The Anglerfish Deleted Its Immune System To Fuse With Its Mate
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired:
There are few animals more bizarre than the anglerfish, a species that has so much trouble finding a mate that when the male and female do connect underwater, males actually fuse their tissue with the females for life. After the merger, the two share a single respiratory and digestive system. Now scientists have discovered that the anglerfish accomplishes this sexual parasitism because it has lost a key part of its immune system, which then allows two bodies to become one without tissue rejection.
All vertebrates, including humans, have two kinds of immune systems. The first is the innate system, which responds quickly to attacks by microscopic invaders with a variety of chemicals like mucous physical barriers like hair and skin, and disease-munching cells called macrophages. The second line of defense is an adaptive system that produces both "killer" T cells to attack the pathogen and antibodies custom-made to fight specific bacteria or viruses. The two systems work together to fight infections and prevent disease. But in a study published Thursday in the journal Science, researchers from Germany's Max Planck Institute and the University of Washington found that many anglerfish species (there are more than 300) have evolved over time to lose the genes that control their adaptive immune systems, meaning that they can't create antibodies and lack those T cells.
Lifestyle Changes Could Delay Or Prevent 40% of Dementia Cases, Study Says
Excessive drinking, exposure to air pollution and head injuries all increase dementia risk, experts say in a report revealing that
up to 40% of dementia cases worldwide could be delayed or prevented by addressing 12 such lifestyle factors. The Guardian reports:
The report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care builds on previous work revealing that about a third of dementia cases could be prevented by addressing nine lifestyle factors, including midlife hearing loss, depression, less childhood education and smoking. The research weighs up the latest evidence, largely from high-income countries, supporting the addition of a further three risk factors to the list. It suggests that 1% of dementia cases worldwide are attributable to excessive mid-life alcohol intake, 3% to mid-life head injuries and 2% a result of exposure to air pollution in older age -- although they caution that the latter could be an underestimate.
While some actions can be taken on a personal level to tackle such issues, many require government-led change. The report includes a list of nine recommendations, including improving air quality, and urges policymakers to "be ambitious about prevention." Research has suggested that the incidence of dementia in Europe and North America has fallen by around 15% per decade for the past 30 years -- likely because of lifestyle changes such as a reduction in smoking -- even though the numbers of people with dementia are rising as people live longer. The impact of lifestyle interventions, the team add, is likely to be greatest among the most deprived individuals and in low- and middle-income countries. The impact of lifestyle interventions, the team add, is likely to be greatest among the most deprived individuals and in low- and middle-income countries.
Google Accused By Developer of Retaliation For Cooperating With House Antitrust Investigation
Google kicked an email app off its Play Store Friday, just days after its developers revealed they were cooperating with House lawmakers who questioned the tech giants' chief executives during a landmark tech antitrust hearing earlier this week. From a report:
The founders of Blix, the maker of the "BlueMail" app, say they believe the move was retaliation for their outspokenness on antitrust issues. They said Google had not previously warned them about the move. "We have been developing for the Google Play Store for more than six years, but we woke up this morning to find ourselves kicked out with no notice," Blix co-founder Ben Volach said in an interview Friday. On Wednesday, the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary committee questioned the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google about new evidence the committee has gathered in an ongoing investigation into allegedly anticompetitive behavior by the four companies. One area of interest for the committee was the power of Apple and Google to act as gatekeepers for app developers, particularly when they compete head-to-head with those developers.
Germany is Banning Single-Use Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Food Containers
banning the sale of single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and food containers, bringing it
in line with a European Union directive intended to reduce the amount of plastic garbage that pollutes the environment. From a report:
The Cabinet agreed Wednesday to end the sale of plastics including single-use cutlery, plates, stirring sticks and balloon holders, as well as polystyrene cups and boxes by July 3, 2021. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the move was part of an effort to move away from "throw-away culture." Up to 20% of garbage collected in parks and other public places consists of single-use plastic, mainly polystyrene containers.
Microsoft Is Shutting Down Cortana On Multiple Devices, Including iOS and Android
At Microsoft's Ignite conference in late 2019, the company said it was
planning to shut down its standalone Cortana mobile apps as it
refocuses on business users. Microsoft today is following through with that plan,
announcing that it
will shut down the current Cortana iOS and Android apps, end Cortana support for the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker, and remove the original Cortana functionality from the first-generation Surface Headphones starting in 2021. The Verge reports:
These changes are still a few months away, but it marks another big step for Microsoft in pivoting Cortana away from a Google Assistant or Alexa alternative to a more specialized, productivity-focused assistant -- changes the company has already started making on the Windows 10 version of Cortana earlier this year. (To that end, Microsoft also put a September 7th date on the already-announced sunsetting of third-party Cortana skills for Windows.) Instead, Microsoft will be focusing on its productivity features that repurpose Cortana as a part of the Microsoft 365 suite of software, citing the revamped Windows 10 functions and integrated Cortana features in the Outlook and Teams apps as replacements. It's not as full-featured as the original Cortana -- which offered additional functions like smart home controls and music integration -- but by offering a less broad set of features, Microsoft is hoping to create a product that better complements its existing software and competes less directly with established players like Google and Amazon.
Microsoft is also offering a consolation offer of a $50 gift card for Harman Kardon Invoke owners, who'll be most impacted by the removal of Cortana -- which effectively will turn the formerly smart device into a pricey Bluetooth speaker when the firmware update arrives next year. Owners of the original Surface Headphones (who will also see their Cortana experience removed) are also being offered a $25 gift card to make up for the missing service.
Apple Surpasses Saudi Aramco To Become World's Most Valuable Company
Apple rode the company's strong earnings report to
become the world's most valuable publicly traded company, surpassing the state oil giant Saudi Aramco at Friday's market close. CNBC reports:
Apple shares closed up 10.47% Friday, giving it a market valuation of $1.84 trillion. Saudi Aramco, which had been the most valuable publicly listed company since its market debut last year, now trails at $1.76 trillion as of its last close. Apple's strong fiscal third quarter earnings, released Thursday, boosted its stock, as investors rallied behind the company's 11% year-over-year growth. Apple also announced a 4-for-1 stock split. The company has recovered from its pandemic low-point in March. Shares are up more than 44% this year.
Comcast Lost 477,000 Cable Customers In Q2 2020
AT&T lost an astounding
900,000 cable subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, and now, Comcast has reported that it
lost 477,000 pay-TV subscribers of its own for Q2. TechSpot reports:
In Q1 2020, roughly 409,000 subscribers pulled the plug on their Comcast-provided cable subscriptions -- this last quarter, the corporate giant managed to lose substantially more. If these losses continue to grow at this rate, Comcast may be on track to lose twice as many cable subscribers this year as it did last year. For reference, the company took a hit of around 733,000 cable subscribers in 2019, and it has already dropped significantly more than that (around 886,000 customers) in 2020.
There are plenty of reasons for these mass subscriber losses, but Covid-19 is likely chief among them. Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs due to coronavirus complications (including business shutdowns). Even many who haven't are now working from home, giving them more free time to explore alternatives to cable TV, such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and others. What it lost in cable-TV subscribers it gained in internet customers. The report notes that Comcast "managed to snag around 323,000 additional broadband customers in Q2 2020: the 'best second quarter high-speed internet net adds in 13 years,' according to the company."
Amazon Says Police Demands For Customer Data Have Gone Up
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch:
Amazon has said the number of demands for user data made by U.S. federal and local law enforcement have increased more during the first half of 2020 than during the same period a year earlier. The disclosure came in the company's latest transparency report, published Thursday. The figures show that Amazon received 23% more subpoenas and search warrants, and a 29% increase in court orders compared to the first half of 2019. That includes data collected from its Amazon.com retail storefront, Amazon Echo devices and its Kindle and Fire tablets.
