Flying robots have now joined the fight against ALS.
In a video posted online Wednesday, drone enthusiast Austin Hill lets one of the remotely piloted machines dump ice water on his head to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge.
The drone-powered bucket spill amounts to one of the most creative spills of water for the viral awareness campaign that has raised millions for research to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease. The popular campaign has lured several prominent individuals to the cause, including former president George W. Bush and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The video, however, also doubles as a publicity stunt for San Diego-based Spark Aerial, a cinematography start-up that uses drones to capture its footage.
The group is currently promoting a Kickstarter campaign to create a series of video training sessions for “aspiring drone pilots,” and has raised more than $5,000.
Drones have been increasingly used for inventive purposes in recent months. In July, a video of a drone flying through a panoply of fireworks caught fire around the Internet, though the legality of the aerial acrobatics are questionable.
Commercial drone use is currently banned by the Federal Aviation Administration, with few exceptions. The agency announced earlier this summer it was considering proposals by film companies to use drones on set, but authorities have also sent notices to enterprising businesses that have tried to use small aircraft for financial gain, such as a beer-by-drone delivery system deployed by a Wisconsin brewery.
The FAA has been somewhat forgiving with its policing of drone use, however, generally handing out more warnings than citations. And what qualifies as “commercial use” is sometimes murky. A crackdown for using a drone for a charity cause, however, seems unlikely.
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The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
Alexander Acosta was confirmed Thursday night as Labor secretary, officially filling out President Trump's cabinet on day 98 of his presidency. Nine Democrats joined every present Republican in voting to approve Acosta, with the final tally at 60-38. Trump's first choice for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after taking criticism for hiring undocumented workers and for other matters in his personal life.
"Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) plans to introduce legislation today designed to help federal agencies update their aging technology—and this time, it has White House backing. Hurd worked alongside White House Office of American Innovation officials Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell in crafting and tweaking the legislation, and called their partnership an 'invaluable' part of the process."
"The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants—about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide—as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter. The majority of the job cuts, about 1,700, will come through attrition, while the remaining 600 will be done via buyouts."
"Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday. A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday."