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It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Responsibly Fly a Drone

The FAA’s app—which tells you where you can and can’t fly your drone—ignores both local and national regulations

6 min read
The FAA's app that tells you where you can and can't fly your drone ignores both local and national regulations
Can I fly here? You probably shouldn't rely on FAA's B4UFLY app to decide.
Photo: Stark Ackerman

A few weeks ago, I went home to Oregon to visit my family. On a whim, I brought along my Parrot Anafi drone—it’s small and lightweight and uses the same USB-C charger as my laptop, so it was easy to toss into my carry-on. Like you do in Oregon, our plans were to go river rafting, hiking, and kayaking, and I figured I’d pack the drone and try and find some interesting opportunities to fly it.

I try hard to be a responsible drone owner. I don’t have my U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 certificate yet, but my drone is registered and labeled, and I’m an AMA member, which includes insurance for recreational drone pilots. I also do my best to make sure that the places I fly are places that I’m allowed to fly, and fortunately, the FAA has a handy app that is supposed to make that easy.

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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