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Comment: Re:Oh...they have access to better imagery... (Score 1) 82

by TheCaptain (#47227695) Attached to: US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

Google doesn't (Or didn't until a few days ago) own satellites. They buy their satellite imagery from Geoeye and DigitalGlobe. I'm not sure if they own any aerial providers or if they just buy aerial imagery from a third party. Aerial imagery is higher resolution, but it's a lot easier to shoot down an airplane if you don't want it taking pictures of something.

I stand corrected on that...you're right. Just had to double check that for myself. I thought they owned some imagery satellites of their own already.

Anyways...the other part is true. Many of the existing satellites up there can do higher resolution than what we've currently been allowed to see. I got to chat with someone at DigitalGlobe at a conference once...it was interesting stuff to hear about. I had no idea about any of those details up until that point.

Comment: Re:Oh...they have access to better imagery... (Score 1) 82

by TheCaptain (#47227687) Attached to: US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

Airspace restrictions are a limitation on aircraft photography, but no such limit can be enforced on Satellites. You could not go get a high-resolution photos of Area 51 or Aberdeen proving grounds from your airplane.

Yeah...this is obviously true. When I wrote that I had more conventional things in mind, such as the 45 degree views that are available over many cities in Google Maps. Those were done with aerial photography, if I'm not mistaken. I think Bing maps and others are the same way. There were some OpenStreetMap projects doing some things with aerial imagery too...I haven't looked at the state of those projects in awhile, but it looked like neat stuff. Obviously there are services that will do aerial imagery for you for a price too...where allowed by the relevant authorities.

As for Area 51...I wonder how long it's going to be until some civilian manages to get a drone with a camera over that. Maybe it's already happened. Maybe they've already disappeared... :)

Comment: Oh...they have access to better imagery... (Score 5, Interesting) 82

by TheCaptain (#47227495) Attached to: US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images

but they can't share it with you. I'm not sure how much they can even disclose about the abilities of the satellites they have, but you need to bear in mind that companies like Google actually own imaging satellites of their own. They've been able to do much higher resolutions for a very very long time already...they just haven't been allowed share it with us.

The resolution limitations have been political in nature...most if not all of the hardware already up there has been able to provide higher resolution for years. I think some providers were getting around that by providing arial photography in some areas instead...the 50cm limitations are for satellites. Photography from airplanes doesn't have that limitation.

Comment: Re: Moral of the story (Score 1) 1737

by TheCaptain (#44280881) Attached to: George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

Ok...so lets go hypothetical then. Lets say the guy TRIES to grab the kid. (The "kid" being roughly the same size as the guy...)

The kid resists. He's probably going to try to punch the guy, or try to break free and run. First off, in this hypothetical situation the guy broke the law by grabbing the kid. What happens next?

Well...

Case one: the kid DID break free and probably hit the dude and ran...and would most definitely be calling the cops because some whack job just tried to assault him in his own neighborhood. If the guy pulls a gun at this point and there are ANY witnesses, then the guy just pretty much screwed himself. If the kid or anyone else can describe the gun that the man was carrying, he's going to be in some serious trouble with the law enforcement. His gun toting days will be curtailed for awhile, or not be over entirely. If the guy shoots at this point, he's going to put a bullet in the kid's back. Also...not a good thing for when the police arrive. He'd be definitively screwed.

Case two: the kid didn't break free. Seriously...how many hands does the guy have? He's going to hold a guy his own size captive AND draw a gun on him? How the hell would that work? Again...the cops get there and the guy who did the grabbing is likely going to be taken away in a police cruiser. The kid and his family are probably going to press charges.

In either case, if there were shots fired, it would be kind of obvious what happened when they study the ballistics, etc. The distance he's shot from, the angle he was hit at, etc. If he shoots the kid in the back...bad news for him when the cops get there. If he shoots the unarmed kid from some number of feet away...again...obviously bad for him. If he shoots the kid after the kid knocks him down and was beating his head against the pavement - well - I don't know many self defense cases that look like that. Getting on top of someone and beating the crap out of them isn't a typical self defense scenario...

Bear in mind...all of these things are playing out in a residential neighborhood with people nearby. When they start hearing the commotion...they're going to show up. Neither of hypothetical situation is going to go well for the guy here...and he'd know that going into it. It's kinda obvious. And it's why things were really unlikely to have gone that way.

That's the thing with the stand your ground laws...you don't HAVE to retreat under the law, but that's not the same thing as saying that you shouldn't. You damn well should try to de-escalate the situation...and both parties were old enough to know that. It's kinda like the old saying that having the right to do something is not the same as being right to do it.

Both parties were being idiots, but most people here are polarized about it - they only see one of them as having really messed up.

Comment: Re: Moral of the story (Score 1) 1737

by TheCaptain (#44275571) Attached to: George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

Holy shit. You REALLY assume too much. I bet you know everything about me, right? Just like you know everything about this case...

As for the CCW - I don't. I DID take the course for it though...right here in Austin, TX. It takes about 10 hours to go through it here...there is a class, a written exam, and a proficiency test. I passed all of them - and then never bothered to do the fingerprinting, application, and photos required to get one. I don't need it...but I DID want to learn the firearms laws here in TX. Taking the class is a great way to do it. Plus...hey...you get a little range time in. Believe it or not, target shooting can be kinda fun.

