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New rules on small drones kick in: What you need to know

For companies that want to use small drones, a new era began Monday.

That's when rules kicked in that free them from having to request special permission from the federal government for any commercial drone endeavor -- a waiver process that often took months.

Although industry experts say the Federal Aviation Administration's new rules on ...Read more

Autopsy reveals Lucy probably died after falling from a tree

It's the coldest case in science, and it may have just been cracked.

Forty years after researchers discovered Lucy, an early human ancestor who lived 3.2 million years ago, scientists think they now know how she died.

After examining high-resolution CT scans of broken bones in Lucy's right shoulder, as well as the damage to other parts of her ...Read more

NASA probe gets close-up look at Jupiter, sends back data and images

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Juno spacecraft on Saturday flew closer to Jupiter than any other space probe has flown before and began sending back data and images of the giant of the solar system, the U.S. space agency said.

Juno made its closest approach over Jupiter at a distance of 2,600 miles above the plane's swirling clouds, a NASA news release ...Read more

Meet Octobot, a soft-bodied robot that moves like an octopus

Our future robot overlords never looked so squishy. A team of scientists led out of Harvard University have managed to build an entirely soft robot -- one that's inspired by an octopus.

The octobot, described this week in the journal Nature, could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, ...Read more

Web Buzz: Telecommute while on a world tour

Business travel is a thing of the past. Say hello to the adventure-loving, around-the-world mobile workforce.

Name: Pangea196.com

What it does: If you always wanted to work remotely and be location-independent, Pangea196 can arrange a 12-month, 12-country sojourn with apartment accommodations and 24-hour Wi-Fi.

What's hot: All the details are...Read more

Your coffee habit may be written in your DNA

Why is it that some people crave several cups of coffee a day while others stop at only one or two?

A growing body of evidence suggests that the amount of coffee we consume is determined by our genetic makeup rather than the amount of sleep we got the night before.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, second only to tea and ...Read more

For young kids, YouTube beats Disney, Oreo

A new study has determined something most astute parents are already hip to: YouTube is the most-loved brand with their young kids.

The Alphabet-owned digital video service scored highest with kids ages 6 to 12 for the first time in market research firm's Smarty Pants eighth annual "Brand Love" study. YouTube beat out more traditional kid-...Read more

Scientists spot a rocky, Earth-like planet that could have liquid water

Pale blue dot, meet pale red dot. Astronomers have spent decades scouring the skies looking for Earth-sized planets around distant stars. And now they've found one, sitting smack in the habitable zone of our nearest stellar neighbor.

The planet Proxima b, described in the journal Nature, could be one of the first planets outside our solar ...Read more

Tech Q&A: The clash between browsers and security

Q: My Firefox web browser has trouble connecting to secure websites such as Amazon and Netflix. I get the error message "SEC--ERROR--UNKNOWN--ISSUER," and a pop-up box claims that these websites aren't secure, or that I need new website certificates. I've reinstalled Firefox several times, but that hasn't solved the problem. What can I do?

-- ...Read more

How to track poverty from space

You can get a pretty good idea of a country's wealth by seeing how much it shines at night -- just compare the intense brightness of China and South Korea to the dark mass of North Korea that's sandwiched between them.

But nighttime lights don't tell you which neighborhoods or villages within a large region are merely poor and which are home to...Read more

Web Buzz: Rent a cool car privately with Turo

If Ubering has left you nostalgic for getting behind the wheel, here's an app that can help you get back your motor-mojo.

Name: Turo, www.turo.com

What it does: Allows drivers to rent their car or rent someone else's car for fun and profit.

What's hot: Tesla Model X. Maserati GranTurismo Convertible. Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Those are just a ...Read more

Scientists catch white dwarf star in the act of exploding into a nova

It's not every day you get to see a star go nova. Scientists at Warsaw University Observatory in Poland have managed to catch a binary star system both before and after its explosive flash.

The findings, described in the journal Nature, confirm a long-held theory about novae known as the hibernation hypothesis -- and could potentially help ...Read more

Did physicists discover a previously unknown fifth force of nature?

A tiny, unseen force could potentially alter our basic understanding of the universe -- if it really exists. Theoretical physicists at UC Irvine say they've found evidence for a fifth fundamental force of nature, carried by a particle that until now has gone totally unnoticed.

If supported by the independent work of other teams, the boson ...Read more

IBM's Almaden Lab: A glimpse into the future

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- To step inside IBM Research-Almaden is to get a peek into how the latest advances in technology are being applied to a crazy quilt of important issues from food safety and cancer to recycling.

Almaden lab, as it is known, celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month as an anomaly in a time when many profit-driven ...Read more

Bay Area startups developing the high-tech way to make a baby

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- As Silicon Valley technophiles use devices to collect data on everything from how many calories they burn to their fluctuating stress levels and their posture, a group of entrepreneurs is bringing that technology somewhere new -- into the bedroom.

For couples trying to get pregnant, failure can be frustrating and ...Read more

Augmented reality offers new way to shop for furniture

SAN DIEGO -- Close your eyes. Can you picture that sofa you're coveting in your living room? Now, open your eyes and pull out your phone -- because edgy furniture stores are giving you a tool that's more accurate than imagination.

It's called augmented reality. And all you need is a smartphone or tablet.

Take Jerome's augmented reality ...Read more

Silicon Valley's power brain food: Crickets

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- For Bay Area techies attuned to the latest trends, kale is no longer cutting it and quinoa is passe. Instead, many are opting for a six-legged snack.

In startup offices around the region, people are munching on crickets.

Proponents say the tiny, chirping bugs are high in protein and iron and can serve as a sustainable ...Read more

Lyft CEO Logan Green has a plan that's far bigger than ride-hailing

SAN FRANCISCO -- Logan Green applied for his first job out of college by submitting a resume and a document titled "Logan's Life Plan."

It was a grandiose heading, especially for a 22-year-old angling for what was a junior role as sustainability coordinator at the University of California at Santa Barbara. But the plan itself was more wonkish ...Read more

Troy Wolverton: Virtual world meets virtual reality as Minecraft heads to Oculus Rift

If you have an Oculus Rift, you can now use it to explore and build in the world of Minecraft.

Microsoft-owned Mojang announced Monday that it has updated its Lego-like virtual world game to support the new virtual reality headset from Facebook's Oculus unit. Mojang customized the game in numerous ways, including changing what happens when ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to unlock old games to play on Windows 10

Q: I have a new Windows 10 PC that won't play any of my old games, such as Medal of Honor, Age of Empires or Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator. What can I do?

--Rob Godfrey, Minneapolis

A: Windows 10 isn't compatible with your older games because it can't unlock their copy protection software.

Most older PC games came on CD disks rather than ...Read more