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Drone Guides Fuel Shipment to Alaskan Town

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the tracking-terrorist-polar-bear-cell dept.

Transportation 140

pigrabbitbear writes with an excerpt from an article at Motherboard.tv about a non-evil use for unmanned aircraft: "Ask anyone in Nome, Alaska right now how they feel about surveillance drones and you'll likely get unequivocally high praise. Had a remotely-piloted surveillance aircraft not been monitoring Bering Sea ice flows over the past week an emergency shipment of 1.3 million gallons of oil may not have reached the iced-in, snow-drifted town as soon as it did. ... The drone, which was launched from Nome's shores by University of Alaska – Fairbanks Geophysical Institute researchers, isn't the sort of eye-in-the-sky most often associated with the U.S.'s various hulking, 40-foot wing-spanning reconnaissance planes ... The Aeryon Scout micro unmanned aerial vehicle resembles a 'smoke detector with wings and legs,' according to the Anchorage Daily News, and is part and parcel of a rapidly expanding fleet of mid- to micro-sized sky robots being flown domestically for all manner of tedious or risky intelligence gathering gigs."

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140 comments

Its not the drones that are the problem (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719632)

It's not the drones that people have a problem with; It's how they're used. No amount of positive publicity on their 'good' uses can erase the fact that many, if not most, law enforcement agencies envision an armada of cheap surveillance drones monitoring everyone and everyplace they decide they don't like. Protesting wall street? Drones. Add in the crowd-control microwave emitter for only an additional $2,999. How about some drones patrolling over the freeways during rush hour, equipped with a radar gun? Now an officer can write tickets for anyone speeding over a several mile stretch of road, rather than just a particular point. Only $1,599 after mail in rebate. The list goes on.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719642)

Im more interested in the live feed from Sorority Houses.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

HankMoody (2554362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719870)

Yes, I don't know why someone doesn't do tv show like that. That's perfect use for drones.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719788)

-noun- don't -verb- people. People -verb- people.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720038)

-noun- don't -verb- people. People -verb- people.

some people -adverb-ly -verb- people with -noun-s, even. Especially -adjective- -noun-s.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720358)

some smurfs smurfily smurf smurfs with smurfs, even. Especially smurfy smurfs.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721006)

Nothing like rubbing one out while watching smurfs smurf with smurfs, especially the smurfy ones.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720148)

Frog don't lick people. People lick people.

Hmm. I'm not sure how that template works.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720214)

The template means that people are responsible for their own actions, not some object or abstract they're in control of.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719856)

Thermal imaging cameras are invaluable for certain engineering work.
They can also be used to violate your rights and 'look' into your house.

Russian journalists have used drones to get arial photos of the Moscow riots.

And this just in Hammers used to build houses can also be used to beat people's skulls in.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719904)

Now an officer can write tickets for anyone speeding over a several mile stretch of road, rather than just a particular point

I would hope you can come up with better worst case scenarios than that; loathe as I am to give that kind of power to the govt there is a part of me that would love to see an inflexible, if-you-break-driving-laws-you-WILL-be-caught scenario. Goodness knows there are enough dangerous drivers out there who get away with it because of how hard it is to catch them all.

Im not sure, for example, that I would be against stationary radar stations on the highway that could alert a cop about reckless driving / speeding in a 5 mile stretch; I dont see the privacy concerns, and I do see the benefit.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720232)

loathe as I am to give that kind of power to the govt there is a part of me that would love to see an inflexible, if-you-break-driving-laws-you-WILL-be-caught scenario. Goodness knows there are enough dangerous drivers out there who get away with it because of how hard it is to catch them all.

Perhaps, but I submit that more education, stricter licensing requirements, and a de-sanitization of media would do far more without the added expense or possibility of abuse (here's where I go OT):

Education and Licensing: There should be a federally mandated, minimum year-long class in the style of vocational schooling (split classroom/lab time) that focuses on teaching people how to drive. In addition to having to take such a class prior to acquiring a license, I also feel most current licensees should be required to take the class the next time they're up for renewal (with an option to test out)

Also... why the hell are we passing out licenses to kill to 16-year olds who don't seem to be able to detach from their cell phone screens? I mean, c'mon, I can't be only one who thinks like that!

