Drones delivering pizzas. What could possilby go wrong?

In today’s segment of WTFs In the News:

Domino’s Pizza is working with a company in UK testing drone prototypes for airborne pizza delivery

The agency [T + Biscuits] hired custom drone makers in the U.K. and tested a few prototypes until they found the best. “Domino’s said: ‘Right, that’s the one. Let’s make a video and get it out there,'” Hatton said.

On delivery day, two large, hot, pepperoni pizzas were boxed, stacked and stashed in a thermally insulated bag. The team hoisted the package not onto the scooter rack belonging to a pizza delivery boy but aboard the copter. Operated by a experienced drone pilot, it travelled about 4 miles in about ten minutes.

The delivery was a success, Hatton says — the two pies arrived at the other end in pristine shape. “If anything it went quicker than a pizza boy,” because it didn’t need to stop at red lights, Hatton remembers. “We were amazed at how easy it was going to be.”

The two large pizzas hit the weight limit the drone could carry. “We thought: ‘Oh perfect,'” Hatton said, but a big response so far has been: “Well, what if someone ordered more? ” To which Hatton’s response is: “I can’t believe anyone would want to order more than two large pizzas.”

 

Ya know, kids,  ol attila’s fav pizza place in Missoula was called Red Pies Over Montana. It was a play on the movie about some brave fire jumpers and a very nasty incident of a jump gone bad. Bad pun and perhaps always  ‘too soon’, but hey, college town. They did serve up great pizza though. The mural of flying pizzas over the mountains was a surreal work of art, or something. But it was acknowledged as surreal, not a hair brained scheme that some capitalists figured was the best thing since sliced cheese. The good old days, when logic was generally put before corporations as people thinking, I miss them.

Now, as usual, life or commerce, is imitating art, or earlier commerce. This is due to the reality that  there really aren’t many new ideas out there, just a lot of modifications and applying new tech to old ideas. There might be just a hint of a class of business people who are too isolated from reality and perhaps to able to afford mind altering substances in units not generally recommended. The rub with blindly applying new technology to old business paradigms always falls back to ‘just because you can  do a thing, it does not follow that you should do a thing’.

OK, flying pizza has a certain panache and whimsey that does appeal to the ‘Awesome!’ brain center that kicks in before the rest of the brain has had coffee and time to do what brains are supposed to do. And it may be a way to deal with traffic gridlock in large urban areas, for a time at least.

Near as I can figure, there really aren’t many, if any, regulations governing corporate use of drones to transport product, which ya know just has to appeal to the pirates, err, corporate officers.

But what could go wrong? Or more to the point, what couldn’t?

Delivery drones? If Domino’s actually went operational with flying pizzas, every other monster food corporation would have to take to the air just to compete and take away the novelty factor. Will joystick jockeys for Sky Pizza have radar to keep cheesy goodness out of the way of flying fried chicken? What happened when the Chinese take out place gets into the arms race and launches a fleet of Flying Tigers? Will drone delivery competition escalate to the point that drones are armed in order to preserve and protect their air freight? What about the likelihood of hungry students hacking into the drones and hijacking the food deliveries? And how long before cleaver birds like crows and seagulls start testing to see how many birds can land on a flying pizza to take it down? Will cities be inundated with well fed attack pigeons, landing, one at a time until they have safely landed and scarfed down the dinner someone is watching the skies over their driveway for?

Consumer protection will be a problem. One must assume that without a pizza delivery person actually showing up with the goods and getting your cash in return, the customer will be required to provide a valid credit card number when placing orders. Yes, many delivery franchises already do this, but with flying pizza, it will be required. Now, what happens when a patron is electronically charged for a pizza at time order is placed but the pizza is hijacked by angry birds or hacker neighbors with really good WiFi? Ah those pesky unintended consequences!

Airports have air traffic controllers, and still the burdens of air traffic make the occasional near miss, or actual collision inevitable. How about unregulated drones delivering the goodies? Who will keep the air ways neat, orderly, and safe? Who pays in the case of falling fast food related injuries? Who is liable if a pizza lands on my windshield and blinds me so that a car accident ensues? And what are we to do with all the car drivers texting orders to the pizza palace then racing through traffic in hopes of beating the drone? And what if the drone forgets the goddamned chili flakes and extra Parmesan packets? Huh? Whose gonna pay for all that gastronomic mayhem? Is Allstate gonna grab a slice with those good hands? How much extra will falling food insurance add on to consumers’ tabs?

