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Kentucky Man Arrested After Shooting Down Drone 1176 1176

McGruber writes: Hillview, Kentucky resident William H. Merideth describes his weekend: "Sunday afternoon, the kids – my girls – were out on the back deck, and the neighbors were out in their yard. And they come in and said, 'Dad, there's a drone out here, flying over everybody's yard.'" Merideth's neighbors saw it too. "It was just hovering above our house and it stayed for a few moments and then she finally waved and it took off," said neighbor Kim VanMeter. Merideth grabbed his shotgun and waited to see if the drone crossed over his property. When it did, he took aim and shot it out of the sky.

The owners showed up shortly, and the police right after. He was arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment before being released the next day. Merideth says he will pursue legal action against the drone's owner: "He didn't just fly over. If he had been moving and just kept moving, that would have been one thing -- but when he come directly over our heads, and just hovered there, I felt like I had the right. You know, when you're in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy. We don't know if he was looking at the girls. We don't know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing."

Comment Re:Small little feller (Score 1) 153 153

And I'm not surprised, considering how full of holes and lapses taxonomy is. It's pretty much a pseudoscience as it stands so far. We've been trying to put every critter into a single, discrete box called "species" and arranging those in ways that simply won't fit with the facts. Which order do protoctists really belong to ? Are euglenids plant or animal ? Are myxomycetes fungus or protoctists ? What about racoon dogs, cynogales, etc. ?

Phylogenetic "trees" should really be loose hypergraphs with lots and lots of cycles and a wide circumference.

Comment impractical app, pointless controversy (Score 1) 312 312

I can't think of any practical use for such a Genetic Access Control method nor of a reason to feel outrage and clamor "racism". For a start, this app only works for users who are also 23andme clients anyway, who also agree to have the app access their data (à la Twitter), and I'd say those people pretty much already explicitly waived their genetic privacy.

Also, I can attest to how widely inaccurate some of the results you get through the API can be, especially the ethnic origin results. In my case it's ~16% inaccurate. It's known to overstate european origins and downplay or entirely lack quite a few less common origins, as the comparison database misses data from entire ethnical groups (Sinté, Romani...) or has only a handful (or single) individual DNAs for many potential origins (Romania, Azerbaijan, etc.). And the haplogroups tree that the API reports from is outdated (and, again as in my case, very lacking of resolution in several branches).


Grooveshark Co-founder Josh Greenberg Dead At 28 173 173

alphadogg writes: The tech startup world has been shaken today by news that 28-year-old Josh Greenberg, co-founder of recently defunct music sharing service Grooveshark, was found dead on Sunday in the Florida apartment he shared with his girlfriend. No foul play is suspected, but the local medical examiner is conducting an autopsy, according to the Gainesville Sun. Grooveshark was shut down in April after the company was threatened with legal action and possibly hundreds of millions in damages by several big music labels.

Comment Re:Poorly described (Score 1) 120 120

The important thing is not the cost of propellant, nor the absolute mass of the launcher, but rather how reusable we can make the launcher parts. Reentering the atmosphere at orbital velocities means that a very lightweight, fragile launch stage will NOT survive to be reused. But if we can afford making that stage bulkier and sturdier, by sarificing part of a much higher fraction payload, it may.

Comment Re:Poorly described (Score 1) 120 120

A similar technique was tested successfully by japanese researchers in 2010, except their rocket model used ambient air directly, instead of H2 in a tank.

I wonder what kind of performance it would get from using maser-powered water vaporization for propulsion ? Water vapor holds twice as much heat as air, translating into twice the ISP. It would be very steampunk, too... I now envision aerospike-like rocket engine gloriously steaming into the stratosphere on top of a microwaved plume of vapor.

Comment Re:Parents' superpower (Score 1) 173 173

Did you pause and wonder what causes the very existence of "girl colours" and "boy colours" in the first place, while you were thinking about this pink&blue flip-over as an example that somehow could undermine the subtext of my (tongue-in-cheek) comment ?

Yeah, I guessed not :D

Comment Parents' superpower (Score 4, Insightful) 173 173

Google deflected criticism for its lack of women techies in the past by blaming parents' unconscious biases for not steering their girls to study computer science, suggesting an intervention was needed. "Outreach programs," advised Google, "should include a parent education component, so that parents learn how to actively encourage their daughters."

Ah, parents. The supposedly superpowerful entities that can somehow control their children's career path over decades without even trying, yet keep failing to stop them from having underage sex or trying drugs no matter how hard they actively attempt to.

Comment Re:Is any of this useful? (Score 1) 65 65

Establishing a lunar ice mining operation is actually the first, necessary step into building the much needed Cislunar Infrastructure that will power our future forays to Mars, Venus and the Asteroid Belt ; as well as sustain our existing LEO and GEO infrastructure in a more efficient way.

The Shackleton Crater is the perfect place to have permanent solar power as well as solid ice. From there the water and ice can be turned into bipropellant and brought to the Moon's L2 point, and from there you can pretty much reach anywhere around Earth cheaply.

Comment Re:Not surprised (Score 1) 334 334

You know nothing.

France established the taxi licenses at the demand of taxi drivers, to help them self-organize. Then the taxi drivers pressured for quotas of licenses to stop new-comers from entering the business and establish a corporate monopoly.

The licenses were issued free of charge by the state, and were not to be transferred to someone else by the isuee. The taxi drivers are trading and reselling these licenses illegally, for large sums of money (on par with house prices). The taxi drivers are doing this to themselves, just so they can keep strangling the market and their customers.

And now, they're violently defending this stranglehold, by smashing cars and bludgeoning people in the streets, while at the same time complaining with a straight face that their competition is "illegal".

Comment Re:Does Uber need executives in France? (Score 5, Informative) 334 334

France has a heavily unionized workforce

Nope. Norway or Italy have heavily unionized workforces, whereas France has the least-unionized workforce (7.7%) in Europe save for Estonia (6.8%).

However, France has some of the richest, most politically influential unions, by a huge margin. To put it simply, unions in France are like parallel political parties, with their own occult sources of funding, high-ranking members inflitrated in every institution, and legal priviledges that protect their position.

But french taxis V.S. Uber is an entirely different, though related, issue.

To make light of the sorry state of Uber in France, you only need to know a few things:
- just a few months ago, Agnès Saal was mediatically ousted from her position as head of the INA for allegedly squandering taxpayers' money on... taxi rides (40 000 euros' worth)
- then a couple weeks ago, we learned that the amount squandered was actually an order of magnitude larger than previously stated - there was simply noway to spend that much on taxis
- also notice that Jean-Jacques Augier, the previous CEO of G7 taxis, the biggest taxi company in France, was the financing director of François Hollande's presidential campaign in 2012
- G7 taxis' current CEO is a close friend of Hollande's Parti Socialiste, and was involved in François Mitterrand's own campaigns too

The intimidation campaign that is raging on against Uber in France is simply how the politicians currently in power are defending some of their illegal sources of funding. The seemingly "out of proportion" violence of this campaign is simply a reminder that, in France, you just don't ask about political parties' or unions' money unless you're ready to die (just like Robert Boulin, Pierre Bérégovoy and judge Pierre Michel died).

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann