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Technology

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When you want to change the world, a good invention helps. But that is just the start.

Take the story of Mike Davidson and Mike Smith: They wanted to change the world of dental hygiene with a new kind of toothbrush.

Three years ago, their brushes were rolling off the assembly line, ready for consumers. But then the pair ran into a business buzz saw, and it changed the way they saw the business of invention forever.

A software developer in southern China surnamed Xie was at home on a recent day, when he responded to a knock on the door.

He opened it to find three plainclothes policemen. Xie asks that we just use his last name, because he fears being arrested.

At the time, he was selling VPN apps on Apple's China app store. VPNs — virtual private networks — help people access Internet content that's blocked in China.

The decision of a company to offer its employs the option to hack their bodies to function better in the workplace has raised eyebrows and, no doubt, generated publicity.

But it also gives us a chance to turn a light on hidden attitudes about the nature of the self.

Imagine that you could pay for your morning coffee with the swipe of your hand, or that you didn't need to have a key on your person to start up your car. Pretty convenient, huh?

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Marcus Hutchins' Twitter account suddenly went quiet a day ago when the FBI took him into custody in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The 23-year-old British citizen — who was praised earlier this year when he was credited with helping to control a global ransomware attack — was in town attending the Black Hat and DefCon cybersecurity conferences.

When was the last time you had a roll of film developed? For many, our digital devices are datebook, rolodex and camera all in one. But moments captured on film are finding a second life through a project based in Idaho, and it raises some questions about our digital future.

In his Boise basement darkroom, Levi Bettwieser deftly unspools, cuts and winds a roll of film into a canister. He rinses it in several chemicals, waits few minutes, then takes it out and holds it up to the light.

When someone posts a photo of food on social media, do you get cranky? Is it because you just don't care what other people are eating? Or is it because they're enjoying an herb-and-garlic crusted halibut at a seaside restaurant while you sit at your computer with a slice of two-day-old pizza?

Maybe you'd like to have what they're having, but don't know how to make it. If only there were a way to get their recipe without commenting on the photo.

One of the world's most popular police departments on Twitter and Facebook is in Bangalore, India.

And it's all because they took the risk of partnering up with a hip outside consultant.

If you've ever dreamed of the good life on one of Maine's coastal islands, be forewarned: jobs are few, mainly in lobstering, boat-building and ... caretaking summer residences. And if you're thinking "no problem, I can telecommute!" — think again, because internet access on the islands ranges from lousy to nonexistent.

Islanders struggling to maintain year 'round communities say that's a big problem. But now some Maine lobstermen and would-be telecommuters are banding together to pay for costly new infrastructure they hope will help preserve a threatened way of life.

It was a rocky start for passengers flying British Airways out of two of London's major hubs Wednesday morning as they attempted to check in for their flights.

Travelers at Heathrow and Gatwick airports were met by long lines and scenes described as "chaotic," thanks to an information technology-related check-in system problem.

Passengers had to be checked in manually, said the BBC.

Frustrated would-be flyers took to Twitter to air their grievances.

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The actor Kevin Hart is launching an all-digital streaming comedy service. The Laugh Out Loud Network is the latest entry in a crowded market. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

To an outsider, the actions might have looked swift and decisive: Within weeks of being accused of sexual harassment in the press, two high-profile venture capital investors issued public apologies and resigned.

A privacy watchdog group has filed a complaint with the FTC over Google's system for tracking purchases Internet users make in person, at physical store locations.

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In his North Korean mining town, Kim Hak-min loved getting his hands on electronics so much that he became the go-to guy to fix his neighbors' watches, TV's and radios. It earned the nickname "Repair Boy."

"I remember first opening up an electric toy when I was eight years old, figuring out how it worked and clutching it when I went to sleep," Kim recalls.

But by 2011, Kim had yet to encounter a smartphone.

"When I was in North Korea the only phones I saw where 2G and they were flip phones," Kim says.

In the thick of the presidential race last summer — Donald Trump was attacking Hillary Clinton over Benghazi; Clinton was widening her lead in the polls — FBI agents uncovered something odd.

On June 28, federal cyber experts noticed that the network credentials of an Arizona county elections worker had been posted on a site frequented by suspected Russian hackers. The password and username discovered by the FBI could let someone access the state's voter registration system.

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Updated at 5:56 p.m. ET

There are iPhone apps that make it possible to get around China's notorious Internet filters. And on Saturday, makers of those apps said Apple had removed their products from its App Store in China.

It would be another sign of Apple's willingness to help Beijing control its citizens' access to the Internet.

A German court sentenced a 29-year-old British hacker who confessed to committing a cyberattack last November that temporarily took down Internet access for nearly 1 million German consumers, according to news reports.

The court in the city of Cologne handed down a suspended sentence Friday of one year and eight months, Reuters reports. The news service adds that the maximum sentence was 10 years; prosecutors had sought a sentence of two years.

What would happen if you married an old custom — matchmaking — with something modern, like the ride-sharing app on your smartphone?

In Pakistan, that happened. Users of Careem, one of the country's most popular ride-sharing apps, woke up last week to this pop-up message on their phone: "Rishta Aunty Has Arrived."

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Anti-government militants are using social media to promote armed protests. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports on jailed rancher Cliven Bundy, his followers and Facebook Live.

Rep. Keith Ellison On Trump And The Media

Jul 27, 2017

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We're going to hear now from Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat of Minnesota. He thinks Twitter should block President Trump's access to the medium because of how the president uses social media.

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Senate Republicans are a little like the dog that finally caught the car. Now that they know their health care votes could actually become law, it's hard to know what to do.

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In the neonatal intensive care unit of Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, a father is rocking a baby attached to a heart monitor. While doctors roam the halls trying to prevent infections, Chief Information Officer Theresa Meadows is worried about another kind of virus.

"The last thing anybody wants to happen in their organization is have all their heart monitors disabled or all of their IV pumps that provide medication to a patient disabled," Meadows says.

U.S. military units have long used technology like night vision goggles to enhance their sense of sight.

Now they're trying to get a battlefield edge with their ears, too.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with quieted-down weapons and electronic hearing enhancements that could reshape the soundscape of warfare. They want to minimize some sounds and amplify others to get more control over what they and their enemies hear.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

Uber's leadership already has a lot on its plate, starting with finding a new CEO after former chief Travis Kalanick resigned abruptly last month. But that's not all the tech giant has to do. For the business to survive, Uber also has to repair its relationship with drivers, which leaders at the company say is "broken."

Even the most commonplace devices in our world had to be invented by someone.

Take the windshield wiper. It may seem hard to imagine a world without windshield wipers, but there was one, and Mary Anderson lived in that world.

In 1902, Anderson was visiting New York City.

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"It beeped in the envelope. That's how we knew."

Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers.

That makes sense. We traditionally think of summer camp as a place to swim in the lake and weave friendship bracelets, not text and play video games.

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