Are Smartphones Turning Us Into Bad Samaritans?

In late September, on a crowded commuter train in San Francisco, a man shot and killed 20-year-old student Justin Valdez. As security footage shows, before the gunman fired, he waved around his .45 caliber pistol and at one point even pointed it across the aisle. Yet no one on the crowded train noticed because they were so focused on their smartphones and tablets.

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Obama Nods to Rocky Start on Health Law

President Barack Obama acknowledged his frustration Monday with the technical problems that have hampered the online health-insurance marketplaces, but pledged that the issues would be resolved and the Affordable Care Act would prove successful.

“Nobody’s madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working as well as it should, which means it’s going to get fixed,” the president said in a speech at the White House.

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Snapchat Spurned $3 Billion Acquisition Offer from Facebook

Snapchat, a rapidly growing messaging service, recently spurned an all-cash acquisition offer from Facebook for $3 billion or more, according to people briefed on the matter. The offer, and rebuff, came as Snapchat is being wooed by other investors and potential acquirers. Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings had offered to lead an investment that would value two-year-old Snapchat at $4 billion.

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For Startups, the Tricky Question of Holidays

Last December, Michael Mogill required his five employees to work through the holidays because he was eager to keep growing his young video-production company. He didn’t throw a party or give out year-end bonuses.

But while his clients were satisfied, the 27-year-old founder of Crisp Video Group in Atlanta says it was clear that his staffers felt burned. By springtime, all of them quit. “They just didn’t like to be in a company that valued the work and nothing else,” says Mr. Mogill. “It was a huge lesson for me.”

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For Virtual Prospectors, Life in the Bitcoin Mines Gets Real

Aubrey McIntosh has taken up mining in his spare time, and he’s finding it hard and hot – even if it’s prospecting for a virtual currency and a computer is doing all of the work.

Mr. McIntosh, a semiretired chemistry professor in Morris, Minn., is among the growing ranks of enthusiasts who use powerful computers to “mine,” in insider parlance, “bitcoins,” an unregulated digital currency.

Mr. McIntosh keeps his specialized computer, which he said cost about $1,500 and is custom-built to find bitcoins, near the chimney flue in his basement to try to get rid of all the heat it generates.

“It sounds like an aircraft carrier,” he said. Since turning the computer on his electricity bill has about doubled.

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