De-Sanitization: Ever notice how you never see a bloody accident scene, or god forbid an actual corpse, in media? Kinda creates an illusion that no one ever gets killed in automobiles, doesn't it? Of course, as intelligent, learned adults we know that's not the way things really work, but I sometimes wonder... what if I were a young person, still developing, who spends a good portion of my time immersed in a digital world where death = a Facebook tribute page, no one ever dies in the news, cars can roll 50 times end-over-end suffering minimal damage, and physical interaction between objects is impossible. Under those circumstances, I might be inclined to think that operating a 3,000 lb death machine ain't no big deal.

So, back to the topic at hand, one can see how driver education and media de-sanitization could easily handle the issue of poor driving habits, without having to spend untold amounts of Treasure filling our skies with Watchers.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720724)

The reason we hand out drivers' licenses at the drop of a hat is that in most parts of the US, driving is a necessary part of being an independent adult. That is due to the physical layout of our country and is not going to change in the forseeable future. What will happen eventually is that automatic driving systems like the ones currently being tested by Google and other companies will become ready for public consumption, and by a decade or so after their initial release, all new cars will have them. Then we can change the laws to make it much harder to get a license allowing manual driving, while everyone else (including children and drunks) can use the automated driving system to get from Point A to Point B.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721206)

Sounds like a plan.

I guess, considering the inevitability of GPS-guided, self-driving cars (would that be "autoautomobiles?"), now would be the time to start demanding that the Congress Critters pass legislation barring the tracking of private citizen's movements without express consent, and an option to opt-out up front.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720266)

What's so bad about the scenarios you've listed?

The cops surveiling Occupy protests with drones... what's supposed to be scary about that? There are already cops at the scene. Why are we supposed to be scared that they now have an extra camera angle? Is it only if they have your hypothetical microwave emitter equipped on the drone? Because if so, that's a reason to be against microwave emitters, not drones, and at any rate it's unlikely they'd ever use them. They tried to the low tech equivalent (firehoses) against civil rights protestors, and it didn't do squat for them.

And for your other example, a more uniform enforcement of traffic laws would be a good thing. Right now they're so spottily enforced that a lot of people ignore them, and it becomes a tax by lottery. If they were enforced uniformly, it would become a bad driving tax instead, which would be preferable.

There's nothing cops can do with drones that they can't do with helicopters. The only difference is drones are cheaper. Unless your plan to defend civil liberties relies on the cops not being able to afford enforcement, there's no reason to be worried by drones. And if your plan does rely on impoverished police departments, you've got other things to worry about.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720414)

It depends on who is operating, and controlling the drones. We have this thing called a constitution, and it states that the military isn't supposed to be used as a police force. Of course, we're in the process of arming our police forces exactly like a military unit, so that line is becoming blurred.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721288)

I too am concerned by the militarization of the police. I was in Boston for New Years and there were guys in camo carrying assault rifles guarding the subways. I asked one of my local friends, and apparently that's just the normal transit cops. So yeah, that's definitely not a trend that I like to see. But the drones aren't innately military hardware, and unless they start putting bombs on them, I see no reason to worry about their use.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721508)

I too am concerned by the militarization of the police. I was in Boston for New Years and there were guys in camo carrying assault rifles guarding the subways.

I remember traveling to Europe in the late 90s and being shocked to see police in the Paris subways with assault rifles. Until that point, I had never seen that at any US city, only regular uniformed police. Fast forward 15 years, and you see paramilitary police everywhere in the US.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722464)

Yeah, the movie Strange Days [tp] was science-fiction, but it's continous police presence and megaphone security messages now seem like a documentary.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722028)

Camo? In the city? Who's bright idea was that?

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

rioki (1328185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722178)

This is what you call security theater, it looks way more impressive. Nonsense but more impressive... On the other hand I think black combat gear looks more awsome; so I might be wrong here.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722202)

I was in NYC about 2 months after 9/11, and I got a laugh out of the soldiers they had stationed in the subway. All of them looked like they were ready for jungle warfare.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720814)

I think the point was that the overuse of drones could lead to something resembling a police state. While it is nice that they are cheaper than other conventional means of surveillance, it is important to keep their use in check and make sure the rights of citizens are preserved.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720318)

It's not the drones that people have a problem with; It's how they're used. No amount of positive publicity on their 'good' uses can erase the fact that many, if not most, law enforcement agencies envision an armada of cheap surveillance drones monitoring everyone and everyplace they decide they don't like. Protesting wall street? Drones. Add in the crowd-control microwave emitter for only an additional $2,999. How about some drones patrolling over the freeways during rush hour, equipped with a radar gun? Now an officer can write tickets for anyone speeding over a several mile stretch of road, rather than just a particular point. Only $1,599 after mail in rebate. The list goes on.

except said tickets will not hold up in court, same goes for speeding cameras.

In the US, an officer MUST be present to hand out a ticket.

the whole point of these systems is to get those who are naive and do not understand the law to pony up.

the honest hard working average joe type who is told "you were going 65.00000001 MPH on the freeway" will likely give in and pay the damn thing rather than fight it, where someone who knows the law will stroll into court, and will be dismissed and the ticket will be dismissed as well as no cop will show up. A cop must be present at the scene, and they must be at the court date or otherwise it goes out the window.

A good defender will point out that they cannot prove that a random cop they bring in was present, nor can they claim one was flying the drone. It's easier to throw the case out at that point. But as long as people say "fuck it" and pay, they will continue that crap.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720434)

In those systems they just flag all out of state vehicles and ticket them by airplane. Most people can't afford to drive back across the country to appear in court for an afternoon over a speeding ticket.

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (2)

C0R1D4N (970153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722796)

Cops surveying footage is considered sufficient. Red light cameras operate under this all over the country.

I live in Nome (1)

ghettoboy22 (723339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720390)

And this comment is spot on in my book. I have no problem using drones for science, nature and wildlife purposes, and the like. But drones for police matters? There is a reason I live far away from most government.....

Re:Its not the drones that are the problem (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720920)

This one, as described as a smoke detector with wings, is obviously aimed at reducing arson and cigarette smoking in smoke free towns. I mean, I've heard that someone envisioned nothing being scarier than if spiders could fly. Well, now there is an analogy.

Great! (4, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719636)

I guess Iceroad Truckers had the month off.
I thought they would drive through anything including snow drifts. I am so disillusioned. :(

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720130)

Theyre busy in the andes right now; testing their mettle!

You can't drive to Nome (1)

ghettoboy22 (723339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720468)

There is no road pad to Nome that you could use to drive on or make an ice road out of. The nearest road is 500 miles away.

Re:You can't drive to Nome (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721944)

You don't understand. These are the Ice Road Truckers . They can drive anywhere. I'm serious. I saw it on TV.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720556)

Uhh... there are no roads, even ice roads (which do require certain conditions and infrastructure), that connect Nome to the "road system." However, it has been proposed recently: http://www.adn.com/2011/02/13/1701108/public-hearings-put-road-to-nome.html

Man is an intriguing being... (2)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719640)

I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (5, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719700)

I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

Some people like to be closer to nature than others. It's a risky thing to do, but the Earth is a beautiful place, and that's fulfillment enough for those people.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719768)

Or, that's where your family is from. Nome started out as a Inupiat settlement, then morphed into a Gold Rush town. Much of the population is Alaska Native and the rest are just basically crazy.

It's an odd life, but makes more sense than living in Cleveland.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721678)

Or, that's where your family is from. Nome started out as a Inupiat settlement, then morphed into a Gold Rush town. Much of the population is Alaska Native and the rest are just basically crazy.

It's an odd life, but makes more sense than living in Cleveland.

True, but at least we are not Detroit.

http://youtu.be/oZzgAjjuqZM

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722080)

Much of the population is Alaska Native and the rest are just basically crazy.

You say that as if the two are mutually exclusive. :-)

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722342)

It's an odd life, but makes more sense than living in Cleveland.

Well yeah. I mean, think about it. One is freezing cold most of the time and filled with economic uncertainty and brutal animals out to murder you at a second's notice. The other is Alaska.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719810)

There are plenty of places close to nature (you can't even see a man made construction) without the risks, though.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719992)

If you can't see other civilization there are additional risks as a result. The real question is how they compare with other living situations. Not all of them are equally risky. I spent some time living on an island without any reliable means of getting off it on short notice. It was perfectly fine as long as you didn't do anything stupid like split your head open or otherwise need immediate emergency care.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720324)

Exactly. if you want to be close to nature come to a state like AR, where its lush green wherever you see and land is cheap so you can own your own holler and have as much nature as you desire. my GF's family own their own holler up in the Ozarks and i just love going up there to spend a week because i can sit on the front porch and enjoy my lunch while watching a herd of deer graze not 60 feet from my seat. Of course you gotta watch the squirrels on the back patio, the grandkids have fed them so much they park their little fat asses on the back patio not 10 feet from you and if you don't throw them a snack they start chattering at you like they are saying "Hey asshole, i'm right here looking all cute and shit and STILL no nuts, WTF? what's a squirrel gotta do to get some of those raisins man?". If its something they really love like dried fruits or cashews you can just stretch your hand out palm up and they will come pick the fruits right out of your hand.

Its really beautiful country with miles and miles of unspoiled wilderness you can enjoy, fishing, hunting, whitewater rafting, or just being lazy with an inner-tube and a cold one on a lazy Sunday afternoon, its just nice. It also only snows a couple of days a year and almost never sticks except on the mountain tops so its a hell of a lot nicer even in the winter than something like Nome. how them folks live in that kind of cold is just beyond me, hell you have people dressing like Eskimos if it drops below freezing here and its a lovely 62 degrees f right now, light breeze, just wonderful. i'll take that over freezing my nads off any day of the week!

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720534)

I always suspected you were an ignorant hillbilly.

Thanks for confirmation.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720826)

Exactly. if you want to be close to nature come to a state like AK where it's blanket white wherever you see and land is cheap so you can own your own bog and have as much nature as you desire. my GF's family own their own bog up near Fairbanks and i just love going up there to spend a week because i can sit on the front porch and enjoy my lunch while watching a herd of caribou graze not 60 feet from my seat. Of course you gotta watch the Polar Bears on the back patio, the grandkids have been fed to them so so long they park their little fat asses on the back patio not 10 feet from you and if you don't throw them a snack they start growling at you "Hey asshole, I'm right here and if you don't feed me some dog food, then you're next. WTF? What's a endangered species gotta do to get some of those calories man?". If its something they really love like a can of Alpo or a steak, they might take it out of your hand and leave the hand alone. Then again, they might not.

Its really beautiful country with miles and miles of unspoiled wilderness you can enjoy, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, or just being hypothermic with a survival suit and sleeping bag on a cold afternoon, its just nice, if your survive that is. It also only stops snowing a couple of days a year and almost never melts except under the houses so its a hell of a lot colder than a New York City hooker. How them folks live in those big cities is just beyond me, hell you have people dressing like it was Halloween pretty much every day of the year.s Right now, there's hardly a soul in site, just the sun barely above the horizon and 60 mph winds. I'll take that over traffic jams any day of the week.

There, I made it a bit more topical.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721402)

Wtf is a "holler"?

