Amazon Is So Much Bricks and Mortar


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Many of us consider Amazon as that button we click on to make our stuff magically arrive with out the fuss of bodily shops. Let me change your minds a little bit.

Amazon’s e-commerce warehouses, bundle distribution facilities and hubs for back-end computing gear occupied greater than 190 million sq. ft of house in North America on the finish of 2019. That’s larger than the footprint of Kroger’s practically 2,800 supermarkets.

In quick: To function in our on-line world, Amazon wants the brick-and-mortar equal of one in every of America’s largest grocery retailer chains.

This is a enjoyable truth for nerds. You’re welcome. I’m additionally mentioning it as a result of I would like us to consider e-commerce not as a purely on-line exercise, however one which impacts our actual world, too, in each constructive and doubtlessly dangerous methods.

But there are trade-offs as the footprint of e-commerce grows and expands into more parts of America. Many of us have had the luxury of not thinking about the traffic, noise and pollution from online shopping warehouses because they’re far away from where we live.

But what happens if those warehouses come to your neighborhood next? Our cities and suburbs have not been methodically planned for this likely uptick in package-delivery vehicles, e-commerce transportation hubs and warehouses.

For those of us who can, it helps to shop at the stores we want to keep alive in our communities. But we also need to acknowledge that online shopping is life-changing or useful for many people.

Rather than feeling guilty for shopping online, we can put our energy into pushing for public policy to prepare our roads, airspaces and neighborhoods for an e-commerce future that is arriving faster than anyone expected.

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One of the inevitabilities of life for prominent people has become online misinformation — especially for women of color like Kamala Harris, who was named on Tuesday as Joe Biden’s vice-presidential running mate.

Ben Decker, who researches online disinformation and works with The New York Times, wrote last year about digging into persistent and false online narratives about Harris that he found originated on toxic online forums like 4Chan. These false rumors will probably have another life cycle now that Harris is a vice-presidential candidate.

It’s hard to stamp out political misinformation where it starts, but Ben had suggestions for how to slow its spread. Essentially, he said that the biggest internet properties must work together.

Ben called for academic researchers, journalists and employees of social media companies to collaborate on tracking political misinformation as it is percolating in toxic corners of the internet.

These groups would then seek agreement on what constitutes problematic information — not an easy task, to be sure — and take coordinated action by posting fact-checking notices, deleting posts or preventing bogus information from being widely shared. Ben wrote that the internet companies already collaborate like this on some policy issues, including efforts to stop terrorist propaganda.

We’re all still figuring out how to combat the downsides of a central feature of social media: the ability for anyone to say (almost) anything, and potentially reach billions of people in a flash. Ben’s suggestion wouldn’t be a cure-all, but it seems like a common-sense approach to help tackle a scourge of our online lives.


This sea gull habitually shoplifts a bag of chips.


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