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Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 477

by slimjim8094 (#48200415) Attached to: NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Hang on a second. One of the smartest things I ever read on the topic had nothing to do with tech - it was a female psychologist who also happened to be a private pilot, and she was talking about getting more females interested in flying. (I don't think somebody could write such a candid article about tech, unfortunately.)

Her basic premise was that females need more encouragement from other women who've "been there" in order to feel comfortable taking that path. Basically, the "odd one out" thing you mention. But males are more apt to do something even in the face of active discouragement. I've certainly observed this in myself and other males, barely (if ever) observed it in females, and it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint as well (intuitively - I don't know if there are any studies that explicitly show this, but if risk-taking is on a bell-curve like most traits, in general the standard deviation in males is greater than in females). In professional flying, there's a lot of discouragement - it's hard, pretty thankless, the pay is crap for a long time despite needing a lot of expensive training just to start, and you're away a lot. Most pro pilots I know are in it for some version of prestige, which we know motivates women less than men.

In other words, to use your language, women are "herding creatures" to a greater extent then men (though I'd probably say "social creatures"). Men are more likely to find a niche in which they can excel, while women are more likely to stick to a "tried and tested" path. Note that I said "more likely", not "will always" - there are plenty of men who go into some boring average field, and plenty of women who don't, but on a societal level the averages and characteristics are important. And I don't think either of these characteristics are necessarily bad, or desirable to change. Both approaches to live have substantial downsides, and it's probably better to have a mix.

Comment: Re:As one of the few people here... (Score 1) 208

by slimjim8094 (#48088595) Attached to: Studies Conclude Hands-Free-calling and Apple Siri Distract Drivers

As a guy who actually drives an ambulance, please please *please* don't go through a red light. We have a siren that allows us to break traffic laws, and warns other vehicles that they need to do something unusual. In fact, there's a school of thought in emergency vehicle operation that says that you really shouldn't use the lights and siren at all, since some percentage of people will do something stupid in their presence and some percentage of those will get hurt or worse. And those few seconds just aren't that important - minutes, sure, but it's rare that the siren saves minutes. I try to do most of my driving without the siren, and only use it to make someone pull off to the side or break a traffic law (e.g., running a red light) that requires its use - but if traffic is moving, there's really no need (and using it is poor driving).

If some emergency vehicle is right behind you with the sirens blaring and you're at a red light, flip him off and stay put until the light changes. He can and should turn off the siren so as to not induce people to do something stupid. It would have been even better to have not gotten himself stuck in the first place, since he's allowed to go into opposing traffic so as to not require extraordinary measures of the other drivers.

Comment: Re:Google Public DNS? (Score 2) 191

by slimjim8094 (#48087551) Attached to: Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

No they won't.

From here:

In addition, Google Public DNS engineers have proposed a technical solution called EDNS Client Subnet. This proposal allows resolvers to pass in part of the client's IP address (the first 24/64 bits or less for IPv4/IPv6 respectively) as the source IP in the DNS message, so that nameservers can return optimized results based on the user's location rather than that of the resolver. To date, we have deployed an implementation of the proposal for many large CDNs (including Akamai) and Google properties. The majority of geo-sensitive domain names are already covered.

Comment: Re:Rules for aircraft are much stricter (Score 4, Informative) 203

by slimjim8094 (#48079869) Attached to: A Production-Ready Flying Car Is Coming This Month

It's all defined by the manufacturer and the FAA, who basically work together on airworthiness - the key word. You can only fly an airworthy airplane, so anything that affects the airworthiness of the airplane must be signed off on by a certified mechanic before further flight. The manufacturer has extensive and highly detailed rules (which they're required to enumerate for certification) relating to exactly what kinds of damage, wear, and modifications affect the airworthiness of the airplane. A bent fairing might not require anything at all. A popped tire probably requires inspection of the wheel and brake as part of the tire replacement procedure. There's all sorts of "must check X while fixing Y" rules, and everything has a lifetime - including the prop and engine. Furthermore, the FAA occasionally publishes "airworthiness directives" (ADs) which, usually in response to some sort of accident or failure pattern, must be addressed in a timely fashion (at next inspection, within 100 hours, before further flight, etc - whatever is specified). Non-compliance with an AD means that the airplane is unairworthy.

Most small planes will never need an X-raying - I think the reason that the big boys use it is because they have more exotic and high-stress components (e.g. compressor turbine blades in a jet engine) or they're trying to take a more evidence-based view of failure than "replace after 2000 hours".


Comment: Re:Adopt! (Score 1) 120

by slimjim8094 (#48065953) Attached to: First Birth From Human Womb Transplant

Doctors aren't walking prescription pads that you go to after you diagnose your symptoms online. Doctors are supposed to do the best thing for you, whatever that is - what you think you want from them is obviously a very strong factor, but certainly not absolute. A physician may absolutely be taking the ethical high ground by refusing your demands - say, for antibiotics for a cold, or a medically-unnecessary amputation for apotemnophilia, or even seeing you at all if you're stupid enough to be unvaccinated by choice.

