The Beekeeper

June 6, 2014


The sunny day, the wide blue, the roots of the Earth beneath that sky…….

The swarm of bees flitted about the valley floor, landing on this flower and that. The valley was a tangle of vines and trees and wild flowers. Here and there were the remnants of fields, of planted crops. The bees knew each flower by its color temperature and fractal geometry. These were the robotic bees, tiny drone insects that had been created to offset the decline of biological bees in 2023.

Back at the truck, the beekeeper Hank kept in communication with the swarm and wirelessly controlled their flight and checked their individual status. The bees had no need to communicate with one another, as they were in essence one mind with its intelligence physically lodged in the truck.

The bees had no digestive track and no extra organs save that of flight and sensors placed in their “eyes”. The artificial bees were quite energy economical and ran on solar power. They would not be deployed on a rainy day or on a windy one. This day had the perfect characteristics for their full operation.

They did not look like bees at all. They were little flying spheres open in the body with a covering of a special felt that mimicked the hairy legs of real bees and could collect and distribute pollen. They had instead of wings, a single propeller that was able to drive the bee with the use of control surfaces inside the spheres. It had once seemed remarkable that they could fly so well, like a biological bee at all.

Hank was extremely busy as the day grew longer and the sun climbed high and fed energy to the swarm.

The key to the success of the bee program was that they had no batteries. With a strict solar power array they were very quick. It was difficult to keep up with.

One of the more ironic things was they had a faint buzzing sound like bio-bees as the motors were so tiny and fast.

The bright lazy afternoon passed by. The crops and plants under threat from the bee die off, had now recovered, where these new type of beekeepers had maintained their routes. This was the intention of the busy engineers who had conceived and carried out the robotic bee project.

The weather station at the shop sent Hank a constant stream of radar and infrared images. Weather prediction was very accurate though anomalies still occurred. Like the swarm of bees, weather was too complex for predictability. Bees crashed and broke down and had issues that were impossible to anticipate. So a margin had been built into the swarm, a certain amount of loss was expected. Hank took careful account and ordered replacements from the shop on the spot.

When one went down Hank would release a spare one from the hive in the truck to replace it. He did not use his effort to find the failed bees but left them where they fell. The shop would produce more  in real time.

Hank checked the hour. He checked the electric charge on the truck which was also solar powered. Everything was in order for the swarm’s return to the hive contained within the truck and the truck was itself ready to return to the shop at the end of the work day.

At precisely 5:00 PM Hank called them in. From wherever they were, they immediately returned, using the guidance signal provided from Hank. They entered the hive in the truck and cut off from sun became still. Hank who was the robotic truck started on his way home. Hank and his fellow machines kept the engineers intentions well, long after all the bees and all the people were gone.

Unlimited Robot warfare: Drones and their implications

February 13, 2013

In 1918 at the end of World War I the power structures that had stood for hundreds of years were swept away utterly, suddenly. Without going into too much detail let it suffice to say that even the victorious nations had their royal houses reduced to figurehead status and transformed into decorations rather than as ruling kings and queens.

It took a mere four years to unseat these power structures, that stretched back figuratively to Charlemagne. What was it that had accomplished this feat? It was the advance of many technologies airplanes, submarines, machine guns, poison gas, tanks, early radio communications, new forms of explosives. These items in and of themselves undid all the planning and calculations of the older power structures. I repeat: even the victorious of this war were reduced  into irrelevance.

The current day use of drone aircraft is a precursor to the much wider use of robots in all their forms, that have the potential to sweep away all existing power structures in our various nations, today and tomorrow, suddenly just as in 1914 (only more thoroughly).

The current debate about the use of drones is narrow and incomplete to say the very least. The establishment of the precedent that robots can be used to cross national borders and kill people without declarations of war can only be understood if we consider the full impact of what robotic warfare can mean in the very near future. (perhaps yesterday)

The idea, the doctrine that drone killings are legal and practical is a match for the German tactic of unlimited submarine warfare in World War I. The Germans took the position that they could sink anything that floated. (And of course submarines are capable of sinking anything that floats.) This particular tactic did not turn out very well for the Germans as they were defeated.

