Amazon’s drones and robots want to take over your deliveries Now playing: Watch this: Mobile 0 Post a comment 10 Photos 1:32 Tags Share your voice Starships bots are coming to University of Pittsburgh’s campus, home of the Panthers, on Tuesday. Starship Starship Technologies launched a new service earlier this year to deliver food and groceries at two US universities using self-driving robots. It’s now planning on doing a whole lot more.The San Francisco-based startup announced Tuesday it will expand this service to 100 universities over the next two years, thanks to an infusion of $40 million in new funding. The expansion, which will focus mostly on the US, starts with the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Purdue University is coming in early September. George Mason University and Northern Arizona University came online in January and March, respectively.”There’s going to be a whole generation of students that grow up tapping on their phone when they’re hungry and a robot brings food to them,” Lex Bayer, Starship’s CEO, said in an interview.Starship is a part of the burgeoning delivery robots industry, which has already attracted corporate giants Amazon, Google and UPS, as well as a constellation of smaller players including Postmates and Workhorse. These companies see an opportunity to bring their customers things they need much faster, more cheaply or with far more convenience than current delivery options offer. And they could in some cases extend delivery times to nearly every hour of the day. These companies will, though, need to develop their services amid growing concerns about bots and automation stealing humans’ jobs.Amazon’s similarly shaped Scout robots are getting a test run in Washington state. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET Amazon is busy working on flying drones to deliver consumer goods to customers in 15 minutes through its Prime Air program and has already started a pilot in Britain. It’s also developed the Scout autonomous sidewalk robots, which look like and work similarly to Starship’s bots. It’s testing these deliveries in Washington state. UPS, meanwhile, is focusing on helping business customers, including efforts to bring flying drones to hospital campuses to speed the completion of lab tests.Starship, too, has found a niche in this new market, saying it’s receiving heavy demand from college campuses for its squat, battery-powered, six-wheeled robots. Bayer explained that colleges aren’t so easily served by typical food delivery apps like Uber Eats or DoorDash, since there’s usually little available parking and campuses often feel like mazes to outsiders. While those features make it hard for human delivery workers, they’re no concern for Starship’s autonomous bots, which are preloaded with detailed 3D maps of campuses before they ever start roaming around and which don’t need to park anywhere.The Starship bots bring breakfast, late-night snacks and plenty else in between, letting students buy food from local restaurants through its app. The bots then bring orders to wherever customers are on campus for $1.99 per shipment. Starship also gets paid by the restaurant for making each delivery.Starship typically uses 25 to 50 robots per campus, and they roam around seven days a week, rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Bayer said they don’t displace workers’ jobs, since deliveries often don’t exist on campuses. He said the company hires student workers to maintain, monitor and recharge the bots.Demonstrating UPS drone deliveries at a hospital campus. UPS Bayer added that the bots are safe on sidewalks, driving at 4 mph and bristling with 10 cameras, radar, ultrasound sensors and GPS, in addition to sophisticated computer vision and neural networks to process what they see. These bots have already completed 100,000 deliveries and driven 300,000 miles, Bayer said. Even though the Starship bots weigh just 50 pounds, he said thefts of the bots don’t happen since they include alarms and are monitored by humans. Also, a bot’s payload of food remains locked inside until a student opens it using the app.Like just about any tech CEO, Bayer isn’t content just making the Starship bot ubiquitous on college campuses from coast to coast, with a goal of eventually serving 1 million students. The company has already started package deliveries in neighborhoods and parts deliveries on business and industrial campuses.”Our model and vision is to move everything around in neighborhoods and cities,” Bayer said. Tertill is a robot weed trimmer that’s like a Roomba for your garden E-commerce Bots Robots
Someone once quipped that the “universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle” and devoted book readers know it too well. Any of the (sadly-diminishing) tribe would be familiar with responses of wonder over the fact that they manage to read even a modestly-long work in a day or two. Wonder what these amazed people would make of a book termed a “doorstopper”? “Doorstoppers” are books so thick and heavy that they can be used to keep doors open – or even be a literary weapon, literally. The irrepressible TVTropes.org, which also suggests they can be a substitute for barbells or an opportunity for orthopaedists, says “Proper Doorstoppers” (also known as “Tree Killers”) should be over 500 pages at least, with a normal typeface – at least 10 point. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfA distinction needs to be drawn with “Omnibus” editions, which usually bring a trilogy, or complete works of an author into one. While technically a “doorstopper”, they are not, for this term is for one particular work, which per TVTropes, “can and will cause massive muscle fatigue when reading while holding the book in your hands”.While religious scriptures – or their exegeses – dictionaries, encyclopaedias, most textbooks, especially computer programming, accountancy, biology, et al, are doorstoppers, let’s see some notable examples from both classical and popular literature. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThough English has some of the most well-known examples – Charles Dickens, Margaret “Gone With the Wind” Mitchell, J.R.R. Tolkien (save “The Hobbit” and “The Silmarillion”), J.K. Rowling (“The Order of the Phoenix” onwards), the phenomenon is present in literary traditions across the world – Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, among many others and much old.Marcel Proust’s “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (“Remembrance of Things Past” or “In Search of Lost Time” now, 1913-27 in French) about his childhood and adulthood experiences in late 19th century/early 20th century France, holds the Guinness records title of longest novel with its one and a half million words. The author was still adding to it and revising the last three volumes at the time of his death, leading to the possibility it could have well emerged longer. However, Mark Leach’s “Marienbad My Love” (2013), about a tortured (mentally) author on a desert island reaching out to a married ex-lover to help him produce a science fiction film, claims to be the world’s longest novel, with over 17 million words, over 10,000 pages across 17 volumes. The novel’s title is itself 6,700 words long, it contains a 4.4-million-letter noun as well as a three million-word-long sentence.Persian poet Ferdowsi’s “The Shahnameh”, about Iranian history from the world’s creation to the Islamic age, in an abridged English prose translation runs close to 1,000 pages and, according to the introduction, a current full English verse translation is nine volumes long. Japanese epic “The Tale of Genji”, varies by language and translator, but one copy is 1,090 pages long. And many classic Chinese novels are in the 2,000-page range – Luo Guanzhong’s 14th century epic “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, about war, turmoil, and bloodshed in the eponymous period (188-280 AD) runs to over 2,300 pages.So does the 16th century “Journey to the West” about Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s pilgrimage to India to study Buddhism and obtain accurate copies of religious texts and the exploits of his three supernatural co-travellers and protectors, especially “The Monkey King”, while Cao Xueqin’s 18th century “Dream of the Red Chamber”, about the decline of a noble family is shorter – at only 1,800-odd pages.Russians were quite famous for this At 1,200 pages, Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, about Russian nobility before and during Napoleon’s invasion, is a prime example, while Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” is well over 500 pages and “The Brothers Karamazov” anything between 720 to 1,013 pages, depending on the translation. It must, however, be noted that the authors were paid by the page.French authors too remain masters – Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”, is affectionately called “The Brick” by its admirers, and has a detailed description of a crack in the wall, through which a character looks, spanning a page and a half – in the condensed version.Indians too figure, with Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy” being over 1,500 pages and Vikram Chandra’s “Sacred Games” at around 1,100.Though, technology has now enabled even a huge doorstopper to easily fit on a light, handy, smartphone or e-reader, determined bookworms from the dawn of publishing to well into the 20th century – and even now – never hesitated to carry around weighty tomes on journeys, to work and otherwise, giving the phrase “active readers” a whole new meaning. Whoever says book reading is a lazy activity, should try to read these.
Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 1 min read Is it still a phone plan if you don’t make any actual phone calls?T-Mobile’s answer may be yes, if reports of the company coming out with a plan for just data and unlimited texting prove to be true. No minutes for voice calls would be included.Related: Sound Off: Should Distracted Walkers Be Fined or Jailed?Based on a leaked image obtained by TmoNews, the option would roll out sometime today and feature six new “Simple choice” plans aimed at folks who solely use the Internet and texting on their devices.Related: Think Before You PlanRates would start at $20 for 2GB, $35 for 6GB and go all the way up to 22GB for $95. However, the plan does have some limitations since it can only be used for GSM devices or Blackberry-related tech that can use a smartphone rate plan. Enroll Now for Free March 30, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
24Mar Rep. Runestad introduces bills requiring refugee placement to become safer and more transparent State Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, today introduced legislation to make refugee placements in Michigan both safe and more transparent, while also giving local government a voice in the process as required by federal immigration law.House Bills 5528-5529 will protect both our communities and refugees entering our communities.Michigan receives more refugees per capita than any other state in the nation, but it lacks a framework for defining how many refugees and families our state is capable of serving.“There is currently no system involving state and local governments for oversight of refugees entering the state,” said Rep. Runestad. “This is not only a security risk to our state, but is wide open for human trafficking abuses.“As a parent, I have a duty to protect my children, and as a state lawmaker, I have a duty to protect the rights of our local governments and our rights under the U.S. Constitution and federal law.”Rep. Runestad said federal immigration law requires that local governments be notified prior to placement of refugees in their communities and that they be involved in the process of placement and defining their local capacity for refugee placements. “This is being totally ignored leaving counties, schools and the state in the dark until placements have been made,” said Rep. Runestad. “Moreover, placements are made without regard to the ability of the school district to provide services or employability opportunities for the individual refugee.“The bills I introduced today propose an outline for communication between state departments and local governments in order to maximize placement success and minimize security risks for the state and refugees as allowed under current immigration law.”HBs 5528-5529 are referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Ethics.###### Tags: #SB, HB 5528, HB 5529, Runestad Categories: Featured news,News,Runestad News
Dutch cable operator Ziggo confirmed that it is back in talks with Liberty Global, after rejecting a preliminary takeover offer from the firm back in October.Responding to “recent market statement,” Ziggo said that further to its October statement it is “currently in discussions with Liberty Global regarding a potential offer for the company by Liberty Global.”“Further announcements will be made if and when relevant. There is no certainty that any agreement can be reached or that any offer will ultimately be made,” said the firm.In October, Ziggo said it had received a “preliminary proposal regarding a potential offer” from Liberty, but said that this offer was “considered inadequate.”Liberty already holds a 28.5% stake in Ziggo and, according to reports this week, a potential takeover could value the firm at more than €6 billion.News of the discussions sent Ziggo’s share price up by more than 7% during trading today.The approach marks the latest takeover attempt by Liberty Global, which agreed to buy the UK’s Virgin Media earlier this year for €17.2 billion.