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Technology

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Six years after a fatal crash caused China to throttle back its high-speed rail service, the country is relaunching the world's fastest inter-city lines, including one between Beijing and Shanghai that cuts an hour off the current travel time.

The operating speed of the new bullet trains, known as "Fuxing," or "Rejuvenation," will be 217 mph, according to Chinese media.

What if I told you there was a way to use technology to save an estimated $100 billion to $300 billion dollars a year in health care spending in the U.S.? That's the estimated cost incurred because people don't take the medications they're prescribed.

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One of the biggest companies on earth is basically a headless beast right now. We're talking about Uber on this week's All Tech Considered.

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One of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's companies, the nonprofit start-up OpenAI, manufactures a device that last week was victorious in defeating some of the world's top gamers in an international video game (e-sport) tournament with a multi-million-dollar pot of prize money.

We're getting very good, it seems, at making machines that can outplay us at our favorite pastimes. Machines dominate Go, Jeopardy, Chess and — as of now — at least some video games.

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Worried about Internet companies snooping on your online browsing? You might turn to something called a virtual private network to protect your privacy. But researchers say these networks can themselves be insecure.

Earlier this year, the federal government rolled back rules that would have prevented Internet service providers from tracking your activity online.

In the aftermath of the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., many civil rights activists took to Twitter and shared photos of people who allegedly were at the march. The idea was to identify who they were and shame them. But identifying someone from a photo can be tricky — and the activists managed to make at least one mistake.

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The former president's message after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was brief, but it hit the right note for many.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ... ," Barack Obama tweeted, accompanied by a photo of himself, jacket slung over his shoulder, smiling at four young children gathered at a windowsill.

On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

At the intersection where protections against unreasonable search and seizure meet the rights to free speech and association, there is now a web hosting company called DreamHost.

The California-based company is resisting a Department of Justice warrant that demands it hand over all files related to DisruptJ20.org, a website created by one of its customers to plan and announce actions intended to interrupt President Trump's inauguration.

The names and faces of individuals who were part of last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., are being plastered all over the Internet by civil rights advocates. It's part of an effort to shame the people who participated. But it's a tactic that can also snare some innocent people in its net.

At a federal court in Wisconsin, a British cybersecurity expert pleaded not guilty to charges over an alleged malware scheme to steal personal banking information.

Before these accusations, Marcus Hutchins was known for his role in finding the "kill switch" to the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack last May that "threatened over 150 countries," NPR's Leila Fadel reported.

Here's what we've been told about passwords:

  • Make them complicated.
  • Use numbers, question marks and hash marks.
  • Change them regularly.
  • Use different passwords for each app and website.

These guidelines often leave users frustrated and struggling to remember them all.

John Essey and family live in a modest, two-story home on a tree-lined street in the suburbs north of Pittsburgh. From the outside, it looks like any other house in the neighborhood. But this house has a brain.

"It knows we're home. Doors unlock, [it] kinda sets the mood for the rest of the house too, turns on lights, sets the thermostat accordingly," Essey says.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

After a purported hack and a 24-hour deadline to relocate its Web domain, the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that promoted the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., moved its site to Google before its registration there was also refused.

"We are cancelling Daily Stormer's registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service," a Google spokesperson told NPR on Monday.

In Germany this year, the Protestant church is celebrating 500 years since Martin Luther brought about the Reformation. Today, as the number of churchgoers dwindles, the clergy is turning to new media to appeal to those with little time to attend worship in person.

In the eastern city of Magdeburg, the monotone peal of a single church bell calls a modest flock of parishioners to evening prayers at the Walloon Reformed Church of St. Augustine.

America is losing the battle against sexually transmitted infections. Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis all hit record-high numbers in 2015. Tens of thousands contract HIV every year in the U.S., and oral cancers caused by human papillomavirus are increasing.

So startups are popping up online to help serve what they see as unmet demand for STD testing. One advertises that you can "get a sexy deal" by ordering.

SoundCloud and the uploads of its many rappers, producers, noise bands and nascent podcasts are safe, for now. The company announced the "largest financing round in the history of SoundCloud" in a blog post this morning; a source with direct knowledge who requested anonymity in discussing the private business transaction confirmed to NPR Music that the amount was around $170 million.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking School.

About Sal Khan's TED Talk

Sal Khan turned tutoring lessons with his cousins into a series of free educational videos called Khan Academy. His goal: To make learning accessible for everyone, everywhere.

About Sal Khan

Google CEO Sundar Pichai cancelled a company-wide Town Hall that had been organized after an employee was fired for writing a memo that criticized the tech-giant's diversity efforts.

In an email to employees, Pichai said some questions that had been pre-submitted via Google's moderating software "appeared externally this afternoon and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally."

When people in several North Carolina precincts showed up to vote last November, weird things started to happen with the electronic systems used to check them in.

"Voters were going in and being told that they had already voted — and they hadn't," recalls Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The electronic systems — known as poll books — also indicated that some voters had to show identification, even though they did not.

Promising online shows that run from comedy and reality to live sports, Facebook says its new Watch platform will let creators connect with their audiences — and earn money in the process. The social media giant's plan calls for using ads to monetize video.

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Now a mystery solved in Arlington, Va. It starts with an unmarked Ford passenger van making its way through suburban streets with an apparently empty driver's seat. Adam Tuss of NBC Washington was on the case.

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