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The Feds Accidentally Mailed Part of A $350K Drone To Some College Kid

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the finders-keepers dept.

Government 157

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "A Redditor got more than he bargained for in the mail today: He was accidentally mailed parts to a $350,000 environment and wildlife monitoring drone owned by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. 'We sent a set of about eight boxes for this one aircraft system, and one was misdelivered by UPS. We're working with UPS to find it,' the federal agency says."

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wait... what??? (4, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about 7 months ago | (#46924261)

$350,000 for a drone!?!?! I realize that this is durable and has good RF systems in it, but still that strikes me as a bit pricey for what it is. I mean for a few bucks more they could just buy Predators right?

Re:wait... what??? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46924327)

Perhaps he got two or three AGM-114 Hellfires gratis with it. ;-)

Re:wait... what??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924329)

I mean for a few bucks more they could just buy Predators right?

An order of magnitude more is not a "few bucks".

Re:wait... what??? (1)

mfh (56) | about 7 months ago | (#46924395)

$2500 hammers.

Re:wait... what??? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924437)

According to this [over-blog.com] the $350K is for a complete system and not a single aircraft.

A complete system (controller, spare parts, and three UAVs) costs $250,000 for the Raven and over $400,000 for Puma.

The price for a single aircraft is much closer to $100k.
Take a look at the capabilities [avinc.com] of the Puma. The optics, communications, and autonomous navigation features are not cheap.

Re:wait... what??? (5, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46925211)

automous navigation features cost you less than $500 for a fully working system controller including required accelerometers, gyros, GPS, compass and a short range telemetry system (only short range due to low output power). The flight controller doesn't have to be any different on a tiny little RC model all the way up to the the largest aircraft in service. The OSS software doesn't yet support orbiting but I suspect it will soon. The only hardware difference is the servos to drive the control surfaces and power output of the engines.

Oh, and its open source ... and it probably does more than anything the UAVs you mention do as far as flight control.

If you want the cheap asian knock off, its less than $200 from hobby king.

UAV controllers are an essentially solved problem, its just refinement at this stage, and the hardware to do the actual flight management is dirty cheap.

Communications are also a solved problem, the hardware is available already and is available to anyone, though it requires a operator license ... which doesn't come with the UAV, you have to get it yourself from the FCC.

Optics are a little tricker, but nothing to justify the cost of these systems unless you're ordering optics like used in the U-2 spy plane, which your drone isn't going to be capable of taking advantage of anyway. For anything other than what the NSA wants, a gimble to deal with pan/tilt/stabilization and vibration dampening isn't that expensive either, though gimble and camera are likely to be the most expensive bits if you want high quality but that may just be my misperception as thats the area I know least about. Low end stuff that works as well as anything you've actually seen footage from (i.e. not secret stuff) is less than 5k and it will shoot as good as most movie cameras ... from thousands of feet up where you can't hear it at all.

$100k is a ridiculous price. The communications/control system is a freaking PC with a high power transmitter, nothing special.

Re:wait... what??? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925335)

It isn't just the cost of the base hardware that could theoretically function in that capacity, it's fitting it all together, custom designing and building components where necessary then going through the necessary testing (range, quality, flight control, durability, etc) and refinement processes. You could build Google Glass for $100 too if you don't care about having a horribly clunky, heavy, unreliable device with a cumbersome user experience.

Just because you can come up with a cheap parts list to theoretically cobble the functionality together doesn't mean it is going to result in a product that will be fit-for-purpose.

I know, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924439)

1. Buy model planes from any hobby shop.
2. ???
3. Sell them to the government at a 100,000% markup.

Re:I know, right? (5, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924543)

Show me a model plane that has a 15 km radio range, autonomous GPS navigation, IR and visible light camera on a stabilized mount, designed to be reliable in hazardous environments while being handled by infantrymen, and can stay up for 3.5 hours. Then plan to build less than 30,000 of them. Complex systems and low quantities make these things very expensive. This is very different than a simple toy that takes a tens of thousands of dollars to design and hundreds of thousand are aircraft are made.

Sell them to the government at a 100,000% markup.

You even exaggerate or do you really think you can but an RC aircraft with remotely similar capabilities for $1. (The $350K is for the complete system which includes 3 aircraft plus spares).

Re:I know, right? (0)

ShaunC (203807) | about 7 months ago | (#46924647)

Show me a model plane that has a 15 km radio range, autonomous GPS navigation, IR and visible light camera on a stabilized mount, designed to be reliable in hazardous environments while being handled by infantrymen, and can stay up for 3.5 hours

I'd love to try, but I'm pretty sure half of those things would be illegal for "Joe Average" me to even attempt, and I don't have a few million laying around to bankroll FCC, FAA, and other necessary certifications to upfit a COTS drone much less develop my own. Unless you're Lockheed or someone, you don't have much of a chance in this arena, and then you can and will charge $350K per "system" and the government will pay it because nobody else is selling.

Re:I know, right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924693)

You're fucking retarded and have no concept of business. Kill yourself and stop talking.

Re:I know, right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924787)

nope, bullshit, and you're a cunt. It's completely legal for you to atempt, and, in fact, if done non-commercially ("Joe Average") legal for you to fly as an RC aircraft.

Re:I know, right? (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 7 months ago | (#46924767)

How many kgs of cocaine will I need to smuggle with these to cover the cost?

Re:I know, right? (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 7 months ago | (#46925037)

That depends on the cost of the Cocaine.

Re:I know, right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925107)

No, it depends on your margin.

Re:I know, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925217)

Show me a model plane that has a 15 km radio range, autonomous GPS navigation, IR and visible light camera on a stabilized mount, designed to be reliable in hazardous environments while being handled by infantrymen, and can stay up for 3.5 hours.

Dragonlink. MultiWii, some cameras, and a big battery with a huge wingspan. Easy. We do better in the R/C world and I could build that thing for less than $1k each using off-the-shelf everything.

Re:I know, right? (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46925257)

... I could convert my fixed wing UAV to nitro and hit an hour of flight time, you can fly it in 'super simple mode' with a playstation controller and a laptop without any previous experience flying (I've tested this with multiple people who knew nothing about it in advance), I can get 4-5km range with off the shelf components and a directional tracking antenna.

GPS, IR and visible light camera on a stabilized mount, and able to be operated and handled by an infantrymen ... all check, though I generally carry either IR or daylight cameras rather than both.

I only built one (singular) initially, but it cost a little less than $2k without optics. Admittedly, their camera is far superior to mine, they aren't using a $98,000 camera either.

You really have no idea how cheap and easily obtainable fully autonomous UAVs are. Scaling it up is proportional, not exponential or something silly.

Re:I know, right? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46926231)

So you are 1/4 of the capability of the equipment we are talking about. Good for you. The 4-5 km range is much less than 15 and the flight time of an hour is much less that 3.5 hours. You be the one to tell the mother her some was killed because the drone ran out of power.Sure you can do some of the things an expensive drone can to but doing them all is very expensive. Your logic is like comparing a Honda Civic [autorooster.com] with a quarter mile time of 17 seconds to a Bugatti Veyron [autorooster.com] with a quarter mile time of 10 second and saying the Bugati should cost less than twice as much as the Bugatti.

Scaling it up is proportional, not exponential or something silly.

Actually it is closer to exponential than linear. Look at the priced of these cameras [testequipmentdepot.com] they go from $1k to $27K. I doubt that the $27K camera is 27times as effective as the $1K. Also notice that $27K time 2 cameras is half the cost of the aircraft. Add a spare and that is over $75K in cameras alone. Your logic is like comparing a Honda Civic [autorooster.com] with a quarter mile time of 17 seconds to a Bugatti Veyron [autorooster.com] with a quarter mile time of 10 second and saying the Bugati should cost less than twice as much as the Honda.

Re:I know, right? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46925401)

Show me a model plane that has a 15 km radio range

$100 UHF transceiver. Even the cheap ones can do telemetry as well as instructional commands, failsafe detection etc.

autonomous GPS navigation

any $100 flight controller

IR and visible light camera on a

This one is expensive. Budget $5000 for it.

stabilized mount,

$1000 gets you a well made 3D gimbal for a heavy camera.

designed to be reliable in hazardous environments

define this. Is it raining acid up there? Are you wanting it bullet proof? Given the amazing footage of a cheap DJI quad flying through an erupting volcano without issue, how hazardous are we talking?

while being handled by infantrymen,

The aforementioned flight controllers have some really idiot proof modes.

and can stay up for 3.5 hours.

That's a function of size, battery and engine capacity. For a big hardened one carrying heavy reconnaissance equipment I'd budget $10k

Then plan to build less than 30,000 of them.

Hows plug and play kits sound?

Yes the grandparent exaggerates. But you do to. There's no reason a system like this costs what they are charging for it. Many hobbyists meet a lot of that criteria on a sub $1000. Much of the criteria you mention isn't different to the several manufacturers of commercial vehicles on the market today which come in no where near that price tag. Then maybe double or even triple the cost for hardening and you're still waaaaay under the $100k per plane.

The markup is not as high as 100000%, but it's no where near as low as 0% either.

Re:I know, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925433)

You didn't include the golf/Vegas trips, dinners, hookers, etc as part of the sales and approval process.

Re:I know, right? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46926139)

How about you show some examples of the products you mention. As far as I can tell you are pulling numbers out of the air.

A gambol is not stabilization. Stabilization is much more difficult.
The $100 transceiver could not deal video in high enough rez to be useful. Cost estimate on camera is way low. This camera has to see people at over a mile away and be about the size of your fist. That kind of performance is very expensive. When I mention infantrymen I mean they will be the ones assembling and taking care of the equipment. They are no know for their light touch.

One of the main cost factors is to get this kind of performance into a man portable package. When you go small things get expensive fast.

Many hobbyists meet a lot of that criteria on a sub $1000.

Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? In general one spends 80% of the budget on the last 20% of the features. Not meeting all the requirements would make it useless in combat.

Re:I know, right? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 7 months ago | (#46926439)

Horsecrap on the video. IR video feeds are NOT highdef. Reconnaissance video is not highdef. Images are and they can be delivered in due course. The important part about reconnaissance is that the camera is controllable and has a sufficient zoom ratio. Stabilization is a function of the camera and optics. Gimbals will stabilize the camera against movement from the equipment as well. Yes it is more difficult but not by much and helicopter mounted cameras capable of IR can be had for under $10k, $5k for a cheap one isn't out of the ballpark, and in any case I added a contingency at the bottom for hardening / quality required for government use.

You're right cameras need to see far away but I can see you haven't kept up with lenses, sensors, or similar equipment. We're not talking Canon 1DMkIII quality images here, have you even seen the kind of images that these drones spit out? A CCTV camera that can pick out a subject from a km away can be had for under $1k. Special purpose optics that provide *sufficient* quality images are not expensive, and they certainly aren't the size of a 600mm Canon lens either.

Pulling numbers out of the air for the rest of the kit?
Arducopter as a basic open source example provides a complete autonomous capability for flight of planes, and multirotor craft of many configurations including mission flying with waypoints and outputs which can be adjusted via telemetry mid flight, return to home, fail safe configurations. This is a cheap hobby piece of equipment which runs on controllers like the APM2.5 which can be bought for $70 + $20 for a GPS unit. I have flown a styrofoam plane over 30km from base using a UHF OrangeRx transceiver pair. I bought it for $60 and it does 9ch + telemetry at an admittedly quite slow data rate.

While this is all built and assembled by yours truly it doesn't cost much more to get a complete radio + controller package that is off the shelf, and idiot proof when it comes to assembly. DJI have done a lot of nice work putting sensitive electronics in the hands of what I can tell are utter idiots and their cheaper controllers are also in the sub $500 range, so I'm sure we can deal with assembly for the hamfisted.

So for your 80/20 rule are you saying that my drone should cost $5000 instead of $1000? phew just as well I have $95k to spare. I'm being facetious but the reality is still you could put together one BEAST of a drone to meet requirements you're talking about for about $50k, and much of it can be done with off-the-shelf components. $350k for a 3 drone flight system is excessive and I guarantee there's a nice profit margin typical of government contracts built into that.

Re:I know, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46926349)

IR and visible light camera on a

This one is expensive. Budget $5000 for it.

Less than you'd think. Pretty much any digital camera can be easily modified to be IR capable, from cheap-but-good GoPros to high end DSLRS.

http://www.extremetech.com/ele... [extremetech.com]

Re:wait... what??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924557)

Wouldn't surprise me if it has expensive imaging or survey systems or some such on it, given its intended use.

Re:wait... what??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924559)

Seriously, couldn't they just download one and 3D print it? Maybe in space or something? It's the future.

Re:wait... what??? (2)

pete6677 (681676) | about 7 months ago | (#46924983)

It's military pricing. Nothing costs less than $100k. Hell, it costs the vendor $10k just to process the required government paperwork.

Re:wait... what??? (1)

drew_92123 (213321) | about 7 months ago | (#46925089)

How else do you think the SS pays for all their hookers and blow? ;-)

Re:wait... what??? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 7 months ago | (#46925743)

Its FAA certified parts - essentially take a normal part, multiply the price times 10 or 20 = FAA certified part.

Don't believe me? Look up how much a rubber tire for landing costs.

Stupid headline (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924275)

The Feds Accidentally Mailed Part of A $350K Drone To Some College Kid

More like "UPS Unloads Extra Box containing Drone Parts at Some College Kid's House". The box was not addressed to him by the Feds. They do enough stupid things without ascribing UPS mistakes to them.

Re:Stupid headline (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46924303)

I hope the feds paid for insurance. Otherwise all they're getting is $100. No exceptions, no matter what, I was told.

Re:Stupid headline (2)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 7 months ago | (#46924335)

I love that: you have to pay for insurance in case they screw up. It should be them paying for that.

Re:Stupid headline (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46924451)

The fact they don't guarantee/insure it by default is the reason most people can afford them in the first place. If they wrapped that into their default price, the price of every package sent would go up.

Re:Stupid headline (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about 7 months ago | (#46924535)

It also is important for assigning a value to a package. Without a way to establish value that has an associated cost, everyone could just say the value is $1 million and UPS would be stuck with the bill. Even with this I think you still have to have some way of demonstrating the real value - you can't just pay for $1000 insurance on a bag of old confetti.

Re:Stupid headline (3, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#46924891)

Isn't "performing the service you accepted money to perform" a pretty basic level of liability? Can I accept a contract to write some C++ code for you, but if you don't buy insurance from me, sometimes I just deliver your code to some other guy instead, and fuck you if you want redress?

Re:Stupid headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925425)

Isn't "performing the service you accepted money to perform" a pretty basic level of liability? Can I accept a contract to write some C++ code for you, but if you don't buy insurance from me, sometimes I just deliver your code to some other guy instead, and fuck you if you want redress?

if you had as many lawyers as UPS i suspect it would actually work that way

Re:Stupid headline (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 7 months ago | (#46925541)

they basically do the same as you would, they would refund the shipping cost if anything and nothing more.

As you would be expected to return the fee you received for the service you provide but would not assume liability for potential losses the client my assume because you didn't deliver the C++ code

Re:Stupid headline (4, Informative)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 7 months ago | (#46924817)

Yes, that is true. Except for the insurance part. UPS doesn't really provide "insurance", per se.

Don't be fooled by the optional 'high value' stamp, which allows you to declare a higher value. Rightfully so, it's not "insurance" but just allows you to claim the proper value if it is lost or damaged.

If it's really important, ship it via a UPS customer counter or Mailboxes facility.

I used to work there a couple decades ago. One of my roles was to process computer claims. Considering that many items can fall from belts and "Fragile" means "Throw me hard, please!" in UPS-ese, I'd make sure to ship any critical items through their desk with a proper declared value.

Not that FedEx is much better. I think at one point they were but if you've seen what goes on behind the scenes it's a wonder that anything gets to its destination in one piece.

Might as well talk about the USPS too. (BTW, UPS is not USPS; some are not aware.) I shipped a display stand once. It was a fairly sturdy unit, cube shaped, of some expensive teak wood with brass corners. It could easily bear my weight (and I am not a slender dude). When the first piece arrived, my aunt asked what it was. "It's a stand," I said.

    "How do you put it together?" she said.

Eh?

Apparently they'd shipped a piece of my broken stand with a piece of someone else's broken furniture. The label from my box cut out and taped to this other box. I still don't know what happened to the rest of my display stand, but presumably someone is wondering what the heck happened to the rest of their chair.

Re:Stupid headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924337)

You would think the Feds would use the USPS... just saying.

Re:Stupid headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924401)

Maybe they didn't want the package contents stolen?

Re:Stupid headline (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46924453)

If theft is what you're worried about, I'd take USPS over UPS or FedEx any day. The Post Office consider mail theft to be Serious Business.

Re:Stupid headline (0)

JerryLove (1158461) | about 7 months ago | (#46924703)

Which begs the question: Why didn't the government ship USPS?

Re:Stupid headline (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#46925047)

Which begs the question: Why didn't the government ship USPS?

Good question. Where I work (Air Force), we are directed to use USPS Next Day or Registered when we need that kind of service. And, we have never been disappointed. But, most of our Next Day and Registered is classified, so the *law* says we have to mail it.

A few years back, A UPS guy delivered a very LARGE bottle of oxycodone (I have mail order pharmacy as part of my very nice non-ObamaCare medical as a government employee) to a neighbor... My cost $70, street value $5000.

Re:Stupid headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925121)

http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/mailcharacteristics/parcels.htm [usps.com]

If your mailpiece isn’t a postcard, letter, or a flat (large envelope), then it’s a parcel. You may be surprised to find out that "parcels" are not just big boxes. Many mailers send small parcels in all classes of mail. Parcels offer some of the best value for your postage dollars.

Parcel Dimensions
Generally, commercial parcels must measure:

        At least 3 inches high x 6 inches long x 1/4 inch thick.
        Except for Standard Post and Parcel Select, no mailpiece may measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined. Length is the measurement of the longest dimension and girth is the distance around the thickest part (perpendicular to the length). Maximum weight is 70 pounds.

Re:Stupid headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925479)

What is your point, moron?

Re:Stupid headline (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46925293)

I don't know how big things that USPS can handle are allowed to be, but size of the packages or weight may have something to do with it?

Re:Stupid headline (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924347)

By the way, the label on the box may not have been put on by the Feds. From the article;

“I can tell you that it didn’t come from us addressed to him,” he said.

It could have been done by UPS when they damaged the original label beyond recognition and just picked the closest package label to duplicate. I also doubt the presence of the label considering there are no pictures of it. The recipient's statements are very like made to make the Feds look bad.

Re:Stupid headline (1)

Garfong (1815272) | about 7 months ago | (#46924707)

He probably didn't show the label because posting personally identifying information on the Internet is generally a bad idea, especially if you're in temporary possession of a $100K+ item.

And I'm not sure where you're coming from about trying to make the Feds look bad. Having a package mis-delivered by UPS or a call ring through to voicemail are hardly scandalous.

Re:Stupid headline (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924863)

He probably didn't show the label because posting personally identifying information on the Internet is generally a bad idea,

He didn't have to post the whole label, just the sender's address. I don't think the label exists.

Having a package mis-delivered by UPS or a call ring through to voicemail are hardly scandalous.

Exactly, but the government putting the wrong address on a package worth about $100K is scandalous. The kid is trying to turn a UPS mistake into a scandal.

Good Grief (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#46924605)

This is a non-story: UPS mis-delivers a non-classified package from to government to some college student who decided to whore for 15 minutes of fame.

Done.

Next...

Re:Good Grief (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924821)

... who decided to whore for 15 minutes of fame.

I think you meant: ... who decided to commit a felony that will land him in a Federal Pound Me In the Ass Prison long enough to wish he hadn't opened the box and posted evidence of his crime on the web.

Re:Good Grief (2, Insightful)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 7 months ago | (#46924933)

Both of you are wrong, actually.

He posted on Reddit because he was trying to get into contact with NOAA, which is apparently difficult to do (when he contacted them directly, they didn't provide any means for him to get it to them; perhaps not even aware of what he was talking about.)

Furthermore, it was addressed to him, even had his fucking name on it. That makes him well within his rights to open it, especially when he was actually EXPECTING a big package.

Re:Good Grief (0, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#46925095)

He posted on Reddit because he was trying to get into contact with NOAA, which is apparently difficult to do (when he contacted them directly, they didn't provide any means for him to get it to them; perhaps not even aware of what he was talking about.)

Bullshit. The package had contact info that the receiver chose not to thoroughly pursue, and his story related to that doesn't hold water. Reddit is not the proper place to contact NOAA unless you wish to gain the kind of "street cred" that whoring bullshit at Reddit gains you, while calling a few numbers and taking the time to look into ownership is not as "sexy" to a "Redditor".

Re:Good Grief (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46925353)

The package had contact info that the receiver chose not to thoroughly pursue

Mark it RETURN TO SENDER, drop at a UPS office and tell them it was mis-delivered, problem solved.

Re:Good Grief (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46925457)

That contact info was most likely *inside* the case. Otherwise it would be likely to get lost when the packaging is removed.

Re:Good Grief (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#46925497)

You are looking for a reason to keep something that is not yours. You are dishonest. If you worked for the government and had a security clearance and I knew who you were, I would turn you in as a security threat.

Re:Good Grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46926427)

You are looking for a reason to keep something that is not yours. You are dishonest. If you worked for the government and had a security clearance and I knew who you were, I would turn you in as a security threat.

Actually, law is grey in this area. What you have technically received is an unsolicited gift. It is yours.

After that, its pretty much who wants to spend more on the lawyers.

Re:Good Grief (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 7 months ago | (#46926103)

Bullshit. The package had contact info that the receiver chose not to thoroughly pursue, and his story related to that doesn't hold water. Reddit is not the proper place to contact NOAA unless you wish to gain the kind of "street cred" that whoring bullshit at Reddit gains you, while calling a few numbers and taking the time to look into ownership is not as "sexy" to a "Redditor".

Bullshit. When I'm expecting a package, and I receive one addressed to me, I never bother to look at who sent it or where it came from, I just fucking open it. I'm pretty sure 99% of everybody else does the same thing. Maybe you're the paranoid type, or perhaps you have more enemies than you can count, but as for me personally? There's no reason for anybody to send me a mail bomb.

On top of that, once you open it, you have to pay return shipping to return it to the sender. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't drop the $20 or so it would cost to ship a package as heavy as I'm betting that one would be (not necessarily the drone parts themselves, but the big thick black plastic case it came in and the padding as well.)

Re:Stupid headline (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46924689)

This time it was the fault of some stupid fuck at Vice, rather than some stupid fuck at Dice, because the headline is a direct copy.

Doesn't make it any better that the headline doesn't at all match the summary even, but I prefer to point fingers at the right stupid fuck.

Re:Stupid headline (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924881)

Vice is stupid for starting it Dice is stupid for following along. Lets point fingers at both of them.

Re: Stupid headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46926169)

Agreed.

Now can you please unzip my pants as I need to pee on TFA and have no free hands?

Other drone parts to follow! (4, Funny)

penguinoid (724646) | about 7 months ago | (#46924307)

If he doesn't return it, odds are he'll get other drone parts for free! [patdollard.com]

Saw this on reddit, posted by Seventy_Seven (-1, Troll)

greenwow (3635575) | about 7 months ago | (#46924361)

The Republicans are going to fuck this kid hard. He embarrassed them by exposing their incompetence. Their kind isn't man enough to admit their mistakes. Also, he embarrassed UPS. They are ruled by fucking dirty, anti-union piece of shits. He is screwed. Link to the poor kid's demise:

http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/co... [reddit.com]

Re:Saw this on reddit, posted by Seventy_Seven (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 7 months ago | (#46924449)

So the republicans are going to go after him because UPS doesn't want to be run by a union traditionally run by the mafia?

You might want to check if your powered tinfoil hat is working...generally those don't include batteries, so if you didn't put them in then it isn't going to do anything.

Re:Saw this on reddit, posted by Seventy_Seven (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46924473)

I wasn't aware that Republicans were in charge of UPS.

