Monday Mess: Moar Dronz, Gen Killz, (Horse)Meatz, and Clownz

Photo: AR Drone 2.0 being tested near Kuwait Towers (by Cajie via Flickr)

Photo: AR Drone 2.0 being tested near Kuwait Towers (by Cajie via Flickr)

Happy Monday. Insert a picture of that cat here–you know which one. I resemblez it.

•  Good gravy, people. When National Geographic Magazine covers drones, it’s way past time for a national dialog about their use domestically. Crop dusting, my backside; there’s nothing except for the subhead in this article to genuinely suggest the designers, manufacturers, and potential buyers of drones are thinking about non-surveillance, non-policing applications for these unmanned aerial devices.

•  Of course it hasn’t helped our current condition that not one but at least two generations of military were shaped into the “Generation Kill” mold, about which Foreign Affairs learns from retired General Stanley McCrystal.

“People hear most about the targeting cycle, which we called F3EA — “find, fix, finish, exploit, and analyze.” You understand who or what is a target, you locate it, you capture or kill it, you take what intelligence you can from people or equipment or documents, you analyze that, and then you go back and do the cycle again, smarter.”

Color me skeptical, but this doesn’t sound like appropriate training future civilians–those now serving in our military–will use for guiding crop dusting or weather monitoring drones.

•  “Generation Kill” has a shadow identity, as well; the legitimately uniformed forces have dark counterparts in crime, which is likely shaped by the same attitudes as the military and police who chase them. Thwarted in illegal weapons sales, the supply chain arms traffickers use may be put to use in purveying goods of a different kind of kill. The horsemeat contamination scandal in Europe appears to be built upon the infrastructure of criminal arms dealer Viktor Bout. Where once illegal weapons might have been hidden in dog food, now illegal dog food is hidden in, well, our food.

•  Of course, when this all gets too serious and we need to be distracted, somebody offers up a clown since bread and circuses always work to appease the masses. Today’s fool is Gérard Depardieu, savaged for his luxe lifestyle and his exile from his mother country. France’s current “supertax” policy–75 percent assessed against all income above one million euros, intended as a short-term fix to a national budget deficit–ostensibly drove Depardieu into the arms of the ever-execrable Russia. The actor whose work is synonymous with modern French cinema is now reviled as minable, pathetic. What seems incredibly pathetic to me is the strident ignorance of both policy makers and the French; only 3000 countrymen were subject to the tax, and it is too easily escaped. Was the problem really with these 3000 that the budget suffered, or were other structural problems at fault that might not yet be repaired? One can see readily how a similarly simplistic law enacted in the States could have similarly ridiculous and ineffective results. But Depardieu is an easy, large, and slow-moving target, not unlike the French royals who could not outrun the guillotine. Minable, indeed; how readily the populace is distracted by redirection to a clown.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
6 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Nuts. I forgot to point out that photo is another one of the puny micro-drones that cost less than $300 and can be operated remotely by iPhone/Android smartphone.

    Wonder what they can do to a jet engine if sucked up near a flight path? Wonder what the FAA is doing about that?

  2. person1597 says:

    Can’t see an R/C bird at FL180, but I can see chasing after them in a Piper Cub. Shoot ’em down with a roll of toilet paper! (Expensive fun.)

    Drones crop dusting? Certainly not for the squeamish. Think paraquat.

  3. P J Evans says:

    For actual crop-dusting (or, more likely, spraying) they aren’t useful. Not enough load capacity. Even the light planes that are used now need more than one load for large fields.

    I can see drones being useful for checking pipelines in the desert, if they’re carrying a sniffer and a camera with GPS location.

  4. Perry Logan says:

    Someday we will all have our own personal drones, issued at birth by the government.

    Most of us will have one crappy little drone that follows us around, taking photographs of us naked, reporting everything we do to the appropriate government agencies and corporations, and taking fees from us.

    The one-percenters, of course, will have vast fleets of drones, all of them armed. They will have drones that pick us off if we get too close to them. It will be perfectly legal for their drones to mow us down, if we get in the way or eat into the profits.

  5. peasantparty says:

    It is a mess. I agree and glad to see you put these issues in such a heartfelt way like any other person would. I’d say that the title of your posts should reflect the “Issue Collage” that it is.

    Good work, Rayne!

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