Amazon.com is testing delivering packages using drones, CEO Jeff Bezos said on the CBS TV news show 60 Minutes Sunday.
The idea would be to deliver packages as quickly as possible using the small, unmanned aircraft, through a service the company is calling Prime Air, the CEO said.
Bezos played a demo video on 60 Minutes that showed how the aircraft, also known as octocopters, will pick up packages in small yellow buckets at Amazon's fulfillment centers and fly through the air to deliver items to customers after they hit the buy button online at Amazon.com.
The goal of the new delivery system is to get packages into customers' hands in 30 minutes or less, the world's largest Internet retailer said. Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take "some number of years" as Amazon develops the technology further and waits for the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with rules and regulations, the company added.
Bezos told 60 Minutes that the service could be up and running in as few as four years — although he noted that he is an optimist when it comes to such things.
"One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today," the company said.
This is the latest futuristic effort by Bezos, who was an e-commerce pioneer in the 1990s and more recently popularized the e-reader — while pursuing personal projects such as private spaceflight and a 10,000-year clock built inside a mountain.
By Alec TorresOctober 21, 2013 9:56 AMConsumer Reports
, which publishes reviews of consumer products and services,advised its readers
to avoid the federal healthcare exchange “for at least another month if you can.” “Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made,” the magazine said, having tested the site themselves over the course of the past three weeks.
Noting that only 271,000 of the 9.47 million people who tried signing up in the first week managed to create an account, Consumer Reports
then provided a few tips to those attempting to slog through the application process. From attempting successive logins because “error messages … may not always match reality” to checking your inbox frequently because if you miss an e-mail you’ll be timed out of the site and forced to start from square one, none of the suggestions guaranteed success.
The magazine has also released a string of scathing reviews. On October 1, the day the Obamacare exchanges went online, the magazine told people
to be patient: “Don’t worry if you can’t sign up today or even within the next couple of weeks.” A week into enrollment, they urged again
to “wait a couple weeks and hope that the site irons out its many problems” because the HealthCare.gov is “barely operational.”
As the editors continued to review
the website over the next few days, they only had one positive statement: “On the plus side,” they noted, “consumers coming to HealthCare.gov are no longer stopped cold by an error message or a screen saying they’ve been put in a waiting line.”
Now three weeks into the exchanges, having offered reviews and advice, Consumer Reports
said that “If all [these suggestions] are too much to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov,” at least for the time being.
Via Washington Times
By Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller, Published: September 24
The U.S. military has been forced to relocate a large fleet of drones from a key counterterrorism base on the Horn of Africa after a string of crashes fanned local fears that the unmanned aircraft were at risk of colliding with passenger planes, according to documents and interviews.
Air Force drones ceased flying this month from Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. installation in Djibouti, after local officials expressed alarm about several drone accidents and mishaps in recent years. The base serves as the combat hub for counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Somalia, playing a critical role in U.S. operations against al-Shabab, the Somali Islamist militia that has asserted responsibility for the Nairobi shopping mall attack, which killed more than 60 people.
The Pentagon has temporarily moved the unmanned aircraft from the U.S. base in Djibouti’s capital to a makeshift airstrip in a more remote part of the country. U.S. military officials said the disruption has not affected their overall ability to launch drone strikes in the region, but they declined to say whether it has forced them to curtail the frequency of drone missions or hindered their surveillance of al-Shabab camps and fighters.
The Djiboutian government’s growing unease over drone flights casts doubt on its commitment to host the aircraft over the long term. It is unclear whether the temporary drone base can be transformed into a permanent home or whether the U.S. military will have to hunt for another site in the region, according to previously undisclosed correspondence between the Defense Department and Congress.READ MORE:http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/drone-safety-concerns-force-us-to-move-large-fleet-from-camp-lemonnier-in-djibouti/2013/09/24/955518c4-213c-11e3-a03d-abbedc3a047c_story.html
There are no signs that Alexis, 34, was targeting anybody in the September 16 shooting at the Navy Yard in southeast Washington, said Valerie Parlave, the FBI assistant director in charge of the Washington field office.
"We have found relevant communications on his electronic media which referenced the delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves for the past three months," Parlave told a news conference.
Surveillance video released by the FBI showed Alexis driving into a Navy Yard parking garage in a rented blue Toyota Prius shortly before 8 a.m. Carrying a backpack, he then entered the Naval Sea Systems Command building, site of the shootings, through a door.
The brief video also shows Alexis, armed with a Remington shotgun and dressed in dark clothing, walking down a stairway and corridors in a crouch with the weapon held at the ready.
People can be glimpsed at the end of one corridor. At one point, he aims the shotgun into a room but does not fire.
Parlave said Alexis, a government technology contractor, had been armed with the shotgun, which had a sawed-off barrel and stock, and a pistol he obtained during the shooting.
"MY ELF WEAPON"
(Reuters) - Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, the United States backed a U.N. committee's call on Wednesday to renew debate over a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade.
