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.
The administration in Yemen announced today (Wednesday) that attempts by Al Qaeda terrorists to harm several targets in the country have been stopped.
According to reports, Al Qaeda operatives had intended to inflict considerable damage to key oil pipelines in the country. The organization additionally planned to take control of several cities and ports across the country. Security forces deployed throughout Yemen are at a heightened state of alert due to the threat of terrorist attacks within the country, and considerable numbers of forces have been employed in order to ensure the defense of key sites.
Tensions have been high in the Arab country in the wake of US and international concerns of large-scale, imminent attacks orchestrated by terror organizations in retaliation for the death of Sayid al-Shihri, a high-ranking figure within Al Qaeda.
More than 20 western embassies were closed throughout the Arab world in the wake of instructions by the US State Department issued last week, based on reliable intelligence pointing to an attack by Al Qaeda. The US and UK embassies in Yemen remained closed, and non-essential personnel working at the embassies were evacuated out of the country on Tuesday following instructions from the US State Department and the UK Foreign Office.
AP via Talking Points Memo
The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail, Colo., that would encourage hunters to shoot down drowns. The administration reminded the public that it regulates the nation’s airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns.
A drone “hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air,” the statement said. “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”
Under the proposed ordinance, Deer Trail would grant hunting permits to shoot drones. The permits would cost $25 each. The town would also encourage drone hunting by awarding $100 to anyone who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot down.
He (Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel) dismissed the FAA’s warning. “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law,” he said.
Good luck with your one-man war on the government chief.
Some really interesting pockets of The Crazy are cropping up in Colorado:
Deer Trail’s town board will vote Aug. 6 on an ordinance that would create drone-hunting licenses and offer $100 bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles.
“We do not want drones in town,” said Phillip Steel, the resident who drafted the ordinance. “They fly in town, they get shot down.”
Even though it’s against the law to destroy federal property, Steel’s proposed ordinance outlines weapons, ammunition, rules of engagement, techniques and bounties for drone hunting.
Drone-hunting licenses would be issued without a background investigation and on an anonymous basis. Applicants would have to be at least 21 years old and be able to “read and understand English.”
Please RT if you agree!
— Some Asshole (@assholeofday) July 15, 2013
ICYMI: David Sirota thinks Trayvon Martin = Anwar al-Awaki and President Obama = George Zimmerman. http://t.co/3IusAIGp74 Pathetic.
— Gus (@Gus_802) July 15, 2013
Correction: Correct spelling in David Sirota graphic should read, “mansplaining drones.”
And the winner is…
— Some Asshole (@assholeofday) July 15, 2013
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ.
Liberty bills itself as “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.” It trains chaplains for the various branches of the military. And it trains pilots in its School of Aeronautics (SOA)—pilots who go up in planes and drone pilots who sit behind desks wearing pilot suits. The SOA, with more than 600 students, is not seen on campus, as it has recently moved to a building adjacent to Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Liberty’s campus looks new and attractive, large enough for some 12,000 students, swarming with blue campus buses, and heavy on sports facilities for the Liberty Flames. A campus bookstore prominently displays Resilient Warriors, a book by Associate Vice President for Military Outreach Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert F. Dees. There’s new construction everywhere you look: a $50 million library, a baseball stadium, new dorms, a tiny year-round artificial ski slope on the top of a hill. In fact, Liberty is sitting on more than $1 billion in net assets.
The major source of Liberty’s money is online education. There are some 60,000 Liberty students you don’t see on campus, because they study via the internet. They also make Liberty the largest university in Virginia, the fourth largest online university anywhere, and the largest Christian university in the world.
More than 23,000 online students are in the military—twice as many as students who live on campus. Liberty offers extra financial support to veterans and those on active duty, allowing them to be credited for knowledge learned in the military and to study online from a war zone.
Liberty has been turning out “Christ-centered aviators” for a decade. In fall 2011, Liberty added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones), making it one of the first handful of schools to do this. Now at least 14 universities and colleges in the U.S. have permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones, and many institutions, including community colleges, offer drone training.
Originally at Sojourners
FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted to Congress Wednesday that drones are already being used over U.S. soil. While the use of surveillance drones domestically — both by local and federal law enforcement agencies — has been long anticipated and ushered in by a lobby with a powerful congressional caucus of supporters, Mueller’s admissions highlighted the lack of legislation currently in place to govern the use drone technology at home.
Mueller told a hearing that the FBI had used drones to aid its investigations in a “very, very minimal way, very seldom… Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we’re exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use,” he said.
Mueller’s acknowledgment is only the latest in a series of disclosures about the domestic use of drones. In 2010, it was revealed — and has since become common knowledge — that Border Patrol surveils both Canadian and Mexican borders with unmanned aircraft.
Our laws constrain the power of the President, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” President Obama said in a speech Thursday at the National Defense University. Obama’s role as defender of the Constitution has been subject to justified criticism recently, with the rise of the secretive drone war in Pakistan and elsewhere. Obama took belated steps to address those concerns. And he did more: He committed himself to a legal path to ending the current “war” with the Taliban, and vowed not to allow Congress to expand it.
There seem to be two Obamas: the public idealist who seeks to harness and fulfill American ideals, and the tight-lipped commander in chief who asks the nation to trust him. The two dueled uneasily in the speech, but the advantage goes to the idealist.
In his discussion of the “drone war,” the speech rates a B. Because the administration has stonewalled on the law and the policy behind the use of drones, the president found himself forced to make the following disavowal: “For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or a shotgun — without due process.”
If Obama really has committed himself to ending the war on the Taliban, he has taken a course few presidents can be expected to choose.
This issue was always a red herring. The NDU speech identified the real problem with drones: “The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions, can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites,” he acknowledged. But there was no commitment that I can see to opening the drone war to public scrutiny. Instead, Obama offered the standard defense of the policy — it is effective, aimed against only those terrorist targets who cannot be captured, and conducted to minimize civilian casualties — in even more truncated form than that given months ago by figures like former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh and Attorney General Eric Holder.
First, the set-up:
The Mt. Shasta Mall in Redding was busier than usual Tuesday as shoppers were surrounded by hundreds of people armed with resumes for a job fair featuring some 40 employers.
The center court of the mall was packed with those seeking applications, introductions and more information on the various private and public-sector jobs at the fair.
And now the punch line: People need jobs you say? How about some in a burgeoning tech field?
Redding’s 2-2 deadlocked vote Tuesday night may have said no to entering the crowded bidding for commercial drone testing at the airport.
Mayor Rick Bosetti tried to allay a restless crowd’s concerns about the use of the technology. He told them six sites will be selected. There is a potential to bring jobs, and the region would have the chance on the front end to sit at the table and set regulations.
Vice Mayor Patrick Jones and Councilor Gary Cadd, backed by a tea party audience that turned out in numbers, said they still had questions about the pilotless aircraft market and opposed the move. Council member Missy McArthur was absent.
Cadd was adamant in his opposition, saying that he had considered the job boon the potentially lucrative industry would create, but their potential use in surveillance activities scared him.
“They are jobs, but where do you draw the line on the jobs that are liable to turn around and bite us,” he said.
Have fun staying an economic backwater.