Science & Technology





Cassini may be dead, but a new era of Saturn science has just begun

NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn may have came to a fiery end in September, but observations made by the spacecraft in its final months still have plenty to teach us about the mysteries of the ringed planet.

Case in point: A new study finds that the electrically charged region of Saturn's atmosphere, known as the ionosphere, is significantly ...Read more

No batteries, wires or plugs: Student team makes plastic devices that communicate via Wi-Fi

SEATTLE --You don't have to ask Alexa, or even push a button. With new devices pioneered by a University of Washington computer science team, battery-less objects made entirely of plastic could communicate with other devices on your home network.

For example, a laundry detergent bottle could monitor your detergent use for you -- and order more ...Read more

In the face of a threat, narwhals respond in just about the worst possible way

Narwhals can't choose whether to freeze or flee after being caught in human hunting nets -- and that reaction can put them in grave danger, according to a study of the marine mammals.

The discovery, described in the journal Science, has implications for the vulnerability of these mammals as they become increasingly exposed to human disturbance....Read more

To fend off hackers, local governments get help from states

WASHINGTON -- The city of Mill Creek, Wash., has only 55 full-time employees and just one of them -- James Busch -- is responsible for handling information technology and cybersecurity. He worries about the growing sophistication of hackers and cybercriminals and the city computer network's vulnerabilities.

So when the Washington State Auditor'...Read more

Science panel aims to peak students' career interest

WELLINGTON, Fla. -- Bryan Cruz, 17, a junior at Wellington High School, wants to become a bio-engineer, and he learned what that career involves during a recent Science Career Panel at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter, Fla.

Cruz was one of 52 students and 10 teachers, including Carla Case-Sweeney from Santaluces High ...Read more

Women's hands really are colder than men's, scientists confirm

Ladies, raise a gloved hand if your hands feel as frozen as Elsa's, especially in the winter.

Women's hands generally are colder than men's, and the old saying "cold hands, warm heart" may go a long way to explaining why.

Using thermal images, University of Utah researchers compared the hands of men and women, and found that women's hands ...Read more

Click to unwrap: More retailers are letting customers send digital gifts this holiday season

CHICAGO -- It's Christmas Eve, you still have gifts to buy, and as the hours tick by, your options grow thin.

Anything you order online won't arrive in time. A gift card feels impersonal. You're skeptical that something picked primarily because it was in stock at a retailer open late on a holiday will be a hit, and don't want to saddle the ...Read more

New ransom tactics are 'unstoppable'—as North Carolina county discovers

WASHINGTON -- Hackers are growing much more adept at getting people to open email infected with worms, as the network operators of Mecklenburg County government in North Carolina are the latest to discover.

Practically any infected email can look like it's from a trusted friend or co-worker.

New techniques that a researcher unveiled this week ...Read more

Stock of drone maker AeroVironment soars after strong earnings report

Shares of AeroVironment Inc., a drone manufacturer based in Monrovia, Calif., soared Wednesday after the company reported strong second-quarter earnings, boosted by a growth in sales of unmanned aircraft systems.

AeroVironment stock was up as much as 34 percent on Wednesday morning before losing some of its gains. It was up 26 percent at $54.49...Read more

Sexual harassment: Survey reveals how widespread the problem is at startups

Sexual harassment scandals continue to rock the tech industry this year, leading to the resignations of prominent Silicon Valley investors and founders.

It's a problem that's widespread in startups nationwide, a survey released by venture capital firm First Round Capital shows.

More than 50 percent of 869 startup founders who took the survey ...Read more

Tim Cook: Apple works with China because 'nothing ever changes from the sideline'

Apple continues to do business with the Chinese government despite receiving scrutiny and criticism. That business has been Faustian at times -- for example, the Cupertino tech giant has removed apps that Beijing does not like.

On Wednesday in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, CEO Tim Cook explained the delicate relationship between his ...Read more

This weird, water-loving dinosaur has claws like a velociraptor and a neck like a goose

If it walks like a duck and swims like a duck, it might be a dinosaur. Scientists have discovered a flippered theropod dinosaur that appears to have spent much of its life in water.

The fossil of Halszkaraptor escuilliei, described in the journal Nature, reveals a strange dinosaur that defies paleontologists' expectations: one that mixes the ...Read more

Facebook's Messenger Kids: Parents grapple with social media decision

Torn between the benefits and drawbacks of social media, Leigh Turberville Harrell hasn't decided yet whether to let her children use Facebook's new messaging app for kids.

On one hand, Messenger Kids allows parents to approve whom their children converse with on the app. But on the other, Harrell, a teacher, worries about cyberbullying and ...Read more

Companies continue to speak out against net neutrality

SEATTLE -- Many Seattle-area tech companies are continuing to speak out against the proposed rollback of federal net-neutrality regulations as advocates of an "open internet" plan protests nationwide this week.

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote next week on the proposed rollback, which would eliminate rules that require...Read more

Tech Q&A: Solving the mystery of Windows updates

Q: Several years ago, I purchased an HP Envy PC, model h8-1414. I've upgraded the operating system from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Now I can't get automatic Windows 10 updates to complete; the updates freeze and I'm forced to restart the PC. A few hours later, the PC tries to update Windows 10 again, with the same result. Because of...Read more

Helpware: Take your Mac with out, without taking it with you

If you're considering buying a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, steer clear of the 128-gb solid-state drives that come with entry-level models. Unless all you want to do is browse the internet and use the Pages word-processing program, 128 gb is too small. You'd have a hard time running Photoshop, much less storing your photo library on that tiny ...Read more

Eating for your health is also better for the environment, study shows

So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet.

It turns out that healthy eating isn't just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.

Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is ...Read more

Sound Advice: High quality speakers for a $1,000 budget

Q. I am in college and want to buy speakers that make a realistic 3-D soundfield. Ohm Walsh speakers are outside of my $1,000 budget. What do you recommend?

-- R.F., New York

A. As you obviously know, Ohm Walsh speakers are one of the best choices for reach-out-and-touch-it, 3-D sound. If you can stretch your budget, until the end of January ...Read more

Bangalore man discovered Apple's major security bug two weeks before anyone else

Chethan Kamath is a former patent attorney in Bangalore, India, who is learning to code during what he calls his midlife crisis.

But for some Apple fans from around the world, he's now something of a cult hero.

On Nov. 13, two weeks before anyone knew who he was, Kamath posted on Apple's developers forum on what he thought was a helpful ...Read more

New study says your neighbors' cars reveal how they vote

When it comes to a neighborhood's political leanings, look no further than the cars or pickups on the street.

Researchers at Stanford University used a computer algorithm to sift through 50 million Google Street View images from 200 cities across the U.S. -- and what they found was that cars are a shockingly good predictor of whether a ...Read more