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Francis Fukuyama builds a drone

 

Foreign Policy's new War Issue shows how drones have transformed the war against the Taliban and fueled President Barack Obama's counterterrorism strategy. But it's not only the cutting-edge technology that's evolving -- the tools to build a basic drone are now available to those of us who will never set foot in CIA headquarters.

Stanford University professor Francis Fukuyama, who is better known for airy political science theories such as "the end of history," has spent the past few months building his very own unmanned aerial vehicle. As he described in a blog post over at the American Interest, it is a "quadcopter" -- a helicopter with four rotors - and is equipped with a Sony flip video camera. Fukuyama has uploaded two videos filmed from his drone: The one above shows it hovering over a baseball field near Stanford and is accompanied by music from the a cappella group the Swingle Singers.

In an article for the Financial Times, Fukuyama says he was inspired to build a drone by the prospect that it would provide a new dimension to his photography. But since then, his project has taken on a life of its own as he seeks to push the limits of what's possible in the world of do-it-yourself unmanned aerial vehicles.

But the nefarious uses of this new technology don't fail to escape Fukuyama: Do we really want to live in a world, he asks, where private individuals have access to the destructive power of drones? "As the technology becomes cheaper and more commercially available, moreover, drones may become harder to trace; without knowing their provenance, deterrence breaks down," he writes. "A world in which people can be routinely and anonymously targeted by unseen enemies is not pleasant to contemplate."

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New Putin ad aims at 'virgin' voters

In addition to suspiciously timed announcements of assassination plots, the Kremlin is also continuing with its tried-and-true strategy of equating voting for Putin to getting it on. In this new ad, a young woman is informed by a fortuneteller that her "first time" will be with the prime minister/soon-to-be-president himself. Her first time voting, you creeps:

This whole sexy United Russia thing seems to have gotten a bit out of hand. For a fairly dark and disturbing response to the trend, see this new parody video from socialite-turned-political commentator Ksenia Sobchak.