Tech

News about computers, smartphones, gadgets, apps, the Internet and the tech industry.

Lots of people think this is how science works: A genius sits in a lab working late into the night and, finally — "Eureka!" After that come big prizes, and maybe even lucrative patents, right?

Discoveries are rarely so straightforward. A recent biotech advance that goes by the long, awkward acronym of CRISPR-Cas9 is a perfect case.

The Internet can be a dangerous place. Hackers, bots and viruses are prowling the Web trying to turn your machines into zombies.

More than 1 million people have "checked in" on Facebook to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation page, in a show of support for the tribe that has been rallying against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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

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Silicon Valley is a politically liberal place — and that is reflected in where people are sending their money this election season. Ninety-five percent of contributions from tech employees to the presidential campaigns have gone to Hillary Clinton, according to Crowdpac, a group that tracks political donations.

But one well-known outlier has caused a lot of friction in the Valley.

Voice recognition surrounds tech-loving Americans, from Siri to Google Assistant to Amazon Echo. Its omnipresence can make it easy to forget that making this technology has been really, really hard.

Understanding human speech is one of the most difficult frontiers in machine learning, and the biggest names in technology have devoted much time and money to conquering it. But their products still work for only a handful of languages.

Less prominent languages are still indecipherable to computers — even for text translations, let alone voice recognition.

In the small town of Sunderland, Mass., is a 300-year-old, family-run plot of land that fuses fine art and farming.

Mike Wissemann's 8-acre cornfield maze is a feat of ingenuity, with carefully planned and executed stalk-formed replicas of notables such as the Mona Lisa, Albert Einstein and Salvador Dalí.

In an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all practical perception escapes, and in its place arises a fantastical world that teasingly mirrors the reality we call our own.

It's called virtual reality, or VR, and it's this technology that game developer Jonathan Schenker has a passion for. Schenker and his colleague Aaron Stanton created the VR game QuiVr — and, as he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, he was alarmed to discover a female user had been harassed while playing it.

Long ago, electronic music was created on massive consoles the size of refrigerators. But in 1970, the Minimoog Model D was unleashed, and its impact was nothing short of revolutionary.

Whenever you surf the web, sophisticated algorithms are tracking where you go, comparing you with millions of other people. They're trying to predict what you'll do next: Apply for a credit card? Book a family vacation?

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

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Thousands will pack into the Staples Center in Los Angeles this weekend for a championship final event. It's not an uncommon scene for the center as it's home to the Los Angeles Lakers, but this weekend it's not the Lakers who are taking center court.

A girl fights a Pokemon character in a parking lot and gets sucked into a Poke Ball. A mustachioed man, pretending to be El Chapo, runs through a cave, then a fast food restaurant and then a mall in search of Donald Trump, whom viewers see video of making denigrating comments about Mexicans. A young man satirizes the spare dishes presented in fancy restaurants.

The Internet is still coming to terms with the fact that Twitter is shuttering Vine, the beloved six-second video-looping app.

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