FYI, the laws here are VERY different from getting a CCW in PA (my home state) which I don't even think has a test. (Written or otherwise.)

Anyways...wow. I mean...I AM a hard bastard and all of that, but the hardest on earth? Thanks!

Comment: Re: Moral of the story (Score 1) 1737

by TheCaptain (#44274373) Attached to: George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

In a residential neighborhood? With witnesses nearby and everything?

No...you probably won't. I won't know you have a gun in that situation, and you wouldn't know if I do either - lets just get that spelled out up front. People aren't walking around with a brandished firearm. It's not the wild wild west, and that is HIGHLY illegal. Take a CCW course and learn about how this stuff goes down.

If you randomly draw your weapon and shoot me, then there is no evidence of a fight. They'll know from the wounds about where we were standing when it happened, and they'll see the angle of the shot, etc. Then you'll get convicted and possibly get a new boyfriend in prison. (Which is appalling if it's non-consensual. If it is consensual - hey man...whatever floats your boat.) Seriously...you can't just do that. It'll likely end very poorly for you.

Since things probably won't go down like that, I'm probably going to interact with you in a reasonable way. You'll ask me what I'm doing there, and I'll tell you that I live with my parents at this house over here, and go on inform you that you should probably go fornicate with yourself. No weapons will be drawn, and you'll probably have hurt feelings and look pretty stupid when the cops show up. Either way...how are you going to attempt to stop me from leaving? Are you implying you're going to start waving a gun around or you'll grab me? Or will I just walk to the house that I live in and go inside while the crazy neighborhood watchman waits for the police....yeah...think I'll do that. In fact, I think I'll call them myself because that guy's a bit cray.

It MIGHT go differently if I was an overly aggressive idiot who wanted to start a fight though. Sure...I'd know it's against the law, but seriously...I'm a tough guy, so the laws don't apply to me.

Anyways...good luck with your dream scenario. And make sure you take that CCW course so you know how the laws work with that.

Comment: Re: Moral of the story (Score 1) 1737

by TheCaptain (#44273733) Attached to: George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

I should also clarify that last part - there is more to it than being willing to kill. You have to be in danger of seriously bodily harm or death. Someone is on top of you beating the crap out of you - that's probably going to qualify. Again...the whole damn thing is unfortunate, but the story holds up.

Comment: Re: Moral of the story (Score 1) 1737

by TheCaptain (#44273721) Attached to: George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

Provided the weapon is concealed, then yes. If you're brandishing the weapon - that's something else entirely.

You should note that Zimmerman was not following Martin with his gun out. Martin didn't even know he had a gun until he attacked Zimmerman, or so the story goes.

Beyond that: You'd have to know some of the laws regarding a CCW to have a CCW. Walking around with a brandished firearm will almost universally get you in some serious trouble. (I don't know the laws in Florida, etc.) The ONLY time the gun comes out is if you are literally willing to kill someone. Because if you're not willing to kill them and they are also armed, then you've escalated it and one of you is likely to die. It's very bad news, and they're pretty specific about how these situations are supposed to be handled.

Comment: Re:Cobol is self-documenting (Score 4, Interesting) 345

by TheCaptain (#44244367) Attached to: The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol

Eh...there probably was some half baked documentation at some point, but I doubt it was maintained very well by the people who edited that codebase over the decades.

I also doubt they fired any of them unless they were contractors...you have no idea how ugly the federal workers union is about things like this. They almost can't lose their jobs through incompetence or anything else. Which brings me to the problem...the people who wrote it probably wrote half-assed spaghetti code, didn't document it well, and then died off or retired. No one is learning cobol anymore, so you get what we've got right here.

Plus...trying to replace any system in the government or military is an extremely painful exercise that probably fails more often than it succeeds. Between the people you need to deal with, and the policies you need to dance around...it's almost impossible to stand a new system up. (Unless you have someone in a high place that really gets it, and champions the hell out of it...and even then, it's iffy.)

I was a defense contractor for 4 or 5 years. It was quite a few years ago now. Left that behind, and I don't miss it.

Comment: Re:Texas (Score 1) 432

by TheCaptain (#44212729) Attached to: Silicon Valley In 2013 Resembles <em>Logan's Run</em> In 2274

Yeah...that's the thing with Austin. It sounds pretty great on the surface.

Sure...Apple is building/expanding a huge campus here in Austin. (Sounds great.) It's really only operations stuff, like finance, accounting, human resources, etc. (Not great.) All of the interesting design and development work is in California, and it's there to stay. (And for some very good reasons, IMHO.) I hear they'll do some manufacturing here though, so if you fancy the idea of working in a factory, this is the right state to be in.

It's a low tax, low service state. Don't expect them to do much for you, because you're getting what you pay for. They also won't regulate many things in the state...so you'll occasionally have things like the fertilizer plant explosion up in West Texas. 15 dead, 150+ injured, and about 150 buildings damaged or destroyed. But at least they didn't have those dreaded regulations to contend with.

Oh, but if you're a woman, they WILL regulate the hell out of what you can do with your own body. Good luck with that.

Anyways...I've vented about this stuff before. I'm headed back to the one of the coasts sometime next year. There are some great things here too, and I'll miss a handful of them...but the bad things here aren't outweighing the good anymore.

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