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This is 5G built right. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning.
With just 10 days till Christmas, it's crunch time for all of us. With millions and millions of packages still to be shipped, but getting that package there on time involves many challenges, perhaps none bigger than the last mile to your doorstep. You might say that this morning our John Blackstone delivers the goods. Here in Berkeley, California, robots roaming the streets has become a common sight. These little guys deliver pizzas, burritos, and burgers to hungry students on the college campus here. From robots to drones, the way we get things is changing.
We'll deliver a report on the future of delivery ahead on Sunday morning. We're in conversation this morning with Harvey Keitel, a veteran actor with a role of the latest film from Martin Scorsese. He's proud of his performances, no matter how brief, as he'll tell Anthony Mason. Harvey Keitel's very first role was a small one. I played a dog. You played a dog?
No lines. Sit down, Frank. But in films like The Irishman, what are you doing in Delaware? The 80-year-old actor has made a big impression in small roles. There are no small parts, only small actors. Harvey Keitel, later on Sunday morning. Rita Braver previews the new movie version of Little Women.
With Tracy Smith, we meet the Nordstrom family, still minding the store. And something new based on something old. You may recall Point Counterpoint. Well, this morning, it's back. We'll offer you two views of the impeachment from pundits Tom Friedman and Eliana Johnson. All coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues. It turns out that for people delivering holiday packages, the last mile is the most challenging, which is why an increasing number of those deliveries don't involve people at all.
John Blackstone reports our cover story. It's morning in Berkeley, California, and the KiwiBots are heading off to work. These four-wheeled robots navigate sidewalks and even crosswalks, taking food to hungry college students. This is the future. And this is the future. This is the future of delivery.
Exactly, yeah. It's a real world test of delivery by robot that sometimes collides with reality. The reality today is that delivery is a bigger business than ever. With online shopping, it's estimated the post office, FedEx, and UPS will process, sort, and deliver more than 2 billion packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
Amazon's own fleet of delivery trucks is expected to handle 275 million holiday season shipments. And Amazon is pushing the delivery envelope, offering Prime members free one-day shipping. You have to offer free delivery now to be competitive, it seems.
Yeah. And it's not reasonable, because it's expensive to deliver stuff. Yeah, and it's never free, right? It costs money. The question is, where do you get that money from?
There are several campuses. Ann Goodchild is director of the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center at the University of Washington. The growth in home delivery is focusing attention on what logistics experts call the last mile. So they don't mean literally a mile, they mean the last piece of this supply chain. And the reason it's interesting is it's the most expensive mile of the whole thing. I've seen estimates of more than 50% of the cost is from that last mile.
It's expensive because it's labor-intensive. There's a driver who takes every package up to the front door. It's estimated that free shipping will cost Amazon more than a billion dollars this quarter alone, which explains why shippers are looking at some radical new technologies to cut the cost of the last mile. This is the delivery drone that's going to be delivering to homes all across America. Matthew Sweeney is founder and CEO of a delivery drone startup called Flirty.
We've been secretly testing this technology in the desert for years, and this is the first time a film crew has come out and see it. He predicts that by Christmas 2020, many packages will be delivered this way. Ready for the release? Here it is. There we go. Let's see what we got here. We've got two Flirty shirts. We've also got a fragile Flirty mug. I was kind of hoping for pizza.
We can do that. In fact, they did it in New Zealand in 2016, delivering pizza in a test of an early model drone. And the drone does not expect a tip. The labor cost of a drone delivery is less than the labor cost of any other form of delivery because the technology is autonomous. It flies itself. Flirty's drone is guided by GPS.
Sweeney won't reveal how much weight it can carry, but claims it can handle about 75% of all deliveries made in the U.S. today. The drone takes off from, and lands on, what Flirty calls a portal. Our vision is to have a portal at every mall across America. You know, every FedEx or UPS for package delivery. Our mission is to deliver whatever you want when you want it. Six years ago, Jeff Bezos unveiled Amazon's drone project. But Flirty is part of an FAA program with fast track approval for commercial drone delivery, and expects to beat Amazon with airborne deliveries. In Berkeley, the delivery robots roaming the streets are in close proximity to people. That is what's being tested. So this is a common sight in Berkeley now, isn't it? Yes, yes, yes.
And what's the reaction of people when they see these? Yeah, people are very curious, yeah, and so far the reaction and people in Berkeley have been very good. Felipe Chavez moved from Columbia with the dream of building his robot delivery company close to Silicon Valley. His KiwiBots deliver food within about a mile of the University of California campus here. So there'll be a time we'll walk up and down the street passing robots and nobody'll even notice. Literally, literally. And sometimes that happens here in Berkeley. People, like at the beginning, a lot of people were taking photos, super excited, and like now for some people it's just normal. A robot delivering a burrito?
It's just normal. Exactly. One advantage of drones and robots, they can deliver on demand when someone is home to receive the package. That could help combat porch pirates. The thieves who see any newly delivered cardboard box is an irresistible opportunity. Like the logistics expert Ann Goodchild looks at all those cardboard boxes and sees something else, the environmental impact. I think it's a good time to be in the cardboard industry and I do hope that we can move to more reusable materials.
The industry is still working this out. Home delivery, however, may be better for the environment than customers driving their own cars to shop. Trucks are bigger, trucks are heavier, trucks are more polluting, but we have to remember that that truck is actually like a bus for groceries.
That truck is visiting many homes and what our research shows is that the truck is more efficient. But that advantage can be lost in the rush for ever faster delivery. So one-hour delivery, two-hour delivery is not reducing the demand.
Two-hour delivery is not reducing congestion and is not reducing emissions. So there's no efficiency in that. The way there is efficiency in a milkman who can deliver to 40, 50 homes in a single trip. Indeed, let us not forget the milkman.
Well, I've been at it for three years, John, and I haven't soured on it yet. Along with his puns, Eric McElligot delivers organic milk in glass bottles in the San Francisco area. It's just a lot easier to have it delivered. Plus, I mean, people like the old school aspect of it, of, you know, getting a milk delivery.
He brings a gallon to Paula Gillespie's house once a week. It's fantastic. It seems a little anachronistic to me. Yes, well, that would be me.
I'd fit right in with that. There's these robots that deliver things to people. I hate it.
I hate it. So this is fulfilling a need that, in my opinion, is counterproductive to society, at least the society that I know and love. And it does not include robots and drones. Do you really think that's possible, that a drone could put you out of business one day? Yeah, at some point.
But I should be retired by then, hopefully. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac, December 15th, 2001, 18 years ago today. A day of, let's just say, realignment for one of the world's most recognizable and beloved landmarks. For that was the day Italy's renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened to the public after an 11-year renovation. Analysts had determined that after more than 800 years, the tower was at a sort of tipping point, that its famous lean was a lot more hazardous than many suspected. Engineer John Berland sounded the alarm. The masonry in the tower, particularly on the leaning side, the south side, is very fragile, very high forces in it, and that could explode at any time. Literally, it could literally go bang and blow up. Engineers faced the daunting task of fortifying the tower's fragile structure while maintaining its signature slant.
While they weren't busy striking a pose, tourists had mixed success, suggesting a strategy of their own. Push it. I really, I really wouldn't know where to begin. Something to balance it out. Something to push it. Lift it up from underneath. In the end, engineers employed a complex array of drills, weights, and cables to reduce the tower's 15-foot tilt by about 17 inches, or one half of one degree, keeping the all-important tilt intact. And if the job's $25 million price tag seems a little steep for a seemingly minor repair, well, perhaps CBS newsman Winston Burdette put it best.
The lean, of course, is essential. If you take the lean from the Leaning Tower, how many people will still come here to see it? Oh, wait until I become a famous author and make my fortune. Then we'll all ride in fine carriages dressed like Flo King, snubbing Amy's friends, and telling Aunt March to go to the Dickens. It's Sunday morning on CBS, and here again is Jane Pauley. That's Catherine Hepburn as Jo March in the 1933 film version of the venerable novel Little Women. The book had a very big influence on the young reader who grew up to create this year's remake.
Rita Braver caught up with her in the place where it all began. In this house in Concord, Massachusetts, 150 years ago, Louisa May Alcott wrote one of the most beloved books in American literature. I don't remember ever not knowing what Little Women was.
It was read to me, and then I read it myself when I was old enough. For two-time Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, the house itself was inspiration for her new movie, Little Women, which she wrote and directed. Being here and actually being in the presence of her room and her books and her things and things she touched, it's incredibly meaningful, and it made me feel like I could make the movie. The movie, with an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, You'll need to marry well. You are not married, aren't you?
Well, that's because I'm rich. It's the story of the four March sisters growing up in New England during Civil War times. It's based on Alcott and her own sisters. Amy, the youngest, is an aspiring artist, as was May Alcott.
Shy Beth, like Lizzie Alcott, loves music. Meg is the oldest and the first to marry, as was Anna Alcott. And then there's Joe, the main character, a brash, ambitious, and funny tomboy who, like Louisa May Alcott, is determined to become a famous writer. No one will forget Joe March. Joe March was such a beacon for so many women of so many different generations. Everyone from Simone de Beauvoir to Patti Smith to J.K. Rowling to me.
We love Joe March because she wanted to be bigger than the world would allow her to be. The Alcott family was poor, moving 20 times before scraping together enough money to buy their first real home in 1857. Alcott's father, Bronson, a schoolmaster, fixed it up and painted it brown. He wanted a brown house because he wanted it to melt into the natural world. Filled with warmth and love.
Yes, and also just run by women. And when you're in the house and you see all the paintings on the wall and you see their costumes for their plays and you see everything, you think it was a magical fairy land for them. And to think of girls in the 19th century being able to explore all of those artistic pursuits with some amount of seriousness, it takes a special mother and father to create that kind of utopia.
Imagine yourselves as friends of the family. You've been invited to see a play. Jan Turnquist is executive director of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House.
When the curtain opens, in front of you will be Rodrigo, played by Louisa. Their neighbors included some of the nation's leading philosophers. Just down the road was Mr. Alcott's closest friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet, essayist, and Henry David Thoreau, who would take the girls hiking around Walden Pond. The house has attracted visitors since adoring readers knocked on the door in the 1800s, hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous author. Is this actually the room where Louisa May Alcott wrote most of The Little Women?
Yes. In fact, it was right at this desk, a story in itself. Well, it was considered improper for a woman to have a desk of her own because— Seriously? Yes, seriously. First of all, culturally, you should be cooking.
You should be cleaning. The Alcott's thought that was ridiculous. Mr. Alcott built Louisa this desk, which was a tremendous gift to her. Only two chapters of the original Little Women manuscript remain, kept here at the Concord Free Public Library. Why did she keep these two chapters? Well, we know because she wrote in her hand on the back of one of these Saved by Mother's Desire. These apparently were her favorite chapters. University of New Orleans professor Anne Boyd Rue says Alcott got her start writing sensational stories to support her family. She published them under a pen name.
Here she found a lucrative market for writing that was full of sex and intrigue and murder and drug use. She was embarrassed. She didn't want people outside of her family to know.
She especially didn't want Ralph Waldo Emerson to know. Louisa May Alcott gradually began publishing under her own name, and then Little Women took off beyond her wildest expectations. It wasn't just little girls reading the book. Everybody was reading it. So not just women of all ages, but men of all ages, too. Still, Rue thinks the book has not always gotten the respect it deserves.
Unfortunately, it has been called a girl's book, and there is no reason why Huck Finn should be considered an American classic, and Little Women is not. But it's been the darling of filmmakers, with everyone playing Joe from Catherine Hepburn. Now, when I come in, you'll see the horrible look in my eyes, and you'll shrink back trembling. Go ahead, go ahead. To Winona Ryder.
Late at night, my mind would come alive with voices and stories and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. Saoirse Ronan plays Joe in the new version of the film. And I'm so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for.
I'm so sick of it. Facing her portrayal, in part, on Louisa May Alcott herself. It was like she was going into battle every time she had to write. It was like an essential thing that she had to do.
So understanding that from Louisa's point of view just made Joe, for me, all the richer, because I had so much more heart to bring to her, you know? Alcott chose never to marry. But as the publisher makes clear in the movie, her fictional characters had to follow a different course. And if the main character is a girl, make sure she's married by the end. Or dead, either way.
Excuse me? Right, married or dead. That's how we like our girls. Director Greta Gerwig understands why Alcott had to marry Joe off. Because that's what's going to sell books. And I respect that decision. And I respect that decision. And I respect that Louisa May Alcott made that decision. What do you think viewers in general can get from this movie? I think they're going to have the most wonderful time seeing this movie. I'm biased, of course. I've made it.
I want people to want to crawl inside and live in there. I'm very moved by how good all of the characters are. Not perfect. They're kind.
It's not chic. It's just wonderful. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and were not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.
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