1630: Quadcopter

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I always have to turn off nature documentaries when they show these scenes.
Title text: I always have to turn off nature documentaries when they show these scenes.


There is large controversy over unmanned small-scale quadcopters, which are a type of radio-controlled helicopter. Some people have objections towards the usage of quadcopters as, if equipped with cameras, they can potentially interfere with personal privacy and may pose a physical aerial hazard.

For this reason the US Federal Aviation Administration is now requiring any "drone" (unmanned aerial vehicle) to be registered so that it can find out whose fault it might be that a quadcopter interfered with commercial aircraft — or carried off a citizen to be devoured.

This comic takes place during a lesson where Cueball is a teacher. He is standing in front of his students (Megan, Ponytail and another Cueball-like guy), presenting to the class. He has a quadcopter lying ready on the ground behind him, and has apparently handed the remote control to the other cueball, presumably so he can try it once the introduction is over.

But then the teacher is attacked by three rogue quadcopters flying in from behind him. They grab him, lift him off the ground (a very complicated maneuver), and fly away with him. Meanwhile, his students just stand there watching and do nothing to help him. Afterwards Megan asks if they should actually have tried to help him, but then Ponytail takes the view that now that the drones are sentient, they have become a part of nature, and that you should not interfere but just "let nature take its course". This is a common comment in nature programs about wildlife, where the speaker tries to explain why the team that was there to film the animals dying did nothing to help them - because they will not interfere with nature. This would not be possible in real life assuming they weren't using unknown, advanced technology as Cueball outweighs the drones by several factors.[citation needed]

There is currently a drone called MQ-1 Predator which is used a lot by the CIA and USAF. Although it's not a quad-copter, the idea behind this comic could come from the drone's name-- taking the name literally and giving drones predatory behavior. This comic thus takes people's worries to the extreme, suggesting that the drones become sentient and can cooperate together just like a pack of wolves and grab a human being and fly off with him like an eagle would do with a smaller animal.

The title text refers back to the above as Randall confesses that he has to turn off any nature documentaries which show scenes of animals killing their prey, while the speaker tells that this would be part of nature. This continues the theme of treating drones as an occasionally-ugly but accepted part of nature.

Sentient quadcopters were part of the game in 1608: Hoverboard, where one quadcopter is speaking to the other over the lava lake in the Mount Doom crater to the left. How to solve the problem of too many drones was mentioned in 1523: Microdrones. Just over a week before this comic was released another comic also had as subject a situation where our technological inventions begins to take control over us, see 1626: Judgment Day. Comparing drones to animals is also present in 1881: Drone Training, when Black Hat Guy asks for a spray bottle for his drone.


[Cueball to the left talks to Megan, Ponytail and a Cueball-like person, with a remote control. They are standing to the right. Behind Cueball, on the ground, there is a quadcopter.]
Cueball: Welcome to Quadcopter-flying school.
[Cueball looks over his shoulder as three other quadcopters fly in towards him from above and left. The other three people are in the same position.]
Cueball: Today we'll be learning the basics of-
Cueball: ...Uhh...
[In this frameless image the three quadcopters all grabs hold of Cueball, two in each of his arms, one takes hold of his legs. And then they lift him up from the ground. He is thus hanging almost horizontally, with his head over Megan and his feet over the place where he stood before. The other three just stands there looking up at him.]
Cueball: Um
[Cueball is carried off by quadcopters, his head has already exited the top right corner, only his legs and the last quadcopter still in the frame. The other three have turned around looking up and right after him.]
[Megan looks down again and the other two turns towards Megan. Cueball is gone and has only left his "tame" quadcopter behind on the ground.]
Megan: Should we have helped?
Ponytail: No. It's cruel, but we have to let nature take its course.

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Despite the obvious nature documentary joke, could this maybe also be making fun of people's fear that robots will take over the world someday soon? And in the same tone of voice try to convince them that technological development is natural and is nothing to be afraid of?Bon (talk) 06:27, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

This seems to be at least a partial reference to a scene in Harry Potter where they learn to ride broomsticks for the first time. Mlake (talk) 07:11, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I cannot see the connections at all... --Kynde (talk) 21:12, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Would it not make more sense if birds carried him away? 10:53, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

That's the joke. -Pennpenn 01:53, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Is it really about the robots becoming sentient, or is it the idea that the government doesn't want him teaching this class and sent the drones to take him away? Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 13:26, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Are quadcopters used as camera mounts in filming nature documentaries? This is the angle I first took on reading this comic. 13:30, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

They are used to filming the lava lake in 1608. This is references above. So probably also wild life --Kynde (talk) 21:12, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

It seems to me that this is a pun on the term Predator drone. Predator drones are not quadcopters but both are commonly referred to simply as "drone". In this case it seems that cue ball has fallen prey to a predator and the group is looking at it similarly to watching a cat kill a squirrel. 13:38, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Great. Now added in a more clear way to the comic explanation than when I read it before. --Kynde (talk) 21:12, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

The explanation now sounds as if it would be better idea to just make all predators extinct just to save the poor prey. Letting nature take it's course IS the correct behavior. No matter how cute you think rabbits are, anyone from Australia can confirm that it's better if there IS some predator killing them and prevent overpopulation. The humans ARE overpopulated and any action they do is making the effect of that overpopulation worse: by creating areas where humans don't act, we may be able to preserve nature not harmed by the overpopulation, as opposed to behaving same everywhere, killing all predators and then kill and consume all prey and then go extinct because there will be nothing more to eat. -- Hkmaly (talk) 16:09, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

No it is not that. Most of the time you are not watching when a predator attacks, or a pup is left behind by it's mother to die from thirst. And you should not seek out this to change it. But if you are there in the nature and sees it... Maybe then you should!? I stongly belive this is what Randall hints at especially in the title text --Kynde (talk) 11:36, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

"...grab a human being and fly off with him, just like a pack of wolves..." o_O -- 20:46, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

True have amended the wording. --Kynde (talk) 11:36, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Ponytail could be making a pun. "No. It's cruel, but we have to let nature take it's course." Cueball was teaching quadcopter flying school, so the drones could have carried him off for a course. -- 00:05, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

You should add that to the explanation. Mikemk (talk) 05:41, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Someone keeps posting that it is the Cueball student that controls the drones! It is a completely farfetched idea that he could do so with one remote (which by the way is of course for the qadcopter behind the teacher, who has given it to the student to try it out). He should then control three others copters in unison in a very very complicated maneuver while holding it down and looking anywhere but at the drones when they enter the image! Stop it! It has already been deleted once before me doing it now. So please stop reposting that idea! --Kynde (talk) 11:41, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

These are all interesting theories, but I think what Randall is referring to is the way eagles teach their young to fly: by taking them up to a great height, and then dropping them. This might seem cruel, but we stand back and let nature take its course. The joke is that, at quadcopter flying school, Cueball is the one being taught to fly. Unlike the eagles, it seems unlikely that Cueball will either learn to fly, or that the quadcopters will catch him when he gets too close to the ground. -- Aquarello7 (talk) 15:02, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

It's possible that the Cueball that was abducted by drones is the same in the Right Click downloadable image, as a Cueball is being held up by three drones (unattached/broke free from one). I don't know how to properly do hyperlinks, but I wanted to bring it up anyway. ChessCake (talk) 18:51, 6 December 2018 (UTC)