The Drone Age

About a year ago, a nephew excitedly revealed his new electronic toy at an afternoon family BBQ at our home.  Since I had just that morning, while preparing the meal, dropped a pot of boiling water on my leg (which resulted in a trip to urgent care & a subsequent two month recovery process featuring gross blisters, countless rolls of gauze, & character-building scarring), I wasn’t up for a group walk to the next-door church parking lot for the flight demo.  Instead, I was quietly resting outside in the backyard, leg raised & thankful for tylenol, when an oddly-buzzing apparatus appeared overhead, hovered for a few moments & then darted off here & there like an imagined alien spaceship.

My profound sense of unease that day on the backyard chaise was pleasantly mitigated by modern medicine.  I now realize that it was only excellent pain management that allowed me to laugh companionably at immediately ensuing photos of the drone’s Live Oak Avenue excursion.

Recently, R & I were at Seabright Beach for a MAH Light Waves Beach Theater event which was totally eclectic & fun except for a red & green brightly-lit drone buzzing overhead the entire time (not part of the program, btw).  Personal drones are causing so many safety & security concerns on the Golden Gate Bridge that officials have appealed to US Senator Diane Feinstein for help in restricting their use.  & I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Google & Amazon plans for drone delivery of all that stuff we buy that we don’t really need.

Starting tomorrow, our very own Santa Cruz Kaiser Permanente Arena will host the Drones, Data X Conference.  The City’s Mayor & Economic Development Director will welcome the crowd of…dronads?? dronaholics? dronophiles?…it seems we don’t yet have a term for this new addiction (a new-as-of-this-month FB page is just called Drone Addict). The Drone (& Data X? – I guess this tag enhances tech appeal) conference is paired with an invitation-only ‘VIP weekend’ of mountain biking, surfing, survival skills, food, & of course, drones.  No doubt it will be a high-flying success for the long list of sponsors, investors, & new tech aficionados.

looks like NOAA & the National Marine Sanctuary folks figured this out earlier than the rest of us.

I’m not a Luddite.  I pack an iPhone (ok ok, it’s still a 4 but I’m gonna upgrade soon), I love Survivorman, & I’ll happily play for hours with paper airplanes (well, as long as grandson D plays along with me).  But, while I can kinda grasp the boyish appeal of these next-gen electronic playthings, my current sentiment about the nascent Drone Age is deepening dread.

& now, this drone conference buzz in our own little tech-&-enviro savvy burg. Their website conveniently includes a map showing where flying fun is allowed, or not.   —>

The unmanned aircraft system (or UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle – the current popular acronym) juggernaut is just taking off:  please consider this (semi-)private post my own paltry protest of the pernicious new air show.  These electronic imitations of giant Permian Age insects are going to irrevocably change many things about our lives – maybe some of the changes will be good for some people, but I’d wager most will land on the downside.

It seems to me this isn’t a buzz to ignore.


This entry was posted in Cackling Crone, Just an Everyday Life, Our Primate Nature and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Drone Age

  1. Jean Brocklebank says:

    Spot on, Linda. Drones be damned. The map you supplied (thanks!) doesn’t include Live Oak beaches in the restrictions of no lower than 1,000 feet. Yet these beaches are home to nesting, resting and feeding shorebirds, who come and go constantly. Also, the restrictions do not include the rest of the Pacific Flyway, integral to the travels of migrating birds who travel thousands of miles. Just one more human intrusion into the sky…the natural world.

  2. Marc Mulkey says:

    Just wondering….after all this time since you wrote this article…how do you feel now about drones?

    • liveoaklinda says:

      Hi Marc – I see you’re in a ‘public good’ drone business, which I’ve pretty much accepted as useful (I love maps & geography, maybe that’s why). It’s the recreational use I object to & which is commonly abused & problematic. I think the FAA should only license drones for scientific enterprises & businesses like yours. Thanks for asking, & for reading!

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