#droneculture news special 09/12/12

Posted by on December 9th, 2012
  • From io9:

    In the first trailer for Tom Cruise’s post-apocalyptic film Oblivion, Cruise is a drone repairman walking the shattered remains of Earth. But as he explores the planet humanity was forced to leave behind, he finds something he never expected to find, something that makes him question everything he’s been told about the conflict that destroyed the Earth.

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  • CNN Money’s look inside Israel’s drones:
  • Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US (EFF):

    The capabilities of these drones can be astounding. According to a recent Gizmodo article, the Puma AE (“All Environment”) drone can land anywhere, “either in tight city streets or onto a water surface if the mission dictates, even after a near-vertical ‘deep stall’ final approach.” Another drone, Insitu’s ScanEagle, which the Air Force has flown near Virginia Beach, sports an “inertial-stabilized camera turret, [that] allows for the tracking of a target of interest for extended periods of time, even when the target is moving and the aircraft nose is seldom pointed at the target.” Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird (see photo above), which the Air Force has flown near Victorville, California, is capable of staying in the air for 16-24 hours at a time and carries a gigapixel camera and a “Forester foliage-penetration radar” system designed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (Apparently, the Army has had a bunch of problems with the Hummingbird crashing and may not continue the program.)

    Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses “Gorgon Stare” technology, which Wikipedia defines as “a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone . . . capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.” This imagery “can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project” being developed by DARPA. If true, this technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.

    Another scary aspect of the Air Force’s drone program is the number of times Predator and Reaper drones have crashed. The Washington Post wrote about crashes at civilian airports abroad a few days ago, and the Air Force presents some statistics on actual incidents and the potential for crashes in New Mexico in a document titled “Operational Risk Analysis of Predator/Reaper Flight Operations in a Corridor between Cannon AFB and Melrose Range (R-5104A).” This document notes that “8 incidents [involving Predators] occurred over a period of 79,177 flying hours.” (p. 8). A risk analysis table from the report is below.

  • Police drone crashes into police SWAT team (SALON):

    The Montgomery County sheriff’s office in Texas had planned a big photo opportunity with their newly acquired surveillance drone. It all went horrible wrong when, according to the Examiner, “[The] prototype drone was flying about 18 feet off the ground [and] it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground. It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode … but when it was coming down, the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.” (The SWAT team had suited up, armored vehicle on hand, for the purpose of the photo.)

    “Not only did the drone fail, and not only did it crash, it literally crashed into the police. It’s no wonder we’re not able to find a video of this spectacular publicity failure,” noted Gizmodo.The CRP–Hearst report explicitly listed collisions as a concern insufficiently addressed by lawmakers in the so-called “drone caucus,” who have pushed an agenda to hurry drones into the hands of police departments and private corporations.

  • California Eyeing Drone Surveillance (WIRED):

    Alameda County is moving to become one of dozens of local law enforcement agencies nationwide to deploy the unmanned crafts. Some of the agencies include the Seattle Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    The move comes three months after the Government Accountability Office warned Congress that its push for drones to become commonplace in U.S. airspace fails to take into account privacy, security and even GPS jamming and spoofing. The GAO, Congress’ research arm, was responding to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, signed by President Barack Obama in February, which among other things requires the Federal Aviation Administration to accelerate drone flights in U.S. airspace.

    Alameda County, in the Bay Area, is home to Oakland, the scene of violent Occupy protests last year.

    Weeks ago, the sheriff told a local NBC affiliate that it was a “no-brainer” when it came to deploying a drone.

  • Leap and LabVIEW Controlled Quadrotor:
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  • Jame “New Aesthetic” Bridle gives us The Drone Vernacular:

    In the second week at the VFL, I’ve been continuing modelling and printing for the final residency product, which should be completed next week.

    I’ve also been looking at the ways in which drones manifest and are visualised, used and normalised in the world. (This is as good a time as any to note that I’m specifically interested in military drones, not the DIY type, quadrocopters, civilian drones etc – although there are clearly interesting connections to be articulated between these, and the designation of civilian is also problematic.)

