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Comment Re:Inadequate Buffer (Score 1) 142 142

100 feet of buffer is inadequate. How the hell do you measure your AGL when you're flying? You either use a radar altimeter ($25K installed on an airplane worth $20K) or you use the baro altimeter, which has an acceptable calibration error, plus the local altimeter setting (atmospheric pressure) which has an error band, and there's error because you're not right over the reporting station.

Well, if you had a good GPS receiver and sufficiently detailed topographic maps on board you could also guesstimate AGL that way--but I agree that it's still a dubious and non-robust approach. And your radar altimeter doesn't have to run $25K if it only needs to work up to a few hundred feet and only be "hobbyist" or "drone" rated.

But really, forget measurement--that's probably not even the biggest problem. I suspect that it would be very technically challenging for these craft to physically maintain their permitted altitude. A good gust, an up- or down-draft, and your plus-or-minus 100 feet goes by in no time.

Comment Re:Slashdot summary, as usual, misses the point (Score 1) 118 118

OTOH, my fascist firewall blocks blog posts such as Callaway's, so I really appreciate the hop through an unblocked source. I take it from context that article covers some stuff that isn't in the blog post, as well.

You're thinking of this as an either-or situation, when it really isn't. Hyperlinks are cheap. There's no reason for the summary not to clearly say, e.g."Here is the original blog post in its entirety, and here is an article which discusses some points from the blog post along with some other stuff." If they can't even manage that, then the link should at least clearly indicate that it isn't to the content described in the summary.

Instead, the Slashdot summary fails to link to the original blog post and implies misleadingly that the link in the summary actually does do so.

Comment Slashdot summary, as usual, misses the point (Score 5, Informative) 118 118

If we're going to talk about Callaway's Points of Fail, and create a link in the Slashdot summary that *looks* like it takes you to that list, then perhaps there should actually be a link to the list.

Callaway's original Points of Fail blog post.

You know, instead of the usual Slashdot way of pointing to an article wrapper that talks briefly about some of the points and then eventually links to the real list.

Comment Re:"Pocket dialed"? (Score 2, Interesting) 179 179

It must happen to people a lot

In New York City in 2012, roughly 40% of 911 calls were apparent butt dials. Their category (calls less than 20 seconds long, no response from the caller) probably includes some other inadvertent calls as well, but the majority are probably phone-in-pocket situations.

Just for NYC, that's more than 10 thousand calls per day, and about 4 million 911 calls per year.

Butts.

Comment Re:No it is not (Score 1) 351 351

Mea culpa. I did not read my own second paragraph. I meant to (and remembered writing) a point to the effect that the carrier does exert control, and that discretion or lack of concern is *certainly* part of their final product. That is implied (but not explicitly stated) in my original comment where I note that I will leave and no longer patronize a site with popups or any ad that makes noise unprompted.

And of course, as I *do* state in the second paragraph, some scammers will get annoying ads that violate the site's rules or are criminal in intent now and then, even with a genuine effort on the part of the carrier. Thus the occasional prominent note similar to "Sorry about the autoplay video ads; I'm working to eliminate them with my ad service." So long as it is handled promptly and in good faith, I have no problem, any more than a health hazard being handled at a restaurant in a prompt and safe manner is fine.

Comment Re:No it is not (Score 1) 351 351

While my initial point of puzzlement is why you would ever click on an ad, the core issue you're bringing up seems flawed: I'm not quite sure why the product is the responsibility of the carrier. A newspaper isn't responsible for the food in a restaurant that advertises in them, nor is PBS responsible for what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does -- even though they namecheck them as sponsors quite often. The telephone company and postal service carry scams without intent to do so, but Verizon is not generally seen as culpable for the mess a computer can get in when "Microsoft called" somebody in the house to walk them through "free support."

You are of course correct in that carriers do bear an onus to reasonably and in good faith remove scams when they are brought to them. There's always a struggle there, and there will likely always be, as the scammers are adept at countering such effort.

Comment Re:No it is not (Score 2) 351 351

In all seriousness, I do not use ad blockers, and I have the "disable advertising" off, although it is offered to me. I view my use of a web site and their ads the same way as walking into a restaurant and paying for the meal. They are putting content into a rectangle, and if I like the content, I will return. Some smaller groups provide free food or community supported food (heck, I do that on Wednesday game nights at my home), and some smaller sites provide free content. But in general, it's part of the assumption. If the cost is too high (too many ads, or even one that makes any kind of noise), I don't go back.

