Pentagon unveils B-21 Raider aircraft with advanced stealth technology

The US military has unveiled the B-21 Raider, its first new stealth bomber in 30 years. Northrop Grumman, which developed the aircraft, first showed us a silhouette of the plane covered by a shroud way back in 2015. Now, the Pentagon has officially presented the B-21 at an event at Northrop Grumman's plant in Palmdale, California, but most of its details still remain a secret. Prior to the event, though, the company called it the "world’s first sixth-generation aircraft," which means it's a lot more technologically advanced than the military jets in service today.

According to ABC News, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during the event that "no other long range bomber can match [the B-21's] efficiency." Austin also said that "fifty years of advances in low observable technology" have gone into the aircraft and that even the most sophisticated air defense systems will have a hard time detecting a B-21 in the sky. 

The aircraft was designed using next-generation stealth technology so that it can remain undetectable even to advanced radars and air defense systems, Northrop Grumman said in a previous announcement. A Northrop Grumman official also said that the B-21 can fly in full stealth mode every day, according to Air and Space Forces Magazine, unlike the current model that needs hundreds of hours of maintenance between missions. The aircraft will use a cloud-based digital infrastructure that's cheaper and easier maintain, and the military can also roll out rapid upgrades for separate components so that it's always protected against evolving threats. 

Northrop Grumman is currently working on six B-21 units, which are in various stages of production, but the Air Force is expected to order at least 100 of them. The military will start testing the stealth bomber in California sometime next year before the first units go into service by mid-2020s.

Pentagon unveils B-21 Raider aircraft with advanced stealth technology

The US military has unveiled the B-21 Raider, its first new stealth bomber in 30 years. Northrop Grumman, which developed the aircraft, first showed us a silhouette of the plane covered by a shroud way back in 2015. Now, the Pentagon has officially presented the B-21 at an event at Northrop Grumman's plant in Palmdale, California, but most of its details still remain a secret. Prior to the event, though, the company called it the "world’s first sixth-generation aircraft," which means it's a lot more technologically advanced than the military jets in service today.

According to ABC News, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during the event that "no other long range bomber can match [the B-21's] efficiency." Austin also said that "fifty years of advances in low observable technology" have gone into the aircraft and that even the most sophisticated air defense systems will have a hard time detecting a B-21 in the sky. 

The aircraft was designed using next-generation stealth technology so that it can remain undetectable even to advanced radars and air defense systems, Northrop Grumman said in a previous announcement. A Northrop Grumman official also said that the B-21 can fly in full stealth mode every day, according to Air and Space Forces Magazine, unlike the current model that needs hundreds of hours of maintenance between missions. The aircraft will use a cloud-based digital infrastructure that's cheaper and easier maintain, and the military can also roll out rapid upgrades for separate components so that it's always protected against evolving threats. 

Northrop Grumman is currently working on six B-21 units, which are in various stages of production, but the Air Force is expected to order at least 100 of them. The military will start testing the stealth bomber in California sometime next year before the first units go into service by mid-2020s.

Meta faces lawsuit for harvesting financial data from tax prep websites

A group of anonymous plaintiffs who filed their taxes online in 2020 using H&R Block has sued Meta, accusing the company of violating users' trust and privacy. If you'll recall, a recent Markup investigation revealed that H&R Block, along with other popular tax-filing websites like TaxAct and TaxSlayer, have been sending users' sensitive financial information to Meta through its Pixel tracking tool. 

Pixel is a piece of code companies can embed on their websites so they can track visitors' activities and identify Facebook and Instagram users to target with ads. Apparently, the aforementioned tax prep websites had been transmitting personal information, such as income data, filing statuses, refund amounts and dependents' tuition grants, to Meta through that code. The tax-filing services had already changed their Pixel settings to stop sending information or had been reevaluating how they used Pixel by the time Markup's report came out. 

In a statement sent to Engadget when the news first came out, Meta said that advertisers are prohibited from sharing personal information and that it uses an automated system that can filter out sensitive content sent through Pixel. The plaintiffs acknowledged in their complaint (PDF, courtesy of The Markup) that Meta does require businesses that use Pixel to "have lawful rights to collect, use and share" user data before providing the company with any information. However, the plaintiffs argue that Meta makes no effort to enforce that rule and instead relies on a "broken honor-system" that has resulted in "repeated, documented violations."

According to The Markup, the lawsuit is seeking class action status for people who used the tax prep services mentioned in the publication's report. The services themselves, however, were not named as defendants in the case. 

Meta faces lawsuit for harvesting financial data from tax prep websites

A group of anonymous plaintiffs who filed their taxes online in 2020 using H&R Block has sued Meta, accusing the company of violating users' trust and privacy. If you'll recall, a recent Markup investigation revealed that H&R Block, along with other popular tax-filing websites like TaxAct and TaxSlayer, have been sending users' sensitive financial information to Meta through its Pixel tracking tool. 

Pixel is a piece of code companies can embed on their websites so they can track visitors' activities and identify Facebook and Instagram users to target with ads. Apparently, the aforementioned tax prep websites had been transmitting personal information, such as income data, filing statuses, refund amounts and dependents' tuition grants, to Meta through that code. The tax-filing services had already changed their Pixel settings to stop sending information or had been reevaluating how they used Pixel by the time Markup's report came out. 

