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coke sub

2006-11-20 16:16:49.030061+00 by Dan Lyke 12 comments

3 tons of cocaine found in submarine off the coast of Costa Rica. I don't know what the cost of getting cocaine into this country is, and I don't know what the cost of expendable people to run the mechanisms to do that is, but it sure seems like there must be enough money floating around to set up equivalents of the "DARPA Grand Challenge" for drug running.

Or maybe that's the way it is: Build an autonomous submarine that can get from Bogota to somewhere off the Carolina outer banks with a low sonar profile and some reasonable bottom following abilities and get a few million bucks?

[ related topics: Drugs Current Events Boats ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: [Entry #9500] coke sub made: 2006-11-20 17:31:05.716163+00 by: Unknown, from NNTP

Dan Lyke <danlyke@flutterby.com> writes:

>    Or maybe that's the way it is: Build an autonomous submarine that can
>    get from Bogota to somewhere off the Carolina outer banks with a low
>    sonar profile and some reasonable bottom following abilities and get a
>    few million bucks?

In "Heavy Weather", Bruce Sterling had satellite-dispatched autonomous all-terrain vehicles with milspec anti-detection capabilities delivering custom contraband orders over the Mex-US border -- make a call on your cell phone, wait for the thing to come hopping up to you with your drugs, black-market meds, whatever. That book is what, five years old? (This wasn't a central plot point of the book either; this was "the door dilated open"-level background color.)

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-20 19:53:44.266814+00 by: meuon

That's how you afford toys like: this personal submarine.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-20 21:09:11.738614+00 by: petronius

All the Phoenix needs is a pipe organ and Captain Nemo himself would enjoy it. I note that at 213 feet long and 26 ft in beam, the Phoenix is nearly as big as the U-505 , which is currently on display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, at 245 feet long and only 22 in beam. You could pack a lotta blow in that one. My one question is how long it can stay submerged to avoid detection, before it runs out of air or juice. In the 1990s a series of books by S.M. Stirling proposed fuel-cell powered subs. The possibilities are intriguing.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-20 21:26:34.705683+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'd imagine that, especially given the cold war, U.S. submarine detection is probably pretty damned good. So if you were developing something for drug running I'd think you'd want something quiet, not necessarily luxury yacht fast (you don't want to be on pins and needles waiting for it, but other factors come first), and something that would be able to navigate underwater, which means no GPS and a lot of reliance on inertial data and mapping information derived from terrain. But you can't be too aggressive about sampling that terrain, because of the aforementioned detection issues.

Fuel-cell power seems promising, although I bet you could derive basic computer systems power from salt water with electrodes on the outside of the hull, some sort of reliance on ocean currents for a good portion of your trip to keep power consumption at a minimum, and largely ground-following, so that you aren't using loud sonar for mapping, so that your sonar profile is minimal and so that you're kicking up lots of echoes and distortions for whatever sounds you are generating.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-20 22:35:26.836931+00 by: meuon

A bunch of Robo-Tuna would carry less, but be harder to spot, and stop. Maybe following a small pleasure craft.. This commercial robo-tuna can do 2-3 hours at a couple of knots.

But if illegal immigrants are such an issue in this country, drugs must be much easier to get to and across the border.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 05:55:16.808447+00 by: Dan Lyke

Huh. Yeah, I wonder what sort of monitoring there'd be for a barely sub-surface running vehicle or set of vehicles that stayed about a thousand feet behind a legit boat. Have something on your yacht that gives a distinctive noise signature, have your autonomous sub follow it, but have some deniability (and flocking behavior that continues in a reasonable direction so that maybe it does just look like a large school of fish) should the Coast Guard want to talk with you.


#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 11:09:41.638672+00 by: meuon

It's also 'not having all yuur eggs in one basket', you could lose one or two from a school to the authorities or other causes, without having a complete loss.

While we are merely bench racing here, I wonder how good we'd be at being "evil" if we really were.. but I'm not willing to find out. Yet.

There was discussion a few nights ago about trick questions on employee ethics tests: The question was; It is OK to steal: $1, $20, $50, $100. - My answer was/is: Not enough money on the table I need more zero's. Lots more zero's.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 15:35:41.482539+00 by: Larry Burton

Stealth isn't the answer, misdirection is. Kind of like the old story about the fellow leaving a plant with a wheel barrow full of sand on a regular basis. The security guard always checked him to see if he was hiding something beneath the sand that was stolen. After the two retired they met each other on the street one day and the old security guard told him he knew that he had to have been sneaking something out all those years but he never could catch him. He had to know what it was. "Wheelbarrows", said the other retiree.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 15:47:17.636035+00 by: Nancy

To my mind, it's more a question of "Is it okay to steal." Period. I think that's the 'trick' part of the above question. Because if it's not okay to steal $1, what would make it okay to steal $1,000,000,++++++? And if it IS okay to steal $1, what would make it NOT okay to steal $1,000,000,++++++?

If ethics are a "system of moral principles", those principles, like the principle of mathematics or music, would apply no matter how many zeros or notes were involved.

If your 'ethics' can be bought, do you really have 'ethics' in the first place??

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 16:18:58.704243+00 by: Dan Lyke

Nancy, some people are willing to die for their ideals, but my gut feel is that most of those people end up making a set of decisions that lead to an inevitable end, and if they could, at that last moment, compromise some of their ethics to live longer, they would.

At least I'm pretty sure that's how it actually is with me.

So with the realization that, at some point, I'd consider that compromise, as the old line goes, now we're just haggling over price.

One of the things that's always impressed me about Meuon, and one of the reasons I liked being in business with him, was that he was always pretty up-front about his price. Others have pretended at incorruptibility, and when push came sometimes that gave, but Meuon's always cheerfully advertised his price.

My only complaint is that I don't think he's willing to charge commensurate with his skill level, but that applies even to the non-nefarious things...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 20:57:09.990149+00 by: meuon

Ethics regarding risk/potential benefit are all situational. Your (Nancy/Dan/Mike/etc..) beliefs, ethics and morals are almost all situational. When they are not: Martyrs or "Saints" are created.

As for charging enough.. Was that the pot calling the kettle black?

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-21 21:40:16.306816+00 by: Dan Lyke

We are nowhere so blind as when viewing ourselves.