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USAF Taps ESPN To Compile Drone "Highlight" Video 114

Posted by timothy
from the quarterback-is-toast dept.
mbstone writes "The Air Force has a problem: Its drones generate thousands of hours of video (I almost said 'footage.') And most of it is miles of endless desert. USAF needs to distill the highlights, if you will, and nobody does it better than ESPN, the TV sports network. Air Force officials have asked ESPN for help in analyzing the 327,384 hours collected just this year. What we really need in times like these is sportscaster Warner Wolf. 'Let's go to the videotape, pick it up right here, Taliban in the home black.'"
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USAF Taps ESPN To Compile Drone "Highlight" Video

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The ESPN guys will carefully add the yellow first down markers so us home viewers will be able to make sense of each operation as it unfolds.

    • by siddesu (698447)
      Yep, turning extrajudicial murder into entertainment is just swell. I'm off to start a gambling site to be ready for the moment they start releasing live footage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anagama (611277)
      • Biggest prison system in the world. Check.
      • Due process free detention. Check.
      • Due process free execution. Check.
      • Glorification of the murder of "savages". Check.
      • Entertainmentification of the murder "savages". Check.
      • Destroying the war powers act so that the president has sole ability to engage in war. Check.
      • Persecution of whistleblowers. Check

      Authoritarian America, brought to you by the Adam-Lanza-in-Chief, president and leader of the New GOP (aka, Obama).

      And yeah, some of you may be offended, but do note

      • by zakkie (170306)

        Thank you. A sensible post on /., at last.

      • Ran out of points myself.
        His post says it all.

      • Marco Rubio vs: Hilary Clinton 2016, sponsored by the same interested parties, with the same unsavory results.
        One of them gets elected.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:22PM (#42365891)

    get madden to do the commentary

    • Marv Albert did something like that 20 years ago, except when he did it, it was just satire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amused_to_Death [wikipedia.org]

      Apparently, like with with Orwell's work, some people seem to be confusing a warning with an instruction manual.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      get madden to do the commentary

      Oh god. That would be even worse than the commentary from retards on YouTube.

      "See folks that's a missile. A missile is a thing that flies through the sky and goes boom. The sky is normally kinda blue, not actually gray like you see here. It's kinda like it's faking you out. But either way you don't want to be under a missile because it's not a good thing to be underneath."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:24PM (#42365911)

    Reaper connects to Assam deep across the middle... Bam!
    Beast of Kandahar throws down the over the horizon hell fire jam... in your face Azim!
    Head drone in the red zone. Easy over the middle dump-off to Al Queda, called back by the UN for innocent bystander. Damn replacment observers.

    In the not top ten we have a village of children catching a bomb as the clock runs out. Poor situational awareness there Steve.

    Captcha: hammered

  • Like, kinda sorta crowd outsource it to armchair analysts. Just like ESPN does to armchair quarterbacks.

    Who would watch hours on end of boring drone video? The same folks who watch the rest of the junk on YouTube. They can like or dislike the important or filler bits.

    And let the terrorist squeal with glee, "Hey, I'm on YouTube!"

    • Somehow, I doubt that the "terrorists" who have been captured on a video, which was taken by a drone, which has been sent to kill "terrorists", will have even a slight chance of sqealing anything, with glee or in any other manner.

      • "Somehow, I doubt that the "terrorists" who have been captured on a video, which was taken by a drone, which has been sent to kill "terrorists", will have even a slight chance of sqealing anything, with glee or in any other manner."

        If they keep waiting until the end of the year to analyze the video, a lot of the things the drones see probably won't be there by the time any action is taken.

        Your tax dollars at work.

  • Someone watches all of those gamed. Every uninteresting baseball inning, every boring back and forth soccer kick, even days long cricket matches.
    ESPN has thousands of eyes, most of then not paid by them.

    They put up a camera or tap into one used for local consumption, look at the score sheet and cherry pick the highlights off their DVR.
    You could scan your twitter feed to know what sections to watch. You can listen to the crowd at the game and know when to hit rewind.

    There is no shortcut magic that ESPN has.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      exactly. they may even only watch one play from one camera angle, but then once the play has been deemed good enough go back to other angles to pick it out.

      If you have 330,000 hours of video then you need to have a group of people watching that video live, and tagging sections for others to watch, who tag the best of those sections for someone else to watch and then compile it all into short clips.

  • by NettiWelho (1147351) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:46PM (#42366067)
    One thing I cant understand about this whole thing; how is it possible they blanket label everyone on the receiving end of the hellfire missile as 'enemy combatant' or 'a dog', even if theyre just civilians and or children. There used to be this country that stood up for human rights and had war criminals executed over something called the 'command responsibility' and 'war crimes' and 'crimes against humanity'. Can't remember what country that was but I bet theres someone here who can.
    • by hduff (570443)

      One thing I cant understand about this whole thing; how is it possible they blanket label everyone on the receiving end of the hellfire missile as 'enemy combatant' or 'a dog', even if theyre just civilians and or children.

      Note to Self: It's very dangerous to be around people associated with groups engaged in acts of violence against the US no matter how justified I feel they may or may not be. I should avoid them, especially at funerals.

    • by alen (225700)

      WW2, The Firebombing of Dresden. need i say more?
      the US and British bombed Germany into defeat destroying cities and killing millions of civilians in the process

      • From what I remember from my history classes it wasn't the bombings that brought Germany into its knees but being bled white in the eastern front against the Soviets with what was supposed to be a quick campaign. Again, I fail to see how Total War waged over a possible nuke in the German industrial pipeline has any bearing over throwing JDAM's through smokestacks of goatherders in Stoneagistan, its not like they pose an existential threat to the US.
        • by amiga3D (567632)

          War is hell. It always has been and always will be. It's impossible to conduct a war without killing non-combatants. Hell, a lot of the time friendly fire gets our own troops. People should understand that when you go to war it's going to be messy and expensive and it should always be a last case, no choice scenario when you do it. It's bad for everyone. I felt like something needed to be done about Saddam and really I am glad the bastard and his sons are dead but it ended up costing a fortune and I d

          • by cusco (717999)
            No, the Iraqi people really aren't better off now. Saddam was a despot, the new government is armed chaos. Under Saddam the country had the best health care system in the region, the best educational system (entirely free) in the region, the highest standard of living in the region and the lowest infant mortality. Now their most beautiful city, Fallujah, a tourist attraction for pilgrims from a dozen countries, lies destroyed and irrevocably contaminated with uranium. Hundreds of thousands of children h
            • by amiga3D (567632)

              Hard to imagine the Iraqi people would want Saddam back. Maybe I'm wrong but I think I'd rather be dead than to live under such tyranny.

              • by cusco (717999)
                You don't have much imagination then. Most parents would rather "live under such tyranny" and know that their children will live to adulthood than live under they current chaos (sharia law in some areas, tribal laws in others, highest-bidder police corruption in the major cities) with the knowledge that most of their children that don't die from preventable diseases will be physically and mentally stunted from malnutrition or killed in the violence that has become endemic throughout the country. Did you k
                • by amiga3D (567632)

                  Human rights organizations estimate that Saddam is directly responsible for more than 800,000 dead. This does not include those killed in fighting the war against Iran. Tales of entire families tortured to death for crimes against Saddam abound. Living in terror of being tortured is hardly stability. Soviet Russia was heaven by comparison. They only tortured people who were an actual threat to the Communist Party. I don't doubt that Iraq still has problems and will for some time but they sure seemed h

      • Re:The Drones (Score:4, Informative)

        by CrankyFool (680025) on Friday December 21, 2012 @08:42PM (#42366381)

        "The death toll in Germany and Austria due to Allied strategic bombing was estimated at 500,000 by the West German government." from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_casualties_in_World_War_II [wikipedia.org]

      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        WW2, The Firebombing of Dresden. need i say more?

        I think Hiroshima and Nagasaki beat the hell out of anything else for "collateral damage".

      • the US and British bombed Germany into defeat destroying cities and killing millions of civilians in the process

        "millions of civilians" is a bit of an exaggeration, since there were fewer than 1.5 million German civilian casualties of that war.

        Or were you perhaps thinking of the 14+ milllion Soviet civilian deaths caused by the Germans?

    • by icebike (68054)

      One thing I cant understand about this whole thing; how is it possible they blanket label everyone on the receiving end of the hellfire missile as 'enemy combatant'

      So your theory is they fly these things around and shoot randomly at any thing that moves?

      These targets are watched for days and weeks, and people are tracked across great distances.
      There are eyes and ears on the ground that know who comes an goes. Occasionally the screw up
      and hit some place where children are present. Doesn't mean there wasn't a legitimate target there.
      Osama had his wives and kids and grandkids with him too.

      Naivety. Cute in children. Tiresome in Juveniles. Just plain stupid in adults.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What about blind trust in authority or systems? Denial of obvious potential possibilities simply because thinking about them would be inconvenient? Motivated reasoning?

        I find all of those things deplorable in adults, but the adults keep displaying these traits.

      • Dr. Julian Bashir, after expressing his disgust at the activities of Section 31, compared the Federation with a "24th Century Rome" in which laws were ignored out of a blind faith that "Caesar can do no wrong." (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")

        Do I need to say more? [memory-alpha.org]

        • by icebike (68054)

          Gee, it must be a wonderful skill to have a quote from tv show ready for every occasion.

          • What are you complaining about? You fed a straight line that could be anwsered with a direct quote. If you had any argument beyond that I think you would be brought it up by now.
    • Re:The Drones (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:13PM (#42366523)

      I don't like our government very much right now... but you do not understand the history of war. In the past, even 30 years ago, most countries would have carpet bombed large sections of Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. The bloodshed would have been far far worse. Prior to Arial bombing, in the WW1 era they would have used mortars with chemical weapons. Prior to that, they would have just shelled major cities with artillery. Go back further to the civil war era and they'd have stormed the city with calvary and burnt it to the ground. During the middle ages they'd have taken the cities, raped the women, killed the men... then you have the roman era in which they'd do all of the above, and then also salt the fields of the enemy so their crops wouldn't grow for years. Prior to that, they'd again, do all of the above, and also enslave the populace.

      War sucks. It sucks less now... but now it's all on video for you to see so it's more in your face.

      • by NettiWelho (1147351) on Friday December 21, 2012 @10:20PM (#42366797)
        ...Does the taliban present an existential threat to the US? Why is it ok to label civilian casualties as 'enemy combatants' and 'continue your day as nothing went wrong and no apologies or reparations paid? What does the history of war have anything to do with my main grievances? Am I stoopid to hold the 21st Century US fighting stone age goat herders in mountains to a higher standard than Nazi-Germany or Soviet Union? 'Oh, and I must have missed when US declared war on Pakistan, or Afghanistan Or Iraq for that matter...
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        In the past, even 30 years ago, most countries would have carpet bombed large sections of Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.

        In the past, even 30 years ago, the USA would have made the Taliban dangerous by training and arming them. Whoops, that's what we did! In the past, even 10 years ago, the USA would have given one billion dollars to the Taliban as part of the War on Drugs. Anyone who knows anything about anything knows that the War on Drugs is a moneymaking operation. Consequently, there is no reason to believe that giving a billion dollars to the Taliban is anything other than an investment in more moneymaking. And now, "po

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      One thing I cant understand about this whole thing; how is it possible they blanket label everyone on the receiving end of the hellfire missile as 'enemy combatant' or 'a dog', even if theyre just civilians and or children.

      The same way that any other terrorists do, by saying they're not really people.

      IRA: Oh, they're Gardai, they're not really people
      UDA: Oh, they're not really people, they're Catholics
      IDF: Oh, they're not really people, they're Arabs

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday December 21, 2012 @07:49PM (#42366081)
    FTHeadline:
    USAF Taps ESPN To Compile Drone "Highlight" Video

    FTA:
    Air Force officials have met with the sports cable network ESPN to discuss how it handles large amounts of video that stream in. The visit resulted in no technological breakthroughs, but helped in developing training and expertise, the Air Force said.

    C'mon guys. Just a little bit of a clue?
    • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:02PM (#42366487)

      C'mon guys. Just a little bit of a clue?

      Slashdot Taps WWN To Compile Article "Highlight" Stories

      Slashdot has a problem: Its submitters send in hundreds of random links (I almost said "articles.") And most of it is dozens and dozens of sentences long, many with words of more than one syllable. Slashdot needs to distill something vaguely related to a few of those words that will generate page hits, and nobody does that better than Weekly World News, the "alien dingo Elvis impersonators ate my JFK love-child baby" organization. Slashdot officials have asked WWN for help in analyzing the 3,141,592 words collected just this year. What we really need in times like this is George Gilles de la Tourette. "Let's go to the story, pick up maybe three words out of it - USAF ESPN drone - and fill in the rest with whatever other random words come to mind."

      • Mod parent up for truth

        "Taps" has become a bogus oversensationalized headline, as if there is some great honor fought for by many that some lucky soul is blessed by God to be given the opportunity to perform.

        But it's really just a dishonest synonym for "ask": "USAF asks ESPN to compile drone highlight video" or if money has changed hands: "USAF pays ESPN to compile highlight video."

        Lets have some truth in language and get rid of these bullshit words.
    • by mbstone (457308)

      OP here.

      Sensationalized? Yes. Inaccurate? No (except that ESPN isn't itself editing the video, they're just providing training and expertise). Unfair? No.

      Used to be, it took a Joseph Heller [wikipedia.org] to satirize modern aerial warfare and to imbue it with black comedy. To compare war with sportscasting may be disrespectful both to the drone pilots and to those targeted, but USAF invited the comparison by contacting ESPN in the first place.

      • by oodaloop (1229816)

        Inaccurate? No (except that ESPN isn't itself editing the video, they're just providing training and expertise).

        You made it sound like ESPN is going to review classified UAV full motion video, which you knew not to be case. That's a far cry from I would call accurate.

  • And the Taliban is going deep, deep... and INTERCEPTION!... US just bombed the entire defensive line and stole the ball! 90, 80, 70... they're going all the way... wait... you're saying we just blew half the crowd away and a referee? 50! 40, 30...

    Yeah. Well, I suppose it would be my country that would turn killing people into a sport. ;(

    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      Yeah. Well, I suppose it would be my country that would turn killing people into a sport. ;(

      I think the Romans beat us to that quite a while ago.

  • They put one of those electrode caps on some guy, then flashed up satellite images of desert. Once trained, the system could spot the signs of something interesting being noticed - even to the point that the computer could tell when the guy had seen something interesting, even if he wasn't consciously aware of it.
  • There's webcam software that can perform motion detection, and do shape recognition. You also have image segmentation and texture classification.

    Motion detection looks for changes between two frames. Image segmentation splits an image by looking for edges and creating silhouettes. Texture classification works on looking for different types of texture (walls, ground, trees, bushes, sand). Shape recognition works on trying to convert 2D images into 3D shapes and orientations. Image processing researchers usua

  • holy moly, im happy to see him being referenced... he is a great sportsman, ..and funny to boot.

    as for the air force needing ESPNs help?!

    i bet he would say "COME ON!!!!"

    seems silly to me, probably more a part of their recruiting efforts !

  • He...could...go...all...the...w- BOOM! FUMBLE!!
  • Obligatory tangential reference to football type quote:

    Oh my god, the quarterback is toast!!!
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Obligatory tangential reference to football type quote:

      Oh my god, the quarterback is toast!!!

      I've always thought football was pretty stupid, but I do prefer their long bombs to the type that we drop on civilians.

  • Drone 6257 releases a missile! Its going... going... going... IT COULD GO ALL THE WAY!!! *BOOM!* TOUCHDOWN!

  • So they don't actually have an automatic system for picking up the content of interest? That's hardly believable.

    According to one drone operator [spiegel.de] they have at least a recording system which helps to label smaller than adult size human objects on two legs as four legged dogs.

  • This is beyond wrong. It's an obscenity.
  • I am not a huge fan of North America sports, but I always get confused by ESPN highlights. Why do they dedicate so much time to showing coaches and officials talking to each other or looking at monitors? They always show some guys in animated conversation or staring at a screen. How does this contribute to the highlights? In other sports (rugby, cricket, soccer, etc.) they show the actual on field highlights.
  • your untapped reserve of nationalist right-wing, patriottic americans ? gives them something else to do than white the power online

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