Matt’s Favorites: Yahoo’s New Look And More.

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Yahoo

So what’s the latest, greatest and dominate-est on this fine late summer Friday? Glad you asked. Here’s what I found on a cruise through the Series of Tubes…

* First of all, here are the links to your Tech Report home page, the Tech Report Page Two(home of much fascinatin’ news), as well as our latest event notices and our latest HR notices.

* So what do you think of Yahoo’s new logo? Yawn.

* A dazzlingly bright fireball lit up the skies over the American South last week, and NASA caught the dramatic action on video.

* A new study may convince some older folks to embrace video games. Researchers at UC San Francisco say video games may offset or even reverse the negative effects of aging on seniors’ brains. According to the study’s authors, the research provides evidence that video games can alter the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change functionally over time.

* Google’s attorneys say their long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of people’s Gmail accounts to help sell ads is legal, and are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to stop the practice. In court records filed in advance of a federal hearing scheduled for Thursday in San Jose, Google argues that “all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing.”

* A Pennsylvania congressman caught a cutting-edge ride to the airport on Wednesday. Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican from Altoona, made a 33-mile trip from Cranberry Township to Pittsburgh International Airport at about 11 a.m. in a computer-operated car.

* Microsoft executives have dropped hints in the past that the company would be making combined keyboard/cover for its Surface devices that would include a built-in battery. The latest anonymously sourced reports from Neowin.net and the Windows SuperSite indicatethese new covers are, indeed, in the pipeline.

* Riding the crest of the 3D-printing wave like a perfectly poised plastic surfer,3Doodler stormed Kickstarter earlier this year with a massive $2.3 million campaign. That was more than enough (its initial goal was just $30,000) to start production of this quirky 3D-printing pen, which will soon go on sale to the public for $99 a pop. It’s a simple idea: feed a stick of plastic into the pen and an extruder at the nib melts it, so you can make a brightly colored model of whatever you can think of.

* Two large overseas carriers are said to be getting Apple’s next iPhones ahead of next week’s anticipated unveiling of those devices. Japan’s NTT Docomo, which owns more than half of that country’s wireless subscribers, plans to sell Apple’s next iPhone for the first time.

* Apple, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy are among the big names willing to trade cash for old iPhones — and let’s not forget about eBay. But which offers the best deal?

* Redmond finds an unlikely advocate cheering for its success in the smartphone wars: Marc Andreessen, whose Netscape once upon a time was done in by Microsoft and the IE browser. Andreessen wants Microsoft to do well in mobile for the good of the industry. With Google and Apple as the only commanding forces in the mobile operating space, the industry needs Microsoft to succeed to keep competition alive and well, he reasoned.

* Now here are some strange bedfellows: The National Rifle Association joined the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit on Wednesday to end the government’s massive phone record collection program.

* If you were under the impression that Brin and Page invented the search engine while working out of a garage somewhere in Silicon Valley then think again. The first practical web-crawler with a searchable index, JumpStation, was running out of Stirling University, Scotland, 20 years ago this year,

* Here’s a potential major advance in medicine and materials science: Computer-designed proteins that can recognize and interact with small biological molecules are now a reality. Scientists have succeeded in creating a protein molecule that can be programmed to unite with three different steroids. 

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