Hell, let’s toss in some Stand Yer Ground fun into our hypothetical problem list. If the average American corporation can start delivering goods via drones, can the average American citizens insist on corporations not violating airspace over their homes. My guess is no.  Note: airlines fly over, albeit not as low as a pizza drone and we don’t get to swat them down. But just how low can a corporate drone go without Joe Second Amendment feeling threatened and blasting it to the higher heavens? Then there is that liability thing again. What happens when Joe homeowner stands his ground and airspace, fires off a few rounds and gravity kicks in. Bullets go up, up to a point, then somebody gets lead rain. Who gets held responsible for injury and damage from self defense against low flying food stuffs?

Oh, and what about the children, err, dieters? Just how much latitude will Weight Watchers have in preventing the temptation of forbidden fruit and junk food passing too near their windows? Remember that horrible travesty of justice known as the ‘Twinkie defense’ when a bigoted pol got off easy for spilling Harvey Milk? What sorts of horrors and docket constipation will the courts go through sorting all these conflicting interests out?

See what I’m sayin here? All sorts of possible unintended consequences. But it strikes me that corporations get to do what they want, so I doubt our legislative bodies and regulatory agencies will manage to get ahead of the curve on this one and get some rules and constraints put in place before those consequences hit the fan.

By the way, drone chopper delivery of pizzas will mean less jobs for the struggling youths who need them. But maybe it will save lives. At least it will save struggling youths the expense of subsidizing business with their own vehicles, fuel and insurance, so maybe it would actually be a financial wash for the kids who want to work and make some money. One does not make money pulling minimum wage AND using ones own resources to subsidize cheap ass franchise owners. One is old enough to know few legislators are interested in protecting the interests of workers. My daughter is still waiting to get paid for three weeks of delivering chow 20 some years ago.

How much trouble could be averted

Been chewing on something in the back of my brain. What is the root, or one of the roots, of all the anger that comes from some people thinking  get to control other people?  When push comes to shove, that misconception is at the bottom of a whole lot of the trouble in the world, and certainly in America in this present age.

Hit on a theory for some of the origin of  this control-freakish trouble between  people:

There is a basic failure to understand something in the Bible that some people take literally and to extremes.

That part about man having dominion over the world and the beasts might just be part of the problem. Seems too many people think they are THE MAN who gets to be the boss of me, and you, and everybody else.  And that’s when the fight started.

Where is Kim Jong Un, anyway?

Read a musing by one of the journos or pundits I follow on twitter that Kim Jong Un had not been seen in public in over two weeks.   Just thought, hmmm, coup? Did the generals or lower ranking officers finally lock the mad man with new nukes up for their own good? Or was he practicing lay up in anticipation of Rodman’s next visit?
Then this week happened (and it ain’t over yet). Boston, ricin, Elvis impersonator suspect with three first names. West, Texas. Cowards in the Senate failing to heed the wishes of 90% of the American voters re making background checks for gun purchases a bit more useful. Earthquakes and oil spills.

Just read the bulletins about the MIT shooting and the cop who won’t be coming home. Damn. It had just been ridiculous. Too much. Too many people dead, hurt, traumatized. Governor Perry of “take your Federal dollars and shove it’ Texas is standing, hat in hand, begging POTUS to hurry up with the federal money cuz he had a real situation pop up that none of the Commissioners of Texas can fix. Surreal.

Posted on a forum I frequent,  that we  all needed to breathe, just take a damn breath, step back. And I generally practice what I preach so I took a breather.  And that’s when I remembered the tweet about where’s Waldo, err, Kim from Monday morning.  Maybe Governor Perry put too big a chip on his shoulder, daring the only fat man in North Korea to knock it off as he mocked Kim’s threats to unleash the nukes on Texas?

Probably not. That plant in West, Texas seems to have been an uninspected, self-regulated ticking time bomb ready to go off for years now.

But still, where IS Kim? And I noticed Perry isn’t so smug today.

Heartfelt sorrow for the good people of West, Texas. They didn’t deserve any of this, whoever or whatever the cause.  None of the victims this week deserved any of this. We gotta put better people in office, and we need to support those who support the public. Mental health care wouldn’t hurt either. Hell, I’ll put a couple extra bucks in the kitty if we can just find Kim and haul him in for group therapy with Governor Hungover.

 

 

On stress, self medication, and the odds of being offed by a terrorist

I’m drinking tonight. Not a lot. My body just can’t do that. But second drink THIS WEEK, which is way over my norm of a couple of drinks every 6-8 months. For me, I guess it is a lot. Thank gods for the ginger liqueur I made months ago. Not bad with some vodka and soda.

Dear friend in Arizona emailed today. The high school in Wilcox, AZ had a bomb threat called in. It’s a very small agricultural town east of Tucson, known for some apple and peach orchards and singing cowboy Rex Allen. Anyway, my friend said the high school received a bomb threat and classes were called off. Hmmm, first, I didn’t know there was a high school in Wilcox. Hell, I didn’t know there was anybody under the age of 105 in Wilcox.  Second… CRAP, it must be spring, kids want to ditch school. I hope that’s all it is. There are brown farm workers and red neck crackers in Wilcox. Could be a very bad mix, colorful, but bad.

Then just I read that a man walked into a Hooters -nosh-and-ogle emporium in California and announced he had an explosive device. OK, sounds a bit like the start of a low budge porn movie, but hey, who knows. Maybe he got some bad fries of something.

Was just looking up the odds of dying by a terrorist (white guys with explosives and a mad on, and businesses that don’t follow safe practices cuz they don’t want to spend money, qualify no matter what American main stream media thinks) compared by the usual means of untimely meetings with one’s maker. Terrorism is way low.

Thinking the odds makers need to revise. Frankly, it seems that, in America, the chances of being offed by some stranger with a delusion and/or sociopath business executives  who don’t think safety is a good investment is probably inversely proportional to the amount of resources Americans are willing to spend on mental health care and fair regulations of business operations. We are screwed.

Please don’t sqeeze the Charmin and how we argue is a metaphor for teh stoopid

So, there’s this invention that needs to be made. Well, it’s more of a modification than invention, but it does need to get figured out and put into production. While the thing probably won’t bring about world peace, solve the issue of providing clean energy for the masses, or even explain who put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop-bop, it has merit and a place in our society. What I am talking about here will revolutionize the way we provide an essential product to users, who happen to be every man, woman, and child beyond the age of potty training. Folks, we are talking toilet paper dispenser here.

Probably since the first indoor flusher got stopped up by the too wide pages of that catalog Misters Sears & Roebuck sent to American households, there has been a bone of contention, an issue of division, a pain in the butts of families across this great land of ours. And this divisive issue spread from the privacy of individual households into the workplace where it hampers workplace morale to the point of causing periodic disruptions in productivity. Yes, this invention, or modification, solves the old problem of over-the-roll or under-the-roll, or who the hell cares so long as there is toilet paper on the roll when one needs a swipe of soft yet strong ass-wipe.

Someone near and dear to me was musing on a huge inter-office row that evolved into days of bickering, mocking, hurt feelings, feuding, and has still gone unresolved and a source of tension, derision, hard feelings, and general potty mouth sniping of the people on two sides of this non-issue tissue issue. Why, the very fact that one part of this three-way dispute does not see that the directional flow of soft but sturdy two-ply butt buff as an issue worthy of concern, let alone debate, is enough to set off both the over the roll and the under the roll factions. Petty or not, this is some serious shit.

Enough! Enough, I say. This is America. We are Americans. We are the people who tamed a vast and wild continent, wiping out whole nations of other peoples who were already doing just fine. This is the nation that not only won world wars, saving the status quo for the Haves in Europe, so that freedom and business could thrive, if marketed properly and subsidized lavishly. This over/under/who-give’s-a-rat’s-butt conflict is something we can, and must solve.

Yes, friends, we’ve got trouble! We’ve got terrible trouble, right here in River City. Wait, that’s a whole different story.

Yes, friends, we’ve got inventiveness. We’ve got drive, and we have mad skills. We’ve even got some small pockets where some few products are still made right here in the US of A, even if a lot of those pockets are in private, for profit prisons. We can do this. We should do this. And by the God who didn’t have a hand in the creation of this nation, we must do this.

