Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lawnmower Man

This police surveillance drone is easily mistaken for a myzostomid polychæte, flattened to live on crinoids in a commensal niche. BBBB thinks it is a tardigrade but HA HA Mr Bald has not counted the legs, which exceed the number of eight encountered in members of the phylum Tardigradia. Notice too the four cameras, which should be a giveaway, tardigrades being blind. When polychætes possess photoreceptors they follow the rhabdomeric design usual in protostome phyla (but of course you knew that already).
This surveillance blimp is enclosed within a scramble suit to mask all its identifying details. If onlookers should glimpse it, in the absence of any features lasting long enough to fix their vision upon they just think 'Oh, it must be a fish, or one of those Japanese kites or something" and look away in search of more satisfying optical fare.

As any fule kno, scramble suits were the invention of one Philip K. Dick... also inventor of the surveillance / persuasion drone [right]. By neglecting to patent either concept Dick missed out on a substantial fortune -- also on the fame. For a quick survey of the Intergoogles reveals that when individuals of the political-fringe persuasion start looking for science-fictional harbingers of today's surveillance state, they settle instead upon the levitating Copseyes from a Larry Niven story.

In addition to depriving Dick of due credit, this has the side effect that people read "Cloak of Anarchy" and think "O hai, gubblement abolished... anarchy reigns supreme... that is our cue to turn up at the park with a lawnmower." And then it all ends in tears.
The crowd speculated in half whispers. What was it? Not part of a car, not an outboard motor, though it had blades, too small for a motor scooter; too big for a motor skateboard...
"Lawn mover," said the white-haired lady next to me. She was one of those small, birdlike people who shrivel and grow weightless as they age, and live forever. Her words meant nothing to me. I was about to ask, when --
The lantern-jawed man finished his work, and twisted something and the motor started with a roar. Black smoke puffed out. In triumph he gripped the handles. Outside, it was a prison offense to build a working internal combustion machine. Here --
With the fire of dedication burning in his eyes, he wheeled his infernal machine across the grass. He left a path as flat as a rug. It was a Free Park, wasn't it?
The smell hit everyone at once: a black dirt in the air, a stink of half-burned hydrocarbons attacking the nose and eyes. I gasped and coughed. I'd never smelled anything like it.
The crescent crowd roared and converged.
He squawked when they picked up his machine. Someone found a switch and stopped it. Two men confiscated the tool kit and went to work with screwdriver and hammer. The owner objected. He picked up a heavy pair of pliers and tried to commit murder.
A copseye zapped him and the man with the hammer, and they both hit the lawn without bouncing. The rest of them pulled the lawn mower apart and bent and broke the pieces.
Why is Ann Althouse fleeing from the surveillance drones? She obviously has something to hide.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

She's not even wearing a nudist's shoulder pouch.

Substance McGravitas said...

When I'm feeling all alone,
I think of my surveillance drone.
Hi Blinky! Here's to you and I,
Searching robot, lonely guy.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Hi Blinky! Here's to you and I,
Searching robot, lonely guy.

Glenn Reynolds fanfic?