Breaking those figures down, Amazon said it received: 2,416 subpoenas, turning over all or partial user data in 70% of cases; 543 search warrants, turning over all or partial user data in 79% of cases; and 146 court orders, turning over all or partial user data in 74% of cases. Amazon also said it received between 0 and 249 national security requests, flat from previous reports. Justice Department rules on disclosing classified requests only allow companies to respond in numerical ranges. The number of requests to the company's cloud services, Amazon Web Services, also went up compared to a year earlier. But it's not clear what caused the rise in U.S. government demands for user data. As for the number of overseas requests, Amazon saw the number drop by about one-third compared to the same period a year earlier. "Amazon rejected 92% of the 177 overseas requests it received, turning over partial user data in 10 cases and all requested data in four cases," the report adds.
COVID-19 Hospital Data Is a Hot Mess After Feds Take Control
slack_justyb shares a report from Ars Technica:
As COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US approach the highest levels seen in the pandemic so far, national efforts to track patients and hospital resources remain in shambles after the federal government abruptly seized control of data collection earlier this month. Watchdogs and public health experts were immediately aghast by the switch to the HHS database, fearing the data would be manipulated for political reasons or hidden from public view all together. However, the real threat so far has been the administrative chaos. The switch took effect July 15, giving hospitals and states just days to adjust to the new data collection and submission process.
As such, hospitals have been struggling with the new data reporting, which involves reporting more types of data than the CDC's previous system. Generally, the data includes stats on admissions, discharges, beds and ventilators in use and in reserve, as well as information on patients. For some hospitals, that data has to be harvested from various sources, such as electronic medical records, lab reports, pharmacy data, and administrative sources. Some larger hospital systems have been working to write new scripts to automate new data mining, while others are relying on staff to compile the data manually into excel spreadsheets, which can take multiple hours each day, according to a report by Healthcare IT News. The task has been particularly onerous for small, rural hospitals and hospitals that are already strained by a crush of COVID-19 patients.
"It seems the obvious of going from a system that is well tested, to something new and alien to everyone is happening exactly as everyone who has ever done these kinds of conversions predicted," adds Slashdot reader slack_justyb.
Spotify CEO: Musicians Can No Longer Release Music Only 'Once Every 3-4 Years'
recent interview with Music Ally, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek
denied criticisms that Spotify pays insufficient royalties to artists, and insisted that the role of the musician had changed in today's "future landscape." The FADER reports:
Ek claimed that a "narrative fallacy" had been created and caused music fans to believe that Spotify doesn't pay musicians enough for streams of their music. "Some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape," Ek said, "where you can't record music once every three to four years and think that's going to be enough." What is required from successful musicians, Ek insisted, is a deeper, more consistent, and prolonged commitment than in the past. "The artists today that are making it realize that it's about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans."
Ek alleged that artists have said "many times" in private that they are happy with their royalties from Spotify, and said that he believes that musicians who cannot make a living may not be in step with modern standards. "I feel, really, that the ones that aren't doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released," Ek said.
Facebook Says Apple's iOS 14 Changes Could Hurt Its Ad Targeting
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC:
Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said on Thursday that upcoming changes to Apple's iOS 14 operating system could hurt the social network's ability to target ads to users. With the update to its mobile devices, Apple will ask users if they want to let app developers track their activity across other apps and websites. Apple has not said when iOS 14 will launch, but it's expected to roll out this year. "We're still trying to understand what these changes will look like and how they will impact us and the rest of the industry, but at the very least, it's going to make it harder for app developers and others to grow using ads on Facebook and elsewhere," Wehner said.
Until now, advertisers could use a device ID number called the IDFA to better target ads and estimate their effectiveness. In iOS 14, each app that wants to use these identifiers will ask users to opt-in to tracking when the app is first launched. The change is expected to start impacting Facebook's advertising in the third quarter but it will have a more pronounced effect in the fourth quarter, Wehner said.
A Florida Teen Just Got Arrested for Twitter's Huge Hack
In a press conference on Friday, US authorities announced they
arrested the main suspect behind this month's
major Twitter hack. From a report:
The suspected hacker was identified as Graham Ivan Clark, a 17-year-old teen from Hillsborough County, Florida. According to Florida news outlet WFLA-TV, which first reported on the arrest, Clark was arrested earlier this morning, following a nationwide collaboration between the FBI, the IRS, the DOJ, and the Secret Service. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed charges against Clark for being the "mastermind" behind the July 15 Twitter incident, when the teen is believed to have gained access to Twitter's backend, took over several high-profile accounts, and tweeted on their behalf to promote a cryptocurrency scam. The list of hacked accounts includes big names like Barrack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Michael Bloomberg, and others.
