[FoRK] Narco Subs - The Triumph of Capitalism

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Apr 2 18:43:50 PDT 2011

On 4/2/11 6:08 PM, Damien Morton wrote:
> When these guys get really smart and start churning out thousands bathtub
> sized robosubs powered by magnesium seawater batteries, it truly is
> game-over. Until then, its WW2 tech all the way.
> What the fuck do you do when invaded by swarms of 1000s of silent robosubs
> bearing 50kg of cocaine, swimming up your rivers, your drainage outlets,
> your harbours, and your god-damned toilets.

You change the economics...  If they're delivering fresh papaya and coffee, it wouldn't be so bad would it?  ;-)  And we could 
send back iPads to be good recyclers.  If you don't change the economics, then you have to live with the fact that you're always 
going to be outnumbered and outsmarted by the SillyNarco Valley "startups" of the _deep_ South.

The towed "torpedoes" that hold at a certain depth already have automatically periodically deployed antenna that transmit an 
encrypted position report.  This way, when a fishing boat has to ditch one, another boat can find it later and continue.  One of 
the links stated that they were working on fully automated, GPS guided "torpedoes" that would just show up at a rendezvous 
point.  We're starting to control spacecraft with nothing more than an Android phone, a couple of actuator interfaces, and an 
extra radio.  A cheap Android phone has everything needed to be the brains of an automated cruise narcopedo.

One key point is that, being carbon fiber/kevlar, or maybe just fiberglass in some cases, and electric, they are very stealthy.  
No serious metal to ping.  We already can't use our most powerful sonar (except in wartime of course) because it is bad for the 
fish and mammals.  Hard to see a reasonable way to combat the problem.

 From a political point of view, I think the conservatives are in a jamb on this kind of situation:
They purport to have absolute faith in capitalism, but they are completely against adjusting the "war on drugs" and completely 
for massive government law enforcement / border patrol / etc. to combat the drug trade.  And they generally are not interested, 
as far as I can tell, in helping South American countries evolve quickly as it would involve foreign aid, immigration, etc.  
And, to be clear, the drug trade is, for South Americans, a purely capitalistic trade.  Lacking easy-flowing natural resources 
like the other remaining third-world countries in the Middle East and key populated parts of Africa, it is their "white gold".  
Awash in available drugs, I suspect that the productive members of society abstain or moderate, like those with alcohol and pot 
here.  I suspect there's sometimes and attitude of "We can handle ourselves just fine around these drugs, what's the problem 
with you puritanical no-self-control self-righteous Gringos?  You stop wanting it, I'll stop sending it.  You share a little of 
the wealth (in the form of investment in jobs), we'll think about cutting back on the skimming of the easy cash."  (We ought to 
have some insight from someone on the list about this.)

So, just like the total confusion and cross-purposes on sex (miserably failed abstinence education, anti-abortion but also 
anti-poor support and prevention of birth control, etc.), the conservatives (and much of the general population probably) have 
broken policy based on their fragmented and discordant (not self-consistent) viewpoints.

> 50% loss rate is perfectly acceptable. Its the kind of thing a middle-tier
> chinese toy company could pump out kits for.

Considering that the engine and many of the parts of the supersub were Chinese, they're just about there already.  If this were 
still the cold war, you might even wonder if there was a plot to enable more and more drug flow to undermine the US.  (Silly if 
so.  All of that stuff is, for the most part, just a substitute for alcohol or whatever for the less productive half of the 

> On Sat, Apr 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM, Stephen Williams<sdw at lig.net>  wrote:
>> Game over?
>> The "War on Drugs" is likely to produce technology and products that are
>> all too easily used for terrorism.  Hopefully those in control of it have
>> enough interest in humanity and/or profit to tell any seekers to take a hike
>> in the jungle.
>> We should be serious about helping South Americans to get out of the stone
>> age, third world mess that too many of them exist in.  Until we do, we can't
>> complain too much that all of that available manpower is put to use for
>> nefarious, to us, purposes.
>> http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/ff_drugsub/all/1
>>>   Authorities in Awe of Drug Runners' Jungle-Built, Kevlar-Coated Supersubs

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