Science & Technology



It's official: Rosetta's long journey with comet 67P has officially ended

The Rosetta mission to catch up with a speeding comet, land a space probe on it and follow it as it flies past the sun has officially come to an end.

Early Friday morning, the European Space Agency's Rosetta orbiter committed operational suicide when it deliberately smashed onto the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the mountain-sized comet...Read more

After 4.9 billion miles and plenty of comet science, Rosetta is set to end its mission

It was conceived when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. It launched a few weeks after Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard dorm. It spent a full decade looping around the solar system. And when it finally caught up with its target, it deployed the first probe to land on a speeding comet and survive.

Now the long, dramatic journey...Read more

Eye-tracking technology shows that preschool teachers have implicit bias against black boys

For African-American boys, the presumption of guilt starts before they have entered a kindergarten classroom, new research shows.

In a study presented Wednesday to a meeting of education policy officials, researchers found that pre-K educators who were prompted to expect trouble in a classroom trained their gaze significantly longer on black ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to make music files sing together

Q: I'm in a chorus, and we have recorded songs on my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone using the Voice Recorder app. That app stores the music in the M4A file format. I also have songs that I've downloaded that are in the MP3 file format. Now I can't combine the two types of music files into a working playlist on my phone. What can I do?

--Pam Baldwin, ...Read more

Troy Wolverton: Tech industry should lead Snowden pardon charge

There's a debate raging right now over whether President Barack Obama, before he leaves office, should grant Edward Snowden a pardon.

It's amazing to me that we're even having this discussion. Of course he deserves a pardon. What's more, the tech industry, which has largely been silent on the issue, ought to be leading the charge.

Snowden, a ...Read more

Baby boy born with DNA from 3 people

A healthy baby boy is the first person to be born with DNA from three people, according to a medical report released Tuesday.

In addition to inheriting nuclear DNA from his mother and father, the infant also has mitochondrial DNA from a second woman who served as an egg donor.

Mitochondrial DNA consists of just 37 genes, a tiny fraction of the...Read more

Narcissists may start out popular, but people see through them in the long run

To build a following, narcissism works. Briefly.

But if, as they say in this electoral season, you're looking to "grow your base," exercising emotional intelligence -- expressing empathy, checking your emotions in a bid to avoid conflict, and investing in personal relationships -- is a strategy that beats narcissism over the long term.

A new ...Read more

Snapchat's playful shot at sunglasses

LOS ANGELES -- A paparazzi photograph of Snapchat Chief Executive Evan Spiegel prematurely revealed the Los Angeles company's first piece of consumer electronics: a pair of video camera sunglasses.

Though it spoiled the surprise delivered last week, the fact that Spiegel felt comfortable wearing the shades where he did -- in public with his ...Read more

Hubble Space Telescope finds plumes of water erupting from Europa

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found signs of water vapor spewing from the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa. The water appears to shoot about 125 miles high and may come from the global ocean thought to be beneath the moon's surface.

The discovery, to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, whets the appetite of scientists who want to...Read more

Vietnam, the biggest hub for illegal rhino horn trafficking, has done little to stop it

JOHANNESBURG -- Vietnam has become the biggest hub in the world for trafficking in horns and other body parts of the rhinoceros, a critically endangered species that is being killed by poachers in South Africa at the rate of one every eight hours.

An estimated 1,300 rhinos are slaughtered for their horns across Africa annually -- up from just ...Read more

A hot market for IPOs shows itself — at least for a week

Ample free food and other perks are nice, but it's stock options and lofty missions that often seduce people into joining tech startups.

That's why Jeff Green will never forget the excited expressions on employees' faces last month when he told them their advertising software company would go public. It would open the door for them to cash in ...Read more

Bumblebee skilled at 'buzz pollination' may soon join endangered species list

A type of bumblebee native to North America may soon be named to the endangered species list. It would be the first bee species to be considered endangered in the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week formally proposed that the Bombus affinis, or rusty patched bumblebee, be listed as endangered under the guidelines of the ...Read more

China begins operating world's largest radio telescope

BEIJING –– The world's largest radio telescope -- based in a mountainous region of southwest China's Guizhou province -- began exploring space in search of extraterrestrial life Sunday.

Hundreds of astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts attended the opening of the launch of the 1,640-foot Aperture Spherical Telescope, 17 years after the ...Read more

The moon, big tides could trigger big earthquakes, study finds

Why small earthquakes stay small, while others grow into monsters is one of the most enduring mysteries in earthquake science.

A group of researchers offered a partial, but tantalizing answer this month: The moon and big tides.

The scientists zeroed in on times of high tidal stress, which can occur twice a month, during the full moon and the...Read more

Elon Musk gazes toward Mars as earthbound businesses hit a snag

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Elon Musk takes the stage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Tuesday, it won't be to rehash terrestrial concerns like a fatal Tesla autopilot crash or a poorly received merger proposal. Instead, the space and electric-car entrepreneur will be talking about realizing his boyhood dream: ...Read more

Despite state barriers, cities push to expand high-speed internet

WASHINGTON -- Websites take minutes to load and photos take hours to upload at Ryan Davis' home in the small southern Tennessee city of Dayton. If Davis gets in his car and drives about half an hour south to Chattanooga, though, everything takes under a second.

The city-provided fiber optic network there is so fast -- up to 10 gigabits per ...Read more

How this karaoke company survived the digital darlings and made lots of money

MIAMI -- For a while, it looked like the beat wouldn't go on for the Singing Machine Co. The largest manufacturer of home karaoke machines in North America, founded in 1982, was being crowded out of retail store shelves by newer, cooler products such as portable DVD machines, MP3 players, digital picture frames and GPS tracking devices.

At the ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Shifting technology complicates email access while traveling

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the email problem faced by international travelers (see z5chbsg). But there's more to the story.

For security reasons, some major email providers require what's called "two-step verification" when someone logs in to an email account from outside the U.S. In addition to a password, a traveler will be ...Read more

Troy Wolverton: Apple's new iPhone 7 models offer modest updates

Apple's new iPhone 7 devices are no breakthroughs.

The mid-size iPhone 7 and the jumbo-sized iPhone 7 Plus look much the same as last year's versions. In fact, they look little different from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus of two years ago.

The new phones work much the same way too. And while they have some cool new tweaks, they don't have any real ...Read more

What researchers learned about hook-up culture from volunteers who drank beer for the sake of science

Why does drinking lead to hook-ups? One theory is that alcohol makes people feel more frisky. Another is that it simply causes people to let loose and act more impulsively, facilitating all kinds of behavior that would otherwise be considered inappropriate.

Swiss researchers designed a study to see if they could shed some light on the situation...Read more