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Amazon’s big internet plan: 3,236 satellites to beam faster, cheaper web to millions

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Elon Musk readies space hook-up for ultra-fast Internet
The Federal Communications Commission has approved Elon Musk’s SpaceX application to deliver broadband services from its Starlink Low Earth Orbit satellites.

Amazon has plans to establish a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit to patch up areas with poor or no internet connectivity.

Amazon’s planned push into satellite-delivered broadband is taking shape under Project Kuiper, details of which appear in three documents filed with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) last month. The documents were filed by Kuiper Systems LLC.  

First spotted by Geekwire, the documents reveal Amazon plans to put 3,236 satellites at three different altitudes. There would be 784 satellites orbiting at an altitude of 367 miles (590km); 1,296 satellites at 379 miles (610km); and 1,156 satellites at 391-mile (630km).     

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the existence of Amazon’s satellite broadband ambitions, noting that it was a “long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet”.

The company is also planning to partner with other companies to bring the project to reality.  

That could make companies in the space-broadband race, like SpaceX and OneWeb, potential rivals or partners. The FCC in November authorized SpaceX to deploy and operate 7,000 satellites in very low Earth orbit to deliver broadband. 

OneWeb, which has $2bn in backing from the likes of Airbus, Coca Cola, Softbank, and Virgin, in February launched six satellites with the same ambition. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture already has a contract to launch satellites for OneWeb and TeleSat. 

Meanwhile, Facebook, Boeing and LeoSat have revealed plans to beam internet from space. Alongside SpaceX’s FCC authorization, the regulator also authorized spectrum in the US for both TeleSat’s and LeoSat’s space broadband systems.      

Should Amazon’s plans come to fruition, its satellites would provide about 95 percent of the world’s population with coverage between latitudes 56 degrees north to 56 degrees south. The two parallels circle the Earth at about the latitude of Sweden and below Australia.  

Amazon will still need to get approval from the FCC and other regulators around the world to move forward with Project Kuiper. 

Satellite internet today is typically very expensive. However, there is hope that satellites in low Earth orbit will be cheaper and offer lower latency. 

Amazon said it would “of course look at all options” when asked whether Bezos’ Blue Origin would have an edge over others for launching the Kuiper constellation. 

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This Tesla Supercar Is The Future Of Electric Cars We Want Elon Musk To Build

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British concept artist Khyzyl Saleem took to Instagram and Facebook to reveal the Tesla Precept Concept, a Tesla supercar/hypercar in the eyes of an under-30 designer. More than just a flight of fancy, the design was Saleem’s final submission for his Meguiar’s art piece dubbed “Electrifying 2020,” and it looks brilliant.

Saleem took influence from modern hypercars like the Czinger 21C, Rimac Nevera, Lotus Evija, and the Porsche Mission R concept to finalize his creation. But in our eyes, the Tesla Precept more closely resembles the offspring of a first-gen Tesla Roadster and a McLaren supercar, particularly a 765LT. The front clip is a bit off with its intricate hood design, and the Tesla “mustache” grille looks like an afterthought, but the rear is not too bad. We fancy the recessed taillight and wing spoiler design, and that swooping design on the diffuser is fascinating.

The artist claims the design is a “super early and kinda rough version” that, given more time, would have been something more unique. Tesla’s incoming Roadster is not a bad-looking car, but the Precept Concept proves what could have been if Tesla designers had taken a swill of scotch before buttoning down for work.

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Indiana Is The First State To Sue TikTok Over Child Safety Worries

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To tech-savvy and/or historically informed readers, the widespread concern about TikTok in the U.S. might smack of earlier moral panics. As mental health nonprofit Take This reports, it’s a matter of record that social media, video and tabletop games, clothing choices, music genres, and virtually anything else enjoyed by the young have been excoriated by American elders on one moral basis or another.

At the same time, serious questions have been raised about the safety of TikTok as a platform. We’ve reported in the past about the successes and failures of TikTok’s content moderation, from its largely hands-off, algorithmic approach to managing content to the borderline unethical treatment experienced by the human moderators the platform does possess. Content capable of generating severe psychological trauma in adult professional content managers certainly shouldn’t be emerging in children’s feeds.

Moderation and data security are also inescapably entwined. Hands-off moderation doesn’t just threaten the possibility of traumatic content in users’ feeds; it allows for sharing media at least some users are likely to see as unethical if not illegal. Add that to the documented pressures that Chinese law puts on social media platforms and it starts to seem like the Indiana lawsuit, right or wrong, at least has some kind of grounding.

Still, TikTok has answered critics and survived plenty of tough talk from the previous presidential administration. Whether it can continue to do so will depend both on the commitment of the platform’s user base and its ability to adapt to the requirements of American law.

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How Fast Is The Electric Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Really?

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According to Livewire, the ONE has some impressive speed and acceleration numbers, going from 0-60 mph in just three seconds and topping out at 110 mph. Sure, 110 mph doesn’t seem awfully fast, but Harley-Davidson motorcycles were never known for being fast. According to testing by CycleWorld, the Livewire ONE lives up to its reputation, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds — a fraction of a second slower than the marketed number.

Interestingly, in terms of acceleration, the Livewire ONE is second only to the FXDR 114, which has a 0-60 mph time of only 2.5 seconds, according to Harley Davidson of Kingwood. Being quick off the line is par for the course for an electric motorcycle, though — there are no gears to cycle through, and electric motor torque is usually much higher at low RPM. The highest top speed for a production Harley-Davidson bike also goes to the FXDR 114, which tops out at a respectable 160 mph, according to Peterson’s Harley-Davidson. As far as the Livewire ONE’s 110 mph top speed, that’s par for the course for Harley-Davidson, with most everything except for the FXDR 114.

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