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Comment Re:What if you're part of the firefighting effort? (Score 1) 160

But here's the problem with that. Lots of places use volunteer groups to augment the paid professionals. They are going to be using off-the-shelf equipment simply because it's inexpensive. The same situation applies to search & rescue. Lots of them are all-volunteer non-profit groups (and they are VERY good). This use-case has also fallen through the FAA's cracks. They can't operate as a Section 333 for two important reasons: a) it's not a commercial operation which by the FAA's own definition means that the pilot is monetarily compensated for flying and far more importantly b) they don't have the luxury of waiting 48 hours before flying. 83% of all searches end in the first 12 hours and 97% in the first 24 hours. At least the FAA appears to have relaxed some of these rules but mandatory daylight operations and line-of-sight operations limit the capabilities.

Comment What if you're part of the firefighting effort? (Score 1) 160

This blanket restriction kills a use-case for UAVs in firefighting. That happens to be fire behavior observation. Having field observers watching the progress of the fire from a nearby and safe location is essential for the safety of the firefighters and anyone else who might be in the path. Using a UAV and perhaps a tethered UAV with it's extended air time, is very useful for this. Even a tethered unit could be placed 150 feet off the ground to give the observers a better view. But if the manufacturers blindly bend over for the FAA who consistently doesn't see these use-cases, then we've lost a valuable tool.

Open source will be the only way to go. One reason I won't by DJI products. But I fear that the air frame manufacturers will hard code these restrictions into the hardware.

Comment My phone does this now (Score 1) 120

I've got a Panasonic land-line phone that does this now. The only downside is that the block list is limited to 30 numbers.
What I really want is for the cellular companies to get off their ass and implement caller ID. Further, I want Apple to add live number lookup and a one-touch way to google a phone number in my recent list instead of forcing me to copy & paste the text. How hard is that?!

Earth

There's A 50% Chance of Another Chernobyl Before 2050, Say Safety Specialists (technologyreview.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes from a report via MIT Technology Review: Spencer Wheatley and Didier Sornette at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Benjamin Sovacool at Aarhus University in Denmark have compiled the most comprehensive list of nuclear accidents ever created and used it to calculate the chances of future accidents. They say there is a 50:50 chance that a major nuclear disaster will occur somewhere in the world before 2050. "There is a 50 percent chance that a Chernobyl event (or larger) occurs in the next 27 years," they conclude. Since the International Atomic Energy Agency doesn't publish a historical database of the nuclear accidents it rates using the International Nuclear Event Scale, others, like Wheatley and co, have to compile their own list of accidents. They define an accident as "an unintentional incident or event at a nuclear energy facility that led to either one death (or more) or at least $50,000 in property damage." Each accident must have occurred during the generation, transmission, or distribution of nuclear energy, which includes accidents at mines, during transportation, or at enrichment facility, and so on. Fukushima was by far the most expensive accident in history at a cost of $166 billion, which is 60 percent of the total cost of all other nuclear accidents added together. Wheatley and co say their data suggests that the nuclear industry remains vulnerable to dragon king events, which are large unexpected events that are difficult to analyze because they follow a different statistical distribution, have unforeseen causes, and are few in number. "There is a 50% chance that a Fukushima event (or larger) occurs in the next 50 years," they say.

Comment Why does one get paid? (Score 1) 1140

Until you can honestly answer that question, you don't understand economics. You get paid for contributing something. You don't get paid because you spent 40 hours of your week in an office. You get paid because what you contribute has value to someone else. Only the payee has the right to decide what that contribution is worth. Oh, sure, the worker can demand that they get paid more but the payee can tell that person to go pound sand... in a free market system. So, a universal basic income means one of two things: Either your mere existence in the world is valuable or the money is worth that much less. The former is B.S. The latter only proves that universal basic income is inherently inflationary.

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