours of the ruling, the FAA appealed the case to entire board of the NTSB. SUAS experimenters who have been waiting in the wings are pleased with the ruling.
Astroblast and Overstepping Artifacts are music videos by the project Musicians with Guns, which take the viewer through detailed tours of some beauty. Relax and enjoy.
"The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people." - Scahill and Greenwald @ The Intercept [more inside]
What Jobs Will The Robots Take? Eight Ways Robots Stole Our Jobs In 2013. Who is next? Soldiers? Rescue teams? Managers? Astronauts? [more inside]
North Shore of Oahu+Drone+GoPro+Waves= a pretty neat surfing video by Eric Sterman.
Dexter Tortoriello makes various forms of sad music. The most prolific persona is Houses, which is a duo with his girlfriend Megan Messina, which Tortoriello thinks of in terms of "old Elephant 6 recordings," though it's been classified with the chillwave craze of the recent years, escapist songs are understated in mood and minimalist in structure. Then there's his solo project, Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, named for the centuries-old secret occult sect Golden Dawn and the symbol of Rosicrucianism, built with intensely sculpted collection of skittering electronics and delicate acoustic textures, ... marked by heavy beats and synthesizer pads. You can hear tracks from both projects on Soundcloud (Houses; Dawn Golden) and YouTube (Houses official channel, and a playlist for A Quiet Darkness, the newest Houses album).
The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike
Opponents of drone strikes say they violate international law and have caused unacknowledged civilian deaths. Proponents insist they actually save the lives of both U.S. soldiers, who would otherwise be deployed in dangerous ground operations, and of civilians, because of the drone’s capacity to survey and strike more precisely than combat. If the alternative is a prolonged and messy ground operation, the advantage of drone strikes in terms of casualties is indisputable, and it is not my intention to dispute it here. But the terms of this debate give a one-sided view of both the larger financial and political costs of drones, as well as the less than lethal but nonetheless chronic and intense harm continuous strikes wage on communities.[more inside]
Raphael Pirker, a.k.a. Trappy, is a FPV pilot who came to be well known after the video from his New York flight went viral. While most of the media coverage of Trappy's NYC exploits was positive, the incident prompted a heated debate in the hobbyist community, and the authorities took a dim view of it. Shortly afterwards, Trappy was hired by a PR firm to do an aerial video shoot over the University of Virginia. The FAA, having banned commercial use of UAVs in 2007, took the unusual step of issuing a $10,000 fine for the unauthorized flight. Earlier this month Trappy's attorneys filed a response(pdf) to the FAA's action which questions whether the FAA holds jurisdiction over "model aircraft" in the first place. According to Wired Magazine, he court's decision could determine the future of model aviation and miniature UAVs in the US. Once again, the response from the hobbyist/entrepreneur community has been spirited. [more inside]
This article covers the US drone program. It looks at the pilots of drones, the decisions to use a drone, their highly effective short terms goals vs long term potential blowback and whether drone strikes are legal.
The Drone That Killed My Grandson — Dr. Nasser al-Awlaki, Fulbright scholar, founder of Ibb University and former president of Sana University, served as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries from 1988 to 1990. His 16-year-old grandson Abdulrahman (an American citizen born in Denver, Colorado) was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen on Oct. 14, 2011, two weeks after his father Anwar was killed by a previous drone strike.
The town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering hunting licences for federal drones. Deer Trail is a small town in the plains of Colorado east of Denver, and claim they are the home to the worlds first rodeo (though that's open for interpretation). They've decided they don't want drones, and offer a bounty for licensed hunters who bag a federal drone. The mayor of the town shows the proper technique for hunting them...
Originally I used the word stonegaze to describe a crowd response after one of our first shows. It was like they had all just spent 30 minutes staring at Medusa. Shortly after that I used it again to describe our sound and it stuck.Dallas, TX band True Widow are a collaboration between a woodworker, a screenprinter, and a makeup artist. They're Cormac McCarthy fans. Together, they make heavy, hypnotic, jam-based music that takes as much from slowcore and shoegaze as it does from stoner rock. Their new album Circumambulation is now streaming via Pitchfork. [more inside]
Foster was a longtime model-airplane enthusiast, and one day he realized that his hobby could make for a new kind of weapon. His idea: take an unmanned, remote-controlled airplane, strap a camera to its belly, and fly it over enemy targets to snap pictures or shoot film; if possible, load it with a bomb and destroy the targets, too.An accessible but detailed overview of the history and current implementations of military drones. [more inside]
Nobel laureate's campaign calls for pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons. As our technology advances, it becomes more and more feasible to give more and more autonomy to our drones. A new campaign led by 1997 Nobel laureate Jody Williams calls for an international ban on the design of autonomous weaponized drones. [more inside]
Navy saves $1,399,000 versus short range missle. For the patient I particularly appreciate the appearance of R2D2, with modifications, at about 2:50 minutes.
Did you know that this is the last day of Sunshine Week? What is Sunshine Week? An attempt to get a nationwide discussion going about the importance of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. (from 2005 a Blue note was sung with This little light of mine here on the Blue) [more inside]
The Evolution of Irregular War - Insurgents and Guerrillas From Akkadia to Afghanistan
Pundits and the press too often treat terrorism and guerrilla tactics as something new, a departure from old-fashioned ways of war. But nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout most of our species' long and bloody slog, warfare has primarily been carried out by bands of loosely organized, ill-disciplined, and lightly armed volunteers who disdained open battle in favor of stealthy raids and ambushes: the strategies of both tribal warriors and modern guerrillas and terrorists.[more inside]
Drift into the weekend with Henry Flynt, Zomes, and Spacemen 3. Hell, play all three at the same time.
In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan's tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone.
The Permanent War (video). "This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing." Part 1: Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists. Part 2: A CIA veteran transforms U.S. counterterrorism policy. Part 3: Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations. [more inside]
If I Fly a UAV Over My Neighbor's House, Is It Trespassing? "The wide availability of UAV technology (combined with HD video) scrambles my sense of what is right. Specifically, it points out how much of our sense of privacy is intimately connected up with our expectations of our property rights. Drones - as flying, seeing objects - scramble our 2D sense of property boundaries, and along the way, make privacy much more complicated." [more inside]
The Justice Department, after a legal battle with the ACLU to avoid having to admit it, recently released documents showing that the federal government’s use of warrantless “pen register” and “tap and trace” surveillance has multiplied over the past decade. But the Justice Department is small potatoes. Every day, the NSA intercepts and stores 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, texts, and other electronic communications. [more inside]
Now That's What I Call Drone: Vol. 1 - Drone ambient versions of top 40 pop songs. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
"Assassination and targeted killings have always been in the repertoires of military planners, but never in the history of warfare have they been so cheap and easy. The relatively low number of troop casualties for a military that has turned to drones means that there is relatively little domestic blowback against these wars. The United States and its allies have created the material conditions whereby these wars can carry on indefinitely. The non-combatant casualty rates in populations that are attacked by drones are slow and steady, but they add up. That the casualty rates are relatively low by historical standards — this is no Dresden — is undoubtedly a good thing, but it may allow the international media to overlook pesky little facts like the slow accretion of foreign casualties." -NYT Opinionator: The Moral Hazard of Drones
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