Twitter Says High-Profile Hack Was the Result of a Phishing Attack.
Microsoft in Talks To Buy TikTok, as Trump Weighs Curtailing App
Microsoft is in talks to
acquire TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app,
New York Times reported Friday, citing a person with knowledge of the discussions, as President Trump said on Friday that he was considering taking steps that would effectively ban the app from the United States. From a report:
It's unclear how advanced the talks between Microsoft and TikTok are, but any deal could help alter TikTok's ownership, said the person with knowledge of the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet company that is valued at $100 billion. That has raised scrutiny of the app, with Trump administration officials saying that they have been concerned that TikTok poses a threat to national security.
The Trump administration has been weighing whether to order ByteDance to divest from American assets it acquired in 2017, which were later merged into TikTok. Bloomberg reported Friday that the president was poised to announce an order that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok's U.S. operations. The Trump administration has also been weighing other potential actions against the company, including adding ByteDance to a so-called "entity list," which prevents foreign companies from purchasing American products and services without a special license, according to people familiar with the matter.
Netflix is Letting People Watch Things Faster or Slower With New Playback Speed Controls
Netflix is letting people
choose the speed at which they want to watch something on their phone or tablet with new playback controls. From a report:
Netflix will allow anyone on an Android mobile device to stream at either 0.5x or 0.75x speeds for slowed-down viewing and 1.25x or 1.5x speeds for faster watching. Those are slightly fewer options than YouTube, which allows people to slow all the way down to 0.25x speeds, and speed up by twice the normal playback speed. Playback speed options are also available on downloaded titles that people have saved for offline viewing. Subscribers must opt in to use the playback speeds with every single title they want to watch; it won't just remain active when you pick something else to watch. This prevents people from accidentally watching everything at 1.5x speed if they don't want to. The feature is rolling out tomorrow and will be available to everyone globally in the coming weeks.
Netflix announced it was testing the feature in 2019 and was met with backlash from Hollywood's creative community. Actor Aaron Paul and director Brad Bird spoke out against Netflix's decision to introduce the playback controls, and director Judd Apatow tweeted in October that "distributors don't get to change the way the content is presented." Netflix's team is introducing a number of features with the rollout to try to work with the creative community to ensure the quality of the content isn't disrupted, including automatically correcting "the pitch in the audio at faster and slower speeds," according to the company.
Emails Detail Amazon's Plan To Crush a Startup Rival With Price Cuts
An anonymous reader shares a report:
Quidsi's (parent company of Diapers.com) founders didn't want to sell their company, but Amazon's diaper price war was starting to hurt Quidsi. Growth was slowing, and Quidsi was having trouble raising additional capital to continue expanding. On September 14, the founders of Quidsi flew to Seattle to meet with Amazon and discuss a possible acquisition. As Quidsi's founders were sitting in a meeting with Amazon brass, Amazon hit Quidsi in the gut. It announced a new program called "Amazon Mom" that offered free Prime service and an additional 30-percent discount on diapers if users signed up to get them through Amazon's monthly "subscribe and save" program. This was a larger discount than Amazon offered on most other Subscribe and Save items.
This put Quidsi in an untenable situation, as Stone writes: "That month, Diapers.com listed a case of Pampers at $45; Amazon priced it at $39, and Amazon Mom customers with Subscribe and Save could get a case for less than $30. At one point, Quidsi executives took what they knew about shipping rates, factored in Proctor and Gamble's wholesale prices, and calculated that Amazon was on track to lose $100 million over three months in the diapers category alone." Amazon's losses may have actually been even larger. During Wednesday's hearing, Scanlon said that internal documents obtained by the committee showed Amazon losing $200 million in a single month from diaper products."