In fact I'd say that the doctor would be remiss if he didn't bring up adoption in a discussion of options - how could he ensure that he was obtaining informed consent for whatever he ended up doing otherwise? And it's clear that he was doing the GP a great service by getting him to think about it.

People like you who want them to be are what's wrong with medicine nowadays, frankly. We need more doctors with the stones to tell off idiots who think a doctor is a guy that hands out pills. Most people don't treat their car mechanic like that.

Comment: Worse than you think. (Score 5, Interesting) 399

by slimjim8094 (#47987731) Attached to: Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

Almost *ANY* CGI is vulnerable, because the way CGI works is by environment variables. And the attacker can control them. You don't have to be doing anything stupid or wrong to be affected. It looks like other ways of executing web applications (e.g., mod_php) are safe - to the extent that they don't use a popen or a system() or something, which is a pretty common thing to do.

Your DHCP client (on a Linux) machine passes data to its hooks via environment variables. These can be set by the attacker. Even better, it's running as root. Boom, connect to a rogue AP and get rooted while receiving an address assignment.

You probably do Git commits via a (locked-down) SSH login. That's compromised.

Shells are everywhere. Again, this doesn't require your application to have screwed up. This is a flaw in how environment variables are parsed and set, which is something that was presumed safe, so nobody thought about it. Bad bad bad bad. Not Heartbleed bad, but close.

Comment: Re:don't kid yourself what this is about (Score 1) 222

by slimjim8094 (#47847733) Attached to: FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

Fair enough. About the most concise thing I can say is: airplanes are not permitted to fly into structures on your property, but you are also not allowed to put up structures to prevent airplane flights. Things like "spite poles" are illegal because they're aren't connected with "reasonable use". You can build a 2000 foot tower, but you need to have some legitimate use in mind (like "providing TV to North Dakota") that's not "keep airplanes away". And if you try to do it near an airport, it gets more tricky - even 100 feet might be well inside an approach path.

A court might well decide that your right to build a 10 story apartment building just past the airport fence is outweighed by the public's use of the runway you're interfering with, and take away those "air rights" via eminent domain (really, an easement). If you're interested in reading more about this stuff, the Wikipedia page on easements is a good place to start. Easements can be created in many ways - explicitly or implicitly or "by accident". Trying to build into a flight path that's been in use since before you bought your house (which most have) may be viewed by the courts as similar to putting a gate in a driveway you share with the lot behind yours. That's if your "air rights" aren't already restricted by statue - and they are in most places, especially near airports.

tl;dr - Most people who attempt to exercise far-reaching ideas about their property rights discover that they aren't as far-reaching as they'd imagined.

Comment: Re:don't kid yourself what this is about (Score 1) 222

by slimjim8094 (#47846923) Attached to: FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters

You're simply not correct. Minimum safe altitude over populated areas doesn't apply for the purposes of takeoff or landing, which "the surface area around the airport" most certainly is. And Class B airspace extends to the ground for several miles around an airport. Hell, Class D airspace (for a small towered airport) extends to the ground as well - and there's a *ton* of D airports in the country.

As far as the GP was talking about, you can check the surface area yourself: here. You'll see the 110/SFC areas - it goes from the surface to 11,000 feet MSL (not 10k, though it is about 10k AGL) anywhere in that border. You'll note that it includes much of Dallas. In general, Class B surface areas seem to have a radius of about 6 nautical miles, though it varies with the runway layout, altitude, and traffic patterns. Look at Chicago for instance - much of the city is within that border. I'm pretty sure it's not all owned by the airport. D airspace extends to the surface for a range of (generally) 4nm, again that's a huge chunk of land that I'm pretty sure the airport doesn't own. My landing approach at my home airport takes me about 300 feet over a large mall.

I hope you fly better than you reason.

Well, good thing it's not you judging, right?

Comment: Re:both? (Score 1) 77

by slimjim8094 (#47494179) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

Um... this is exactly how pilot licensing works - same aircraft, same actions, difference is money? Bam, you need a commercial pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate won't do. Commercial operators are held to a higher safety standard, which makes sense - money brings with it a set of pressures and constraints that your average weekend pilot doesn't have, so their skills should be better.

Would you prefer the FAA require certification of all drone operators, commercial or not? Because they'll do that before they allow commercial usage of drones without at least some oversight.

Comment: Re:Not a rule (Score 1) 199

You're misreading the regulations. Over a sparsely populated area there is no altitude restriction, there's a distance to "person, vessel, vehicle, or structure" requirement. You can fly as low as you want over e.g., a cornfield (say, for crop dusting) or the desert or ocean so long as you don't compromise the "emergency landing without undue hazard" rule. I'd argue that it's not reasonable to expect everyone who buys a drone to become intimately familiar with 14 CFR 91's requirements, so some general rules are warranted. For instance: what if someone wants to operate a drone within a Class E surface area (which is within several miles of many airports, and explicitly goes all the way to the ground because it's for the purposes of taking off or landing) - should they be subject to visibility and cloud clearance requirements? The reason they exist is because instrument traffic coming in to land may be coming out of the clouds and VFR traffic needs to stay clear enough to see-and-avoid them. Seems fairly reasonable, right? But a drone might be below 500 feet and still kill someone if they don't follow these rules.

