90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
American Drones Moving In At Home

America’s drone future, at home. With a near-miss airliner incident and debate over regulation, drones are moving in. Plus: Richard Clarke on his new novel of a drone-filled future America.

Parrot product manager Francois Callou holds a Parrot Bebop drone during a Parrot event in San Francisco, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The Parrot Bebop drone, which has a 14-megapixel fish-eye camera lens and battery life of about 12 minutes flying time, is scheduled to be released later this year. (AP)

Parrot product manager Francois Callou holds a Parrot Bebop drone during a Parrot event in San Francisco, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The Parrot Bebop drone, which has a 14-megapixel fish-eye camera lens and battery life of about 12 minutes flying time, is scheduled to be released later this year. (AP)

Big and lethal American drones have changed the equation of global power projection in the last decade.  Raised big moral and legal and strategic questions in skies around the world.  Now, a swarm of smaller drones is chomping at the bit to flood America’s skies.  The FAA is still working out the rules, but some aren’t waiting.  We had a near-miss with an airliner just reported in Florida.  They’re calling it the Wild West up there.  And it’s just begun.  This hour On Point:  drones in American skies, present and future.  And we’ll talk with former White House security guru Richard Clarke about American drones abroad.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jack Nicas, aviation reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@jacknicas)

Vijay Kumar, professor in the school of engineering and applied sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Former assistant director of Robotics and Cyber-Physical Systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Christian Sanz, CEO and founder of Skycatch, a data retrieval and aerial robotics platform. (@csanz)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: FAA, Drones Clash on Rules for Unmanned Aircraft — “Across the U.S., drones monitor crops, snap real-estate photographs, inspect roofs, shoot commercials and perform other tasks, according to people in the unmanned aircraft industry. Pilots of those drones are defying seven-year-old restrictions on commercial unmanned aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has said the curbs are needed for public safety. But limited resources and legal complications have led to scattershot enforcement by the agency, emboldening even more drone operators.”

Smithsonian Magazine: What Would You Do With A Drone? — “Drone technology was developed for military use, but a growing number of alternatives have popped up in the last decade. Citrus farmers now use drones to monitor crops. Conservationists keep tabs on endangered species, as well as any poachers. Police departments are thinking of using them in rescue and hostage situations. Drones have even helped shoot some major feature films, including Man of Steel and Skyfall.”

 Houston Chronicle: Drones give energy companies high hopes for safer work — “Unmanned aerial vehicles flying over pipelines while outfitted with special sensors could detect leaks quickly. And that’s not the only potential application. Energy companies are testing drones to inspect hard-to-reach spaces like refinery flare stacks, offshore platforms and even wind turbine blades in an effort to save time and boost worker safety.”

Richard Clarke On His Novel “Sting Of The Drone”

Richard Clarke, author of the new book, “Sting of the Drone.” Former White House National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism. (@ghsrm)

Read An Excerpt Of “Sting Of The Drone” By Richard Clarke

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

 
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment