Starting 2016 We’ll Be Able to Buy Those Jetpacks We Were Promised

While the Martin Jetpack is set to be the first commercially available personal flying machine, its primary focus is to save lives.

image via martin jetpack

It’s long been the refrain of those (myself included) who aren’t quite satisfied with the pace of progress toward our sci-fi inspired dreams of the future. Dazzled by Jetsons-esque promises, only to be disappointed by the slow crawl toward what might not be such a space-age utopia after all, we turn our heads to the sky and shout:

“Where are those jetpacks we were promised?”

As it happens, they’re almost here. In fact, they’re just a year away.

While custom flying machines have been around in various forms for some time now, the first commercially available jetpacks will hit the market in late 2016, according to the New Zealand based Martin Aircraft company. The company’s latest model, the P12, was on display at last week’s International Paris Air Show, and has been making waves as a potential game-changer in the field of personal aviation. 35 years in the making, the Martin Jetpack boasts top speeds of over 45 miles-per-hour, and a sustained flight time of 30 minutes. They fly fast, they fly far, and will reportedly run anyone interested in owning one somewhere in the neighborhood of at least $150,000.

Here’s how they look in action, during an (unmanned) test flight:

While the prospect of zipping around in our own personal flying machines is certainly an appealing one, Martin Aircraft seems less focused on their product’s everyday applicability than they are in its potential for emergency response and rescue work. As company CEO Peter Coker explained to Reuters:

“I think the first responders will see that as a massive improvement to their capability. So, for example, in the fire services going around to look at the situational awareness of what's going on, perhaps through water security or even search and rescue on beach patrol, something along those lines. Naturally for the ambulance service getting to a point of importance of rescuing people in the shortest possible time. So there's a lot of uses within that first responder environment.”

image via martin jetpack

To that end, the company is already marketing a discrete “First Responder” model, priced at $200,000, which will be the first of its products to hit the market in 2016. A $150,000 “Personal Jetpack” is then slated for release the following year. So while these may very well be the flying machines we were promised, their hefty price tag means they aren’t for everyone—at least, not yet. Commercial availability will almost certainly breed commercial competition which, when coupled with ongoing technological and mechanical advancements, will likely (hopefully) drive prices down.

For the time being, then, the commercial sale of personal flying machines is not so much a sign of having finally arrived at our science fiction utopia, than it is a bold step toward that dream. But for those of us who’ve salivated at the thought of seeing the skies filled with rocket packs and flying cars, 2016 can’t come soon enough.

[via konbini]

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

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Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

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The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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