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Comment Re:I wonder who's legally liable? (Score 4, Informative) 97

I'll refer you to Public Law 112-95 - note the bold section.


  • (a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if—
    • (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
    • (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community- based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
    • (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
    • (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
    • (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).
  • (b) STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.
  • (c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘model aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—
    • (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
    • (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
    • (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

Comment Re: I wonder who's legally liable? (Score 2) 97

Do you know the FAA has no legal authority over what happens below 400' above private land far enough away from an airport.

You should really let the FAA know that. Four days ago they grounded an aerial photographer in Minnesota for using an r/c aircraft commercially. FAA grounds Twin Cities aerial photographer over use of drones

Comment Re:R; apt-get install r-base (Score 2) 254

R -- I've heard good things about R, and it's a good tool for certain fields. But if the original poster is interested in going into an Engineering field then different tools are more appropriate (It's better to use the same or similar tools that your colleagues are using).

Matlab -- one of the industry standards for number crunching and plotting.

Octave -- a Matlab clone that is frequently good enough. (My company can't quite afford a Matlab license, and I get by with Octave when I need that functionality).

Maxima -- for CAS, I haven't used it much, I've heard that it works.

Python with NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib -- Highly recommended. The combination is almost as good as Matlab for number crunching, and it is more generically useful.

Orpie -- great command line calculator

Comment Re:Makes no sense (Score 0) 144

It has nothing to do with privacy laws. The main uses are for aerial pictures and search and rescue. When there's an automobile crash on the interstate, a quick aerial photograph of the accident scene lets the police clear debris off the road faster and open the road sooner. Right now, they'll send out a hook-and-ladder fire truck and send a photographer to the top of the ladder to get the aerial pictures when needed. Privacy laws remain in effect, independent of the technology used.

Comment Re:Debugging prototypes? (Score 2) 208

But for analog circuits it's not as easy. SPICE can give you a pretty good idea, but it's not perfect. Even more advanced programs like ADS won't give you the full picture. As the final step you will always need to actually make a prototype and just hope it works.

Sorry, but if your final step is to "just hope it works" then your design is incomplete. For example, I designed an optical to electrical amplifier in the late 90's as part of the fiber optic communication system on the ISS. It was a pencil and paper design, and the first prototype worked as expected. I can guarantee what the circuit will do for any input that is within spec.

With modern computer simulation tools a designer can absolutely expect an analog circuit to behave as the simulation does. If not, the model is incorrect, or the simulation tools are not being used properly.

Comment Re:In this case Apple's position is sane (Score 4, Interesting) 414

You are barking up the wrong tree. You are correct that Apple did not invent the term "App", but that has no bearing on the validity of the trademark.

"Open Happiness" is trademarked by Coca-Cola. Certainly no one claims that either word was invented by the company. PespiCo would be legally liable for using that phrase in an ad-campaign, however, a company in a different market (Dell for example) could probably use "Open Happiness" for computer sales without issue.

Are you familiar with "The Container Store". It's a store where you buy, wait for it, containers!! And yes, "The Container Store" is trademarked. No other company selling containers can use that name. Similarly, Apple was granted a trademark for "App Store". Just because App Stores have more competition than Container Stores at the moment does not make the trademark any less valid.

Comment Re:I did this (Score 1) 725

my g/f was shopping for a new TV. She found the model she wanted, on sale, and was just about to tell the sales guy "I'll take it" when she was interrupted by her phone. She needs to pay attention to incoming messages because she delivers babies. She excused herself and consulted the latest news about one of her patients on her phone. The sales guy must have assumed she was price checking -- he quickly said, "Let me talk to my manager" disappeared and when he came back offered an additional $400 discount!! She got the unexpected benefit of price checking without actually doing anything.

Places that do what it takes to make the sale will outlast the places that cry "waaaah, that's not fair!"

Comment Re:Mac vs. PC (Score 1) 453

Ok, that's fine and dandy, however when using the word "America" the singular refers to the USA, the pl refers to both continents.

No, the word "America" in the singular refers to the USA only in the common usage in the USA. In most of the rest of the world, this is simply not true.

Comment Re:Mac vs. PC (Score 1) 453

So is this a pedantic semantic argument? I guess so, but I don't see how you could possibly justify that usage of America.

How many continents are there? It seems like a simple question, but it really depends on where you are from. In most English speaking countries, we are taught that there are seven continents. In most of the rest of the world, including most of Europe, S.America, and Latin America, the answer is six. What we call North and South America, most of the world refers to as simply America. How could one possibly justify that usage of America? If you grew up in Brazil you would ask the same question but with entirely different meaning.

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