Tretch5000's drone buzzes over the green lawns and trees of Belle Isle.
It glides between floors of an abandoned factory and out over a meadow of discarded tires.
It zig-zags among the pillars of an old church that looks like a Roman ruin.
It soars up the back, over the top and down the front of the Michigan Central Station in a dizzying trip that gives the viewer the sensation of falling -- or flying -- off the roof.
Here's the video, flying to the sounds of Ruby Frost and Mt. Eden's "Oh That I Had":
Remotely controlled flying machines are nothing new, but their capabilities are significantly increasing while their costs are significantly decreasing.
Wired Magazine's Editor in Chief Chris Anderson attributes the "drone" boom to burgeoning smart phone technology in his self-promoting piece "How I Accidentally Kickstarted the Domestic Drone Boom." (One poster commented, "Next up: How I kickstarted the Internet, by Al Gore.")
—sensors, optics, batteries, and embedded processors—all of them growing smaller and faster each year. Just as the 1970s saw the birth and rise of the personal computer, this decade will see the ascendance of the personal drone. We’re entering the Drone Age.
And Anderson and his company hope to be there to capitalize on it.
Right now, these "drones" can't really be drone-like unless the Federal Aviation Administration steps in.
FAA rules require that UAS (or unmanned aircraft systems) have to be within the operator's line of sight, have to stay under 400 feet, have to be flown during the day and have to be away from airports.
To be a "drone" implies that it flies somewhere either far from the person controlling it, or on some type of pre-programmed auto-pilot course.
With increasing pressure mounting (the government says in the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing over 155 unmanned aircraft designs), the FAA is looking into how it can regulate the coming "Drone Age" safely. They expect to have new rules by 2015.
Who knows? In 2015, Michigan Radio might finally be able to afford its first news chopper.
If you get an email from President Obama, saying he wants to pay your electric bill, it's best to delete it.
A countrywide email and text message scam in which the sender offers to pay the recipient's utility bills through a new federal program in exchange for sensitive identity information has hit metro Detroit.
The National Weather Service has put much of southwest and lower mid-Michigan under an “excessive heat warning” through Saturday. With the humidity factored in, it could feel as hot as 110-degrees in some places later this week.
Chapters of The American Red Cross are prepared for the heat wave. Chip Kraght directs emergency services for the west Michigan district.
“It can become a disaster, however, with some really easy preventative stuff and some careful monitoring people can really prevent any sort of side effects,” Kraght said.
People have come up with a lot of ideas about how to repurpose the large swaths of vacant land and abandoned buildings in Detroit, but turning them over to the undead is probably a first.
No, the zombie apocalypse isn't finally upon us, at least as far as we here at Michigan Radio know. The "zombies" in this case would be "professionals" there to chase paying customers as they flee through derelict neighborhoods and crumbling warehouses.
The zombie-themed "game zone" is the brainchild of Clawson's Marc Siwak who told Detroit's WWJ-AM that he envisions a structured game where an initial group of professional zombies catches participants and assimilates them, while the remaining "living" players try to avoid the growing horde.
Siwak is currently trying to raise funding through online crowd-sourcing. WWJ reports that while he has failed to secure any sort of permission from the city, he thinks Z World Detroit would fit in well alongside urban farms and other projects aimed at transforming blighted areas.
From Siwak's website:
“There are formal proposals to essentially abandon some of Detroit’s neighborhoods. That’s not a solution. Collectively we must be more creative than that. Let’s do something fun and unique that will revitalize an area while creating some jobs for Detroiters.”
Siwak told WWJ-AM that he's already received resumes from brain-hungry potential employees.
The study showed that people using smart phones have tripled. The study also revealed that wireless use was higher on vacation (40 percent) than at home (25 percent). Also telling, were figures that show that people used the Web more to plan vacations (80 percent) than for work (70 percent).
How many people do you know who really love politics? I don’t necessarily mean those politically active or intense about the issues. I know lots of people like that, conservative and liberal. But I don’t sense that many of them are having a good time.
The University of Michigan Law School and the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law recently launched an online database containing an updated list of exonerations in the United States since 1989. The goal of the project is to prevent wrongful convictions or improve the process of identifying and correcting them should they occur.
So far, the National Registry of Exoneration lists more than 890 wrongfully convicted individuals.
On Mondays Christina Shockley speaks with someone who is trying to change their community for the better. This morning, as part of our Seeking Change series, Shockley spoke to Amy Kaherl. Kanerl is with Detroit SOUP, a group that gathers money to support small projects that benefit the city of Detroit.
When you think of a jewel heist, you probably imagine a cat-like thief dressed in all black slinking around a bank vault or dark mansion with a set of lock picks. On the trail is a clever police detective who needs quick wits to make the bust.
But a recent caper in Windsor is proving to be a bit more irregular.
According to CBC News, Windsor police have a man in custody after he allegedly not only stole a diamond from a jewelry store, but swallowed it in a effort to dispose of the evidence. Now they're playing the waiting game.
A clerk at the jewelry store became suspicious when the man fumbled the $20,000 stone, the CBC reports, and the jeweler determined that it had been switched with a fake. They managed to stall the suspect until police arrived.
More from the CBC:
Sgt. Brett Corey said the man is being kept in a special cell, without a toilet.
"We are monitoring his bowel movements, if you will. Our forensic identification people are the lucky ones who have to go through the waste to obtain the diamond once it passes," Corey said.
But things aren't coming out exactly as planned.
The suspected thief was arrested last Thursday, but as of this morning, he was still holding back the evidence police need to clinch their case.
Last week in our Seeking Change series we heard about the kindness journal, an effort to get kids to write about being kind. One of the effects was fewer incidents of bullying among the kids who took part.Today we’re going to talk about cyber bullying. Paul McMullen is a father and he’s come up with a smartphone app, called Parenting Pride, to help combat cyber bullying among kids. It records text messages, but also aims to respect a teen’s desire for privacy. Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with McMullen about how he hopes to decrease bullying.
This story was informed by the Public Insight Network.
Every Monday Christina Shockley talks with someone who’s trying to make change in their community, and find out why they’re doing it.
In January, each elementary school student in Muskegon County received a journal. In that journal, they wrote about their daily acts of kindness. Bill Page came up with the idea. He’s a children’s book author and former superintendent. Page spoke with Christina Shockley as part of our, "Seeking Change" series.
Being married to someone in the news business isn’t easy. Our spouses deal with our long hours and travel, our preoccupation with news when we’re at home, unexpected interruptions on holidays and weekends, and our refusal to accept those free family tickets offered by the nearby theme park.
Lots of families have to deal with long hours and work that follows you home, but that theme park ticket example separates journalists from many other professions. We have an ethics code to follow.
Last week, the identity of "real-life superhero Bee Sting" was revealed at an arraignment.
Now we know that "Bee Sting" is actually Adam Besso of Sterling Heights.
Besso was arrested after pulling a shotgun on a motorcyclist in a trailer park in Burton, Michigan.
Besso approached the man saying the man's motorcycle was too loud. A struggle ensued and Besso's shotgun discharged. Thankfully, no one was injured.
MLive spoke with Tom Carter, the man who was approached by Besso. Carter told MLive he was surprised when the masked man confronted him in the trailer park:
"I couldn't hear him, so I started to approach him and that's when the gun came out," said Carter, 38, about the incident with Bee Sting. "As soon as I saw the gun I was thinking I didn't want my kids to get shot."
The use of a gun has not only offended law enforcement, it offended another real-life superhero.
To pay tribute to the store's Great Lakes roots, the leather of the blue and gray shoe is embossed with Petoskey stones and will feature a tote bag with a Petoskey stone print.
"We decided to do something a little more in-depth than the state colors or theme colors. We wanted to take different elements from the landscape and nature side of the state," said Premier co-owner Eric Blanding. "The Petoskey stone had a different print on it that we've always thought would look cool on a shoe."
Premier has worked on several other store-exclusive shoes in the past. Blanding said from design to the rack the entire shoe creation process can take up to a year and a half.
A Canadian company specializing in plant-based pharmaceuticals wants to turn an old copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula into a large-scale medical marijuana farm.
Paul Egan from the Detroit Free Press reports that Prairie Plant Systems (PPS), along with their stateside subsidiary SubTerra, purchased the White Pine Mine in 2003 and began using it for other types of plant-based research. But the company hopes to start using the facility to produce pot and tap into Michigan's market of 131,000 medical marijuana users.
According to Egan, PPS already operates a marijuana growing facility in Canada and has a lucrative contract to supply medical pot to the Canadian government. But while Michigan voters have approved medical marijuana use, the project is still a long way from becoming a reality.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder would all have to sign off, and in the case of the first two agencies, reverse direction on policy. Federal agencies consider marijuana illegal. DEA agents have not cracked down on small operations to supply licensed patients but almost certainly would view SubTerra as a major bust opportunity.
Legal hurdles aside, why use a mine to grow an underground pot crop?
Egan spoke to Brent Zettl, president and CEO of PPS:
Growing marijuana hundreds of feet underground - the same way the company started its Canadian operations in 2001 - provides security, constant temperature, controlled light and humidity, and protects the plants from bugs and diseases, eliminating the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, Zettl said. He said any medical marijuana sold in Michigan should be subject to the same regular and rigorous testing as is found in Canada.
However, according to Egan, PPS's regulated growing techniques have caused some Canadian users to complain about the quality and taste of the company's product.
Each Monday on Morning Edition, we speak with someone who is trying to have a positive impact in the lives of others. This morning we speak with Bryan Wilkinson. He's with Michigan Gifts, an organization that creates those gift baskets you often see from corporations. Michigan Gifts also provides job training and opportunities for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. It's part of The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, or C.I.L.
I can’t help but feel sorry for parents of small children trying to figure out how much to protect and how much to let go in a world where their fears are fodder for profit-making marketing campaigns.
Do infants need 3.2 ounces of foam and Lycra, with little bunny ears, strapped on their heads as they crawl or walk in their living room? The doctors, paramedics and psychiatrists endorsing the product on the website say they do.
But watching a YouTube video of a toddler cruising along a coffee table wearing a Thudguard on his head is a little unnerving...
Here's the video... complete with a close call with a sandal.