To the Point

I was watching a documentary on drones that was posted to YouTube by a company called Motherboard. Why a media company would call itself Motherboard I don’t know. But that wasn’t as wacky as what was to come. After watching the documentary, which should have had the theme from Jaws playing in the background given the serious and at times paranoid tone of the film, I went off to read the comments that people made about the film. The first three comments were about drones, then there was a promo for the latest DJI drone, the Phantom 2 Vision that someone slipped in. And then the comments went off on a tangent discussing aliens that came a thousand years ago and live among us, observing us.

Do what? What does that have to do with drones? Where is the discussion about privacy that seems to crop up every time someone mentions a flying camera platform? Where are those people who believe that they’re interesting enough to be the subject of surveillance? Where is the discussion about how drones are used to murder innocent people? Those discussions make me crazy because they’re so left field when it comes to hobby drones that their worries are, to those of us who fly them, like hearing someone tell us to wear tinfoil on our heads for protection. It’s not in our scope of reality. Everyone I know who flies drones could care less about people. We’re interested in photographing nature, monitoring nature, mapping, and taking geological surveys and things like that. The people we may catch in our cameras are incidental for the most part, unless we’re shooting video of an event that’s already being photographed from the ground. Aerial photography platforms just offer a different (and often more exciting) perspective.

But aliens? I don’t get it. I really don’t. But then, as I read the various comments I see in online forums, people going off on unrelated tangents seems to be common. It’s as though society has become ADD saddled or something. Wokka wokka wokka.

On a Multiple Myeloma forum we were discussing peripheral neuropathy. We were deep into a discussion about how the condition was related to a lot more than the discomfort people felt in their hands and feet, that neuropathy would also manifest itself as tinnitus and even had cognitive ramifications. Then a lady posted that some supplement or other could completely nullify the effects of peripheral neuropathy. This is baloney because neuropathy is the symptom of neurological damage and can’t be fixed like putting salve on a burn. There is a whole science developing around PN because it figures so greatly for diabetes sufferers in addition to those who suffer it through the effects of chemotherapy. There are clinics for PN now that approach and attack the condition on a variety of fronts, all of them dealing with dampening its effects, not curing it. Only the body can do that. Time and the self-restorative powers of the body are the only cure. Anyway, the conversation about peripheral neuropathy stopped cold right where it was and dove off into a discussion about different supplements and what they were good for, much to the consternation of a few people who were affected by PN and were trying to understand it and find out what they could do, if anything, about the effects.

I tried to answer some of the posts that tried to sway the conversation back on topic, but the discussion had taken on a life of its own. Before long, the forum was consumed by posts that championed this or that supplement and the people trying to learn about neuropathy moved off to other pastures where they might get answers to their questions. Similarly, discussions about health care coverage will dart off to Obamacare and that deteriorates into Obama-bashing and before long healthcare is lost to discussions about Tea Party initiatives. It seems as though we can’t stay on topic no matter what the subject matter is.

So I guess I wasn’t surprised that a discussion about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) turned into a discussion about aliens walking among us, but I have to admit that it took me off guard. I suppose I could see a tie in between surveillance concerns and aliens studying us in preparation of eating us, destroying our planet, or giving us the keys to science mysteries. Or perhaps doing all three. But it concerns me that we can’t seem to have a discussion that remains on topic, at least very long. The wandering attention span can’t be good for us as we try to find answers to important questions, whether its medical, social or political.

By the way, did I mention I was thinking of getting a dog?