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Comment: Re:Is banishment legal? (Score 1) 251

by istartedi (#49500615) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

He has been charged with a felony. They could keep him in jail. Based on that, I'd say that banishment is quite legal. They're saying "everywhere except DC until your trial" vs. "noplace but this cell until your trial".

It doesn't become an issue unless they deny him the right to a speedy trial.

Comment: Re:It doesn't work that way. (Score 1) 110

by DerekLyons (#49500315) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

what we're saying is that arranging for velocity AND position to be 'null' at the same time is harder than simply arranging for velocity to be null and position to be +/- 100m(or so).

I understand what you're saying - but as with my previously reply, you don't grasp the problem.
The appearance of the vehicle "working hard at the last second" during the first attempt was a consequence of running out of hydraulic fluid - and would have occurred regardless of the size of the target. The appearance of the vehicle "working hard at the last second" during the last attempt was a consequence of the throttle valve not operating to spec - and would have occurred regardless of the size of the target.
From the point of view of the final landing sequence it's not all that much easier to arrange for velocity to be null and position to be +/- 100m than it is to arrange the same +/- 1m. Selecting a landing point occurs at a relatively high altitude (and on a, relatively speaking, relaxed timeline) and final trim starts around a kilometer or so up (AIUI). From there, jittering the variables (burn time and timing, gimbal angles, and throttle settings) a tiny amount one way or another to maintain targeting isn't a substantial burden (on the software or the hardware) compared to the much larger problem of nulling your velocities.

You're talking about some kind of articulated arm (which can survive being essentially inside rocket exhaust)

I think you're picturing something different. I'm picturing something pretty big that comes in from the sides, staying well away from the exhaust.

That just makes an already heavy, complex, and expensive system even heavier, more complex, and more expensive than I envisioned.

Comment: Re:Is banishment legal? (Score 1) 251

by hey! (#49498541) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

Well, keeping you out of the public eye is an appropriate punishment when you're convicted of a political crime. But we shouldn't recognize political crimes.

If people want to pay attention to what this guy has to say because he gyrocoptered in restricted airspace, that's their business. Even though it's a pretty stupid reason, it shouldn't be a judge's role to sit in judgment of that.

THere's an important flip side to freedom of speech that is often overlooked: freedom of listening. As a citizen you should be able to hear what the government doesn't want you to hear, unless the government has a compelling reason, and even then the restrictions should be narrowly tailored. "That guy just pulled a stupid stunt," is not a compelling reason to intervene in what people choose to listen to.

Comment: There is the small issue of academic freedom. (Score 1) 252

by hey! (#49498337) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal

You can't fire a faculty member because outside the scope of his duties he expresses an opinion you don't like -- even if it's a clearly crackpot opinion. If you could, Stanford would have kicked Linus Pauling out when he became a Vitamin C crackpot.

The difference, though, is that Pauling was a sincere crackpot -- brilliant people are often susceptible to crackpottery because they're so used to being more right than their neighbors. Dr. Oz is a snake-oil salesman; when he's faced with people who are educated -- not necessarily scientists but critical thinkers -- in a forum he doesn't control, he speaks in a much more equivocal fashion. That shows he knows the language he uses on his show and in his magazine is irresponsible.

So selling snake-oil isn't crackpottery, it's misconduct. But somebody's got to find, chapter and verse, the specific institutional rules of conduct Dr. Oz's misconduct violates. There will have to be due process, particularly if he's a tenured professor, which will probably require lesser disciplinary measures than dismissal be tried first.

Comment: Re:30 day suspension of pilot's license for prev. (Score 1) 251

by ScentCone (#49496901) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.
I don't believe you actually need a pilot's license to fly anything characterized as an "ultralight" aircraft, as these tape-and-balsawood gyrocopters appear to be. Doesn't mean the FAA can't fine your ass, of course, when you do dumb crap like flying a possibly deadly set of large rotors right past crowds of tourists at low altitudes in an urban area like DC.

Comment: Re:Warrant after probable cause established? (Score 1) 256

by JesseMcDonald (#49494449) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

They need a warrant to perform any search or seizure—the warrant is the authorization to perform the search or seizure; you can't have one without the other. It isn't "either the search is 'reasonable' or you have a warrant", applying for a warrant is how you document that the search was reasonable in the first place, by providing probable cause supported by oath or affirmation. A blanket authorization for so-called 'reasonable' searches and/or seizures is just another way of issuing an unconstitutionally broad warrant which fails to document the probable cause or to particularly describe the place to be searched or the persons or things to be seized.

However, you are correct that they probably wouldn't have any trouble getting a warrant after his comments. If you make a credible threat, even if your intent was humorous or sarcastic, you shouldn't act surprised when people take you seriously.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam