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Aquila, Facebook’s Internet Drone Launches to Provide Internet to Developing Areas

Facebook’s internet-providing drone, Aquila, has launched. It’s mission: to provide internet services to any place in the world!

Mich Escultura

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The dream of having eco-friendly, worldwide internet service is no longer just a dream with the first flight of Aquila, the solar-powered plane designed by Facebook engineer to beam internet to remote parts of the world.

Talks of Facebook’s “Aquila” planes started out earlier in 2015 when Facebook considered delivering internet coverage to remote or poor areas in the developing world. Now it’s no longer just plans and talks — Aquila is now a reality.

The Aquila prototype before its launch

The Aquila prototype before its launch

Source: Facebook

The Aquila planes, named after the Greek eagle who carried Zeus’ thunderbolts, have a wingspan of a Boeing 737, and can fly up to 90,000 feet (high above the weather) for three months at a time, thanks to its solar powered engine. The carbon-fiber layered plane is said to weigh in at around 880 – 1,000 pounds, roughly the weight of a Toyota Prius.

Boeing-737-Comparison

Source: Jim Edwards

So how does it work?

Facebook’s laser communications team developed laser technology that can transmit data at tens of gigabits per second. This would allow Facebook to create an internet network in the sky by transmitting broadband signals through a laser from the ground (in this case, any city with internet service) to a drone, and from the drone to other drones in the network.

Drone-Network

Source: Jim Edwards

The Aquila isn’t without it’s own set of problems, though. Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer mentions one engineering challenge wherein the plane’s lasers are aimed over 11 miles, the equivalent of a laser pointer trying to hit a moving target the size of a 10 Euro cent coin. In addition to this, those lasers must be aimed through an environment that is affected by heat, dust, and temperature differences, which all bend light.

The Aquila in flight

The Aquila in flight

Source: Facebook

Either way, the engineers over at Facebook are optimistic. They expect to be able to deliver tens of gigabytes of data, which is ten times better than existing solutions.

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Entertainment

Did Saudi Clerics Really Ban Pokemon Go Because It Violates Islamic Beliefs?

Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders say that Pokemon Go violates Islamic beliefs and uses “forbidden images.”

Faye Williams

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Pokemon Go is hot right now. Millions of people have gone nuts over the augmented reality mobile game.

Pokemon Go uses smartphones' capabilities. It takes data from the phones' Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities, graphics, and cameras. Then, it overlays the game's critters on actual locations. Players have to "capture" and then "train" the creatures for battles.

Then again, Saudi Arabia's religious leaders already hate the game.

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Vietnam Refuses to Stamp Chinese Passports Featuring 9-Dash Line

Vietnam has been consistent in its stand in its territorial dispute with China — and this move shows they are not backing down.

Faye Williams

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Vietnam has been consistent in its position in its territorial dispute against China. The territorial conflict covers certain parts of the South China Sea.

There are two island chains in the contested area: the Paracels and the Spratlys. Aside from the full-fledged islands, there are reefs, sandbanks, atolls, and rocky formations.

Aside from China and Vietnam, other countries have staked their respective claims on the area. They are the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei. Vietnam and the other countries don't have any conflict with each other, though. They just have an issue with China's presence in the area.

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Inspiring

Doberman Dies Fighting 4 Cobras to Save His Master’s Family

The dog fought a furious battle with four mountain cobras for hours and killed all of them.

Faye Williams

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A Doberman in India is being hailed as a hero for his valiant defense of his owners. One night, a Doberman that belonged to a family of eight was guarding the perimeter of their home in the village of Sebekapur under the Raygada Block of the Gajapati District in Odisha, India. As usual, the dog dutifully went around the property.

At some point, the dog saw that there were snakes crawling on the patio. This was alarming. Various reports have pointed out that snakes kill more than 45,000 people a year in India. In this case, they were especially dangerous because the snakes were all venomous cobras.

The Doberman is an excellent guard dog.

doberman

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