KRWG

Technology

Please note:  Sometimes, NPR publishes headlines before the story and/or audio is ready; check back for content later if this occurs.  We also publish national/world news on our home page from AP, BBC, and others.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are up in arms about new technology now available from Apple and soon to be released by Google.

The software encrypts the data on smartphones and other mobile devices so that not even the companies themselves will be able to access the information.

Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this story, we had two videos of encounters with the police. They contained graphic language and violence, so we've removed them from the story. If you still want to see them, we've included links.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded Tuesday to three Japanese-born researchers for their work on the blue light-emitting diode, or LED.

And there's never been a better time to put their Nobel-prize winning discovery right in your own home. LED light bulbs, which use blue LEDs, are coming of age, and the price is dropping fast. You can pick them up for less than $10 each.

If you love movies, give yourself the next five minutes to watch this video.

Every Frame a Painting is a series of explorations on films and film technique by Tony Zhou, a San Francisco based filmmaker and editor. In each "video essay," Zhou unpacks the cinematic craft with humor and insight.

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

Sure, using tablets and computers can have upsides for children. They can provide, education for one, or just plain old entertainment value.

But we know there are downsides, too. NPR reported just last week on a study indicating screen time can negatively affect children's ability to read people's emotions.

The story of how the digital age came to be involves a cast of more than 40 people, ranging from a 19th century English countess to California hippies. In his new book, The Innovators, Walter Isaacson profiles many of those characters, focusing on how their collaborations helped bring us into the digital age.

Mikko Hyppönen is a "white hat" hacker — one of the good guys. Since Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's widespread surveillance, he has become a leading critic of the agency's programs. Hyppönen says we shouldn't be willing to relinquish our privacy, but rather demand it from our government.

Hyppönen was featured on the TED Radio Hour episode The End Of Privacy and answer listener's questions about his work.

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard, a stalwart through decades of shifts in America's technology landscape, is dividing itself into two companies in its most drastic attempt yet to adjust to new markets.

The ailing company that was founded 75 years ago in a Palo Alto garage was synonymous with Silicon Valley.

If your image of a computer programmer is a young man, there's a good reason: It's true. Recently, many big tech companies revealed how few of their female employees worked in programming and technical jobs. Google had some of the highest rates: 17 percent of its technical staff is female.

It wasn't always this way. Decades ago, it was women who pioneered computer programming — but too often, that's a part of history that even the smartest people don't know.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

With predictive analytics, Amazon can figure out what you'll buy next, Netflix knows what you'll watch next and Target can guess if you're pregnant.

In the world of venture capitalism, some firms have used predictive analytics to try to figure out which startups to invest in to make a quick buck.

And one firm is taking things one step further (or, actually, backward) by using an algorithm to try to find entrepreneurs before they even start a company.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Another week whizzed by with no shortage of tech news and headlines. Here's a look back and what we were up to here at NPR and some notable coverage from our friends in the media and blogosphere.

Genetically modified organisms are ancient, technologically speaking. Though some consumers may just be discovering that they're in the food system (and getting riled up about labeling them), farmers have had access to them since 1996.

But there's a new technology on the scene, adding a twist to the already complicated conversation about GMOs in our food: synthetic biology.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.

Literally.

A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.

But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?

The answer is complicated.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's customary in radio not to overload you with too many numbers. They get hard to follow and recall, so better to avoid a lot of little numbers and limit yourself to the really, strikingly large ones.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

To everyone reading this story: This is not about you. This is about the 4.4 billion other people on this planet who have never been online.

Amsterdam is famous for its laissez-faire attitude about extracurricular activities, its beautiful canals and of course, its bicycles. Now, even if you only have a layover at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, you can get in some pedaling, and power your phone and other devices at the same time.

Netflix has thus far found its highest-profile successes in original content by competing with award-ready premium television with Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.

But there's more to running a network than winning awards, and the reminder of that came this morning with an announcement that Netflix has made a deal to be the exclusive home of four movies to star and be produced by Adam Sandler.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Facebook has apologized for a policy that drew criticism from LGBT groups after it led to the deactivation of dozens of accounts belonging to drag queens. While the policy itself will stay in place, Facebook says, it will be changing how the rule is enforced.

Vermont is known for its green pastures, farmsteads and roads free of billboards. The founders of the new social network Ello live in the state, and they want to bring Vermont-like serenity to the Internet.

"We set out to prove that a social network will survive and thrive that doesn't have a business model of selling ads to its users," says CEO and co-founder Paul Budnitz.

A big breakup is happening in the business world. Online retailing giant eBay is splitting up with its payments operation, PayPal, sometime in 2015. The move comes at a prime opportunity for PayPal, as the future of online payments is still being charted.

When PayPal first came on the scene in the late 1990s, it simplified making online purchases in a way that users adopted, fast.

The walls are lined with robots and movie posters for Star Wars and Back to the Future. But this is no 1980s nerd den. It's the technology lab at Westside Neighborhood School in Los Angeles, and the domain of its ed-tech coordinator, Don Fitz-Roy.

"So we're gonna be talking about digital citizenship today."

Nicholas Carr's books are the nagging, tech-wary conscience of the digital age. In The Shallows, he warned that surfing the Internet is destroying our attention span.

Now in his new book, The Glass Cage, Carr warns us that computers are making more and more decisions for us, and we risk forgetting how to make those decisions ourselves.

As throngs of pro-democracy protesters continue to organize in Hong Kong's central business district, many of them are messaging one another through a network that doesn't require cell towers or Wi-Fi nodes. They're using an app called FireChat that launched in March and is underpinned by mesh networking, which lets phones unite to form a temporary Internet.

Years ago, Lil Miss Hot Mess created a Facebook profile.

"The way that I move through the world as a drag queen is different than how I move through the world every day," she says. With her stage name, she has a different social circle, a different way of being online.

Her page was shut down early last week, and she wasn't the only one whose account was deactivated. Facebook also closed the pages of other queens after they were reported for not using their "real" names on Facebook.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Pages