1842: Anti-Drone Eagles

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Anti-Drone Eagles
It's cool, it's totally ethical--they're all programmed to hunt whichever bird of prey is most numerous at the moment, so they leave the endangered ones alone until near the end.
Title text: It's cool, it's totally ethical--they're all programmed to hunt whichever bird of prey is most numerous at the moment, so they leave the endangered ones alone until near the end.


Law enforcement and security agencies may use birds of prey to combat drones flying unlawfully over restricted sites. This could be more cost effective than using technological means (such as scramblers and counter-drones) and safer for the public than using conventional weaponry (such as shotguns). Results of this strategy have varied.

Eagles, being predators, have natural tendencies to attack the central components of drones while avoiding the sharp and spinny bits.

Cueball argues that this is unethical as it forces rare animals to put their lives at risk, and compares it to using police dogs for traffic control, which people would generally frown upon.

Effectiveness depends upon the conditions of use. Obviously eagles can't be used everywhere that drones are restricted, but they are often effectively used where ground security is also present to identify and arrest those that might be unlawfully flying the drones, so they can't indefinitely replenish their hardware. The first paragraph has links to real life examples. Not only would it be unethical, but also ineffective. The supply of Eagles is rather limited, and there are biological limits to how fast it can be replenished, whereas more drones can be created very quickly to replace those that are destroyed. Traffic control dogs would be similarly ineffective, as dogs would struggle to run as fast as a speeding motorcycle, and would be powerless to stop the motorcycle even if they could.

Megan thinks both ideas (eagles and dogs) sound cool, but she understands the ethical argument against using them for traffic control.

Black Hat, on the other hand, goes a step further and says that he has created a drone that hunts the eagles, flipping the premise from “anti-drone eagles” to “anti-eagle drones”. In the title text, he continues that is ethical because they (only the title text mentions that there are several of such drones) only target the most populous species first, although they will eventually eradicate the endangered ones once they bring down the number of all birds of prey (note that this implies that he wants to make all birds of prey extinct or endangered). He seems to miss the point that it is not merely the relative number of birds that creates the ethical problem, but the fact that animals' lives are being put at direct risk by humans. His construction of the anti-eagle drone may be simply for the point of making the eagles' goals not only dangerous, but also entirely ineffective. This is probably not an opposition to privacy but merely his trademark classholery in action.

Nevertheless, in the title text, Black Hat raises a crucial point in ecology: There are generalist and specialist predators (as well as herbivores). A specialist hunts or eats only one species (e.g. the koala eats only eucalyptus), while a generalist (think crows) hunts or eats the most available food. Thus, a generalist often spares species that have become rare due to overhunting, disease or famine. A generalist predator (or herbivore) thus manages the wildlife, and a healthy population of generalists is almost always beneficial. Now, if Black Hat creates a drone that hunts the most available species, he gets the right idea (a food generalist manages wildlife), but gets the other one seriously wrong: Eagles are already doing their job as generalists, and as predatory birds are not so abundant, a generalist that feeds on predatory birds would need to have a very large territory. And as drones cannot reproduce yet and do not need to hunt as an energy source, releasing a drone to fulfil an ecological role would not make any sense. How does the drone know it has hunted enough eagles? Does the eagle-hunting drone feel hunger and decide to hunt elsewhere after reducing the number of local eagles, or does it just hibernate?


[Black Hat, Cueball and Megan are standing and talking.]
Cueball: Everyone loves these eagles that take down drones, but... I dunno.
Megan: You gotta admit, it's pretty cool.
[Close-up of Cueball.]
Cueball: Yeah, but... training rare animals to hurl themselves at whirling machinery can only get us so far, you know?
[In a frame-less panel the setting is back to that of the first panel.]
Cueball: At some point, it's like releasing police dogs onto freeways to attack speeding motorcycles.
Megan: Also cool, but I see your point.
[Black Hat lifts his hand and Cueball turns his face towards him.]
Black Hat: Plus, I just finished my autonomous drone that hunts eagles.
Cueball: Man, you are an entirely separate class of problem.

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Okay... I actually had an out loud laugh at the "citation needed" ... "and compares it to using police dogs for traffic control, which people would generally frown upon.[citation needed]" 06:25, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

As I said a few weeks ago, this site gets the best "citation needed"s, I swear someone looks for places to put them with the best comedic value. LOL! One of my faves was when there was a "citation needed" on the statement that a baby would be unable to plan and implement a jewel heist. :) There was another good one a couple of weeks ago, where I made the comment, but I forget what. - NiceGuy1 07:57, 26 May 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:02, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
Got it! 1822, there's a "citation needed" on the statement that 5 million years is longer than the lifespan of a human. :) - NiceGuy1 08:14, 26 May 2017 (UTC) So's this! NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:02, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
180: Canada "[...] Canada is part of reality(citation needed)" Loving it :) -- Unkn0wnCat (talk) 13:40, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh man, sometimes I'm Black Hat, sometimes I'm Cueball, but somehow Randall is reading my mind three times a week. May the algorithm protect him. (I'm confused: My signature already looks like a bunch of "~~"... Now what?) 08:42, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

EXACT. SAME. HERE. Randall is psychic and does the kind of stuff that is SO AWESOME (or funny) that his fanbase should be 3 times its size. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 11:43, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Damn it, who linked to tvtropes? 17:02, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Proposing a domain-wide feature here: a little popup tooltip that displays a warning everytime you hover your mouse over a tv-tropes link. Something on the lines of "Warning! See 609: Tab Explosion. Hold CTRL while clicking on the link to continue. You have been warned." Actually, make that a standard plugin in every browser. 19:05, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I added a mouse-over warning text, which works when you use the {{tvtropes}} template. Give it a try! --Nialpxe, 2017. (Arguments welcome)
Also, who says "ineffective" when it has been implemented? I really want to delete that paragraph, but I would like some support. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 18:42, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I concur. It might be potentially wasteful, but it seems to be working effectively where it has been tried. --Nialpxe, 2017. (Arguments welcome)
This is not about the comic, directly anyway, but it occurred to me that there are hundreds of millions of kilowatt level magnetrons floating around in microwave ovens everywhere. If one of these was coupled to a suitably narrow angle horn antenna, could anybody offer a guess of over what kind of range could this setup fry the electronics in a drone? (!) Just wondering. ExternalMonolog (talk) 03:15, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
The TV show Scorpion did something along those lines, where they found a drug cartel was using drones to smuggle drugs and money back and forth across a border, they jury-rigged a "gun" to zap the drones with something to scramble them and knock them out of the sky. If that's at all realistic, seems far more effective and humane than this eagle thing. (From your description, they might have done exactly that). Now I'm just imagining such secure locations having these "guns" set up as automatic turrets, LOL! - NiceGuy1 21:55, 29 May 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:02, 13 June 2017 (UTC)