In a statement sent to Engadget when the news first came out, Meta said that advertisers are prohibited from sharing personal information and that it uses an automated system that can filter out sensitive content sent through Pixel. The plaintiffs acknowledged in their complaint (PDF, courtesy of The Markup) that Meta does require businesses that use Pixel to "have lawful rights to collect, use and share" user data before providing the company with any information. However, the plaintiffs argue that Meta makes no effort to enforce that rule and instead relies on a "broken honor-system" that has resulted in "repeated, documented violations."

According to The Markup, the lawsuit is seeking class action status for people who used the tax prep services mentioned in the publication's report. The services themselves, however, were not named as defendants in the case. 

Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset will reportedly run ‘xrOS’

Apple has internally changed the name of its upcoming mixed reality headset's accompanying software from "realityOS" to "xrOS," according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As the reporter notes, the new name better represents the software's capabilities: "XR," after all, stands for extended reality, and the headset is expected to have both augmented and virtual reality features. 

In addition to the internal name change, Gurman says a shell corporation named Deep Dive LLC has also filed a trademark for the brand "xrOS" in the US and in other countries, including ones in the European Union and in Asia, the UK, Australia, Mexico, Ukraine, Japan and Canada. In its application, Deep Dive wrote that it's applying for a trademark for "head-mounted displays" and devices that provide "virtual reality and augmented reality experiences." Apple hasn't confirmed whether it's behind this filing. 

Earlier this year, though, Vox Media product manager Parker Ortolanifound a patent application for "realityOS" filed by a shell company called Realityo Systems LLC. Bloomberg also reported back in August that yet another shell company with a different name filed applications for "Reality One," "Reality Pro" and "Reality Processor."

This recent name change could indicate that Apple is ironing out the details of the project for its approaching launch. Gurman says Apple plans to debut the headset, its dedicated operating system and its app store sometime next year. According to previous reports, the device will feature virtual versions of the company's apps, including Messages, FaceTime and Maps, and will use iris scanning for app purchases and sign-ins. Apple's recent job listings also indicate that the tech giant is working on its own 3D mixed reality world, which could become a rival to Facebook's vision of the metaverse

Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset will reportedly run ‘xrOS’

Apple has internally changed the name of its upcoming mixed reality headset's accompanying software from "realityOS" to "xrOS," according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As the reporter notes, the new name better represents the software's capabilities: "XR," after all, stands for extended reality, and the headset is expected to have both augmented and virtual reality features. 

In addition to the internal name change, Gurman says a shell corporation named Deep Dive LLC has also filed a trademark for the brand "xrOS" in the US and in other countries, including ones in the European Union and in Asia, the UK, Australia, Mexico, Ukraine, Japan and Canada. In its application, Deep Dive wrote that it's applying for a trademark for "head-mounted displays" and devices that provide "virtual reality and augmented reality experiences." Apple hasn't confirmed whether it's behind this filing. 

Earlier this year, though, Vox Media product manager Parker Ortolanifound a patent application for "realityOS" filed by a shell company called Realityo Systems LLC. Bloomberg also reported back in August that yet another shell company with a different name filed applications for "Reality One," "Reality Pro" and "Reality Processor."

This recent name change could indicate that Apple is ironing out the details of the project for its approaching launch. Gurman says Apple plans to debut the headset, its dedicated operating system and its app store sometime next year. According to previous reports, the device will feature virtual versions of the company's apps, including Messages, FaceTime and Maps, and will use iris scanning for app purchases and sign-ins. Apple's recent job listings also indicate that the tech giant is working on its own 3D mixed reality world, which could become a rival to Facebook's vision of the metaverse

Ye’s Twitter account suspended again following swastika tweet

Twitter has given Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at least a 12-hour suspension after he tweeted a photo of the Star of David merged with the swastika. In a public exchange on Twitter, CEO Elon Musk first told the rapper that tweeting a photo of him being hosed down on a yacht was fine, but tweeting the antisemitic image was not. 

Ye then posted a screenshot of his account on Truth Social, the social media platform backed by Donald Trump, showing that his account has been limited for 12 hours for violating Twitter's Terms of Service. Also included was a screenshot of his private exchange with Musk, wherein the executive said: "Sorry, but you have gone too far. This is not love." 

Musk explained in a series of follow-up tweets that he tried his best to communicate with Ye, but the rapper still chose to violate Twitter's rule against inciting violence. Twitter had already suspended Ye in October for posting antisemitic messages that said he would go "death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE." His account was reinstated in November, along with other controversial personalities', such as former President Donald Trump's and Marjorie Taylor Greene's.

Shortly after he was suspended on both Twitter and Instagram in October, Ye entered a deal to acquire the "free speech" social media app Parler. "In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves," Ye said back then. Yesterday, however, Parlement announced that the acquisition will no longer push through. 

While Parler said that they had mutually agreed to "terminate the intent of sale" in mid-November, the news came out after Ye's guesting on Alex Jones' podcast InfoWars. During the interview, Ye went on an antisemitic tirade, wherein he denied the Holocaust while praising Nazis and Hitler.