Ball socket, rotating toilet paper roll hangers! It will revolutionize how Americans confront the matter of wiping their asses. Ball socket, rotating paper roll hangers will allow for toilet paper rolls to be turned to either the over or the under positions, thereby making it possible for the insanely easy to fluster user to simply lift and turn the entire apparatus so the paper hangs in accordance with their personal, but strongly held, opinion of how ass-wipe should be presented. Done are the marital disputes over this horrendous divide. Over are the workplace feuds and fury over why the other people are just plain wrong about this huge bottleneck to team spirit and productivity.

Basically, it would work like this, and your humble inventor apologizes for both her failure at drafting and the lack of a rendering program to illustrate such a thing, instead of a screw to hold a basic paper roller to the wall, in would be an inset ball and socket device which would allow for lifting the roll away from the wall and simply flipping it over so that the direction of toilet paper roll-out would be more pleasing to the user.

OK, perhaps some of you have trouble with the envisioning step required here. Let me try to verbally illustrate the concept another way. Y’all know about trailer hitches? The ball is on the backside of the truck and the socket is on the front end of the trailer. The socket is loose enough to allow for movement over the ball, which allows for some mobility in the direction of the trailer, making cornering a bit easier. Well, picture the ball as a much smaller piece of hardware that is on the end of a screw that goes into the wall. The socket is, well, a socket that fits over the ball snug enough to stay on, but with enough play to allow it to slide around the ball, both side to side and up/down. Now instead of a big ol chunk of metal joining the socket to a big ol trailer, we have a smaller chunk of metal that has, threaded through it, a firm, but flexible spanning frame that holds the spring-loaded wooden toilet paper roller.

Still having trouble with the vision thing? OK, forget trying to take a big thing and see it much smaller, and picture a pickup truck (the wall) with a ball hitch, only one that faces directly backwards rather than the up position generally used for such devices (that would be the screw head, set into the wall adjacent to the crapper.) attached to a socket (the trailer hitch, this time facing frontwards rather than down, like in a real trailer) and then, in your mind’s eye, just lift that ol horse trailer off the ground far enough to flip that sucker over so the horses are all on their heads with their feet up in the air. Yeah, see, like that. Only without horses being harmed, because we’re actually flipping a four and a half-inch roll of paper rather than a metal box full of Mr. Ed.

Oh crap. The spousal unit just pointed out that my complicated any lift/flip apparatus, complete with spinning horse trailer analogy isn’t needed at all. What is needed is a simple hinge bracket mounted on the wall, and an L-shaped bit of metal, long end for the roll of TP and the short end past the bend for the bracket on the wall. Want the paper roll to go over, turn to this way. Want it to go under, turn it to the other side.

Peace may not break out all over the world or even in most households and workplaces, but we all would have one less surrogate issue to use as the whipping boy for the real issues that simmer like pots of demons in the back recesses of our well insulated psyches. Now tell those office wanks and skanks to just STFU and put the roll however the frack they want it then get back to doing what it is they are supposed to do.

What about Cranbrooks’ part in Mitt’s attack on John Lauber?

 Schools know there is a difference between hijinks and assault.

What about consequences? Isn’t being required to face consequences for behavior and performance an important part of a proper education?

Something that needs to be brought up in the national discussion of high-brow prep school ‘hijinks’ is how the school reacted. Have yet to see this addressed.

Is there ANY evidence that the Cranbrook School took any disciplinary action against Romney and the others who participated in this assault on John Lauber? Were any punishments meted out for this? How could young men form a small mob, assault a classmate and not get thrown out on their asses at the very least?

 John Lauber was expelled from Cranbrook School for reports that he was seen smoking.  Sneaking a smoke got the assault victim bounced out of school!

Mitt Romney graduated from Cranbrook.

Mitt crossed a big line when he acted violently upon a classmate. He put together a small mob to help him. That was not leadership, it was cowardice and it was willfully malicious. 

The others knew it was wrong, they were all well past the age of knowing right from wrong. Many of them acknowledge they have been haunted by their part of the attack on John Lauber since they participated right through to the present.

Mitt mislabels his assault on a classmate as ‘hijinks’. Would be interesting to know what he would call such an attack if some kids did it to his own sons when they were in school, or his grand-kids now. Willing to bet Mitt would have a team of lawyers all over the perpetrators, the parents, the school, and the cops to make sure punishment was swift and harsh.

Mitt Romney graduated from Cranbrook but John Lauber did not, because it was reported John Lauber was seen smoking on campus.

