Drones, Theft and a Prediction

Recent news included a tidbit about drones (the kind with cameras, weapons, etc., not the kind from a beehive).  Apparently there is already a prototype drone that can land on electric lines and draw power to charge its battery.  This would enable the drone to remain in the field for long periods of time as it would not have to go back to a base to recharge. 


Good Lord by Trustocorp, 2011, back lit stained glass

While the military implications of drones are fascinating, I believe the real significance of this article is in the potential of the technology.

If drones can steal electricity to charge their batteries, they can steal electricity to use for any purpose whatsoever.  Image if you have a drone that can perch on a line and has a plug that extends down to the ground.  Free electricity!  You need no knowledge of how to hook up a line to steal it.  You take no risk, the drone just flies up to the power line and you’re good to go.  When you’re done, it flies down and you pack it up.  No evidence exists of your theft at that location and the power plant picks up the bill for your usage.

In addition, if you have an electric car, it would only be a small jump in technology to have a small drone in the trunk and you could recharge your car’s battery anywhere you could find a power line.  No more stopping at a gas station for you.  No more worrying about the low range of your electric car.  Enormous potential abuses exist if there is an easy way to steal electricity with no way to be tracked.


My prediction

Perching drones will be made illegal for non-military usage as soon as they appear on the market. 


Though they may be as effective as a plastic gun printed with a 3D printer, the potential for abuse is far too high for Congress to allow them in private hands.  On the other hand, the government trusts itself to do the right thing, so their use will be monopolized by the government the instant they are available. 

Because most power companies are so heavily regulated that they depend on the goodwill of politicians, they won’t let out a peep of protest and will pass the cost of the theft on down to the private consumer.  Since the stolen electricity will be “free” to governments, as an expense passed on to private citizens and businesses, governments are guaranteed to abuse their new found powers of theft.  New technology of this sort cannot be put back in Pandora’s Box.  Once you learn to open the Kryptonite lock with a plastic pen, the whole design must change. 

What will become of our power lines?  Will they all have to be buried at great cost?  Will this be an excuse to watch everyone even more closely in our liberty loving society?  Or is there some far less costly solution?  Whatever the case, the winds of change are blowing.  This new technology will have a greater impact than a small plane that gets to hang out a bit longer taking pictures.

An overweight prediction


As the world has become wealthier and more efficient, the cost of food has dropped.  We exercise about as much as beached whales and we have seen the inevitable result:  An explosion of “big boned” Eric Cartmans as far as the eye can see.

Unless we come up with the means of losing weight that requires zero self control (such as a new Stalin or functional diet pill), I anticipate this trend will continue.

As the ranks of the overweight swell (both literally and figuratively), the social stigma of morbid obesity declines.  As time progresses, overweight people will attempt to make their lives easier by doing as little exercise as possible.  Easing the stresses in one’s life has been a goal of invention and business for millennia and has been a sign of progress in the modern era.


Often the most stressful exercise overweight people experience in a typical day is walking up stairs in their own home.  I predict that, as more and more people become overweight, newly designed houses will do away with stairs, either substituting an elevator (you’d still need emergency stairs which take up space), or, as I now foresee the future, multistory homes become a thing of the past.

Except for the wealthy, who can afford the cost of both floor space for stairs and an the expense of an elevator, homes will lose their upper floors.

If the seller of a home wants the new, morbidly obese, borderline shut-in to buy his home, a big selling point would be the ranch style.  Why should the mobile 400 pound man have to strain his overworked heart going up stairs?  He could just walk or ride his scooter straight from his bedroom to the bathroom, the home office, or out the door to his car.  When building a new home, for both future resale and one’s own convenience, why not build wider instead of higher?

I predict entire new developments without a step to climb.


Side note, with a tiny, super easy prediction:

In our age of politically correct speech, I am surprised the overweight masses in the United States accept the medical term “morbid obesity.”  “Morbid” and “obese,” while descriptive and specific, may easily be found offensive by people who fit into that category.  Consider, in the past, “moron” referred to an IQ of 51-70, “imbecile” to 26-50 and “idiot” up to 25.  Mental retardation had a specific definition before school yard kids started slinging it at each other.  These are all now considered offensive, politically incorrect,  and have been entirely removed from our speech as inappropriate.


It is a very small step to see how “morbid” in morbid obesity will have to be removed and some other, easier to swallow term will be substituted.  Perhaps something along the lines of “formidably built.”  It is only a short time before the term changes.  I give it less than ten years at most, maybe only 2 or 3.