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SEMINAR with Dr. John Cloud – Why are drones called “drones”?: A history in which etymology and entomology converge for war

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April 20, 2016 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

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This seminar is co-sponsored by NC State’s Center for Geospatial Analytics and the Science, Technology and Society Program.

Abstract: In popular perception, there is a great bifurcation of “drones”; they are either large and lethal, with names like Predator and Reaper, or they are small and buzzy and might eventually deliver pizzas, and at worst are annoying and intrusive.  In both cases, they are proliferating, and all project that their impacts will be pervasive, yet uncertain.  Drones began in novel military applications, and have shifted in and out of secrecy classifications since their origins.  Still, much of their rapid evolution was based on surprisingly open and non-military uses in the first golden age of aviation, and their story involves Elizabethan poetry and a surprisingly large number of movie stars. Much is revealed when one tries to answer the question: “why are ‘drones’ called ‘drones’?”

About John Cloud: John Cloud is a contractor historian of the federal legacy agencies that combined to form NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the oldest scientific agency in the US government. In 2000, he received his PhD. in Geography at the University of Santa Barbara with a dissertation on the geographical applications of the then newly de-classified CORONA reconnaissance satellite system. Following post-docs at Cornell University in Peace Studies and Science and Technology Studies, he assumed his post at NOAA.  Apart from academic and government associations, much of his education has been derived from botanical and developmental projects in Chiapas, in southern Mexico, and planting over a third of a million trees, thus far.


April 20, 2016
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
NC United States
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