A new bill moving through the Massachusetts legislature would limit the way law enforcement can use drones in the Commonwealth. As states struggle to regulate their own drones and those of private citizens, Massachusetts is considering a bill heavy on legal protections from government overreach.
Offshore wind farms in the United States are the new flying car. We keep saying that it's just around the corner but somehow practical results never manifest. Europe has 2,488 offshore wind turbines up and running, with 408 installed in the last year; this nation has a grand total of zero. (U-S-A! U-S-... ah, forget it.) However, a plucky new company could soon change that.
The Federal Aviation Administration did something rather remarkable on Sunday: they proposed a new set of drone rules. For years, drone hobbyists and businesses have been left in limbo, flying in unregulated skies and wondering whether they were unintentionally breaking the law. In 2012, Congress mandated that the FAA offer new rules for small unmanned aircraft by 2015, and breaking with expectations, the FAA actually delivered.
Four months after President Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strict net neutrality measures, the agency has come up with a plan. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he will submit a proposal to the agency's commissioners later this month that would impose tighter regulations on how broadband providers can manage their traffic.
In our Year In Ideas package, Popular Science made ten predictions about what 2015 has in store for science and technology. One of them, it seems, may come to fruition very soon. A Food and Drug Administration panel has recommended approval for a generic version of a biologic drug. If the generic gets approved, this would be the first time a biosimilar would become available for U.S. markets.
Well, it looks like the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo on October 31 may change all that -- meaning government regulations for private spaceflight may be on their way. For now, the FAA is waiting on the results of the accident investigation before it makes any official regulatory changes. But the agency hinted at modifications to come in a recent statement to Bloomberg News:
In 2004, I sat down in a flight simulator at Scaled Composites with test pilot and engineer Peter Siebold. He'd built the simulator—a precise replica of the cockpit in Scaled's radically unconventional SpaceShipOne (SS1). That ship was the predecessor of SpaceShipTwo (SS2), which broke apart over the Mojave Desert on Friday. Siebold was at the controls at the time of the accident, with Mike Alsbury as co-pilot