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Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 2) 54

This exactly shows why morons like you have no business flying without a license. You have no concept whatsoever of "airspace".

You don't seem to understand that you don't own the air over your property.

Bullshit. You own the air up to 500 feet. Commercial aircraft are not allowed to fly within that zone without permission or a really good reason.

Are you saying that somebody launching a 3-pound quadcopter into the air above their property is inherently safer at 1000' than is the person who does that from some empty lot or a wooded park in the middle of nowhere?

No, someone with a 3-pound quadcopter has no business operating at 1000' because that's federally regulated airspace, unless that person has a proper pilot's license and type rating for that aircraft. Even there, they probably shouldn't be allowed to operate at that altitude because that aircraft is too small to be seen by other human-piloted aircraft.

What I'm saying is that someone who owns the property and also the drone shouldn't need a license to operate their drone, within their airspace (up to 500' AGL), as long as they stay within that box. If they crash their drone into their house, that's their own fault and their own problem. It's exactly like how we treat farm-use vehicles: they aren't required to be registered, tagged, or have licensed drivers as long as they stay on private land. If they screw up because they let their 12-year-old kid drive and he crashes, that's their problem, and auto insurance won't cover it nor do they need to worry about hitting other drivers.

Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 1) 54

Did you miss my comment about flying over private property owned by the pilot (or presumably, where the owner has given the pilot permission to fly in it)?

It's just like driving a vehicle: if you have a big farm, there is zero requirement to register your car with the state government or get a driver's license, as long as you keep your vehicle on your own land. You can even let your 12-year-old kid drive your car on your land. It's only when you drive onto public streets that all that stuff becomes mandatory.

It should be the same with drones. Stick to your own land, or land you have explicit permission to fly over, and nothing is needed. If you want to fly in airspace shared by other aircraft, you need a license just like they do.

Comment Re:Sense of proportion? (Score 1) 54

We kill 30,000 people per year with drunk driving, and yet the federal govt does not license or test car drivers or drinkers.

Bullshit. The state governments license and test car drivers (poorly usually). If the federal government took it over, people like you would start screaming about the 10th Amendment. The Federal government handles aviation because planes routinely cross state lines, whereas interstate car traffic isn't remotely a majority of car traffic.

For that matter, over 50 people die per year in the US doing roofing work, should we require roofers to have federal licenses and get their equipment approved by the feds?

Again, this is probably something that's regulated by the states. You can't be a professional plumber without a state license. And again, people like you would be screaming about the 10th Amendment if the federal government tried to license contractors. And honestly, in that case you'd probably be right anyway; there's no need to license contractors at the federal level, and states can manage it better themselves since there are differences from state-to-state in what's allowed (local codes and such).

Are you trying to argue that your local or state government shouldn't be allowed to license plumbers, electricians, etc?

Comment Re:Insanity (Score 1) 54

Oh please, if you think I'm going to read all this idiotic Libertarian claptrap, you're deluded. (But then, you have to be deluded to believe this shit.)

The simple fact is that flying is extremely dangerous, and when pilots fuck up, it has serious consequences, usually worse if there's passengers, but even if there's not, they can cause catastrophic damage on the ground too. The government has every right to regulate airspace, just as it regulates roads to keep dangerous drivers off the highways so they don't kill people through their negligence and incompetence (unfortunately, the government isn't so good at identifying bad drivers, but it has the right to).

You probably think people and companies should be able to pollute all they want too.

Comment Re:Remember when the Internet was uncontrolled? (Score 1) 110

The problem when we had USENET, IRC, etc. was that the users back then were FAR more technically adept than the average user now. There's just no way you're going to get Grandma to figure out how to use IRC or USENET so she can look at pictures from her grandkids, or write posts about Obama being a Muslim communist who's using FEMA to set up concontration camps. This is why Facebook is so successful: it's fairly easy for any moron to use. Also, its nature is different: it basically lets any moron set up their own blog; USENET and IRC were never designed for that kind of purpose, for one person to be able to have their own soapbox which others could elect to see. Of course, it's easy to make something like this now with Wordpress, but that's still far, far more difficult than just using Facebook.

However, your principle is sound: the problem is open platforms not under the control of any one entity versus closed, proprietary platforms that are completely under one entity's control. This example shows yet again why proprietary service providers should be avoided at all costs: you simply have no control over your own destiny when you give them power over you. We do have alternatives these days too, such as the Diaspora decentralized social networking platform.

Comment Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 0) 54

... to fly drones outside your own personal property. That would solve many of these issues very quickly. Pilots are trained to understand airspace restrictions, to file flight plans, and to look up TFRs before they fly. Obviously, you can't trust normal people to do these things, so licenses should be required. Flying a drone without a license should be a prosecutable criminal offense, and even worse if you bust airspace.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 1) 516

William L. Rowe, whoever that is, is not the authority on the definition of atheism, or anything else.

From Wikipedia: "Writers disagree on how best to define and classify atheism, contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is an assertion in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection."

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 275

Social networking is actually a good idea I think, but not with the proprietary platforms we've had until now. Something like Diaspora, a decentralized platform, is what we really need; that way people can control what they share, with whom, and they control the platform itself (since you run it on your own webserver, or one you sign up for to have an account on, but your data is your own and is easily moved to a competing service).

Having everything all centralized on one site with no democratization is making it usable because there's no real consumer choice or control.

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 275

Because you have a choice whether you want to use Facebook or something else or nothing. No one is forcing you to use Facebook. Your dumb relatives posting stupid pictures of themselves is not a compelling reason to use Facebook; it's not like trying to be a computer professional and refuse to use email (which would prevent you from getting a job in the field) or normal job posting sites.

Comment Re:Good move Nokia (Score 1) 54

I use both; Google on my phone and HERE on my car's built-in nav unit. Being able to use the car's system where there's no or poor cell coverage is definitely a big plus. However, the HERE data is old and incomplete as far as businesses. If you know the street address of where you want to go, it's great. However, if you just want to look up all the Walmarts nearby and pick one to go to, it tries to direct me to one that's an hour away for some odd reason. And forget about finding some small restaurant; if it's been there for decades, it's probably on HERE, but if it's fairly new, forget it.

Google Maps' biggest strength is that it combines navigation with an up-to-date business directory. I can search for "Italian restaurant" within a certain area, see all the businesses that match that description, then look at them and immediately see peoples' Google and Yelp reviews, so I can avoid places that suck. Then I can just tap one button and have it navigate me to that place, without having to mess around with street addresses.

I wish my car's system could integrate the business-directory stuff from my phone (assuming I have coverage at that moment), and then switch me over to the car's navigation after it gets a street address.

Comment Re:Bad engineering choices (Score 2) 54

GM engineers are famous for their complete incompetence. Just look at the ignition-key fiasco. There's no way in hell I'd buy a GM. I even thought about it once; I thought that a few decades was enough to forgive them for their past atrocities in automobiles, and that their new cars were worth taking a look at again, and then the ignition-key fiasco came up in the news. That was the end of that idea.

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 275

couldn't Microsoft reasonably anticipate that it would turn into a giant write-down?

I think people at our level have a hard time imagining just how much hubris these top-level corporate execs have. You don't usually get to that level without being some kind of egomaniac, sociopath, or both.

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 275

Ultimately FB primarily has turned into a conglomerate of a desperate small-business owners way to try to push their bad ideas on their friends, a place to post pictures of your children and a news aggregator. I don't think it has much of a future on its present vector either. It will simply last longer because it is slightly less dangerous.

I disagree. What makes you think that people won't always want a place to post pictures of their brats and other shameless self promotion ("look at the meal I ate tonight! we just watched [movie]! I'm listening to [song] now!")? Or that people won't want a news aggregator? Or that small-business owners won't want a forum to push their bad ideas on friends? FB can continue indefinitely just providing a place for all this.

Another thing I've seen on FB is political chit-chat: a lot of wackos use it as a de-facto blog to post all their dumb conspiracy theories and anti-Obama nuttery (not that Obama is great, but these people contend that FEMA is setting up concentration camps and similar nuttery), presumably because it's cheaper and easier than simply setting up a Wordpress blog. I guess if you're dumb enough to believe in FEMA concentration camps, then setting up your own website with Wordpress is simply too much to ask. Plus FB makes it really easy to share and get the word out with their "likes".

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 5, Informative) 275

Facebook is still a slow cooker, so the frogs don't notice.

This is wrong, and insulting to frogs. Contrary to popular opinion, a frog will not allow itself to be boiled alive, and when the water temperature gets too hot, will simply jump out of the pot. It's an old wives' tale that frogs will allow themselves to be boiled if you turn the temperature up slow enough.

It's only humans that are so stupid that they'll accept horrendous conditions if you make the change slow enough.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban