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Sep 18

Drones – The New Watchdogs for Environmental Activism

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Drones have been around longer than you think. Perhaps not in the compact, commercial, radio-controlled versions you see whizzing around lakes, over coastlines and above marathons that you see today, but as “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs), we can look back to the mid-nineteenth century to find their origins. In 1849, Austrian forces besieging Venice used balloons carrying timed-fuse explosives to bombard the city. The attack was mostly a debacle, as wind changes forced many balloons off-target with some drifting back over their own lines – however at least one fell into the city. We have our first instance of aerial bombardment by drone! In the 21st Century, UAV’s are now directed by ‘pilots’ who, from the comfort of their own headquarters, use consoles to steer drones and attack targets using ‘surgical strikes’ in far-away countries, regardless of the international rules governing sovereignty or ethical implications of automating warfare in this way. Continue reading →