U.N. delegates and gun control activists have complained that talks collapsed in July largely because Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge Washington denies.
The month-long talks at U.N. headquarters broke off after the United States - along with Russia and other major arms producers - said it had problems with the draft treaty and asked for more time.
But the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama's win to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.
U.N. diplomats said the vote had been expected before Tuesday's U.S. presidential election but was delayed due to Superstorm Sandy, which caused a three-day closure of the United Nations last week.
An official at the U.S. mission said Washington's objectives have not changed.
"We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout," the official said.
"We will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms," he said.
U.S. officials have acknowledged privately that the treaty under discussion would have no effect on domestic gun sales and ownership because it would apply only to exports.
The main reason the arms trade talks are taking place at all is that the United States - the world's biggest arms trader accounting for more than 40 percent of global conventional arms transfers - reversed U.S. policy on the issue after Obama was first elected and decided in 2009 to support a treaty.
'MONTHS AWAY' FROM DEAL?
Countries that abstained included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Iran. China, a major arms producer that has traditionally abstained, voted in favor.
Among the top six arms-exporting nations, Russia cast the only abstention. Britain, France and Germany joined China and the United States in support of the resolution.
The measure now goes to the 193-nation General Assembly for a formal vote. It is expected to pass.
The resolution said countries are "determined to build on the progress made to date towards the adoption of a strong, balanced and effective Arms Trade Treaty."
Jeff Abramson, director of Control Arms, a coalition of advocacy groups, urged states to agree on stringent provisions.
"In Syria, we have seen the death toll rise well over 30,000, with weapons and ammunition pouring in the country for months now," he said. "We need a treaty that will set tough rules to control the arms trade, that will save lives and truly make the world a better place."
Brian Wood of Amnesty International said: "After today's resounding vote, if the larger arms trading countries show real political will in the negotiations, we're only months away from securing a new global deal that has the potential to stop weapons reaching those who seriously abuse human rights."
The treaty would require states to make respecting human rights a criterion for allowing arms exports.
Britain's U.N. mission said on its Twitter feed it hoped that the March negotiations would yield the final text of a treaty. Such a pact would then need to be ratified by the individual signatories before it could enter into force.
The National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. interest group, strongly opposes the arms treaty and had endorsed Romney.
The United States has denied it sought to delay negotiations for political reasons, saying it had genuine problems with the draft as written.
(Editing by Xavier Briand)
Source: Megahan Neal/ New York Daily News
Published: Fri, June 1st 2012
Would you barcode your baby? Microchip implants have become standard practice for our pets, but have been a tougher sell when it comes to the idea of putting them in people. Science fiction author Elizabeth Moon last week rekindled the debate on whether it's a good idea to "barcode" infants at birth in an interview on a BBC radio program. “I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached — a barcode if you will — an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals,” she said on The Forum, a weekly show that features "a global thinking" discussing a "radical, inspiring or controversial idea" for 60 seconds . Moon believes the tools most commonly used for surveillance and identification — like video cameras and DNA testing — are slow, costly and often ineffective. In her opinion, human barcoding would save a lot of time and money. The proposal isn’t too far-fetched - it is already technically possible to "barcode" a human - but does it violate our rights to privacy? Opponents argue that giving up anonymity would cultivate an “Orwellian” society where all citizens can be tracked. “To have a record of everywhere you go and everything you do would be a frightening thing,” Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Daily News. He warned of a “check-point society” where everyone carries an internal passport and has to show their papers at every turn, he said. “Once we let the government and businesses go down the road of nosing around in our lives...we’re going to quickly lose all our privacy,” said Stanley. There are already, and increasingly, ways to electronically track people. Since 2006, new U.S. passports include radio frequency identification tags (RFID) that store all the information in the passport, plus a digital picture of the owner. In 2002, an implantable ID chip called VeriChip was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The chip could be implanted in a person's arm, and when scanned, could pull up a 16 digit ID number containing information about the user. It was discontinued in 2010 amid concerns about privacy and safety. Still scientists and engineers have not given up on the idea. A handful of enterprising companies have stepped into the void left by VeriChip, and are developing ways to integrate technology and man. Biotech company MicroCHIPS has developed an implantable chip to deliver medicine to people on schedule and without injection. And technology company BIOPTid has patented a noninvasive method of identification called the “human barcode.” Advocates say electronic verification could help parents or caregivers keep track of children and the elderly. Chips could be used to easily access medical information, and would make going through security points more convenient, reports say. But there are also concerns about security breaches by hackers. If computers and social networks are already vulnerable to hacking and identify theft, imagine if someone could get access to your personal ID chip? Stanley cautioned against throwing the baby out with the bathwater each time someone invents a new gadget. “We can have security, we can have convenience, and we can have privacy,” he said. “We can have our cake and eat it too.”
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/human-barcode-society-organized-invades-privacy-civil-liberties-article-1.1088129#ixzz1wdPGhoTq