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Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

slimjim8094 Re:both? (77 comments)

Um... this is exactly how pilot licensing works - same aircraft, same actions, difference is money? Bam, you need a commercial pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate won't do. Commercial operators are held to a higher safety standard, which makes sense - money brings with it a set of pressures and constraints that your average weekend pilot doesn't have, so their skills should be better.

Would you prefer the FAA require certification of all drone operators, commercial or not? Because they'll do that before they allow commercial usage of drones without at least some oversight.

2 days ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

slimjim8094 Re:Not a rule (199 comments)

You're misreading the regulations. Over a sparsely populated area there is no altitude restriction, there's a distance to "person, vessel, vehicle, or structure" requirement. You can fly as low as you want over e.g., a cornfield (say, for crop dusting) or the desert or ocean so long as you don't compromise the "emergency landing without undue hazard" rule. I'd argue that it's not reasonable to expect everyone who buys a drone to become intimately familiar with 14 CFR 91's requirements, so some general rules are warranted. For instance: what if someone wants to operate a drone within a Class E surface area (which is within several miles of many airports, and explicitly goes all the way to the ground because it's for the purposes of taking off or landing) - should they be subject to visibility and cloud clearance requirements? The reason they exist is because instrument traffic coming in to land may be coming out of the clouds and VFR traffic needs to stay clear enough to see-and-avoid them. Seems fairly reasonable, right? But a drone might be below 500 feet and still kill someone if they don't follow these rules.

But that's not really the point. Something makes an aircraft subject to these regulations, right? You can't just get a plane and say you're not an airplane and as long as you fly it below "navigable airspace" you're fine - in fact that's the exact opposite of the rules. The FAA certainly doesn't assert authority over hovercraft or other "ground effect vehicles" - it seems reasonable to assume that the FAA considers its authority over aircraft to begin when they can and/or are designed to be flown into the "navigable airspace". Many drones can fly over 500 feet just fine. I suspect the FAA would be less concerned about a drone with a GPS map magically kept up to date that prevented it from flying into any airport's approach path, and kept it below the minimum altitude for manned flight (including refusing to take off from a field or other "sparsely populated area").

I think the regulation just hasn't caught up with drones, but they're working on it. It won't be the free-for-all some people want it to be, but the FAA isn't some antagonistic supervillain of a government agency. They just want to make sure these things don't get sucked into someone's jet engine or going through a windshield, and they also don't want commercial operations without a higher standard of safety. I'm a private pilot and there's all sorts of rules about money changing hands in regards to my flight, and while it's occasionally obnoxious the intent to prevent a bunch of "Billy Bob's Charter" services from popping up everywhere. If you're in a manned aircraft and you want to be compensated for flight, you need to be a commercial pilot, which has higher standards. I don't see why the same basic principle of having higher standards shouldn't apply to commercial drone operations - and neither does the FAA, which is why they're going through the rulemaking process as we speak.

about two weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

slimjim8094 Re:Not a rule (199 comments)

Go nuts. Their policy notice (basically "we interpret the already-existing regulations in this way") was struck down as insufficiently supported, so they're going through the official rulemaking process to make an actual regulation out of it. I suggest you keep an eye on that (there is a public comment period), because that will not be struck down and I guarantee that getting hit with it will hurt. Oh, and it'll probably be something like "be a model aircraft (with all the restrictions, including noncommercial use) or the drone and person have to be certified like aircraft and pilots" - not exactly "do whatever you want"

about two weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

slimjim8094 Re:Not a rule (199 comments)

FAA has no authority below the mandated altitudes for air travel.

Wrong. FAA's authority applies to any flying vehicle in the airspace of this country. Don't believe me? Here's the quote from the law that established the FAA:

The Administrator is authorized and directed to develop plans for and formulate policy with respect to the use of the navigable airspace; and assign by rule, regulation, or order the use of the navigable airspace under such terms, conditions, and limitations as he may deem necessary in order to insure the safety of aircraft and the efficient utilization of such airspace. He may modify or revoke such assignment when required in the public interest.

Property owners have air rights above their property up to the FAA's mandated altitudes or as locally mandated by code.

Nope. Another common misconception, but "he United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States." (source).

Consider reading the Wikipedia page for some interpretation. Basically the idea is that you have airspace rights to the extent that you can use the space to have useful stuff on it (i.e., you can't build a 600 foot pole just to keep planes away, it has to be for some useful purpose). It's not at all clear that using drones grants you these rights, since they're definitely more aircraft than building.

So, the FAA should kindly go fuck itself. It does not tell us what we can do in the immediate vicinity around our homes or property.

If I want to hire a drone to do a fly through of my home, or my realtor offers to do it themselves, I will do it and the feds can shove their rules as far up their ass as they please.

Nobody's talking about flying a drone inside your house, they're talking about flying one over your house. You know, airspace. As far as thumbing your nose at the FAA - go nuts, but be prepared to win in court, suffer the consequences, or start a (successful) revolution. You could say the same thing about any other law or regulation - it's basically a question if whether you accept the rule of law or not.

Just so we're all clear on the sequence of events: the law creates the FAA and says "you regulate our airspace". The FAA, in the course of performing its legal mandate, creates a number of regulations (such as how pilots and aircraft are certified, standards for airports and navigation, etc) through a process called "rulemaking". They also issue more specific interpretations of the rules they've already enacted. (None of this is unusual; all federal agencies work the same way.) One such opinion decides that drones are basically model aircraft and that's OK so long as they follow the rules - one of which is no commercial use. The court decided that an opinion wasn't good enough here, so the FAA is going through the rulemaking process like they're supposed to. The end result will not be "yeah do whatever the hell you want", it'll probably be "be a hobbyist model aircraft (and comply with the rules, including noncommercial use) or get certified like an aircraft/pilot".

about two weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

slimjim8094 Re:that's not the FAA's job (199 comments)

"The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States." And they've delegated the administration of it to the FAA. The only air rights you have over your property are those you can reasonably use in connection with the property, e.g. adding another storey to your house. It's not at all clear that drones are more "stuff related to your use of the property" than aircraft - that's the question, right? (IANAL)

And it's 500 feet, unless you're in a "congested area" like a city (where it is 1000 feet). Even then, it doesn't apply if the aircraft is that low for the purposes of takeoff or landing, so everyone within a few miles of any runway threshold will have planes closer than 500 feet.

about two weeks ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

slimjim8094 Re:Not a rule (199 comments)

Those policy guidelines say "we think we can enforce this rule in this way". They may be wrong, but you'd have to go to court to find out, because they intend to sue anyone who violates their interpretation.

about two weeks ago
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Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

slimjim8094 Re:Everyone here is embarassing themselves (310 comments)

Alright then. Let's see the video and cut all this other bullshit. We're all wasting our time listening to this he-said-she-said.

I will say that it's hard to believe that the drone was below 300'. Those things can go much higher than 300' (citation) so their lawyer is wrong when he says it's impossible. And if you believe the chopper pilot at all (you don't, I know - see below) it's hard to conclude that this guy wasn't at least above 1000 feet.

People are extremely quick to conclude that this guy is deliberately lying out of malice (because... you know, how could the police do otherwise?), when the much simpler explanation is that he's suffering from a sensory illusion and/or telling the truth (probably a combination). This chopper pilot may be a sworn officer, but probably hasn't ever arrested anyone in their life. Lots of cops (not the majority) are basically bullies who wanted to find a way to beat people up after high school, and fancy themselves the "thin blue line" and so on. This guy spends his days flying around, watching cars trying to flee and pointing lights at people trying to flee and so on and trying to direct units on the ground. What, precisely, is his motive for this malicious and planned setup? Honestly I think he was pissed about someone interfering with his safety and wanted them stopped before they hurt someone. I would be too - and in fact, I was last week when I was trying to land while backyard fireworks were coming up into the approach path. (The tower sent the police over to have a chat with them.)

I'm going to harp on this. What's the logic? As far as I can tell, it's:
a) Pilot says some stuff and his numbers are wrong in ways that are at least mostly explainable as an illusion
b) The accused say "no, that's not true" and their lawyer lies about the whole thing being impossible anyway (the 300' nonsense)
c) Therefore, the pilot deliberately fabricated things to get them arrested.

I don't see how that follows. Even if you forego the malice and say that he was arrested because the guy got the numbers wrong, that doesn't appear to be what happened (please, citations if I'm wrong - I may be). The arrest appears to be for doing something dangerous - I don't see how the specific altitude was relevant to the charge.

But you're right, there's a lot of questions about what exactly happened here... if only we had a system for discovering the truth about criminal incidents and deciding what to do...

about two weeks ago
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Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

slimjim8094 Re:Jurisdiction (310 comments)

I'm sorry, I'm not usually so harsh, but this is all completely wrong. I'm choosing to believe that you are just completely ignorant of aviation (most people are, I don't hold it against you). But please know the limitations of your knowledge especially when it comes to highly specialized fields with its own rules, customs, language, procedures, etc.

1) 1/2 mile line of sight is no problem for virtually any radio, not even for you cheap-ass blister pack FRS radios. Hell WiFi would probably work alright.
2) Nobody said the GWB was 2000 feet in the air. Listen to the radio recording, the guy was cleared for an altitude of 2000 feet (well, at or above, but for his purposes he wanted to be low). The GWB is how he's identifying his position to ATC - it's a VFR waypoint and mandatory reporting point for that part of the river. You're interpreting the "near" thing in the strangest way possible, at least in an aviation sense. Later on he mentions being at 800-1000 feet but that was much later.
3) They said nothing about Mach numbers. The guy thought he was looking at some military aircraft that was rather further away (and larger) than a tiny drone within tens of feet. The perspective information told him that the thing was basically coming from the ground, but it was probably just a few hundred feet below his altitude or less. Such a climb would certainly appear to be extremely fast if you were interpreting it as being some distance away. You know that commercial jets are going like 500 knots at 30,000 feet but they don't look that fast from the ground? Same phenomenon. This is one of a number of sensory illusions in aviation, most of which are more prevalent at night (this was midnight local time). People just aren't very good at dealing with large expanses of 3D in which things can be (almost) arbitrarily positioned - we do better with 2D and ballistics, which makes sense given our background, but isn't particularly useful for flight.
4) His "measurements" don't seem to be relevant to the arrest so I don't know why them being suspect matters very much. Knowing something is above, below, or at the horizon isn't a measurement - it's looking out the window. And if you're at 2000 feet, that's how you decide something is at 2000 feet. I'll admit that his relative measures are more suspect, as I'd expect them to be at night - but again they don't seem relevant. It's certainly far from evidence that they're deliberately trying to lie to arrest this guy. People fly into mountains because of these kinds of sensory illusions, you think they're just screwing with people when they do so? People really are eviscerating this pilot assuming he's their worst impression of a corrupt cop - if he's even a sworn officer, it's probably name only. I'd be surprised if he'd ever cuffed someone in his life.
5) Everyone seems to be repeating that the police approached the drone. Sorry, where is this coming from? That terrible Vice "article"? It has no citation for this, aside from the accused, and the transcript doesn't support it. Sorry to call you out specifically, since everybody's doing it, but I've seen no evidence of this particular statement. (Aside: it's pretty sad when the NY Post is far more informative than something at least trying to be legitimate.)
6) Every pilot knows everything is recorded, always. Everything. Always. The radios are recorded. All radar everywhere is recorded. The phones are recorded. If I call to get a damn weather briefing, it's recorded. The idea that they'd be surprised that there's a recording is beyond laughable.

I agree that this is more a FAA matter than a police matter. The police have no jurisdiction in the air, but that said the perpetrators were not in the air. This is, funnily enough, an area that the FAA is working on clarifying. That said, these guys should be happy that the city cops are the ones they're dealing with - the FAA would be substantially more unpleasant.

about two weeks ago
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Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

slimjim8094 Re:Jurisdiction (310 comments)

The pilot was almost certainly at 2000 feet. The transcript doesn't show it, but if you listen to the recording (it's near the beginning) he was cleared down to that altitude. And for whatever he took off to look for in the first place, he probably didn't want to be much higher than 2000. So it would've been at his altitude, which is what I was saying it's much easier to estimate regardless of distance. He didn't say "it was at 2000 feet (and I'm somewhere else)", he said "it was (at my altitude, and I'm) at 2000 feet". It's like - it might be hard to tell the height difference between two buildings from the ground, but from the top of one it becomes much easier. Look out, and does it go above the horizon or not? That's what you do in an aircraft.

about two weeks ago
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Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

slimjim8094 Everyone here is embarassing themselves (310 comments)

I thought folks around here were supposed to be smart, not knee-jerk paranoids. I've seen very few comments from anyone with anything substantive to add - for the most part, just a bunch of people scoring points with the crowd by talking about "cops are all fuckin' pigs, man".

Has anybody actually listened to the linked recording? Or read the transcript on the Vice thing (the article is a crock of shit but the transcript seems accurate)? It doesn't indicate much of anything regarding the physical movement of the chopper, much less that the police helicopter chased them. The only reference to the position of the helicopter is "We are going to stay here and figure out where he puts it." and directing ground units (you know, police cars) to the place it landed. Much has been made of the "0 to 2000" thing too, which is pretty stupid of the pilot to say - but realize that that's before he thinks it's a drone, he thinks it's some military aircraft much further away. Within 50 feet, a small drone would absolutely look like it came from nowhere and climbed extremely quickly, if you were looking miles out for other aircraft. And if you're flying an aircraft mantaining visual separation, that's exactly what you're doing.

I mean honestly. I know this site's gone downhill recently but this is worse than Reddit. I know there's a lot of people here who are really hot for drones, but I fly in this country's airspace along with about 350,000 other people and I really don't want one of these things blasting through my window, or fucking up my prop, or denting a wing. Birds scare me enough - and I do know people who've had birds come through their windshield and knock them out while flying (both OK, thankfully - they regained consciousness a few seconds later in a slow spiraling descent). These drones are like birds with more metal. I, and every other certificated pilot, spent about 60 hours learning how to fly and a big part of that is all the rules and airspace classifications and so on - how much do you want to bet that these guys knew they'd busted a Bravo airspace and what that means in terms of safety? (Hint: you can't be in a Bravo without a clearance, so there's no surprise encounters at hundreds of knots closing speed - unless some drone shows up in front of you!) Do you think all these guys are mantaining at least 3 mile visibility, and staying 500' below, 1000' above, and 2000' horizontally clear of clouds (Class E VFR minimums)? Do you think they care, or are even curious if there's a cloud clearance requirement, or know anything about the difference between class E and class G airspace and when it starts?

Seriously. I see the same shit on here whenever there's a story about laser pointers and planes. All of you, go to your nearby airport, find a flight school, and do an intro flight. It's like $70, they'll let you fly the plane, it's really cool. But notice that these planes aren't tanks, and there's no failsafe like in your car. You can't just hit the brakes and have a good chance of everything working out alright. If something comes through the window of your car and knocks you out, you'll probably be basically OK - but it's a guaranteed fatality in an airplane. If some idiot blinds you with a laser pointer in your car and you can't see, same thing - just hit the brakes in a car, but also a guaranteed fatality in an airplane.

I mean really. Sorry for the rant but this is just out of hand.

about two weeks ago
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Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

slimjim8094 Re:Jurisdiction (310 comments)

It's much easier to estimate altitude. Speed and distance, sure, but if it's at your level (i.e., the horizon - which is what you spend your days looking at if you're flying VFR) it must be approximately at your altitude. Even 100 feet of altitude is enough to make something visibly below or above you. So if the chopper was at 2000 (plausible clearance for that part of the river) and he saw something at his altitude, I'm willing to believe the drone was at 2000. The illusion may be responsible for the "rapid" climb - it's possible it was only a few hundred feet.

I concur with the GP. These idiots were lucky their toy didn't get sucked into a heavy's turbine on approach to LGA. I fly in this area with my Cessna 172 and it wouldn't do my plane any good to hit this thing at 110 knots. Probably go right through the windshield and into my head, or dent a wing or wreck a prop. I'd be pretty pissed if I was in the bravo and some traffic nobody knew about ran into me - that's why I got the Bravo clearance, to avoid that crap!

If I bust a Bravo, I'm in some deep shit. Wonder what the FAA will do to these guys? They don't have any cert to revoke, but I believe the FAA can levy fines...

about two weeks ago
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Does Google Have Too Much Influence Over K-12 CS Education?

slimjim8094 Re:Does anyone here REMEMBER K-12 computer science (66 comments)

Are you sure that was intended to be computer science? Lots of schools basically have a "play with Excel/Word" class, but most don't pretend it's CS. There is such a thing as real HS computer science - such as the AP class listed in the TFS. APCS A was basically "learn Java" with a few sorts (insertion/selection to motivate, and merge to actually use) and (simple) data structures thrown in like a binary search tree - but APCS AB, which is now discontinued unfortunately, had real stuff - heaps, binary trees, maps and sets, some complexity theory, several additional sorts (heap and quick) and if I remember correctly even a few balanced binary trees. Pretty much what I did in my freshman spring "intro to data structures" class.

There's definitely real CS available for those who want it, though if the school doesn't have APCS or has a shitty version of it you may be better off doing your own thing or taking a class at a local college - most HS are actually perfectly happy to accept that for credit (and let you miss part of school to do it), by the way.

about two weeks ago
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Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails

slimjim8094 Re:why? (346 comments)

FYI, the US post office considers itself the owner of your mailbox. That's why it's a felony to steal somebody's mail - you're stealing from their property. The analogy is actually pretty accurate - the "post office" owns the mailbox and only the recipient can remove stuff from it without a court order.

Citations: http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=107;t=000617;p=0 and http://www.mackinac.org/5394. Both have a lot of people complaining about it but it seems to be true.

about three weeks ago
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Bye Bye Aereo, For Now

slimjim8094 Re:They where acting like the cable co / CATV (93 comments)

Why don't you try putting up an antenna and reselling the signal to your neighbors for profit. Do you think such behavior would be regarded as legal or acceptable?

It wouldn't be legal, but only because the law that's at issue here was written in order to make that behavior illegal after somebody did precisely that and it was ruled legal by the SCOTUS (in other words, "so we fixed the glitch"). It's all in the decision.

