jenningsthecat writes: Maryland drone builder and attorney John Taylor, who in January took the FAA to court over its drone registry program, is now receiving financial help with his suit from DC DUG, the D.C. area Drone User Group. In his Petitoner's Brief, (PDF), Taylor maintains that "(f)or the first century of American aviation and beyond, the federal government made no attempt whatsoever to regulate recreational model aircraft", and that "(t)he FAA seeks to revise history when it argues its failure to register model aircraft, or otherwise treat them in any manner as ‘aircraft,’ in the past was the exercise of an ‘enforcement discretion'"
As of this writing I have been unable to find any news on the progress of the suit beyond its having been filed.
jenningsthecat writes: The Swedish government is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to encouraging the repair of stuff that would otherwise be thrown away, according to both The Guardian and Fast Company
The country's Social Democrat and Green party coalition have submitted proposals to Parliament that would reduce the VAT on bicycle, clothing, and shoe repairs from 25% to 12%. Also proposed is an income tax deduction equalling half the labour cost of repairing household appliances. According to The Guardian, "the incentives are part of a shift in government focus from reducing carbon emissions produced domestically to reducing emissions tied to goods produced elsewhere." Per Bolund, Sweden's Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, is quoted as saying "the policy also tied in with international trends around reduced consumption and crafts, such as the “maker movement” and the sharing economy, both of which have strong followings in Sweden.
The writings of Aaron Swartz, with DRM applied? Oh, the irony. Still, at least the DRM employed doesn't restrict a user from reading the book on any and all capable devices, so it's not a very intrusive form of DRM. But I somehow doubt that Mr. Swartz would take any comfort from that, and I bet the fact that companies are profiting from DRM'd copies of his writing has him spinning in his grave. I wonder if his family will have anything to say about this...
She immediately began to receive messages from would-be Zoosk suitors in her Facebook mailbox. When she had a look on Zoosk she was horrified to find a dating profile with her Facebook picture, name, and postal code. Zoosk denies ever setting up profiles in this way, yet their terms of service explicitly allow them to do it, and there are apparently several Facebook pages with complaints of similar occurrences.
When will people ever learn to practise ''safeWeb"? I guess maybe the answer is 'never', given that it seems at least some of Zoosk's victims are still active on Facebook. Or should we just start calling it 'Faceplant'?
jenningsthecat writes: 90-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident Arnold Abbott and two local pastors were charged on Sunday with "feeding the homeless in public". Abbott was told by police to "drop that plate right now" when he was attempting to distribute food. The three men were charged under a new city ordinance banning public food sharing, and face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The ordinance "limits where outdoor feeding sites can be located, requires the permission of property owners and says the groups have to provide portable toilets".
Mayor Jack Seiler was quoted as saying "Just because of media attention we don't stop enforcing the law. We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale". He believes that "Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive."
Really, I have no words for this other than "heartless jackbooted fuckwits".
jenningsthecat writes: DARPA's Terahertz Electronics program has created "the fastest solid-state amplifier integrated circuit ever measured". The TMIC, (Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit), boasts a gain of 9dB — previously unheard of for a monolithic device in this frequency range. Plus, the status of "fastest" has been certified by Guinness — seriously! ('Cause you might not trust DARPA, but you gotta trust Guinness — right?).
jenningsthecat writes: Four-and-a-half years in the making, The Coupe, billed as "the first all-electric American supercar", was revealed on August 17 of this year at the Pebble Beach Concours by Silicon Valley firm Renovo Motors. Slated for availability in late 2015, the $500K-plus car does 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, and is spec'd at 500 brake horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is said to be 120 mph. The fast-charge time is 30 minutes — not surprising given the rather small 100-mile range. The car is modelled on the '64 Daytona coupe and has a Shelby chassis.
Lots of cool factor there, and lots of grunt off the line. But if you had enough money for only one supercar, would you pay more than $500K for something that only gets 100 miles per charge?
jenningsthecat writes: In an instance of apparent corporate over-reaching, $50-billion Brookfield Office Properties has been cutting locks and removing bicycles from what appears to be public property in Toronto Canada.
In an email statement Brookfield says:
“As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians. It is our first and foremost responsibility to protect the health and safety of our tenants and all those that visit the building. There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole.”
It's unclear how many bicycles in total have been removed by the company, but three had been removed on the day in question, and a security guard working for Brookfield is reported to have said that they "get several angry cyclists a day complaining about bikes being taken". It is believed that many cyclists simply assume that their bikes have been stolen — which, arguably, they have.
It will be interesting to see if Brookfield receives anything like the legal punishment that a private citizen could expect for exactly the same actions; I suspect they won't be charged, or even very much inconvenienced.
Mr. Young, who joined the Army two days after 9/11, was critically wounded in 2004, five days into his first tour of duty in Iraq. He then suffered Anoxic Brain Injury in 2008 as a complication of his earlier injuries. After almost ten years of what sounds like a living hell, Mr. Young is now receiving hospice care in his home while he starves himself to death.
Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?
The RCMP recognizes that "this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians", so they'll "take baby steps, let's start with two agencies to test the concept, let's demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work".
In related news, a discovery that if a frog is put into a pot of water and the temperature is raised slowly enough, the frog won't hop out — he'll just boil to death.
jenningsthecat writes: In an effort to help chronically truant students, the Anaheim Union High School District is using GPS as part of a program to make sure that students are where they're supposed to be, and on time. (A similar scenario in Texas was discussed on Slashdot in 2008 — http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=truancy). In addition to tracking students' whereabouts, this latest initiative also assigns them an adult coach who calls them three times each week to help keep them on track.
Indications are that such programs actually work, and that at least some students are grateful for the help. But I can't help thinking that there is something really wrong, with the educational system and/or with society itself, when we have to go to such great lengths to keep students motivated and committed to their own education.