Our Continuing Adventures Across the 8th Dimension

To really loosely paraphrase Buckaroo Banzai, “No matter where you go, SciFi got there first.”

Vilmar posted on the latest crop of government drones - small as bees, and with the power to kill - and I realized that this was a song and dance I’d heard many years before.

Yes Mr. Peabody?
Set the Wayback machine for 1953. We’re looking for Robert Scheckley and his short story Watchbirds.

Thousands of watchbirds, trying to stop countless millions of murders—a hopeless task. But the watchbirds didn’t hope. Without consciousness, they experienced no sense of accomplishment, no fear of failure. Patiently they went about their jobs, obeying each stimulus as it came.

They couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, but it wasn’t necessary to be. People learned quickly what the watchbirds didn’t like and refrained from doing it. It just wasn’t safe. With their high speed and superfast senses, the watchbirds got around quickly.

And now they meant business. In their original directives there had been a provision made for killing a murderer, if all other means failed.

Why spare a murderer?

But Mr. Peabody! All the smart BMEWS readers know that Scheckley borrowed the name from a weekly comic of the era that was used to teach children how to behave!
Of course Herman. And they’ve read about watchbirds here before too.  The great illustrator Munro Leaf ran the comic for decades.

Aww Mr. Peabody, don’t be such a drone!
Don’t make me have to swoop down there and kill you Herman.
Yes Mr. Peabody.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 02/21/2013 at 10:13 PM   
  1. I wonder what frequencies the jammers will have to cover, and what signal will brick these.

    Posted by Mr Evilwrench    United States   02/21/2013  at  11:41 PM  
  2. I would imagine, due to their size, that a normal Magnetron would do the trick.  The junk microwave market is about to explode....

    Posted by StephanA    United States   02/22/2013  at  12:14 AM  
  3. Oh, I’ve done fun things with magnetrons…

    Posted by Mr Evilwrench    United States   02/22/2013  at  02:29 AM  
  4. Guys, you’re not nearly paranoid enough yet. 

    Here are some articles about some new software being developed by Microsoft in partnership with the NYPD for integrating all police records and surveillance in real time.  Note, the NYPD gets 30% of the cut when this software goes on sale. 

    Note that the articles date back to August of 2012.  While it’s even been covered by Huffpo, industry and foreign news media, it has been pretty much ignored by the major U.S. media outlets.

    Huffington Post - Microsoft Domain Awareness

    Network World All-seeing Big Bro Domain Awareness System

    Daily Mail Microsoft’s new crime-fighting ‘matrix’

    Posted by Dr. Jeff    United States   02/22/2013  at  09:34 PM  
  5. Dude, you’re talking about Micro$oft.  Somebody else, maybe I’d worry, but what did M$ ever ship that wasn’t inherently broken?  Will NYPD pay for 30% of the weekly security patches?  Somebody will develop some tools and script kiddies will be watching the police and spoofing them all to hell.  It’ll be a circus.  1984 on acid.  A couple billion will get flushed, then they’ll give up in frustration.

    I did see an article about a little USB receiver that can pick up ADS-B signals, used to track aircraft.  Including drones.  We’ll be watching.

    Posted by Mr Evilwrench    United States   02/23/2013  at  12:08 PM  
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