If someone in France wants to sign up for Starlink, they put their address in the box and the next page will tell them when they can expect the service to be available in their area. Currently, it says Starlink will arrive in France between mid to late 2021, but subscribers can pay a €99 deposit to secure the service – around $120.
Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and areas of the US where Starlink isn’t live yet also provide the option of preordering the internet service in exchange for a deposit.
Musk tweeted in February the cost of Starlink is “meant to be the same price in all countries. Only difference should be taxes & shipping.”
Since Starlink’s “Better Than Nothing Beta” test launched in October, the service has amassed more than 10,000 beta testers globally and has blasted over 1,350 satellites into orbit. The company’s goal is to have up to 42,000 satellites in orbit by mid-2027.
The most recent Starlink launch was on Tuesday when SpaceX sent 60 satellites into orbit via its reusable Falcon 9 rocket.
Feeling out of the loop is never fun, and seeing acronyms frequently thrown around online can easily invite that feeling. But taking a few seconds to learn them can help you quickly communicate information.
One such acronym is AFK. Here’s what you need to know to understand and use this acronym in your own online life.
AFK is an acronym that means “away from keyboard.” But it’s primarily meant to convey that you won’t be available at your computer or device for a period of time. You can pair it with a time frame to communicate how long you will be away from your keyboard.
The AFK acronym has been around since the early days of internet culture, specifically in chat rooms in the 1990s.
It even dates back to an online news bulletin from FidoNews in 1989, alongside other emoticons and abbreviations. The newsletter defined AFK as “away from keys.”
It was later commonly used in the gaming community for online multiplayer games. You can still find it in various spaces on the internet, though it isn’t as widespread as it once was.
The acronym has had a bit of a resurgence, thanks to the game “Among Us,” in which idle players are often labeled as AFK.
US Marines have been spending more time in Norway training for winter warfare, and in addition to harsh weather and rough terrain, they also have to navigate a language barrier.
In late November, they headed to the northern village of Setermoen for Exercise Reindeer II to train on extreme terrain and to “synchronize tactics, techniques and procedures” with their Norwegian counterparts
One particular area for alignment became obvious, according to Maj. Gen. Lars Lervik, chief of the Norwegian Army.
“One of the most important lessons we have learned is that we need a mutual understanding of what the different military terms mean, so that when an order is given, we can both act in the same way,” Lervik said.
Lervik added that he had “never seen” integration between the two forces “this good before,” but like him, a Marine official acknowledged that extra steps are needed to make sure everybody knows what everybody else is doing.
“While communication among US and Norwegian forces takes place in English without any difficulty, small differences in units’ standard operating procedures, professional experiences, and, in some cases, doctrinal terminology do exist,” Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Europe-Africa, said in an email.
They have several methods to overcome those differences, including “nearly identical planning processes” and liaisons embedded at the brigade, battalion, and company level “to facilitate mutual understanding,” Rankine-Galloway said, adding that such liaisons have been present throughout the Marine rotations in Norway since 2017.
Marines and Norwegian soldiers also made sure that they had a mutual understanding of their tasks and procedures during planning meetings for Exercise Reindeer II.
Rankine-Galloway cited as an example a series of forward passage of lines – “a complex maneuver that occurs when a unit passes through another unit’s positions while moving toward the enemy” – that the two forces conducted during the exercise.
The maneuver “involves transferring the responsibility for an area of operations between two commanders and requires clear communication between both forces to ensure their safety and ability to carry out their missions,” Rankine-Galloway said.
Understanding and interoperability
Marines and sailors taking part in the current deployment of Marine Rotational Force-Europe arrived in Norway in late October and went through a quarantine before beginning their training.
Theirs is first of what the Corps said in August will be shorter, “episodic” deployments of varying numbers of Marines rather than the months-long rotations of several hundred Marines that the Corps started doing in Norway in 2017.
Those shorter deployments will be aligned with Norwegian exercises, which the Corps says “will allow for increased operational flexibility.”
US Marines train all over the world with troops who speak many different languages. A Navy planner told Insider in 2019 that language barriers typically don’t impede planning for such operations, but communicating about communicating can sometimes lead to hiccups.
In mid-2019, it was reported that Australian troops had been told not to use their country’s many slang terms around visiting Marines in order to avoid confusion.
But an Australian military spokesperson told Stars and Stripes that the officer whose comments prompted those reports was only citing “the potential to misinterpret each nation’s everyday language as an example to highlight how training together improves understanding and interoperability.”