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Comment: 10th ammendment, and tethering (Score 1) 188

by davidwr (#47438913) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

For real-estate purposes, especially for 1-2 story buildings, a tethered powered aircraft should be fine. The question is, does the FAA claim jurisdiction over tethered flying machines flying at low altitudes (e.g. under a few hundred feet) and not close to "regulated airspace" like an airport or close to "an obvious federal jurisdiction" like crossing a state line or in the "airspace" of federal property, a U.S. Highway or Interstate Highway, or a navigable waterway?

If the FAA does claim jurisdiction over tethered flights that don't have any obvious "federal jurisdictional nexus" then it's ripe for a court challenge.

Comment: pure cheap chemicals are a good thing (Score 1) 149

by davidwr (#47438889) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Sure, medicinal cannibas may have 250 active compounds, but how many of those - individually or in combination - are necessary to treat 95% of patients?

If we can identify the ones needed to treat the vast majority of patients and synthesize them or find a bio-factory (e.g. yeast) that we can control much better than the traditional source (the plant), we can deliver drugs that are more pure and more consistent than your average joint or brownie, yet still do the job for almost all patients.

If I get cancer and need this for medical reasons, I would much prefer to take a drug that has a known, consistent potency and known, consistent nominally-inactive ingredients than something I cut off a plant.

Comment: Sometimes the reasons aren't technical (Score 1) 254

by davidwr (#47432499) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Maybe back when the maintenance window was created it was created for a valid technical reason, BUT technology moved on and management didn't.

In other words, in some environments, the technical people won't have a sympathetic ear if they ask to cancel the off-hours maintenance window simply because of local politics or the local management, BUT if the maintenance gets botched and services are still down or under-performing through normal business hours, nobody outside of IT will notice.

Comment: Prepare for failure (Score 1) 254

by davidwr (#47432193) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

One way to prepare for failure is to have someone there who can at least recognize the failure and wake someone up in time to fix it.

Another way to prepare for failure is to have a system that is redundant enough that a part could go down and it wouldn't be more than a minor annoyance to users or management.

There are other ways to prepare for failure, but these are two common ones.

Comment: Secondary role in any office (Score 1) 158

Most offices need a "go to guy" for IT issues. If you can "be that guy" it makes you much more employable.

Also, in you social clubs, religious organizations, etc. if you are known as the "IT guy" people can call when the church computer goes on the fritz, it can help you with networking for your next paid job or your next freelance gig.

Comment: Parts of Left and Right will be against this (Score 4, Interesting) 294

I expect the Tea Party and libertarian-leaning Democrats to be up in arms about this.

I expect "business Republicans" and non-libertarian Democrats to see this as A Good Thing or at least a "neutral thing, but serving a good purpose" thing.

Let the sparks fly.

Comment: Docket #? Re:Ma Bell Trade Mark Business (Score 1) 264

Then some jack ass trade marked it. AT&T lost the case.

I would like to read up on this case. Links or citations of news, magazine, or journal articles about the the case would be useful. Contemporary references would be best. If those aren't available, court case information or the equivalent information if it was decided by the USPTO or then-equivalent agency would be helpful.


Comment: A truly humane execution... (Score 1) 483

by davidwr (#47077333) Attached to: Botched Executions Put Lethal Injections Under New Scrutiny

... would be having the guy stand at the center of an explosion that would be big enough and quick enough to vaporize their brain or at least their brain-stem.

Short of that, a carefully-aimed sufficiently-large-caliber bullet is probably the quickest most humane death.

Unfortunately, the "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" quotient of using explosives is way too high and the margin for error in aiming the gun for the "perfectly humane" shot is also much greater than zero.

In both cases, there is also the violation of the moral rights of the condemned person's family to give the person a burial looking as close to life-like as any other corpse. In other words, the state shouldn't unnecessarily disfigure the person's body.


By the way, for execution purposes I would consider "instant death" to be "perfectly humane" when it comes to executions. Yes, I know that some other forms of death last long enough for brain endorphins to be released, giving a supposedly-more-pleasant death. And yes, when I die I do hope it takes long enough to get that endorphin rush. But if we are to have executions, those being executed are entitled to a humane, as-painless-as-possible death. They are not necessarily entitled to go out on an endorphin high.


For the sake of argument let's assume that the person is guilty of a capital offense and according to applicable laws qualifies for the death penalty. I'm not going to get into the obvious inhumanity of executing someone who doesn't deserve to die nor am I going to get into the argument about whether capital punishment is inherently inhumane or not.

Comment: frequency of karma (Score 1) 293

I think there's more to getting mod points than just karma. If you only log into /. every 2nd or 3rd day and only load stuff on "" a few dozen times each login, you'll probably get fewer moderation opportunities than if you pretty much stay logged in all the time, load hundreds or thousands of times a day, post dozens of comments a day with a fair amount of getting modded up, and 2-3 submissions a day with 1-2 accepted a week.

Comment: Who gets to "vote"? Is there "meta-moderation?" (Score 1) 293

It probably makes a difference.

If "just anyone" can vote and there is no way to evaluate the quality of the voters, then the "wisdom of the crowd" may not be so wise and those who are "voted down" and whose goal is to maximize the number of voted-up posts may simply "route around it" by increasing the number of total posts, sacrificing quality along the way.

In the /. model, "votes" are scarce resources (5 moderation points every few weeks with a quick expiration), only usable for topics which you probably aren't "involved" in (if you comment while logged in, all of your related moderations are un-done), handed out only to those who have demonstrated some sustained level of "good conduct" (low karma = no mod points for you) and they are "watched over" by the community (meta-moderation). From the looks of things when I meta-moderate, Slashdot moderators are more likely to think before voting something up or down and as a result the "quality" of the "total vote" is likely to be higher.

As a result, if you take out the "inexperienced newcomers" and "immature commentators" whose first few posts happen to get down-voted and the trolls who don't care or who thrive on "-1 troll," most people will have the pleasure of seeing some of their posts "voted up" before the first or second time they see one get down-voted, and are therefore in a position to see what kinds of posts are likely to get them "good karma" and what kinds are likely to get "voted down." Since most "regulars" probably CARE about "good karma" for the perks it brings or at least they care about not being marked as "karma = -1," they will be motivated to not routinely post low-quality stuff.

Preparing to see my karma drop in 3...2...1...

Comment: Wow, he's advanced (Score 1) 522

I know some (less-well-known) writers who do everything longhand until it's time to send it to the publisher.

CBS news commentator Andy Rooney used a manual typewriter for much of his work until late in his career or maybe even until he died.

I personally know someone who keeps a very large production database using a commercial DOS-based program from the early- or mid-'90s. This isn't some military or other scenario where there is a good reason to use outdated software, it's just the personal preference of the person who is maintaining the database and its contents.

"Engineering without management is art." -- Jeff Johnson