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Tech Week: Industry Diversity, Digital Afterlives, Net Neutrality

What happened in technology this week, you ask? Here's a roundup of the tech stories reported by NPR and others since you last checked in.


Hack The Hood: Twitter this week followed Google, Facebook and Yahoo in releasing numbers on the makeup of its workforce. And like those tech giants, the numbers show that the 140-character social media company is largely male and white. To counter that trend, NPR's Aarti Shahani reports, a growing number of nonprofits are popping up next door to Silicon Valley to help young blacks and Latinos break into the industry.

Our Digital Afterlives: What happens to our archived Facebook messages, old email chains and other digital crumbs after we log off this earth? NPR's Molly Roberts reports that, if adopted by the states, a model law would give the executor of your estate access to your online assets and online financial accounts.

A Workout At Work: This week's innovation pick is the Cubii, which encourages you to exercise while seated at your desk. As NPR's Allie Caren reports, this small elliptical-style device could ease your worries that a sedentary existence will shorten your life.

The Big Conversation

Net Neutrality Deluge: After a five-month period, the Federal Communications Commission received more than 1 million comments on its proposal to let Internet providers charge content providers extra fees to deliver faster service. But, as NPR's Elise Hu reports, analysts say the comments may not matter much in the end.

People have come up with a variety of metaphors to describe net neutrality, which can be a complicated concept to explain. The most common one is that the Internet would be treated like a highway with fast and slow lanes. But comparing it to a shower?


Wall Street Journal: Google's New Moonshot Project: the Human Body

The company will conduct a baseline study of healthy people, collecting anonymous genetic and molecular information. The aim is to help researchers find patterns that could head off heart disease, cancer and other killers.

BuzzFeed: How Media Organizations Are Prepping To Bring The News To Your Wrist

Some analysts predict hundreds of millions of smartwatches will be sold by 2018; news outlets are already at work trying to figure out how to squeeze headlines onto smaller, wrist-size screens.

9to5Mac: iOS 8 beta 4 includes new Tips app with quick feature tutorials

Apple prides itself on the simplicity of its devices, so it's a little surprising that the next version of its mobile operating system will include an instructional app, called Tips.

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An Exuberantly Dark First Novel Explores The Chaos Of Central Africa

Fiston Mwanza Mujila's novel, Tram 83, is a freewheeling tale about life in an imaginary place inspired by the author's home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Critic John Powers has a review.
WAMU 88.5

Marion Nestle: "Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (And Winning)"

Changing public attitudes have led to a decline in U.S. soda sales. But health expert Marion Nestle believes many people still consume unhealthy amounts of sugary drinks. She argues beverage companies are spending millions on research that misleads consumers.


Sen. Harry Reid Sues Makers Of Exercise Band Over His Injuries

The Senate minority leader and his wife are seeking more than $50,000 in damages over what they say is a defective resistance band that caused him to lose sight in his right eye, among other injuries.

How Skyscraper Construction Ties Into Tech Bubbles

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about a tech bubble.Our Planet Money podcast team examines one possible indicator of a bubble: architecture. Very, very tall architecture.

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