Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Corrections officials in Ohio are looking into using Drones to persistently monitor prison grounds in the state -

Corrections officials in Ohio are looking into using Drones to monitor prison grounds in the state - 

Prison yards have spotlights and surveillance towers and barbed wire fences and security cameras to keep prisoners in—and soon, they might have drones too. Corrections officials in Ohio are looking into using drones to persistently monitor prison grounds in the state.

Of all the places for persistent surveillance to occur, prison is probably the best—there's already all of those previously-mentioned capabilities—but the thought of having a drone constantly hovering over prisons just seems a little too far, no? 

In any case, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is at least looking into the idea: Tristan Navera of the Dayton Business Journal reports that prison officials attended a drone demonstration on Monday, with the idea of using unmanned aircraft to keep contraband out of the prison and to keep an eye on any prisoners trying to escape. 

The demonstration was hosted by researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute and the Wright State Research Institute at the Wilmington Air Park. None of the researchers involved with the demonstration have gotten back to me yet, but a spokesperson with the prison system confirmed to me that officials did attend the demonstration.

She said the prison system and researchers at the universities "still have to have further discussions" before anything more formal is put into place.

The prison system would also have to clear the idea with the Federal Aviation Administration, which has issued certificates of authorization to several law enforcement groups to fly drones. But, so far, most of the drones we've seen law enforcement look into on the domestic side have been shorter-duration ones designed to fly for a half hour at most. They'd be used to assess a situation before an officer enters a dangerous scenario or to take photos or video of a particular suspect, with a warrant. 

But the drone Ohio is reportedly looking at, the MLB Co. Super Bat (baseball, much?) can fly for 10 hours at a time. The idea would probably be to have a couple of these—or a couple batteries at least—so they could be flown around the clock. Alternatively, drones could potentially be used on a more limited basis to search for a missing prisoner—but with that kind of flight time, I'd bet on the former.

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Kate Middleton Reportedly Hires 'Butt Bodyguard' (For Reals) -

Kate Middleton Reportedly Hires 'Butt Bodyguard' (For Reals) - 

After embarrassing photos of Kate Middleton were published last week, the Duchess of Cambridge is taking measures to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

During the royal tour in April, Duchess Catherine was photographed just as a gust of wind lifted up her sold-out Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, exposing her bare butt. A German tabloid then published the pics, prompting concerns over privacy for the royals.

Now, according to The Mirror, the 32-year-old has hired a "butt bodyguard" to stop photographers from taking potentially embarrassing pics just in case a Marilyn Monroe moment should ever happen again.

According to reports, palace officials have hired a female minder to accompany Duchess Kate on shopping trips so that photographers can't snap her from behind.

The Royal Family have long battled with the press over privacy rights and preventing photos from being published, most notably when a French magazine published photos of a topless Kate while she and William were on holiday in 2012.

Kate also face a potentially tricky wardrobe malfunction when, during a trip to Canada in 2011, a gust of wind blew up her skirt, revealing her bare legs and a hint of her bottom.


Pope tells couples not to substitute dogs and cats for children... -

Pope tells couples not to substitute dogs and cats for children... - 

Pope Francis on Monday (June 2) warned married couples against substituting cats and dogs for children — a move that he said leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

The pope made his comments as he celebrated daily Mass with 15 married couples in the chapel at the Santa Marta residence where he lives inside the Vatican.

He reminded the couples, whose marriages ranged from 25 to 60 years, of the need for faithfulness, perseverance and fertility in maintaining a Christian marriage.

But he went a step further and strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.

“You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,” the pope said.

“It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?

“Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.“

The 77-year-old pontiff made his comments after recent figures confirmed a drop in birth rates in the U.S., Italy and elsewhere.

Figures released by Italy’s official statistics agency Istat last week showed the country’s birth rate hit a record low in 2013, with the birth of only 515,000 babies — a drop of 64,000 over the past five years — and a worrying trend as the population ages.

Last year, Time magazine provoked a national debate with a controversial issue entitled “The Childfree Life,” which also showed a dramatic fall in the U.S. birth rate and the role of personal choice.

“Married life must be persevering, because otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems: problems with the children, economic problems,” the pope said.

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