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[liberationtech] Drones are not storytellers or why Syrians need better storytelling was Re: Pirate Bay turns to drones

Allucquere Rosanne Stone sandy at
Mon Mar 26 21:02:41 PDT 2012

You don't need ethernet cable to talk to the balloon. A single pair
should do fine, though you'll need to use something less ductile than
copper. Since it's a one-off, you can choose your own power level and
impedance matching method--in this case, it's nice not having to worry
about standards. But there's no reason you have to limit yourself to
sending data to the balloon via the tether; it might be better to do it via
microwave or laser, and let the tether just be a tether.

On Mon, 26 Mar
2012 18:32:52 -0500, Gregory Foster
> A thought, springing from my
work with Public Laboratory 
> [ @PublicLab 
> ] on kite- and balloon-based
> to generate on-demand 
> aerial imagery with resolutions an
order of magnitude greater than 
> publicly-available satellite imagery:

> According to Public Labs' summary of FAA regulations concerning 
exemptions for small balloons 
> , the 
> rope/cable used to tether the
balloon does not count as part of the 
> payload. Is it reasonable to
consider whether we could produce a 
> lightweight-enough tether which
integrates cabling for wired data 
> transfer between the balloon payload
and the ground station? Category 5 
> cables are only rated 
> for segments
of 100m without repeaters, but that height provides 
> substantial coverage
of a geography. That's also sufficient height to 
> enable LOS between
balloons in all but the most vertical of metropolitan 
> areas.
> There
will be plenty of challenges regarding balloon stabilization, but 
> I
wonder if this might open up some interesting possibilities. Here I'm 
thinking of suspending radios as the balloon payload to provide 
substantial wireless coverage whilst preserving available bandwidth by 
using the data-tether to provide Internet-uplink via the ground 
> station.
Sensors could be deployed without exposure of traffic over the 
> air.
Those are just suggested configurations, wondering if the data-tether 
tech itself is desirable and possible.
> gf
> On 3/23/12 12:51 PM,
Isaac Wilder wrote:
>> From a strategic standpoint, near-space dirigible
platforms seem much 
>> more promising than powered-flight drones.
FAA regs allow for two 6-lbs payloads per craft.
>> At 30km up, not much
good for recon, but definitely able to support 
>> communications. LOS to a
400+ km radius. Oil companies and the Air 
>> Force have been deploying
this stuff for years.
>> Just a thought.
>> Isaac Wilder
Director, The Free Network Foundation
>> On
03/23/2012 12:37 PM, Brian Conley wrote:
>>> And this is exactly the piece
that so many are missing:
>>> "At the end of the day," according to the
first expert I consulted, 
>>> "a drone is a tool, and the strategic
advantage it may provide will 
>>> also depend on the funda-mental unity,
planning, and discipline that 
>>> a movement has or does not have. For
example, if a movement is 
>>> lacking a fundamentally good and unifying
message, no amount of 
>>> technology will substitute for that, and thus
the strategic value of 
>>> that technology is diminished in the context of
that movement. On 
>>> the other hand if a movement has a good and unifying
message and 
>>> levers technology to reinforce that message, then the
technology can 
>>> act as a multiplier and provide substantially more
strategic value."
>>> my corollary is that you also have to focus on
telling that message, 
>>> telling your story, not just exposing crimes and
heinous acts, those 
>>> encourage pity, not solidarity.
>>> On Fri,
Mar 23, 2012 at 10:13 AM, Andrew Lewis >> > wrote:
>>> I sent that
draft before I finished it. I meant to add/say that
>>> drones can provide
a view that on the ground can't, as well as be
>>> utilized as a
communication platform for a wide area without
>>> resorting to sending
satellites up or the associated costs with
>>> space programs. Amongst
other advantages.
>>> Andrew
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On Mar
23, 2012, at 5:05 PM, "Patrick Meier (Ushahidi)"
>>> > wrote:
>>>> Some
thoughts on The Use of Drones for Nonviolent Civil
>>>> Resistance

>>>> On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM, Andrew Lewis >>>
> wrote:
>>>> I never indicated it would, but it would defiantly
>>>> complementary, as well as useful for things outside
>>>> It is not an either or situation as you are portraying
>>>> and as videos from drones in Russia/Poland illustrate not
only are video resolution getting better, but they can
>>>> provide an
overview that on the ground coverage.
>>>> Andrew
>>>> On Mar 23,
2012, at 4:49 PM, Brian Conley
>>>> >
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Not only the
development costs, but the litigation/jail
>>>>> time costs as well are a
huge issue with more innovative
>>>>> applications of drone
>>>>> Further, the idea of implementing drones in Syria first
>>>>> all is a huge safety risk, and could fundamentally change
the perception of an already hostile regime to encourage
>>>>> increasingly
worse actions.< /div>
>>>>> Secondly, the drones for human rights
stuff all forgets a
>>>>> fundamental issue, people care about stories, not
>>>>> footage, unless the crimes are so enormous, and even
>>>>> they don't encourage action nor do they help inform
outsiders what exactly Syrians want or need.
>>>>> For example, there
is a fundamental difference between
>>>>> videos like these that Iraqis we
worked with in Baghdad
>>>>> were producing years ago:
...and shaky content and long range images of what often
>>>>> may or may
not be the "heinous crimes" individuals claim.
>>>>> see this video
for example:

>>>>> I think its pretty clear why more efforts are not being
made to more effectively and repeatedly tell the stories of
individual refugees and people who have lost homes and
>>>>> loved ones.
The people documenting are most often men, and
>>>>> as a man who has had
the same problem myself when
>>>>> documenting police violence, war, etc,
we too often resort
>>>>> to documenting horrible events, both because we
are shocked
>>>>> and because that involves an adrenaline rush and
>>>>> its own sort of benefit to us as individuals, and
>>>>> beside the wayside any review of whether this content is
really moving minds or pushing forward a liberation agenda.
>>>>> As
a trainer who has worked with individuals all over the
>>>>> world in
conflict areas and the developing world, I have
>>>>> found that women are
the best trainees, followed closely by
>>>>> older men. Young people are
often too caught up in the
>>>>> moment and the injustice of it all to more
>>>>> document or listen to recommendations about
>>>>> pacing, etc. I guess this is a bit off-topic, but
>>>>> spending a long time in a fairly pointless discussion
>>>>> a man from Hama about this subject last night, I felt the
need to mention it here.
>>>>> I'm still trying to sort out exactly
why I think the idea
>>>>> of drones as human rights documentation may make
sense, but
>>>>> it certainly cannot replace storytelling or
>>>>> reporting.
>>>>> On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 9:32 AM,
Andrew Lewis
>>>>> > wrote:
>>>>> Yes, telecomix is looking at
drones, and really the
>>>>> proposal by TPB is outlandish to current
>>>>> builders/operators, but most of the limitations seem to
be artificially limited technical issues that no one
>>>>> has thought past
due to limitations by US/UK/EU
>>>>> regulations. If you disregard these
rules, long range
>>>>> drones are well within the realm of possibility.
>>>>> think an open source drone program is possible, if
>>>>> people are
willing to commit the resources and accept
>>>>> the overall development
>>>>> Andrew Lewis
>>>>> Twitter: ThePunkbob
>>>>> Sent
from my iPhone
>>>>> On Mar 23, 2012, at 4:53 PM, KheOps >>>> >
>>>>> > Indeed, we're working on drones to film and
livestream stuff in hostile
>>>>> > environment such as Syria :) Will keep
you posted if
>>>>> something concrete
>>>>> > is somehow produced :)
>>>>> > On 03/23/2012 04:57 PM, David Johnson wrote:
>>>>> >> It sounded
ridiculous, but ideas can come from jokes.
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> On Fri, Mar
23, 2012 at 9:48 AM, KheOps
>>>>> >> >>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> >>
>> This is a joke - at least according to tetsu0,
>>>>> one of the TPB
folks :)
>>>>> >>
>>>>> >> On 03/23/2012 04:44 PM, David Johnson
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>>
>>> /TPB LOSS/
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>> /We were down a few hours earlier today.
There's no
>>>>> need to worry, we
>>>>> >>> haven't been raided this time.
We're only upgrading
>>>>> stuff since we're
>>>>> >>> still
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>> /One of the technical things we always
optimize is
>>>>> where to put our
>>>>> >>> front machines. They are the
ones that re-direct
>>>>> your traffic to a
>>>>> >>> secret location. We
have now decided to try to
>>>>> build something
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>> /With the development of GPS controlled
>>>>> far-reaching cheap
>>>>> >> radio
>>>>> >>> equipment and
tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi
>>>>> >>> , we're going to
experiment with sending
>>>>> >>> out some small drones that will float
>>>>> kilometers up in the air.
>>>>> >>> This way our machines will
have to be shut down
>>>>> with aeroplanes in
>>>>> >> order
>>>>> >>> to
shut down the system. A real act of war./
>>>>> >>>
>>>>> >>> /We're just
starting so we haven't figured
>>>>> everything out yet. But we
>>>>> >>>
can't limit ourselves to hosting things just on
>>>>> land anymore.
>> These Low
>>>>> >>> Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the
>>>>> attempt. With modern
>>>>> >>> radio transmitters we can get
over 100Mbps per node
>>>>> up to 50km
>>>>> >> away. For
>>>>> >>> the
proxy system we're building, that's more than
>>>>> enough./
>>>>> >>> /But when time comes we will host in all parts of
>>>>> the
>>>>> >> being true
>>>>> >>> to our slogan of being the galaxy's
most resilient
>>>>> system. And all of
>>>>> >>> the parts we'll use to
build //that system on will
>>>>> be downloadable./
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