Amazon patent shows roving robots that could drop off items on sidewalks

Amazon is testing robots that can store packages and make multiple deliveries along their routes, according to a new patent filing.

According to the patent application published Tuesday, the tech giant’s proposed storage compartment vehicles (SCV) could also pick up items for return.

The Seattle-based company, which already deploys robots in many of its fulfillment centers worldwide, is looking for ways to address the troublesome “last mile” of delivery with this method, which would have customers come outside on the sidewalk, tap a security code on their phones and open the correct door to get their packages.

Alternate designs for Amazon’s storage compartment vehicle are adapted for aerial (left) or water-based (right) transportation. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Alternate designs for Amazon’s storage compartment vehicle are adapted for aerial (left) or water-based (right) transportation. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO) (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

However, Amazon has often said its patent applications are meant to explore possibilities, but many inventions are not turned into products or services as described in patent applications.

In certain parts of Seattle, Amazon has already been testing Amazon Scout delivery robots.

According to GeekWire, the patent application points out that the SCVs could position themselves in predetermined areas and that they could be outfitted with cameras, microphones, GPS devices, biometric scanners and more — to make sure no one messes with the robots and that deliveries arrive on time.

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There’s also reportedly a water-based model that comes equipped with floats for marine delivery applications.

Chris Wallace on Senate impeachment trial arguments: How many times can Democrats make the same point?

Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace said Democrats risk overstating their case against President Trump as they continue their opening argument in the Senate impeachment trial.

After House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., spoke for more than two hours at the start of proceedings Wednesday, Wallace noted during a break in the proceedings that Democrats had made the “same point” over and over again.

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Wallace said Schiff “went into great detail on the facts and the timeline of this action by the president starting in the spring of 2019 until September of 2019. He gave the emotional arguments, the large arguments as to what the real significance to the future of the country and our national security is.”

He added that Schiff opened his remarks by invoking the work of Alexander Hamilton and closed his part of the argument by invoking President George Washington.

“I thought he said it all,” Wallace remarked. “Then I realized we have [up to] 21 hours and 40 minutes left to go. … My Lord, three days and 24 hours [total].”

“You just wonder how many times you can keep making the same point.”

Wallace said the same lengthy repetition is likely to also be a hallmark of the Trump defense team, once they get their 24 total hours to rebut the House impeachment managers.

By Wednesday evening, Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, had spoken at length, with Nadler offering copies of tweets by Donald Trump Jr. and other documentation as he made his case.

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Before he departed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Wednesday morning, Trump slammed Nadler as a “sleazebag” that he has dealt with “for a long time.”

The president recalled fighting Nadler on numerous real estate endeavors, as the longtime Upper West Side congressman famously sought to quash attempts by Trump to develop along the Hudson River in the Manhattan part of his district.

Antonio Brown being investigated for ‘possible battery’ at his Florida home: report

Former NFL star Antonio Brown is reportedly being investigated for possible battery at his Florida home Tuesday.

There was still an “active scene” outside his Hollywood home and police are determining whether or not charges are going to be brought against him, ESPN reported. A source told ESPN that police believe it is “not a domestic situation.”

FLORIDA POLICE DEPARTMENT CUTS TIES WITH ANTONIO BROWN AFTER PROFANE OUTBURST

According to TMZ Sports, officers swarmed the home of the free-agent wide receiver who last played for the New England Patriots earlier Tuesday. A neighbor told the gossip website that someone was in custody in the back of a police cruiser but it wasn’t clear who it was.

A police source told TMZ Sports that Brown wasn’t in custody “at this time.”

The latest apparent incident comes less than a week after the Hollywood Police Department cut ties with Brown following an incident outside his home involving the mother of his children.

ANTONIO BROWN FILMS PROFANITY-LACED TIRADE AT EX-GIRLFRIEND, POLICE IN FRONT OF HIS KIDS OUTSIDE FLORIDA HOME

It was the third domestic incident involving Brown in the last three months, Hollywood police had said. According to CBS Miami, the latest incident — which included a profanity-laced tirade aimed at officers — was the last straw; police told Brown he was no longer welcome as a donor and volunteer for the Police Athletic League (PAL). Police returned the unemployed wide receiver’s donation.

“We made the decision to sever ties between Mr. Brown and the Hollywood Police Athletic League,” public information officer Christian Lata said in a statement. “We did not want our youth to be subject to this type of behavior nor emulate the actions of Mr. Brown.”

