Matt’s Favorites: Yahoo Comes Clean, NASA Unveils Asteroid Catching Plans, And More

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Uh-oh. Somebody's whole day is about to be ruined.

Uh-oh. Somebody’s whole day is about to be ruined.

What’s the latest, greatest, and absolutely most wonderfulest from the ever-expanding world of high technology? Well, pull up an electron or three and check out these mindbenders…

* There may be killer asteroids headed for Earth, and NASA has decided to do something about it. The space agency announced a new “Grand Challenge” Tuesday to find all dangerous space rocks and figure out how to stop them from destroying Earth. The new mission builds on projects already underway at NASA, including a plan to capture an asteroid, pull it in toward the moon and send astronauts to visit it. As part of the Grand Challenge, the agency issued a “request for information” to solicit ideas from industry, academia and the public on how to improve the asteroid mission plan.

* Yahoo is the latest tech company to release new details on U.S. government data requests. The Internet giant joins Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft in attempts to provide more transparency following allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA) had direct access to its servers.

* Google has asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to lift a gag order, saying it has the constitutional right to clear its name by discussing government data requests. The company filed a five-page motion before the court on Tuesday afternoon, arguing it has “a right under the First Amendment to publish” summary statistics about requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

* It was 110 years ago this week that the Model A finally got Henry Ford’s third automotive startup into gear. You see, once upon a time, the Ford Motor Co. was a startup — and it was burning through cash like mad. Then a gent from Chicago ponied up $850, and the first Model A was sold, and the rest? It changed everything.

* Facebook was suffering an apparent disruption Tuesday night that was preventing many of its users from accessing the social network, CNet’s News.com reported. Downforeveryoneorjustme.com was giving visitors intermittent “down” answers this evening when they checked on Facebook’s status.

* It’s a sight that can trigger dread: the low-battery message on your cellphone when there’s no charger around. But New Yorkers needing a little extra juice will have some new options this summer. The city is teaming up with AT&T to install 25 solar-powered charging stations in parks across the five boroughs.

* Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has met South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul to discuss ways to stimulate entrepreneurship and venture firms in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

* Airborne laser technology has uncovered a network of roadways and canals, illustrating a bustling ancient city linking Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple complex.

* An Australian train safety campaign called “Dumb Ways to Die” is winning big at this week’s Cannes Advertising Festival. Might such a jokey style persuade those who cannot help texting at the wheel?

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