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Comment Re:We already have proven, functional hieroglyphic (Score 1) 191

IKEA already did that. Creating 80+ local language instructions were a pain and an expense, so now all of them, or almost all of them, are completely comic-strip-like without a single line of text.

A comic-strip depiction of how to put something together is much different than a single symbol standing for the entire process.

This is a marvelous example of how these symbol things should work. The Japanese washing instruction label at the top of the page contains four symbols, NONE of which match anything shown later as the standard. The closest is the "do not wash", but the label has a red X and the standard is black.

The "natural drying" icons are not very obvious, either. The "line dry" kinda looks like "put in an envelope". The "drip dry" looks like "hang over the heater vent." "Tumble dry normal" looks for all the world like "you need to keep close watch (both eyes) on the dryer or the clothes might go up in flames."

"But I don't want to have to learn all of these things!" You don't need to. Simply print off the local-language version of the ones you need and place it in the area it is needed.

Exactly what would be the "area it is needed" for a list of the icons that stand for food allergies? Most people don't do laundry outside the laundry room, but people tend to eat stuff anywhere they are. Where would I find a translation for "peanut symbol" to "I have a deadly serious peanut allergy" when I'm sitting next to someone at a Laker's game with a bag of peanuts and they're busy pointing to a peanut tattooed on their arm? Or would I assume a peanut tattoo means they like them alot and here, have one?

Comment Re:Symbols are conventional, not realistic (Score 1) 191

One is four concentric arcs of a quarter circle. This means "wifi is receiving". Does that look like a radio wave? No.

Actually it is a pretty reasonable representation of a radio wave -- from a transmitter. I'd expect it to mean my WiFi transmitter is on, not that it is receiving.

In fact, at the top of the browser there's a symbol that looks a little like the handwritten form of the kanji for "jin" inside a dark green rectangle. That symbol, in fact, means "you're on slashdot".

To me it looks like a lower case "lamba". Why a lamba for /.? And what does a small rectangle with the letters "E0" and "7A" have to do with firehoses?

This is a /. comment, not a dissertation on writing systems.

I wonder what the emoji for "dissertation on writing systems" would look like.

Comment Re:I hate hieroglyphics (Score 1) 191

That works well for 1-2 billion people and not so well for the remaining 5-6 billion.

I think it was obvious that the OP meant that the string would be written in whatever the local predominant language is, not always in English. Someone who doesn't speak English isn't going to write "I have a peanut allergy", they're going to write it in their own language. It would be very rare for such a person to be isolated to the point that nobody around them knows what he's saying, and if someone was going to go somewhere like that (vacation, etc) they'd carry a card with that sentence written on it in half a dozen languages just in case.

Expecting everyone in the world to understand an image of a peanut and know that means "I die if you give me a peanut" and not "I like peanuts, please give me one" is inviting disaster. Since you have to express that concept in words anyway, why bother with a picture that is ambiguous?

While we're working on that universal language,

Who is working on a universal language? Do we really need one? And do you understand the difference between "language" and "character"? There are some one-letter words, but not very many, and creating a system with thousands of them would be ridiculous.

and there's no law against writing elevator next to the elevator sign.

I've always wondered, is there a law that says where braille signs must be posted? I see braille signs for all kinds of things (office numbers, "elevator", "men's room", etc.) and I can only imagine that blind people looking for a bathroom must have to walk down the hall rubbing their fingers on the wall -- if that braille sign has any value. If the wall has a textured surface, just what kinds of things does it say to a blind person? Is it like the room full of monkeys with typewriters, eventually the blind person will have read all of the great novels if he finds enough bathrooms?

And the most unusual place for a braille sign: next to the earphone jack at the drive-up ATM. I mean, someone who is hard of hearing may be driving a car and may need audio assistance, but blind people should probably not be driving up to an ATM and expecting to get service.

I don't quite see what existing use case these symbols are supposed to cover,

Call them "images" and create a standard set. There is no reason to push "images" into a character set as if they were letters that make up words.