Evidently Cranbrook School was pretty confused about boyish hijinks. One would think an institution that charges the kind of tuition Cranbrook  does would be run by people who knew better, people of high moral convictions.

As we ponder what makes Mitt tick, we might give some thought to the fact that it sure looks like the system the elite grow up in has an impact in reinforcing sociopaths’ sense of security in acting on bad impulses.

In no way should Romney’s behavior be blamed on the school, he was well past the age where we hold young people accountable for their actions.  But the school needs to take some responsibility for what life lessons it teaches. Boarding schools, in particular, bear the burden of being more than just classroom education. Boarding schools, but structure, act  in loco parentis.

How many other scions of the privileged class grew up knowing the system would back them no matter what? That brutality is rewarded and empathy is not required? No wonder the nation is in such a mess.

‘There’s nothing to do’? Got community radio in your community? Look for the possibilities

Do you have teenagers? Have friends, neighbors who are teenagers? Do you have a community supported radio station in your area? Do they offer fun opportunities like this: a summer morning ‘day camp’ for teens who want to learn about how to operate a live radio station?

Maybe it would be good to find these things out. Maybe, if there is a station but they don’t offer such training, well, maybe you could get it going. Maybe, if there is no community station, you could join others and get one going.

This is a really cool idea: Teens can spend mornings learning about all the aspects of operating a local radio station. They can learn about music they would not otherwise be exposed to. They can meet artists and community organizers. They can learn about how non profits operate by becoming involved with the people who govern and operate one.

Think of the possibilities that could result from getting local young people interested and involved in radio broadcasting. In this era of massive media ownership by very few corporations, community radio could be the ‘pirate radio’ that helps save some community identity. If more people got involved in radio, there might be more radio to choose from, and that might lead to less audience for the propaganda spewing damage hate radio does.

Think of young people learning the nuts and bolts of broadcasting. WOLVERINES!!!? Yeah, LOL, it might be a tool in case our high-schoolers have to fight some invading force, but face it, the invasion has been domestic. Maybe, maybe knowledge of basic broadcasting could help a new generation battle the current political/economic paradigm, or maybe it would just help them build sustaining groups and coalitions in their communities, groups and coalitions that can give local alternatives to people who just do not want corporations to be the only influence.

Think about the fact that too many public schools have dropped programs in art and music. It has been proven that exposure to the arts enables better problem solving through broader thinking and actual physical enhancements of the human brain. Think about ways to make up for that horrible loss of the arts programs ‘budget cuts’ have wrought. Think about how hands-on learning in a place where musical variety is the norm and exposure to a lot of artists happens on a weekly basis.

Think of some of your local teen-aged neighbors having fun, building some skills,  learning that they don’t have to be entertained, they can be the entertainment. What impact could that have on some young people, taking charge and not relying on whatever crap media wants to shove down their throats for corporate motives? Betting more than a few of them would take that lesson and apply it to other areas of their lives, discovering that they don’t have to settle for the lives some corporate entity wants to funnel them into. Think of the benefits of teaching they can do more to define the parameters of their lives.

Please note that community radio is not Public Broadcasting like PBS and National Public Radio. It’s local community supporting, and community supporting radio.  It’s treasure for your local area.

OK, I freely admit it, I love this particular community radio station, though I do listen to others online too. No commercials, very wide variety on the play lists, music from local and global artists you won’t hear anywhere else, discussion and human interest programming. Yes, it is my favorite and I am glad I can listen online.

One big reason I love this station is that they really are part of the community. They are involved in a lot of festivals and community events. They offer people the chance to volunteer and learn about radio broadcasting. They are an antidote to hate radio and community ennui.

My guess is there may be a community radio station you could pick up, listen to, enjoy, and learn from. Find out. And find out what sort of opportunities they have for you and yours to get involved. I know this particular station offers adults the chance to volunteer and learn. It’s great that they are working to get the young people involved too.

Check it out, and hunt up other community radio stations to love and support. If we want to fix what’s so horribly broken in the world today, community resources and community celebration is important. All those pols who are owned and operated by giant corporations started locally in their communities. We can build the antidote locally too, and get good people involved in all aspects of influence and educating the voters. Some of the people we meet in such efforts will have the potential to go into politics and challenge the status quo.

Who knows what exposure to a different paradigm might accomplish. If your local kids can have fun while laying some foundations for so many possibilities, well, that’s important too.

 

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