Twitter Permanently Bans White Supremacist David Duke
Twitter said on Friday it has
permanently banned white supremacist David Duke from its platform for violating the platform's rules on hate speech. From a report:
Duke's account "has been permanently suspended for Twitter Rules on hateful conduct," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. Twitter's policy, revised in March, prohibits posts that promote violence or threats of violence against people based on their religion, race or ethnic origin. It wasn't immediately clear what specific post or posts by Duke led to the account's ban. The verified account for Duke, the founder and former Grand Dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was blank Thursday, replaced with a message that the account had been "permanently suspended."
Australia To Make Facebook, Google Pay For News in World First
Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google to
pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world. From a report:
Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. "It's about a fair go for Australian news media businesses. It's about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection, and a sustainable media landscape," Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne. "Nothing less than the future of the Australian media landscape is at stake." The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.
Argos To Stop Printing Catalogue After Almost 50 Years
Argos is to
stop printing its catalogue after almost 50 years, as the buying bible once found in three-quarters of British homes becomes yet another victim of the inexorable move to online shopping. From a report:
More than 1bn copies of the bi-annual catalogue have been printed since its launch in 1973, and at its height it was Europe's most widely printed publication, with only the bible in more homes across the UK. However, Argos is to stop printing the title, with the retailer saying that online shopping offers "greater convenience" than flicking through its print catalogue. Coronavirus has hammered the publishing industry and seen numerous titles closed, including music magazine Q, but the company said the pandemic was not responsible for the decision to cease printing. The catalogue has had its celebrity moments over the years. The comedian Alan Carr chose it as the one book he would take when he appeared on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, and stars from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tess Daly to Holly Willoughby and Emma Bunton have plugged products in its pages.
Red Hat Security Update Renders Systems Unbootable
A recently released Red Hat update for the BootHole Vulnerability (firehose link) is causing systems to become unbootable. It is widely reported that updates to the shim, grub2 and kernel packages in RHEL and CentOS 7 and 8 are leaving various systems that use secure boot unbootable. Current recommendations are to avoid updating your system until the issue is resolved, or at least avoid updating the shim, grub2 and kernel packages.
Update, shared by
PAjamian: Red Hat is now recommending that users
do not apply grub2, fwupd, fwupdate or shim updates until new packages are available.
Twitter Says High-Profile Hack Was the Result of a Phishing Attack
Twitter said Thursday night that it has
"significantly limited" access to its internal tools after it learned that the
high-profile hack earlier this month affecting dozens of major accounts was the result of a phishing attack targeting the phones of a "small number of employees." From a report:
"This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems," Twitter said in a tweet. A phishing attack is a type of cyberattack in which hackers try to trick victims into opening malicious emails or links disguised as legitimate web content. In addition to clamping down on access to administrative systems, Twitter said it was also accelerating the rollout of "security work streams" that had already been in progress.
Nvidia in Advanced Talks To Buy Chip Giant Arm
Nvidia is in
advanced talks to acquire Arm, the chip designer that SoftBank Group
bought for $32 billion four years ago,
Bloomberg reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter. From the report:
The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the only suitor in concrete discussions with SoftBank, according to the people. A deal for Arm could be the largest ever in the semiconductor industry, which has been consolidating in recent years as companies seek to diversify and add scale. Cambridge, England-based Arm's technology underpins chips in products including Apple Inc. devices and connected appliances. Financial Times, which has also independently reported about the deal talks today,
Buying Arm would further consolidate Nvidia's position at the centre of the semiconductor industry, at just the moment when the British chip designer's technology is finding broader applications beyond mobile devices, in data centres and personal computers including Apple's Macs. Arm would transform Nvidia's product line-up, which until now has largely focused on the high end of the chips market. Its powerful graphics processors -- which are designed to handle focused, data-intensive tasks -- are typically sold to PC gamers, scientific researchers and developers of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, as well as cryptocurrency miners. The deal could alarm Arm's other big licensees, including Apple, Broadcom and Qualcomm, which may fear a unique asset being taken over by a potential competitor such as Nvidia.
A sale would mark a stunning reversal for SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who declared that Arm would be the linchpin for the future of the technology investment conglomerate. The company has failed to thrive under SoftBank, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Neil Campling, an analyst at Mirabaud, noted that Arm's annual revenues had risen from $1.2bn to $1.9bn since SoftBank bought it in 2016, while Nvidia's have roughly tripled in the same timeframe.
