Please Explain: Drones

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nick Paumgarten, staff writer for The New Yorker, explains what drones are, how they work, and the technological advancements that are making drones more prevalent in military and civilian life. He’s the author of “Here’s Looking at You” in the May 14 issue of The New Yorker.


Nick Paumgarten

Comments [12]

ashish raval from nyc

maybe terrorism has been effective because they dont use drones ?

Dec. 26 2013 03:57 PM
Frank Marino from East Village

Are Drones Our Heroes ? How long have "they" been able to contol commercial air flights with joy sticks ( quite a while ) according to guest . How many innocent people have been wiped out by these monsters ? Technology is sorely lagging behind in USA how soon will kids in India / China wherever figure out how to reroute one of these suckers ? Make their own cheaply etc . Would the macho war mongers including Ohbama think it a brave or a fair fight if the next generation of these evil weapons hovered over our cities randomly looking for badd guys . Oops co latter al damage , This is shameful and illuminating . And oh yeah what if Romney steals the election would the believers that there is a difference between what is carried out feel comfortable with him playing deadly video games . Not to mention civil liberty voyuerism to say the least . 2012 - scary stuff

May. 18 2012 03:15 PM
romanstoad from manhattan

(The following is, of course, both parody of, and homage to, Rimbaud’s Le bateau ivre)

Le drone saoul

As I came down the implausible currents,
Guided no more by the remote navigator’s digital code,
Slumped over their consoles, they were
Victims of a rage their instrumentation could not tame.

Hyper-tech and itinerant, I was left to go my own free way,
Riding the wild gyres and jetstreams of a violent sky.
Vaster than your fleshy logistics can gaug,
Indifferent to your data-links, much less your intentions,

What cared I for nationalist agendas, DARPA or the PNAC
For the ticker of petrol prices or futures in aggressive media,
When jetstream and doldrum bore me beyond all that
To horse latitudes and Coriolis reflections.

Long nights I drifted in the tepid El Nino’s caress.
I rode the Japanese currents to Western shores,
And have known as well the trade winds that fed Europe
On the spoils of the tropics.

see the rest of the poem at

May. 18 2012 01:54 PM
John A.

The thought on downed military drones is that they depend heavily on software, where that does in effect self-destruct when disconnected from its controller.

May. 18 2012 01:50 PM
suzanne from manhattan

What do drones look like from the ground? How big are they? How fast do they go? Do they hover?

May. 18 2012 01:49 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

@Nick from UWS

Boy, I'll second that!

May. 18 2012 01:45 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Your guest is a drone. His "enthustiastic" voice has made me lose interest in what had been an interesting subject for me.

May. 18 2012 01:45 PM

May. 18 2012 01:44 PM
Nick from UWS

Boy, this guest sounds real enthusiastic about discussing his subject on a major radio show. Like pulling teeth.

May. 18 2012 01:39 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Does your guest know anything about Israel's contributions to UAV developments since the 1970s, and to the extent they may have developed US renewed interest in drones later on?

May. 18 2012 01:33 PM

"They're not supposed to fly near airports ... always remain in sight", etc.

Sure. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

May. 18 2012 01:31 PM
John A. from the Village

Far more important than the technology that makes drones possible is the morality that does their use. Is this just a massive skate past the new 'inconvenient truths' that could make the US look less led by constitutional and international laws and more just operating on the will of the few.
Are there signs to report on that show that international law is indeed catching up to this situation? Or in Congress, ... The Supreme Court?

May. 18 2012 12:45 PM

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