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Government

FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters 222

Posted by timothy
from the and-now-you're-safe dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Government Attic: "The FAA has released a set of cease and desist letters sent in 2012 and 2013 to people operating drone vehicles for a variety of purposes including: tornado research, inspecting gas well stacks, aerial photography, journalism education, and other purposes. Drone cease and desist letters sent during 2014 are available from the FAA upon request." The text of the letters (bureaucratically polite, but bureaucratically firm) often starts with notes indicating to the UAV operators to whom they were sent that the FAA became interested in them because it "became aware of" their web sites, or even because someone tipped them off about an article in a community newsletter. The letters go on to outline the conditions under which the FAA allows the operation of unmanned aircraft, and specifically notes: Those who use UAS only for recreational enjoyment, operate in accordance with Advisory circular 91-57. This generally applies to operations in remotely populated areas away from airports, persons and buildings, below 400 feet Above Ground Level, and within visual line of sight. On February 6, 2007 the FAA published UAS guidance in the Federal Register, 14 CPR Part 91 / Docket No. FAA-2006-25714 I Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System. Toward the end of the docket it says, ''The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC 91-57. AC 91-57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes Its use by persons or companies for business purposes." Update: 09/07 02:16 GMT by T : Pray forgive the OCR that turned "persons" into "pecions" and "circular" into "arcular"; updated to fix those. Update: 09/08 11:07 GMT by T : Correction: Carl Malamud is not affiliated with Government Attic as this story originally described: sorry for the error.
Education

Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him? 362

Posted by timothy
from the compared-to-the-current-perfection dept.
theodp (442580) writes With his Big History Project, the NY Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin reports that Bill Gates wants to remake the way history is taught (intro video). Last month, the Univ. of California system announced that a version of the Big History Project course could be counted in place of a more traditional World History class, paving the way for the state's 1,300 high schools to offer it. Still, not everyone's keen on the idea. "Is this Bill Gates's history?" asks NYU's Diane Ravitch. "And should it be labeled 'Bill Gates's History'? Because Bill Gates's history would be very different from somebody else's who wasn't worth $50-60 billion." Of the opposition to Gates, Scott L. Thomas of Claremont Graduate University explains, 'Frankly, in the eyes of the critics, he's really not an expert. He just happens to be a guy that watched a DVD and thought it was a good idea and had a bunch of money to fund it."
Government

Oregon Suing Oracle Over Obamacare Site, But Still Needs Oracle's Help 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-hate-you-now-help-me dept.
jfruh writes Oracle and the state of Oregon are in the midst of a particularly nasty set of lawsuits over the botched rollout of Oregon's health care exchange site, with Oregon claiming that Oracle promised an "out-of-the-box solution" and Oracle saying that Oregon foolishly attempted to act as its own systems integrator. But one aspect of the dispute helps illustrate an unpleasant reality of these kinds of disputes: even as Oregon tries to extract damages from Oracle, it still needs Oracle's help to salvage the site.
Science

Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-waste-zone dept.
Zothecula writes The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it's safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements.
United States

Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go 258

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-that-anywhere dept.
mdsolar writes with news of a plan to move radioactive waste from nuclear plants. The U.S. government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go. Putting the cart before the horse, the U.S. Department of Energy recently asked companies for ideas on how the government should get the rail cars needed to haul 150-ton casks filled with used, radioactive nuclear fuel. They won't be moving anytime soon. The latest government plans call for having an interim test storage site in 2021 and a long-term geologic depository in 2048. No one knows where those sites will be, but the Obama administration is already thinking about contracts to develop, test and certify the necessary rail equipment.

Comment: Maybe MS Should Ask... (Score 2) 419

by BlueStrat (#47794883) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

...Who is John Galt?

Along with many other US companies and businesses as the US becomes an ever-more hostile and expensive place to base your business in.

Maybe MS will join the "inversion"-stampede of businesses fleeing the US for friendlier locales.

Once again the US government loads up the trusty foot-gun with its' hubris.

