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Airships to Patrol Venezuela's Skies 451

bprime writes "The BBC reports that officials in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, have bought three airship UAVs to keep tabs on the local populace. From the article: 'The 15 metre (49 foot) long air ships are emblazoned with government slogans. Written in bright red are the words, We watch over you for your security.' They're not exactly black helicopters, but how long do you think until we see similar measures in high-crime American cities?"
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Airships to Patrol Venezuela's Skies

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  • Re:Hmmm, (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zeros ( 1016135 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:28PM (#18815583)
    No we have been trying to kick him out for a while but he keeps cheating in elections. Damm electronic elections >.>
  • In ...* UK, (Score:4, Informative)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:29PM (#18815605)
    it's already there []. The first time I saw this I was sure it's some kind of pro-privacy ad, but apparently it's dead serious [] :(

    *- Insert your favorite totalitarian government style
  • by Bearpaw ( 13080 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:34PM (#18815669)
    Police helicopters aren't exactly black helicopters, either. So these vehicles stay up via buoyancy rather than spinning rotors, and the police look out of them remotely rather than directly. Oh, how scary.

    There are rather more worrisome things [] about Venezualan police than their use of UAVs.

  • by KalaNag ( 871736 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:40PM (#18815759)
    Ehmm... This is to be used in Caracas, where the most "politically inestable" factors are the mid-class citizens angry with the government, and the poverty-belts citizens surrounding the others. All of them may be armed, but none of them have SAMs or Stingers AFAIK.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:44PM (#18815827)
    Take off your tinfoil hat. These are usually due to noise regulations. The airport and the FAA in general want to have reasonably constant flight routes, but people living directly underneath don't want a jumbo jet flying directly over their house every 15 minutes. Thus, there is some randomization in flight routes, to help reduce the effects of noise pollution.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:02PM (#18816139) Journal
    It also helps to avoid the wake turbulence of the preceding aircraft.

    An airplane generates a pair of trailing vortices from the wing tips as an unavoidable consequence of producing lift. These are like a stretched out smoke ring - through the wings, back through the air on both sides, to where the wings were when it took off - although they don't stay in place forever.

    The vortices expand and move slowly downward, until they are dissipated on the ground below the flight path - providing a slight overpressure that transfers the weight of the passing aircraft to the ground under its flight path.

    Meanwhile the concentrated spinning tubes of air are a real problem for any following plane until they've had a chance to spread out and sink.
  • Re:Damn! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rufty ( 37223 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:31PM (#18816605) Homepage
    Yeah, it's so much better when the crucial one's get looked after by the president's brother.
  • Re:Damn! (Score:5, Informative)

    by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:55PM (#18817021)

    How about Sweeden?

    All of the "democracies" as presently practiced are flawed to some degree. The primary problem is that complex issues of governance in any nation have to be ridiculously simplified and sloganized in order to be digestible to the voters. Then you have the mega-corporate media, billionaires and their lobbyists who provide their high-priority "input" into the debate and into the workings of the electoral process itself. I am not sure about Sweden's particulars but in the USA for example it now appears that presidential campaign costs will run into hundreds of millions of dollars. I could go on like this for a while.

    Consitutional democracies look good on paper and even do work to a large degree in practice. But none of them can be at present described as "real" i.e. flawless representation of the will of an educated and well informed populace.

  • Re:Damn! (Score:3, Informative)

    by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:09PM (#18820137)

    It wasn't "real democracies" it was "real democracy," as in Venezuela isn't one, and there is no comparison to any other countries except the one you made.

    Define "real democracy" then and explain why Venezuela isn't one. Then apply the same criteria to any other "democracy".

    You see in order to make a statement such as the GPs, one has to create a set of measurements by which to assess the "realness" of that democracy. Which immediately creates a measuring stick with which to check all the other ones. And so enter all the other "democracies".

Trap full -- please empty.