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Drones: Coming Soon To the New Jersey Turnpike?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Robotics 249

redletterdave writes "The FAA predicts 30,000 drones will patrol the US skies by 2020, but New Jersey drivers could see these unmanned aerial vehicles hovering above the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway much sooner than that. New Jersey lawmakers from both Republican and Democratic parties have introduced a number of bills to tackle the drones issue before the federal government starts issuing the first domestic drone permits in September 2015."

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Frosty Piss (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43726927)

I for one welcome our hovering unmanned overlords!

Re:Frosty Piss (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43726967)

In Soviet Union, hovering unmanned overlords; welcome you!

Re:Frosty Piss (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727097)

Wow. Awesomely clever zinger. Seriously, run upstairs and show it to your mom.

Re:Frosty Piss (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727323)

I just showed it to your mom.

Risk vs. Reward? (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43726973)

How often do these things fall out of the sky, and does the added revenue offset the lives lost when they do?

Just saying.

I tend to think that drones should be used only in unusual circumstances, where unusual is translated as "high reward and low risk." Locating a lost hiker in a national park qualifies. Raising traffic fine revenue does not.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (5, Insightful)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727003)

In addition to that, what is it going to do with an already over stressed Air Traffic Control system?

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727101)

In addition to that, what is it going to do with an already over stressed Air Traffic Control system?

These drones can be easily programmed to keep clear of any airports, flight paths, and other restricted areas. There are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about drones, but this isn't one of them.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727451)

If they fly less than 500ft (and most do) then they are not in the Air Traffic space.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727943)

Unless they're on the approach path near an airport. When planes fly over I-880 in San Jose, for example, I'm pretty sure they're way below 500 feet in HAAT. There is basically no safe altitude for a UAV over that stretch of road, unless the UAV is piloted by a real person, coordinating with ATC.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727717)

In addition to that, what is it going to do with an already over stressed Air Traffic Control system?

What added revenue?
How are these going to generate revenue from a thousand feet up without the help of another officer on the ground to actually issue the ticket?
Bar codes on every car roof?

These are going to cause more accidents than they prevent as every driver will be rubber necking th sky instead of watching the road.
Just ban them instead of going down that road.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727827)

How are these going to generate revenue from a thousand feet up without the help of another officer on the ground to actually issue the ticket?
Bar codes on every car roof?

License plate readers. That part isn't even hard.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727911)

So you postulate the drones flying at an altitude of less than 20 feet?

Because if you can read license plates well enough to issue tickets from 50 feet above the roadway just mounting cameras on light poles would suffice. But that really doesn't work and license plates do not have to be readable from above.
.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728049)

Cameras on poles aren't able to accurately judge a vehicle's speed, and aren't as likely to spot unsafe driving as something that can see large stretches of road at a time. Once you've identified a problem vehicle, then you can either reduce altitude to shoot the vehicle's plate or follow it until it passes a stationary traffic camera that can snap its plate.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727785)

In addition to that, what is it going to do with an already over stressed Air Traffic Control system?

The ATC system is "over stressed" because of large numbers of commercial flights, of which the majority are shipping. UPS, DHS, FedEx... they all have larger fleets than any commercial airline you're flying.

Drones don't need runway clearances, etc., and as long as they maintain flight separation (vertical and horizontal) in controlled airspace they're a non-event. ATC could care less -- they probably wouldn't even be on radar anyway, since to my knowledge they don't carry transponders. Remember that guy who decided to go hook up a bunch of weather balloons and float through the LAX holding pattern? Their first indication of trouble was a pilot radioing that he saw some guy with a shotgun float by the window sucking down a beer.

Controllers don't usually look at the actual radar. It's all transponders. You could fly an aircraft carrier through the flight corridor and it would go unnoticed by ATC until someone called it in. -_-

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

houbou (1097327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727009)

You haven't seen the drivers on the Garden State Parkway. Speed Limit varies from 55 to 65 mph where there is no construction happening and people typically average 75 mph, many easily go 80 mph. In the short term, these drones will catch a lot of offenders. I'm pretty sure of that.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727047)

you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

I submit that if people are regularly going 75 in 55 zones and there are not massive pileups every week then the speed limit is set too low. Why would they do that?

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727067)

Of course it's about revenue. I see a new market for RF jammers in the appropriate drone control frequencies... Could be the same companies that provide gray market traffic-radar jammers.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

acedotcom (998378) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727377)

illegal to the point that you would have to have the biggest balls ever to use one. its like shining a high powered laser pointer at a police helicopter levels of stupid right there.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727729)

I'm more concerned about drivers that have those heavily tinted "plate protectors" on their cars. I'd be amazed if a camera could read through those at even 50 feet away at times. Maybe this is just a Florida issue though. I'm sure their used for speeding / red light cameras primarily.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727747)

Rf jammers are nothing at all like lasers you idiot.
You can hide them in the bushes, on roof tops, or every 5th car.
When even a $5 jammer can crash a $20k drone its a losing battle.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727161)

you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

Of course it is about revenue. Governments need revenue to operate. A tax on speeders seems like a good way to do it.

I submit that if people are regularly going 75 in 55 zones and there are not massive pileups every week then the speed limit is set too low. Why would they do that?

Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85. Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1, Interesting)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727225)

Also Americans are unwilling to adjust to a slower safer speed when necessary. Inclement whether, snow, ice, fog. Nope speed limits 55, better go 65 when there's deer and the fog is thick enough that your headlights don't max out their beam distance.

The universe is a fairly forgiving place though when it comes to that kind of stupidity en-masse. Except for those tragic times when an avoidable accident could be avoided.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727907)

"Also Americans are unwilling to adjust to a slower safer speed when necessary."

Citations?

I've driven professionally. And, I drive as fast as just about anyone. But - I drive for conditions. In the millions of miles that I have driven, I've seen some memorable wrecks caused by morons who didn't understand the laws of physics. But, overall, Americans are quite willing to slow down for snow, ice, rain and low visibility.

There are exceptions, like the California freeways. Seems that everyone is afraid to slow down for fog, because they'll be rear ended. That, plus they seem to assume that the roadway is clear ahead of them. But, overall - Americans are willing to slow down when necessary.

I would hazard a guess that we have roughly the same percentage of morons driving to fast for conditions as can be found in Europe, Asia, or anywhere else. Aside from regional idiosyncracies, the biggest problem is that weather conditions can change without warning, catching drivers by surprise. When black ice forms, there is no warning, no perceptible differences occur - suddenly, everyone is left with no control, and inertia takes over. The ditches are littered with cars then.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728245)

I would hazard a guess that we have roughly the same percentage of morons driving to fast for conditions as can be found in Europe, Asia, or anywhere else.

Your guess would be wrong. American roads are among the safest in the world. There are a few countries in North Europe that are better, but nearly everywhere else is far worse. Citation:List of countries by traffic related death rate [wikipedia.org] . When you look at this chart, you should ignore the meaningless raw death rate (many countries have few cars) and instead look at the number of deaths per 100k cars or number of deaths per billion miles driven.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728149)

Americans are well known as some of the slowest and most terrified drivers in the world. Fast is subjective. What is fast to one person is slow to another. It's almost funny, but more pathetic, to watch all the cowardly slow drivers putting around deathly afraid of an accident.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727231)

So in other words the best way to steal money is from people doing victimless "crimes"? Lets put a tax on breathing! Think of all the money the government could raise!

The real issue (assuming we have government provided roads) should be safety.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727791)

Lets put a tax on breathing!

You are too late with your helpful suggestion. Obamacare is a tax on everyone who lives. Doesn't matter if *you* do not need insurance. Big Brother knows best.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727937)

You are too late with your helpful suggestion. Obamacare is a tax on everyone who lives. Doesn't matter if *you* do not need insurance. Big Brother knows best.

We all pay into fire services so that when someone else's house is burning, it gets put out, because burning houses are toxic and because they might light our house on fire. We pay into society because if society burns down we all fail.

Whether Obamacare is a good implementation is another question, I personally think the answer is no. Whether national health is a good idea, however... if you don't think so, you need to come down off your ivory tower and take a look at what is going on in this country. Unless you really are of the mindset that we should simply let the unproductive die, in which case I hope you die of ass cancer.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728277)

We all pay into fire services so that when someone else's house is burning, it gets put out, because burning houses are toxic and because they might light our house on fire.

Yes, and that is a sensible decision; the same would be made by a commune of independent homeowners. The chance of fire igniting in any given residence is the same for all residences, and the danger is also about the same. So it would make plenty of sense to divide the risk equally.

However this wouldn't be such a simple case if one of your houses is a hovel that is occupied by a druggie who cooks meth while smoking.

In case of healthcare, risks are not equal. Far from it. There are many reasons - genetical, behavioral, occupational, and probably more - why the risks are not equal.

The danger is also not equal to all members of the set. If member A breaks a leg, this results in no danger to member B. His leg is not going to get broken, or even bruised. There is no incentive to pay into the common fund.

There is also yet another reason. Some people have their own arrangements for their healthcare. For example, their trust fund may pay, or their wealthy parents, or they themselves may sit on a couple million dollars, or they have their own insurance arrangements that have nothing to do with anything or anyone else (like having a family diamond ring that is easy to sell if need be.)

Not everyone is obsessed with careful preservation of their precious life either. We can see that among many high risk behaviors (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, crime, thrill-seeking, dangerous sex practices, etc.) IMO, if these people want to risk their life, it's their right - and I don't need to pay up when another gangbanger shows up with a couple new 9mm holes in his stomach.

This inequality is exactly what is undermining the national healthcare. The spectrum of health-related behaviors is too wide. I personally could be persuaded to join a mutual insurance group that contains members just like myself - with the same risk, with the same chance of getting into trouble, and with the same income (that defines how much we all pay into the common fund.) But I have no interest in joining the club if it includes everyone. If smokers want to insure themselves against lung cancer (and finance the treatment when they ultimately need it) - I'm all for it, as long as I have nothing to do with them.

Unless you really are of the mindset that we should simply let the unproductive die, in which case I hope you die of ass cancer.

Well, I'm not into that kind of thing. But it is a complicated question - what to do with unproductive members of the society? Many writers explored this, but there is no working solution.

As you mention, one solution is just to let them fend for themselves - and die, if they are unsuccessful. This is how it was for most of the recorded human history. Perhaps we lost more than a few good men this way. We'll never know how, unless someone can be bothered to go back and fork the timeline. Today, though, in this "enlightened" society, it is considered un-PC to let people die.

If you just want to feed the needy homeless people, that is relatively simple. A human cannot eat more than he can eat, and basic food is cheap enough. A handful of pasta per day will keep a man alive, and that costs what, 50 cents, including the cooking?

But if you want to *treat* such people ... well, that is a far more complex problem. There is no upper limit on medical expenses. In fact, they tend to go to infinity. The only limit to that is lack of funds. All humans, rich and poor, die from something that could be prevented, treated, or at least delayed for a day, or a week, or a year. But they die when they die, because they didn't get that treatment - it was too expensive, or simply impractical.

Now take an average homeless man. He is likely to have some serious, maybe even untreatable, diseases. Often these are of psychiatric nature, but they can be also infectious diseases, or addictions. How much money does it take to make an average hobo healthy? Considering that the said person often has no interest in becoming healthy? My guess is, more than I earn over my entire life. More even than six million dollars [wikipedia.org] . Nobody has that kind of money. Humans are not gods yet; we can spend the GDP of the entire planet, but we cannot prevent death of one man.

This means that the healthcare has to be limited - because it is already limited by our available GDP. What is the limit? In case of a paying patient, it's simple. You are treated while you are paying. No money - no treatment. Is that fair? If yes, then we are done discussing. If not, then what should the doctors and nurses and pharmacists and scientists eat while they are treating a non-paying patient? A doctor who is patching up a gangbanger in the ER is not at home, playing with his children - he is paying with hours of his own life. We accept that trade if we are compensated, so that we can own the house and the children. Why would a doctor want to treat a gangbanger for free? Many doctors declare that they are closing up their practices before Obamacare kicks in. They had a preview of the future with Medicare, and they didn't like it.

Setting of the threshold for a patient who pays with insurance shouldn't be much different from people who pay with their own cash that they saved over their entire lifetime. The threshold will be probably lower because the insurance fund cannot be richer than the sum of premiums, and patients in need are probably paying their last money (there are no pockets in the last suit.) How low? I don't know. Should a drunk driver who killed ten in a bus and is now paralyzed get the same medical allowance as a man who was born blind? I'll set those questions aside. I don't advocate termination of unproductive people, but our society cannot let them thrive either - we just don't have the money for that luxury. If you say we do, I'd like to consider that - right after the USA pays up all its debt obligations.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (5, Interesting)

Alex Pennace (27488) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727281)

Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85. Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

That is an interesting point so I did some research. I found FHWA Report No. FHWA-RD-92-084 (one source of which is at http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html [ibiblio.org] but other copies agree) that says "The results of the study indicated that lowering posted speed limits by as much as 20 mi/h (32 km/h), or raising speed limits by as much as 15 mi/h (24 km/h) had little effect on motorist' speed."

I'm curious if you had any citations to confirm your statement.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727461)

In Queensland Australia, the urban myth / truth is that a speed ticket can only be given for +10% the posted speed limit (not the same in other states) to account for camera error (I believe it is 1% in NSW).

And truly, most people do seem to believe / drive with this in mind.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727501)

There are traffic engineers that say fewer restrictions result in more cautious and safer drivers. Citation: some guy in the Netherlands as I recall.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727537)

That's an interesting study, but I'm not sure it answers the GP's assertion directly. From the study:

This study was conducted to examine driver behavior and accident effects of raising and lowering posted speed limits on nonlimited access rural and urban highways. While much research in recent years has focused on the effects of the 55 and 65 mi/h (89 and 105 km/h) speed limits on limited access facilities, the major emphasis of this research is on streets and highways that were posted between 20 and 55 mi/h (32 and 89 km/h)

In other words, this is isn't really a interstate highway speed study. Such studies are out there, but this isn't one of them. They may have drawn similar conclusions, but we should look at a study that actually addresses speed limits like 65 MPH and 75 MPH on limited access roads.

In my experience (which admittedly is just anecdotal), highway drivers are more conscious of speed limits -- and potentially wanting to push them as much as possible -- than random drivers around town. If I'm not on a limited access road and trying to dodge pedestrians and cyclists and random people turning left everywhere, those sorts of things will probably feed into my sense of a "natural speed limit" more than anything else.

Whereas if I'm on an open straight limited access road, the only things preventing my speed from rising are (1) traffic, (2) my willingness to drive at high speeds, and (3) the posted limit.

Also, I would note that the linked study doesn't have details on how long-term any of these changes were. All it says is:

Repeated measurements were made at 14 sites to examine short - and long-term effects of speed limit changes.

I'd expect that driver speed wouldn't adjust that much on lower speed roads for reasons I already mentioned, but even if it could, the "herd mentality" of people used to driving those routes probably would require quite a bit of time (maybe years) for speeds to gradually move as more drivers take the time to notice the new limit. Once a certain percentage of people start noting the new limit that's 10 MPH higher and start driving a little faster, the traffic patterns could change. I've certainly noticed this myself on some interstate highways that raised speed limits. Maybe I missed it, but I can't tell how long-term this study was, so I'm not sure how to evaluate its data. (Furthermore, there's a lot of cherry-picking of numbers -- 85th percentile in this fact, 75th in that fact, 50th in this fact, 99th or 1st in another... it's difficult to get a sense of what the data might really have shown. I'm not saying the study is bad, but it's hard to evaluate based on your link.)

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727321)

Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85.

And it would probably still be safe....

Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

Because it usually is. As far as I'm concerned, the law should simply say, "You may not travel at a speed that is unsafe for the current road conditions." Anything demanding strict conformance to a posted number (rather than driving at a speed that feels safe) is just asking for people to ignore the law... or worse.

The worst example of a highway safety law is California's 65 MPH law. Except for a few roads where it is specifically posted at 70 MPH, it is illegal to drive faster than 65 MPH in California, period. All other speed limits are flexible, depending on driving conditions. What this means is:

  • If I speed in a 50 zone, if everyone is going 64 (even if that is verging on unsafe), you can potentially argue your way out of the ticket.
  • If I go 66 in a 65 zone, even if everyone else is going 66, you can't argue your way out of the ticket.

So if you're running behind and trying to decide where to exceed the speed limit, you're better off speeding on the city street portions of your trip (where there are pedestrians) or the windy highways from hell (CA SR-17 with its constant switchbacks) than on the relatively safe 65 MPH stretches. In short, by any rational interpretation of California traffic laws, the 65 MPH maximum speed law is actively making the roads less safe, because on the roads where speeding would provably pose the least additional risk, the law restricts your speed in the strictest way possible, and on the roads where speeding would provably pose the most additional risk, the law restricts your speed in the most lax way possible.

And people wonder why I think traffic laws are almost entirely written by idiots.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727701)

As far as I'm concerned, the law should simply say, "You may not travel at a speed that is unsafe for the current road conditions." Anything demanding strict conformance to a posted number (rather than driving at a speed that feels safe) is just asking for people to ignore the law...

This always sounds like a good idea. Here's the problem, though: Who decides that the speed was unsafe?

Obviously, you wouldn't be driving at an unsafe speed. So you're cruising down that rain-slicked highway at 85 MPH and everything is fine until some other idiot who doesn't believe 85 MPH is a safe speed shows up in front you doing 50. As you slam into the back of him, you think, "This isn't my fault! It's that idiot driving 50 MPH! I was perfectly safe until he showed up!"

Yes, in an ideal world, we would all drive at a safe speed and be respectful of each other. But the reality is that you have different people with different driving abilities and different cars with different capabilities and the whole idea that everybody on the freeway can be trusted to "do the right thing" is completely absurd. That's why you need to have an arbitrary number.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727993)

This is why you post a speed. That speed dictates what is typically safe. If your car is well maintained and the road is wide open and dry, you can go a bit over that. If the road is wet and you have bald tires, you'd better go more slowly.

Who decides that the speed was unsafe?

Whoever is patrolling that stretch of highway, and has footage showing you swerving between lanes at 85 while the rest of the cars are going 50. For the most part, roads self-regulate, and cars tend to run along at about the same speed. Having a few cars going 10 MPH slower to obey an arbitrary posted speed limit actually results in a significantly higher risk of accidents than having everyone going 10 MPH over the limit, on the average.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727997)

Who decides that the speed was unsafe?

In addition to what you already explored, there is yet another aspect. What vehicle are we talking about? A low-riding Corvette is probably capable of better handling at speed than a tall, box-like RV that tows a couple tons of an SUV. That yellow sign "40" that you see before the switchback, who does it apply to? The answer is obvious, of course - the sign is designed for the worst possible vehicle that can venture onto a public road. My car can take these turns at about +10 mph over the recommended speed - but if you go higher then you start hearing noises from the tires that indicate slipping, and that can quickly lead to loss of control. A sports car, with softer tires and lower center of mass, can do much better (just look at F1 cars.)

This results in a situation when the speed limit signs lose meaning. They are not even informative, unless you are driving a 10 ton truck or a double-decker bus. Most drivers use modern cars that are stable at higher speeds.

The most logical solution would be to assign speed groups to specific stretches of roads; the only exception is when the speed is limited by visibility. Each speed group would then be mapped into the physical speed of a given vehicle. Bad vehicles will calculate lower speed, but sports vehicles will be allowed to go faster. Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish that is by using GPS. If the GPS has a black box then it could calculate the maximum speed for your car, and record the actual speed - and warn you with some sound when you go faster. If you don't have the GPS then you drive the speed that is posted, as it is today.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43728219)

What you want is a kenetic energy limit. Small light cars can go fast, bug trucks must go slowly.
You also must have STRICT lanne discipline with ruthless enforcement. But I'd like enforcement of lane discipline right now.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727863)

Highway 17 is perfect and beautiful compared to highway 175. If somehow human nature changed and the dickweeds who aren't fast would get the fuck out of the fast lane, it would be one of the best highways ever. Back before all the fucking valleys moved into my hometown, it was one of the best highways ever. Okay, so it had a couple of sections with undefined camber, but you shouldn't push your car too hard on roads you don't know, period. Also, it's not very windy at all. The 101, that's windy. Or did you mean winding? Because 9, that's winding.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728173)

Highway 17's biggest problem is that they allow trucks and buses on it.

  • The car speed limit is 50. Most cars drive 50-65, with the most common speed being about 55, but with 65+ being not uncommon.
  • The truck speed limit is 35.

So, there's a 30+ MPH difference between the fastest and slowest vehicles. Anything more than about a 15 MPH speed difference translates to a very, very unsafe road.

When you get a truck going 35 in the right lane, all the cars who want to go 50 have to pass in the same fast lane as the cars who want to go 65. Half of them are scared to pass, and end up passing a 35 MPH truck at 40 MPH, creating a cascading backup that can stretch for miles. The other half are angry that they can't go 60+. It is in this sort of backup that accidents are likely to occur, particularly when changing lanes to pass the slow vehicle.

By comparison, 175 might be curvy, but AFAIK (I've never driven that road) it has only one lane in each direction, and where it is unsafe, it is obviously unsafe, so people don't drive like morons. In much the same way, highway 9 is a curvy nightmare, but the problem spots are clearly marked, and people generally respect the road. What makes 17 so bad is that what looks like a halfway decent road really isn't. :-)

Also, it's not very windy at all. The 101, that's windy. Or did you mean winding?

Windy (long "I") is a synonym for winding. :-)

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727325)

you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

Of course it is about revenue. Governments need revenue to operate. A tax on speeders seems like a good way to do it.

What exactly does operate means? Is it by chance "spend a imperial fuckton of money on drones to catch a few drivers that will quickly learn to adapt?" followed by "raise taxes to pay back the wasted fuckton"?

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (4, Funny)

Kahlandad (1999936) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727353)

you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

Of course it is about revenue. Governments need revenue to operate. A tax on speeders seems like a good way to do it.

Exactly! How else are they going to pay for those 30,000 new drones?

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

hb253 (764272) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727391)

Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85. Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

Nope. Most will drive at at the speed the road was designed for. The minority of idiots will drive stupidly no matter what laws are in effect.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727601)

Depends on the mood of the driver. Most "suggested" speeds can be doubled if you have a good sports car and it's a warm, dry day. It's fun as hell too.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727721)

you mean it is about revenue? not safety?

Of course it is about revenue. Governments need revenue to operate. A tax on speeders seems like a good way to do it.

...

We could legalize drugs. It would not only get rid of the whole "war on drugs" problem, and earn a decent revenue for the government. Would reduce the cost of prisons and courts, and a whole bunch of other wasted costs we have because of it.

Would bring in a bit more money then fining speeders.

 

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728361)

We could legalize drugs.

Colorado and Washington already have, and since the sky hasn't fallen like all the chicken-littles predicted, more states will likely follow. Legalization might be on the ballot this fall in California.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727069)

How is that different than anywhere else in the country, (where traffic isn't backed up) in the morning. I do 70 and feel like I'm in the way and going to be run off the road.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727073)

And yet people aren't dying at an alarming rate on the turnpike or any other interstate highway, the roads and cars are built to handle at much higher speeds than are posted in the U.S. Hell, 20 years ago cars sucked compared to today but I was able to drive a fairly normal sedan at 100mph on the autobahn without incident. What we really need to do to improve safety isn't to crack down on speeding, it's crack down on distracted driving, a week doesn't go buy that some idiot on a cellphone or putting on their makeup doesn't come within second of crashing into me (defensive driving and ABS for the win).

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727823)

My car is more than 20 years old and the American cars of today still don't handle as well. The 300M for example got a fucked-over E-class front end. I have an S-class. The cars of today can bite my choad.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43728275)

People also don't know that the interstate highway system was DESIGNED for 85mph speed limits with the crappy cars of the 1950s.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727459)

In the short term, these drones will catch a lot of offenders.

"Catch"?

Oh. I was sorta hoping for the COD4-style Predator drones. There was a lady in a blue MDX, talking away on her cell phone who cut me off on the Eisenhower this morning. I immediately thought how nice it would be if I could call down a drone strike on her with my smartphone.

So that's NOT what this story is about?

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727697)

You haven't seen the drivers on the Garden State Parkway. Speed Limit varies from 55 to 65 mph where there is no construction happening and people typically average 75 mph, many easily go 80 mph. In the short term, these drones will catch a lot of offenders. I'm pretty sure of that.

And it bothers you that drivers drive a bit faster when traffic conditions permit it? Do you get mad when there is construction and people have to drive at 45 mph?

Is there children walking along side this "Parkway" that people speed on? School zones? Stop lights? No? STFU.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (3, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727807)

What is a "safe speed" anyway?

Speed limits are NOT set to safe speeds. They are set to maximize revenues. The 85th percentile was the standard, before politicians got involved in speed limits. Open up a highway, and post no speed limits at all. Monitor the speeds at which people travel. After a period of time, set the speed at the 85th percentile, and you have a safe speed. In the case of a blind curve or something, you should post a lower limit as a warning.

Enforcing the law just because it is the law is moronic. Change the law.

One of the first lessons of leaderships is, "Never give an order that you know will not be obeyed." Ask any military officer of NCO/petty officer.

You know, I know, everyone in America knows that the nationwide 55 mph limit was ignored while it was in effect. Ditto with many speed limits around the nation.