Whether it should be illegal is another question. The law as written leads to absurdities like this Aereo case, but you can think of others. Let's remove the motive of profit here (the law doesn't distinguish anyway). My neighbors were going to put up their own antennas, but we all pooled our money and got a nice one up on the hill behind our lots. Is that illegal? Let's reduce the scope - surely I can put my own antenna on the hill, but I can't put a splitter in it for the one guy next door? I'd do it in my own house for multiple TVs, what makes the property line so different? (The law doesn't have a "households" exception.) Or am I breaking the law by splitting my rooftop antenna among 3 TVs? Are the splitters what makes it illegal? Apparently as they just ruled that Aereo's multiple antenna trick (with no splitters) didn't work.

Basically the law says that putting it on a cable constitutes the creation of a derivative work, but that's just stupid. That's what an antenna *does*.

In any case, Aereo was trying to profit off the work of others

Actually I think they're trying to profit on their own work (transcoding, DVR, storage, streaming, client) but let's move on.

without offering them any sort of consideration in return.

Except further advertising eyeballs? Keep in mind this is stuff the networks are putting a lot of energy into casting as widely as possible, and can be received for free. They're paying for it with advertising, so I'd think more watchers would help them - no? I mean it certainly couldn't hurt; each person using Aereo or whatever could instead just use an antenna and get the same thing, just less convenient. But I'm pretty sure the broadcasters don't call that particular behavior "illegal copyright violation", they call it "marketshare". (Of course without some kind of an agreement, a cableco shouldn't be allowed to substitute their own ads - that would rightly constitute a derivative work)

about three weeks ago
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Bye Bye Aereo, For Now

slimjim8094 Re:They where acting like the cable co / CATV (93 comments)

Because there's a law that explicitly says "you need a license to retransmit free-to-air TV signals". I think it's bullshit too and it leads to absurdities like this, but the law is extremely clear. In fact, they wrote the damn thing because there was a company with a centrally-located antenna and a lot of people paid to access its signal over wires. Sound familiar?

about three weeks ago
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Chinese Vendor Could Pay $34.9M FCC Fine In Signal-Jammer Sting

slimjim8094 Re:Banning Knowledge next? (188 comments)

It's even easier than that - a spark gap radio transmitter will jam most things.

But you should expect to get your ass handed to you for using them regardless of how you got one. They're an unlicensed radio transmitter transmitting on licensed spectrum. If you piss off the FCC enough to come find you, they won't fuck around - I'd post a citation, but funnily enough there's one at the top of the article.

about a month ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

slimjim8094 Re:I've been under a rock... (1198 comments)

Seriously, you've never seen it? The woman who started the #yesallwomen trend on Twitter had to close her account because of all the rape threats she was getting.

That doesn't surprise me, I'm sorry to say. But I'm given to understand that any high-profile person on Twitter gets all kinds of threats, rape or otherwise. Obviously females are more prone to rape threats than males, but all 4 links (~2 minutes of Google News for "twitter threat") are for males and death threats. It's all the ass-end of the internet and warrants no concern

Not at all. I'm saying it's every geek or nerd's responsibility - along with everyone else's responsibility - to speak up when they see it. *Every* incident? Only if you're personally there for *every* incident, in which case, I'd have to wonder why you're always in the wrong place.

Is it your responsibility to stop *every* fire? No. If you see someone's house on fire, wouldn't it be a good responsible act to call the fire department, rather than just shrugging and walking away? Of course it is. Does it matter that you're not going to stop *every* fire? Of course not.

Fair enough, that's basically what I meant. But it seems like that doesn't really address the problem - you still have little pockets where this BS is tolerated, and I don't know how "nerds" can fix that to the extent that they don't make up those pockets. Seems like a more targeted group term could help.

I thought you said you couldn't think of any instances of harassment, and now you're throwing up specific examples like a Call of Duty server? Which is it?

I don't play Call of Duty, it's just a stereotypical example. I've seen it played a few times, and it seemed like a hell-hole, but there were no women so my statement stands - I've never seen a woman get harassed in an online forum. I've seen places where I suspect a woman likely would get harassed, were one present, but I don't even know what it looks like. Would it really take the form of such cliched, tired kitchen and sandwich jokes? Seems about as scandalous as "ima make u suk my dick fag0t" or a goatse link - what is this, 2002?

It used to be a common word everywhere. Up here in the North where we don't accept that language and speak up when its used, it is not prevalent. As you note, it's southern racists... and apparently no one in their circles is saying "stop using that word".

Precisely, so what's the plan for dealing with those problem circles in particular? (rhetorical question, if I knew I'd be doing it!) Blaming that behavior on "people", even "southern people" isn't very useful for winning allies - but that's essentially what's happening here with "nerds". You (n.b. "people in general") drive a wedge into the community and put people who are otherwise very sympathetic (like me!) on the defensive completely unnecessarily.

Telling people "just grow a thick skin" or "put up with it" is being part of the problem. Sure, you don't harass people... But you're not standing up to those who do, and you're telling their victims to suck it up. That makes you not quite as bad as the harassers, but no where close to being a good person. Ever hear the old poem about "they came for [X group], but I said nothing, because I was not [X]"? It's not supposed to be an endorsement of staying silent.

Here's where you and I disagree. This is a nuanced point for the internet, but basically the world will always be rough regardless of how nice we make people. In my mind, the thick skin is useful for its own sake, and there's obviously diminishing returns in the "how nice we make people" game. We shouldn't stop trying, but in parallel people should develop the ability to tolerate all the shit that the world slings at all of us, since if they don't they'll have a very hard time - even if every person in their life is pleasant as pie! They'll still have friends and family die, they'll still suffer hardships and get divorced and houses foreclosed on and fired from jobs and so on. As Hamlet so aptly described, we need to learn to "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune", since being unable to do so means sharing Hamlet's fate.

When I was a kid, I had a pretty rough childhood. It took me a very rough couple of years to learn not to give a shit what anybody else thinks about you - people (family and (real) friends) have to *earn* that privilege of power over you, and they're the only ones that matter. If I didn't learn this lesson, I don't know how I would have made it through. So I see this as a extremely useful - nay, critical - lesson for everybody to learn. In my perfect world, as long as there was equality of opportunity, it wouldn't matter two whits what anybody said to anybody else - nobody would be discouraged by it, because they didn't let themselves be. Obviously the real world doesn't live up to my fantasy, so I agree it's important to cut down on the "softer" forms at discussion here. But this doesn't change the fact that it's important to control your own self-esteem.

Opening an entire other can of worms, I see your argument as very similar to the people who are up in arms any time someone suggests that college students would be less rape-prone if they got less fall-down drunk. It's easy to get mad about that, call it blaming the victim, etc - but the fact of the matter is that a) over-drinking is something we should discourage *everybody* from doing, for its own sake, b) most rapes are crimes of opportunity, so potential victims not becoming opportunities will lead to less of them, and c) it comes down to suggesting ways to protect one's self from crime, which we have no problem doing for car theft, pickpocketing, mugging, etc. None of these suggestions for reducing the risk of a crime are blaming the victim, and none are excusing the perpetrator. But people have agency, and can make things better for themselves - or not. The corollary is that those telling people that they SHOULDN'T take any of these common-sense measures is putting their listeners at risk, just like somebody saying "go ahead and leave your wallet in your back pocket, the police are blaming the victim!"

And so it is with harassment. You can simultaneously decry harassment and act against it - and suggest ways where a potential victim could lessen their risk exposure. To do otherwise is contrary to their well-being.

Of course I am. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted, even if they've been convicted of a crime (not that every prison rape victim is even a convict, rather than in pre-trial detention). Particularly worse is that it's not just jokes, but an implied added threat - "act up, and we throw you in jail where you'll be someone's biatch". That implicitly condones it.

I'm very glad to hear it. It bothers me tremendously that there is not more outrage about this, and instead there's late-night comedy routines. These are people whose responsibility for safety we've assumed, since we were the one who locked them up with their potential rapists.

about 2 months ago
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Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

slimjim8094 Re:No steering wheel? No deal. (583 comments)

No it's not, because that's what "minimums" means. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.... The ILS only gets you so far, below that you have to fly the airplane the last 2-100ft (for CAT1/2 systems respectively) since the localizer/glideslope isn't precise enough at such a low altitude. Remember, the localizer/glideslope array isn't on the runway, and you'd really rather not fly into it... Keep in mind that a plane will be many thousands of feet away from the runway threshold at 100 feet (1908 feet, for a standard 3 degree glideslope) - in the plane I fly at the airport I fly from, 100ft has you over a building - you still have a parking lot, road, fence, and ~400ft of grass and maneuvering area before the threshold. Radar altimeter doesn't help you with your touchdown point.

about 2 months ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

slimjim8094 Re:Ground down (1198 comments)

Fascinating post, thanks for sharing. I'm a man, and I'm really trying to understand and help. It's extremely tiring to be told that that's impossible and that my help is unwanted. Please don't interpret my questions/statements as some sort of an attack as that's not my intention (I don't mean to assume your reaction, but it's a pretty common reaction to any follow-up questions about this kind of thing...).

We live in a world where literally yesterday a woman was stoned to death by her family for failing to live her life they way they wanted. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/world/asia/pakistan-pregnant-woman-killed/) .

That's terrible, but bad things happen to people of all stripes all the time for terrible reasons. That sounds incredibly callous, I know, but we live in a world where only 70 years ago 11 million people were killed simply because they had the wrong religion, disability, or ethnicity. My ability to help in any of these cases is very limited, although I do what I can. But the rest of your post is about *our* (I assume you mean Western) culture, so I'm not quite sure what your point is here? There's all sorts of terrible (to us) stuff happening in other cultures, but I'm not sure how any of it is relevant to this discussion - if so, please elaborate. Frankly, stoning a woman to death is pretty tame compared to e.g. everything in North Korea.

Our culture shames a woman for accepting sexual advances and blames her if she rejects them (http://nypost.com/cover/#covers-1401159702). There is literally no way to win as a woman.

That link doesn't work for me - I'm not sure which cover you're referring to (the anchor doesn't seem to do anything). I see a whole bunch of recent ones implying that the gunman was crazy ("Childhood snub set me off", "Rage of the virgin", etc). If you meant to link to the former, I'm not sure that I'd equate "a demonstrated madman blamed a woman, among other things, in his ramblings" with "our culture... blames her if she rejects them". Not even the Post (a pretty terrible trash rag) was making that claim. Madman killers claim all kinds of things - the guy who killed John Lennon said he was following Catcher in the Rye. And men are also judged (less harshly, it's true) for being "man whores", at least in adult circles. IME the balance is shifting towards normalization, actually - female promiscuity is becoming relatively less stigmatized, and male promiscuity is becoming relatively more.

Look, guys. Even if you've done a ton of soul searching, and you genuinely believe you're not part of the problem, go to the next step. The women around you are hurting. They're exhausted. They're being gaslighted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting) left, right and center. So if you genuinely think you're not making things works, figure out how to make it better. Find a woman to mentor. If you're in a meeting, and a woman's voice isn't getting heard, help her (although, please avoid mansplaining (i.e. "What Jane really means to say is...."). If someone say some bullshit about women in your workplace, call them out on it.

Excellent. I'd love to make things better. But I didn't see any of this stuff in university or at my employer. And I really, really was looking for it - I'd been hearing all through high school about how terrible it was for women, so I knew what to look for. But... all I ever saw was women in the same classes as I was getting the same treatment, with normal variance due to ability (less variance than the men, though there were more men). In fact, as a TA, I noticed that women generally did better, since they tended to come by office hours earlier and more frequently, which kept them off the wrong paths. There were a few women-only engineering organizations (SWE, WICS, etc) at school, and there weren't really any issues that I knew about (I tried to stay fairly plugged-in - like I said, this is something I care about). At my tech job now, which is admittedly notably progressive about this issue compared to the rest of the industry, I haven't seen anything either - the most I saw was someone at a company meeting who said in passing "thanks to all the guys who worked on XYZ" instead of "all the folks" or "all the people", and was ripped to shreds over it.

I have seen women getting ignored or talked over in a meeting, and I do what I do when anybody else gets ignored or talked over (easy to happen when people are passionate about their idea) - I bring it up again in a "John/Jane was saying something about the Foobar module?" way (if I'm not getting talked over or ignored myself!). Nobody ignores anybody on purpose. Nobody spews any sexist bullshit, either. The women we have are respected (at least) as well as all the men - we just don't have many women because there are few women CS grads!

tl;dr For 6-7 years, I've been in an environment where I can't find anything to help with, and constantly being told that I'm (as a male in tech) part of the problem. And any time I try to ask for suggestions, I get shouted down as being blind to all the obvious issues that must be around me, or unable to empathize with fellow humans ("you just don't get it") or something equally offensive. And I wonder how many men are in my situation. I know it's not your job to help me with this, but I'm really stuck here! Your post made a lot more sense to me than a lot of the stuff I read, so I'm hoping you have some insight I've been missing. What can I help with?

about 2 months ago
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Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

slimjim8094 Re:I've been under a rock... (1198 comments)

Actually, I don't know that I've ever seen a woman get harassed in an electronic forum... I took it as a given that I had, but I just tried to identify some and.... no, really can't think of any. Huh. (This isn't relevant to the rest of my response, but I found it interesting)

Anyways, are you seriously saying it's every "geek or nerd"'s responsibility to stop *every* incident of harassment? I think the space is already pretty unwelcoming of harassment, especially those parts outside some Call of Duty server, and with such a broad group it's tantamount to saying that all of society should be stopping it. Well... yeah, in principle, but that's impossible on its face - we can't even get southern racists to stop using the N-word in anger, and we've been trying for >50 years! And, frankly, if I had the kind of power necessary to make things universally socially unacceptable, there's all sorts of things I'd do first (human slavery, etc).

