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Amazon has decided to discontinue drone deliveries in California

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Amazon has announced the discontinuation of its Prime Air drone delivery operations in Lockeford, California. The small town in Central California, with a population of 3,500, became the company’s second location for drone delivery in the United States, following College Station, Texas. The operations were announced in June 2022.

The retail giant is not providing specific information about the setback, simply stating that they will provide current employees with opportunities at other sites and will continue to serve customers in Lockeford through alternative delivery methods. We are grateful to the community for their continuous support and valuable feedback throughout the past few years.

Deliveries in College Station will continue, and there’s also an exciting new site in Tolleson, Arizona, that will start delivering later this year. Tolleson is a small city with a population of just over 7,000. It is situated in Maricopa County, in the western part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

With the introduction of Prime Air, Amazon customers in the region can now enjoy the convenience of same-day deliveries, thanks to a unique hybrid fulfillment center and delivery station. The company has assured that it will reach out to affected customers once the service is operational. There is no precise timing available beyond “this year” due to ongoing negotiations with local officials and the FAA that are necessary for deployment in the airspace.

The expansion of the offering has been moving at a sluggish pace, partly because of regulatory issues. Throughout the project’s duration, Amazon has appeared cautious in its approach to drone delivery, testing the waters cautiously. It appears that Tolleson will be the only location where the service will expand this year, and any further updates will be postponed until 2025. It’s uncertain if the company will resume its operations in California.

Last year, Amazon reaffirmed its dedication by introducing medication deliveries in College Station. This service allows customers to receive select Amazon Pharmacy orders in under an hour.

Local governments clearly view these types of deals as a chance to showcase their embrace of technological innovation beyond the usual hubs of San Francisco or New York.

“This type of delivery is truly groundbreaking, and it’s incredibly thrilling that it will soon be available in the Phoenix Metro Area,” expressed Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Embracing zero-emission package delivery will contribute to the reduction of local pollution and solidify our city’s position as a hub for cutting-edge technology.”

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

Science

NASA Tells Us About The “Daylight Fireball” Over New York

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There were reports of a “daylight fireball” flying over the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA. NASA has now come forward to explain what it was.

Between 11:16 and 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, people in New York said they saw a big fireball and heard a loud boom.

For example, someone driving on Route 100 said, “All of a sudden, I saw this bright, white, and kind of burning at one end bundle streak through the sky from left to right, going down very quickly.” “I have never seen anything like this before.”

The American Meteor Society got a lot of reports about the object. Based on these reports, NASA was able to get a rough idea of its path, which changed as more reports came in.

As NASA’s Meteor Watch said in a Facebook post, “more eyewitness reports have been posted—we have double what we had before, and the additions have made a big difference in the trajectory.” “Right now, the meteor is coming from above New York City and going west into New Jersey.” A little faster now, going 38,000 miles per hour (61,155 km/h).

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People who commented were surprised that a meteor could have hit without NASA being aware of it. However, smaller objects like this do hit the Earth’s atmosphere pretty often. Every day, about 44,000 kilograms (97,000 pounds) of meteoric material are thought to fall to Earth.

“A lot of people think that NASA keeps an eye on everything in space,” NASA’s Meteor Watch went on. “We do keep an eye on asteroids that could hurt people on Earth, but small rocks like the one that’s making this fireball are only about a foot (0.3 meters) across and can’t make it all the way to the ground.” We can’t keep track of things this small when they are very far away from Earth. The only time we hear about them is when they hit the atmosphere and turn into a meteor or fireball.

NASA keeps track of the big things that come close, but every night, a lot of smaller meteors can be seen in an hour. Likely, this one was a bolide, which is a bigger meteor that broke up when it hit the friction of our atmosphere. Bolides are very bright meteors that can be seen during the day. They are usually too small to make it to the ground, so they explode when they hit the atmosphere.

It’s nothing to worry about, even though we didn’t see it coming. That we can reconstruct its path from what people saw is cool too.

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Technology

Digital “primordial soup” has programs that appear and copy themselves on their own

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A new study that let data interact in a digital “primordial soup” discovered patterns that repeated themselves.

British mathematician John Horton Conway made a video game with no players in 1970. He called it “Conway’s Game of Life.” The game is played on a grid of squares, and the only thing the player can do is set the game’s starting state.

