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Courtesy of Google

Google Fiber announced Wednesday that it will provide free Internet at gigabit-speeds to families in Nashville’s public housing complexes.

Red Cross Nathan Baker classroom
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The Madison man known as “The Blood Guy” for his record-setting blood donations and for his work at the Nashville office of the Red Cross has retired. Nathan Baker, 62, has given 68 gallons of blood — and counting.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Some people have genetic diseases so rare or unusual that doctors can't even diagnose them.

This means, a patient comes in with problems — sometimes several serious, seemingly unrelated problems — and no one can figure out what gene is causing it. It can be frustrating, if not downright scary, for someone whose health is at stake. via Flickr

In the next step of a federal initiative called ConnectHome, Nashville officials are trying to come up with an Internet access plan to get more families in public housing online. 

Metro’s housing agency, MDHA, is essentially writing up a blueprint of everything that could be done to provide more low-income school-aged children with Internet access. MDHA’s chief operating officer, Ben Bentley, says this includes pinpointing partners who can teach basic Internet skills to public housing residents.

Chattanooga Public Library via Flickr

Call it a battle of internet speeds.

The public utility in Chattanooga is now offering 10-gigabit internet, which is 10 times faster than Google Fiber and AT&T Gigapower and five times faster than Comcast's speediest option. 

Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

Andrew Shinar meets a lot of people in pain. 

He performs hip and knee replacement surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and in 2011, he decided to start tracking how many of his patients coming in for joint replacements were taking painkillers. 

Courtesy of Google

This has been the year of the telecom companies.

Comcast, AT&T and Google Fiber have not only announced their plans to deploy competing gigabit-speed Internet services in Nashville — they've also been vying for the attention of the city's business, nonprofit and political leaders. Wednesday morning brought another example of that, when Google Fiber gave the keynote speech at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting. 

Middle Tennessee is already home to business accelerators for startups in health care technology and music technology. For the next two months, an accelerator in Tullahoma will work with a dozen new companies that are creating technology for law enforcement, prisons and public safety. 

Emily Siner / WPLN

A Nashville nonprofit now has at least $400,000 to help solve the digital divide — a term the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee uses to refer to the lack of internet access in some parts of Davidson County, especially low-income areas. 

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

When movies portray a scientific discovery, it's usually some version of that one Eureka moment — a flash of insight at an unexpected time. Vanderbilt University engineer Leon Bellan says while that does happen occasionally, failure and frustration are also an intimate part of the discovery process.  He talked to WPLN's Emily Siner in our live series Movers & Thinkers.