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You have what you think is a cool idea, but you aren't sure if you can convince investors about the sales potential of, say, a tiny monitor strapped to your face, or a watch that is also a computer. Besides, who are "investors" and how do you summon them from their secret off-shore lairs to pass judgment on your notional widget? Wouldn't it be easier if you could just put your idea on the internet, letting regular people who might be on your wavelength pledge directly to help get it done?

That's what crowdfunding is about. Services like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon and others gather funds directly from buyers, to make potentially crazy ideas a reality. Crazy ideas like a salad... made with potatoes. But it's not all free money and rampant innovation.

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Samsung's Tizen mobile OS already powers a pair of smartwatches, but what about those smartphones we've been promised for so long? Well the company's first consumer-ready Tizen phone -- the Samsung Z -- was supposed to make its official debut at a developer event in Moscow yesterday. Of course, the key words there are "supposed to". To hear the folks at the Wall Street Journal tell the tale, there was a Tizen event for enthusiasts, but Samsung quietly pulled the plug on the Z's launch days earlier.

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If you saw Reggie Watts' musical set at Engadget Expand (don't worry, there's video after the break), then you probably noticed the table full of gear he needs to construct his loops. Propellerhead -- the Swedish software company behind Reason, not the electronica duo -- is hoping to lighten this load with Take, a creative vocal loop recorder that's being given away free to iPhone users. The interface is reasonably simple, offering you a wide variety of pre-made backing loops as well as three tracks that you can rap, sing or otherwise make noise on. It's tremendously easy to use, but it won't compensate for your lack of musical talent, which is why we won't be sharing our ham-fisted efforts with you.

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DARPA, the government agency known for its robots and other crazy futuristic inventions, just announced a new project that could lead to the quicker development of advanced military vehicles. This new project is called Materials Development for Platforms, and it aims to shorten the timespan between designing tough materials that can withstand harsh environments and having them used on actual military equipment. Apparently, such a process typically takes more than a decade (that's why the Luke arm's relatively fast FDA approval was darn impressive). But MDP seeks to come up with the methodology and tools to cut that down to two-and-a-half years.

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If there's one thing that China has enjoyed doing this year, it's taking pot-shots at the US as a result of the Snowden revelations. After banning Windows 8, allegedly pushing banks to ditch IBM hardware and calling for severe punishments on Apple and Google, the government is now gunning for the iPhone. Buried deep in iOS 7 is a Google Now-esque location tracking feature that can offer recommendations and improve the mapping experience. China, via its state television mouthpiece, believes that the system's logs could be used by nefarious researchers to extract state secrets. Of course, as the company points out, the data is only uploaded to Apple's servers with your explicit consent, and can be turned off -- but then again, perhaps this latest bout of saber rattling is destined to direct attention away from China's own espionage record.

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A picture taken on February 7, 2012 show

France's "anti-Amazon" law prohibiting free shipping and discounts has now gone into effect, and Amazon quickly announced that it had conformed -- technically. Though it no longer ships books for free, it only charges 0.01 euro, conforming to the letter if not the spirit of the law (French Prime members still receive free book shipping). It's also no longer allowed to give a 5 percent discount on books, the maximum allowed by French law. Despite Amazon's ceremonial cent for shipping, bricks-and-mortar competitors in the country now have a big leg-up. They're exempt from the law and can still offer 5 percent discounts and free delivery -- even those with a large online presence like FNAC, a French book and electronics giant. Meanwhile, Amazon could still appeal the decision to EU courts, who reportedly see the French decision as anti-competitive.

[Image credit: François Guillot/AFP/Getty Images]

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Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond

Google's top lawyer has spoken out to try to explain the mess that happened last week, when the search giant censored, and then partially reinstated, links to a number of important news articles. Senior VP and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond now admits that some of the initial censorship decisions were "incorrect," specifically in the case of some Guardian newspaper articles that were delisted for a short time. But, as you'd probably expect, he also gives Google's side of the story.

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The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a familiar symbol of independence within the United States and has been descri

Come a guy's 18th birthday in the US, he's afforded new privileges. Aside from being able to legally buy cigarettes, lottery tickets and porn, he also has a couple of shiny civic duties to follow: signing up for the Selective Service System and voting on a regular basis. In terms of the former, draft dodging is a pretty serious offense, as the families of very old (and most likely very deceased) men in Pennsylvania were recently reminded. According to Boston, a database operator's error caused some 14,250 notices to go out to men born between 1893 and 1897, stating that their failure to fill out draft cards could result in fines and imprisonment. How'd that happen? Well, if you're familiar with the Y2K Bug, the story makes a lot more sense.

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Data pulled from a recent Freedom of Information Act request reveals that an overwhelming majority of 911 wireless calls made over a six-month period last year in Washington, DC were delivered "without accurate location information to find callers who are lost, confused, unconscious or otherwise unable to share their location." Only ten percent of calls from the first half of 2013 within the city included detailed location data. At the moment, FCC regulations demand higher location accuracy only on outdoor calls, making built-up areas like DC harder to hone in on. Public safety officials told the Washington Post that these location issues are widespread.

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Since SoundCloud's one of the biggest places to share mixes, recordings and podcasts, it obviously has to grapple with a lot of copyright issues. That's the reason why it reportedly approached record labels to cut licensing deals months ago -- deals, which are now real close to going through, at least according to Bloomberg. The publication says SoundCloud's offering Universal, Sony and Warner Music a 3 to 5 percent stake each, so long as they agree not to sue the company. According to earlier reports, the deal could lead to a more robust library for SoundCloud users, while giving recording companies the right to pull down uploads containing tracks not licensed for use on the service.

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