Amazon Prime Air: The Future Of Shopping And Home Delivery

Amazon Prime Air: The Future Of Shopping And Home Delivery

Amazon drones may replace in-store shopping
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In the next few years, Amazon is expected to release Amazon Prime Air—a drone system that delivers products five pounds (or under) in 30 minutes or less.

Trials have already begun in Canada, the U.K., and the Netherlands. However, federal regulations imposed tough restrictions that prevented Amazon from using it in the United States until just recently. Last April, Amazon sent the Federal Aviation Administration a letter urging it to ease its restrictions. It was approved that same month to use its current drone models to test the prototype.

Currently, companies that wish to fly any type of drones must seek the FAA’S approval. This approval has to be done case-by-case, slowing down the time trials can begin in the U.S. The FAA approved Amazon’s bid for trials in the U.S. in April of last year, but not without restrictions. Some of the restrictions include prohibiting Amazon from flying drones during the nighttime and ensuring that all drones are watched under an operator’s supervision.

Drone advocacy groups, including the Small UAV Coalition, have argued against the FAA’s restrictions, contending that other countries with more lenient guidelines will have an economic advantage when it comes to using drones for business purposes.

Nevertheless, the FAA has maintained that drone safety is one its top priorities, further prolonging its availability for commercial use. In its recent approval, the FAA has allowed Amazon to fly its drones up to 400 feet high at 100 miles per hour over private property. All flights must be under an operator’s watch and remain within 500 feet distance from other people.

While getting products in less than a half hour may seem timely and efficient, it does not come without concern. The use of drones raises many concerns over privacy, security, and safety.

Amazon has proposed data implementations such as automated object detection, GPS surveillance, and gigapxel cameras. As a result, Amazon will collect plenty of information, both intentionally and unintentionally. This can potentially lead to the obtainment of unwanted personal information, thus violating personal privacy.

Safety issues such as the drones injuring a person, or interfering with air traffic is another concern. The FAA has been working to ensure safety while using the drones. Since Amazon is only allowed to use the drones under supervision for safety reasons, the distance the drones can travel is limited. This restriction could possibly prevent drone delivery. However, Amazon claims that safety is its top priority, and that it will only use its drones when it is certain they are safe to use. Amazon has implemented sense-and-avoid technology that would ensure no one gets harmed from the drones. And to prevent air traffic interference, Amazon has proposed a design that would keep the drones separate from aircraft.

Security issues also arise, since the use of drones for commercial purposes may face hackers. Fortunately, for Amazon, other countries may face such hurdles first. Chinese delivery company SF Express, for example, is currently experimenting with ocotocopter delivery. If this company faces hackers first, Amazon will not have to worry about how to solve such issues.

If the FAA approves Amazon to use their drones for its customers, the industry of shopping could change completely. Consumers would no longer have to run to the supermarket to get a pack of batteries, or a pair of shoes. Also, it is said that such shipping costs would only cost $1! On top of that, Amazon is in talks of running its very own delivery service, which could put the postal services out of business. And, other major companies, such as Wal-Mart have followed Amazon’s pursuit to use drones to deliver groceries. As a result, in time, we may see multiple companies run out of business and thousands upon thousands of cashiers being laid-off.

While it is unclear when (or even if) companies will get approved for this revolutionary technology, Amazon is certain it will get approved. According to Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, “It’s gonna happen. It’s coming.”

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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