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Technology

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Uber's troubles are mounting. The ride-sharing service was criticized in Australia after its "surge pricing" kicked in, quadrupling fares for some customers trying to flee the area in Sydney where a gunman took hostages in a cafe.

Here's a screenshot that one customer sent to Mashable with details of the increased fare:

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People in Gaza are getting impatient with the slow pace of rebuilding. International donors pledged $5.4 billion to help, but little of the money has made it to Gaza yet.

A Gaza tech startup accelerator has gone a different route — international crowdfunding.

Welcome to Constellation Park, population 5,000. But everyone here — suspended in hanging vessels under New York's Manhattan Bridge — is dead.

If you've been too busy finalizing holiday vacation plans and buying gifts, we're here to catch you up on the tech headlines you may have missed from NPR and beyond.

A smartphone app will soon serve as an official driver's license for many Iowans.

"We are really moving forward on this," Paul Trombino, director of the state's Department of Transportation, told Gov. Terry Brandstad during an agency budget hearing this week. "The way things are going, we may be the first in the nation."

His comments were reported by The Des Moines Register.

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The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City collects the beautiful and practical — vintage Eames chairs, Jimi Hendrix posters, Victorian bird cages.

The museum, which is housed in the Andrew Carnegie mansion, is reopening after an extensive $81 million, three-year renovation — and the redesign has turned this historic building into one of the most technologically advanced museums in the country.

If you're a parent, you know the aggravation that comes with baby-proofing an entire house. Probably one of your biggest fears is that your child might stick her finger or a foreign object into an electrical outlet.

More than 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur annually, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, and each day, nearly seven children are treated in a hospital due to injuries from tampering with an outlet.

It's not Star Wars on the high seas — but the U.S. Navy says it has made a "historic leap" by deploying a laser weapon system for the first time. The Navy released a video showing a LaWS — shorthand for "laser weapon system" — being used by the USS Ponce during target practice in the Persian Gulf.

Making The Human Condition Computable

Dec 10, 2014

For centuries, the central challenge in health care was ignorance. There simply wasn't enough information to know what was making a person sick, or what to do to cure them.

Now, health care is being flooded with information. Advances in computing technology mean that gathering, storing and analyzing health information is relatively cheap, and it's getting cheaper by the day. As computers continue to fall in price, the cost of sequencing a single person's genome is tumbling, too.

Uber, the ride-sharing service that is growing in value, is also watching its troubles mount.

It's latest woes are in California where, as NPR's Laura Sydell tells our Newscast unit, the attorneys general of San Francisco and Los Angeles counties are suing Uber. Here's more from Sydell's report:

Over the weekend, a conservative blogger published what he claims is the real name of the alleged victim in Rolling Stone's discredited gang rape story. It's the latest example of what's become known as doxing — distributing personal information about someone online in an effort to embarrass, frighten or intimidate. Doxing has become increasingly common during highly charged news events by aggressive partisans on the left and right.

"Infobesity," "lumbersexual," "phablet." As usual, the items that stand out as candidates for word of the year are like its biggest pop songs, catchy but ephemeral. But even a fleeting expression can sometimes encapsulate the zeitgeist. That's why I'm nominating "God view" for the honor.

Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular and largest file-sharing sites, is offline today, after police in Sweden raided their servers.

TorrentFreak, which reports on file-sharing sites, says that while Pirate Bay has been targeted by authorities in the past, this is the first time the peer-to-peer network disappeared from the Internet.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

A lot of computer viruses hide inside your system. Hackers stealing your data go out of their way to operate quietly, stealthily, under the radar.

But there's another kind of attack that makes itself known — on purpose. It sneaks into your network and takes your files, holding them for ransom. It's called ransomware, and, according to cybersecurity experts, this kind of attack is getting more sophisticated.

Stick 'Em Up

Ralph H. Baer, the man widely acknowledged as the "father of home video games" for his pioneering work in electronics and television engineering, died on Saturday at his home in Manchester, N.H. He was 92.

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Today, a remembrance for a father of video games. He passed away this past Saturday at the age of 92. NPR's Laura Sydell tells us about an inventor named Ralph Baer.

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Stephen Hawking Gets A Voice Upgrade

Dec 7, 2014

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The sound of Stephen Hawking's voice is iconic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEPHEN HAWKING: Where did we come from? How did the universe come into being?

The uniformity of dollar bills is great for shoving them all in your wallet after you buy a sandwich. It's not great, however, if you're one of the over 14 million Americans with vision loss and can't tell the denomination.

Now more than ever, America needs productive conversations about race, stereotyping, police, crime and social justice. And too often, our national media continues to fall short.

After many years of dissecting how race works in media, I was both disappointed and but, sadly, not surprised by much of the coverage so far. It repeats many of the same mistakes we've seen for years in how we talk about race-fueled controversies in America.

We don't have the right conversations.

The week in tech began with arguments before the Supreme Court and ended with another data breach. This time it's the clothing chain Bebe. Here's a look back at other tech stories you should know about from NPR and beyond.

Meet Vikram. He's that cute baby in the picture above. Now, take a closer look at his neckwear.

It's traditional for newborns in northern India to wear a black thread necklace as a symbol of good health and good fortune, but Vikram's got a high-tech version. The round pendant on the string is a wearable device called Khushi Baby that carries his vaccination history inside a computerized chip about the size of a dime.

Surely I'm not the only person who has gone to the orthopedist figuring that the radiologist sent over the MRI, only to find out that I was supposed to have asked for a CD and a paper copy of the report. Really? That is so last century.

Since I can Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest images with ease, shouldn't I also be able to get my MRI online and share it with my doctors?

Uber is riding high. The company announced its latest investment numbers Thursday, and they're impressive. Uber Technologies Inc. raised $1.2 billion in its latest round of financing, and is now valued at over $40 billion. Fortune magazine also reports that the ride-sharing service was recently authorized to sell up to $1.8 billion in stock.

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