Monday, March 06, 2017

1766 Self Driving Bagpipes and Other Drones


Time was that “drone” was associated with bagpipes, banjos, Senate filibusters, Uncle Al’s war stories and professor Hildebrand's lectures on the pre-Caesarian epic poetry of Nagadocious Depresum.

No more.  Now drones are everywhere. It’s not just the pipes that don’t change notes on the bagpipe or the short string on the banjo.  Now “drone” is used to describe unidentified flying objects, crewless warplanes, motorized kites and self driving cars.

Those cars are just around the corner.  But the corner they’re talking about is on Neptune.  The unmanned planes we have pretty much down pat. The unidentified flying objects… ahah! There’s the problem.

One of these, reports the Associated Press, flew through a 27th floor window in a Manhattan apartment building.  Fortunately the window was closed at the time thereby slowing the aircraft and preventing more extensive damage. Other than the flying shards of glass and the overturned Ming vase now in pieces on the slightly scratched parquet floor.

Another one, this one launched by the army, freelanced a rogue flight from Arizona to Colorado where it crashed into a tree.  No one hurt, but the damage was estimated at $1.5 million not including the tree, says PC Magazine.

How long will it be before a flock of drones flies into the engine of a jetliner on takeoff from Starling International Airport causing it to crash into the south Pacific and forcing the Perth Olympic Long Distance Swim team to dogpaddle to shore?

How long will it be until Little Billy’s drone runs out of juice over Yankee Stadium and plummets onto and destroys Mickey Mantel’s memorial buried flask at third base?  Or even worse, crashes into Mrs. McGinty’s lap, spilling beer and hotdog chunks across the ten contiguous seats.

The recreational drone flyers will have to face off with the recreational kite flyers in mini dog fights.  It’s Snoopy and the Red Baron or the skiers vs. the snowboarders all over again.

As for bagpipes and banjos… you can authentically reproduce the sounds of either or both on one of those computers that masquerades as the keyboard of an organ.

And some of them, the Yamaha Tyros 5 first among equals, can be made to play both at the same time.


SHRAPNEL:
--Ratings for the Tonight Show “Starring” Jimmy Fallon have fallen 18% since inauguration day while Stephen Colbert’s Late Show’s are skyrocketing.  Fallon is the least funny guy ever to host NBC’s 11:30 broadcast and Steve Allen, Johnny Carson and Jay Leno are rotating (even though Leno remains on the up side of the daisies.)

--The White House has become the poster child for finger pointing, ignoring one of the main ideas of the Republican Party, “take responsibility for your decisions and actions.”  Nothing ever is their fault.  What is it like to live a life of blamelessness?

--A major international auto company with an unmatched reputation for unreliability is developing conjoined twin mini-cars.  If successful, when (not if, when) one breaks down the driver can switch to the other.  One remaining hitch: the prototypes’ shared electrical system is inclined to blow fuses which causes the cars to stall at the same time.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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