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Drone Shows Thousands Filling Hong Kong Streets [video] (youtube.com)
103 points by notjackma on Sept 30, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments



Hong Kong was my home base for the last year and a half; I just missed these protests. It is really a shock to see the main streets filled with people; streets I used to walk or ride buses through nearly every day.

Hong Kong is a hugely underrated, beautiful, vibrant city with extraordinarily friendly people, almost no crime, and one of the best transportation systems in the world. There's almost no place you can stand within Hong Kong that doesn't have an incredible view of something. It's also becoming a major hub for technology businesses this decade.

I wish them the best of luck; it would truly be a shame if China is able to exert more major control and turn HK into yet another unlivable Chinese megacity.


Don't forget that Hong Kong is also a major financial hub, with the 6th(?) largest stock market in the world, and when the HK-Shanghai Stock Connect goes live in the coming weeks it'll be the second largest exchange in the world. Many western banks also do business in Hong Kong.

The worst thing that would happen to Hong Kong is for the financial sector to leave - HK currently enjoys an average income 5X higher than mainland China, and higher than many western cities even.


Awesome footage. I wasn't aware of the scale of this protest. My only nitpick, if that drone malfunctions (or the batteries run out) and falls down, it'll kill someone.


It is irresponsible, but I think you're overstating the risk. This looks like footage from a gopro (due to the wide angle shots). This only requires a small drone to carry, like the DJI Phantom. The total weight for the phantom and camera is going to be something like 2.5 lb, and that weight is spread across a device that is rather large.

I wouldn't want to get hit on the head by one, of course, but I don't think it would be possible to kill someone since its terminal velocity is going to be pretty slow.


No, you are wrong. From that altitude it can do anything from severely disfigure, paralyze or, yes, kill someone. Did you see that shot where it flies right by that crane? Irresponsible doesn't quite describe it.

I've been deeply involved in RC flight for over 30 years. I cannot imagine how these people think it OK to fly toy-grade products over people like that. A DJI with a Gopro is a toy. I have $10,000 RC helicopters and planes. They are fucking toys. Having seen the range of failure modes I have over the years I can only characterize these people as irresponsible morons. I also say this from the context of having designed and manufactured high quality electronic products for the RC and military targetting drone industries.


I'm just waiting for someone to create a (fail-safe) parachute for those devices so we can just move on from the "it's gonna fall!" arguments.


It doesn't have to be about the weight/speed. Unless it actually crashes in a fail-safe way, it may keep the blades spinning. It's very unlikely to kill you, but can easily cause pretty deep cuts.

I play with rc planes usually and would really like to see some docs on failure modes / failure rates of typical *copter drones. My planes / controller failed enough times that I'll probably never fly any toy over people. Maybe the newer models are much better. I'd like to know if that's the case.


Maybe I'm crazy, but in my judgement, the risk of occurrence for the ultra-bad (somebody dies) is low enough that its outweighed by the good (the world gets to see dramatic and illustrative views of how big a protest this is). Even the minor-bad (somebody gets cut or bruised) is still pretty low occurrence risk (its so slow and low that the crowd see, and is waving at the drone)

We used to be chased by wild cats, twice our weight, in tall grass, and now we limit use of anything that might even scratch someone else. Society's great and all, it provides a good support net and enables a lot, but its trend towards conservatism is frustrating sometimes.


It's hard to grasp what's really happening over there over paragraphs and few photos, but this video delivers the atmosphere in a very effective manner.


Should be interesting to see if the Chinese government brings in the tanks again, like Tiananmen Square.


Hong Kong is an island and the part they occupy seems to be very inclined. Even if they manage to bring tanks in somehow, all they'll get is many expensive high-rises damaged, roads destroyed and many tanks lost (since they're trivial to immobilize).

Will look like authoritarism fail.


First thought that occurred to me while watching. Even if Americans wanted to march in a protest of similar scale, it would be physically difficult. There would be nowhere to park all their cars.


You are missing a very important cultural difference: something of this scale in most American cities would be accompanied by theft, vandalism, murder, rape, burglaries and all sorts of other displays by culturally deficient members of our society.

I have been in large protests in other parts of the world where the cultural contrast is nothing less than astonishing.


I just want to point out that first, rioting does not occur more frequently in America than it does in many other parts of the world, and second, those "culturally deficient members of our society" you speak of are also generally wealth, education, and opportunity deficient due to the apathy of our society writ large.


You are wrong. Wealth has nothing whatsoever to do with behaving as a civilized member of society. Not one bit. I don't know about you but I have travelled a bunch and feel pretty comfortable saying that we have huge cultural holes others do not. I love my country enough to attempt to be honest about who we are and who we are not.