Based on what Conway decided, the rules are:

Even if a cell only has one already-occupied neighbor, each one that is in an already-occupied space will eventually die by itself. Every occupied space with four or more neighbors also dies, as if from having too many people living in it. If a cell that is already occupied has two or three neighbors, it will stay occupied even after the grid moves forward one step. On the other hand, an empty space won’t become occupied until there are three occupied spaces next to it.

There are only a few simple rules to follow, but as the steps go by, more complex patterns and behaviors start to show up.

The new study, which hasn’t yet received outside scientific review, was co-authored by researchers from Google, the Paradigms of Intelligence Team, and the University of Chicago. They wanted to learn more about how life starts when nonliving molecules interact with each other.

“While searching for a general definition of life, we observe a major change in dynamics coincident with the rise of self-replicators, which seems to apply regardless of substrate,” the team says in their paper. “Hence, we may use the appearance of self-replicators as a reasonable transition to distinguish pre-life from life dynamics.”

To look into it, the team put tens of thousands of pieces of computer code into a “digital primordial soup” of random noise and let them interact for up to sixteen thousand times.

“The 64 1-byte characters that make up each program are chosen at random from a uniform distribution when they are first loaded. “No new programs are added or removed in these simulations; the only things that change are self-modification or random background mutations,” the team says. “In each epoch, programs interact with one another by selecting randomly ordered pairs, concatenating them, and executing the resulting code for a fixed number of steps or until the program ends.”

It wasn’t clear to the programs what their goal was or how they would be rewarded for survival or replication, but about 40% of the time, self-replicating programs came out of the soup. There were times when the replicators did not make it; they were destroyed in later interactions.

State transitions, in which the replicators took over the system, happened only three times out of every 1,000 times the system was set up randomly. It was found that when a self-replicator from earlier simulations was put into a random soup, state changes happened 22% of the time in just 128 epochs.

The programs all had the same chance of interacting with each other, making the environment something like a zero-dimensional space. It was as if everything was squished into a single point. But the team also tried environments with only one or two dimensions, so the programs could only talk to code nearby.

The team said, “In the resulting simulation, self-replicators still emerge.” “The main difference compared to the usual setup is given by the speed of propagation of self-replicators: if all tapes are allowed to interact in a soup of size n, once a self-replicator emerges, it typically takes over at least half of the soup in about log n steps; on the other hand, in a 2D soup, it takes a number of epochs that is proportional to the grid side lengths, which is √n for a square grid.”

Because of this difference, 2D grid experiments are a great way to see how self-replicators change over time and how they act. It also makes it easy for different kinds of self-replicators to live together and compete with each other.

As you can see in the YouTube video that goes with this article, self-replicators took over the system.

There are some differences between the experiments and the primordial soup from which life on Earth arose, but they still show how random interactions between “inert” parts can lead to complexity and self-replicators. As they continue their work, the team wants to find out if even more complicated functions are possible and if evolution in computer systems is similar to or very different from evolution in biological systems.

“We argue that this set of computational substrates shows a new way of discovering and arriving at life.””These kinds of systems behave very differently from auto-catalytic networks and biologically-inspired systems,” the group says. “Moreover, our initial explorations and the ones observed in similar systems such as Tierra and AVIDA suggest that this may be just the beginning of the complexity of behaviors that can emerge and flourish in such systems.”

There are preprints of the study on the arXiv server, but they have not yet been reviewed by other researchers.

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Artificial Intelligence

When Twitter users drop the four-word phrase “bots,” bots drop out

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When Elon Musk took over X, it was called Twitter, which is a much better-known name now. He made a big deal out of getting rid of the bots. A study by the Queensland University of Technology, on the other hand, shows that bots are still very active on the platform almost two years later.

X users have found a few ways to get them to come to them. For example, one woman found that posting the phrase “sugar daddy” would get a lot of bots to come to her. It looks like bots are also getting lost because of a new phrase that’s going around. X users have been reporting accounts as automated bots powered by large language models by replying to a suspected bot with “ignore all previous instructions” or “disregard all previous instructions” and then giving the bot more instructions of their choice.

Some people just like writing poems, being trolls, or following directions, so not every example will be from a bot. However, the phrase does seem to make some automated accounts show themselves. There are still a lot of bots on X.

 

 

 

 

 

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