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Submission + - Hobbyist crashes quadcopter on White House grounds (

gcalvin writes: A government employee came forward to the Secret Service and reported that he had crashed his DJI Phantom on the White House grounds. Media reports are unclear whether the quadcopter was FPV-capable, but most are calling it a "drone" anyway.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 1038

This argument has always perplexed me. Lock the guy up for life without parole, and we don't need to offer him all these appeals, and we don't need to be so careful about getting it right. Sure, it may be cheaper, but do we really think it's more just? Seems to me if I were falsely accused of a capital crime, and couldn't afford to hire a top-notch attorney on my own, I'd much rather the prosecutor was seeking the death penalty. I'd want all those appeals available to me. I'd want a whole swarm of activists watching the process and making sure they got it right.

Comment Re:Moderation system (Score 1) 763

So what would mitigate this? Somehow bubbling comments to the top of the page by some criteria other than chronology? Maybe some sort of score based on poster's user ID (lower is better), karma (higher is better), and the post moderation score? Or just shuffling top-level posts before presentation?

Comment Re:Don't you have anything better to do? (Score 5, Insightful) 393

Who memorizes phone numbers anymore? Twenty years ago, I probably knew 100 phone numbers, and now I know maybe 10. My phone knows the numbers of the people I call, not me.

The calculator layout is much more important in terms of spatial memory than the phone layout. Data entry operators and spreadsheet power users have been using the 10-key format for many decades. If you need to make a change, make it on the phone, not on the calculator.

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 1) 758

This looks right to me too. IANAL, correct me if I'm wrong, etc. but I'm pretty sure that copyright law covers 1) making copies, 2) distributing copies. There's nothing there about possession of "illegal copies". The RIAA have sued on a theory that "making available" is equivalent to "distribution" with varying success. They have not sued anybody making copies for personal use (though I'm not sure that's actually been pronounced as "fair use" by the courts -- again, I could be wrong). Possession of files could conceivably be used as circumstantial evidence in a "making available" suit, but they still need to prove you're sharing, and if you're not, how can they prove you are? And if you were, it wouldn't make a bit of difference if you had ripped the files yourself or got them from somebody who was illicitly distributing them.

Comment Re:Mac vs. PC (Score 1) 453

At the risk of getting way off-topic and pedantic, I'm pretty sure DSL is indeed modulated and de-modulated, so "modem" is perfectly appropriate. I'm not so sure about cable, but I would suspect that many cable network interfaces still involve modulation and de-modulation.


Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts 487

In addition to helping decipher their Lil Wayne albums, the Justice Department is seeking Ebonics experts to help monitor, translate and transcribe wire tapped conversations. The DEA wants to fill nine full time positions. From the article: "A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a 'DEA Sensitive' security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of 'telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media.'”

Submission + - Apple Surpasses MS, Becomes Top Tech Company (

gcalvin writes: The New York Times is reporting that Apple has overtaken Microsoft in market capitalization, making it the world's currently most valuable technology company. Apple ended the market day with a market cap of $222.1 billion, compared to Microsoft's $219.2 billion.

iPhone-Controlled Helicopter With AR Games 51

andylim writes "Parrot has unveiled a remote-controlled helicopter that boasts augmented reality games. The helicopter is controlled using an iPhone or iPod Touch's accelerometer and touchscreen. There's a camera on the front of the helicopter, which you can use to navigate and to play augmented reality games, including a game that involves fighting a gigantic robot."

He's dead, Jim.