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Deciding At What Age To Give A Kid A Smartphone

4 hours ago

It's the time of year when kids are thinking about their holiday wishlists. 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 mini-computers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?

Dogs shower their owners with affection and demand walks on a regular basis. And according to medical researchers, a corresponding link between dog ownership and heart health — previously called "probable" by experts — is supported by Swedish data.

An examination of Sweden's national records — spanning more than 3.4 million people and 12 years — found that registered dog owners had a lower rate of cardiovascular disease and a lower risk of death.

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

20 hours ago

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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The Faroe Islands is a tiny archipelago about halfway between Iceland and Norway.

LEVI HANSSEN: There are a lot of people that don't even know that we exist.

Backflipping Robot Is A Giant Leap For Robot Kind

Nov 17, 2017

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, was a day filled with news. So much news, in fact, that you might have missed the announcement of a backflipping robot. In less than a minute, the video posted by Boston Dynamics inspired screaming emotions from all corners of the Internet. It's a revelation in robotics, some said. It's the beginning of humanity's end, chirped others.

If you're reading this on your phone while driving, stop it. Especially if you're a young neurotic extroverted guy who drives a lot.

Two seconds of attention to the insistent beeping and blinking of our mobile phones or simply changing the radio station accounts for at least 12 percent of car accidents worldwide and 14 percent of them in the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Government agencies that deal with cybersecurity, like the National Security Agency, have two competing interests. On the one hand, they want to protect America's online infrastructure and economy from cyberattacks. On the other hand, government agencies want to harness tools to attack opponents in cyberspace.

In the Spring of 2009, the H1N1/09 virus — dubbed "swine flu" — made the jump from pigs to people and began claiming its first victims.

Fearing the beginning of a global swine flu pandemic, terrified health officials began planning for the worst. Shutting down the world's major airports became the nuclear option of their arsenal — the last hope for halting the virus from reaching unstoppable thresholds of contagion.

A workhorse truck and a new supercar are in the works for Tesla, after founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced his company's latest effort to widen the U.S. market for electric vehicles Thursday night. Musk called the Roadster "the fastest production car ever made, period."

Astronomers in California are building the largest digital camera in the world. It will go on a giant telescope taking shape in Chile called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

LSST is different from most large telescopes. Instead of staring at a tiny patch of the sky and taking essentially one snapshot in time, LSST will take a panorama of every part of the sky...and it will do so over and over and over. The idea is to see what's moving or changing in the heavens.

It's tough getting old, and that goes as much for giant pandas as people.

Veterinarians at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., say Tian Tian, an adult male panda, received laser treatment and acupuncture for what they initially thought was a touch of arthritis in his left shoulder.

During the exam earlier this week while the 20-year-old Tian Tian (pronounced t-YEN t-YEN) was under anesthesia, vets also took blood and urine samples and performed X-rays.

Updated on Friday, Nov. 17, at 10:30 p.m. ET

Would you be curious and excited if, out on a walk near your home, you came face-to-face with a young owl, not yet a confident flyer?

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Tonight at the Latin Grammys, the hit song "Despacito" is up for four awards, including record of the year. Clearly a lot of people know this song. But it turns out the Google Home personal assistant does not. NPR's Aarti Shahani explains.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

Following criticism of an in-game purchase system in the new game Star Wars Battlefront II, publisher Electronic Arts announced late Thursday, just hours before the game's worldwide release, that this system would be turned off while adjustments are made.

"This was never our intention. Sorry we didn't get this right," said a statement posted on Twitter.

Our original story continues:

Scientists believe they may have new insights into why passenger pigeons went extinct, after analyzing DNA from the toes of birds that have been carefully preserved in museums for over a century.

Internet freedom is on the decline for the seventh consecutive year as governments around the world take to distorting information on social media in order to influence elections, a new report says.

The nongovernmental organization Freedom House released its annual Freedom on the Net report this week, which found that online "manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role" in elections in 18 countries, including the U.S.

This week, another big name in tech was toppled by accusations of sexual harassment — venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX who left his prominent Silicon Valley company.

The big-money world of Silicon Valley remains dominated by men and remains a hard place for women to speak out if they want to join the ranks of its richest. And some women think the best way to fight harassment is to tread carefully and get to the top.

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

India Declares War On Unsafe Selfies

Nov 14, 2017

How far would you go to snap the perfect selfie?

For some people, the answer is clearly: too far.

Take India, for example.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved its first digital drug: a pill embedded with a sensor that transmits whether someone has taken it.

Although the approval is a big step for digital medicine, there are concerns about privacy, convenience and cost.

Since my last post was on Earth's hosting of life, it's natural to follow with a discussion of life elsewhere.

From the outset, we must state two essential facts: first, that we have no concrete evidence that intelligent aliens have ever visited our planet; and, second, that we have no evidence that there is life outside Earth, intelligent or not.

Let's look into the alien visitation question first — and leave the question of life elsewhere for another time.

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In August, a doctor in Spain posted x-ray and microscopic pictures from a man's thigh on Twitter, asking for help.

The physician was concerned that he had cancer.

Less than a week after the iPhone X release, a Vietnamese security firm says it has done what others couldn't — trick the phone's facial recognition software. How? One very creepy mask.

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