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Matt's Favorites: CEA's Gadget Guy Visits WWJ, Golf for Health, Cool Legos And More

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) -- So what's the latest and greatest from the wacked-out world of high technology on the usual Freaky Friday? Glad you asked! Pull up that virtual chaise and have a listen...

* I had ever so much fun Thursday morning with the Consumer Electronics Association's genial Digital Answer Man, the gadget god, Jim Barry. And you can see the video above. Barry showed me the last in tablet computers (including a fab phablet from LG for Verizon that's either a big phone or a small tablet or both), an impossibly cool little underwater video camera, a neat rescue doodad for your iPhone and more. He also answered questions about the latest in automotive technology, next year's International CES gadget show in Las Vegas, and the delay, if not the demise, of all the hype for 3D TV. The video interview is 12 minutes, but it sure flew by while I was doing it.

* Okay, so this isn't exactly high technology -- well, they do use some in their clinic -- but it's a great cause and I'm involved, so I'm calling editor's prerogative. The Third Annual Juanita Reaves Free Clinic Golf Benefit will be held Friday, June 21 at Pheasant Run golf course in Canton Township. The effort to provide health care to the uninsured on Detroit's west side started at Second Grace United Methodist Church in 2002 and expanded to the free clinic at the Joy-Southfield Community Center in 2006. It provides thousands of free clinic visits to the uninsured a year. The clinic is named in honor of Juanita Reaves, who served for 37 years as a nurse at Henry Ford Health System. Trinity Health and MGM Grand Detroit provide support to the clinic and sponsor the golf event. St John Providence and the UAW are also event sponsors. Tanya Allen, a local entrepreneur, chairs the event. Meanwhile, the Joy-Southfield Development Corp., under the leadership of Dave Law, executive director, has expanded its services in the community to include housing, youth, family and business programs. For further information on the organization and to register for the event, visit: Contact Tanya Allen at (313) 581-7773, ext. 899,  or email for sponsorship opportunities, which range in cost from $150 to $7,500. For their $130, golfers receive breakfast, lunch and dinner, and unlimited beer and soft drinks on the course. There's also realtime PDA scoring and a group photo. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the shotgun start is at 9. And there's a slew of donated awards given away at the dinner. A dinner guest only ticket is $50. The registration deadline is Friday, June 14. A portion of your contribution to this event is tax-deductible; as they say, please consult your tax advisor.

* Thanks and a tip of the electronic fedora to my ol' pal Maia for this one: What kind of self-respecting techie does not love Legos? So forthwith: Lego models of North American birds, including Michigan's state bird, the ubiquitous American Robin. Very cool. (Hey, not every story in the Guardian is about American leakers/whistleblowers/traitors, depending on your opinion.)

* The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that companies cannot patent parts of naturally occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries.

* China's latest manned space capsule docked with an orbiting space station Thursday, and the three astronauts climbed aboard what will be their home for the next week, state media reported. During their 12-day stay at the lab, the astronauts will perform a manual docking exercise and conduct scientific experiments. They will also deliver a series of science lectures -- part of an outreach to increase the space program's popularity among younger Chinese.

* Apple may release an iPhone with a larger screen that would put the smartphone in direct completion with Samsung's Galaxy Note II. Reuters reports that Apple is looking to introduce at least two iPhones next year -- one with a 4.7-inch screen and another with a 5.7-inch screen. Citing four people with knowledge of the matter, the news agency says that Apple is also exploring a cheaper model in a range of colors.

* Twitter has officially pulled the plug on TweetDeck for Android and iPhone, as well as the Adobe AIR desktop version, with the retirement of its API v1. The microblogging site, which announced API v1's fate this spring but delayed the move by a month, confirmed the disconnect Tuesday in a company blog post.

* How does our top layer of skin -- the thin stratum corneum -- manage to keep water inside our bodies and microbes out, all while maintaining strength and elasticity, at just a fraction of the thickness of a sheet of paper? In the first tests of its kind, scientists at the University of Bath are using a tiny "microneedle" with atomic force microscopy to probe the surface of the top layer of human skin and solve some of these mysteries.

* Meet six smartphone designs that crashed and burned. Some were noble failures, though.

* A high-level Apple executive admitted his company's deal with publishers caused some e-book prices to rise, giving weight to the government's accusation that Apple's machinations hurt consumers.

* In NSA whistleblower updates, former CIA employee Edward Snowden says the NSA's controversial PRISM program extends to China and Hong Kong, and the head of the National Security Agency hinted Wednesday that logs of Americans' e-mails and website visits may be secretly vacuumed up by the world's most powerful intelligence group.

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