Lata said that Brown used profanity in front of his children. Police said Brown’s donation to the 7-on-7 league was returned Jan. 9.

ANTONIO BROWN DECIDES HE’S ONLY PLAYING WITH TOM BRADY IN 2020

“These incidents have caused an irreparable rift between the Police Department and PAL and Mr. Brown,” Lata added.

Brown livestreamed a confrontation with his ex-girlfriend Chelsie Kyriss and Hollywood police outside his home. Brown’s children appeared to be present as the wide receiver yelled profanities at police and Kyriss, accusing her of trying to steal a Bentley that was parked in his driveway after coming to pick up her kids for school.

Brown appears to be focused on his rap career as he faces allegations of sexual assault and rape by two different women.

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Brown has not commented on the latest incident.

Kelly Ripa reveals she’s stopped drinking since co-hosting ‘Live’ with Ryan Seacrest

Kelly Ripa revealed she has quit drinking alcohol.

On Monday’s episode of “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” the 49-year-old Emmy winner joked there was a downtick in total wine purchased in 2019.

“They are saying Americans bought less wine in the last year,” she told co-host Ryan Seacrest. “It’s the first drop in a quarter of a century. Now, I believe this is because I quit drinking, that I caused this slip. I have influenced the market.”

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“I’m not saying I’ve driven people out,” she added. “I’m saying I stopped buying wine and there’s a 25 percent dip.”

Seacrest, who became her co-host in 2017, quipped, “I started the show and she quit drinking. What does that tell you?”

Ripa didn’t further explain why she chose to stop drinking a few years ago. Meanwhile, according to a New York Times interview last year, Seacrest loves his wine. He told the outlet he breaks his strict diet and enjoys himself on the weekends.

KELLY RIPA, 48, UNVEILS BIKINI BODY IN SKIMPY WHITE SWIMSUIT

“During the week, it’s impossible, but Fridays and Saturdays, it’s fantastic to have a two-hour meal, family-style, with a fantastic bottle of wine,” Seacrest said.

Ripa has previously spoken about her strict diet.

“It has changed my life, it’s changed the whole way I think about food,” Ripa said in 2015 of the high-alkaline diet she follows, which focuses on vegetables like beets, broccoli, cucumbers, kale, kiwis and bell peppers while avoiding acidic foods like yogurt, fish and sugar.

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“I like to drink coffee. I occasionally will have fish. The alkaline diet is primarily a vegan diet, but I like cream in my coffee. I like to have a glass of wine,” she added at the time. “So I don’t adhere to it strictly, but when I do a cleanse, it will be seven days, and then I go back to my normal life. But my normal life, like I said, is not that different than the alkaline cleanse.”

Cory Booker not ready to make endorsement in Dems’ presidential primary

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said Sunday he’s not quite ready to make an endorsement in the Democrats’ heated presidential primary.

I’m not sure,” Booker said during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week.” “Look, I’m literally still days — just days from stepping out of this race.”

Booker, who up until a week ago tried to be the one getting endorsements, dropped out of the primary race last Monday amid falling poll numbers and failing to qualify for multiple debates.

“I want to support a candidate that, yeah, wants to send [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to the back benches, yeah, wants to beat Donald Trump, but also understands that beating Donald Trump is the floor — it’s not the ceiling,” Booker added.

The senator said his focus would shift to winning reelection in the Senate and his vote in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

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Booker entered the race last February but struggled to gain traction in the polls. It wasn’t long ago that Booker, the energetic former mayor of Newark, N.J., was considered a rising star in his party, but he was outshined throughout the primary and never enjoyed a break-out moment like others did.

While he did participate in early debates, Booker had failed to meet the qualifications to participate in last week’s event. It also came less than a month before Iowa is set to off the nominating season with its caucuses on Feb. 3.

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Booker is the latest candidate of color to exit the race, following the departure of California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Obama administration official Julián Castro.

The last African-American candidate in the race is former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, but he has not qualified for any debates.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Deaths related to binge-drinking on the rise, new studies show

Next time you toast to your health, you might want to make it a water.

American drinkers are boozing more, according to two new studies this month, and that’s leading to more alcohol-related deaths.

Thanks to our ballooning benders, 73,000 Americans died from liver disease and other alcohol-related illnesses in 2017 — more than double in 1999 when that number was 36,000, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

STUDY: AMERICANS DRINKING MORE NOW THAN JUST BEFORE PROHIBITION

While men died at higher rates overall, the study, published last week in the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research,” reported the largest increases in alcohol-induced deaths were among middle-aged individuals and women, especially white women.

“With the increases in alcohol use among women, there’s been increases in harms for women including ER visits, hospitalization and deaths,” Aaron White, lead study author, told NPR.

Their research indicates that alcohol is even deadlier than illicit drugs, including opioids, which claimed the lives of about 70,000 in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarettes, however, remain America’s No. 1 killer with more than 480,000 dying each year due to smoking-related illness.

American drinkers are boozing more, according to two new studies this month, and that’s leading to more alcohol-related deaths.

American drinkers are boozing more, according to two new studies this month, and that’s leading to more alcohol-related deaths. (iStock)

That study wasn’t the only sobering evidence of America’s growing problem.

Researchers at the CDC revealed this week a 12 percent increase in binge drinking over a six year period ending in 2017, according to data pulled from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

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The CDC totaled the annual number of drinks consumed by adult binge drinkers — meaning those who regularly have four or more alcoholic beverages during one occasion — and found the average number had jumped from 472 in 2011 to 529 in 2017.

For men, the average number escalated from 587 to 666 during the study period, compared to women whose binge drinking rose from 256 to 290 — a differential of 79 versus 34. They also found that those who had not completed high school saw a jump of 45.8 percent. For individuals with family incomes of less than $25,000 per year, the yearly average leaped from 543 to 673.

The CDC’s report also revealed binge drinking averages by state, and showed that nine states are drinking more than they did in 2011, including New Jersey and New York. In 2017, the state with the lowest average number of drinks during a binge was Massachusetts with 320; the highest was Wyoming with 1,219.

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The CDC reminds that binge-drinking and alcoholism can lead to risky behaviors, such as drunk driving, domestic violence, unprotected sex resulting in pregnancy and STDs, as well as stroke, heart and liver disease, among other illnesses.

This article originally appeared in The New York Post.

House Foreign Affairs Committee presses Pompeo to appear for Iran hearing

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., on Friday pressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to agree to testify before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran and threatened to issue a subpoena if necessary.

The invitation to Pompeo from Engel, the committee chairman, comes as Democratic lawmakers demand answers about Trump’s recent actions against Tehran, particularly an airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani that led a retaliatory attack on American troops in Iraq and has escalated tensions in the region.

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“As the Administration’s public face of this policy, your participation at this hearing is necessary so that the committee can conduct appropriate oversight and consider legislative alternatives related to the use of military force as well as the strategy and aims of American policy in Iran, Iraq, and the broader Middle East,” Engel wrote.

Pompeo was previously invited to testify before the committee this week but declined, citing time constraints. Engel warned Pompeo that he would use legal means to compel him to testify if he refuses to appear at the Jan. 29 hearing.

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“I was particularly troubled by the fact that, rather than discuss urgent matters of war and peace with the State Department’s committee of jurisdiction you announced after you had been invited to the January 14 hearing, you traveled to California to deliver a scripted speech on these same issues,” Engl wrote. “I consider your testimony to be of extremely high importance and am prepared to use all legal means to ensure your attendance.”

The State Department did not immediately return a Fox News request for comment Friday.

On Tuesday, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and former State Department official under President George W. Bush, told Congress that the Trump administration’s campaign against Iran has been effective.

He expressed optimism that sanctions on Iran have been strong enough to bring its leaders back to the negotiating table and was encouraged by threats of additional sanctions from Britain, France and Germany, all signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Also present at the hearing were former national security adviser Stephen Hadley and former deputy national security adviser and former deputy director of the CIA Avril Haines

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Tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic reached a boiling point after Sloeimani‘s death earlier this month. Democrats blasted the attack, saying it would put American lives in danger. Trump administration officials said the Quds Force commander was planning attacks against American personnel and American forces.

Iran responded by launching missiles at military bases in Iraq that house American troops, which injured 11 service members. Trump initially said no one was injured in that attack.

Iraqi lawmakers also voted to expel U.S. troops from the country, which had been invited back to combat the Islamic State after the terror group overtook vast swaths of the country from security forces and has since been defeated.

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The House last week passed a War Powers Resolution, mostly along party lines, intended to tighten Trump’s military action toward Iran. Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine, D-Va. introduced a second version that would mandate the U.S. withdraw troops from hostilities against Iran.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 

Instagram influencer arrested for climbing pyramid in Egypt: ‘I saw horrible things and I don’t wish this upon anybody’

Is a great Instagram post worth going to jail over?

An American-Russian influencer recently revealed to his followers that he’d spent several days in an Egyptian jail after being arrested for climbing one of the pyramids of Giza.

Ironically, Vitaly Zdorovetskiy uploaded a picture about a week ago where he bragged that he was going to take over Egypt. Several days later, he revealed that he had been arrested.

THE MOST VIRAL — AND BIZARRE — SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER STORIES OF 2019

“No words can explain what I just went through the past five days,” Zdorovetskiy wrote alongside a picture that appears to show him sitting on top of one of the pyramids.

“I was locked up in Egypt because I climbed the Pyramids of Giza,” he continued. “I’ve been in Jail many times but this one was by far the very worst. I saw horrible things and I don’t wish this upon anybody.”

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Oddly, after commenting about how horrible his experience in jail was, he added: “Was it worth it? F— YEAH! I did it for a good cause and soon I’m going to share the whole video so the whole world can see.”

The post has received over 192,000 likes and over 2,000 comments (although many of the comments are just made up of laughing faces or the flame emoji).

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The Egyptian Parliament decided that it was illegal to climb the pyramids in November, The Sun reports. Anyone who violates this law can face thousands of dollars in fines and up to 30 days in jail.

Honduran migrants gather to try forming new caravan

Hundreds of people, mostly Hondurans, began walking and hitching rides from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Wednesday in hopes of starting another migrant caravan similar to one that traversed through Mexico and inundated American border agents in 2018.

Their attempt to form another caravan comes as Mexico has begun stepping up efforts to block migrants from arriving at the southern border amid pressure from the Trump administration. Many migrants are seeking asylum in the United States, citing endemic poverty and increases in crime and gang activity in their Central American countries.

“We aren’t living here, we’re just surviving,” said Elmer Garcia, 26, a migrant from the town of Comayagua, Honduras. “So it doesn’t make much difference if you die there, or die here.”

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Migrants ride on top of a truck moving along the highway, in hopes of reaching the distant United States, from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, early Wednesday. Hundreds of Honduran migrants started walking and hitching rides Wednesday from the city of San Pedro Sula, in a bid to form the kind of migrant caravan that reached the U.S. border in 2018. (AP Photo/Delmer Martinez)

Migrants ride on top of a truck moving along the highway, in hopes of reaching the distant United States, from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, early Wednesday. Hundreds of Honduran migrants started walking and hitching rides Wednesday from the city of San Pedro Sula, in a bid to form the kind of migrant caravan that reached the U.S. border in 2018. (AP Photo/Delmer Martinez)

Wednesday’s journey could face obstacles from Mexican authorities, which broke up a number of attempts to form caravans last year.

“The truth is, it is going to be impossible for them to reach the United States,” said human rights activist Itsmania Platero. “The Mexican police have a large contingent and they are going to catch all the migrants without documents and they will be detained and returned to their home countries.”

In an attempt to decrease the flow of migrants, the U.S. has entered into bilateral agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to deny people the opportunity to apply for asylum in the U.S. in an effort to enlist other countries to help deal with the ongoing crisis.

Migrants are instead sent back to Central America with an opportunity to ask for protection there.

Gerson Noe Monterroso, 34, said he’s been unemployed for five years and sees the journey to the U.S. as an opportunity. He left his home in Choloma, just north of San Pedro Sula, with dreams of finding a job to send money back to his family.

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He was making the trip Wednesday with his toddler in his arms. His other children are with their grandparents back home, he said.

Israel Connor, a Nicaraguan who has been living in Honduras since fleeing political and social upheaval, left Wednesday with his wife and their three children, ages 3 to 5.

“We are going to struggle, but if God is with us, nobody can stop us,” said Connor. “We know we are going to get through Guatemala, and God will soften the hearts of the Mexican authorities.”

After arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, migrants seeking asylum are given a series of options: One is to be sent back to Guatemala as part of a “safe third country” agreement with the U.S. or their home country. Another is entering into the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — also known as “Remain-in-Mexico” — where they can wait out their cases in Mexico.

The program ended the practice of “catch-and-release” by where immigrants were released into the U.S. to await their hearings.

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Critics and human rights advocates say sending migrants to countries marred by violence puts them in danger. The Trump administration recently started returning Mexican migrants deep into the country, as far down as Guadalajara.

The plan marks a change from past protocols, which called for releasing migrants at the border. Homeland Security officials expect to return 250 Mexican migrants each week.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Americans drinking more than before Prohibition, stats show

America still has a problem with alcohol, say public health experts.

Americans are drinking more now than when Prohibition was enacted in 1920, and alcohol-related deaths have been rising for the last two decades, according to federal health statistics.

The stats show a rise in per-person consumption and increases in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths tied to drinking.

It’s unclear and unknown when the stats shall fall again.

“Consumption has been going up. Harms (from alcohol) have been going up,” said Dr. Tim Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University. “And there’s not been a policy response to match it.”

This 1971 photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an alcoholic cirrhosis liver specimen from an autopsy showing a dense network of scar tissue in response to chronic injury from alcohol abuse. (Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr./CDC via AP)

This 1971 photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an alcoholic cirrhosis liver specimen from an autopsy showing a dense network of scar tissue in response to chronic injury from alcohol abuse. (Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr./CDC via AP)

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Excessive drinking is associated with chronic dangers such as liver cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Drinking by pregnant women can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths or birth defects. Health officials say alcohol is a factor in as many as one-third of serious falls among the elderly.

It’s also a risk to others — through drunken driving or alcohol-fueled violence. Research based on surveys suggests that more than half of the alcohol sold in the U.S. is consumed during episodes of binge drinking.

More than 88,000 Americans die each year as a result of excessive drinking, a figure higher than the opioid-related deaths seen in a current drug overdose epidemicaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This month, researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism released a different calculation of alcohol-related deaths. They scanned death certificates from more than two decades to search for mention of alcohol. The numbers were lower, at a little under 73,000 in 2017. The researchers said death certificates can be incomplete and their number is likely an undercount.

The more important finding, other researchers said, was that the number of alcohol-related deaths had doubled since 1999, and the death rate had risen 50 percent. Some or much of that may be related to the increasingly deadly drugs used in the overdose epidemic, since many people drink while taking drugs, said Aaron White, the study’s lead researcher.

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FILE - This Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 file photo shows the scene of a multiple vehicle accident involving two trucks and a bicyclist in Honolulu. Police say a suspected drunk driver slammed into a crowded Honolulu intersection, killing two pedestrians and a bicyclist and injuring five people including himself. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

FILE – This Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 file photo shows the scene of a multiple vehicle accident involving two trucks and a bicyclist in Honolulu. Police say a suspected drunk driver slammed into a crowded Honolulu intersection, killing two pedestrians and a bicyclist and injuring five people including himself. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

In the late 1910s, just before Congress banned the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages, each American teen and adult was downing just under 2 gallons of alcohol a year on average.

These days it’s about 2.3 gallons, according to federal calculations. These figures work out to nearly 500 drinks, or about nine per week.

Historians say drinking was heaviest in the early 1800s, with estimates that in 1830 the average U.S. adult downed the equivalent of 7 gallons a year.

That waned as the temperance movement pushed for moderation, abstinence and, later, a national ban on the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

In 1919, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, instituting the ban. It went into effect on January 17, 1920 — 100 years ago, this Friday — and lasted 13 years.

In 1934, a year after Prohibition was repealed, per-capita consumption was under 1 gallon. It’s been up and down since then. The apex was a heavy-drinking spell in the 1970s and 1980s, when U.S. per-person alcohol consumption was 2.75 gallons.

It went down in the mid-1980s, amid growing attention to deaths from drunken driving and after Congress passed a law raising the drinking age to 21. But it began climbing again in the mid-1990s.

“I think people sort of forgot all the problems” with alcohol, said William Kerr, senior scientist at the California-based Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group.

FILE - In this June 16, 2016, file photo, bottles of wine are displayed during a tour of a state liquor store, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

FILE – In this June 16, 2016, file photo, bottles of wine are displayed during a tour of a state liquor store, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

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Currently, there are signs that some people are taking alcohol seriously — such as the “Dry January” movement making the rounds on social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.