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Comment Re:Look a bit higher (Score 1) 106

This is already the law, if the machine is over .55 pounds. So even small toys must be registered.

No, you are not even close. You have the number right, but none of the other facts. The drone operator must be registered, and he puts his UAS number on all of his remotely controlled flying machines over .55lb. Over 55lb, models require FAA registration just like an airplane, with a tail number and everything.

The FAA has just recently set up the guidelines for becoming a commercial drone pilot; prior to this if you wanted to engage in commercial activities with a drone, you were legally obligated to get a N-number just like a real airplane and put it on there in such a way that it was legible from the ground and all that jazz. Now that obligation has been relaxed in favor of a testing, registration, and background check process which appears to be heavily slanted towards the operation of fixed-wing drones and helicopters (as in, with a swashplate, not just any unicopter) as the test covers a lot of material that's quite irrelevant to operators of multicopters. There's only one type of registration and it covers you for anything you might want to fly. I believe (I'm a bit shaky on this news stuff) that within the size range, you only have to put your UAS label on the model, and you don't need a tail number.

Also, you are I hope aware that there are now FPV drones under .55lb?

Comment Re:Difference between drones and RC planes/chopper (Score 1) 106

There's a fundamental difference between these so called drones and RC planes or choppers. Drone operators aren't interested in "piloting" . The sole purpose of flying a drone is to take videos or photos and once that's the intention it changes the whole flight.


I used to do aerial photography and video with my RC plane. The flight intention changes once you slap on a camera.

...yeah see, there's the problem. You can do the same stuff with an RC aircraft. So what, does that mean we should aggressively control everything that's not attached to a control line? Wait, you can use a kite for aerial photography, we're going to have to think this through a little more...

FPV is showing up on everything now, because FPV is now cheap. So if you want to argue that FPV should be the differentiator you're just shooting yourself in the foot.

Comment Re:Ruining it for everyone (Score 1) 106

I'm not sure how you can argue it was not invading privacy when it was downed with a shotgun. The maximum effective range is around 75 yards and you can pretty much shoot at people 300 yards away and pose no danger (do not do this obviously).

75 yards is damned near the minimum height at which you can legally fly an airplane, upon which you can mount a big fancy camera. The drone does not pose a privacy risk that isn't already posed by aircraft, when operated legally. Does it potentially "violate" your notional privacy? You betcha. Does that give you the right to shoot it with your shotgun? Nope. You shoot it with a camera, show that its camera was or at least could have been facing your daughter, and go to the DA. If they're doing their job, after consulting an expert they can file suit on your behalf and subpoena any camera footage if there is a legitimate privacy concern.

While the law may be somewhat incomplete, you are an asshole if you fly a drone close people or their dwelling on their property.

You're also an asshole if you shoot a drone out of the air with a shotgun where it may pose a significant fire hazard. There's assholes all around in this story.

Comment Re:This is stupid (Score 1) 46

The problem isn't ITT, it's that people think some school (or ANYONE ELSE) will make you successful.

Eh, yes and no.

You make yourself successful. Only you.

...and mostly no. You have to take advantage of opportunities, but you don't create opportunities by yourself. It's a group effort. Sometimes, others work against you, whether intentionally or incidentally. ITT deliberately defrauded students. Willful fraud is wrong because we know that it's possible to take advantage of people, and when that happens it harms society. It's expensive for all of us when people's lives collapse.

If you go to a school it's reasonable to expect (if not assume) that you're being provided useful education. It might not be moneymaking in itself, but if they promise that it will be, then it had damned well better be. If they are promising job placement, then they need to deliver. If they don't, they're committing fraud, and they rightfully should be held accountable.

Tech schools are mostly garbage, which is sad because if they were any good, they'd be great things. Being immersed in a learning environment solely with other people studying the same sort of things you're studying could be a massive boon for some people, and in some situations. Alas, they are mostly garbage, and you'd do yourself and your community (and by extension, your country) more good by simply going to a community college. They have their flaws to be sure, but they are still better than technical schools on average. They're a fairly poor place to get a good quality education and a degree on the same schedule, because good educators come and go from them somewhat irregularly, but a lot of them have fairly fantastic programs of various types — especially in the applied arts.

