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Comment Tested in the courts (Score 1) 30

The USPTO can (and does) award patents for almost anything. The patent examiners aren't experts in every field and if they receive advice that an item, method, or process is unique and non-obvious, they will award a patent.

But a patent is just a pretty piece of paper until you try to enforce it. Only then will the courts actually look at the merit of the patent and declare it enforceable or invalid.

The main reason for granting patents is to persuade inventors to publish their ideas and in return they are given exclusive licensing rights for a reasonable amount of time. The publishing and sharing of new ideas is the good side of patents. The litigation necessary to challenge or defend a patent is the unfortunate bad side.


Comment Re:I second the RF jammer (Score 1) 156

You're assuming the bad guys will use common frequencies that match your jammer. They can change the frequency they operate at faster than you can reprogram your jammer. Plus, all new transmitters use Spread Spectrum technology to combat both accidental and intentional interference.

You would be surprised at what some competitors will do at RC contests (turning on an older transmitter on the same frequency) to destabilize an opponents aircraft on purpose. Spread Spectrum technology and serial number encryption are used to prevent this.


Comment Re:...uhh (Score 4, Interesting) 186

Every signal that we have sent out requires them to be visually oriented. Do you think the TV signals we beam into space will make any sense to beings that communicate ultrasonically? An encoded 2D image interlaced with alternate lines 30 times a second won't be of much use to intelligent vampire bats.

What about beings from an ice planet that communicate with different temperatures of liquid methane? Or beings that communicate using pheromones? Or interference patterns of UV radiation? Or any other sensory stimuli that we haven't even imagined yet.

We also try sending out mathematical sequences we assume they will recognize, like Pi. Except many mathematicians think Tau is a better constant to broadcast. (Tau is 2 x Pi. Tau fits many mathematical equations much better than Pi.) Pi and Tau are great constants for plane geometry, but what about beings that live in water or other liquid media. Circles are very rare in water. Spheres are much more common and the use of Pi may or may not be instantly recognizable. What about a constant that describes the relationship of the volume of a sphere to its radius/diameter?

There have been many studies that show that one method of communication that covers long distances is artificial gravity waves. Until we can send or receive these signals, we might be looked at like newborns clapping their hands and thinking they are communicating.


Comment Re:Don't fly over people or private property. (Score 3, Informative) 184

Uh, what? That's kind of ridiculous - that's like 20 times the average liability for car insurance. Far more damage is done by a car than a 4-lb quad, and far more frequently.

Actually, it isn't that far off the mark. Any RC hobbyist that joins the AMA does have an impressive insurance coverage.

Member Insurance Benefit

$2.5 Million Liability Umbrella
$25,000 Medical Coverage
$1,000 Fire and Theft Coverage

Comment Re:Why should the FAA allow drones without COAs? (Score 2) 184

Get a grip. We are talking about toy quadcopters, not military-grade autonomous vehicles. A certificate of airworthiness for a six-inch quadcopter? A license to fly an RC toy? I'm sure you're also an advocate for licenses for kite "pilots" too.

Yeah, I can imagine your next argument too. "I mean the six-foot hexapod copters carrying three cameras and FPV downlinks." Your problem there is using the nebulous and incorrect term DRONE to lump everything together. If you have a problem with six-foot professionally manufactured multi-rotor vehicles, THEN SAY SO!!! Don't lump everything from a smartphone controlled toy from Fry's together with a heavy-lift multi-rotor carrying a Sony HD, gimbal mounted camera package.

Most people are familiar enough with cars that they don't get their knickers in a twist about regulating every wheeled vehicle the same way. We don't worry about Tesla cars driving on off-road trails and we don't allow quad utility vehicles on the freeways. To call every multi-rotor air vehicle a Drone is like calling every wheeled vehicle a Horseless carriage. And seeking licenses for every version of multi-rotor vehicles is like requiring a license for roller skates.

If you really want to discuss COA and licenses, then be specific about what class of air vehicles you are talking about. I don't have a problem with licenses and COA for six-foot, eighty pound camera platforms that will be flying over property and people. I understand that if they crash into a crowd then there is a real potential for injury. But a 12-inch, two pound toy with a pin-hole camera making videos for Facebook and YouTube worries me about as much as a badly thrown Frisbee.


Comment Re:Congressionally mandated penalty (Score 2) 184

I wonder if we can do that for ALL of congress and the government. Don't do the job you are mandated? You don't get paid.

I wonder if they will remember that in December when they threaten to shut down the gov't again because they can't agree on a debt ceiling resolution.


Comment Interesting science (Score 5, Interesting) 61

This is a great breakthrough in analyzing ancient human origins. It would be interesting to use this technique to gain more insight on the origins and migration patterns of early north and south american populations. The Bearing Sea land bridge and south american sea voyage origins are still very confusing and incomplete.


Comment Re:(intentionally blank) (Score 3, Informative) 268

True, but if the printer was more accurate on calculating the "empty" state, you would be getting a lower cost per job. Print costs on wide format printers like the 9900 are measured in printed square feet, not pages. Average use on the 9900 is between 1.2-1.5 ml/sqft so the ~120 ml remaining in the cartridge could print another 100 sqft of output.

Any way you calculate it, a waste factor of 20% is a bit high for any print cartridge.


Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig