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Two streams, one view

As I see the news pass by, events shown on separate media, I notice myself wondering if my life had any meaning at all. I was young and I went to the Middle East in 1982, I would return in 83 and 84 only to learn that there was change. Terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas were only small and Hamas rose as I would see in 1984, yet I thought that change would be inevitable. I saw Hezbollah as nothing more than pesky small minded terrorists, a tool to be used by Iran and Syria. Yet even as Lebanon was trying to move forward, there were signs in media and some places that the US needed Syria too much, in their case dealing with Saddam Hussein and as such many of us thinking we would fight for peace, we only fought for the borderlines that the US decided needed to be in place. It must have been the late 80’s, I was not longer in the Middle East and not all clued in towards the events of the day there. You see DARPA had not rolled out the internet at that point; ARPANET was not available for the audience at large. So today I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Now we see another push against Hezbollah. You see Saudi Arabia has had enough of those terrorists and is pushing back hard, it is also willing to push against Iran. I see two issues. One is that this issue will be bloody and even as we hope for the victory of Saudi Arabia there, there are more than just a few markers showing us that the three largest players (US, Russia and UK) are not completely in agreement whether the Middle East should have one clear dominant party. The issues in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait that have been going on for half a century should show that. If that had not been the case Hezbollah and Hamas would have been little more than an inconvenience and they would have been dealt with a long time ago. So even as I see certain steps being taken I need to wonder if Saudi Arabia is pushing for a resolution, what will the larger picture show as it shifts. As that unfolds where will the US and Russia stand? What actions, or inactions will they use to leave the Status Quo in the middle east in a place called ‘as is’? The evidence for the longest time has shown that they pronounce whatever allies they have, but in the end, they only care for their needs and options. Now, this is not wrong or immoral, it is merely the way any nation plays its game. It is not a new game, it goes back even before Nicola Machiavelli thought it was a god idea to write down certain options for politicians to be.

As per Friday morning, we see: ““Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing there to leave immediately,” a Foreign Ministry source quoted by the news agency said, adding that Saudis were advised not to travel to Lebanon from any country“, so even as we can merely speculate on what comes next, the onus is now pushed on Iran and what it is going to do with its terrorist ally Hezbollah. There is one opposing side which was shown by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-insight/deep-in-yemen-war-saudi-fight-against-iran-falters-idUSKBN1D91UR). With: “The dysfunction is a reminder to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that his campaign to counter arch-enemy Iran in the Middle East, including threats against Tehran’s ally Hezbollah, may be hard to implement” we acknowledge that Iran has resources and skills and they are driven, both sides clearly are. In my mind, is the additional theatre (read: change of scenery) a workable factor? It does put larger pressures on Iran to get the logistics and goods underway, which will be their weakness to some extent. It is equally an issue how Russia will react. They might not openly act in this placement, yet the clear support to Hezbollah and as the times of Israel states: “the truth is that since Russia began its open military activities in Syria, Hezbollah fighters are also learning Russian methods of war, becoming familiar with advanced Russian weaponry, coming to understand the latest Russian technologies, and in some cases, actually fighting alongside Russian special forces“, we might comprehend the skills and training of the Spetsnaz Malcheks, or the ‘Войска специального назначения’ as they call themselves. In one part Avi Issacharoff omitted or decided not to implement one view in his story. In the end when the Spads are not holding their hands, Hezbollah remains what they were trained enthusiastic terrorists, they are only an army in the smallest sense of the total concept, this also means that as logistics falters, as support dwindles the armed Saudi forces will be more than a match and should gain the upper hand. Now, this can only play out if there is a stalemate between Russia and USA, because if the USA backs down and Hezbollah gets open on the ground Russian support, it becomes an entirely different slice of cake and all bets are off at that point. Only the Russians could push Hezbollah in way that the Iranians could never do. You see, if Iran enters the theatre the game changes as they become a clear and present danger to the state of Israel, their vocal insinuations made that so, so as Iran is trying to get a foothold whilst Israel has a few ways to counter them, we will see a more underground event of escalations where Iran is unable to counter a war they never have faced. You see their words (Iran that is) might look good on the news and on PowerPoint presentations, yet in the true data parks there is no setting, because in the end, this generation of Iranians have never faced anyone like Israel before and their faith in their own internal governmental presentations will make them even less prepared. So at that point it is merely a scuffle between Hezbollah and Saudi armed forces and in that equation there is no option of even a remote stalemate for Hezbollah. Is that the goal? I believe that Russia saw Hezbollah as a tool for what they needed, the US has always been hostile and Europe requires high earnings, so the ECB is very much not in favour of any outspoken hostilities against anything that can downgrade their earnings, so they are seemingly steering away from these events as much as they can, yet I will admit that is just me speculating on European events in this case. Even as London is more and more outspoken anti-Hezbollah. Amsterdam and Stockholm are not taking that path. In my mind it is the liberal multicultural flag that they embrace, in that atmosphere a group like Hezbollah can easily hide under this ‘veil’ whilst hating multicultural events as much as possible.