Ye’s Twitter account suspended again following swastika tweet

Twitter has given Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at least a 12-hour suspension after he tweeted a photo of the Star of David merged with the swastika. In a public exchange on Twitter, CEO Elon Musk first told the rapper that tweeting a photo of him being hosed down on a yacht was fine, but tweeting the antisemitic image was not. 

Ye then posted a screenshot of his account on Truth Social, the social media platform backed by Donald Trump, showing that his account has been limited for 12 hours for violating Twitter's Terms of Service. Also included was a screenshot of his private exchange with Musk, wherein the executive said: "Sorry, but you have gone too far. This is not love." 

Musk explained in a series of follow-up tweets that he tried his best to communicate with Ye, but the rapper still chose to violate Twitter's rule against inciting violence. Twitter had already suspended Ye in October for posting antisemitic messages that said he would go "death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE." His account was reinstated in November, along with other controversial personalities', such as former President Donald Trump's and Marjorie Taylor Greene's.

Shortly after he was suspended on both Twitter and Instagram in October, Ye entered a deal to acquire the "free speech" social media app Parler. "In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves," Ye said back then. Yesterday, however, Parlement announced that the acquisition will no longer push through. 

While Parler said that they had mutually agreed to "terminate the intent of sale" in mid-November, the news came out after Ye's guesting on Alex Jones' podcast InfoWars. During the interview, Ye went on an antisemitic tirade, wherein he denied the Holocaust while praising Nazis and Hitler.

FCC allows SpaceX to deploy 7,500 second-gen Starlink satellites

SpaceX first asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to deploy 29,988 second-generation Starlink satellites back in 2020. Now, the FCC has granted its request — partially, at least. The commission has given the company the go-ahead to build, deploy and operate up to 7,500 satellites for its Gen2 constellation at the altitudes of 525 km, 530 km and 535 km. In its announcement, the FCC said approving 7,500 satellites for the constellation will allow SpaceX to provide broadband internet to users worldwide, even those living in far-flung areas. 

The FCC is limiting the number of satellites SpaceX can deploy for now, though, to address concerns about orbital debris and space safety. It says the limited grant will help maintain a safe space environment and protect other satellite and terrestrial operators from harmful interference. Several companies and even NASA previously raised concerns about SpaceX's plan to deploy an additional 30,000 satellites, considering the FCC already granted it permission to launch 12,000 first-gen Starlink satellites. 

In NASA's letter to the commission, it talked about an expanded constellation's potential impacts to its science and human spaceflight missions. A massive number of Starlink satellites, it said, could cause an increase in collision risks and lead to fewer launch windows. That said, the FCC is only deferring "action on the remainder of SpaceX's application" for now, so it may approve additional deployments. 

SpaceX chief Elon Musk previously revealed that the second-gen Starlink satellites will be much bigger than their predecessor and will need to be launch on the company's Starship launch vehicle. One of the reasons they're bigger is because of their massive antennas that will have the capability to communicate with phones here on Earth, like mobile towers in the sky. Indeed, the the collaboration T-Mobile and SpaceX announced in August will depend on Starlink's second-gen satellites. The companies aim to end mobile deadzones with their partnership and to provide connectivity wherever there's a clear view of the sky, even if it's in the middle of the ocean. 

FCC allows SpaceX to deploy 7,500 second-gen Starlink satellites

SpaceX first asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to deploy 29,988 second-generation Starlink satellites back in 2020. Now, the FCC has granted its request — partially, at least. The commission has given the company the go-ahead to build, deploy and operate up to 7,500 satellites for its Gen2 constellation at the altitudes of 525 km, 530 km and 535 km. In its announcement, the FCC said approving 7,500 satellites for the constellation will allow SpaceX to provide broadband internet to users worldwide, even those living in far-flung areas. 

The FCC is limiting the number of satellites SpaceX can deploy for now, though, to address concerns about orbital debris and space safety. It says the limited grant will help maintain a safe space environment and protect other satellite and terrestrial operators from harmful interference. Several companies and even NASA previously raised concerns about SpaceX's plan to deploy an additional 30,000 satellites, considering the FCC already granted it permission to launch 12,000 first-gen Starlink satellites. 

In NASA's letter to the commission, it talked about an expanded constellation's potential impacts to its science and human spaceflight missions. A massive number of Starlink satellites, it said, could cause an increase in collision risks and lead to fewer launch windows. That said, the FCC is only deferring "action on the remainder of SpaceX's application" for now, so it may approve additional deployments. 

SpaceX chief Elon Musk previously revealed that the second-gen Starlink satellites will be much bigger than their predecessor and will need to be launch on the company's Starship launch vehicle. One of the reasons they're bigger is because of their massive antennas that will have the capability to communicate with phones here on Earth, like mobile towers in the sky. Indeed, the the collaboration T-Mobile and SpaceX announced in August will depend on Starlink's second-gen satellites. The companies aim to end mobile deadzones with their partnership and to provide connectivity wherever there's a clear view of the sky, even if it's in the middle of the ocean.