asteroid

Sunday Buffet: Domestic Drones, Cosmic Clouts, and More

photo: Parrot AR Drone via Amazon.com

photo: Parrot AR Drone via Amazon.com

Here’s an assortment of goodies that crossed my tablet over the last 24 hours or so. Which of these tidbits fires you up?

•  The Verge reported Friday that a new bi-partisan privacy bill sponsored by representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) targets the use of drones in the US.

“As written, it would ban police from operating unmanned aerial vehicles armed with weapons of any kind, and any drone surveillance operation would require a warrant notifying the target within 10 days, except when the notice would “jeopardize” an investigation. It also requires they make efforts to “minimize” the amount of data collected or shared, to avoid violating privacy unnecessarily. …

…Fears over the use of drones have increased lately as both President Obama and his counterterrorism chief John Brennan refused to answer whether lethal strikes could be used against American citizens on US soil. …”

When drones can be remotely operated by iPhone or Android cellphones and cost less than $300, we’re way past time for this bill. It might not hurt citizens to act locally as Charlottesville, Virginia has, enacting a ban on their use in their municipality. Think a drone couldn’t possibly slip by you to monitor you without permission? This one pictured here is only 22 inches long, comes equipped with a 720p high-def camera on board–imagine it hovering and peering in your bedroom window, or your kid’s room, its video output watched from an iPhone miles away.

•  Friday’s meteorite-asteroid-meteorite triple whammy certainly shook up the globe. What? You didn’t hear about the third one? Apparently when the smaller meteorite passed over California about 7:42 pm PST, the media had already used up its allotment of cosmic-related coverage for the week. Or year. Anyhow, objects hit our planet all the time that we don’t notice or publicize widely; it was the rare confluence of a near-miss asteroid and a larger-than-average meteorite within a 24-hour window that only made us think earth’s pummeling by space debris is unusual. Given that meteorites and asteroids are not all that rare, it seems like we’d do more to be prepared for impacts–especially since we’ve had pretty decent guesstimates about the damage space objects could inflict.

•  Speaking of science, science writer Philip Ball looks at the discovery of the microscope and its dramatic impact on science and religion. Technology that allowed us to look at our world at meta-scale has also had an impact on our perspective; the famous “blue marble” photo* from an Apollo mission is credited with increasing public interest in ecological studies, environmental protection, and space exploration. What technology will encourage us to get our tails in gear on climate change?

•  Finally, this photo-dense piece gives me pause. I was two years old when these were taken; what an incredible year that was. I wish I’d been old enough to remember any of these events, and yet, I’m glad some of them were well behind us by the time I was school-aged. Some of these photos remind me how little things have changed. Just Google “church arson” or “race hate crime” and you’ll see what I mean.

By the way, I’m open to suggestions as to naming these collections of newsy bits and pieces. Leave me your thoughts in comments. Thanks!

* When I first drafted this post, I didn’t know today marked the anniversary of the similarly important “pale blue dot” photo. How time flies.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @ThusBloggedA See?!?! Also you're prolly a bacon loyalist. @JasnTru
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ThusBloggedA You don't know that. I liked dirtbags for my first ~5 boyfriends. Changed my taste after a while. @JasnTru
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel .@JasnTru What I'm struck by is I had remembered Miss Piggy to be buxom. But she's not, really. Maybe Kermit likes flat-chested women?
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Kermit the Frog girlfriend cleavage is a weird thing.
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @PhilPerspective No no no no. When a Wolverine Jet gets treated better than a Wolvering Pat you KNOW something's up.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @ProFootballTalk: Jay Feely told Judge Berman about the 2009 Jets K ball incident, which resulted in no investigation of the kicker http…
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz No no, Khan was just collateral damage. Really, that's what my government told me. https://t.co/Bwu8CFx97h
14mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV When will the #Rays ever learn that Kirby Yates has no business in #MLB?
21mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Green_Footballs @nytimes @SusieMadrak Maybe @Sulliview has an answer for why NYT can't report this as critically as others?
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @FreedomofPress: A First Amendment showdown looming in lawsuit tied to the David Petraeus case: multiple reporters may be subpoenaed htt…
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @tomtomorrow But what do Poles think about The Donald?
57mreplyretweetfavorite
September 2015
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930