Friday, June 21, 2013

Is This A Drone?

Is This A Drone?

By Meg Curtis, PhD

The question never occurred to me until I saw this:  
Photo by Meg Curtis, PhD

Now, my experience of the American Fantasia will never be the same. Is it a plane? It cannot be Superman; he doesn't wear white, and he was a comic book character. No photos of whiteflies or mayflies match this image, which I captured with my cell phone camera in Dunkirk, New York, in early June. The creature was tiny; I had to be almost on top of it to record its presence on a window pane.

My mind was swarming with buttercups and dandelions. Indian paint brush and mushroom fairy circles were sprouting in every lawn. Red-winged blackbirds were jousting with crows for real estate rights. Fat chick-a-dees were hustling me for food with loud songs carrying throughout my residence. The avian version of Planned Parenthood was extremely busy. Housing and Biology consumed Nature.

Suddenly, this creature appeared, just weeks before the latest announcement of scientific simulations. The title apparently describes a creation much like the one on the window: "Newly developed micro robot bird able to perform reconnaissance, surveillance." The curious can follow the full details of the "robot bird" here: A surveillance mechanism would be likely to pose on windows, too.

As if that announcement were not sufficient to make me wonder what I was seeing, "The FBI has admitted it sometimes uses aerial surveillance drones over US soil, and suggested further political debate and legislation to govern their domestic use may be necessary," as reported by the UK Guardian at Well, one way or another, some white-winged creature is observing humans inside their dwellings, and nobody that I know gave permission for it to sit on windows here.

Paranoia may seem funny until it's you and an unidentified flying object perching where it has no warrant to be. Once upon a time—yesterday, maybe!-- dragonflies were clearly not after me. The flapping bread-and-butterflies of Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland were looking for flowers, not Alice, and Alice was not suspected of Un-American activities. Wasn't she a British citizen, after all? Uh-Oh! The UK has not escaped US surveillance, either, if Edward Snowden is to be believed. 

Now, do you know if that famous rabbit-hole is bugged? You can't shrink a white rabbit to the size of a mayfly, can you? Is this the American Dream now—a cartoon with creatures who once knew where they belonged? 

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