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Comment: Another way to look at "rich" (Score 1) 805

by fyngyrz (#46770359) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

This study defines "rich people" as those making around $146000/year.

If you think about it, there's no control for expenses there, so it's not a very effective definition (I'm always kind of a amazed at the mindset in the US that tries to simplify things by drawing a numeric line in the sand, as if there were no other issues. And people put up with it. We need better schools.

I define "rich" as: wealthy enough to be living in a manner comfortable in every material way to the individual or family, and able to survive indefinitely in that state, or in an increasingly wealthy state without relying on income from, or charity of, others. Regardless of if one actually chooses to exist in that state, or not.

Not trying to force that definition on anyone else, but that's how I see it personally.

Comment: TFS (and perhaps TFA) has it wrong (Score 1) 805

by fyngyrz (#46770173) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

The transition was from a flawed, but still readily identifiable constitutional republic (not a democracy), to a corporate oligarchy.

This has never been a democracy, and furthermore, the constitution insists that the federal government guarantee each state a republican form of government, as in, a republic -- not a democracy. That's in article 4, section 4.

This is why representatives decide the actual matters, and voters don't, in the basic design.

Of course, now even the representatives don't decide -- nor judges -- if the legislation deals in any significant way with business interests. The only way the old system still operates even remotely the way it was designed to is when the issue(s) at hand a purely social ones. Even then, the bill of rights seems to be at the very bottom of any legislator's or judge's list of concerns.

Can't see any of this changing, though. The public is too uninformed, and short of completely revamping the school curriculums, they're going to remain that way.

Comment: Re:Not just an RC Plane (Score 1) 217

by fyngyrz (#46738471) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

How's your quad record?

Not nearly as good (or nearly as long.) No dead kids. One live and very stupid adult (ten hours), a lost cow. about 15 minutes, poor thing was stuck in a mudhole --- getting it out was a lot more challenging than finding it, and two dogs, one of which was seriously snakebit and down hard, but survived. They were both pretty hard to find. Size matters. And yes, this is all pretty new to me. Which is not to say it's not worthy. It's rewarding as all get out.

Quad's do not have the range, period.

You can cover a square km -- which is a *lot* of area -- perfectly with a pair of quads in rotation, regardless of terrain, with 99% uptime and plenty of reserves using some very simple procedures. Move 1km, repeat. It's reasonably efficient, and the search is much more fine grained -- it's almost impossible to miss something of reasonable size, those dogs notwithstanding. More below; see the other replies. I don't feel like explaining all this twice.

It is common sense, called glide.

You know what glide is? It's continuous motion, which loses detail, requires faster cameras for the same quality image (higher shutter speed, higher ISO), and raises the noise level in lower light. You know what glide requires? Height. You know what too much height does? Reduces detail. And that's not even all of the issues. You see, it's not that obvious after all. The task is to find, not just to fly long distances. When distance methodologies compromise seeing, as they tend to do, other options offer useful compromises.

You'd be a lot better off asking questions than you are pooh-poohing without knowing what you're talking about. Of course, this *is* slashdot, sigh.

Comment: Re:Not just an RC Plane (Score 1) 217

by fyngyrz (#46738385) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

They are only popular because they are mechanically simple WITH MODERN ELECTRONICS. You can not fly a quad without computer augmentation.

Yes, and? I didn't suggest attempting this with obsolete, unstable old hardware. I really don't see your point. Quads with camera mounts and "modern electronics" (meaning GPS, compass, active pitch control/tilt sensors, altimeter, rock solid XYZ hover with no control input, auto-return) start at about $470. They get even better from there. A trunk full of them is within the budget of almost any S/R group with the willingness to stand in intersections for a day or so with hats and signboards out. Or courtesy of one or two kind benefactors. First thing I did after flying my first one was pull my jaw off the ground and go right back and buy the rest they had in stock. Had to be done, really.

I can take one up, hover it, take a stable high resolution image, move it, take another stable high resolution image, etc. This means even when it's getting dark, I have better detail -- and lower noise -- because I don't have to have such fast exposures. Bring it back (no landing strip required), swap quads and go back out on the next radial, while the crew pops a new battery into the just-returned unit, repeat every ten-fifteen minutes or so, and keep doing that while the images are checked over carefully. Out on one radial, in on the next. Full circle till you repo to the next GPS indexed location. Works great.

Gimbals... the quad can spin in place. While hovering in an extremely stable manner, for that matter, or spinning/panning while working through any set of heights I choose. Be nice to just have a tilt control. More weight. It's really not seriously limiting, nothing like that yet. Should try it though. Tilting the quad itself isn't really possible without it moving, or at least, not the ones I'm using.

While the range/duration would be wonderful, fixed wing requires far too much for this area -- your seaplane is great in some ways, but there's no body of water around here worth talking about for the vast majority of the area. There's nowhere to land. Nowhere to take off. "Wet grass takeoff"? Grass? How about rocks and cactus and nasty, sticky sand? Kind of puts a crimp in fixed wing efforts. Quad simply doesn't care. Put it down (on a rock, on your 4x4 or snowmobile, or just open your hand), up it goes, and you're off and hunting.

Then there are the badlands. Even worse. Not only is there no water, nowhere to take off, nowhere to land, the bloody ground wants to break you -- it's unstable everywhere, either collapsing under you or falling on top of you. Which is part of why people get stuck out there in the first place (wish to heck they just wouldn't go.) With a FW, how do you work down a twisty arroyo that's too complex to follow at speed, and too deep to get a camera angle into because you can't stay over it long enough to make it count? I can just go there and drop right into it and work it right along at whatever rate is convenient. Success? Pop-up and strobe. Awesome.

Battery reload is not the critical issue when you can see better, navigate better, have a more stable platform, get looks into places like arroyos and caves and under-hangs and under trees and bushes that would otherwise completely block your view, and remain on station instead of having to fly by repeatedly when it's called for. You can hover and think instead of getting further from a point of interest with every moment. Battery reload is nothing. You bring em back, instantly take another one off, while that one is reloaded, charge packs as required, no problem. Preparation is key, of course -- but it certainly isn't a problem or even a challenge. You still get essentially 99% active search time without overlap -- or underlap. I throw a trunk in, grab my crew, and go.

Aerobatics... that's an interesting undertaking, but not relevant for my use. Although I've seen people do some crazy things with quads, my own interest is strictly useful camera work. I have shots you simply can't get from a FW platform. Impossible. Quads are *wonderful* already. And of course, like everything else, they keep getting better. And with practice, so does the pilot, although they are about a zillion times easier to fly right out of the box than FW r/c aircraft, or at least any FW r/c aircraft I've ever had the pleasure of flying.

Best of luck in your endeavors. Don't rule out quads!

Comment: Re:Not just an RC Plane (Score 1) 217

by fyngyrz (#46736085) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Nonsense. Quads are ideal for turning one person into a center of a decent radius search at a rate much higher than can be done alone. Duration is as long as you have a pocket full of batteries and a vehicle (anything... a 4x4 or a dirt bike will do) available to charge them, which could be days at a time. My quad can hit just under a hundred, so it's way faster than it needs to be for any sensible perception of what you (or it) is looking at. You have no idea what you're talking about. I've been out on hunts for people many times here in Montana, and I can tell you if I'd had the quad then, I'd have a much better idea of what was around me, a lot sooner. Many searches are of relatively small areas, and often by small groups. Anything that helps... helps!

Comment: Arrest is just the start (Score 1) 217

by fyngyrz (#46735845) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Would you really, though? You want to lose your home, your job, perhaps your family, your freedom, your ability to be further employed, have your credit rating destroyed, end up on various lists like no fly, felon, etc... do you really?

It's pretty easy to be upset about this, but the reality of putting your head into the gears of legal process -- even when you demonstrably and obviously on the side of sanity and righteousness -- is that your head gets squashed and the gears are only further lubricated by your juices. I speak from experience.

If you'd really sacrifice pretty much everything on such matters of principle, my hat is off to you. Truly. But when people go in all bright eyed and bushy tailed to do battle with the abject moron we collectively call the justice system, they invariably come out much sadder, wiser, poorer, lower class, jobless, and without having accomplished a damn thing WRT their original intent. So you might want to give that another serious think. You can do more good out here, with resources intact, than you can speaking to a lawyer through bars and learning that your "way out" is, at best, a plea bargain that compromises you for the rest of your life. Even if they promise you it won't.

Comment: Finding it hard to grasp (Score 1) 217

by fyngyrz (#46735779) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Because it's fucking stupid. And harmful. And inflexible. And consequently puts people at risk. Because it looks exactly like rules for the wrong reason, inability to deal with what the world actually is, entrenched reasoning for circumstances no longer extant...

You know, things like that. Stupid shite.

Comment: Government as obstacle to progress (Score 0) 217

by fyngyrz (#46735763) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

o We only made X categories because we're imagination-free government drones

o We can't imagine dealing with anything not in our predefined categories

o Yet your application doesn't fit a predefined category, so we put it where it doesn't fit

o So you can't fly

o And little Mary Jane will die of exposure.

o Now, about next year: We'd like a budget increase for our yearly Vegas party, yeah?

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.