It's taken us 2000 years, but we've at last created our very own Roman Coliseum. We call it the Super Bowl, our apotheosis of ancient Rome's gladiatorial obsessions. It's a chance for a viewing audience of 10 million fat-bellied, middle-aged men to live out their physical fantasies with pizza and remote comfortably in hand. And while we don't have an emperor sitting in the imperial box to render his thumb up or down, we do have a tradition that the president telephones the winner right after the game.
What does any of this have to do with drones...?
Turns out that America's growing arsenal of unmanned drones is something akin to Rome's other obsession -- their military Legions who protected the empire at all costs. But while the cost to the Legionaries could be their lives, the cost of a downed drone is only money, for they are operated thousands of safe miles away by operators who work a strictly 9 to 5 day.
Whether its football or drones, such success inevitably generates a response. In the case of football, we are witnessing a new movement for enhanced safety. In the case of drones, we are witnessing a New York fashion designer named Adam Harvey. In the proud tradition of Yankee intuition, Adam has decided that people are ready for their very own drone-protection. And so he has introduced a new line -- 'Stealth Wear' -- which renders the wearers invisible to drones' infrared cameras.
It's hard to know if Adam should be cheered for his creativity or jeered for his aid-to-the-enemey. Personally I haven't tried any of his products [a drone-hood sells for $473 and a full burqa for $2365], but it does make you wonder. How exactly does a customer check out their effectiveness? I suppose you'd have to get the Army to set up a trial strike.
Barring that unlikely event, Adam could sell his stuff to the Taliban, and see how things work out on the battlefield. In which case, who should he be rooting for: His clothing line or his country?
As you can see, our obsession with football and drones can lead a person into some peculiar ethical waters. More than likely both the NFL and Adam Harvey will stick to the good old American rule of consumer ethics: Whatever sells in America is thereby ordained as good for America.
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