1910: Sky Spotters

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Rombobjörn
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:56 am UTC
Location: right between the past and the future

1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Rombobjörn » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:00 pm UTC

Image

Title text:
Where I live, one of the most common categories of sky object without a weird obsessive spotting community is "lost birthday party balloons," so that might be a good choice—although you risk angering the marine wildlife people, and they have sharks.

You could try disguising the surveillance drones as toy multicopters, but then – going by what I hear from the USA – you'd lose some percentage of them to homeowners with shotguns.

DanD
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:42 am UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby DanD » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:08 pm UTC

Rombobjörn wrote:Title text:
Where I live, one of the most common categories of sky object without a weird obsessive spotting community is "lost birthday party balloons," so that might be a good choice—although you risk angering the marine wildlife people, and they have sharks.

You could try disguising the surveillance drones as toy multicopters, but then – going by what I hear from the USA – you'd lose some percentage of them to homeowners with shotguns.


To be fair, at least one of the shotgun incidents I'm aware of was in the UK. That's the one type of fire arm that isn't significantly restricted there.

keldor
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:18 am UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby keldor » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:39 pm UTC

I'm not entirely sure what you'd be secretly surveilling looking at the sky, however.

User avatar
cellocgw
Posts: 1762
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby cellocgw » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:47 pm UTC

keldor wrote:I'm not entirely sure what you'd be secretly surveilling looking at the sky, however.


In all seriousness, knowing that there are (enemy) surveillance tools operating nearby is a VeryGoodThingToKnow(TM) . You want your own supersecret plans for World Domination to remain secret.

Heck, the US Armed Services keeps track of the location of every foreign satellite so that any, ahem, outdoor activities are planned for when there's no surveillance coverage.
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
Former OTTer
Vote cellocgw for President 2020. #ScienceintheWhiteHouse http://cellocgw.wordpress.com
"The Planck length is 3.81779e-33 picas." -- keithl
" Earth weighs almost exactly π milliJupiters" -- what-if #146, note 7

qvxb
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:20 pm UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby qvxb » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:38 pm UTC

Today's skywatchers are the descendants of people who took to heart the 1951 message "Keep watching the skies."

And don't forget the DEW Line.

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 2492
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:13 pm UTC

(...) Title text:
Where I live, one of the most common categories of sky object without a weird obsessive spotting community is "lost birthday party balloons," so that might be a good choice—although you risk angering the marine wildlife people, and they have sharks.

Sharks and balloons!

(And as per an older Avatar of mine...)
Spoiler:
flag44SharkedOpt.gif
flag44SharkedOpt.gif (117.28 KiB) Viewed 1393 times

(Wait for it!)

gormster
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:43 am UTC
Location: Sydney

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby gormster » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:11 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:(And as per an older Avatar of mine...)
Spoiler:
flag44SharkedOpt.gif
(Wait for it!)


Two minutes, you sadistic bastard? It was faster to download it, open it in Photoshop and delete the hold frames than to "wait for it".
Eddie Izzard wrote:And poetry! Poetry is a lot like music, only less notes and more words.

wermet
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:26 pm UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby wermet » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:22 am UTC

It's a bird!
It's a plane!
It's superman!
...
No wait! It's just a drone masquerading as superman. Which on-line community tracks superman-drones?

User avatar
Wee Red Bird
Posts: 141
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:50 am UTC
Location: In a tree

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Wee Red Bird » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:56 am UTC

wermet wrote:It's a bird!
It's a plane!
It's superman!
...
No wait! It's just a drone masquerading as superman. Which on-line community tracks superman-drones?

I've never been mistaken for Superman. *chirp*

User avatar
halkun
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:25 pm UTC
Location: Ayumi Hamasaki Fanboy in WI
Contact:

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby halkun » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:53 pm UTC

Why are there so many subcultures that look at the sky?

Because when you are on Earth. it takes up half of the observable universe.
Image

User avatar
suso
Posts: 186
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:23 pm UTC
Location: Sky Grund
Contact:

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby suso » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:05 pm UTC

Some ideas for what to disguise the drones as:

  • An advertising plane
  • A cloud
  • The sky
  • A kid's lost balloon
  • A sky spotter
  • A drone

Hidden in plane sight. (pun intended)
Imagine theres no signatures....

