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Seems it’s early enough in the year that you can still detect a optimism bias in the media: This week saw several forward-thinking pieces about drone applications… Most tellingly, the X Games pulls a wicked aerial 180: The Summer X Games banned drones, Winter X Games now embraces them… Good news: CNN gets COA… But aerial photographers fear this means their jobs… New purposes, for porpoises… Parking lot Lassies: drones lead you to wide open spaces… And they could soon be lapping up lakewater (?!)…

Some palpable excitement: CNN authorized to use drones for journalism. “Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and camera setups,” CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante said.

A slightly more sober take on the same story: “What the partnership actually allows is for CNN to conduct authorized trials at controlled sites with an academic partner.”

Aerial surveyors, photographers and moviemaking pilots are increasingly losing business to drones that often can do their jobs faster, cheaper and better — so they take their plight to the FAA.

The X Games finally come around: “Any piece of technology we feel brings viewers closer to the event, we’re interested in,” said Chris Calcinari, who spearheaded the approvals process for ESPN. “I don’t think there are many events that would actually allow us to fly a drone. This is a big opportunity.”

Illinois bill to ban the use of drones to track prey in hunting and fishing: “It’s not fair for the animals that deserve a chance to escape.”

…On the other side of the fence, drones protect animals: NBC caught wind of UAV anti-poaching efforts in South Africa: “The rampant slaughter in South Africa, where 1,250 rhinos were poached in 2014, has Namibia’s Save the Rhino Trust worried that the country is ‘on the radar of syndicates.’”

Mexico plans to use drones to patrol the upper Sea of Cortez to combat illegal fishing and save the critically endangered vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise; fewer than 100 remain.

PrecisionHawk (a company built around the 3DR platform) may soon be sampling lakewater to test for oil leaks. “If you go up to Northern Canada or Alaska, there are literally thousands of ponds and lakes that are a few acres in size,” says PrecisionHawk CEO Ernest Earon. “Trying to walk through or take a boat to get water samples, it’s an almost impossible task.”

It may be some time before this wonderful vision of the future comes to pass, but Siemens thought enough of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student Amir Ehsani Zonouz’s concept for “intelligent parking drone technology” to name it the winner of the company’s first-ever Mobility IDEA contest.