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Technology

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Cellphones in the classroom were once considered little more than a distraction for students, but the devices have now become integrated into lessons. They can be great for research, calculations and social interaction with classmates.

Just before Thanksgiving, the Internet lit up with the remarkable video of Boston Dynamics' robot Atlas doing a backflip.

The U.S. Supreme Court confronts the digital age again on Wednesday when it hears oral arguments in a case that promises to have major repercussions for law enforcement and personal privacy.

At issue is whether police have to get a search warrant in order to obtain cellphone location information that is routinely collected and stored by wireless providers.

Cellphone thieves caught because they used ... cellphones

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Today is Cyber Monday, and on this week's All Tech Considered we're going to talk about how retailers are going after a key group of consumers - kids.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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In Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jared Haley is fighting a daily battle at C-Axis, the medical device manufacturer where he's the general manager. The power has been out at his plant for nearly three months, since Hurricane Irma.

Operating on emergency generators, the plant restarted operations last month and, Haley says, is delivering all its work on schedule. But he's not happy now with the plant's condition. Walking into his factory, he laments, "This shop used to look like a doctor's office."

A strange and unsettling thing was happening this morning on YouTube. If you typed the words "how to have" into the site's search bar, one of the suggested searches was "how to have s*x with kids."

By the afternoon, that autocomplete result and a few related ones no longer appeared.

Dictionary.com has selected "complicit" as its word of the year for 2017, citing the term's renewed relevance in U.S. culture and politics — and noting that a refusal to be complicit has also been "a grounding force of 2017."

The website defines "complicit" as "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity."

If you're losing sleep over the blue light coming from your phone, there's an app for that.

In fact, there are now lots of apps that promise to improve sleep by filtering out the blue light produced by phones, tablets, computers and even televisions.

But how well do these apps work?

There haven't been any big studies to answer that question. So I phoned a couple of scientists who study the link between blue light exposure and sleep.

Net Neutrality: The Long View

Nov 26, 2017

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

By now, you're probably familiar with them. Chances are you've pulled up the Google search page, surprised and perhaps delighted to find the usual blue, red, yellow and green letters transformed to make the Google logo into a colorful cartoonish image to celebrate an important anniversary or holiday.

On any given Thursday, thousands of people can be spotted swarming the corner of Rosewood and North Fairfax avenues in West Hollywood. It's not surprising, though, if you know that this Los Angeles location is one of six storefronts around the world of streetwear giant Supreme.

Supreme is known in the streetwear community for releasing new collections almost every Thursday. Hordes of excited shoppers, mostly young men, wait for hours in line to purchase Supreme gear at retail prices.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Think before you snap that selfie.

That's the serious message of a joint campaign created by two groups that have spent the past few years poking fun at problematic photos taken by Western volunteers. They often have the tendency to paint themselves as saviors to needy people in low-income countries.

Ben Jealous slips into the driver's seat. It's a tight fit (he's a towering 6 feet, 4 inches with broad shoulders) and he takes off his blazer in the most peculiar of ways: by grabbing the collar and pulling it over his head, as though it were a sweater.

"I gotta move quickly," he says.

That could be the tag line for his life. Just 44 years old, Jealous has already racked up quite a few distinctions.

What's Next For Net Neutrality

Nov 25, 2017

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NASA has big hopes for virtual reality technology. The agency is developing a suite of virtual reality environments at Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland, that could be used for everything from geological research to repairing orbiting satellites.

One displays fiery ejections from the Sun. In another, scientists can watch magnetic fields pulse around the earth. A virtual rendering of an ancient lava tube in Idaho makes scientists feel like they're standing at the bottom of an actual cave.

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The Federal Communications Commission chairman announced plans Tuesday to repeal Obama-era regulations on Internet service providers. The 2015 rules enforce what's called net neutrality, meaning that the companies that connect you to the Internet don't get to decide which websites load faster or slower, or charge websites or apps to load faster.

The most memorable part of this holiday shopping should be an amazing deal you found — not having to jump through endless hoops trying to reclaim your identity.

U.S. consumers are concerned about their personal information and identities during the holiday season, according to a survey by Discover. But these concerns won't affect how they shop, the survey showed.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

'Job-Sharing' In Germany

Nov 22, 2017

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All right. So Uber showed us that we can share cars. Airbnb did the same for homes. A startup in Berlin is taking it a step further. It wants to make job sharing a thing. NPR's Casey Herman shares the story.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The ride-hailing service Uber revealed that the personal information of 57 million people — both customers and drivers — was hacked last year and that the company kept the massive theft secret for more than a year.

Uber also paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the stolen data and stay silent about it.

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Federal regulators are on track to loosen regulations of cable and telecom companies.

The Federal Communications Commission will vote Dec. 14 on a plan to undo the landmark 2015 rules that had placed Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon under the strictest-ever regulatory oversight.

The vote is expected to repeal so-called net neutrality rules, which prevent broadband companies from slowing down or blocking any sites or apps, or otherwise deciding what content gets to users faster.

It's the time of year when kids are thinking about their holiday wish lists. So what's a parent to do when a child, possibly a very young child, asks for a smartphone?

We hear that smartphones can be addictive, that screen time can hurt learning, but can't these minicomputers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?

Years ago, Google's founders wondered what would happen if they could take their pieces of technical knowledge and apply them to cities.

"We started talking about all of these things that we could do if someone would just give us a city and put us in charge," Eric Schmidt, CEO of Alphabet, Google's parent company, joked recently.

The FCC And The Wave Of Deregulation

Nov 20, 2017

While much attention has been paid to potential legislation passing through Congress or to the actions of the president, the Federal Communications Commission has been quite active, according to the headlines:

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