The other day I saw that a driverless bus was undergoing a test run in Las Vegas when it collided with a delivery truck. Apparently, eight people were riding in the driverless bus when a delivery truck pulled out in front of it. The bus stopped in time, but the delivery truck kept going and caused a fender-bender. As a class-C license carrier, I’m sure the driver felt embarrassed about the incident. Who wants to be the poster child for the argument of why driverless vehicles are superior to humans? On top of that, I’m sure he got in trouble with his company, and the police ended up giving him a ticket.

Autonomous vehicles seem to be the way of the future, and I can’t wait until the days of being stuck in traffic are long gone. Instead of everyone cutting over, slamming on the brakes for no reason, and failing to speed up with the herd of motors, driverless cars offer a solution by providing a hive-mind system where every vehicle communicates with one another. The benefits are going to be huge for the economy. No more accidents, more efficient use of gas, and the community will hopefully be a lot healthier, happier, and productive because of it.

Think of how great it would be to have every vehicle communicating with each other. As one accelerates, the other engines will know exactly how much to increase their speed, and if one of them needs to brake, the message will be sent down the line of vehicles almost instantaneously. I see people getting frustrated all the time with other drivers when someone doesn’t see a car in their blind spot as it is coming over. It’s also a little nerve-racking. Everyone knows how annoying it is when a driver is blocking a lane and going slower than you want to go, but that shouldn’t be a problem once driverless cars take over the roadways. Reckless driving is dangerous for a lot of drivers, and hopefully, driverless vehicles will solve that problem for humanity.

Maybe I’m too trusting, but I want to be able to watch a movie, read a book, and play games while the car takes me to my destination. Anything would be better than the death grip and agonizing focus that is required to get through rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon. Instead, I’ll be able to relax, shift my attention elsewhere, and enjoy the ride. No matter what the conditions of the road are like, car rides are going to be so much better than what they are now when autonomous vehicles become the norm.

As great as it sounds, there are some foreseeable problems with driverless cars that need to be figured out before I commit to exclusively using one. One concern I have is how the vehicle will handle emergency situations, like an inevitable collision or passenger health issues. But then again, it will take many years before these cars replace human operators, and that means we have time to work out most of the kinks.

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Memorial Garden Underway

My aunt, Diane, passed away last year.  Diane was my dad’s favorite sibling, mother of five, grandmother of three.  She had been sick for a while, but it was still sad as she was only 52.  Three years prior, her daughter, Sydney, passed away after a violent car accident at the tender age of 21.  On the same day, my great aunt, Ethel, passed away of old lady naturally causes.  My dad’s side of the family has had one person die every year, for the past seven years.  

In the spring, my mom is planning a memorial garden to be constructed in our front yard and possibly the backyard as well.  

My parents, because of these individuals departing this world and my dad working so hard and me finally out of school, have come into some money.  They, well, more my mom, are hoping to plant a whole bunch pretty, deer resistant plants with a water feature.

The water feature should not be too elaborate because their land is only seven acres, but something still nice and honoring our dearly departed relatives, who always love Texas nature and wildlife.  

We’re picturing this being almost like a zone garden that has something along the lines of a pergola with vines weaving through it.  

The only thing we are really torn about is whether to place this memorial garden in the front yard or in the backyard.  

If it were in the backyard, we could have it near the pool, along with a sense of privacy.

However, if it were in the front yard, our neighbors would be able to see it from the road, and it would be the first thing we, and our guests, see when they pull into the driveway.  

We are not that imaginative of a family.  So, we will need a designer to come out to our house, help us assess what would go best where, draw up some design plans and go from there.  

We discuss money later.  There is not much of a price to help heal my dad’s hurt heart.  He spends time outside doing yard work, which is really just his excuse for being able to smoke, which we don’t let him do in the house with his stupid cancer sticks.  But, we do believe that this memorial garden will give him something pretty to look at and therefore a sense of inner peace because happiness comes from within.  

Also, we’re picturing a few hammocks for people to sleep in, during the summer months, in addition to pretentious looking garden gnomes.  I’m not entirely sure of the purpose of garden gnomes, if they are like the modern day scarecrow to scare away birds, but they sure are awesome, except for when you stub your toes on one while you’re walking up to get the morning paper or walking into the house, late at night, after work.  

Lastly, maybe the water feature could have a fish, salmon, or duck pond attached with a little troll looking bridge. Upon much consideration, we decided there was no one we’d trust more than these Chicago Landscapers to carry out this task.

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There is no doubt that fossil fuels are a finite resource. However, the date they fully diminish is often up to debate or experimental interpretation. Some scientists say that there are only 50 years of oil left, some people say that we will never run out of oil, and some people think we should go back to horse-drawn vehicles. Whatever anybody’s stance is, we are using oil now and will continue to do so for the next few years at least. Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, however, has other plans for this resources future.

As the industry leader in electronic luxury vehicles, Tesla has made a name for itself redefining how people take to the road in style. The company is not stopping at the higher end of the vehicle market, however. Recent news indicates that the company is looking to expand into the commercial vehicle market towards the end of this year. Still, in its prototype stage, Reuters reports that the vehicle will only be able to transport on the low end of the spectrum of what professional truckers refer to as “long-haul” trucking. This means that the electric truck can only travel for a maximum of 300 miles on a full battery charge. There is also no sleeper berth in the back of the cabin, so they are for day operation only. Beyond the technical capabilities of these vehicles, the main aspect of their hardware that is causing the most buzz-worthy news is the self-driving capabilities of the vehicle. While this may initially seem like an amazing idea, the implications of this come to a head in a legal nightmare. In the unfortunate case of a collision involving one of the trucks, there is the age-old case of who is at fault? Is Tesla held accountable for their programming? Is the trucking company owning the vehicle held accountable since it’s their property? Or is the person hit at fault since they are the only person technically involved? With a barrage of almost philosophical level questions, it can seem like there is a lot of mental work that needs to be done before these vehicles become commonplace.

While these trucks seem like a good idea, there is a lot of liability that comes with them. A computer can never fully replace a human behind the wheel. According to TBS Factoring Services, the demands for all kinds of truck loads from flat beds to reefers have been increasing by at least 70% each in the past year. This means that even with the news of electric trucks on the horizon, the economy’s faith in the trucking industry is holding strong. The market knows that fringe technology takes decades to develop fully and trucking can only grow.

There are always extensive trials and testing that need to be passed in order for new ideas to become commonplace. While electric cars are the inevitable next step in vehicles, self-driving cars are still science fiction.

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Learning to ride a bike is a quintessential part of childhood. It is often a happy memory of spending time with a parent or other trusted adult to learn a difficult but useful skill. The first time you can ride on your own is a triumphant moment, and you have mastered a skill you will have for the rest of your life. Even more importantly, it indicates the first moment of freedom because you now have your own form of transportation and can go wherever you choose. Riding a bike should be a joyous experience for all children, but that is not always the case when drivers do not take the proper precautions to avoid hitting bikers that are on the road. It is unfortunately common for bikers of all ages to be injured while riding on the road because drivers either do not see them in their path or are distracted while driving. However, it is particularly devastating when a young child is the victim of one of these horrifying accidents.

In April of 2017, a 14-year-old boy was riding his bike in Lower Makefield, Pennsylvania, when he was hit by a car that crossed in front of his path. Joshua Goldinger was attempting to cross the street at an intersection when a car, driven by an 18-year-old girl hit him and sent him off his bike. Although Joshua was rushed to St. Mary Medical Center, he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival. This tragic event has greatly affected Joshua’s parents and the entire Charles Boehm Middle School, which he attended. Although no information has been released about the driver, the incident is under investigation by the local police department.

Although bicycle accidents are less common than car accidents, the results are typically far more severe, due to the lack of safety restraints and the smaller frame of a bicycle. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2015 there were nearly 1,300 bicycle accidents across the state and children age five to 14 account for 22% of them. These statistics are shocking and indicate a serious problem in biking safety. Despite campaigns that aim to increase driver’s awareness of bikers on the road, the number of injuries and deaths caused by biking accidents are still far too high. We must find a better solution to help protect all bikers on the road and prevent any more deaths such as Joshua Goldinger’s.

Nothing will be able to reverse the pain and frustration that Joshua’s family must be facing after this accident. However, they can take steps to help them bring justice for his death and receive compensation for the expenses this accident created. Lawyers can help families and loved ones suffering from bike injuries or deaths file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. These lawsuits can help grieving families, like Joshua Goldinger’s, find some sense of comfort within their grief.

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According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the total count of breast reconstruction procedures performed in the U.S. in 2014 was 286,254. Breast reconstruction, clinically called augmentation mammoplasty, which has been the number one cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. since 2005, is the surgical placement of implants in a woman’s breasts. It is intended to improve/restore symmetry or increase fullness of the breasts, enlarge naturally small breasts, or restore breast volume, which is greatly affected by pregnancy, weight reduction, breast cancer surgery or mastectomy. Besides these reconstructive or medical reasons, there are also personal ones which make some women decide to undergo the procedure, like the desire to look younger, boost their self-esteem, boost their sex life and, according to some, to make their clothes fit better.

The Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) website affirms that breast reconstruction is still the most common kind of cosmetic surgery. In 2015, more than 280,000 women and teenagers underwent surgery to have their breasts enlarged with silicone or saline implants and about 106,000 breast cancer patients had reconstruction after mastectomy, often with implants. The popularity of breast augmentation has nearly tripled since 1997, when there were just over 101,000 of these procedures.

Breast implants, which last about 10 years, have an outer layer that is made of firm silicone, while its inside may be filled with silicone gel, saline solution or salt water, or a composite of alternative substances.

In its website, the Bergman and Folkers Cosmetic Surgery says that breast reconstruction is a highly individualized procedure. Though it can be performed for corrective purposes, it cannot correct pendulous or sagging breasts. To restore the youthful firmness and shape of breasts, breast mastopexy or a breast lift will first be required; only after this may breast reconstruction be performed.

Despite some of the risks associated with breast reconstruction procedures (well, any surgical procedure poses some kind of risk), this type of cosmetic surgery is safe, thus, the more than quarter of a million women undergoing it every year.

However, before finally deciding whether one should undergo breast reconstruction and which implant to choose, it is necessary to discuss things first with a trained and certified cosmetic surgeon, especially if one wants it simply because she wants to look better and she has seen how the procedure has really had great results in others.

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