This again has speculative sides, but it is based on solid data and events. You might think that it does not matter, but it does. As more and more nations in their liberal mindset hold off on an actual war on terror, being it for economic or philosophical reasons. Not being part of it is equally a problem down the track. So as we move back towards Lebanon and Hezbollah, we need to realise that not only will this become ugly to a larger degree, there is every chance that unless certain actions are taken the issues seen in Aleppo will be seen in Aleppo too, there is just no way to tell to what extent. In this we can look at Survival Analyses (or listen to the song ‘as time goes by’), where the point in time and the prolongation of all this is the setting on just how much Beirut will look like Aleppo in the end, time is the only factor required here and the people in Europe know this. So as we see the news prepare on how there should be talks and there should be armistices, they all better remember that it was their need for status quo that is pushing the consideration for a terrorist organisation.

Who in Europe would have ever thought that support of a terrorist organisation would be the cool thing to do on September 12th 2001? So consider that and now wonder why Europe is, for now, again sitting on their hands or even contemplating siding to the larger extent with Hexbollah? Yet there is also good news because with the actions by JP Morgan to push into large chunks of the Middle East and more notably the push towards the Kingdom Holding Company. You might think it is not related, but it is. It gives the view that JP Morgan is a facilitator for setting maximised profits and these profits are not to go towards France. There has been a thought that the US is not commitment, but as there is profit in war, the clear fallout of any war is opportunity. It seems to me that the US wants to get as much profit out of that as possible, so as the dominoes are pushed into place, we see a situation where the media proclaims JP Morgan to be a mere financial advisor. I believe that to be incorrect. Even as Reuters reported “JPMorgan is in early talks with Saudi Arabian companies about overseas listings“, that might be true, but JP Morgan has been pushing itself and its ‘friends’ into powerful places where lucrative revenues are not set in millions, but in billions. I cannot answer whether Credit Agricole did the right or wrong thing, they are pretty clever all by themselves. I think that the Saudi issues in play now are pushing for polarising fields of options and opportunity on a global scale. In this case my view will be proven over the next 2 years as we follow the money. They question is where the source will be set and who gets to fill their bucket list from that well. when the options are returned in billions there will be plenty of players, although in this instance I believe that the outside opportunities (non-Saudi based companies) are offered to the friends of JP Morgan and them only, which is again a speculation. Whether I am right or wrong will be initially shown in the next 20 weeks.

There are however facts available to see that there is a direction in place. Reuters show on part (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jpmorgan-saudi/jpmorgan-sees-more-saudi-firms-looking-at-overseas-listings-after-aramco-idUSKBN1D7107), some might think that “He said listings in New York, London, Hong Kong or Singapore might help increase the liquidity of these companies and make them attractive for international investors, he said” is the part that gives the goods, yet it is the part not seen and more interestingly not implied that gives power to it all. The implied part is seen with “Commenting on the anti-corruption drive, Pinto said: “If it is done in the right way and for the right reasons it is good to do for the future of the kingdom.”” It is however only the first part. The news given with ‘Saudi Arabia detains 201 princes, businessmen in $100 billion corruption probe’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/saudi-anti-corruption-probe-finds-$100-billion-embezzled/9136608). This was not a sudden part, this had been in play for some time. It was not merely the fact that at present 201 people are now in custody. Even as we see mention of Iran and the Lebanon pressures, we see that there is a larger play. His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud have been on a path to get the nation reformed and moved away from oil dependency. In this the pool of plenty does not last too long when 100 billion get lost one handshake at a time as more and more people are connected to unlimited resources and wealth. As the press seems to be focussing on the crown prince and the ‘wild ride’ he created, there is a larger issue that is not too much in focus. No matter what the sceptics state, There is a clarity that Saudi Arabia is seriously considering that the age of oil is dwindling, as this happens they need to be able to push into other directions and they do have the wealth to create vested interests in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, consultancy services and educational advantages. Forbes has had its share of articles on the matter, and whilst some look at ‘Saudi Arabia Looks To The Private Sector To Meet Growing Healthcare Demands’ it seems to me that 5G facilitation has much larger and more profitable sides as other providers are considering what to do, Saudi Arabia has the option to facilitate to the largest 4 cities and exceed in opportunity what Sweden has for its entire nation. When there is such a population (9.5 million) in 4 cities, there is an option to grow and grow fast. Now we know that there is a lively market already, but the idea that other services could be added grows the Saudi options to add markets and manufacturing opportunities through investment. I all this JP Morgan is potentially the spider in the centre of the web, growing in value and wealth from all sides at the same time. There is no way to state why Crédit Agricole walked away from those opportunities, but I feel certain that they did not walk away, the merely moved to a place around the corner. Even as the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0e629bab-494c-34d0-8fe0-f71c8b089118) show mixed results, yet I believe that this French bank is moving into different fields, acquiring other banks and setting new goals. I have no way to tell on the why of it but I feel that moving away was only one as the clever people in this bank have agreed on a strategy that allows to grow faster and on larger fields. How?

We will learn this over the next 20 weeks. Yet no matter what is done and how the banks react is not a given, the direct dangers on how things escalate in Lebanon and with Iran seems to be crucial in all of this and I reckon that we will see the shifts quite soon. These shifts will not be through armed conflict, but will rely on the pressures and stresses that exist at present. In this Europe seems to take a ‘diplomatic’ stance (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_destabilising_lebanon_will_only_strengthen_hezbollah_7235), yet with “Europeans should veer the other way, taking measures that aim to preserve Lebanon’s stability and governance structures, and to prevent wider conflagration. Iran is clearly a key source of regional instability, and Hezbollah has become increasingly assertive in Lebanon” it seems to advocate a path of inaction, 3 decades of inaction have shown that there is no solution on that path, a stream of casualties, of non-actions and broken promises. Saudi Arabia (and the USA) both had enough, and as Iran seems to be an annoying thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia, they have seemingly decided to take Hezbollah out of the equation. This will be interesting, because the moment Hamas and Iran realise that the gig is finally up, I wonder how must tearful pleads of ‘negotiations’ will be shown on nearly every soft hearted news channel on the planet. Perhaps a recollection of March 2016 is needed. With: “Hamas on Sunday sent a delegation to Egypt in an effort to beseech Egyptian security officials to stop destroying its tunnels out of Gaza. These terror tunnels, employed by the terrorist group for nearly a decade, are used to store weapons, smuggle supplies, and infiltrate enemy territory – Israel – as well as carry out surprise attacks in which people are killed and soldiers abducted.” (source: Breaking Israel News). It reads like “please let us be terrorists a little longer, we need the tunnels to do naughty things”. There is every chance that this falls on deaf ears, because as Israel is optionally no longer pressured in possible two front wars, they can fully focus on Hamas whilst Saudi Arabia will only have to deal with Iran after that. It will truly change the Balance of Power in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as the only true power in that region, all because to a larger extent, Europe decided to remain in a self-imposed state of inaction. After three decades they still haven’t learned that inaction against terrorists will never ever lead to any solution.

Yes, there are a few elements of speculation from my side, but it is based on gathered facts and it I do not believe it is less likely on the balance of probabilities, it is merely one optional setting in a larger game that has been played for much too long.

 

 

 

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As we know it

The universe has changed, it changed some time ago, yet the powers that be, be it in business, administration (read: government) or retail where all for the most are in denial. They deceive themselves through stories. One uses Tableaux to use the data to present the picture, a picture often based on incomplete or overly weighted data. The next one relies on dashboards like SAP to use spreadsheets to bedazzle the people with slice and dice numbers, looking pretty as a pie chart, yet not giving us the goods, because nowadays, these companies hire people who can sell a story, not drill deep on the results. The story is whatever the paying customer is willing to hear. They are all adopting the political need that has been in play for many years: ‘If the data does not match, change the question‘. That is the first part in a sliding scale of representation, and those representing the stories are running out of options (read: point fingers) to turn to.

The first part is seen in ‘At the time of year when queues usually form for popcorn and the money pours in, box office revenues are plunging. Where are the blockbusters?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/26/even-superheroes-may-not-save-hollywood-desperate-summer), here we see: “The true scale of the potential problem facing the industry can be seen in the precipitous drop in movie attendance this summer, down 52% year-on-year to 385 million at the time of writing. It is the lowest level of attendance since the summer of 1992“, in addition we get “Hollywood is stuck in a rut and it needs a safety net – superhero flicks fit that bill right now“. Two statements that might be the bill of the story, but in reality, the people are adhering to mismatched data and not properly investigated results as I see it. You see, the data is evident and it is out there, the games industry is taking 100 billion plus a year now and some of the other elements of gaming are taking a slice of that. In addition, providers like Netflix are now in much better control of their audiences that is mainly because they figured out what was wrong in the first place. You see, the gaming part is the first part of the evidence. People are now spending it on something else and they are no longer relying on the box office as Netflix gives then options. the second part is seen in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-where-cost-of-living-is-rising-the-fastest-2017-6) where we see that on number 10 (New Orleans) the cost of living went up by 18%, on number one we see Nashville with a cost of living raise of nearly 30%, as we have not seen any actual economy increase from the United States, or better stated, the working people of the United States have seen almost no increase in wages and quality of life, those representing certain numbers decided to just ignore issues and evidence. Now, that top 10 list is a little skewed too, yet when we realise that for 3% of Americans their cost of living went up by 18% or more, how worried do we need to be with certain represented numbers? So consider that Los Angeles was part of that top 10, yet New York is not, there we get ‘Cost of living index in New York is 21.37% higher than in Los Angeles‘, which with close to 9 million is 2% of the US population, so now we see that the hardship and quality of life is hitting 5% of the American population and the numbers do still go up, so when we see “drop in movie attendance this summer” how can anyone be surprised? In addition, we should also realise that this gives rise to the fact that apart from people not going to the cinema, many are now spending it on something else and a $20 spend on 90 minutes is not considered when $55 gets them hours, sometimes hundreds of hours of gameplay. We are all getting more and more weary on the bang for our buck and the cinema can no longer deliver that value. No one denies that movies are just better on the big screen, but for many it is a trip only affordable a few times a year so the people are getting really picky on what they see on the big screen. Richard Cooper gives us part of the news, but also ‘forgets‘ to give the full picture. With “It is mid-budget films and their fans that have tended to suffer“, here he only gives us part of the story. As the Hollywood engine of greed and reselling remains on a steady course, we see the need for maximising results and as such the movie makers are closing the gap between cinema and digital release. Why spend on the cinema whilst within 26 weeks the movie will be out on Blu-ray? Basically it is the same price, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an excellent example in this case. People are becoming stingy because they have no other options. All the messages of a fake economy and how good it is might look nice on the news, but for the most, people in the US cannot afford any extras. Many in the USA need to work double jobs just to get by. The US census gives us that in 2015 13.5% of Americans were in poverty, I feel certain that this number has gone up in 2017, some sources give us that this has gone up to 14.5%, so one in seven is in poverty. Do you think that these people will be watching movies on the big screen? So the Hollywood moment of desperation is not to be resolved, not until the quality of life and cost of living for Americans is set to a much better status. Those who can might try to leech of the neighbour’s Netflix, those who cannot need to find affordable entertainment, if they get any at all.

