Well, I’ve been following Quartz for a few months now. Today, I see two pieces of news worth commenting. Well, they only allow you to like the news but not to comment on them. So, I’ve decided to write my comments here at my blog.
The first piece is about solar drones (http://qz.com/193045/these-are-the-people-who-will-build-facebooks-drones/), which last almost indefinitely like satellites but can hover around a target area at a much lower altitude. This is not a military threat, because drones can be brought down as soon as they enter your sky. There is no violation of international law. On the other hand, satellites stay in space, which does not belong to anyone. If you shoot them without declaring war first, you are in trouble. So, where is the line drawn between sky and space? Well, it’s not exactly clear. However, an altitude of 70-80 km is a good starting point. Ideally, you want to be as close as possible to the ground so that you can take clear pictures at all possible frequencies. This is where stealth capability becomes vital to the survival of these low-hovering drones. I like the fact that solar drones last forever, but we need to fix international law first.
The second piece is about sexism (http://qz.com/192874/is-the-oculus-rift-designed-to-be-sexist/), my favorite topic. The article is interesting because it is trying to explain the mechanism at the chemical level. Immersive virtual reality technologies lack one thing in common, simulated gravity, which is tied intimately to our ability to automatically balance, an ability more feminine than masculine. This is supposed to be very obvious, but it is not mentioned in the article. On the other hand, it talks about the different hormones that enhance our ability to detach gravity from sight and sound. Basically, you either suppress your gravity sensor or make your brain ignore perceived gravity that is inconsistent with virtual reality. In other words, you have to be able to turn it on and off just like that.
Stealth solar drones are not as hot as you think. The best way to discover them in the sky is to deploy anti-drone drones that survey a region with computer vision. Even at night, stars are bright enough to create contrast detectable in a bitmap image. Processors are so cheap nowadays. Have fun!