    These are some of the first images that got me interested in drones. They are photographs from anti-drone protests in Pakistan, credited where possible…


NYPD vs CultureJammer round2 #droneculture

Posted by on December 1st, 2012

“Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” by ESSAM (full rez here)

I’ll let Gawker do the talking:

Essam Attia is the New York street artist responsible for placing fake NYPD ads reading “Drones: Protection When You Least Expect It” around town. In September, he gave a video interview to Animal NY, with his identity and voice obscured, in which he discussed this project and his art in general. Wednesday morning, the NYPD arrested him at home.

The NYDN reports that he’s charged with “56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession,” the last (and possibly worst) charge coming because cops found an unloaded .22 pistol under his bed when they arrested him. On a practical level, Attia was not the most careful art criminal. He signed his work “ESSAM;” and he told Animal that he was a “a 29-year-old art-school grad from Maine, who served in Iraq as a ‘geo-spatial analyst.’” It probably did not take an incredible amount of police work to narrow down the possibilities.

Still—great work by the NYPD to prove Essam’s point: you are all being watched. Poke humor at the ALL SEEING GOVERNMENT EYE, and it will make you pay. IT KNOWS ALL. In the Animal interview, author Matt Harvey noted, “He agrees that there is an inherent irony in his spoofs: the very fact that the NYPD (which claims to be strongly pursuing him with their ‘counter terrorism squad’) hasn’t caught him yet, is proof that we have not reached a state of Orwellian control.”

Ah…. cancel that.

[Photo via Animal]


5,000 Feet is the Best #droneculture [VID]

Posted by on November 30th, 2012
http://www.vimeo.com/34050994

via Ales Kot


SNL Explains Drones

Posted by on November 20th, 2012


The Year of the Drone, the “Anternet”, the brain’s networking and Autism.

Posted by on September 14th, 2012
  • Great chat here about Drones, between SF author Daniel Suarez, and Global Guerilla’s John Robb:

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  • Speaking of insect intelligence, meet the “Anternet”:

    Prabhakar wrote an ant algorithm to predict foraging behavior depending on the amount of food – i.e., bandwidth – available. Gordon’s experiments manipulate the rate of forager return. Working with Stanford student Katie Dektar, they found that the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior found in Gordon’s experiments.

    “Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they’ve been doing it for millions of years,” Prabhakar said.

    They also found that the ants followed two other phases of TCP. One phase is known as slow start, which describes how a source sends out a large wave of packets at the beginning of a transmission to gauge bandwidth; similarly, when the harvester ants begin foraging, they send out foragers to scope out food availability before scaling up or down the rate of outgoing foragers.

    Another protocol, called time-out, occurs when a data transfer link breaks or is disrupted, and the source stops sending packets. Similarly, when foragers are prevented from returning to the nest for more than 20 minutes, no more foragers leave the nest.

    Prabhakar said that had this discovery been made in the 1970s, before TCP was written, harvester ants very well could have influenced the design of the Internet.

    Gordon thinks that scientists have just scratched the surface for how ant colony behavior could help us in the design of networked systems.

    There are 11,000 species of ants, living in every habitat and dealing with every type of ecological problem, Gordon said. “Ants have evolved ways of doing things that we haven’t thought up, but could apply in computer systems. Computationally speaking, each ant has limited capabilities, but the collective can perform complex tasks.

    “So ant algorithms have to be simple, distributed and scalable – the very qualities that we need in large engineered distributed systems,” she said. “I think as we start understanding more about how species of ants regulate their behavior, we’ll find many more useful applications for network algorithms.”

  • Meanwhile, progress is being made understanding just how our brains are wired:

    “The biggest differences occurred in the expression of human genes involved in plasticity – the ability of the brain to process information and adapt,” said Konopka. “This supports the premise that the human brain evolved to enable higher rates of learning.”

    One gene in particular, CLOCK, behaved very differently in the human brain.Considered the master regulator of Circadian rhythm, CLOCK is disrupted in mood disorders like depression and bipolar syndrome.

    “Groups of genes resemble spokes on a wheel – they circle a hub gene that often acts like a conductor,” said Geschwind. “For the first time, we saw CLOCK assuming a starring role that we suspect is unrelated to Circadian rhythm. Its presence offers a potentially interesting clue that it orchestrates another function essential to the human brain.”

    When comparing the human brain to the non-human primates, the researchers saw more connections among gene networks that featured FOXP1 and FOXP2. Earlier studies have linked these genes to humans’ unique ability to produce speech and understand language.

    “Connectivity measures how genes interact with other genes, providing a strong indicator of functional changes,” said Geschwind. “It makes perfect sense that genes involved in speech and language would be less connected in the non-human primate brains – and highly connected in the human brain.”

  • Lastly, could infection of this “wiring” be what’s causing Autism?

    In autistic individuals, the immune system fails at this balancing act. Inflammatory signals dominate. Anti-inflammatory ones are inadequate. A state of chronic activation prevails. And the more skewed toward inflammation, the more acute the autistic symptoms.

    Nowhere are the consequences of this dysregulation more evident than in the autistic brain. Spidery cells that help maintain neurons — called astroglia and microglia — are enlarged from chronic activation. Pro-inflammatory signaling molecules abound. Genes involved in inflammation are switched on.

    These findings are important for many reasons, but perhaps the most noteworthy is that they provide evidence of an abnormal, continuing biological process. That means that there is finally a therapeutic target for a disorder defined by behavioral criteria like social impairments, difficulty communicating and repetitive behaviors.


This is not how the world ends

Posted by on August 16th, 2012

Images link to source or higher rez where available. Your favourite Zeitgeist images, put them in the comments.


Saacthi & Saatchi’s #droneculture advertainment

Posted by on June 26th, 2012

Drones swarm like dragonflies in this Saacthi & Saatchi advertainment:

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the brain-controlled drones are here

Posted by on April 25th, 2012

Take the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset, connect it to an AR Drone using the dark magix of computer science and you get this:

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thanks Justin Pickard!


QUAD ANARCHOPTER (Stencil)

Posted by on February 22nd, 2012

I love this stencil by @interdome, click through for it in various formats.


‘A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors’

Posted by on January 31st, 2012

I’m not sure that’s a fitting collective noun, but…

…duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude:

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via Chris Arkenberg


“Flying people in New York City”

Posted by on January 31st, 2012
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It’s amazing the power a few geometric shapes can have on our emotions.


Bruce Sterling @ Symposium Playful Post Digital Culture

Posted by on November 30th, 2011

Here’s Chairman Bruce just a few days ago at the STRP Festival, once more describing our immediate situation and near-future in terms we can then build on and discuss with:

http://www.vimeo.com/32749323

Who Monitors the Birds? (#droneculture)

Posted by on November 16th, 2011

Citizen journalism went to new heights in Warsaw, Poland just the other day:

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After the Mayor’s efforts to restrict the Press during the “clear out” of Occupy Wall Street, this technology should soon be standard issue for anyone wanting to preserve Raw History.

Who should be the early-adopters of this than the “good” “folks” at News Corp:

Rupert Murdoch’s pet project, The Daily, has some impressive aerial footage today of the devastation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which was obtained with an unusual tool.The Observer was the first to report, back in November, that the staff of the iPad app was working with “a journalistic secret weapon,” the Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter, also known as “The Flying Video Game.” Now they’re finally putting the thing to use, with a new feature called “Daily Drone.”

And just to clarify, “drone” refers to the unmanned chopper itself, not the announcer’s rather dry intonation.

And the Military-Entertainment Complex lurches a step closer to the world depicted in the excellent Mexican cyberpunk movie, Sleep Dealer:

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