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Matt's Favorites: New Google Tablet, Curiosity Record, And Much More

So what's the latest and coolest in the ever cooler world of high tech gadgets, gizmos and software? Oh, you have no idea... until you read this!

* Google is introducing a sleeker version of its Nexus 7 tablet as the Internet company escalates its battle with Apple and in the mobile computing market. Google also announced a $35 device that will let you watch Netflix, YouTube and other content on a high-definition TV. Simply plug the Chromecast into the TV's HDMI port, and it'll display content from your phone, tablet or laptop.

* NASA's rover Curiosity completed a record-length mission on Sunday. While the distance wouldn't be all that impressive on Earth -- it was the equivalent of a 100 meter dash -- it's the longest stretch the rover has covered in a single day since starting the Mars surface exploration mission nearly a year ago.

* If you're a fan of "Game of Thrones," "Harry Potter," or "Marvel," you might not want to miss YouTube's upcoming Geek Week. A weeklong showcase of everything that stereotypically brands us as geeky, following the success of Comedy Week, YouTube will launch the virtual event where fans can check out shows, future releases, lists, series premieres, and more.

* Federal wildlife officials plan to dispatch armed bird specialists into forests of the Pacific Northwest starting this fall to shoot one species of owl to protect another that is threatened with extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday released a final environmental review of an experiment to see if killing barred owls will allow northern spotted owls to reclaim territory they've been driven out of over the past half-century.

Facebook on Wednesday reported second-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of 19 cents per share on revenue of $1.81 billion, which is up 53 percent over the year ago quarter. The report handily beat Wall Street's expectations of 14 cents per share on revenue of $1.62 billion, and the social network's stock spiked by 19 percent in after-hours trading.

* CNet takes a look at why Sprint is taking so long to roll out 4G LTE.

* In defense tech, if you visit the Washington, D.C. area in coming years and see a pair of large blimp hovering high overhead, there's a good chance they won't belong to Goodyear. Instead, they could well belong to the Pentagon, which is in the late stages of testing a new program that was designed to deploy blimps over the nation's capital as a form of anti-missile defense.

* Driven by both a justified concern over home-produced plastic firearms and a desire to explore the potential for cheaper police weapons, German law enforcement picks up a 3D printer and starts trying to make guns.

* A look at the future? California freeways now sport signs saying "Speed enforced by drones." Despite the fact that the signs are high quality, the California authorities insist they're fakes.

* Here's a fun look at what the author describes as "hillbilly tracking" of low-orbit Earth satellites.

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