Katrina vs. Japan Tsunami


You know what wasn't an element in the Japan Tsunami aftermath? A hugely disproportionate impact on a demographic burdened with a history of 250 years of slavery followed by 180 years of inequality under the law. Your statements that there is a culturally deficient, uncivilized segment of our society reeks of classism, elitism, and thinly veiled racism. Own the slum, the ghetto, the failing inner-city schools. These are American institutions for which we are all responsible for, elite and destitute alike. Class disparities are a product of our institutions and policies. Our welfare programs create a poverty trap. Our justice system breeds alienation. Our schools, ignorance. If people are stupid and unhappy it is your fault and it is my fault. Since you love your country so much, I'm sure you'll help me fix this mess.


The whitewashing of places like Hong Kong and Singapore among the globalist set is shameful.


I've lived in Hong Kong. It's a wonderful place full of wonderful people. To express no sympathy for Hong Kong's people--and to imply that no sympathy is deserved because some unnamed "globalist set" seems to like the place--is shameful.


Globalists like Hong Kong as it is: where the government enforces laws to enable the market, but where people cannot vote on other laws they want. Its the globalists that lack sympathy for Hong Kong's people, not me.


Do you know how many cities on earth would kill for HK's prosperity? How many have more 'freedom' yet are ruined by ineffective governance, crime, and corruption?

I'm not saying HK's protesters don't have a legit grievance, but some perspective is required. They're getting democracy no matter what (the right to vote, even amongst vetted candidates is something they didn't have before), a more effectual way to go about it would be to prove to Beijing that democracy works.

Not to ruin a great thing that they already have...


HK's prosperity is a product of British rule, not of the relatively new Chinese regime they are protesting now.


It's a product of a free market system with Chinese entrepreneurial spirit.

Not every British colony was nearly as successful, most if not all were less successful...

China's recent strategy has been to set up regions as 'tests' for future policy. There's no doubt that with them granting HK an election (even if they want to vet the candidates), they're looking to a soft transition to democracy in the future; much like they've transitioned to a market economy.

And finally - keep in mind Hong Kong was never democratic under British rule...


...okay. Could you provide examples and a clear argument? I guarantee you'll convince more people of your viewpoint.


The Milton Friedman set is enamoured by freedom of the market in places like Hong Kong and Singapore: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/magazine/fall97/hongkong.html. They paper over the fact that this comes at the cost of democracy: the government uses its monopoly on violence to protect the wealthy (property rights, etc), but the people are not free to vote for protections for themselves (labor laws, etc).


We've had our share of problems, and continue to have them (genocide of Native Indians, slavery, persisting racism, rampant classism at many stages, corrupt for-profit prisons, the list goes on). HK, Singapore and others are developing fast, they've improved markedly in the last few decades, and I think they will continue to. I'm not saying they should get a free pass on whatever current wrong they're doing now, I'm just saying they seem to be reaching stabilization a little later and maybe a little slower than us. To totally put these places aside so strongly is a short-sighted thing to do (Pakistan, Congo, etc. are places truly deserving of this sort of criticism and outrage).


I'm not putting aside these places, I'm asserting that progress will be them becoming more like us,[1] not the other way around. And I don't mean to whitewash our own problems, but at least they are largely the problems endemic to democracy (the majority oppressing the minority), rather than authoritarianism (the minority oppressing the majority).

[1] And us continuing to resolve our own injustices.


> I'm asserting that progress will be them becoming more like us,

You know, having been thinking about this very extensively over the past few months, I disagree. The American populace, with its great freedoms, is now becoming a prisoner to the corporate worlds -- interestingly , the corporate and governmental parts so often increasingly seem intertwined that it would be fine calling them one (certainly at least in the limitations of this context). The subjugation of large amounts of people in a BNW-fasion I think should be just as actively recognized as a very bad thing as classical authoritarian oppression is. Make no mistakes, that we are being screwed in a massively pernicious way -- when Facebook exploits the cognitive weaknesses of a fat woman by showing her an ad for a fat-loss pill which will probably hurt her more than help her, that's very bad. It's not action being performed by the US gov't, but so far as I'm concerned it certainly is being enabled and arguably abetted by it. Progress for HK, Singapore, etc. should not be them becoming more like us -- the thought of that is terrifying. Since spending a lot of time with my Chinese co-workers, I've come to deeply respect their diligence in work and in being committed to providing for their family in a wholesome manner -- I think Facebook et al. has the potential to bring this to ruin, I hope that never happens.

Sorry, all of this is a very weak and sloppy defense of what I'm arguing and thinking right now -- I'll write more when I get done with work. Basically, I'm very concerned with eroding values in America - as this erosion is permitted and encouraged by the US gov't, but I don't know how to express this without being relegated as some "think of the children" Helen Lovejoy personality.




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