The Daily Valet. - 6/6/24, Thursday

Thursday, June 6th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Look up! You never know who's watching.

Today’s Big Story

The Age of Drone Police


Cops are watching communities from above and a drone may respond to your next 911 call


Police drones whirling above us, patrolling the skies over our cities might sound like the premise of an upcoming dystopic sci-fi streaming series, but it’s already a reality.

Wired investigated how these “Drone as First Responder” (DFR) programs work. They say as police departments look to expand their use of unmanned aerial aircraft, no agency has embraced the technology quite like the Chula Vista Police Department. The flight data and eyewitness accounts illustrate how the city halfway between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico is unevenly policed with increasingly invasive technology.

The DFR program operates as the name implies; dispatchers decide during 911 calls to send a drone from headquarters before an officer. The department first began using drones in 2018, and it has just escalated from there. The FAA approved “beyond visual line of sight” flights within a three-mile radius in 2019. The distance limitation was lifted in 2021. Wired explains how city-wide drone coverage has impacted Chula Vista: “Flight paths trace a map of the city’s inequality, with poorer residents experiencing far more exposure to the drones’ cameras and rotors than their wealthier counterparts.”

Still, even with such concerns, more and more cities are looking to supplement traditional cops with the flying cameras. Last month, Denver announced that they’d be expanding their drone program, calling it “the future of law enforcement.” Miami Beach police recently tauted their new X10 drone from the company Skydio. "It can be used in many different use cases for public safety,” said a company rep. “From search and rescue operations to crash and crime scene documentation to every day calls for response for service.” And earlier in the week, Virginia law enforcement used a drone to catch a man who was trying to avoid being stopped by police, driving speeds well over 100 mph.

Of course, these drones can be wonderful tools. But constitutional law experts now worry that without oversight, the increased deployments will inevitably lead to excessive and potentially inappropriate drone usage and unwarranted surveillance. An ACLU report published this summer cautioned that while police departments were using serious situations—fires, accidents, gun violence—as the basis for drone deployment, many were also using drones to investigate more mundane incidents as well.

The drone was invented by Abraham Karem in the 1970s. He's regarded as the founding father of unmanned aerial vehicle technology.

Earth Is Warming at a Record Rate


However, scientists didn’t find evidence that human-caused climate change is accelerating

When you look at the latest climate data, the details seem bleak: The rate Earth is warming hit an all-time high last year, with 92% of 2023’s surprising record-shattering heat caused by humans, top scientists calculated. And May was the 12th consecutive month to set a monthly global average temperature record, not to mention exceed a key Paris Agreement temperature target.

But, on the bright side … the group of 57 global scientists said even with a faster warming rate they don’t see evidence of significant acceleration in human-caused climate change beyond increased fossil fuel burning. As you might remember, El Niño conditions arrived early in June last year, ahead of its typical time frame in late summer or early fall. So forecasters are predicting El Niño will likely get warmer and cause even higher temperatures this year.

The new data comes amid a slew of findings from climate monitoring groups released Wednesday, timed to coincide with a speech in New York by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. It also comes as actions to limit climate change have been crowded out on the international agenda amid geopolitical strife, economic concerns, multiple elections and other factors.

The 80th Anniversary of D-Day


Veterans gather under the cloud of a new war in Europe

Veterans of World War II, many of them centenarians and likely returning to France for one last time, pilgrimaged this week to what was the bloodiest of five Allied landing beaches on June 6, 1944. They’re here to remember fallen friends and share the realities of combat. They’ll celebrate their good fortune and mourn those who paid the ultimate price.

It was along the Normandy coast where the largest-ever land, sea and air armada punctured Adolf Hitler’s defenses in western Europe on that day and helped precipitate his downfall 11 months later. The veterans are the VIPs of this week’s 80th anniversary celebrations. But for many, the ideals that D-Day helped win are at risk of fading along with its survivors. There are now fears of another world war—one that, until recently, seemed outlandish.

President Biden is in France to commemorate the anniversary. “He will take full advantage of the opportunity to talk about the moment we are living in: of democracies working together on behalf of their peoples—but also the importance of American leadership,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters. NPR says Biden is to expand on those themes in an address to the American people he’s set to deliver from Pointe du Hoc, overlooking the beaches of Normandy.

In Photos:
The BBC has images of the earlier commemorations which began on Wednesday.

NBA Nears $76 Billion TV Deal


It’s being called a “defining moment” for sports

The NBA is on the brink of cashing in like never before. They’re closing in on media rights deals with Comcast-owned NBC, Disney's ESPN and Amazon that would generate about $76 billion in media revenue over 11 years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

They say the historic deal spotlights the staggering value of sports rights today, but could be a sign of bigger overall changes coming to the industry. The deal will be a 265% increase in the current NBA rights fees. And it will cut out Warner Bros. Discovery, leaving TNT without the NBA.

That level of bump in broadcast money surely has gotten the attention of other professional leagues, like the NFL. Although its existing contracts technically run through 2033, NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says the NFL can pull the plug after the 2029 season. It undoubtedly will. And just like football fans found out, this new NBA broadcast landscape will result in half the games found behind the paywall on Peacock.

The Celtics and Knicks are the only NBA teams to have never moved cities.

The Long Read


How profiteers pushed a lifesaving drug out of reach


One in four insulin-dependent diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin: using less than prescribed, stopping or delaying the start of therapy, not filling prescriptions, and engaging in other underuse behaviors related to cost.

- By Edward Ongweso Jr.
Read It:
  The Baffler  
The Insulin Empire


What We’re Buying


A wireless charger


Whether you're looking for a portable lamp that you can take in and out of your place, a scented candle that looks good but won't break the bank or simply a more sophisticated way to charge your devices, there are a lot of great home items on sale at the moment. Go ahead and treat yourself.

Our Pick:
Dual-device leather charging tray, $200 / $160 by Courant

Morning Motto

You’ve got to at least try.


Not every closed door is locked. Push.




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