In World War II the Germans again took up the idea of unlimited warfare with rocket attacks on England using the V1 and V2 missiles. This tactic also did not play out very well for the Germans again as this is an utterly misguided policy with poor military usefulness. It guaranteed their defeat as did their other crimes.

The problem in World War I and World War II was not a small band of terrorists but the full might of the industrialized nations going at each other. The death toll is estimated to be something like 80 million people in these two acts of total world war. We can add to that far more injured and maimed and made into homeless refugees.

Philosophy is needed to examine the implications carefully. Though the area is not precisely philosophical, there is no point in learned discussion if we are dead. Philosophy is an important counter-measure to just allowing the popular debate to be conducted by idiots.

Teeny drone nano weapons, large drone missiles, drone torpedoes under the sea,  drones in space, drones that resemble tanks, drones that are bombs, drones that carry biological weapons, invisible weightless drones that are just software… all these and more are waiting in the wings. (see this quadrotor video as an example of what accelerated this)

There is an essential arrogance to the use of such power today against people who cannot respond in kind. Unfortunately this will not be for long. Drone and military robot research and spending across the planet  totals in the billions and billions of dollars and climbing.

Drone warfare in all its aspects has the potential to make into antiques aircraft carriers conventional tanks, conventional airplanes, conventional torpedoes, conventional submarines. Robot warfare has the full potential to reduce all military planning up to date into the same irrelevance as cavalry charges were made obsolete in World War I.

It is well to note that there were cavalry charges at the first of World War I led into the face of machine gunfire and poison gas attacks….  until the armies quickly  began to understand that this would no longer work and put away the horses other than to drag things around. (along with their Kings and Queens and Kaisers and Czars just as the war concluded)

The relative small cost of robots in comparison to the more massive conventional approach makes it all the more dangerous because it can be approached by a casual effort by let’s say a teenager rather than the Chinese military or some terrorist group.

Let us imagine the use of a single drone weapon inside America that manages to kill anyone and the resultant hysteria from what such an attack would reveal. Effectively no nation is safe anymore from all the permutations big and small of robot warfare.

Additionally there are surely things we cannot predict or imagine as aspects of unlimited robot warfare that should cause us more caution than what we do understand or expect in our worse case scenarios..

Drones do not have to be murder weapons. Drones could safely be used for surveillance. Drones could be used as toys or to deliver pizza. Drones could be used as communication devices or to transport medicine. But there is this unfortunate human tendency to move directly into the most lethal possible uses with no regard to the natural consequences.


Addendum: our dependence on the structures and flow of global trade and transport for our very lives is much higher than it was in 1914 and 1940. Disruption by robotic warfare thus has a supreme additional  impact that does not require targeting or massive use just disruption. Who this favors is no one at all. It is again outside the planning and calculations of the smart asses who think they are strategic thinkers in the governments and military and spy services today. They are an exact match to all the Kings (and Kaiser’s and Czar’s)  ministries before World War One….simply clueless.

A single act of robotic warfare could produce an effect out of proportion to the actual harm done. Today around 76 nations are actively pursuing robotic warfare programs. Subtract the 20 largest programs of the major nations and you still have scores of nations that might trigger off this unfortunate series of disruptions. The United States and their favorite targets terrorists in the Middle East is the least of it.

A survey I read today said 70 something percent of Americans approve of drone attacks on terrorists.  What is not considered is other possibilities, other implications. The US public is essentially being misled by its leadership into thinking this is all safe and containable. The harm to us could occur from two unrelated nations at war with robots, nothing to do with the US and terrorists with cloth hats.

I will not be irresponsible and describe likely scenarios that would allow this to get out of hand with minimal  cost and effort. Suffice to say that it is not the current use of drones that is the wider problem. A single use that strikes what I will not describe here is enough to stop the world in its tracks.

If that seems implausible remember the US was brought into World War One by the sinking of one cruise ship, the Lusitania by a German Submarine. The First World War itself was triggered by a single assassination of the Arch Duke Ferdinand.

America was drawn into World War Two by the attack on Pearl Harbor.  But the Second World war was begun by the German attack on Poland long before American involvement.

The current war on terror was begun by 19 terrorists in three planes on one day. And we have been drawn into an 11 year conflict to date here in 2013.

Single events have that potential and the arrogant assumption that we (the USA) own this and can control it is entirely false. We can put up overwhelming force but that tis not the criterion for unlimited robotic warfare. The unlimited part is not just in the large scale usage.  Unlimited in this more modern sense can mean unlimited in the sense of smallness.

I want to describe the likely scenarios that fit with Robot warfare but I dare not. It is just too easy, that is why it is happening already, not in the future. It is piling up across the world. The Midwest farm boys from America who went to World War One had no idea what was in store for them. They came from places with mules and kerosene lamps on to battle fields with water cooled machine guns, aerial bombs, poison gas and tanks. Those weapons were fashioned as they are today during the fragile peace before hell was provided.

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April 16, 2011

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Have you been to Ft. Caroline?

June 21, 2010

Fort Caroline is a National Memorial park connects to the Timucuan nature reserve next to it. There is a museum and a reconstructed fort and trails and a boat dock. It is surprising how few people know about it or visit it.

see more at (

Fort Caroline memorializes the short-lived French presence in sixteenth century Florida. Here you will find stories of exploration, survival, religious disputes, territorial battles, and first contact between American Indians and Europeans.

Carnasie Suite Visits Riverside Art Market

June 20, 2010

A while back a theatrical comedy art act visited Jacksonville at the Riverside Art Market. They are a sister act called the Carnasie Suite (

The Riverside arts Market happens under the Filler Warren Bridge each Saturday through the Summer and a bit of Fall. See information about this great happening at ( There is food art and entertainment and information there each week.

Here below is a short video of them and family being interviewed by Ben Edmonson.

Aimee German and Jenny Sargent are the Leroy Sisters. Aimee is originally from around here and it was great to see her come back and perform her original act at Yesterdays nightclub on Park Street in Riverside… The Art Market was a great place to advertise their production.

hot again..yep..and something in St. Augustine

June 8, 2010

Way back when I used to go sometimes to the Denoel French Pastry Shop in Saint Augustine on Charlotte St. It is a great place, you must go there if in the area.

Anyway during one stretch of visits there I saw some familiar faces but could not place them. Upon returning one day I realized they were part of the crew for Jacques Cousteau’s television adventures including Albert Falco one of the principles.

I learned they were in town for ship repairs  and enjoyed very much this restaurant with an aspect of their homeland. Today the memory of this returns to my attention, as it is near the 100 year anniversary of Jacques Cousteau’s birth.

There has been a lot of water under the Bridge Of Lions in that city since then.  I would hate to think how Captain Cousteau would feel about what is happening to the Gulf OF Mexico due to the current situation (British Petroleum oil spill).

But aside from the current situation the waters of Florida and the Keys have been exploited and abused for decades and the toll is vast. People look out at the water and think how pretty and it is. The invisible undersea nature of it remains.

Tomorrow if by magic, the BP oil spill were to clean itself up the threat to Florida marine life still remains without the visible TV drama. Stopping the oil spill does not even begin to remedy the situation that is here long term but that is all that people can consider.

The Government of Florida under Democrats and Republicans have given lip service to marine life and the health of the natural world of Florida but have done  next to nothing.

I guess we could have coffee with milk and a éclair and try and keep the memory alive of someone who did care and did in fact do something beside run for office and then go to sleep.

It is Sunday and hot (what else?)

June 6, 2010

Well dear readers the Florida weather is turned summer like and the general situation has turned a bit oily.

If you have not heard about the Gulf Coast oil spill washing up oil on Florida beaches then skip this. Who would want to know anything about this, if they could avoid it?

Now I heard some weird political guy from Florida being interviewed on TV. He said it has been a long time since there was an oil spill. Meaning that numerically there is one which is a low number. A low number means there is not much of a problem with deep water offshore drilling or oil.

Now two bombs dropped on Japan ended World War Two. I guess the Japanese military staff should have said it was just two bombs, not to worry.

That this guy (un-named on purpose) can wear clothes and sit and talk and move around is something for someone that dumb. There is an alternative explanation which is not dumbness but that he is intentionally misleading. Which would be worse?


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