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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood 388

Posted by timothy
from the everything's-more-sanguinary-in-texas dept.
Presto Vivace writes "Carlton Purvis of Security Management News reports that a tip from an amateur UAV enthusiast 'is what led Texas authorities to open a major criminal investigation into the waste practices of a Dallas meat packing plant.' The photo shows a river of blood."
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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood

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  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:49PM (#38813657) Journal
    It would fit a general trend... [nytimes.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:57PM (#38813707)

    *their

    Pollution is destruction of property, destruction of property is a civil or possibly criminal crime.

  • by stevens (84346) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:00PM (#38813727) Homepage
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:06PM (#38813789)

    The general rule is if it can be observed from off your property it's fair game. No warrant needed.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:21PM (#38813923)

    A better link: http://g.co/maps/8vdr9 [g.co]

    No, you can't tell its blood, but you can see a color difference upstream vs downstream even in Google Maps.
    The creek is generally green upstream, and dark ruddy brown below the plant.

    If you zoom in closer on Google Earth you can see this color shift very well.: 32.749052 -96.789131
    Also the historical imagery on Google Earth does not show this if you step back to 2009, when water levels were much higher
    or 2008 when they were similarly low.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by element-o.p. (939033) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:27PM (#38813975) Homepage
    Ummm...no, not exactly, at least not yet. The FAA allows the "amateur" use of drones, provided they are flown at no more than 400 feet above the ground (AGL), and if they are not used for any type of commercial activity. They are supposed to finalize rules for commercial use of drones in the National Airspace System some time this year, although I've heard rumors that the rules may be delayed a bit.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by MechaStreisand (585905) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:10PM (#38814297)
    Perhaps this link [nytimes.com] is what you were thinking of (mentioned by another poster above you - credit goes to him).
  • by trout007 (975317) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:10PM (#38814299)

    Here is a great essay called, "Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution" by Murray Rothbard.
    http://mises.org/rothbard/lawproperty.pdf [mises.org]

    In the libertarian theory unused property comes into ownership through homesteading which basically mean you have to start using unused land. The same theory exists with air/water pollution, noise, and radio waves.

    So if an airport is build far away from people it homesteads the right to make the noise associated with running an airport. Anyone that decided to move nearby has to accept that level of noise. If people still move in then the level of noise the airport makes cannot be increased say by landing a new jet that is louder than previous aircraft. This is because it is a nuisance to the other property owners. This is the same reason an airport couldn't be built in a populated area without violating peoples property rights.

    If a coal plant is built in a remote area where it's exhaust cannot be detected by surrounding property owners they have gained a right to pollute that air. If someone moves into that area they do so with the knowledge that the coal plant pollutes there. But if people move in anyway they can't sue to stop the pollution. But they can sue if the plant increases the pollution.

    The same with a river. If before anyone owned property downstream on the river a meat packing plant moved there and polluted the river they would have homesteaded the right to pollute that river. That isn't very likely. There were most likely owners of property on the river before any industry. Therefore anyone that polluted the river would be violating everyone downstream property rights and they could sue for damages.You can have a class action lawsuit by all plaintiffs against a single polluter.

    In reality a libertarian system would have a much cleaner environment because anyone could sue for damages. The EPA exists to protect businesses from lawsuits. It sets a legal limit where companies can pollute to where they face no threat of lawsuit. Also they don't get sued for damages but are fined by the government which leaves the property owners that had their property damaged with no recourse.

  • Plain view doctrine (Score:5, Informative)

    by mindcandy (1252124) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:15PM (#38814343)
    The Horton test applies here.

    1. they would be lawfully present (it's a public waterway).
    2. they lawfully accessed the evidence (saw it in plain view with the unaided eye**).
    3. the incriminating nature was immediately apparent (river of blood).

    ** When it comes to fancy technology, the current precedent is Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) although it was a close (5-4) decision, the premise being the police used "technology not generally available to the public".
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by mindcandy (1252124) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:20PM (#38814373)
    The technical arguments are here (older case) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyllo_v._United_States [wikipedia.org]

    At the time, the dissent was based on "through the wall" versus "off the wall". Heat (it was argued in the dissent) was "off the wall" insofar as it was passively emitted. Use of technologies that go "through the wall" (your aforementioned terahertz imaging, et.al.) would seem to run afoul even of the dissenting justices in the above case.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyt h e . com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:39PM (#38814957) Homepage Journal

        The other provision is, you must maintain line of sight with the aircraft. It's the same restrictions as put on remote control aircraft.

        I do recall something about needing to have manual control override. I.e., a remote control. I'm not sure if that is a FAA rule, or just a guideline for responsible behavior.

  • by Ironchew (1069966) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:05AM (#38815139)

    If this is pigs blood, why is this a problem?

    Animal cruelty aside, it's a public health hazard. Blood is one of the best substrates available for growing pathogens.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyt h e . com> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:12AM (#38815183) Homepage Journal

        Nope.

        The police do this all the time, with real aircraft.

        They'll frequently use helicopters with FLIR, to identify marajuana grow houses. They use hot lights, which require extra cooling. Some vent to the outside, which leaves an obvious odor. Others use additional air conditioning. In either case, the room is warmer than other rooms, or surrounding houses. They usually find target homes by checking for homes that use more power. That information is apparently "public record", although I've never found how to get them.

        Extra power consumption, with a hot room or plume of heat from an extra air conditioner, is enough probable cause for a warrant. They usually look for other tidbits, like flashy cars, neighbor complaints, resident utilities paid by cash or individuals with prior investigations, charges, or convictions.

        Of course, the legality varies by jurisdiction. Contact a local attorney for clarification of the laws in your area. and ... IANAL, just observant.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:33AM (#38815301)

    Drone implies an autopilot or some autonomous system. Its an R/C plane with one of these, for example.

    http://diydrones.com

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyt h e . com> on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:19AM (#38815789) Homepage Journal

    AC got it right.

    A UAV/drone is generally something that can fly without the assistance of a pilot.

    A R/C aircraft is controlled by a pilot on the ground.

    The UAV/drone in the sense of a self-controlled R/C aircraft, would be say a helicopter that will hover by itself, or an aircraft that will fly to provided waypoints, or fly home (back to you) if the R/C control is lost.

    They may simply fly with a bit of computer assist, so they are easier to operate than a regular R/C aircraft, such as automatically going to straight & level flight, because the operator may simply need eyes above. It's silly for law enforcement to get 100+ hours practicing (and crashing) R/C airplanes, when they can get R/C's (drones, if you will), that will go straight up with a camera, and turn in the direction requested, to get a better view.

    Some news outlets are mixing the terms, where their "drone" is simply an R/C aircraft, frequently with a camera. It's the same ugly trend, where anything related to any sort of computer technology suddenly had "cyber" and "e-" prepended to it. Expect it to be used by the media any time a R/C aircraft is used for anything but flying around in a circle above a father/son pair on a weekend.

    The media works on a 5th grade reading level, and I'm fairly sure some "journalists" have the mental function of a 10 year old.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @10:06AM (#38817677)

    In Texas, all rivers and streams fed from rivers, are publical property. Some land owners don't like that, but as long as you are on the river or within a couple feet (don't remember exact distinace any more) or the river's shore line, you are perfectly within the rights granted by the state. Many hunters use this access to do just that - hunt.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:24PM (#38819071) Journal

    Two word: Bubbly Creek [wikipedia.org]

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