But that's not really the point. Something makes an aircraft subject to these regulations, right? You can't just get a plane and say you're not an airplane and as long as you fly it below "navigable airspace" you're fine - in fact that's the exact opposite of the rules. The FAA certainly doesn't assert authority over hovercraft or other "ground effect vehicles" - it seems reasonable to assume that the FAA considers its authority over aircraft to begin when they can and/or are designed to be flown into the "navigable airspace". Many drones can fly over 500 feet just fine. I suspect the FAA would be less concerned about a drone with a GPS map magically kept up to date that prevented it from flying into any airport's approach path, and kept it below the minimum altitude for manned flight (including refusing to take off from a field or other "sparsely populated area").

I think the regulation just hasn't caught up with drones, but they're working on it. It won't be the free-for-all some people want it to be, but the FAA isn't some antagonistic supervillain of a government agency. They just want to make sure these things don't get sucked into someone's jet engine or going through a windshield, and they also don't want commercial operations without a higher standard of safety. I'm a private pilot and there's all sorts of rules about money changing hands in regards to my flight, and while it's occasionally obnoxious the intent to prevent a bunch of "Billy Bob's Charter" services from popping up everywhere. If you're in a manned aircraft and you want to be compensated for flight, you need to be a commercial pilot, which has higher standards. I don't see why the same basic principle of having higher standards shouldn't apply to commercial drone operations - and neither does the FAA, which is why they're going through the rulemaking process as we speak.

Comment: Re:Not a rule (Score 1) 199

Go nuts. Their policy notice (basically "we interpret the already-existing regulations in this way") was struck down as insufficiently supported, so they're going through the official rulemaking process to make an actual regulation out of it. I suggest you keep an eye on that (there is a public comment period), because that will not be struck down and I guarantee that getting hit with it will hurt. Oh, and it'll probably be something like "be a model aircraft (with all the restrictions, including noncommercial use) or the drone and person have to be certified like aircraft and pilots" - not exactly "do whatever you want"

Comment: Re:Not a rule (Score 5, Informative) 199

FAA has no authority below the mandated altitudes for air travel.

Wrong. FAA's authority applies to any flying vehicle in the airspace of this country. Don't believe me? Here's the quote from the law that established the FAA:

The Administrator is authorized and directed to develop plans for and formulate policy with respect to the use of the navigable airspace; and assign by rule, regulation, or order the use of the navigable airspace under such terms, conditions, and limitations as he may deem necessary in order to insure the safety of aircraft and the efficient utilization of such airspace. He may modify or revoke such assignment when required in the public interest.

Property owners have air rights above their property up to the FAA's mandated altitudes or as locally mandated by code.

Nope. Another common misconception, but "he United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States." (source).

Consider reading the Wikipedia page for some interpretation. Basically the idea is that you have airspace rights to the extent that you can use the space to have useful stuff on it (i.e., you can't build a 600 foot pole just to keep planes away, it has to be for some useful purpose). It's not at all clear that using drones grants you these rights, since they're definitely more aircraft than building.

So, the FAA should kindly go fuck itself. It does not tell us what we can do in the immediate vicinity around our homes or property.

If I want to hire a drone to do a fly through of my home, or my realtor offers to do it themselves, I will do it and the feds can shove their rules as far up their ass as they please.

Nobody's talking about flying a drone inside your house, they're talking about flying one over your house. You know, airspace. As far as thumbing your nose at the FAA - go nuts, but be prepared to win in court, suffer the consequences, or start a (successful) revolution. You could say the same thing about any other law or regulation - it's basically a question if whether you accept the rule of law or not.

Just so we're all clear on the sequence of events: the law creates the FAA and says "you regulate our airspace". The FAA, in the course of performing its legal mandate, creates a number of regulations (such as how pilots and aircraft are certified, standards for airports and navigation, etc) through a process called "rulemaking". They also issue more specific interpretations of the rules they've already enacted. (None of this is unusual; all federal agencies work the same way.) One such opinion decides that drones are basically model aircraft and that's OK so long as they follow the rules - one of which is no commercial use. The court decided that an opinion wasn't good enough here, so the FAA is going through the rulemaking process like they're supposed to. The end result will not be "yeah do whatever the hell you want", it'll probably be "be a hobbyist model aircraft (and comply with the rules, including noncommercial use) or get certified like an aircraft/pilot".

Comment: Re:that's not the FAA's job (Score 1) 199

"The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States." And they've delegated the administration of it to the FAA. The only air rights you have over your property are those you can reasonably use in connection with the property, e.g. adding another storey to your house. It's not at all clear that drones are more "stuff related to your use of the property" than aircraft - that's the question, right? (IANAL)

And it's 500 feet, unless you're in a "congested area" like a city (where it is 1000 feet). Even then, it doesn't apply if the aircraft is that low for the purposes of takeoff or landing, so everyone within a few miles of any runway threshold will have planes closer than 500 feet.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James