Go back to the 85th percentile, then aggressively go after people who break THAT law. Stop robbing people for conforming to the flow of traffic.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728199)

No, the 85th percentile is a good limit as a baseline. You should aggressively go after people who are driving above... say the 99th percentile. Enforcing any law that 15% of people break is generally a bad idea.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727035)

They're probably comparing risk/reward with a piloted helicopter. (i.e. no witnesses if the drone lands on someone and kills them)

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727075)

You're obviously not a politician. Raising revenue is everything.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727077)

The big thing is drones are less expensive than a helicopter but more so than cameras.

You need trained pilots/operators and still are limited by range. You have bandwidth issues(if you think a 2GB cap on your cell is bad try flying a plane with that bandwidth. I doubt the military will allow sat links.

30,000 drones sounds like a lot but with some 20,000 municipal regions, 3,000+ counties, you are talking about a lot of area to cover.

Combine that with massively cash strapped local/city/state governments I wouldn't worry to much about drones in everyday use.

I would expect police to have 2-3 drones to replace each helicopter they currently fly along with maybe 1-2 dozen AR parrot sized versions for buildings and foot pursuits. but communication ranges will be the limiting factors. The wireless spectrum just isn't cut out for such things. It will limit large scale deployments. (you can't use cellular if the police can cut cell service to an area)

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728031)

You need trained pilots/operators and still are limited by range.

AFAIK, most newer UAVs are autonomous, including takeoff and landing. They require an operator only when they discover something that warrants a person's attention. You could quite literally run these things up and down the road all day, and your only personnel costs would be the person examining the suspicious footage to write the tickets and the person filling them up with fuel.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727129)

How often do these things fall out of the sky, and does the added revenue offset the lives lost when they do?

Ummm, the whole point of drones is, they're unmanned. There may be loss of money when they fail, but not life.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

OhPlz (168413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727145)

How often do these things fall out of the sky, and does the added revenue offset the lives lost when they do?

Ummm, the whole point of drones is, they're unmanned. There may be loss of money when they fail, but not life.

You're assuming that they don't hit anything when they fall out of the sky.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727343)

How often do these things fall out of the sky, and does the added revenue offset the lives lost when they do?

Ummm, the whole point of drones is, they're unmanned. There may be loss of money when they fail, but not life.

You're assuming that they don't hit anything when they fall out of the sky.

Which, on the New Jersey Turnpike, is about as likely as a polar bear on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

j3p0 (16007) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727387)

  We live under an approach to Logan Airport (BOS), about 20 years ago a British Ariways flight loses a chunk of its flap, which is a flat- ish piece of wing-shaped aluminum that weighed maybe 100 lbs. Tumbles down a few thousand feet and bounces off the roof of a house about 300 feet away from mine. bounces again off the family car and lands on the driveway. Family is inside having a holiday dinner, family includes a couple of attorneys BTW. You can probably guess how this turned out for them.

My wife asks me if we're insured for that sort of thing, I say "Sweetie...we only need insurance if our house hits their plane."

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727241)

not any more often than the manned planes they have currently enforcing speed limits on our highways.

what, you thought there was anything different at all except these are 'unmanned'?

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727413)

There are many differences:

  • Manned planes have a person who can actively steer them to minimize collateral damage if they're going down.
  • Manned planes are required by law to comply with maintenance schedules designed to ensure safety.
  • Manned planes are not (usually) controlled by a computer that can be vulnerable to software bugs.
  • Manned planes are not (usually) vulnerable to EMPs or random stray cosmic rays.
  • Manned planes are not made en masse by the lowest bidder.
  • Manned planes are inherently limited in number by the number of available pilots and the salary of those pilots.

Need I continue?

This is not to say that drones won't have fewer accidents per vehicle (assuming a single pilot who could have a heart attack), but if you can buy the drones for a few hundred bucks apiece, you can potentially deploy tens of thousands of them for less money than a single manned aircraft (over the long term). So even tiny failure rates can pose a very serious problem.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

slugstone (307678) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727673)

There are many differences:

  • Manned planes have a person who can actively steer them to minimize collateral damage if they're going down.
  • Manned planes are required by law to comply with maintenance schedules designed to ensure safety.
  • Manned planes are not (usually) controlled by a computer that can be vulnerable to software bugs.
  • Manned planes are not (usually) vulnerable to EMPs or random stray cosmic rays.
  • Manned planes are not made en masse by the lowest bidder.
  • Manned planes are inherently limited in number by the number of available pilots and the salary of those pilots.

Need I continue?

Please remember that Manned planes, at least the commercial manned planes, are brought to haul cattle and keep them quiet for the flight. Also it has been a long time since fly by cable. That means EMP does have effect on those computer controlling the planes.

PS turn off your cell phone.

If you want I could ... oh nevermind.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727809)

Umm... we're not talking about commercial airlines here. That's an entirely different universe. The comparison was between drones and traffic aircraft, which almost certainly are not fly-by-wire. They're usually either small airplanes (e.g. Cessna) or small helicopters.

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727549)

With 3D printed surface to air missiles, every day!

Re:Risk vs. Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43728057)

like the jersey toll system isn't already corrupt, they need more help.

it's the same in florida.

run away, run away.

jr

Hellfire Enema (4, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727059)

I've seen one or two drivers on the Turnpike that could have used a Hellfire missile up the tailpipe.

Re:Hellfire Enema (5, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727107)

So the question is,

Will these drones be targeting tailgaters? If not, when can this feature be implemented.

Re:Hellfire Enema (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727221)

Oh yes and if someone can set them up to get people who don't indicate before they turn, I'll put in an order for a half dozen. I don't work for the government or any municipal authority but I think I can keep the show running long enough for the message to sink in.

Re:Hellfire Enema (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727273)

So the question is,
  Will these drones be targeting tailgaters?

Used to be easy to figure out who was going to tailgate -- they were driving a BMW. Now it's a little more complex, it seems that some of these a**holes have switched to the larger Audi cars and SUVs, the ones with white LED eyebrows over the headlights. No drones required.

Apologies to Simon and Garfunkel (1)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727061)

...counting the drones on the New Jersey Turnpike

we've all come to mourn for America...we've all come to mourn for America.

... What about Art ? (1)

careysb (566113) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727333)

(not Garfunkel). I'm an amateur videographer and have combed Vimeo and other sites for artistic videos, a number of which were taken from various flavors of "drones". Is this now illegal ?

Too late - local papers are using them now (4, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727189)

It's too late, the local Seattle paper The Stranger is already using drones in public, under both the First Amendment (free press) and Second Amendment (Right To Bear Drones).

Wake up and smell the privacy-disabled future!

(caveat - Canadians have privacy rights, and technically the Washington State Constitution has strong privacy rights - but there are still drones)

Re:Too late - local papers are using them now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43728141)

I'm guessing their drone could be taken out by a slingshot. And it should be.

Too effiecient (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727245)

Many laws today if taken to their logical extreme are pretty stupid. But the two things that tend to ameliorate their implementation is that there are limits to how many police can do so many things along with that the police themselves(usually) use common sense. So if you are zipping down the road going 68 in a 65 zone most police won't bother with you along with the fact that there are a limited number of police.

But with more and more policing becoming automated it is possible that you will drive, as you usually do, from home to work and arrive to discover that you have $10,000 in fines. Every time you bumped up over the speed limit, even for a few seconds, gets you another $500. Every time you didn't come to a complete stop (as in not moving at all) at a stop sign $150. Not to mention the zillion stupid laws that most people, including policemen, don't even know; so every time you didn't signal 150 feet before turning another $150. Did you jaywalk to cross the quiet street to go into work? $300!

Right now the robotic systems are fairly stupid and can only monitor basic concepts like the physics of automobiles. But both their information gathering ability (have every traffic light make a record of all license plates.) along with their analytical ability (you are acting suspicious) is only going to get better and is going to give the police more and more probable or actual cause to arrest, fine, and detain us.

Applying information theory can allow people to see all kinds of interesting things but will also throw up many false positives. Your driving habits might overlap with a series of murders/robberies.

Then you get into who will have access to this information. If you join a political group fighting against the robotization of policing the police might suddenly take great interest in your movements and without much effort make life hell by say the above $10,000 worth of fines every time you drive.

I don't see this as a bizarre conspiracy so much as the mathematics of how our laws are created and then implemented are going to become incompatible with robotic policing. Right now the lawmakers are inclined to grease the squeaky special interest groups. They pass laws that they know will rarely, if ever, be implemented but quiet down the self righteous special interest groups. Just look at most drug laws in the western world. These are most definitely not the laws of the majority but those of a small group of stick-up-the-ass whiners. Now picture a world where all their existing stupid laws are enforced rigidly and nearly as often as the supposed offenses.

In other news... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727283)

The future looks bright for Hardware and Software hackers alike, with new self driving and self flying targets and deployment platforms.

I mean, really... [gawkerassets.com]

Oh come on (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727289)

Mounting things to light poles is 10,000 times more practical.

can"t drive 90mph anymore (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727291)

i hit 92mph last week week on the way back from philly

Re:can"t drive 90mph anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727337)

You are SO cool.

Re:can"t drive 90mph anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727467)

An old friend usually wishes me goodbye with a casual, "Keep it under a hundred" (USA=100 mph). I usually manage, but sometimes an open road beckons.

Re:can"t drive 90mph anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727637)

Several years back, I found an open road and hit 116 mph - in a 5-speed Geo Prizm (a.k.a. Toyota Corolla). It doesn't even have that on the speedometer. It still had some more, but the peg was in the way and I didn't want to break the gauge. Top speed for a '90 Civic hatch 4-speed (stock) is 96mph - that little car refused to go faster, even though 125 mph was on the gauge.

Okay, enough is enough (2)

MoronGames (632186) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727335)

We are turning into a nanny state, and we need to put a stop to it. There are no reasonable arguments for spying on people with 30,000 drones.

To combat such measures against American citizens, we need to start developing plans to take these things out of the sky. Perhaps we can do this by interfering with their radios, causing them to crash, shooting rockets at them, shooting at them with conventional firearms (while wearing a mask of course), or chasing them down with other drones and ramming into them. We need to be able to easily, cheaply, and effectively stop them. Of course, and I think it goes without saying, I'm NOT advocating that people actually do any of these things, but we still need to discover the best way to do it before it's too late.

Re:Okay, enough is enough (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727457)

We've already passed the point of being a totalitarian state I'm afraid. The battle has already been lost. I mean,the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, the supposedly "independent" IRS just got caught targeting opposition groups for extra auditing, and they seized the records of the AP.

So just to recap, we've got:

A sky high incarceration rate
A tax regime which targets the opposition
Numerous foreign wars that don't make us safer
A lack of a free press
Etc.

The war is lost. The drones are just the icing on the tyranny cake. The US has really reached the point of no return, instead of trying to change it, I think its time to get your ass and assets out of the control of the US.

Re:Okay, enough is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727607)

There's a run on bullets and guns for a reason. There's literally a waiting list for bullets. Even some smaller Police departments are having a hard time getting them.

Re:Okay, enough is enough (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727655)

Yeah, but I don't see anything good coming out of that (aside from the fact that its dramatically cut down on my target shooting because I can't seem to find any .22 bullets anywhere for a reasonable price, let alone reasonably priced .223 bullets for my AR, at least prices haven't gone up for my .416 Rigby...).

Despite all the rhetoric from the neocons, when they come for their guns, they will turn them over. http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2012/7/30/when-they-come-for-your-guns-you-will-turn-them-over.html [dollarvigilante.com]

Re:Okay, enough is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727787)

The only time US citizens have to worry is when they stop having elections. The only time they will be able to fix this is through the electoral process.

The US national government is on a spiraling binge of corruption, and things won' t get better until the money supply is cut off. US citizens can't do this directly, but they can sure as hell avoid electing anyone to office that is funded by corporate money.

Re:Okay, enough is enough (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727947)

The only way that elections can change anything for the better is if the majority wants a better future. In the US (and most other countries if not all others!) this is not the case. Look at the statistics of people on welfare, disability, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, social security, etc. These people will naturally never vote against such measures and will instead vote for increases in such benefits (I mean, who wouldn't want more money if they didn't have to pay for it!). Now, look at the number of people who get their salary from stealing it from the rest of us (everyone in the military, public schools, state government, federal government, city government, county government, etc.) for these people, an increase in taxes is necessary for them to get a higher salary, thus they will vote to get a higher salary (as anyone else would).

Mix that in with people who simply don't vote, aren't informed, can't vote (due to them being under 18, or having their basic rights stripped away by government) and you've got a recipe for disaster.

You cannot vote your way out of tyranny when you have more people taking from the system than paying in.

Re:Okay, enough is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727473)

TWO WORDS. HERF GUN

Re:Okay, enough is enough (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727649)

The problem is the average citizen can't, legally, get his/her hands on some SAMs. Plus, do you know how much a Stinger costs on the second-hand market? There is the whole import problem too. A directional EMP (if there is such a thing) would probably rank in the top ten list of weapons Joe Citizen is NOT allowed to own. Shooting them isn't an option either. Most are too high, too fast, and shooting at them with automatic weapons would draw massive amounts of attention.

Passive measures are probably the best we've got for now. Safety in numbers. Do your naughty business in cities or underground.

Re:Okay, enough is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43728189)

I could see the illegal parisol market booming.

If we are... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727339)

If we are to have a government, its primary job should be for providing for the safety of its citizens, not creating "crimes" to milk for revenue. And an (unarmed!) drone can be used for both. A drone would be great for search and rescue operations, unfortunately, with the track record of government, it will most likely be used to help kidnap people for growing plants and for breaking arbitrary speed limits.

Law of Unintended Consequences (2)

Smerta (1855348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727495)

Security in these things, from what I understand, is pretty shabby.

So what's going to happen? Civilians will resent being monitored and harassed by drones. They will start trying to figure out ways to confuse, disrupt and hack drones. There is this wonderful thing called the internet. Information tends to spread on the internet. Smart researchers will speak at Black Hat & Defcon about fuzzing, confusing and otherwise disrupting drones (which they have every right to do). And this information will eventually find its way to the battlefield.

My personal opinion is that regardless of which administration or party is in power, the trend towards more control, monitoring and scrutiny is irreversible. Unfortunately.

target practice (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727541)

Just make (keep?) it legal to use any drone over public land or your private property for target practice, and the problem will quickly take care of itself.

Re:target practice (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43727761)

Years ago, all you people voted to ban private ownership of surface-to-air missiles. "Why would you need a surface-to-air missile?" you asked. "Duck Hunting? That's just crazy!"

Well, look who's laughing now!

(For the humor impaired, this is intended to be funny.)

Re:target practice (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728273)

I think the real problem was you only needed one or two missiles, but SAMs Club always sold them in bulk.

Undecided (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43727837)

I am not in favor of using drones as the Obama Government has in the middle East and Northeast Africa for indiscriminate killing for political purposes to advance the Obama Terror War.

On the other hand, if the Predator, HellFire and KILLNOW drones are unleashed over the USA Eisenhower Federal Road System to indiscriminately kill drivers using cell phone while the drive then I am for sure all for it !

Next would be having 'Zapper' drones inside Safeway and Walmart to indiscriminately kill patrons using cell phone while trying to push their cart.

High Schools would love the ability to have drones patrolling the halls to indiscriminately kill the 'little bastards' as they prance between classes.

Students of High Schools would also love Retaliation drones to indiscriminately kill the 'Smelly Ass Teachers' as they emerge from the 'Conference Room' at the schools.

What a Wonderful Drone World awaits us !

Killer Mobile App? (1)

JimtownKelly (634785) | about a year and a half ago | (#43728159)

With location-tracking, I feel like a sitting duck. Now I don't even want a smartphone.
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