Comment Re:Shouldn't this work the other way? (Score 1) 191

What we don't have is an unspecified, unplanned, unwritten way to somehow insert a "pictogram" inside my stream of "glyphs".

No, I think we DO have an unspecified, unplanned way of doing that. Or maybe we DO have a specified way -- any of any number of markup languages.

What we need is a way to draw shapes on a screen or piece of paper where a designer gets to pick roughly what they look like. Unicode does that,

PostScript beat them to it, and I'm going to bet there are a lot of other systems out there for doing graphics. What we DON'T need is a "character" that looks like a peanut.

You do realize that the person who uses the "character" for "peanut" doesn't get to "pick roughly" what it looks like when it is displayed, don't you? He gets whatever the guy who designed the system being used to display that "character" chooses. For example, right now I see five "things" following the string "Follow us:" at the top of this screen. The first one is a small white circle with the string "E85A" (I think it is, it is very small and hard to read) in red inside. Did the author of this /. page "pick roughly" that thing to show me? I can only wonder at what odd kind of person would choose to display that as if it meant something.

Now, I'm assuming this is some stupid "character" that is supposed to look like a Twitter logo, but I have no way of knowing. And actually, I don't care.

When I will care is if someone sends me an RSVP to a party I'm having and she responds with "Great! See you there! small-circle-with-E82D", by which she meant to tell me she's got a peanut allergy, but since I don't read raw UNICODE I went ahead and bought a lot of snacks with peanuts in them. I know, when I call 911 I'll tell the dispatcher I've got someone who is dying from small-circle-with-E82D and see if they know what I'm talking about.

Comment Re:Altered telemetry is a possibility. (Score 1) 504

In the video, the telemetry says -49.5 feet after the crash. Thats NEGATIVE 49.5 feet. It must have been very high to drill itself so far underground.

Quadcopters rarely carry radar altimeters, so the altimeter data comes from one of two possible sources:

1) barometric pressure.
2) GPS

The former requires correction for current air temperature and pressure, a process that pilots accomplish by setting a reported value in their altimeter and verifying the displayed altitude against known airport elevation. Quad pilots not operating at an airport with a reported "altimeter setting" are likely to make any adjustment by setting current altitude to "0" (AGL). If you start flying on a hilltop, then any flight that goes below that hilltop will become negative. If you fail to set the pressure altitude to 0 before taking off, you can easily have a negative elevation for the entire time of the flight. The quad flight management will create its own "AGL" by subtracting the starting altitude, but since the pilot may want to know MSL based on a calibrated pressure it won't convert the recorded telemetry.

If it is a GPS elevation, you should know that most GPS 3D data reports neither "MSL" nor "AGL" but "EHT" -- ellipsoid height. That is, the elevation above a reference ellipsoid that approximates the surface of the earth but does not equal it. It is quite possible to have an EHT of -49.5 feet and still be above ground level.

Comment Re: Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 1) 504

FAA regs say that over congested areas (cities, towns, etc.)

Almost. They say "over congested areas OF cities ...". The difference is that your version defines "congested area" as "cities..." while the correct version leaves "congested" as undefined but limits the rule to congested areas of cities, etc.

Also, you forgot to include the rules for helicopters.

Comment Re:Altered telemetry is a possibility. (Score 1) 504

Occam's Razor says that the most likely thing is the probably true thing. Is it easier for someone to alter the binary data of a telemetry log without detection, or for someone to lie about the altitude he thinks something was flying at? Given that people are bad at estimating altitudes of things that are flying overhead, and the stability of the quad depends on the position/inertial data being correct, I'd say the latter is probably a more accurate representation of the truth.

Comment Re:The missing part of this story's coverage (Score 2) 504

As such, his "evidence" will not be of any value in court. The height will be judged to be as high as the witnesses claim.

