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Technology

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Three Dimensions, Endless Possibilities

Jul 19, 2018

Five years ago, Cody Wilson fired the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun at a range in central Texas. Then he shared the blueprint online, where it was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first few days.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is clarifying remarks he made about whether his platform should remove content posted by Holocaust deniers, saying he wasn't defending them when he commented that it was hard to know their intentions. His initial comments set off intense criticism earlier this week.

A Texas nonprofit that works with families separated at the border has turned down a $250,000 contribution from Salesforce, a company under pressure for its work creating software for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Did you notice the emoji explosion on social media this week?

Smartphones and tablets have quickly become a permanent part of students' daily lives. Kids up to 8 years old spent almost an hour a day on mobile devices, Common Sense Media reported last year.

The Terminator's killer robots may seem like a thing of science fiction. But leading scientists and tech innovators have signaled that such autonomous killers could materialize in the real world in frighteningly real ways.

During the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm on Wednesday, some of the world's top scientific minds came together to sign a pledge that calls for "laws against lethal autonomous weapons."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Google says it will appeal a record fine of more than $5 billion for violating European Union antitrust laws. It's the latest move by European officials to regulate American tech giants. Here's NPR's Laura Sydell.

The future of how you interact with computers depends on a technology that's more than 3,000 years old. It's a technology you already use every day, on your smartphone, your TV, in your home, your car and most likely at work. It's even in the wires that bring you Internet service at near-light speed.

It's glass.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has apologized for his part in a spat with a British diver involved in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk had tweeted a personal attack on Vern Unsworth, calling him a pedophile after the diver dismissed Musk's offer of help with a vulgar comment.

Updated on Friday at 10:40 a.m.

Iram Sabah, mother of two, is terrified by messages her family has been receiving on their smartphones.

Her husband recently was forwarded a video that shows a child's mutilated body. It's unclear where or when the video is from, or whether it has been doctored. A voice implores people to forward it to others, and to stay vigilant — that kidnappers are on the loose.

Sabah, 27, doesn't know if the video is fake or real. But she's not taking any chances.

EU Fines Google $5 Billion

Jul 18, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET

The European Commission has fined Google $5 billion for violating the European Union's antitrust rules — specifically, by forcing manufacturers of Android phones to install the Google search app and the Chrome Web browser.

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits."

I have this dog. His name is Brian, and he's a whippet, plus some other skinny-dog ingredients. He looks like this.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Most teens today own a smartphone and go online every day, and about a quarter of them use the internet "almost constantly," according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center.

Now a study published Tuesday in JAMA suggests that such frequent use of digital media by adolescents might increase their odds of developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Netflix says its faulty forecasting caused it to miss its target for new subscribers, falling short by more than a million even as it reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations.

To an outsider, the fancy booths at a June health insurance industry gathering in San Diego, Calif., aren't very compelling: a handful of companies pitching "lifestyle" data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like "social determinants of health."

But dig deeper and the implications of what they're selling might give many patients pause: a future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

Sinclair Broadcast Group's push to buy Tribune Media hit a new snag on Monday, as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he has "serious concerns" about the $3.9 billion deal. Pai said a plan to divest some stations might not satisfy federal laws because it wouldn't go far enough.

"The evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law," Pai said in a statement.

The dense network of cables that make up the Internet is likely to be inundated with saltwater as sea levels rise, a new analysis suggests, putting thousands of miles of critical infrastructure along U.S. coastlines underwater in the next 15 years.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Tech workers from Salesforce, Microsoft, Amazon and Google have been putting pressure on their CEOs to cut ties and end contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, and other government agencies.

It's a rare occurrence for employees to tell their bosses to turn away business. But there is a growing concern among tech workers that the cutting-edge tools they create can be used in immoral ways.

Has Video Refereeing Ruined The World Cup?

Jul 13, 2018

Tensions were high at a crowded bar in New York City, packed with sweating Belgian and French fans. A lot was at stake: Whoever won Tuesday's game would go on to play in the World Cup final. Anxious fans booed, chanted and yelled at the screen.

As raucous as soccer can get, it's also a game of charades. Players communicate with the referee, who often speaks a different language, by using sign language. A striker will hold up an invisible infraction card to ask that an opponent be penalized; the ref might point at his eyes to acknowledge a misbehaving player.

Twitter has begun removing millions of locked accounts from users' lists of followers, in an attempt to crack down further on social media fraud.
The move will eliminate tens of millions of frozen accounts Twitter has deemed suspicious and reduce the total combined follower count on the platform by about 6 percent.

Lindsay met a man named Howard on a dating site, fell in love, got married and added Durdle to her name.

Howard said they lived happily for a decade until she got sick — breast cancer — twice. She struggled. It spread. And she died on May 31.

On Tuesday of this week, Lindsay received a letter at what had been her home in Bucklebury, England.

"Important - You should read this notice carefully," the correspondence from PayPal began.

A version of this piece ran in February 2018.

Parents today struggle to set screen time guidelines.

One big reason is a lack of role models. Grandma doesn't have any tried-and-true sayings about iPad time. This stuff is just too new.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Russia's information attack against the United States during the 2016 election cycle sought to take advantage of the greater trust that Americans tend to place in local news.

The information operatives who worked out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg did not stop at posing as American social media users or spreading false information from purported news sources, according to new details.

They also created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans' hometown headlines.

Summer is the season of downtime, relaxation and, hopefully, some vacation. NPR is working on a series about how technology has changed our summers. We want to hear your stories about how your vacations have been affected, for better or worse, by tech.

Your responses may be used in an upcoming story, on air or on NPR.org. A producer may reach out to you to follow up on your response, too.

Have you ever noticed something most virtual assistants have in common? They all started out female.

One of the most famous, Amazon's Alexa, got her name because of CEO Jeff Bezos' preference. "The idea was creating the Star Trek computer. The Star Trek computer was a woman," says Alex Spinelli, who ran the team that created the software for Alexa.

Spinelli is now the chief technology officer of LivePerson. His boss, CEO Robert LoCascio, is bothered by that story about Alexa.

Animator, director, screenwriter, producer, songwriter — Rebecca Sugar is a true Renaissance woman.

The 30-year-old Maryland native is the force behind “Steven Universe,” the first Cartoon Network show created independently by a woman. The show is now in its fifth season and has become something of an empire.

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