In the second we see that this economy is also bolstering a new level of exploitation. Even as we all ignore certain elements, Uber has changed the game, with ‘Inside the gig economy: the ‘vulnerable human underbelly’ of UK’s labour market‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/24/inside-gig-economy-vulnerable-human-underbelly-of-uk-labour-market) we see a new level where the people are sold a cheap story (read: Uber story) and as they are hiding behind what people should investigate, we see that desperation is exploited in other levels. It is not merely an American issue; it is becoming a global issue. With “Each passenger’s destination, however, will remain a mystery until they have been collected. And regardless of the considerable costs they might incur to fulfill that journey, the driver will have no say in the fare. Uber both sets the fare, then takes a hefty rate of commission from it“, we are shown that there is a dangerous precedent. As we see online needs explodes as people need cheaper solutions, Uber will weigh in on maximising its profit. As I see it: ‘the drivers having no other options to work to near death for scraps’. With “The driver knows that failure to accept these terms will result in an immediate loss of work: they will be blocked for a set period of time from accessing Uber’s online system that provides work” we see new levels of legalising slave labour. The ‘do it or else‘ approach is now strangling the freedom of people to death. We see evidence of my statements with “The companies themselves tend to talk about the freedom, independence, and flexibility with which self-employment is usually associated. But many of the couriers and drivers we have spoken with over the past year have had an alternative model of self-employment, and with it much financial insecurity, enforced upon them“, and the law is not offering any solution, not in the UK and not in the USA, being an entrepreneur tends to have long lasting benefits at times. They all voluntarily went into the contract and they can all walk away and starve. It is not an option for those with families to support and feed. Part of this crux is seen in “we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain“, to be the entrepreneur comes with hidden dangers, especially when you work for other entrepreneurs. The age of exploitation is upon us and as we know it, we can no longer afford to go to the cinema, a side Mark Sweney seems to have ignored. Yes, he does give us the Netflix element and there was no way to avoid it. He does go in the wrong direction with “For film fans, theatres still have an allure for the launch of big movies, but in the new world, where all media is competing for eyeballs and time in the “leisure economy”, the Netflix threat is rising“, he is not incorrect, yet he is incomplete. He forgets that Netflix is all many can afford (and a fair amount cannot even afford that). So why go to the cinema for the next sequel? Box Office Mojo gives us part of the goods, in 2017 only 2 movies broke the 1 billion mark, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (I personally do not think she was a beast in that movie) and the Fate of the Furious, which makes sense as Vin Diesel is stark raving nuts on most given days (in the fast and furious series) and who doesn’t enjoy a chase movie whilst we know that the driver is Looney Tunes. A movie with a good grasp on the desired quality of life time! So if we accept that the bulk of the Americans had to choose two movies these would be it. Yet, that number is not correct. You see Vin Diesel is attracting an audience, but 81% is not domestic, in the case of Miss Watson it is a 60% non-domestic audience. If we focus on the American market the Beauty and the beast was best, but only good for half a billion, if we focus on the domestic market, it is merely the Force Awakens that brings the goods for Americans. It makes sense with the following it has, but it is also deeply sad that decent movies are no longer bringing in the bacon. We cannot merely be blaming Netflix on this, we can surmise that the people can no longer afford the large screens in America, it is the most likely scenario, when we consider that only 3 movies got the domestic top 100 of gross revenue in 2017 and 11 in 2016, we cannot disagree with the view we get offered, but in retrospect, there is enough evidence that the US job market was worse last year. So with still 3 upcoming box office smashes, the big screen performance remains down, to what extent is harder to state, because there is enough indications that there is a lack of quality numbers, which makes my predictions not wrong, merely speculations and I accept that, yet the makers of the article and the presenters of the story of ‘Even superheroes may not be able to save Hollywood’s desperate summer‘ know that they were blaming the DC and Marvel Universe for not saving an economy that does not presently exist. The economy only exists on the Dow Jones index and that one is skewed towards the 1% of Americans that can afford a large apartment in New York and other places. What a shame that reality requires the 99% of Americans they give no consideration to. Yet it could be worse and there is every chance of that happening. As we see Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen warn against regulatory cuts, as we see “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said protectionist policies pose a “serious risk” for growth in the global economy“, we could deduce that Draghi is soon depending on exploitation tactics to grow the economy, not only has his Quantative Easing failed, he will soon depend on legalised slave labour to get the economy the boost no one wants in such a manner. So as Draghi states: “To foster a dynamic global economy we need to resist protectionist urges“, which will not just end the filling of any quality of life if it was up to certain Uber approaches, it is also signaling the end of places like Hollywood, because they only get to exist when people can afford to go to the cinema, an display of ‘ingoranus totalicus‘ shown by these same people as they bolster the story that ignores the needs and plight of those in the lover 60% of the total income bracket in most of the modern western world.

We will see in the next 18 months what remains of the values we considered in the past. Life as we know it will change, that has always been the consideration of an evolving natural life. We merely forgot that those in charge are not in favour of change unless they could directly profit by it. I wonder if the people in Hollywood realise that part of the equation.

 

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Freedoms removed by Amazon

One of the most outrageous articles of the year hit me this morning, via the Guardian off course! The piece in question is ‘Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/28/amazon-autonomous-drones-only-airspace-package-delivery). In the first, since when does a company decide on traffic rules? Can anyone explain that to me? In the second, since when is a company allowed to set FAA rules (or in general rules of flight regarding safety of airspace)? In the third, how in the name of all blazing hell does a company decides on how amateurs, hobbyists and innovators do their work?

Well, it seems that Amazon has stepped up to the plate to ‘suggest’ a few changes. Let’s face it, Amazon is a place of nothing, a mere grocery store for parchment products. In the UK they paid £11.9 million in taxation and the year before that £4.2 million, so why should we give them even the slightest consideration? The Australian Amazon site is limited to kindle stuff, so they pay even less there. You know, they are big in Luxembourg, so there is every possibility that they can pursue their drone packaging strikes in that country. But to give any consideration outside of Luxembourg and the US is a little too strong, so the quote “Amazon is proposing that a pristine slice of airspace above the world’s cities and suburbs should be set aside for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference” should not be taken too seriously.

We cannot fault Amazon for having vision, but it comes at a cost. You see “It envisages that within the next 10 years hundreds of thousands of small drones – not all of them Amazon’s or devoted to delivery – will be tearing across the skies every day largely under their own automated control” shows us that there would be a massive drop in the need for delivery people, which is not good for job security. Now, in opposition, these things happen, when people started to correspond through their computers, the people did not think it would grow beyond the realm if Geeks and Nerds, now, the bulk of the population has not touched parchments, quills and ink for a long time. Less postman were needed and on a global scale dogs were in mourning for nearly a decade.

Now we get the part that Amazon thinks is visionary “The company’s aeronautics experts propose that a 200ft slab of air – located between 200ft and 400ft from the ground – should be segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment and flying at high speeds of 60 knots or more. A further 100ft of airspace – between 400ft and 500ft – would be declared a no-fly zone to act as a buffer between the drones and current conventional aircraft such as passenger and cargo planes, thus mitigating fears about the impact on manned flight or dangers posed to people on the ground“.

I wonder how these aeronautics experts got their degree, perhaps it was added to the side of the pot of vegemite in an effort to market the product to Americans? Perhaps their degree was the wrapper for Troyer Roll Butter (if you know the product, the joke makes sense, Google it!). You see, the sky is filled with these weird things, that need to be all over the place, they are called helicopters, the police uses them, the press uses them and oh, yes, the emergency rescue services uses them all over the world, also in city areas. So this ideas hold a few operational holes even before it is seriously considered.

There is an additional concern. We do not deny that drones will be the big thing in the next decade, which also means that indie developers and visionaries will emerge, so is the quote “segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment” anything else than an attempt to crush market growth and keep it in hand for a few established brands? How will that ever be any good for innovation? Furthermore, the image gives way that hobbyists, rural hobbyists will be pushed from their rural live to little spots, just like the Native American Indians were. In my view, if you want to be top dog, you’ll just have to create a superior product that can anticipate these events. By the way, helicopters come in all these areas, including in the no fly zone, so this idea is saturated with bad insights from even before day zero. Not a good start me thinks!

