Now I am cruising at an altitude of 30000 between Sydney and Melbourne in a Jetstar airbus (otherwise known as a flying coffin). I must say that these discount airlines really know how to pack the people in, which is not surprising because as Warren Buffet once said, 'the best way to become a millionaire is to start off as a billionaire and invest in an airline'. Mind you, if airlines were really that unprofitable they would not exist, but since people fly everywhere these days, and that discount airlines do exist, then obviously they must be profitable. Anyway, this is not a huge plane, and they pretty much squeeze as many people into it as possible. I should be worried about the fact that the plane also creaks, but then again this is Australia, and since there has never been an air disaster involving an Australian airline, and the Australian government wishes to keep it that way, I guess I should be able to make it to Melbourne without any trouble (and fortunately the flight is only 75 minutes or so – it is not like a 12 hour flight to Hong Kong).
I guess talking about this rather cramped experience that I am having (no offence meant to the two guys sitting either side of me – I think I'll budget for the $4.00 next time and book a window seat there and back – or just fly Virgin) sort of relates to this particular book because it is about vehicles. When playing Shadowrun we found this book to be quite useful because it gave us the stats of a lot of vehicles, including helicopters, planes, boats, and even a flying tank (well sort of). In fact it was one of the more useful books in the Shadowrun collection in that regard. The reason I say that is because the number of vehicles that were included in the main rules was minimal at best, and the rules concerning riggers were also rather sparse.
Another thing that this book contains are drones, and when I say drones I am referring to things like the Predator Drone which is now seeing extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is interesting to see that while the troops are being drawn down, what Obama is replacing them with are remote piloted drones which fly over the area taking out people that they don't like. This has been going on for a while, though since Obama came into office the use of drones has been stepped up.
I doubt that the idea originally came out of Shadowrun since drones in some form or another have existed for quite some time beforehand. Remember when you were a kid and you had those remote control cars that you used to drive around your backyard, or the remote control plane that you would take down to the park to fly. Yes, you guessed it, they are drones. However, the military versions are able to operate over greater distances (the pilot can sit in the United States while flying the drone over Afghanistan) and the drones also have surveillance equipment and some even have weapons on board.
Obviously there are concerns regarding the use of the drones due to the fact that people don't like the idea that innocent civilians tend to be killed as well. I agree with them, however this has more to do with the nature of war than with an advancement in technology. I don't agree with the idea of solving all of our problems by blowing each of us away, and I will make my voice heard in that regard, however while we live in this world, this is going to continue to happen, unless, of course, the post-millenial theory turns out to be the correct one.