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721896)

holler, variant of hollow, meaning small valley.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722280)

Its a small valley situated between two mountains, the Ozarks is full of them. Truly gorgeous up in that area and because you can't farm in a holler easily (too many trees, too hilly) you can own quite a bit of land dirt cheap. And for the guy that said you get mosquitoes the size of B52? that's the delta NOT the Ozarks. In fact because there is so little standing water you almost never see mosquitoes in that area.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720156)

Or further away from lots of other people. There's plenty of nature between 50S and 50N latitude.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38719706)

Not remembering the summary, or knowing the purpose of the settlement in question if I did, I'd guess some people might get paid to work up there.

Another possible reason might be that it has been proven habitable, especially with working logistics. How many would have died/suffered permanent damage from this heroic drone not saving the day? Or was it a question of more or less comfort?

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719720)

Polar bears are per-capita less dangerous than LA traffic.

Some people like isolation. In all seriousness, there is risk in establishing a life anywhere. In one place you have some small but measurable probability of being capped by a gang-banger if you're not careful. In another place you have a small but measurable probability of freezing to death if you're not careful. It balances out.

Speaking as one who moved out of a highly desirable, sunny, (which I miss a bit now) warm area to a place that was less so, my motivation is that I could afford a house here, and I certainly could not afford a house there.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720668)

Doesn't mean polar bears are safe to be around but... most traffic is per capita less dangerous than LA traffic :)

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721036)

The difference is you're exposed to very many more cars than polar bears.

Some animals kill more people than other animals just because people think they aren't dangerous (or as dangerous)...

More people would go closer to bison than they would to grizzlies...

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721376)

...and some people step off the curb before looking both ways. Or look in the wrong direction on a one-way street. The world is generally full of ways to crash land for people not paying attention.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719726)

I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

Yes we are intriguing. Other people might say the same about living in a city.
Noise level, crowding, crime, expense, risk of getting hit by a motor vehicle, etc, etc.

To each his own.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719844)

Pretty sure Nome, Alaska is a city and has motor vehicles.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720044)

Pretty sure Nome, Alaska is a city and has motor vehicles.

A city, for various definitions of 'city'.
Population [wikipedia.org] of Nome is ~3,500. Any traffic problems are much, much less than NYC, Chicago, LA, London, Paris, Istanbul.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721700)

Nome does have motor vehicles - no polar bears. At ~3500 people it is the largest city for over a thousand miles radius. It is not connected by road to Fairbanks or Anchorage.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720046)

It allows them to claim to be rugged individualists that don't rely on anyone or anything, as they cash the checks they get just for living there. Alaska takes in more money from the federal government than any other state.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720604)

It allows them to claim to be rugged individualists that don't rely on anyone or anything, as they cash the checks they get just for living there. Alaska takes in more money from the federal government than any other state.

Some of us have moved here to "get away from it all" etc.

But most people here, grew up here, as did their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. This is their land, their heritage. The federal government and state government own most of the land here. Funny how things work, eh?

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720066)

I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

Indeed... we all still live here on this planet, while the risk to establish a life increases.

I'm sure that compared to the streets of Mumbai or Detroit, Nome is paradise.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

Lunoria (1496339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720138)

I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

The same could be said for those living in Tornado Alley. People are weird, and they'll live anywhere on this planet.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720406)

Because the government (not sure if state or fed) used to pay a monthly incentive check (~$3000?) to people to live there?

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720884)

That'd be nice. I wouldn't have to work. I could just play video games and play with robots forever.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721794)

That'd be nice. I wouldn't have to work. I could just play video games and play with robots forever.

That would be nice. Except it's entirely untrue. And there is money, it's not 3k, and it's not for `simply living there.` It's royalties on oil money and rent, which instead of directly being plugged back into education, or whatever, the state decided to let people spend as they see fit. The amount doesn't even cover cost of living, which is incredibly high due to logistics.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (2)

rrhal (88665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721722)

The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is paid by the state. The amount varies year by year. It has been ~ $1200 for the last few years.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (3, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720686)

One of my favorite stories, I think from Farley Mowat, is about a group of sociologists who were studying people in remote fishing villages accessible only by small boat along the coast of Newfoundland. One elderly woman they talked to had never in her life been away from the town where she was born. She'd never heard of New York City; they tried to describe it to her - millions of people living in buildings hundreds of feet tall. In response she shook her head and thought out loud "I can't imagine why so many people would want to live so far away from everything".

I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there.

You and than old woman are the same...

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720748)

Blue-collar workers get paid more in Alaska than in most other states (in large part because so few people want to live there!) Also, the oil reserves are the property of the state, so not only are there no state taxes, but residents actually get a rebate check from the Permanent Fund Dividend (it was $1,174 per person last year).

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (2)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722376)

It's only partly that the oil resources belong to the state. It's that the state has a 25% severance tax.

http://www.centerfortaxstudies.com/blog/taxnews/2007/12/27/alaska_severance_tax_governor_signs_petr [centerfortaxstudies.com]

http://housemajority.org/coms/hres/27/History_of_Alaskas_Oil_Gas_Production_Tax_Roger_Marks_20110209.pdf [housemajority.org]

The amount made from severance tax is higher than the amount received from royalties on production on state lands.

25% (at least! When oil is worth more than $30/bbl the rate is higher) of the value of every barrel of oil pulled from the ground in the state is paid to the state in taxes. This produces more money than the state needs, so they distribute the excess equally in a socialist fashion as a lump sum payout to residents of the state.

The state collects this tax because they know that the oil is being by-and-large sold to other states in the union and the costs of the tax are passed onto the consumers, the population of the US, 99% of which doesn't live in Alaska. This money goes to the statehouse in Alaska and then some of it onto the residents.

California, as a counter-example, has no severance tax at all, even though California is the 3rd largest oil producing state in the US and 90% of the population of the US lives outside California.

Re:Man is an intriguing being... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721370)

Nome started out as a gold rush town (although there were Inupiat in the vicinity before). You could pan gold straight out of the beach sand, deposited there by the Yukon River.

It takes a different kind of person to live in Nome but it's probably better for the rest of us that they do.

Forgive my ignorance... (2)

omganton (2554342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719746)

...but does it really matter that it was unmanned? There was no inherent risk for a regular pilot to monitor the same situation. I would hardly consider this a " tedious or risky intelligence gathering gig."

Re:Forgive my ignorance... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720200)

Many people around the world see drones as death, surveillance, 24/7 tracking for wifi, voice/audio, visual, heat ect.
Stories in the media filter back to the US and local populations understand what is going to be used on them and the long term new funding they will have to find.
On the other side you have the manufacturers, public/private maintenance, public/private maintenance training, flight schools, regulators and visions of huge boondoggles.
States want to set up drone "universities" to cover all the needs of drone use- seeing export and wide scale US use bringing funding to their areas.
Political leaders pushing for more drones need good news stories- then they can fund more drone roll outs and hope for donations back as massive state/federal cash flows in .

FAA authorized? (2)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38719796)

Did they get FAA authorization? Enquiring bureaucrats want to know.

Re:FAA authorized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720234)

from TFA: yes

=P

Re:FAA authorized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720320)

I'm sure they'll answer to a properly filled out FOIA request.

The Daily had a reporter there (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720150)

NOME, Alaska — As a Russian fuel tanker begins the final and most delicate phase of an emergency delivery to this ice-shackled city, the ship is getting help from a polar icebreaker, 85 Coast Guard sailors and one robotic drone.

The vessels have chopped their way through hundreds of miles of sea ice to bring an unprecedented mid-winter gas shipment to Nome’s 3,500 residents, starved for fuel after weeks of record-breaking subzero temperatures. Once the tanker ship Renda finds a safe spot to drop anchor about a mile off shore, workers will set about the tricky business of piping 1.3 million gallons of fuel across a last stretch of ice to storage tanks beside the harbor.

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/01/15/011512-news-arctic-drone-rescue-1-2/

Nome? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720224)

I have a brother in Alaska. Nome? Sure, he's my brother. I mean Nome in Alaska. I'd know 'em anywhere! (Thank you Abbott and Costello)

Reminds me (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720260)

I'm confused now, what was it again? Oh yes. Two legs good, four legs baaaaaaaa-ad. Drones are good now, right?

