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
) 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]
: "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]
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
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.
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
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
, jam-based music
that takes as much from slowcore
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]
How do you avoid a drone attack? 22 practical tips from al-Qaeda (via AP
). [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
, 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]
"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
Meet Samarai, Lockheed Martin's maple seed-inspired UAV
Turns out capturing a drone
isn't quite as hard as previously thought
Al Jazeera: 'US admits ops in Yemen and Somalia
: White House formally acknowledges "direct action", believed to mean drone strikes, against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.' [more inside]
. Tristan Shone, aka Author & Punisher
, builds and plays his own drone metal
Let's take a brief detour into the strange sonic labyrinth of Sun Araw
. [more inside]
"The following is a short demonstration of Quintronics' latest musical invention called The Singing House. This drone synthesizer can be installed into any building in order to provide its inhabitants with a pleasing chord that is constantly changed by the weather."
Brought to you by the maker of The Drum Buddy
. [more inside]
Surveillance from air is increasing from both military and DIY directions.
Warsaw protester launches drone to spy on police [more inside]
Secrecy defines Obama’s drone war.
"Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory. The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified." [more inside]
Throughout time immemorial, songs of patriotism, such as Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?
" are a staple of countries at war. Our ballads root for our soldiers to come back safe and sound to families and sweethearts, but who sings the tale about the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
, the autonomous drone that pines for the vending machine it left at home? Only the evil ghost of Johnny Cash does. [more inside]
"One of the most moving releases I heard in 2010 was the 90-minute cassette entitled Ornitheology, by a mysterious individual by the name Chubby Wolf. Two long, 40-minute long songs that recalled beautifully the best moments of Brian Eno, yet the two songs struck me as something more…more. In doing research, I discovered two things about this mysterious band: a. that Chubby Wolf was the moniker of Danielle Baquet-Long, who performed in a group entitled Celer with her husband, Will Long, and, b. sadly, that Danielle had passed away suddenly, at the tragically young age of 26.
" Joseph Kyle of The Big Takeover interviewed Will Long
, providing an overview of Danielle's life and art. Much of her music, which was released on limited edition CDrs, cassettes or vinyl
is streaming on bandcamp
, along with music she created with Will