Best Tech Stories around the web #137

On the program this week: a rocket-launching plane, gloves to translate sign language to text, Facebook launches new life-saving maps, Apple unveils its HomePod and a school lesson to help kids fight trolls.

Paul Allen shows off his new rocket-launching plane, and it’s big by arstechnica.co.uk

Paul Allen's intriguing launch company, Vulcan Aerospace, has gone relatively quiet in recent years, and questions about the venture's viability have been increasing. But on Wednesday, the cofounder of Microsoft shared a new photo of the company's Stratolaunch airplane—the largest in the world—and it seems the company is moving forward. Read more

These smart gloves translate sign language to text by cnet.com

Gesture-recognition technology is truly breaking through the sound barrier, opening up a whole new way of communicating for people who are deaf. Read more

Facebook launches “disaster maps” to provide vital data in the midst of a crisis by digitaltrends.com

With the launch of disaster maps, Facebook could help to make relief efforts more reliable and efficient during a natural disaster or crisis. In an effort to bridge the gap between obtaining crucial information quickly during a crisis and acting accordingly, Facebook has announced the launch of “disaster maps.” Read more

Apple’s HomePod sounds really good in its demos by theverge.com

Although we were rebuffed at Apple’s main demo area at WWDC today, we did get a chance to go listen to the HomePod later on. In a controlled demo with specific songs designed to show off the HomePod’s strengths, we heard it do some pretty impressive audio tricks. We couldn’t test Siri or pick our own tracks, but we did get to hear it both individually and set up as a pair of stereo speakers. Read more

Google developed a school curriculum to help kids fight trolls and hackers by theverge.com

Google is launching an educational program designed to teach kids about phishing, internet harassment, passwords, and other internet safety issues. Called “Be Internet Awesome,” it includes a classroom curriculum and a video game called Interland. It was developed with help from teachers, YouTube videographers, and internet safety and literacy organizations, and resources are available online for free. Read more