It will be a he-said/he-said, and it is well known that untrained persons have little ability to judge the altitudes of airborne objects. Even pilots have difficulty, since most of their experience is from looking down at the ground and not looking up at something small overhead. Both parties will have been sworn, and if you want to automatically assume that one is lying despite having telemetry as evidence, then you need to assume both are.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 504

the drone was unlikely to be hit by 1 pellet, much less the multiple it would probably take to disable it.

People who have never flown quadcopters should not comment on quadcopter flying. One pellet being hit by (not hitting) a prop on a quad is sufficient to damage it and cause the quad to fail.

When trap shooting,

You are shooting at a relatively slow moving target that has considerable mass and any projectile that is going to cause damage must be moving relatively fast. When quad shooting, you are shooting at parts of the quad that are rapidly moving and fragile, so all the projectile has to do is be in the path.

and lots of comments from people who don't know what a choke or a pattern is saying its completely likely.

And lots of comments from people who have never touched a quad claiming that is impossible.

Comment Re: Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 2) 504

What's the minimum altitude requirement for flying a non-military aircraft over a residential area in the USA?

The laws do not refer to residential or non-residential areas.

Here is what the basic aviation regulations say.

Sec. 91.119 -- Minimum safe altitudes: General.
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

HOWEVER. Since we're talking about a quadcopter, we must continue to read.

(d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface --
(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA;

Since there are no "routes or altitudes" involved, para (a) becomes the controlling law:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

Note that it doesn't say NO hazard. And, of course, the "except for landing and takeoff" clause means that "surface" is appropriate at certain times.

Comment Re:HAHAHAHA! (Score 1) 231

It's also quite likely that if the autonomous cars didn't handle it well, people might just end up not caring and not drive/ride around during those times.

If people didn't care about getting somewhere during a snowstorm, they already wouldn't be driving around in snowstorms. Today, it's either people who don't care that it's snowing or think they can handle it, and who want to go somewhere. (A small minority go out just to do donuts in the parking lots.) Take away the concern about being able to handle it themselves and you'll wind up with MORE people trying to get somewhere during snowstorms and thus more cars on the road when they shouldn't be.

I.e., if I don't have to worry about my ability to navigate through the snow, I have less reason not to go out to get some beers for the next few days of being snow-bound.

Comment Re:HAHAHAHA! (Score 1) 231

Maybe self driving cars will be a warmer climate thing long before it's common in the north.

Relax. The climate in the north will be "a warmer climate thing" by the time self-driving cars are perfected enough to sell them to the public. Thank God for climate change, huh? Snow and ice will be a problem only the geezers will remember.

I used to live on the side of a hill. When it snowed, to get into my apartment's parking lot you could NOT use brakes in any way. If you did, you broke traction and slid to the bottom of the hill and across a four lane divided highway. If you didn't try to brake, you either made the turn and were successful, or you retained control and could navigate around the block for another try. What you could never do is go uphill -- you'd slide across that divided highway going backwards.

Comment Re:Not sure it will happen, so why worry (Score 1) 231

My premise is that everything is hackable.

That's probably true. I'm sure that people will come up with all kinds of "hacks" for their AVs. But the problem will mostly come from REMOTE hackability, which not everything is subject to. You first have to have a remote access capability of some sort.

Of course, "convenience" is more important than "security", which is why we get cable boxes that can be controlled from outside your house and cars that can be controlled by hackers that aren't anywhere close to them.

As all autonomous cars are going to be on the interwebs if for nothing else maps, they will be vulnerable.

Yep, the convenience factor rules. And you can't firewall the maps function from the control functions as you suggest because the maps are too integral to the control systems. Map data has to be used by the control systems to know when what they think they see with their cameras as a road actually isn't, or to update construction zone info. If a hacker can send map data that says that three of the four lanes of Interstate 5 you are currently on are closed and the construction speed limit is 5 MPH, is that any different than a direct command to pull over and slow down? And imagine when 50% of the traffic on that section of I5 pulls over into the left hand lane and slows down to 5MPH. THAT'S the new "motor sport" we'll get to see.

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.