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Matt’s Favorites Friday: New Look For Your Tech Report, Uber-Cute New Mammal, WaPo Hacked, And More

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New Mammal Species
(credit: istock) Technology Report
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So what’s the latest from the wonderful world of science and technology? Well, just check out these gems, my friends…

* If all went as it was supposed to, you’re seeing a new design for your daily WWJ Technology Report — cleaner, simpler, easier on the eye on both PC and mobile device. (Bonus: It automates more work for yours truly, permitting me more time to commit actual journalism.) My only concern is that it no longer has links to our calendar, and today’s newly added events, not to mention the Tech Report Page Two, where the stories go when I post more than 10 a day (which I almost always do). So I’m putting such links here in Matt’s Favorites, and I will every day so you’ll know where to find them, OK? And remember, you can always find ALL of the Tech Report’s content in the tech news section of CBSDetroit.com.

* Imagine a raccoon with a teddy bear face that is so cute it’s hard to resist, let alone overlook. But somehow science did — until now. Researchers announced Thursday a rare discovery of a new species of mammal called the olinguito. It belongs to a grouping of large creatures that include dogs, cats and bears.

* The Washington Post said Thursday that its website was hacked. A group that supports Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime claimed responsibility. Washington Post Managing Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said in a statement that for about 30 minutes Thursday morning, readers of some stories were redirected to the website of the ‘Syrian Electronic Army.’

* Fingerprints are not the only thing that killers can leave behind – add cat hair to that list. A British university said Wednesday that its DNA database of British felines helped convict a man of manslaughter, illustrating how the genetic material of pets can be used by crime scene investigators.

* Well, isn’t this lovely — Every commercial nuclear reactor in the United States is insufficiently protected against “credible” terrorist threats, according to a new report (PDF) from the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin.  The report found that facilities were vulnerable to the theft of bomb-grade nuclear materials and sabotage attacks designed to cause a meltdown.

* Billionaires are investing in the potential for asteroid mining, which tells me it might actually happen. (Well, unless it’s the kind of billionaires who inherited their wealth, and in that case, who knows.)

* Too bad: After exhaustive tests and analysis, engineers have concluded NASA’s hugely successful Kepler space telescope will no longer be able to search for Earth-size planets orbiting distant suns because of trouble with the spacecraft’s gyroscopic stabilization system, officials said Thursday.

* But NASA is still snapping cool pictures from across the universe — like this amazing shot of a collision between two galaxies, a stunning 60 million light-years away.

* Ancient rock etchings along a dried-up lake bed in Nevada have been confirmed to be the oldest recorded petroglyphs in North America, dating back at least 10,000 years.

* Well, at least one very impressive plant species seems to like the higher temperatures in California being brought about by climate change — the giant redwood tree.

* NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began downloading documents about secret U.S. government surveillance programs while employed by Dell in April 2012, according to a Reuters report. The former intelligence contractor began working at Dell in 2009 as a contractor at National Security Agency facility in Japan.

* Here’s a funny look at what happens when 3D printing goes bad.

* Attention students going back to school: A Canadian study shows that taking notes on a laptop rather than pen and paper leads to lower grades. The culprit may be the temptation to multitask (checking email and social media).

* Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have bioengineered a mouse heart with the aid of human cells, holding out the promise of some day growing replacement hearts for people.

* Have fun with this: Amazon has officially acknowledged its favorite fake reviews.

* To fend off the chilling effects of heavy-handed internet restriction, the UK consumer rights organization Open Rights Group wants to create a new version of the “404 Page Not Found” error message, called “451 unavailable,” to specify that a webpage wasn’t simply not there, it was ordered to be blocked by government fiat.

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