So sure, all geeks/nerds have this obligation, just like all people have this obligation not to harass others and try to censure others who do so, and I think that's actually happening more and more. But at some point, you need to agree (or learn) that the world is a pretty shitty place in all sorts of ways, and people need to develop the tools to deal with it - because if they don't, the world won't be any less shitty. And we're very close to that point already.

(By the way, I trust you're already a crusader against all the "prison rape" jokes that currently get a pass in fairly-polite society?)

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Black Mesa: Source Actually Nearing Completion

slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  about 2 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "Black Mesa the long-in-the-running total-conversion mod recreating Half-Life 1 for the Source engine, has been discussed on Slashdot before. At the time it was described as "nearing completion" and "confirmed out in 2009", but now they've given a date: September 14th. The first part of the game (through Lambda Core) is apparently what's being released now; it looks like they're still finishing up the Xen and some other stuff for later release. The soundtrack is available for download over at the official announcement on the forums."
Link to Original Source
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Verizon to open network to all devices

slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "It appears that Verizon will open its network to all devices, similar to the way Google is pushing for with the 700MHz spectrum. There is "a lot of fine print", but essentially there will be two service levels — the regular, current model with subsidies and the like, and a free-for-all model for any device meeting "minimum technical standards". No word yet on what those will be.

Original press release: http://news.vzw.com/news/2007/11/pr2007-11-27.html"
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, covered previously on Slashdot here.

The case forces the court to reconsider the line between a student's right to free expression and a principal's authority to limit what is said and done at school.

The message seemed designed to provoke Principal Deborah Morse, and it succeeded in doing so. She tore it down and sent Frederick to the office. She planned to suspend him for five days, but when he invoked Thomas Jefferson and the First Amendment, she doubled the suspension to 10 days.
Interestingly enough:

Several religious-rights groups filed briefs supporting the student's free-speech right in this case. Their lawyers worry that school officials might, for example, say it was inappropriate for a student to wear a T-shirt that praised Jesus Christ.
"
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "Jim Gray, a recipient of the A.M. Turing Award, has gone missing.

Gray, 63, of San Francisco, was last heard from on Sunday, the day he set out from San Francisco for the Farallon Islands, about 25 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge. ... Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Amy Marrs called Gray's disappearance a mystery because the weather was good, he was in good health and the boat was equipped with radios and flares. There were no distress signals.
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "James Kim, a technology editor for C|NET, has been found dead in the wilderness of Oregon. He had been missing for nearly two weeks. He is survived by his wife and two daughters (Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months).

James Kim was a senior editor covering digital audio who also co-hosted a weekly video podcast for the Crave gadgets blog. He had been writing a book on Microsoft's Zune MP3 player. Formerly, he was an on-air personality on the now-defunct cable television network TechTV.
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "Appearantly, Warner Music's CEO Edgar Bronfman's children have stolen music. The punishment? They got a talk about "not stealing". Now, when other people steal his copyright, shouldn't they just be allowed to listen to his lecture (instead of the big lawsuit and settlements)?"
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "There is a new Azureus client that is optimized for HD video, as described in this Wired article. Their idea is using the BitTorrent protocol to distribute movies. Appearantly, anyone with a 300K connection can enjoy this higher-quality video in realtime.

Unfortunately, the article is light on the details. While I am sure we all agree that higher-quality video is better, the resolution is not stated. It also mentions the possibility of DRM restrictions. But the concept seems sound."
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "A mechanical device from 150BC was found in a shipwreck. Upon examination with X-Rays, the device appears to be a revolutionary computer used to calculate lunar cycles. This device "is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward." The creation of the device is attributed to the Greeks. FTA:
The hand-operated mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers said. A pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon's elliptical orbit around Earth.
"
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "CBC news reports on a study done that shows that listening to higher volume levels for long periods of time will permanently damage hearing.
"If a person exceeds that on one particular day and happens not to use their headphones for the rest of the week, they're at no higher risk," Fligor told Reuters. "I'm talking about someone who's exceeding 80 per cent for 90 minutes day after day, month after month, for years."


How many have been sure of this for years?"
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the ozone hole over Antarctica is the largest ever recorded.
From the article:
"From Sept. 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles," said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. That's larger than the area of North America.


However, the good news is that the CFCs that created it should disappear by 2065."
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slimjim8094 slimjim8094 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

slimjim8094 (941042) writes "In a full-page ad in the Financial Times, McAfee warns users that Vista is insecure
McAfee's chairman George Samenuk says,
"With its upcoming Vista operating system, Microsoft is embracing the flawed logic that computers will be more secure if it stops co-operating with the independent security firms".

McAfee's argument is that, with Microsoft securing the kernel, they will not be able to secure the operating system. The EU is also watching for anti-competitive behavior. Do security companies need to have an open kernel to be able to write their programs?"

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