New story in Technology from Time: How Drones Are Revolutionizing the Way Film and Television Is Made

Around the time Leonardo Da Vinci was painting the Mona Lisa, he was also writing his Codex on the Flight of Birds, a roughly 35,000-word exploration of the ways in which man might take to the air. His illustrations included diagrams positing pre-Newtonian theories of physics, a rudimentary plan for a flying machine and many, many sketches of birds in flight. The Mona Lisa, with her secretive smile, is a universe of intimacy captured on a relatively small panel of wood. But the landscape behind his captivating subject shows the world as you would see it from atop a tall hill—or from the vantage point you would get if you had hitched a ride on the back of a giant bird. Even as da Vinci was perfecting one way of seeing a face, he was dreaming of other ways of looking. No wonder he wanted to fly, perhaps less for the physical rush than for the thrill of seeing the world from above.

That’s the pleasure drones give us: they send eyes where our bodies can’t easily [...]  read more

New story in Technology from Time: Drones Are Easy to Fly. But These Videos Prove They’re Also Easy to Crash

Today’s store-bought drones are remarkably easy to fly, thanks to features like self-stabilization technology, obstacle avoidance sensors and so on. You could walk out of a shop, charge up your batteries and be airborne for the first time all within a single afternoon.

But as the video compilation above shows, it’s probably still a good idea to get some practice in before attempting any particularly tricky stunts. Even if drones have all sorts of high-tech features designed to keep them airborne, they aren’t impervious to the constant pull of earth’s gravity, the branches of an unseen tree, or even the grasp of a curious animal.

Watch the video above to see a selection of drone crashes from the aircraft’s perspective. And remember: Get some practice in before you try your best Maverick impression.

TIME Special Report: The Drone Era

New story in Technology from Time: Experts Say Drones Pose a National Security Threat — and We Aren’t Ready

Last fourth of July, as fireworks burst across the night sky near the Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C., convicted kidnapper Jimmy Causey tucked a lifelike dummy into his bed, sneaked out of his prison cell and completed a daring escape. It wasn’t until three days later, when Texas Rangers found Causey holed up 1,200 miles away, that authorities offered an explanation for how he had obtained the equipment for the breakout, including a pair of wire cutters used to snip through four fences that encircle the maximum security prison. “We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape,” Bryan Stirling, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, told reporters at a news conference.

A lengthy investigation confirmed that an accessory role was played by a small, off-the-shelf drone. And with that, law-enforcement and national security officials added “prison breaks” to the potential ill uses lurking [...]  read more

New story in Technology from Time: How Drones Are Helping Scientists Study and Protect Endangered Whales

The above video was provided by Intel.

If you’re a six-foot human standing on a paddleboard, it’s just as well you don’t know that a 60-foot, 40-ton humpback whale with 16-foot flippers is surfacing directly beneath you. The only thing more unsettling would be if there were four 60-ft., 40-ton humpback whales with 16-foot flippers doing the same.

Just such a don’t-look-down moment played out off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 2016. Ordinarily, it would have been the kind of experience that the paddleboarder—who came through unharmed—would have described to his friends with a helpless “You should’ve seen it.” As it happens though, his friends did see it, as did more than 200 million people so far on Facebook, YouTube and uncounted other websites around the world.

It was thanks to Jordan Lerma, a self-taught marine scientist and drone pilot living in Hawaii, that the encounter was preserved at all. In the past few years, [...]  read more

New story in Technology from Time: A Video Game Letting Players Simulate a School Shooting Has Been Pulled After Criticism

A video game that allowed players to assume the role of a school shooter is being pulled following harsh criticism from families of victims and survivors of mass shootings.

Active Shooter was set to debut on June 6, until public outcry and an online petition forced the video-game developer Valve Corp. to remove the game from its Steam online store, Deadline reports. Active Shooter reportedly enabled players to move through a school as a SWAT officer or gunman and simulate killing police and civilians with an assault rifle.

Valve Corp. has also removed the game’s publisher, ACID, and its developer, Revived Games, the company said in a statement to Deadline. The statement said the publisher, who returned to the platform under a new name, “is a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation.”

“We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve,” the statement said.

The [...]  read more