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Tech Week That Was: #NPRBlacksInTech, Amazon's Buzz On Drones

This week, our friends at NPR's Tell Me More turned the spotlight on black leaders in the tech industry — a demographic that's underrepresented in the field, as Gene Demby explored when covering coders of color. The conversation continues on Twitter through Dec. 20, where tech thinkers will live-tweet their days and answer questions about the field. You can participate by using #NPRBlacksInTech and follow the progress on Storify.

The Protojournalist's Linton Weeks asked whether Cyber Monday is still relevant. Alex Madrigal gave recommendations on what to do with cute baby pics. Also, for those more into small animals than small people, Bill Chappell alerted us to the strangely amazing Christmas Cats TV, a live webcast that wants you to adopt cats (in sweaters) from a shelter.

In our collection on gaming: Steve Mullis featured an indie sci-fi puzzle game called The Swapper, and Thomas Andrew Gustafson found a game that turns players into "citizen scientists."

The Big Conversation

Amazon made the headlines this week after CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company is pursuing drone delivery technology — inciting a short media frenzy and immediate skepticism. Amazon promised that safety would be its top priority, but TechCrunch speculated on why this project might not work as hoped.

The Washington Post released yet another batch of NSA revelations, with an eye-catching graphic and a story on how the NSA is collecting billions of records a day on the location of mobile phones. And NPR tech editor Avie Schneider highlighted another way that cybersecurity could be compromised in the future (uplifting, we know).

Also in the intersection of government and technology, federal officials released what they called an improved version of Politico reported that 29,000 people signed up for health insurance on Sunday and Monday, and NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner looked at some of the key new features as well as lingering issues with the signup system. And NPR's Steve Henn looked at problems with Oregon's health exchange, which is being built by tech giant Oracle.

Other Curiosities

BBC News: Stolen Facebook and Yahoo passwords dumped online

The most popular compromised password? 123456. If that's yours, we recommend a change, because one security researcher says it's useful as a "chocolate teapot," which we presume is not very.

Computerworld: Toyota signs wireless charging deal with WiTricity

As early as next year, the electric-hybrid Prius may be able to be charged without being plugged in. WiTricity, based in Massachusetts, says wireless charging works just as fast as its conventional alternative.

Reuters: Twitter to be available on mobile phones without Internet

Smartphones are gaining a foothold around the world, but many people in emerging markets only have regular old cellphones. U2opia Mobile, a Singapore-based startup, will make Twitter's trending topics available on mobile phones that don't have Internet access.

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Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.