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Comment Re:Setting a dangerous precedent (Score 2) 225

I suppose you've read up on the history and rationale behind Class B airspace? No? You should.

TL;DR - planes don't always go where they planned to go. Emergencies crop up. During said emergencies, the pilots are busy with the emergency and not terribly interested in looking for random balloons, Cessnas, drones and other rif raf. Radars tend to work best if they have a clear sweep of the sky. Five miles at several hundred miles per hour is a very short time frame.

And other important technical issues.

It's not because some power mad bureaucrat wants to make your libertine life harder.

Comment Re:Were you endangered? (Score 1) 225

The FAA may really have to change how it does Class B airspace. Right now it's 'to the ground' because it's easy and there really wasn't any reason not to do that. They may have to carve out low altitude corridors for drones only.

Of course, that effort just might be in a race with the heat death of the Universe, but it's a good idea.

Comment Re:Were you endangered? (Score 1) 225

New York is where both engines of USAir flight were hit by soft bodied geese weighing less than 20 pounds each and forced the plane to crash land in the Hudson river. The drones have hard metal parts and hard plastic. They would do far more damage to the plane.

No, a drone would probably not damage a plane in the manner of the 'Miracle on the Hudson'. Even if a drone took out a single engine, all planes and pilots are certified to fly on the remaining powerplant. The problem is that the US Air plane ran into a flock of geese which took out both engines simultaneously. At least so far, drones have not been flocking (that would be scary.

I do think that one answer to this is to develop small, low power transponders that will fit on a drone. Should be possible and then should be absolutely required for any drone over a certain size. If you can see them, you can avoid them. If they are serialized then you can go after the miscreant without a whole lot of fuss and bother.

Although a little heavy handed, you could rig a system where larger drones won't fly unless they have the transponder and the transponder is registered. Yeah, somebody would hack around it but most people wouldn't care and in fact you could use the transponder to find the thing.

Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 1) 225

You do realize the stupidity of your argument, though, don't you? The flights of wild geese cannot be controlled or regulated easily, but the flights of humanly operated aircraft can. Secondly, I can see no reason why people should be allowed to operate drones unless they at least have a VFR pilot license. Last but not least, you would change your opinion quickly if your wife and children all died in the plane crash caused by a drone. And there is really no reason to wait for it to happen.

I can see lots of reasons a drone operator would not need a pilots license. I have a little Hubsan X4 - it is six inches long and weighs about 100 grams. No real time camera. It's small enough that you lose visual contact with it at about 200 feet. Flight time is 5 minutes.

You don't need a private pilots license for this one. Maybe a brief class like a hunter's safety class to bring the idiots up to some sort of speed, but not something that takes thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to acquire. Way overkill.

Now, a drone operating in aircraft space - yes, I can imagine a much more rigorous licensing approach. But 'drone' is a very, very broad concept.

Comment Re:And they say we have nothing to worry about (Score 2) 127

Bacteria as a bioweapon probably won't ever work to wipe out populations. You certainly could wreck havoc in clusters of humans with poor infrastructure (refuge camps, slums, Trenton, New Jersey) but even without antibiotics we know enough to slow down the transmission to prevent mass catastrophe. Yes, it would be a good 'terror weapon' since at least the US population seems to be scared of it's own shadow much less any real boogy man (cf, the Ebola scare) but as far as a tactical weapon it has a lot of drawbacks.

Comment Re:Semantics (Score 1) 127

You do not know what the word "virulent" means.

Well, he's trying - from the OED:

Syllabification: virulent
Pronunciation: /vir(y)lnt/


Late Middle English (originally describing a poisoned wound): from Latin virulentus, from virus 'poison' (see virus).

Comment Re:Overblown (Score 1) 92

And this is why I dropped my subscription. NYT digital is totally clueless. I can have a better experience with the shields up.

I have written to them a number of times suggesting that they lighten up, give their subscribers some actual benefit. Nobody ever listens to me except my dog and he's just waiting for a walk.

Comment Re:Wow! (Score 2) 92

Of course. I don't much listen to Rush Limbaugh because he never says anything remotely sensible. We all pick and choose. The NYT has a distinct and disturbing liberal bias at times but they do manage to actually create news by good reporting. That's rather rare these days.

Comment Re:Wow! (Score 1) 92

No, it's a lousy point. More sources doesn't equal free sources. Mayhaps you might want to pay for information from whatever varied sources you use. Unfortunately, the way that websites are going, that's not an option. Micropayments went out of style before they were even adopted. So you have to pay for the full ride.

And, unfortunately for NYT, the benefit from being a subscriber are pretty slim. Same annoying, intrusive adds. Same klunk of an interface. Same annoying emails. Most (but certainly not all) sites that have a subscription either drop adverts or markedly tone them down. The NYT team seems a bit clueless.

And I would argue that one million subscribers to the best known newspaper on the planet is not a particularly impressive feat. It just demonstrates how nobody gets it.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 140

Remember the 'concept cars' of years ago? All sleek and shiny and completely impractical. The closest you ever saw to them on the road was the Batmobile.

Same here. Not designed to be even remotely practical. They're fun experiments and advertising bits. They also serve as conceptual trial balloons to gauge broad acceptance.

Does anybody think that future cars won't have lots of display panels and cameras? Smile for the camera!

(As an aside, how would you make out with your girlfriend (or whatever) in one of these things? Do younger people still do that or do they just fuck in their bedrooms? Did I miss it, again?)

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton