Friday, June 25, 2004

Drone On

Drone Launched to Detect Illegal Immigrants Officials Hope to Stem Flow From Mexico Into Arizona

Very interesting article. And I always thought of drones as completely incapable of anything worthwhile... much like George Dub-ya.

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (June 25) -- The Border Patrol launched an unmanned drone Friday that uses thermal and night-vision equipment to help agents spot illegal immigrants trying to cross the desert into the United States.

The stepped-up surveillance is part of a mission that officials hope will stem the tide of illegal immigrants that have made Arizona the busiest illegal entry point along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

The two drones being used in the project can detect movement from 15 miles up, read a license plate, view a vehicle's occupants, and even detect weapons, officials said.

Roger Maier, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, confirmed that one of the remotely piloted Hermes 450 drones started flying Friday morning. It was unclear when the other one would be used.

The drones weigh almost 1,000 pounds, have a 35-foot wingspan and can fly faster than 100 mph. They will patrol at 12,000 to 15,000 feet. They can stay aloft for 20 hours at a time.
The overall cost of the mission is estimated at least $10 million, with the government spending about $4 million on the drones.

Pilots on the ground will remotely control them unless the flight is preprogrammed, with another agent interpreting the images and using global positioning to send agents to respond to what the drones detect.
The aircraft are a key element of the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to achieve ''operational control'' of the border in Arizona. The drones' mission ends Sept. 30, when it will be assessed to determine the future of drones with the Border Patrol.

Border Patrol agents catch hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants trying to cross Arizona's sprawling, cactus-covered deserts each year. The agency had recorded more than 330,000 apprehensions since Oct. 1 in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector, which covers most of the Arizona border.

The Hermes 450s, which Israel uses to patrol its frontiers, join a number of unmanned aerial vehicles being used in the United States.

Remote-controlled planes help gather data for environmental studies and patrol Western skies on wildfire watch. In Alaska, the Coast Guard is also testing a drone this summer for fisheries patrols and other uses.

Drones called Predators have also been successful in U.S. military and CIA operations. Missiles fired from Predators have killed al-Qaida operatives in Afghanistan and Yemen.

Friday, June 18, 2004

It's All About the Bling

My mother says I'm afflicted with shiny object syndrome. In stores, at restaurants - basically any public place you can think of - I've always gravitated toward the things that sparkle. I can't help it. Shiny things are cool.

This is why it has been so difficult to answer that question.

Quite simply put, "I have no idea what my ring looks like as I don't have one as of yet."

He's had it for two months. This wonderful, slightly-infuriating man (who has impeccable taste, mind you) has had that shiny object in a box for two entire months and I've yet to track that puppy down.

Kevin wants to ask my father for his blessing in person.

Mind you, my benevolent father has already sent the deposit to the Wigwam for the ceremony and reception. My well-intentioned dad also churned out advice as Kev and I signed away our lives for our first house. It isn't as if Bob doesn't know his little girl is getting married.

And yet, my beloved still insists on keeping that perfect shiny object hidden until the word has been spoken.

So, here I sit, 2000 miles away from Kevin counting the days until he arrives. I send him cards because I miss him. He sends me roses because he loves me. I'm secretly pining for him because I do miss him terribly (don't tell anyone).

And yet, I can't help but wonder what it looks like.

Friday, June 04, 2004

and the living is easy

The options for the house have been picked.

The dress was bought.

And I'm on my way to Vegas with the girls.

I love summer.

About Me

Stupidly self-centered for over 3 decades!