Sarah Pavis

onevisiblefuture:

I have something of an obsession with the image above, considering it the “canonical” image of a drone.
It’s the first Google image result for “drone” and as such is reproduced endlessly elsewhere. The warping effects of Google Image results on public understanding of complex subjects are a discussion for another time, but it’s worth noting that the image is frequently captioned as a Predator (General Atomics MQ-1) drone, when it is in fact a Reaper (GA MQ-9) - including in such contexts as activist reports on Drone warfare. An artist’s impression that would appear to be based on this image graces the box of the Revell 1:48 MQ-9 Model. It’s the avatar for Dronestagram.
It took a while to track down the markings, but this aircraft bears the insignia of the 138th Attack Squadron, part of the 174th Attack Wing (174 ATW), a unit of the New York Air National Guard, stationed at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York. This image at Wikipedia shows another 174 ATW aircraft, registration 09-4066 (this serial number does not appear in Joe Baugher’s listing of 2009 USAF serials, although there is a record of a Reaper aircraft numbered 09-4056 which crashed in California in 2010).
There are no drones visible in either Bing or GEarth historical imagery of Hancock Field to add to the Watchers project, or at Wheeler Sack AAF which the 174 ATW uses for launch and recovery, and where the latter photo was shot on on 14 Feb 2012.
I had some suspicions about the Canon Drone, and research bears these out.
At first, the feeling was just unease. Staring at it for some time, seeing it endlessly reproduced across the web and in print, it began to seem unreal, a fiction, too smooth, too perfect. But that’s an effect of drones: they always appear otherworldly. (See, for example, this image of a Global Hawk at Waddington Air Show in 2010. The beluga-like Hawk seems impossible, smoothly rendered into the perambulating crowd.)
Of course, it’s not just that. The Canon Drone is indeed entirely unreal. A close inspection, and comparison with other Reaper images, including 09-4066, bears this out almost immediately. The level of detail is too low: missing hatches on the cockpit and tail, the shape of the air intake, the greebling on the fins and body. That ‘NY’ on the tail: it’s not aligned properly, it’s a photoshop. Finally, the Canon Drone’s serial, partly obscured, appears to be 85-566. The first two numbers of USAF serials refer to the year an aircraft entered service: there were no Reapers back in 1985 (development didn’t even begin until 2001).
The Canon Drone does not exist, it never has. It is computer generated rendering of a drone, a fiction. It flies over an abstracted landscape - although perhaps the same one as another canonical image, this Predator in flight, which, while unmarked, at least appears worn enough to be believable.
Where does the image originate? As the default drone photo, it is endlessly reproduced without attribution. It appears in Google Image searches for 2009, but not for 2008 - although I’m unsure how reliable this dating is. I’ve hit a wall in finding out more.
I think: the Canon Drone is emblematic of the liminal, self-obfuscating essence of the UAV, and all of our noumenal infrastructures. The most widely reproduced image of this most illegible of our contemporary technologies is itself a dream.
UPDATE: A reader found the source of the image.

onevisiblefuture:

I have something of an obsession with the image above, considering it the “canonical” image of a drone.

It’s the first Google image result for “drone” and as such is reproduced endlessly elsewhere. The warping effects of Google Image results on public understanding of complex subjects are a discussion for another time, but it’s worth noting that the image is frequently captioned as a Predator (General Atomics MQ-1) drone, when it is in fact a Reaper (GA MQ-9) - including in such contexts as activist reports on Drone warfare. An artist’s impression that would appear to be based on this image graces the box of the Revell 1:48 MQ-9 ModelIt’s the avatar for Dronestagram.

It took a while to track down the markings, but this aircraft bears the insignia of the 138th Attack Squadron, part of the 174th Attack Wing (174 ATW), a unit of the New York Air National Guard, stationed at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York. This image at Wikipedia shows another 174 ATW aircraft, registration 09-4066 (this serial number does not appear in Joe Baugher’s listing of 2009 USAF serials, although there is a record of a Reaper aircraft numbered 09-4056 which crashed in California in 2010).

There are no drones visible in either Bing or GEarth historical imagery of Hancock Field to add to the Watchers project, or at Wheeler Sack AAF which the 174 ATW uses for launch and recovery, and where the latter photo was shot on on 14 Feb 2012.

I had some suspicions about the Canon Drone, and research bears these out.

At first, the feeling was just unease. Staring at it for some time, seeing it endlessly reproduced across the web and in print, it began to seem unreal, a fiction, too smooth, too perfect. But that’s an effect of drones: they always appear otherworldly. (See, for example, this image of a Global Hawk at Waddington Air Show in 2010. The beluga-like Hawk seems impossible, smoothly rendered into the perambulating crowd.)

Of course, it’s not just that. The Canon Drone is indeed entirely unreal. A close inspection, and comparison with other Reaper images, including 09-4066, bears this out almost immediately. The level of detail is too low: missing hatches on the cockpit and tail, the shape of the air intake, the greebling on the fins and body. That ‘NY’ on the tail: it’s not aligned properly, it’s a photoshop. Finally, the Canon Drone’s serial, partly obscured, appears to be 85-566. The first two numbers of USAF serials refer to the year an aircraft entered service: there were no Reapers back in 1985 (development didn’t even begin until 2001).

The Canon Drone does not exist, it never has. It is computer generated rendering of a drone, a fiction. It flies over an abstracted landscape - although perhaps the same one as another canonical image, this Predator in flight, which, while unmarked, at least appears worn enough to be believable.

Where does the image originate? As the default drone photo, it is endlessly reproduced without attribution. It appears in Google Image searches for 2009, but not for 2008 - although I’m unsure how reliable this dating is. I’ve hit a wall in finding out more.

I think: the Canon Drone is emblematic of the liminal, self-obfuscating essence of the UAV, and all of our noumenal infrastructures. The most widely reproduced image of this most illegible of our contemporary technologies is itself a dream.

UPDATE: A reader found the source of the image.

Dr. Seuss reviews SimCity

Do you like SimCity?
I do not like it, no, not me.
I do not like SimCity.

I want to play, EA. I want to play SimCity.
I want to play but your servers are shitty

I cannot play it here or there.
I
 cannot play it anywhere.
I cannot play it on a train.
I cannot play it on a plane.
I wish I did not have to grouse.
But I cannot play it in my house! 

I’m sorry, is there anything I can do?
Give me a refund. That’ll do.

I won’t. Please wait and play it soon
How long to wait? Maybe June?

I want to play just me, no other
I want to play without big brother
I do not want to be always on
I want to play away and gone
I want to play it in a hole
I want to play it like a mole
I want to play, shut out the world
I want to play, around my laptop curled 

You cannot play it so you say.
But try again, there must be a way.

Try it try it you will see.
I do! I do like SimCity!

I will play it on a train.
I will play it on a plane.
I will play it here and there.
I will play it everywhere.  

Why do you now like SimCity?
What has changed? What can it be?

I cracked the game so now I’m set
I’ll play SimCity without the internet

Gender bias in job postings?

Stephen Shearman takes a look at a recent study “Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality.”

Example of feminine and masculine-themed words used in a engineering job description:

Engineer Company Description:

  • Feminine: We are a community of engineers who have effective relationships with many satisfied clients. We are committed to understanding the engineer sector intimately.
  • Masculine: We are a dominant engineering firm that boasts many leading clients. We are determined to stand apart from the competition.

Engineer Qualifications:

  • Feminine: Proficient oral and written communications skills. Collaborates well in a team environment. Sensitive to clients’ needs, can develop warm client relationships.
  • Masculine: Strong communication and influencing skills. Ability to perform individually in a competitive environment. Superior ability to satisfy customers and manage company’s association with them.

Engineer Responsibilities:

  • Feminine: Provide general support to project team in a manner complimentary to the company. Help clients with construction activities.
  • Masculine: Direct project groups to manage project progress and ensure accurate task control. Determine compliance with client’s objectives.

Not surprisingly, the results showed that women found that jobs with masculinity worded job descriptions less appealing, compared with the same types of jobs which used feminine wording across all job types — whether they were male or female dominated occupations — even though these gender words composed a small fraction of the total words in the job advertisement.

Personally the only words that really turn me off are dominate and boast. Seems more chest thumping than descriptive. 

I’m not sure all these words are equivalent. “Support” implies mostly working under someone or on projects other people are leading, “direct” implies management or leading your own projects. If they’re saying that the word “support” appeals to women more than men and vice versa for “direct” then sure I guess that seems like it’s probably true. But when it comes to a job posting, I wouldn’t say that those are gender themed synonyms. 

I’m an engineer and I’d definitely used the masculine themed words to describe the work that I do, partially because I think it’s more accurate & partially because I think using those subservient ‘feminine’ words on a resume wouldn’t get me hired anywhere. 

I know I’ve read my fair share of studies saying that if women feel like they’re not 100% qualified on every bullet point in a job posting then they won’t apply. (Personally, it’s an inclination I know I have work to fight.) If softening the language will short circuit that attitude then I’m all for it. But the way it looks right nowespecially with the specific words they’ve chosen to studythe study seems either to be suggesting that recruiters trick women into thinking leadership positions aren’t leadership positions or that women don’t want leadership positions. Either of which is a bummer. 

(via techladymafia)

Amy Poehler has an advice column! It’s part of her Smart Girls At The Party fun, educational video series for young girls. 

I know it’s aimed at like 9 year olds or whatever, but I really like it.

And I like you. 

November Kottke Posts

In advance of subbing this week for Jason, for my own reference and for anyone else who’s interested, here’s a round up the posts I did on kottke.org back in November. 

Guest editor: Sarah Pavis (Jason intro)
Through a browser, darkly
I, for one, welcome our toddler operated robot arachnid overlords
Thanksgiving FAQ
Paul, the artistic robot
A radio show run by psychiatric patients 
Inner-City Wizard School
The International Journal of Indexing

Newly discovered Hitchcock film is available to watch now
The international meteorite market
What does 20th century Mondrian art have in common with 21st century video game music?
Freehand lasercutting
72 year old man models teen-girl clothes (h/t Jason)
What would realistic space battles look like?
Final call for reader submissions
Giant balloon will protect us from floods, terrorism
Mini cheeseburger kit takes the “fast” and “food” out of fast food
300 singing turkeys 

Stories from kottke.org readers on connecting with people online
Amazon Random Shopper
Your new TV ruins movies
Feminist video game hacking
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Analyze Stanley Kubrick
Scientists un-discover an island