User avatar
HES
Posts: 4782
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 7:13 pm UTC
Location: England

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby HES » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:23 pm UTC

The skies will be full of pizza delivery drones soon enough. Who would blink at an emergency delivery from Flowers By Irene?
He/Him/His Image

User avatar
da Doctah
Posts: 808
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:27 am UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby da Doctah » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:22 pm UTC

halkun wrote:Why are there so many subcultures that look at the sky?

Because when you are on Earth. it takes up half of the observable universe.


Not necessarily, but enough so that Ross Calvin wrote the definitive book on New Mexico about it in 1934:

Image

User avatar
svenman
Posts: 464
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:09 pm UTC
Location: 680 km NNE of the Château d'If

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby svenman » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:22 pm UTC

halkun wrote:Why are there so many subcultures that look at the sky?

Because when you are on Earth. it takes up half of the observable universe.

Maybe even your favourite half. Although the sky may in fact take up quite a lot less than half of what is observable around you depending on terrain and vegetation, not to mention artificial obstructions like buildings.
Mostly active on the One True Thread.
If you need help understanding what's going on there, the xkcd Time Wiki may help.

Addams didn't die! But will Addams have a place to live? You can help!

Randallspeed to all blitzers on the One True Thread!

User avatar
Liri
Healthy non-floating pooper reporting for doodie.
Posts: 930
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:11 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Liri » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:31 am UTC

I just saw a broad-winged hawk last weekend!
He wondered could you eat the mushrooms, would you die, do you care.

User avatar
Cougar Allen
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:49 am UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Cougar Allen » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:13 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:In all seriousness, knowing that there are (enemy) surveillance tools operating nearby is a VeryGoodThingToKnow(TM) . You want your own supersecret plans for World Domination to remain secret.

Heck, the US Armed Services keeps track of the location of every foreign satellite so that any, ahem, outdoor activities are planned for when there's no surveillance coverage.

What, are there gaps in the coverage? I don't believe there are.

User avatar
Wee Red Bird
Posts: 141
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:50 am UTC
Location: In a tree

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Wee Red Bird » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:30 am UTC

What you see in the sky varies from area to area.

Most of the UK stare upwards when they see a chopper. Usually sign of something wrong in the form of a police chase, air ambulance or even just a traffic copter.

Aberdeen, because of the flights to oil rigs making them more common sight than the local bus, no one bats an eyelid.

You can easily spot a visitor to Aberdeen because they stare at the choppers.

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 2492
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:23 pm UTC

I used to live under a military flightpath used by Chinooks (or else another tandem-rotor craft, if there is any, I didn't look too far into it). Not frequent enough to make it unexceptional and that I never stopped guessing where the beat-frequencied "whoop-whoop" actually was coming from, after factoring in echos off of the house walls (low-density bungalows/semi-detached two-storeys, but still canyon-echoing even after the 'copter rises above a roof or treetop) if I had a moment.

Since then I've also lived for a long time near a hospital that occasionally received an air-ambulance arrival and learnt to aurally differentiate the approach/fly-over pattern of that from the (more frequent) police helicopter, unless perhaps the cops were temporarily scouring the ground near the hospital (normally they covered a nearby woodland, away from the hospital, or some troublesome roads or junctions, notably between me and the hospital, and also don't land for a while). With the windows in the house, and treeline, being inconvenient I probably wouldn't take too much time off to look out into the night sky, after a while, and never go outside especially. But there's still a background fascination. (Two craft in the sky at once almost never happened.) And hearing a Chinookish noise here wasn't uncommon, either, but usually too from overhead to spot above the local effective horizons (houses, trees, rolling hills).

Both places (more than elsewhere i've lived) also had civilian flightpaths for (seemingly!) private helicopters (and transiting police helicopter, to and from other places) and small private planes, doubtless partly because of the handy Road Atlas backup navigation able to use various landmarks.

And then there's major east-west flightpaths and north-south ones, at various high altitudes (some just low enough to be audible, others so high that they're marked only by contrails (Contrails!) or flight-lights primarily visible in the right sky conditions) and I've tried-but-just-failed to get photographic shots of perpendicularly incident planes apparently on a collision course (ignoring vertical separation and suitably skewed viewing angle).

The most attention I paid to helicopters were the two times they gradually came my location in our joint endeavour to observe the Tour de France/Tour de Yorkshire, and were useful indicators as to where on the ground the much-heralded approaching action was, rather than the almost interminable waves of publicity caravan vehicles. Though, the second time, I ended up taking far more photos of the main TV helicopter, above the course across the valley before it doubled back and crossed over to my position, than I ended up with the riders themselves when they finally started to passed me (then, both times, legged it across the respective corners of the course to get closer to the finish-line). The second time, I had a good half-hour or more of view from my temporary hilltop point.

And then there was the time I once saw (and, initially heard) a flight of maybe a dozen or so paragliders, seemingly out on a jaunt, passing over for a good ten minutes or so, in dribs and drabs of slow-moving doubles and triples maintaining some very loose shouting-distance formations (though they probably actually used headset radios anyway, to not need to battle their fan-engines).

((While just finishing writing this, I actually heard a helicopter pass over my current location. Sounded like a typical private flight (not towards/away from the local police 'copter base. And definitely single rotor. I did not feel the need to go to a window. Might it truly be the Age Of Wonder when such an event is not a wonder..!))

speising
Posts: 2070
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:54 pm UTC
Location: wien

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby speising » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:52 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:paragliders
Soupspoon wrote:fan-engines
??

User avatar
Soupspoon
You have done something you shouldn't. Or are about to.
Posts: 2492
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
Location: 53-1

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:35 pm UTC

speising wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:paragliders
Soupspoon wrote:fan-engines
??

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powered_paragliding

'Snot me being oxymoronic. They are paragliders. With engines. ("Paramotor" isn't a term I've seen used much.)

Though, come to think of it, some/all may have been Powered/Motorised Parachutes (although then I would argue that the names are reversed, powered (para)chutes should be backpacks, powered (para)gliders should be sit-in) or Paraplane (much better term).

Still, grouping them all under the wing (NPI?) of chute-type "paragliding" as distinct from semi-rigid, rigid-wing or rotary-wing 'gliders' (power optional, or part-time, but linked to here for further promulgation of the concept) it's as good a classification as any, on a single dimension of differentiation between the various light/microlight/ultralight configurations.

(But my expertise is distinctly from the ground only, not even an obsessive position on a grass airstrip margin with a notebook, or anything similar. The true aviation-obsessed subculture doubtless does better at internally working out these classifications. Consistently or otherwise.)

crystalmeph
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:38 am UTC

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby crystalmeph » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:50 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:I used to live under a military flightpath used by Chinooks ... Not frequent enough to make it unexceptional and that I never stopped guessing where the beat-frequencied "whoop-whoop" actually was coming from


The beach we visit every year is right next to a Marine base with a helicopter wing (squad? herd? I'm a civvie), and some Ospreys, though I don't see the Ospreys that much. The helicopters do seem to intentionally run their daily exercises right along the coast where us mere mortals can stare enviously. I still get a tingle of excitement when I first feel the thump-thump-thump in the distance - I definitely "feel" it before I "hear" it. It's like a free bonus airshow every day, without the head-rattling jet engine screams that come with the Blue Angels.

User avatar
HES
Posts: 4782
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 7:13 pm UTC
Location: England

Re: 1910: Sky Spotters

Postby HES » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:46 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:I used to live under a military flightpath used by Chinooks (or else another tandem-rotor craft, if there is any, I didn't look too far into it)

There's the Sea Knight, but given your locale they were almost certainly Chinooks. Noisy beasts.

I've been up in a fixed wing powered glider. Didn't turn the engine off, buy could have. That said, some of the fixed wing not-gliders I've flown in will still make a perfectly safe landing without power, so it's a fuzzy line.
He/Him/His Image


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 23 guests