Technology

This is a tale of two former bodybuilders, facing off in court — over a patent.

And not just any patent: Based on federally funded research, this one has a pedigree that links back to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. And this kind of legal mano a mano raises questions about the role of universities in the patent system.

The days of peak BlackBerry in the U.S. capital are hard to forget. The swift clackety-click of the keyboard and the soft trrrrrrr of the trackpad scroll invaded every corner of Washington: You'd hear it on the Metro and in building hallways, at dinner tables and in bars, in elevators and, yes, even bathroom stalls.

By all accounts, technology has made us safer.

Cars are more maneuverable because of tire design changes. Jet engines are less likely to fail midflight thanks to better propulsion mechanics. Clinical diagnoses are more accurate thanks to improvements in medical imaging.

Over the past half-century, such advances have forced a drop in deaths caused by technical lapses. And now, technology is used to reduce fatalities caused by human error. But we need more.

Before the folk rock band The Lumineers released their newest album, Cleopatra, in April, they played a series of secret shows. Emphasis here on "secret."

"There was a large concern about the album being sort-of released via grainy video and leaked out online," said Wesley Schultz, the band's lead singer.

So the band decided to lock up people's phones — not take them away, exactly, but just lock them up for the show. Like a timeout.

Robert Sauchelli doesn't have a solar panel, but he's all for the idea — before he retired, he devoted 21 years to energy efficiency work at the Environmental Protection Agency. To show his support, Sauchelli has been paying an extra 7.4 cents per kilowatt-hour to a clean power company, called Green Mountain Energy, through his energy supplier in Brooklyn, Con Edison.

The machines look like a terminal at your local convenience store, but police agencies in a number of states are using them to read money cards seized from crime suspects. Officers can instantly freeze or seize the funds loaded on prepaid cards using the hand-held device, and some civil liberties advocates say the machines may be abused.

U.S. transportation authorities are investigating the deadly collision of a Tesla Model S car. And many reports say the fatal crash has heightened concern about self-driving cars. Which may be true. Except — Model S isn't a self-driving car.

Halfway through your walk to school, a wild Charmander appears. Just a few throws of a Pokéball, and it could be yours. Will you stop to catch it?

Nintendo is betting you will. Not just that, they're betting that you've waited most of your life to see a Pokémon in the real world.

After some 10,000 online tutorials in 10 years, Sal Khan still starts most days at his office desk in Silicon Valley, recording himself solving math problems for his Khan Academy YouTube channel.

"OK, let F of X equal A times X to the N plus," he says cheerfully as he begins his latest.

Khan Academy has helped millions of people around the world — perhaps hundreds of millions — learn math, science and other subjects for free.

Facebook says it's changing its news feed, again. It says posts from friends and family will now come first, prioritized over posts from publishers and celebrities.

It's potentially worrisome news for media companies, whose traffic is heavily boosted by Facebook-driven clicks. But it's also only a small, vague peek into the black box that is Facebook's algorithm, which determines what version of the world is presented to the 1.65 billion people using the social network.

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