CelebHunter Drone Crashes into Non-Celeb Above Antarctic Ice
By Susan Rhode and Tau Oliphant
HANSEN STATION, ANTARCTICA – The international pop star and singer $ilver thought she was safe from celebhunter drones down here; so did Professor Bram van Leeuwen of the University of Utrecht. In fact since, as his wife, Maartje, says, “Bram isn’t even that well known among climatologists,” the professor probably thought he was safe from celebhunter drones everywhere. But fate collided yesterday at noon local time. And three hours later the professor was airlifted out with a broken collarbone, four broken ribs and probable internal thoracic injuries.
Ice Breaking Up, Drone Zeroing In
This is what happened. $ilver, as a climate-change activist, had made an unpublicized trip to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), arriving yesterday morning to, says her publicist, “see for the breakup for herself.” Accelerating this last month, the breakup – of what had been a 2.2 million cubic kilometer ice sheet, one tenth of all the continental ice in West Antarctica – will, say climatologists, soon raise global sea levels another 4.8 meters. Sitting atop the WAIS, Hansen Station, named for James Hansen (1941-2031), the NASA scientist who did much to warm of the consequences of human-driven climate change, will be abandoned by April first.
While busy packing to leave, Hansen Station’s scientists and staff welcomed the pop star, and some even asked for her autograph. Van Leeuwen and two others had taken $ilver in a hovercraft toward the edge of the ice sheet’s collapse. At that moment, “out of the (expletive-deleted) blue,” says $ilver, came the drone. $ilver says, “I’m used to dodging the (expletive-deleted) things back home in L.A. and everywhere else. Even, two months ago, when I went into what’s left of the Amazon Rain Forest, one of them zeroed in on me. But I sure didn’t expect one at the South Pole.”
Yakov Komarov, the hovercraft’s pilot, says he had just slid back the cockpit canopy to “allow our guest to get some fresh air” when the drone appeared. “I immediately took evasive action and of course tried to close the canopy – but it jammed in the open position. And the drone smashed into us. Into the professor, seated directly behind me.”
CelebsCan’tHide? FamousFinder? Both Deny It.
At this moment, it is unclear whether the drone was owned by CelebsCan’tHide or by Famous Finder. Both companies, the two leaders in celeb-acquisition video, disclaim any responsibility and, after smashing into the hovercraft, the frisbee-size drone veered off and disappeared. Nor is it clear how it found $ilver. Since the pop star was wearing a ski mask against the extreme cold, the drone’s facial-recognition software would have been useless. Some experts theorize the drone could have been guided by airborne traces of $ilver’s DNA. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to make it illegal to acquire anyone’s DNA without their permission, but such legislation has been opposed by the infotainment industry, lending credence to the belief that celebhunter drones are beginning to use this technology.
Says $ilver, “If Professor van Leeuwen doesn’t have the financial resources to get to the bottom of this and sue whoever the (expletive-deleted) sons of bitches are who did this, I will.”
A Chilling Song
In any event, video of $ilver, van Leeuwen, Komarov and (the fourth person in the hovercraft) Professor Akello Onyango of the University of Nairobi is now appearing on the web. The video is edited to cut away from the hovercraft just before impact; it cuts to what $ilver had gone out to see: the edge of the WAIS collapsing into the Amundsen Sea. Accompanying the video is a song, sung a woman who sounds very much like $ilver, whose lyrics include “Yeah the Dutchman’s in dutch / Oh yeah he’s in such, he’s in much, of a mess / Down at the Pole / He’s no longer whole / He’s in pieces oh yes.”
$ilver, who returns to the States tomorrow, says “I don’t know which is sicker: celebhunter drones or whoever wrote that piece of (expletive-deleted) garbage.” She says she will dedicate her next performance, next week in Beijing, to Van Leeuwen and other climatologists. Professor van Leeuwen’s wife, Maartje, says that, while their three teenage children have much preferred $ilver’s rival, the singer Ramayanam, “We will all watch.” Reached on his hospital bed in Cape Town, South Africa, Bram van Leeuwen smiled through obvious pain and gave a thumb’s-up.