Birthday Dolls

Birthday Dolls

We visited a family outside of Baracoa who lived on a beach and survived by harvesting coconut (and presumably also by entertaining tourists). The daughter of the family, who appeared to be in her mid thirties, had a collection of dolls, having been given one for every birthday. Some were cheap, tattered store-bought dolls, and some were more interesting, handmade ones like these.

The Abstract In Everything

The Abstract In Everything

It was interesting walking the streets with Jane on this past trip. She is very much a non-practicing photographer. Many of the best opportunities I had came through her. Either she would notice something while I was looking the other way that I would have shot if I had seen it, such as this, or, with equal frequency, she would suggest something I never would have considered on my own. I pushed the saturation a tad in this shot, but only to make it look like I remembered it.

One Stop Shopping

I really don’t like the Facebook platform, and Livejournal now forces people to view ads when they go to see my posts, unless they pay a fee.  Facebook basically seems to be about collecting information and content for third parties I have no desire to benefit, so recently I have been posting to Livejournal and having my posts show up on FB.  This has the dual benefit of keeping my LJ accounts alive, which I want to do because of their outstanding searchable archive, and of communicating with all the people who only use FB.  What I’d really like to do is have one ad free place people can see my posts which will also automatically upload whatever I post to FB, Tumblr, and LJ.  I get 2 out of 3 here.  I think I’d have to manually crosspost to LJ.  The other possible advantage with WordPress is that, I think, I can embed it in my website.  Maybe Kate McKinnon can coach me on that?

Droning on and on…

When you say “drone”, most people think of satellite controlled weaponized aircraft killing people in the Near East. In reality, the immediate future of drone technology is more like this:

“Turbo Ace X830 is a multi-rotor drone designed for recreational and professional applications including aerial photography, videography, surveillance and aerial inspections. Unlike most other multi-rotors that requires days of assembly, testing and debugging, the X830 comes fully assembled, programmed and tuned with final test flight performed in the USA. State of the art features ultra stable cutting edge DJI NAZA flight controller (X830-D), integrated vibration dampening super structure and dynamically balanced brushless motors and ESCs. Excellent flight stability plus optional vibrations dampening camera mount offer an exceptional platform for video and FPV options. With its high payload capacity, you can mount a variety of video cameras and lenses. Flexible features includes uploadable firmware capabilities and a multi-module architecture to ease maintenance and repair. Convenient parts and technical support are serviced locally by Wow Hobbies in California. Since we also offer some of the best receivers, transmitters, upgrades and options, you can easily get everything you need in one place.”

For $800, this baby can be yours, and prices are only going to drop.

at DIY Drones, you can learn to build your own and discuss the legality, ethics, politics or just functionality of drones with other drone geeks.

Get used to it. Drones are going to be everywhere, and soon. Congress has directed the FAA to allow civilian drones access to US airspace. The FAA expects 7500 or so active drones within 5 years of the establishment of a regulatory framework (more here), but there will likely be more, and sooner. Drones encircling estates or factories as security surveillance, police drones, drones used by protesters to film police, you can imagine the myriad of uses. The technology is too simple and too cheap to keep people from using it, both legally and illegally. Whatever you can imagine will probably come to pass at some point. Bills limiting drone use are popping up and then dying on the floor of both Congress and Senate with regularity. Chances are, drones will be ubiquitous before any meaningful legislation happens. I lost my tinfoil hat, so I don’t envision President Obama taking out the opposition with a Predator Drone, but a high school kid rigging one like you see above with some kind of weapon? I’d say the question is not “if” but “when”. Paparazzi are probably salivating at the notion of flying their cameras over the backyard swimming pools of celebrity hotties, and savvy entrepreneurs are likely designing perimeter protection to knock them out of the sky.

Military use is inevitably going to balloon as well, although satellite controlled units will be limited to nations who have satellites, but how easy would it be to fly an IED with a four rotor radio controlled drone into a market or military post? It’s bound to happen. Suicide drones. You can’t ban them, only guard against them. This isn’t like nuclear weapons, which require technological expertise and specialized equipment to produce. These things can be pieced together in a garage or basement for a few hundred bucks.

The world is going to get a lot more interesting, a lot less private, and a lot more dangerous, and it is going to happen quickly.