I do, however, block the hell out of popups. The agreement is a page of content. You don't get further access to my desktop unless and until I agree.

Comment Re:Country run by oil barons does nothing!!! (Score 2) 195 195

Big words for a guy whose own figures are off by 8 years.

I hate to say it, but not only are your figures are quite off, you have fallen into the specific trap of misguided thinking that both I and the comment I was responding to was making.

The level of technology reflected in a design is determined by the date the thing was *built*, not when it finally failed. Going to the comment I was replying to, you have just implied that an antique Studebaker that crashed this year represents the cars of 2015, and thus all current cars are unsafe as they lack air bags, seat belts, and crumple zones (in the last few years of the company they added the new innovation of the roll bar to the Studebaker Avanti, but most lacked even that).

The Hindenberg was built 79 years ago and crashed 78 years ago. It was built with technology of 79 years ago, not the technology of the following year when it crashed. There's a five year wonkiness in there involving bankruptcy and Nazi funding, but I went with the date of completion rather than the laying of the keel to match the other figure.

Chernobyl's reactors were designed, built and then the first came online in 1977. As they were all designed at the same time and built in a short period of a few years, they presumably all reflected the technology of that year, 37 years ago. When the disaster happened, they were not the technology of 1986, any more than that hypothetical crashed Studebaker reflects this year's car safety standards, even if you do safety retrofitting: that gets you seatbelts, but not some really fundamental things like crumple zones, roll bars and countless other basic improvements made to personal vehicle technology.

Which, if you'll read the comment I was responding to, was *exactly* the point being made, the one I was echoing, and the trap of thinking you fell into when reading my comment. That does indicate how pernicious an issue it is.

Comment Re:Country run by oil barons does nothing!!! (Score 1, Insightful) 195 195

I know that *I* refuse to fly -- I've seen the footage of the Hindenberg. I know how dangerous flying is, and I would assume that absolutely no progress has been made in the last 79 years.

Similarly, in the last 37 years since Chernobyl, I can't imagine that anybody has had any ideas. It's not like nuclear engineering or flight are new fields that would have major advances.

I look forward to your reply when you get this message in the next few weeks, and hope to have your response in the next couple months!

Comment Re: Good for greece (Score 1) 1307 1307

Countries don't get to reduce their deficit from 7.x to 3.x % of GDP overnight without someone noticing there's something odd going on. For instance, a Dutch member of congress asked questions about this in the Dutch congress when the Euro membership of Greece was being debated but was completely ignored. Fritz Bolkenstein, at the time EU commissioner for the Netherlands, stated publicly that the EU commission knew all too well that the Greek numbers were doctored, but that a political decision was made to let them in regardless.

The question is, did the Greek government cook the books by themselves or not? And given that the politicians making the decision knew that they were doctored, how come all this is suddenly all only Greece's fault?

Comment Re: Good for greece (Score 1) 1307 1307

Supposedly Greece was a democracy, where did the oligarchs come from?

It's not been a democracy for very long, it was a right-wing military dictatorship until the 1970s (think Pinochet). Democracy is still very much being built day by day in Greece. The fact that they were able to resolve this through a referendum and not through civil war is a win.

Comment Re:Why live there then? (Score 1) 80 80

Can you live in the Bay Area taking home 42k/year?

I did for years (also working for the state). I was living here for nearly a decade before I made more than that, in fact; as a grad student my stipend was less than $20k. I have no dependents or debts to pay off, no severe medical conditions, and my benefits were always sufficient, so it was actually very easy. I lived alone for the majority of that time, but even when I shared houses or apartments it was in relatively nice neighborhoods. (All rental, of course.) Until recently I was always living very close to where I worked. I usually had at least a little disposable income and by the time I was taking home more than $30K I was saving some of it.

That said, I live in the East Bay, not SF proper, so my rents are merely extortionate but not totally unaffordable. $42K won't go very far if you want to live in the Mission - and 10 years ago, it wasn't totally unrealistic for a (childless) grad student to have that ambition.

Honestly, from what I've seen I think senior government-employed or government-funded scientists in the Bay Area mostly get paid enough already (and I would include myself in that category until very recently). It's definitely more than we'd get in another part of the country, and we/they get to play with a lot of very cool (and very expensive) toys. But the cost of living is a huge problem for recruiting; a UC Berkeley professor of my acquaintance told me they were finding it increasingly difficult to hire new faculty because they'll never be able own a home anywhere close to Berkeley itself.

A man is known by the company he organizes. -- Ambrose Bierce

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