Re:Saw this on reddit, posted by Seventy_Seven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924519)

Well, i am sure some of the board members are republicans :) rich folks often are.

Re:Saw this on reddit, posted by Seventy_Seven (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924825)

And some are Democrats as there are rich Democrats too.

Re:Saw this on reddit, posted by Seventy_Seven (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46925197)

Seven of the ten wealthiest members of Congress are Democrats, although reporting on Congress members' net worth is inaccurate by design. There's quite a few of them with a net worth in the negative six figures too.

Republicans are running the government? (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about 7 months ago | (#46925071)

Last I checked, the democrats have been "running" things for the last six years.

* Where "running" means "destroying".

A Nice Gift (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924385)

According to postal inspector rules, he gets to keep it:

If you open the package and like what you find, you may keep it for free. In this instance, "finders-keepers" applies unconditionally.

https://postalinspectors.uspis... [uspis.gov]

Re:A Nice Gift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924619)

No. It was delivered not sent to him on purpose. Your link only applies to things purposefully sent to a person. You don't get to keepsake/packages that the shipping service mis delivers.

Re:A Nice Gift (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46924621)

Only if it was actually sent to him and not just miss delivered by UPS. He says there was a label addressed to him but no pictures of the label. There are for other picture but none of the label. Also the USPS article is about unsolicited merchandise and the NOA is not a merchant. The paper inside also states ownership of the package. So yeah, he will get a visit to get the package back.

Re:A Nice Gift (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#46924847)

According to postal inspector rules, he gets to keep it:

UPS is not USPS. And it wasn't sent to him, it was misdelivered. Stop trusting the headlines of /. articles. They're intended to fan flames and not to inform. If a certain cable news network did the same kind of thing they'd be accused of being inept and corrupt. When /. does it, it's just fine.

Re:A Nice Gift (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 7 months ago | (#46924877)

No he doesn't, that would see him charged with theft. Accidental deliveries don't count as unsolicited gifts, though the responsibility and cost is on the delivery company and/or the sender to arrange for collection and potentially compensation if the collection of said package has any costs for the unintended recipient.

Re:A Nice Gift (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46925323)

That applies ONLY to unsolicited mail ... i.e. spam. It does not apply to misdirected, mislabeled, or packages delivered to the wrong address.

Easiest return policy ever! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46924393)

At least it's easy to return: just make it fly back on it's own.

Re:Easiest return policy ever! (correction) (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46925897)

correction: "on its own".

Yeah, "environment and wild life monitoring drone" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924409)

Better be careful what you say or else Obama will use his toys to drop some freedom on you.

Re:Yeah, "environment and wild life monitoring dro (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#46924797)

What do you think the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does?

I hate internet culture (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924433)

Kid receives a strange package with a card inside that reads: Property of NOAA, if found call #.

First thing he does? Post it on fucking Reddit and imgur. Fucking attention whore generation.

I'll come back for an AMA once the issue is resolved, if you guys want. Here's hoping I survive until tomorrow.

The internet: where any run of the mill delivery error makes you a fucking celebrity. Yay you got your 15 minutes of fame. Good for fucking you.

Working to find it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924503)

We're working with UPS to find it

Maybe you should be working with Reddit to find it, since we all know who has it now...

Re:Working to find it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924649)

Some random arab looking guy identified from a blurry picture and a hat that kind of looks similar?

Lame,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924523)

takes the gov't to screw up gov't plans..
like the Rich raping the Rich..

You have to make an ass-tonne of money to have the privileged. otherwise go out and look for the peasants to pee on..

moving past that, how does this apply to slashdot versus something like Hackaday??

Once again, our ever observant overlords at it again, missing the mark..

Perhaps looking at DICE adds all day??

thx

Your produce is dangling perilously low (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#46924653)

A Redditor got more than he bargained for in the mail today.

Possibly a key that might start a new truck down to the local Ford House?

Working with UPS to find it? (4, Interesting)

freak0fnature (1838248) | about 7 months ago | (#46924709)

The last time UPS messed up a delivery for me, their automated phone system told me where it was. When I talked to a real person and explained that my package was not delivered, he had the address where it was delivered on the computer, and the address of where it was supposed to go as well. (It was a mile away on a completely different street...I'm assuming his next stop. I just went and got it myself, just asked about a package that wasn't theirs.)

