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When a U.S. citizen heard he was on his own country’s drone target list, he wasn’t sure he believed it. After five near-misses, he does – and is suing the United States to contest his own execution – Rolling Stone
When a U.S. citizen heard he was on his own country’s drone target list, he wasn’t sure he believed it. After five near-misses, he does – and is suing the United States to contest his own execution
assassination  law  drones  review  critique  humanrights  RollingStone  2018 
21 hours ago by inspiral
Loon and Wing ‘graduate’ from X moonshots to independent Alphabet businesses - The Verge
Alphabet has announced that Loon and Wing — two of its X moonshot projects — are “graduating” today to become full companies underneath the Alphabet corporate umbrella. The two companies will be classified as “Other Bets” within Alphabet, alongside former X projects like Waymo, Chronicle, and Verily.

While the official designation of the companies has changed, their work remains largely the same. Loon will continue to work on using balloons to bring internet to people around the world, and Wing will keep building delivery drones. Neither company had updates on those projects to go along with the announcement, but obviously Alphabet is happy with the pace of the work, given the promotions within.

Now, these two projects will be expected to function as real companies with an eye toward becoming successful businesses down the road, instead of merely incubating within X.
google  connectivity  future  trends  drones  new-companies 
3 days ago by dancall
Cartographers Without Borders
...the drone’s spatial resolution affords a degree of photographic detail that far outpaces that of satellite data. That is, Kowadad has sharper eyes than the Guyanese government—which means Fredericks can present real-time evidence to the state, at a higher quality than that to which it has access, when illegal loggers and miners hurdle over their concession boundaries and infringe upon Wapichan forest lands….

Mapping is a means to establish land claims on an ontological footing equal to the government’s. The drone, which resembles an exaggerated model airplane and was assembled via YouTube and Skype tutorials with the onsite help of the Oakland-based nonprofit Digital Democracy, is the latest tool to aid the efforts….

For the state, the forest is strategic. It is either to be conserved or exploited (but never lived in). Decisions must be made about the relative merits of biodiversity and resource extraction and tourism. Perhaps a forest is valuable to the state because it can be logged for timber. ...

Parcels must be divvied. And to align with the logic of private property, these decisions must be mapped. For communities residing in and around forests—who may be quite literally written out of the equation—the map simultaneously speaks and silences. The erasure of community by mapping is a reminder of the enterprise’s inherently sticky subjectivity. …

It is a small irony that the neoliberal hollowing of the state and its twin cults of individualism and privatization would pave the road for decentralized counter-cartographies….

Overlapping permits have led to a situation in which “130 percent of the total area of West Kalimantan is now covered by concessions for mining, palm oil, logging, and pulp and paper plantations,” according to a 2017 study by Indonesian scholar-activist Irendra “Radja” Radjawali and his colleagues….

“The government, the military, the companies—they all use maps,” he explained, speaking shortly after Fredericks back in Paris. “We have to counter-map. We have to use the very same technology to fight back.”…

in a case heard before the Constitutional Court of Indonesia—unrelated to the question of concession boundaries per se—drone orthophotos of West Kalimantan were accepted as supporting evidence of detrimental environmental effects of mining in the region. When the court ruled against the mining corporations in the case in question, environmental activists and civil society organizations celebrated it as having set a precedent for the evidentiary use of counter-maps in the legal system.

In Guyana, Fredericks contends that his central cause is the preservation of traditional knowledge. When we last spoke, he reflected on how it was the proliferation of cell phones among the young people in Shulinab Village that had originally motivated him to seek out ways “to use technology to our benefit”—that is, not as another vector of Western influence but as a means of upholding and elevating indigenous practices.

It’s a quiet little paradox, and one that suggests Amerindian and other indigenous cartographers are often fighting two battles at once: one on the legal front, in an effort to ensure community mapping techniques count as admissible evidence in court; the other epistemic, in which indigenous ontologies square off against Western (colonial) mapping practices.

The latter case is often fraught with compromise. Fixing borders cartographically, for example, may threaten to cement something traditionally conceptualized as fluid or shared. Take, for example, software developer Victor Temprano’s efforts to crowdsource and superimpose Native and First Nations’ territory on a map of North America at Native-Land.ca. To settler eyes, the result is forceful and reorienting. But these territorial boundaries were often never written down as such. At risk of generalizing across diverse systems of indigenous land tenure: they were delineated orally or ecologically or seasonally or cyclically—or, in the case of communal ownership, they didn’t really exist at all.

Fixing borders can not only be misleading, but dangerous. The act of accepting a given state’s administrative units can in turn be co-opted by the state for further land-grabs.
cartography  mapping  drones  indigenous 
8 days ago by shannon_mattern

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