Total propaganda piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720496)

Really reaching to find something good to say about drones that will for the most part be used to watch American citizens.

How was the delivery (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38720522)

The good news is the drone guided the fuel delivery to the town. The bad news is the delivery was done by aerosolizing the fuel over the town, then igniting it. Oops, must have left some of the military code in there by mistake.

a quote for all you who think this is wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720794)

"...But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

Find Bigfoot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38720968)

Hopefully one day drones will be cheap enough for bigfoot researchers to afford to use them.

So do we know it was the drone? (2)

jakartus (1287248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721130)

Or would the geek in us just like to assume it?

From http://dec.alaska.gov/Spar/renda/index.htm [alaska.gov]

01/11/2012 - The T/V Renda and CGC Healy have not travelled any significant distance since noon yesterday. The vessels remain approximately 100 nautical miles from Nome. An experienced U.S. ice navigator hired by Vitus Marine as a technical advisor arrived safely on board the Healy around 4:00 PM today. He may transfer to Renda after assessing the challenges from on board the Healy.

01/12/2012 - The vessels worked until approximately 12:30 am this morning and made good progress. They are currently about 70 miles from Nome and hopeful for continued good progress today. (updated 10:15am)

01/13/2012 - At this time, the Renda is staying offshore while the Healy is making runs to test the ice and determine the best place for the Renda to moor for the fuel transfer.

Perpetual "eye-in-the-sky" (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721220)

So here's a question for the skilled do it yourselfers in the slashdot crowd.

I figure that one of those "micro-drones" only use a few(?) watts of power right? How much does the Parrot quad copter use?

Well, could you (sorry, not me, unfortunately I don't have the hacking skills :( attach a solar panel facing DOWN on one of those drones and then affix a little infrared LED on the drone. A modest ground based telescope would track the LED and continuously point a medium(?) powered laser at the solar panel. (That's one place where the hacking comes in, to have a motorized base track the drone and to provide safeties in case the laser lost "lock").

Voila! As long as the drone stays in line of sight of the base (and as long as power doesn't give out) you've got a modest little perpetual aerial surveillance platform. Can lasers of the requisite power/frequency be purchased without too much of a headache from the authorities? Can small drones fight gusts and high winds so that they'll stay up most of the time?

This reminds me of the floating "golden eyes" used by Larry Niven as surveillance tools in his novels. Someone in Japan made a spherical drone that did this but I think it could only stay up for 10 minutes on one battery charge. If the solar cells were light enough/laser was powerful enough perhaps that drone could be used.

Is the visible/infrared the best part of the spectrum to use? Would a maser (with microwave power receiver) be better in terms of efficiency or safety?

Re:Perpetual "eye-in-the-sky" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721694)

Check out http://www.lasermotive.com - A Seattle company doing exactly this.

Re:Perpetual "eye-in-the-sky" (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721764)

Thanks! I've actually heard (a little) about these guys before in context of the space elevator beaming competitions.
Anyway, maybe it's just their web page but their stuff looks kinda expensive (no prices!). I was kinda hoping that the technology was accessible enough that a sufficiently skilled slashdotter could do it in their spare time. :)

Go Canada! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721316)

I'd just like to point out that the Aeryon Scout drone mentioned in the article is Made In Canada. Aeryon Labs is based out of RIM's hometown, Waterloo Ontario.

Got a chance to see the Scout up close at the local Hackerspace meetup a couple months ago (Kwartzlab - http://www.kwartzlab.ca) and I was very impressed. Looked like a solid little performer.

GO CANADA!

nets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721388)

How high are we allowed to build?

I propose the erection of various nets skywards. And net tossing robotic arms.

Alaska needs oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721564)

So, a state that produces 2million barrels/day of oil for the US, needs an 'emergency delivery' of oil?
There's some irony in that.

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