Trailer: Long Shot

In spring of 2013, Texas-based start up TrackingPoint Solutions released the first ever precision-guided firearm, which is essentially a long-range, laser-guided robo rifle. Call it the gun of tomorrow: The technology is so advanced we’ve heard it can have beginners killing at extreme distances with single-shot accuracy in mere minutes. 

The PGF’s closed-loop system is based off jetfighter lock and launch technology, something TrackingPoint CEO Jason Schauble says not only marks the next great paradigm shift in the evolution of firearms—it helps users make ethical kill shots too. But critics of the PGF platform, no doubt part and parcel of a rising tide of intelligent killer apps, say the gun, or rather its proprietary scope, marks the dawn of “skill-free killing”. 

In LONG SHOT Motherboard visits West Texas, the frontline of smart weapons. We get a backcountry crash course through the PGF, hear about TrackingPoint’s plans to apply its system to a veritable suite of advanced weaponry, all built on custom software that promises to have novice shots like us to killing at 1,000 yards—and in the near future, potentially 3,000 yards—with single-shot accuracy, and try to untangle an increasingly knotty firearms debate in light of the so-called gamification of killing and, sadly, yet another mass shooting. 

Has killing become too easy?  

The same sentiment was said about crossbows, knights initially refused to use them because they said it took the skill and therefore the honor out of killing. The same was said by the samurai when imperial soldiers adopted the firearm, they refused to use it because they said it was too easy to kill someone with. The same was said when the cartridge was invented, allowing soldiers to reload and shoot quicker without making their own ammunition and packing the gunpowder into their own weapon.

So it is said again at the dawn of a new weapon technology. Once a better way to kill a man is out there, no army is going to look back. Knowing this, which side of history do you want to be on? Actually, in this case, I wouldn’t take up either side because both accept the premise that men need to be shot, they only question the means of the shooting.

Hi! just wanted to drop by and say just how much i enjoyed reading your post about making it to base camp of mt. everest... I want to travel as much as you do one day and your blog is really fascinating. Keep on being awesome!

Thanks, I think you’re probably the… 5th person to ever read it. I was re-reading it myself a little while ago for the first time since I wrote it and I found myself enjoying my own jokes, which is a bit like highfiving yourself. Anyone can travel like I have if you make it a priority in your life. At the moment, I only get to bring home about $200 per month after taxes and bills, but I’m working up to another trip, probably next year at this rate, to Iraq or Iran. I guess that’s the problem with traveling, it emboldens you a bit too much.

» Asked by dygariad

I am the toilet king.

God damn, I love Tokyo. When I first arrived in Tokyo, it seemed like Mordor. A vast, sprawling concrete slab completely devoid of non-human life. What I missed was in the details. There’s beauty and peace everywhere in this city. For a city of dozens of millions, the air is surprisingly clear and even though the population density can be up to 2 people per square meter, everyone is polite and they treat each other with dignity.

How do you get the opportunity to travel so much? And where do you get the money? I'd love to travel, but finances are an issue.

I took care of my debts at home and I travel for next to nothing. I constantly sacrifice comfort, safety, and alacrity for frugal traveling. I try to stay with friends or share rides. Many people host travelers because we have interesting stories and observations from around the world, so it’s not hard to find a place if you really look. Being outgoing and culturally observant also goes a long way when opening up new opportunities. Where would you like to go? I might have some tips for saving money.

» Asked by Anonymous

Good morning, Vladivostok. Sprinkled around the building were hypodermic needles and the misery of -40 degree weather.

A sneaky ninja picture I took in Bohemian Grove, California. That’s the giant owl statue on the right.

The mirror palace inside Amer Fort, India.

Statue from a buddhist temple in Japan.

I took this during Holi in Vrindavan, India.

The neon bark of the concrete jungle that is Tokyo.

In Calcutta, everything feels older than it really is.

One of the chillest places I’ve ever been. A town called Dahab on the Red Sea coast of Sinai, Egypt.

A Sufi Muslim dancer in Cairo, Egypt. They spin and spin and spin as a means to enter a trance and get closer to god.