So in reference to the position papers where the call states “It calls for a “paradigm shift” that will allow hundreds of thousands of small unmanned aircraft to fly under their own technological steam without the current involvement of humans through air traffic control“, that part could only work if there is one player, once there are more, if becomes a technological jungle of miscommunications and lost handshakes due to iterative updates, flaws and glitches. So how about letting drones work above the freeways and major lanes? It would not hinder anyone, hobbyists and innovators continue and unless a helicopter absolutely must land on a highway (likely medical emergency) they can continue without any hiccups.

Wow, I just solved the ‘lack’ of free airspace in 7.2 minutes. How clever am I?

Then we see “Amazon sets out five capabilities that drones must meet if they are to be allowed to fly inside the new 200ft high-speed corridor“. well let’s just agree that this is not up to Amazon to begin with, the fact that they precede this with “to realise that futuristic vision safely“, implying that they are working on a solution only they will offer, laws must abide with… In my view it is not up to them, many nations know that drones will be the new slave labour force (read: unpaid population that will drive others away from a job), which is a little out there (the way I framed it), but the reality is that this market will massively evolve over the next 2 decades and we have to give space to innovators and visionaries, not limit their scope to the need of “sophisticated GPS tracking that allows them to pinpoint their location in real-time and in relation to all other drones around them“, which is basically stating that drones must be a product made by DJI, Raytheon or Northrop Grumman to be allowed in this airspace. Amazon does NOT get to make THAT call!

the additional quotes “Online flight planning that allows them to predict and communicate their flight path” and “Communications equipment that allow them to “talk” and collaborate with other drones in the zone to ensure they avoid each other” give additional notice to forcing us into a one player path. That is not what innovation is about. First the TPP is pushing innovation to the mercy of big business, now Amazon add more limitations here? That is not a playing field that the world signed up for.

So as we see that hobbyists and indie developers (and visionaries) are slowly pushed into reservations like the Native American Indians by the quote “Under Amazon’s proposals, by contrast, hobbyists would only be allowed to fly within the new 200ft-400ft corridor if their vehicles were equipped with the latest hyper-sophisticated gadgetry for autonomous flight. Otherwise, they would have their activities confined to geographically demarcated airfields in relatively unpopulated areas that would be set aside specifically for the purpose” we have to wonder what Amazon has up his sleeve. Because either the US government is so bankrupt that it will agree to anything to not collapse before the results of the next elections, or is Amazon just waving in the air to be noticed?

The quote by Brendan Schulman, drone lawyer and senior executive and DJI gives us additional issues regarding the Amazon statement “by far the greatest use of unmanned aerial vehicles today was by amateurs. That’s currently by far the most common use of the technology, so before you disrupt their experience you want to think carefully about what slice of airspace would really be needed by these new technologies“. I would say ‘Amen!’ to that, because the issue that the article danced around (perhaps intentionally) is that Amazon needs to adhere to established safety protocols, we do not change protocols because of Amazon. I can agree that down the track changes will have to be made, but that time is not now and especially as the paper ignored several basic avionics issues.

Which now gets me to the paper where in a mere flash something stood out to me. Consider the quote “Amazon believes the current model of airspace management will not meet future sUAS demands, particularly highly-automated, low-altitude commercial operations. A paradigm shift in airspace management and operations is necessary to safely accommodate the one-operator-to-many-vehicle model required by large-scale commercial fleets“, in that apart from a massive dose of arrogance, we see “the one-operator-to-many-vehicle model required by large-scale commercial fleets“. So it is already on the premise for big business where one controller manages 100-200 drones. The shift of a workforce that only requires payment in cc’s of fuel.

In my view, the air is for now still empty, it will change, that much is certain, but it will be the people that decide on how far this goes, it is not Amazon to make that move. I am not entirely certain that Amazon should be the lead at all, but that is perhaps a discussion for another day.