Strat

Comment: Re:Good Analog Oscilloscopes (Score 1) 635

by BlueStrat (#47790387) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

My Tektronix 453 is still going strong after being retired from use in avionics testing/troubleshooting/repair. As is the old black-Bakelite Simpson analog-meter VOM.

Another "old" technology I use regularly are vacuum-tube guitar amplifiers like the ones I play through, repair, and design & build. Nearly all the major guitar amplifier makers' current lines of flagship pro- and semi-pro-level guitar amps are tube-based designs.

Many of the most sought-after and expensive studio microphones are also vacuum-tube based (integral pre/buffer amp).

There are actually more vacuum tubes being produced currently than were being produced 30 years ago.

Audiophiles also tend to prefer tube-based amplifiers.

I hope relations between the US and Russia don't deteriorate too badly. Russia is a major manufacturer and exporter of vacuum tubes, as is China. Chinese tubes in general are not as high a quality generally speaking though, in my personal experience.

Oh, and the PC I posted this with is circa 2000 with a CRT monitor.

Do I win an internets?

Strat

Technology

Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up? 635

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-touch-that-dial dept.
An anonymous reader writes: It's the year 2014, and I still have a floppy drive installed on my computer. I don't know why; I don't own any floppy disks, and I haven't used one in probably a decade. But every time I put together a PC, it feels incomplete if I don't have one. I also have a Laserdisc player collecting dust at the bottom of my entertainment center, and I still use IRC to talk to a few friends. Software, hardware, or otherwise, what technology have you had a hard time letting go? (I don't want to put a hard limit on age, so you folks using flip-phones or playing on Dreamcasts or still inexplicably coding in Perl 4, feel free to contribute.)
United Kingdom

UK Prisons Ministry Fined For Lack of Encryption At Prisons 74

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-like-prisoners-are-people-anyway dept.
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes The Guardian reports that the UK Information Commissioner has levied a fine of £180,000 on the Ministry of Justice for their failure to encrypt data held on external hard drives at prisons. The fine is nominal — one part of government fining another is rather pointless, but it does show that there's a little bit of accountability. Of course it's interesting to consider the dangers of this hopefully old way of storing backups; but the question of whether we do a lot better now is quite pointed. To make matters worse, one of the unencrypted backup hard drives walked away.

Comment: Re:I seem to remember... (Score 1) 275

by BlueStrat (#47745595) Attached to: Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

when they're giving something away at zero, presumably that's a at a loss. but I'm not a MBA, so who's to say?

Who's to say??

Why, that would obviously be Billy Preston, of course!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

"Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'. Ya gotta have somethin', if ya wanna be with me!"

Strat

Comment: Re:You cannot be surprised? (Score 1) 130

In the age of the internet, if you have to pay someone to sit you in a room and teach you like a trained monkey you have serious problems that go way beyond education.

I went to college to meet chicks.

"If you want to to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library." - Frank Zappa

"Where's the college library?"

Strat

Businesses

When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model 257

Posted by Soulskill
from the friendly-until-they-have-your-money dept.
jammag writes: A new trend has emerged where tech companies have realized that abusing users pays big. Examples include the highly publicized Comcast harassing service call, Facebook "experiments," Twitter timeline tinkering, rude Korean telecoms — tech is an area where the term "customer service" has an Orwellian slant. Isn't it time customer starting fleeing abusive tech outfits?
The Military

Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the bazookas-for-all dept.
v3rgEz writes: Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what equipment other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear.

Comment: Re:Technical People (Score 1) 194

by BlueStrat (#47681649) Attached to: The Billion-Dollar Website

You are continuing to conflate Medicaid with the ACA

And you seem to be denying that Medicaid is part and parcel of ACA and where those who can't afford the higher costs of ACA insurers end up.

The issues you pretend to understand around Medicaid do not have any relevance to how the VA hospitals are run

They are both ran by government bureaucracies. Government bureaucracies are infamous for waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption. They are no exception and neither is the ACA.

Trying to suggest that the VA hospitals are a model for how the ACA will work suggests you are not honest.

Trying to suggest I am not honest because I see and recognize universal patterns of bad behaviors and poor results from government programs suggests you are defending a political partisan ideology rather than trying to solve real problems.

Strat

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons

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