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Since 2010, the default avatar on Twitter has been an egg. The idea apparently was that a new user was like a gestating bird, soon to make its first tweet. It was designed to be playful and cute.

But over time, Twitter's eggs came to symbolize something different: users who remain shadowy on purpose, to harass their fellow tweeters.

Today, Twitter announced that it was doing away with the egg as its default avatar, opting instead for a nondescript person-shape figure. No more bright colors, either — the new avatar is all gray.

The terms of the next loan you get might depend less on your credit score and more on what a computer program thinks of your habits.

Digital lending is expected to double in size over the next three years, reaching nearly 10 percent of all loans in the U.S. and Europe. There are now some 2,000 digital startups, many of which are using artificial intelligence to analyze the troves of data created every day.

But government regulators are struggling to keep up with the pace of change.

Every recent president has promised to innovate the way government works, and this week, the Trump administration announced its plan to do the same.

The initiative is called the White House Office of American Innovation. Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, will lead a team that includes business executives with little or no government experience. The Trump team says its agenda includes "modernizing government services" and "creating transformational infrastructure projects."

The House voted on Tuesday to approve a measure already passed by the Senate, which disapproves of an FCC rule that would have required Internet providers to ask permission before selling consumers' personal data. President Trump is expected to sign the bill.

Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?

Mar 29, 2017

There was no such thing as Classic Rock in 1976 — the phrase, and the radio format it inspired, wouldn't come into common usage until the mid-1980s. But there was already some notion of a rock and roll canon, a list of key albums that FM listeners needed to have in their collection. At the start of 1976, Bob Seger had zero albums on that list. Twelve months later, he had two: Live Bullet, the double LP documenting some blistering hometown sets at Detroit's Cobo Hall, and Night Moves, his first platinum album, whose title single would peak at No. 4 as 1977 began.

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President Trump is expected to sign into law a decision by Congress to overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers.

Passed by the Federal Communications Commission in October, the rules never went into effect. If they had, it would have given consumers more control over how ISPs use the data they collect. Most notably, the rules would have required explicit consent from consumers if sensitive data — like financial or health information, or browsing history — were to be shared or sold.

The House of Representatives has gone along with the Senate and voted 215-205 to overturn a yet-to-take-effect regulation that would have required Internet service providers — like Comcast, Verizon and Charter — to get consumers' permission before selling their data.

President Trump is expected to sign the rollback, according to a White House statement.

The first opera hit the stage over 400 years ago. More recently, the art form has been adapted to modern media: In the 1920s and '30s, operas were written to be performed on the radio, and in 1951, NBC commissioned Gian Carlo Menotti to compose Amahl And The Night Visitors for television.

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In the past, entrepreneur Elon Musk has described a "neural lace" that could add a symbiotic digital layer to the human brain. In the future, it seems, he'll try to build that device through a new company, Neuralink.

It's clear from the numbers. Google has a diversity problem.

For the past few years, the company has publicly shared its workplace makeup in a report detailing the race, gender and ethnicity of each employee hired the previous year. Last year, while the number of black employees went up, they still represented only 2 percent of the company's workforce and Google admitted it fell short of its diversity goal.

On the fringes of Beijing, surrounded by affluent housing compounds and the headquarters of some of China's leading high-tech firms, there's a slum folks call Didi Village.

Cars with mainly out-of-town license plates are parked under makeshift shelters outside crowded, ramshackle dwellings.

Many of the village's inhabitants are migrant workers who, until recently, worked for Didi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing service.

In the spring of my senior year of high school, I took daily trips to the mailbox. It might have been the only time in my life when I knew for a fact that any day, letters with my name on them would appear in the mailbox from colleges that had read through my hopeful applications.

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This is The Call-In.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORDUROI'S "MY DEAR")

These days just about every device is "smart." There are smart cars, phones, TVs, grills and speakers, and most people don't think twice about buying a new TV, hooking it up to the internet and giving it access to different apps.

But all that connectivity means data is being shared and collected by the devices and the apps used.

Telehealth takes a lot of forms these days. Virtual visits with a health care provider can take place by video, phone or text, or via the Web or a mobile app. The one commonality: You get to consult a doctor from your home, the office, Starbucks or anywhere with a wifi or mobile connection.

These appointments can be quick, and save you from having to schlep across town and sit in a waiting room, leafing through year-old Time magazine articles, as prelude to every visit with a doc.

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Editor's Note: This story includes videos and descriptions of violent encounters between police and civilians, as well as language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

Uber is in crisis. This week the president resigned, after just six months on the job. Morale has been shaken following a damning account of sexual harassment. The board of directors is so concerned about the CEO's ability to lead, they're looking for a No. 2 to help steer the company.

The U.S. Senate has a lot going on: confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, negotiations on repealing the Affordable Care Act, votes on gun sales regulations and bear-hunting rules for Alaska.

Here's a classic big city dilemma (sorry suburban folks): It's late at night, the weather is bad, and you're hungry. Your favorite restaurant is less than a mile away, but you don't want to leave the house, and you don't want to pay a $5 delivery fee — plus tip — for a $10 meal.

So, what do you do?

Back in the old days, you would have braved the elements — or learned to plan ahead. But those days are coming to an end, at least in Washington, D.C.

Men may soon be able to take their own sperm count — at home. With a smartphone. Yes, there's an app for that.

You may be asking yourself, why?

Low sperm count is a marker for male infertility, a condition that is actually a neglected health issue worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water.

The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top.

On Tuesday morning, the Department of Homeland Security announced new restrictions for personal electronics on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Devices larger than a cellphone will not be allowed in the cabin, though they will be allowed in checked baggage.

Later Tuesday, the U.K. announced it would be enforcing a similar rule — using a slightly different list of countries.

The rule change in both countries was unexpected and the explanations for it cryptic.

Here's a quick look at what we know, and what we don't.

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Google will give advertisers more control over where their ads appear and improve its internal controls, as the owner of AdWords and YouTube apologized for "a number of cases where brands' ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values."

Note: This report has been significantly updated since its original online publication on March 21.

The news that the U.S. is placing restrictions on what airline passengers can carry in the cabin on direct flights from eight majority-Muslim nations is creating ripples of concern throughout the arts community.

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