Nothing -- not $40 billion in defense cuts, not a 16-day government shutdown, and certainly not Sen. Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster against its use -- could stop the rise of the drone into our collective consciousness in 2013. Drones are how we wage war. Drones delivered sushi this year. Over Kenya, drones scanned the ground for elephant poachers. Drones helped predict the weather, police the streets, and control mosquito breeding. College students now major in drone studies; venture capitalists invested $40.9 million in drone startups, more than double the amount they spent in 2012. Forty states introduced drone-related legislation, and Deer Trail, Colo., was overwhelmed by applicants after it considered issuing licenses to shoot drones down. In fact, their further rise is already foretold: In 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration will allow small autonomous craft (drones) to operate throughout American skies (currently it is illegal to fly them above 400 feet).