The problems with ITT tech equally apply to pretty much any of these technical schools, and they're pretty much all the same deal although they are not all equally sleazy. The automotive institutes are very much the same story; for less money you could attend a community college and actually get a legitimate degree along with a pile of ASE certifications, while learning from people with at least as much experience as those teaching in the purely for-profit technical schools. If you want to become a smog technician or a master auto body tech you don't want to go to a tech school, as they will rob you blind. But you can bang the former out in a couple of years (starting from scratch) and the latter out in three or four and for comparatively very little money by just going to a CC.

We all need help in our lives. Apprenticeship used to be popular, schooling still works... and sure, trial and error is a thing, but let me tell you, it can be more expensive than just going to school.

Comment Re:From Glassholes to snapholes (Score 1) 85

Um... didn't we learn something from the abhorrence of google glass.

Yes. We did. We learned that people want to know when they are being recorded. You have to touch your glasses every ten seconds to record continuously, assuming that's even possible. I think this addresses that problem fairly brilliantly.

Comment My goodness, those are fugly (Score 4, Informative) 85

I was picturing something more like Oakley's MP3 glasses, but with a super-flat little camera between your eyes. Instead it's a child's toy. They got the button on the device right (because it makes it obvious when you're recording) but they seem to have everything else wrong, including the price. That's too much for something that goofy.

Comment Re:OMG (Score 1) 150

There is no shortage of algae, it is overgrowing waterways worldwide. The stuff that falls towards the ocean bottom is often eaten before it even gets there, and there is life in the bottom of the deepest parts of the ocean working to turn the remainder of the waste into life again.

On the other hand, oceanic algae (which "produces" most of our breathable oxygen) has been driven subsurface by UV, which reduces respiration.

Comment Re:It's the cost of the labor, stupid (Score 1) 137

And you don't need two outlets on an 8'1" need an outlet at least 12' (measuring baseboard length, i.e. skipping doors) and on any wall greater than 24".

This is a local code thing. Because after the NEC you still have local bullshit to deal with. Some of it makes sense and some of it is just there so that they can slap you with a fine of some kind if they want to. If a wall is longer than 8' then you need two outlets in it. Whee! I'm all in favor of things like seismic codes but the building codes are just stupid anyway. For example, all wire must be sheathed specifically in PVC, which releases dioxin when it burns. Or how about people being allowed to install homes with flammable roofs and siding when they live in forest fire country? Hello? Here's another good one, in a fire propane tanks become bombs. In theory they can release their goods without exploding, in practice that's not what actually happens. But we're not required to have a blast-deflecting wall around them, which could be made out of earth bags for basically nothing in materials and a couple of Mexicans' labor for a day. Arguably, in most of California we should only be allowed to build homes out of stacks of shipping containers or similar so that they have both quake and fire resistance :P

Comment Re:It's the cost of the labor, stupid (Score 1) 137

Well, if it makes you feel better about yourself, good for you. But don't kid yourself: you don't really stick to that most of the time.

I do when it's reasonably convenient to do so. Many devices are now prohibitively difficult to repair. Sometimes I still try, and fail for one reason or another, at least learning something in the process. If it's out of warranty and it's broken and it costs too much to have someone else do it, I've got nothing to lose.

If you repaired and maintained your home and your car the way people used to, you wouldn't have any time for anything else.

I do everything vaguely within my skillset. That means all of the plumbing that's not underground (by which I mean the pump, I don't have a crane for pump fishing) and all of the electrical, and most carpentry-type repairs. If I don't know how to do it, I learn. There is one other exception, which is the roof. It is old and crappy and I am huge and clumsy. I don't mess around with the roof. That includes the part of the chimney that goes through it, but doesn't include the part inside the house, which I replaced. But this place is a rental, so I have relatively little motivation to climb up there. Electrical is easy, so I just do it. Plumbing is something you need right away, so I just do it. If I knock a hole in the wall I don't call a drywall guy, I just patch the hole. If I need an appliance installed I don't call the movers, I get out the blankets and dollies.

In spite of this, home maintenance takes up less than 1% of my time. Maybe this house is just less shit than average? It certainly seems to be made out of the same crap, though.

