Since George Lucas’ “Return of the Jedi” premiered in 1983, people around the world have wondered how long it would be until we were all riding around on badass hoverbikes, and it appears we are now closer than ever.
On Jan. 10, the Army Research Lab tested its version of the hoverbike at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Called “Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle,” the hoverbike is an unmanned quadcopter that the Army plans to use to deliver supplies. Right now, it has a payload capacity of about 300 pounds.
"Anywhere on the battlefield, soldiers can potentially get resupplied in less than 30 minutes," Tim Vong, associate chief of the Army Research Lab’s Protection Division, said in a press release. "We're looking to end up with a modular, stable platform that can be used for even more dynamic and challenging missions."
And although it won’t be ridden by U.S. soldiers, the Army’s partner company, U.K.-based Molloy Aeronautics, is working separately on a hoverbike that will carry people as well.
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.