'We're Running Out of Homes For Sale,' Lake Tahoe Brokers Say As Tech Workers Flee Bay Area
schwit1 shares a report from CNBC:
A new wave of urban flight is reshaping real estate markets from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles to San Francisco. As part of this shift, Lake Tahoe is seeing unprecedented bidding wars, buying activity and price increases. Brokers say the inventory of homes for sale has shrunk to about one-fifth to one-tenth of the usual levels. "People are writing all-cash offers for houses, sight unseen," said Sabrina Belleci, a Lake Tahoe broker with Re/Max. "They just want to get out of the city." Historically, properties in the Tahoe area took three to four months to sell, Overall said. Now, it's more like four days.
Lake Tahoe has long been a bucolic escape for Californians looking for a getaway and, on the Nevada side, lower taxes. But the latest buying surge is larger than any the market has seen, brokers say. They say tech workers and investors in the Bay Area, as well as media types from Los Angeles, are coming to the Tahoe area in search of larger homes with home offices, more land for the kids to play, and access to outdoor activities such as swimming and bike riding. The flight from the city got another push this week after Google announced it's keeping workers at home until July 2021. Private schools in the Bay Area also recently announced they will likely shift to all online classes in the fall, which gave families another reason to remain outside of San Francisco.
SpaceX Completes Static Fire of Starship Prototype, Will Hop Next
After scrubbing several attempts for weather concerns, technical issues, and even a range violation due to a nearby boat, SpaceX
succeeded in static-fire testing the latest prototype of its Starship vehicle on Thursday. Ars Technica reports:
At 3:02pm local time in South Texas, the single Raptor engine attached to the Starship prototype dubbed Serial Number 5, or SN5, roared to life for a few seconds. In video shared by NASASpaceflight.com, the test appeared to be nominal, evidently providing SpaceX engineers with the confidence they need in the latest iteration of Starship. Shortly after the test, the founder and chief engineer of SpaceX, Elon Musk, confirmed that the static fire meant the company now plans to move forward with a short test flight of the vehicle. Based upon a notification from the US Federal Aviation Administration, this 150-meter flight test could take place as soon as Sunday, with a launch window opening at 8am local time (13:00 UTC). This would be the first flight test of Starship hardware since a stubby prototype -- Starhopper -- soared to 150 meters in late August 2019. That test, in which a single Raptor engine powered the vehicle upward and laterally for about 100 meters before landing, was successful in demonstrating thrust and vector control of the methane-fueled engine.
FCC Approves Amazon's Internet-From-Space Kuiper Constellation of 3,236 Satellites
The Federal Communications Commission has
approved Amazon's plans for its ambitious Kuiper constellation, which entails sending 3,236 satellites into orbit to beam internet coverage down to Earth. Amazon claims that Kuiper will "provide broadband services to unserved and underserved consumers, businesses in the United States, and global customers by employing advanced satellite and earth station technologies." The Verge reports:
The company plans to send the satellites to three different altitudes, and it claims it needs just 578 satellites in orbit to begin service, according to an FCC document announcing the approval. Amazon has not announced which launch provider it plans to use to fly the satellites into orbit yet. While Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the rocket company Blue Origin, the launch provider will have to compete to launch the satellites along with other companies.
There are few caveats to Amazon's FCC approval. The company must launch half of the constellation by 2026 to retain its FCC license, and then the remaining satellites by 2029. Amazon also must submit to the FCC a finalized plan for how it will mitigate orbital debris, since the design of its satellites aren't finalized yet. Amazon claims it will take its satellites out of orbit within 355 days, but the FCC argues the company didn't "present specific information concerning some required elements" for its debris plan. A big concern of a constellation of this size is that the influx of satellites will lead to more collisions in space, creating pieces of debris that could threaten other satellites. Amazon claims that Kuiper will "provide broadband services to unserved and underserved consumers, businesses in the United States, and global customers by employing advanced satellite and earth station technologies," according to the FCC's approval document.