Posted in News, Shouts from the Abyss, Views

Bad To The Drone

A drone took this picture only a stone’s throw from where I live. See the outhouse? Note: St. John’s Bridge in the distance.

We live in a glorious modern world. A technological world filled with all kinds of machines flying through the air that can kill and/or deprive you of your right to privacy. Want to know more? I’ll be happy to drone on about it.

If only there was some way to combine the spine-tingling creepiness of drones with America’s #1 pastime. I’m talking about, of course, shopping.

Shopping Fever
Fact: On average, Americans shop six hours a week and spend only 40 minutes playing with their children.

Yeah, that sounds like a great way to run a railroad. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like we could all turn out to be a bunch of assholes, right? I’m sure Dr. Spock would be proud of what we as a society have accomplished.

Now who would be interested in combining drone technology with the compulsion to buy consumption thingies?! And, bonus, what a great place for Dr. Spock’s heirs to sell his books!

When I was a kid, a “drone” was a little thing that looked a lot like an airplane. It had wings, a fuselage and a tiny gasoline-powered motor in front. It was attached to a string. It was deceptively simple. Yell “clear!” and pull down on the prop, takeoff, then hold your arms out and spin in a circle, sending that sucker on a 360-degree flight where it would mow down everything in its path.

Fancy versions introduced the concept of a “remote control” that allowed the plane to do more interesting things than endlessly circumnavigate a circle. This was the humble little acorn that would become the mighty oak of the Drone Age that we all know and accept as the reality of today.

The military was the first to recognize the potential. The process went something like this: “Make it bigger. And put some bombs on it.” Just when you thought the industrial military complex couldn’t get any more clever, too.

Not even the military could predict, however, that Amazon would come along and say, “Hey, we can use that shit to sell books.”

The things no longer resemble the airplanes we knew as kids. They have been improved to that point that they are now sleek, modern, creepy and robotic in appearance. They may have four or more propellers extended from a fuselage that makes them decidedly insect-like. They look remarkably similar to the aircraft used by SkyNet to hunt humans in our not-so-distant future.

drone-selectionIt was recently reported that Amazon sent a letter to the FAA, dated July 9, 2014, asking for permission to test “delivery drones.”

Amazon is apparently tinkering with the idea of using drones to deliver little packages of consumption goodies that weigh up to five pounds via “aerial vehicles” that can travel over 50 miles per hour. Amazon says about 86 percent of their deliveries are five pounds or less. According to a video released by the company the service is cutely named Prime Air.

With any luck – and the purchase of a shotgun from Amazon Firearms (probably coming soon) – I’ll soon find myself in front of the Supreme Court to help establish precedent regarding private property ownership and the airspace above. I claim sovereignty over same and will vigorously defend my territory against the Amazon drone fleet. I call it my “Castle Doctrine Civil Air Defense Force.” And if any consumer goods happen to land on my property, what can I say? They will be claimed as per my rights under maritime salvage laws. Yes, I’m also a legal expert.

But wait! Drones aren’t just for killing or shopping any more. Companies have cropped up that provide drone aerial photography capability. These camera-equipped drones can be used for scary services like: asset management, compliance monitoring, precision agriculture, conservation, planning, marketing, fleet operations, and, of course, entertainment.

Who wouldn't want to look out their window and see this looking back?
Who wouldn’t want to look out their window and see this guy looking back? Adorable!

At least one woman doesn’t like the idea very much. At home in Seattle she looked out her window and saw the friendly-looking thing and thought, “Eek! My privacy!”

Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, but they were right about one thing: Our skies will soon be filled with drones. And they’ll have all sorts of missions like killing people, law enforcement, delivering plastic crap that was made in China, invading privacy, video photography and, of course, deployment of poisonous insects to Queen Padmé Amidala’s sleeping chamber. Why should you have to look your enemy in the eye just to be able to kill them? Remote control – the only way to go!

What’s next for drones? The future looks bright, and hopefully that’s not just from the radiation. If human beings survive this technology it’s theoretically possible they could get around to using drones for something that’s actually beneficial to humanity. It could happen.