The real question is, if they have the capability to know where it was really delivered, why would they not program the handhelds to make all sorts of noise when the delivery guy screws up?

Re:Working with UPS to find it? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#46924895)

The real question is, if they have the capability to know where it was really delivered, why would they not program the handhelds to make all sorts of noise when the delivery guy screws up?

I've had both UPS and FedEx actually change the customer-supplied delivery address because they ... thought they knew better? The last time, the hand-written FedEx form was still on the outside of the box, but the computer-printed one said something different. They're deliberately delivering things to the wrong place. Why would the handheld scanner complain about that?

US Postal Law (1)

popo (107611) | about 7 months ago | (#46926105)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you receive something addressed to you that was sent by accident, you are under no obligation to return it and it legally belongs to you. I'm pretty sure this is US Postal Law.

IANAL so anyone more familiar with this, feel free to chime in. But AFAIK the parts now legally belong to the kid.

Mix Up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924711)

You see they meant to do a drone strike but accidental instead.ly mailed it to him

OP, you're a moron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924783)

You're title is plain wrong. Idiot. I have no other words for you.

Re:OP, you're a moron. (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 7 months ago | (#46924943)

OK, now mixing up homophones...it sucks, but this is the Internet. But using a homophone correctly in the title and wrong in the text...that's a little more creative.

UPS is aweful internationally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46924823)

UPS just screwed me out of $13 on a packaged marked valued as $25.. "Brokerage fees" No surprised they drop packages at wrong addresses or beat the hell out of them also, top down disrespect.,

USPS rules!

about eight boxes (1)

hraponssi (1939850) | about 7 months ago | (#46924907)

so if you sent about eight boxes of stuff.. is that 7.8 boxes and maybe next time 8.2 boxes? and how do you know you are missing one if you get 7 which is quite close to about 8?

Delivery confirmation on that? (1)

Machupo (59568) | about 7 months ago | (#46924959)

Somewhere between $350,000 and $1-2 billion (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/black-budget/ - see the NRO bit) is the government's Give-a-fuck-threshold for assured delivery. SpaceX may have a point.

I thaNk 7ou for your time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925079)

boss: send a drone over to check him out (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 7 months ago | (#46925097)

The best post on the reddit thread:

[–]LoveExists 392 points 3 hours ago
NSA Agent: "Sir, we have reports that u/Seventy_Seven may be working with a terrorist cell, what should we do?"
NSA Officer: "Send a drone over there, let me know what happens." walks away...
NSA Agent: mutters to himself "its not like anyone ever sends them back.."
permalinkparent

Run And Dump (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925229)

LOL

If I were the kid I would be driving to the Pawn Shops in Tijuana Mexico to dump this shit pronto for a few 10K greenbacks.

Ha ha

350K and UPS?? why noy pay more to have (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46925303)

it hand delivered or why not get a army guy to drop it off. But then then can get a gomer pyle to mess up.

Re:350K and UPS?? why noy pay more to have (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#46925825)

Not all drones are military. This is a science drone for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has nothing to do with the army.

Must have kicked it down the wrong chute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46925595)

Sorry. We'll send you the bill for the return shipping as soon as possible.

Reminds me of Music Club Subscriptions... (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | about 7 months ago | (#46925727)

Years ago, before my time, Columbia House or BMG might mail you some records (equivalent to CDs). Later, they would send you a bill for the goods that arrived un-ordered and un-asked-for. Then, mail fraud law caught up, and those scams went away.

This is not that case, but really, I wonder if those laws are applicable to the delivery of packages to the "wrong" person by UPS in such a case. If so, the mis-delivered or un-asked-for delivery is his/hers to keep — no strings.

Or, alternatively, why was something so costly being sent by regular delivery? I mean, really, would you UPS a Lamborghini to your customer?

He was on a different list (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 7 months ago | (#46925963)

Someone thought that the "drone target" or surveillance list ment he should get spare parts.

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