What Is a Drone?

What Is a Drone?

conference report, emerging technologies, explorations, research enterprise
Second posting in a three-part series (see previous post) Recent news stories have familiarized us with military drones bearing names like Predator and Reaper. Popular television shows feature tiny spy drones, conjuring images of CIA black ops. You could be forgiven for assuming that drones are a new and pernicious misuse of government power. But what are drones, really, and how are they being used? The word "drone" is a popular term for any one of several types of unmanned vehicles that fly, swim, or travel over land. Most drones have some type of human guidance, whether it's a kid at the other end of the kite string or a soldier or sailor sitting at a control panel hundreds of miles away. The variety of functions and capabilities is reflected…
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Don’t Drone Me, Bro

Don’t Drone Me, Bro

conference report, emerging technologies, public perceptions
by Nancy McGuire (wordchemist.com) (Washington, DC) A quick news search on the word "drone" pulls up associated words including "strike", "attack", "secrecy", and "protest". Polls and surveys indicate that the word "drone" triggers an anxious response, based on military-heavy news coverage and fears of the various things that drones have come to symbolize. Often, these responses are based on factors not specific to the drones themselves — government intrusion, loss of privacy, and the possibility of attack. These points surfaced throughout the day during "The Drone Next Door", a May 7, 2013, event hosted by Future Tense. Speakers and panels including journalists, legislators, academics, think tank fellows, representatives from industry and advocacy organizations, law enforcement officers, and scientific researchers discussed all things drone-related: what are they used for now, how…
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No Scientist is an Island

No Scientist is an Island

collaborations, conference report, research enterprise
The myth of the lone scientist working tirelessly into the night in his converted garage lab is compelling, but fictional (at least over the last 100 or so years), according to the panelists at How to Save America's Knowledge Enterprise, a May 21 symposium sponsored by Future Tense (a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate magazine). Take some of the iconic figures of science and technology: did they work alone? Thomas Edison directed a research laboratory with as many as 200 researchers. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard worked out of a garage, but they were working under a fellowship from Stanford University, under the mentorship of Prof. Frederick Terman. Albert Einstein was on the faculty at Princeton University. The Manhattan Project is remembered in terms…
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