The Guru of Negativity

36 thoughts on “Bad To The Drone

  1. It won’t be long before drones are the size of black flies and they’ll be swarming everywhere. I’m with you. I want to protect my privacy, especially line-of-sight overhead privacy. What I do in my back yard is my business and nobody else’s.

    However, if drones could be used for good, I could live with that. Like making sure your kid doesn’t skip school, snitching on drug dealers, dropping medical supplies and food right into the hands of people who need them and not to the people who steal them to sell to other countries so their own citizens die from disease and lack of food.

    After Amazon has made it’s quota of home drone delivery, of course.


      1. Since it’s you, I’ll share just a few things I like to do.

        Drink a martini with four maraschino cherries while in my tanktini watching Real Husbands of Hollywood Wives on my iPod.

        Watch people with my binoculars who come up to our mooring, tie off, then skinny dip in the water. I’ve seen some frightening sights. Let. Me. Tell. You.

        Naked wrestling with groundhogs. I always win.

        Oh, and read your blog. *grin*


    1. Of course! I forgot the miniaturization angle! D’oh! That’s usually my specialty, too. Yes, they’ll make the drones nano, and then you won’t even be aware when they are hovering outside your window. And they’ll have the ability to look through tiny slits in your blinds or use special cameras to see through curtains and/or aluminum foil. I’m really looking forward to that!

      Like you I also imagined medical and food deliveries as possible good uses of drone technology. Now imagine Apple’s Siri, Google Glass, Jibo and a drone all wrapped up in a neat little package.

      “Jibo Siri, I forgot to get bacon at the store.”

      “Say no more, Master. Initiating hover mode. Before I go, may I remind you that it’s your anniversary tonight? I recommend you double your bacon order and check out this sex tape of a reality TV contestant.”

      Laughing. “Make it so, Jibo Siri. What would I do without you?”

      And there goes Jibo Siri Drone up and down the aisles at the grocery store getting my bacon. And she’s set to alert me if she sees any 8’s or better based on my Google Plus profile. And auto-follow Twitter accounts of 7’s or better just in case.

      The future looks bright.


  2. Amazon may need to look at delivering books this way in a new light. Any writer can tell you it will take more than delivering a book right to ones doorstep and dropping it on their thick skull to actually get them to read it. Then again, if that’s what it takes to get them to buy it, I suppose Amazon doesn’t actually care whether they read it or not.
    As far as delivering plastic crap made in China, I hope the drones provide a soft landing, lest the Star Wars action figures you ordered end up with cracks in them. I wonder if the drones will be available for returns of damaged merchandise.


    1. Amazon’s new thing is an e-book subscription service that provides instant access to hundreds of thousands of books. Or, as I like to call it, a library card for $120 a year.

      No doubt the Amazon delivery drones will linger on station to capture video of the customer enjoying the item. No more claims of lost deliveries! “Isn’t that you trying on your wife’s lingerie? Busted!” Mwuhahaha!

      “Sir, the Star Wars figures are intact. They must have soft-landed.”

      “Excellent. Do not let anyone take them out of the package. This will be a day long remembered.”


  3. George Orwell knew. He knew all along. He tried to warn us.

    Anyway, I’d like to see drones’ power take the place of ‘storks delivering babies’ fables.

    “Mommy, Bobby across the street said all babies come from vaginas.”

    “Oh, sweet pea. That’s an old wives tale. The big, black drone machine delivers all babies.”


  4. Here in Canada we haven’t outlawed the drones…yet. I recently wrote a blog for a client because they were very excited that they had started using drones to photograph their real estate listings. During my research for the piece I found that the company they used had started out by simply picking a street and photographing all the homes on the street. They would then knock on the doors and try to sell the owners the photos. I asked him outright, “Did anyone offer to punch your lights out or perhaps sue you?” He said only once was someone offended. Apparently everyone else was to impressed with the technology. Anyone can buy one here. Anyone can use one here. Not that I have anything to hide, but this makes me very nervous.


    1. Is there talk of outlawing them? I can’t see that happened but maybe Canadians are smart. Any technology can be useful in the right hands. Hint: That’s not humans.


      1. The talk is mostly responding to the Americans not allowing them. If there all worried about their privacy than we should be too. Like most technology, some will embrace it and some will fear it. Some will put it to good use and some will abuse it.


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