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Comment It's simple really (Score 1) 81

The FAA regulates flying (aircraft, pilots, airspace, etc.) but state government's regulate their land. The state is the authority on property zoning laws. They can't prevent you from flying over their land, but they can certainly prevent you from landing on it. They can regulate whether you can have an airport, grass landing strip, place to land a helicopter, etc. For another example, some states will fine you if you make an emergency landing on a road (and they will confiscate your aircraft). The FAA only gets involved in the land issues as it regards the construction and operation of airports/helipads. The state can most certainly tell you that you can't land a helicopter on your private land. (Which tells you something about how private your "private property" really is, if you weren't clear on the concept.)

Submission + - Marvin Minsky, R.I.P.

cstacy writes: Marvin Minsky, a founding father of Artificial Intelligence, died on Sunday, January 24, 2016 at the age of 88. He cofounded the MIT AI Lab in 1959, and was an inventor, mathematician, computer scientist, cognitive scientist, visionary, and musician who pioneered the field of AI. His latest books were “The Society of Mind” (1986) and “The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind,” (2006).

There are so many things to say about his life's work, the field of AI, and stories of how he inspired, taught, and mentored so many people.

Here are obits from The New York Times, and from MIT.

Comment What Is Really Going On (Score 1) 37

From the article, sounds like an air taxi company called Air Resources will be supplying helicopter service as usual. The helicopters happen to be made by Airbus. Air Resources will not only do the helicopter pickup/dropoff, but will also push buttons on the normal Uber app to hail the cars. (Normally they would call a limo car service on the phone, but instead they will call an unlicensed limo service on the app.) Uber has nothing to do with the helicopter part of it, really.

How this is different from the passenger pushing the buttons on the Uber app on their own phone is unclear, and at most, a very minor detail.

The whole thing is just random trivial hype.

Comment Re:NYC (Score 1) 37

The cost of helicopters is related to things like fuel, landing pads, helicopters being very high-precision things, and the fact that being a helicopter pilot is *hard*.

I don't believe that. I rode on a helicopter over the Mauna Loa caldera. Each group flew with minimal admin overhead. There was another helicopter tour company across the street, and yet another next door, so there was plenty of competition. I paid $150 for a one hour tour. That is a tiny fraction of a typical per-person booking fee for a helicopter in the SF Bay Area (where I live). The difference was low overhead and competition.

Tour rates will be different than "air taxi" rates in any event; they are regulated quite differently.

WIth a few minutes of searching, I could not find any advertised rates for helicopter air taxi rates in the Bay area.

Comment Re: And who pays? (Score 1) 145

Radar picks up clowns car 0.654m away, 0.612m away 40ms later, calculates whether a collision may occur, engages brake 5ms later, preventing collision.

What do you think will happen?

I think that about 6.12 secs later, 11.0 clowns will be pouring out of the clown car, and absolute hilarity will ensue!

Comment By "biggest", you mean "only" (Score 1) 555

Nobody is going to buy smart guns, except for Obama-mandated experimentation and "evaluation". No policeman or soldier will accept carrying a weapon that is so inherently unreliable. And for the same reasosn, the public won't want them, either.

Maybe in 50 or 100 years the technology will be good enough for a dependable smart gun. Of course, criminals in 100 years will still have regular dumb guns that can't be deactivated accidentally or by third parties...

Comment Re:One would think... (Score 1) 118

I believe encryption is built into Outlook, but I don't use it so can't comment on how easy it is to set it up and enable it.
On OS X however, it is definitely built in to the Apple Mail app.

The difficult part is the whole web-of-trust thing involved in getting a digital signature, and the lack of most people's understanding of the importance of this

The problem with encryption/signed messages is that people might trust their authenticity.
Because all these messages are coming from compromised (infected) systems that
can generate fake messages, keyboard capture passphrases, etc.

Comment Re:The first time didn't help. (Score 1) 265

Expect the CEO to send it to IT because he doesn't understand it, and for it to simply disappear. CEOs are about making money, they don't like being the complaint dept. unless it is a complaint from a huge customer that is threatening to not give them money. They don't make the big bucks because they can deal with port scans.

If you know who the company is, contact their legal department and ask them how much they like being (a) sued and (b) made into a news story.

Problem solved.

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