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Friday, January 31, 2014

This Is What Fascism Looks Like


Lakemaid Beer is brewed in Stevens Point, Wis., and distributed to several states in the region. But it was a very local delivery that put the company out of favor with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Minnesota-based company is receiving a flood of support and condolences after the FAA ruled that its beer delivery drone, which had only recently taken flight, had to be shut down.

Lakemaid calls itself the fishermen's lager. It had hoped to use drones to deliver its beer to anglers in thousands of ice shacks, from the frozen northern lakes' combination bait and beer shops. But the government says the brewer's next test — which Lakemaid managing partner Jack Supple says was tentatively set for Minnesota's Lake Mille Lacs and the Twin Pines resort — cannot proceed.

"We were a little surprised at the FAA interest in this since we thought we were operating under the 400-foot limit," Supple says via email. He adds that the beer-makers "figured a vast frozen lake was a lot safer place than [what] Amazon was showing on 60 Minutes."

The brewery's test flight created a stir after it was posted on YouTube last week, capturing imaginations and, in some cases, leading people to say they no longer fear a future in which the sky buzzes with drones.

In December, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave 60 Minutes a preview of his company's plan to use drones to move to same-day local delivery in the next several years. In an interview last week, Supple said Lakemaid's drone plans had advantages over Amazon's — particularly the flat landscape of a frozen lake and the fairly uniform height of the ice shacks.

But as we discussed after the Amazon report aired, FAA rules don't currently allow drones to be used for commercial delivery — and it eventually emerged that the test video Bezos showed was actually filmed outside the U.S., for legal reasons. The agency has scheduled reviews of its rules on drones.

What the flying fuck?  An actually good use for drones, shot down.  Buncha fascists.


January 31, 2014 | Permalink


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I'm looking forward to the sport of drone skeets. I can't think of a more tempting thing and it's bound to happen. If I had more annoying, buzzing, contraptions going over my garden, interrupting my meditations, I might be tempted to buy a rifle and blast the unmanned out of the air. Ultralights were bad enough but robotic interrupters of the peace, ah, Monsieur, jamais!

Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | Jan 31, 2014 9:18:52 AM

It's Kristallnacht, with beer!

Posted by: Rmj | Jan 31, 2014 9:24:14 AM

Barrage balloons. Because you really can't be scanning the skies for robotic invaders 24/7.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki | Jan 31, 2014 9:52:24 AM

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