What is in the last part an issue is the small part privacy activists were given. They are all up in arms regarding police and spook drones. Which is massively farfetched as these people have already given away their liberty through Facebook and other social means, so these two parties receive via e-mail all you did, including the amounts of times you ogled the ass of the neighbours wife (and teenage daughter). We seem to forget the massive danger that follows, it is not Amazon with its non-human package delivery system. It is the fact that in any innovation, organised crime follows pretty quickly, because they know that it takes the government up to 5 years to catch up, so in the first 5 years they can strike it rich. Drug deliveries, via cheap drones to penthouses. The paying clientele gets balcony to balcony delivery via a $499 drone and there is no link between the parties. Crime is already making a nice killing here, so the proper focus is not here and when it gets to be in the right place it is already too late.

So Amazon should not be setting the pass for removed freedom, it should set pace to create the right atmosphere, an attempt that they failed miserably from my point of view.

My opinion in this matter is strengthened through a previous article regarding Amazon which was published on March 30th (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/30/amazon-tests-drones-secret-site-canada-us-faa). The title ‘Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration‘ already implies the ludicrous part in all this. A ‘secret Canada site‘. Why? Because a spotter could take a pic? Because of industrial espionage? Actually, that last one is not THAT far-fetched. So let’s leave it for now.

In the article we get two parts that show my view the first is “Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs“, which represents as stated in the article for 86% of all the packages, now that is fair enough, if you want to address 80% of what is done now, yu see a choice that is just common sense. Now part two “The Company wants to offer its customers the ability to have packages dropped on their doorstep by flying robots within 30 minutes of ordering goods online“. Initially that pat makes sense too. Yet combined, we get ordered articles are delivered within a range of 18 miles. Here we account for loss of time for picking up, after which the drone gets 30 minutes, so 18 miles is pretty much the limit, so this is a metropolitan solution, this is less about ‘global change’, but more the need to address the high impact profit places like New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, New Orleans, San Jose, Chicago and Los Angeles and a few other congested places. The ‘global’ part was just nice to give it marketing. They need to address congestion and dromes will make sense. Yet the visionary part is that they are trying to address it on a global scale, because if this is accepted, Amazon would be sole player in places like London, Paris, Amsterdam, The Hague, Munich, Berlin, Rome and Sydney for that matter too. That seems to be the reality and it is not a bad idea to have, but in that adjusted view, Amazon does not get to set policy, especially as Europe might develop its own drone solutions. Binding options for developers through ‘sophisticated GPS tracking‘ is what I would call ‘the big No No’.

Brendan Schulman, aka the drone lawyer shows us the merits of my thoughts “Amazon’s Canadian airstrip-in-exile should be a “serious wake-up call to politicians and regulators”. “America has led the world in aviation development,” he said, “but for the first time in history we are at risk of losing out”“.

There is the part, where I made the reference to the TPP. These presentations are all about big business carving their patch making sure no one else can inhabit it. The plane industry is polarised, but drones are another matter, drones can invigorate visionary workers and dreamers, because a drone is not an expensive tool, you can buy them in a game shop and the next kid getting one could be the one who revolutionises that field because he/she thought ‘what if I want to do this, could I alter my app….?’ that is all it takes to create a billion dollar corporation.

The FAA has (according to Amazon) taken much too long to make up its mind, it also stated “it does not believe that drones can be flown safely under their own autonomous control, and is insisting that humans must keep them within eyesight at all times“, which makes it non-profitable for Amazon. For now the FAA is right, but there is no given certainty that this is still a truth in 5 years. The mobile industry, Wi-Fi and sensor market is evolving at an alarming rate, my $699 mobile phone now has the same technological options a $15K digital film camera had 10 years ago, only the lens is the physical difference in quality, so that market will evolve, possibly beyond my comprehension before I die.

I feel certain that the FAA realises this, but they report to others and those people see that drones will be the new orgasmic high for organised crime. Common Law in the US and in the Commonwealth is flawed enough for all players to realise that this opens up massive undeclarable profits for these players. With the one to many option, whatever small chance of successful prosecution of a drug dealer any Districts Attorney had in the past, flies straight out of the window via drone. Here we see how the law has not caught up again.

Should it stop drone development? No! But there are a few sides that need addressing, which cannot be done today, but soon it will be the only blockade remaining. What happens when that day comes?

 

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