Comment Re:Who's gonna pay "THEIR FAIR SHARE"?!?!?! (Score 1) 137

Sweden has high taxes by American standards, but by many measures they are otherwise even more capitalist than America. Their post office is privatized, as is a big fraction of their educational system.

What a coincidence. Our post office is privatized, as is a big fraction of our educational system. And then there's the influence of school administrators' unions, which are not to be confused with educators' unions as they are not the same thing and they are typically in direct conflict over where the money should be spent. Educators' unions want to spend money on education, and on reasonable salaries for educators. The admins' unions want gross administrative salaries that detract from education, and fuck everyone else. Schools thus become for-profit enterprises, even when they're "public".

Comment Re:It's the cost of the labor, stupid (Score 1) 137

I had a lawnmower for 25 years, I went to buy another, with a straight face, they said no matter what I bought it would not last that long, lucky to get 5 or 10 years.

They lied like dogs. Buy a Honda. You will have to replace carburetor parts periodically if you buy pump gas for it, though. That's the ethanol's fault. It happens to carbureted cars, too, especially if you don't drive them enough. The ethanol is aggressively hygroscopic, and draws moisture into the carburetor. It also eats the fuel lines.

Comment Re:It's the cost of the labor, stupid (Score 1) 137

Enjoy your building code violations!

There are two kinds of building code violations, relevant and irrelevant. An example of an irrelevant kind is not having at least two electrical outlets on a wall that's 8'1" long. An example of a relevant kind is using 2x2 instead of 2x4. Sadly, we used to build houses with 2x6 wall framing, and not this little candy-ass smooth-milled lumber that's under the stated size either, but rough-hewn timbers cut with a sawblade and then assembled. That's why so many of those houses are all moldy now; they actually remained standing during floods. Too bad they weren't placed somewhere sensible.

Building a house is actually easy AF. Designing it is the hard part. Our landlords did everything but design and frame this house and actually, it's the design that's let it down the most. After every earthquake, all the doors have a different set, because the house wasn't triangulated properly. It just flops around like a big square jello cube. They did pick out all the cheapest switches and the like, but any developer would do the same. I personally would spend just slightly more to get a halfway decent brand of switches and outlets, but maybe that's just me.

Make sure you buy LOTS of fire extinguishers and practice leaving in emergency situations.

If you don't do this in any home you're a dumb ass.

Comment Re:It's the cost of the labor, stupid (Score 1) 137

Don't forget to do the calculation of whether it's worth it: if a repair takes you two hours, think about how you could spend those two hours instead. That includes thinking about how much two hours of your own labor are worth relative to the cost of hiring someone else.

If it's only two hours, it's a pretty easy decision. Spending two hours of my life on repairing something will make me a better person. Not only am I reducing my footprint upon the planet but I'm also becoming better at repairing things. It becomes a more difficult decision when it's going to take a couple of days, at which point the job begins to actually impact your life and require that other parts of it be reorganized if you want to get it done in a timely fashion.

I do a lot of fixing of stuff. Much of it is quite simple, some of it turns out to be a lot harder. I just brought home a car which was originally $70k for which I paid $200. It's properly on PNO with no back reg so it was only $20 for a trip ticket plus $30 in registration/title fees. I'm going to swap a transmission and some other parts out of a $2000 car and get it some new glass and I'll be at around $4k all in including the timing belt tools, parts I've bought for the other car which are coming over, etc. The difference between that and the price of a new shitbox buys a lot of fuel to feed the 300HP V8 and my ass will thank me for parking it in a Recaro. Unlike some trivial "look it up on Youtube" exercise where you're replacing a motor start cap or something else equally trivial, this takes actual commitment and research.

It does however actually outline the potential problem; if I do that it's not really better for the planet. Well, if I do it, it might be, because I drive so little and am willing to drive a vehicle way into the big big mileage; most of the lifetime energy cost of one of my cars is in production. I can drive a V8 and still use less energy overall than an average Prius driver because I arrange my life to not include a commute. But it's equally possible for someone to do this and then drive the piss out of it and we haven't actually saved anything by paying them to repair it...

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