Science & Technology





Microsoft, Green Bay Packers launch tech initiative in Wisconsin

SEATTLE -- Microsoft is making a move into Green Bay Packers country, expanding its efforts to bring digital connectivity and tech training to small cities and rural areas across the country.

The company announced a partnership with the NFL team Thursday to launch a technology initiative in the Packer's hometown of Green Bay, Wis.

...Read more

Lyft gets $1 billion investment, led by Google's parent company

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the topsy-turvy world of tech, an investor can fund a company one minute and sue it the next. It can also turn around and fund a competitor, which is what Google's parent company did when it announced Thursday that its growth equity fund led a $1-billion investment in Lyft, four years after its venture capital arm invested in...Read more

Scientists engineer proteins that caused obese animals to lose weight and lower cholesterol

As the U.S. obesity rate has galloped toward 40 percent, doctors, drug designers and dispirited dieters have all wondered the same thing: What if a pill could deliver the benefits of weight-loss surgery, but without the knife?

New research brings that hope a notch closer.

Scientists from the biotechnology company Amgen Inc. report they have ...Read more

Tech Q&A: What to do if a tablet PC starts losing data

Q: My Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet computer is behaving strangely. The problems began after I installed a larger SSD (solid state drive) that had 64 gigabytes more capacity. I configured that extra memory as a "D drive," and used it to store eBooks (digital books), pictures and music.

Now, whenever the Surface Pro is turned off and restarted,...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: Cord-cutting: Not all it's cracked up to be?

When it comes to cutting the cord and streaming TV, readers naturally have questions. Some have rants. Others just want me to know that cord-cutting is not for them.

So in the spirit of openness, I thought I'd share a sample of reader emails I get each week, with emails edited for length and clarity.

Spoiler alert: Not everyone who reads this ...Read more

Volcanic eruptions in Alaska could have impacted lives of ancient Egyptians

Did violent volcanoes in Russia, Greenland and Alaska affect the lives of ancient Egyptians?

It may sound improbable, but according to a new study, the answer is yes.

In a paper published Tuesday in Nature Communications, a team of researchers shows that explosive volcanic eruptions in high northern latitudes of the globe can impact the Nile ...Read more

Microsoft's Windows 10 update bets on a bigger virtual-reality role for PC

SEATTLE -- Microsoft is trying to nudge laptop and deskbound computers to interact with the three-dimensional world.

The company on Tuesday started rolling out its latest bundle of updates to the Windows 10 operating system with features clustered around a bet that people will use their PCs to experience 3-D virtual worlds.

Dubbed the Fall ...Read more

Sound Advice: A game-changing generator

Q. In your column about generators you mentioned that the plumbing and electrical work for your standby generator was around $1,000. What generator did you get, do you think it was worth it?

--J.R., Boise, Idaho

A. Though I did get estimates, at the time I postponed installing a standby generator as I have not experienced many power outages ...Read more

Future of football safety could come down to research in Riddell's suburban Chicago office

CHICAGO -- With youth participation waning and football facing increased concerns over head trauma, the future of the game could well come down to the work being done in a windowless room in a generic suburban Chicago office building.

That's where Riddell, the nation's largest football equipment manufacturer, is testing out design innovations ...Read more

Apps for surviving disasters

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When the next big earthquake strikes the Bay Area, millions will likely be stranded without the high-tech comforts provided by Silicon Valley.

As evidenced in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico following three different hurricanes, disasters can wipe away Wi-Fi and cellular data infrastructure, making modern technology obsolete....Read more

Amazon is growing faster than any big company in the US these days — and maybe ever

How can Amazon -- or any company -- fill a second headquarters with 50,000 people?

"Let me show you," said Thomas Paulson, a Minneapolis investment analyst who has followed Amazon for 17 years, as he pulled up a staffing chart on his iPad. "Their success has surprised even them."

Beneath the hype of Amazon's search for a second headquarters ...Read more

3M Co. launches new Combat II Ballistic Helmet

MINNEAPOLIS -- 3M Co. has introduced a new combat helmet designed to help soldiers survive an expanded number of ballistic threats during combat.

It's part of an effort to produce the next level of safety products for soldiers.

With enhanced ceramics and special engineering, the new Combat II Ballistic Helmet L110 can help protect service ...Read more

Doctors urged to make public commitment to talk to patients about guns and gun safety

As guardians of health and gatekeepers to the world of medicine, primary care doctors are expected to plunge dauntlessly into the most delicate topics with their patients. Now, in the wake of the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, a new campaign is challenging these physicians to talk to their patients about guns.

As doctor questions ...Read more

Astronomers strike gold — and platinum — as they watch two neutron stars collide

In a highly anticipated first, scientists said they've detected the collision of two neutron stars and confirmed that these cataclysmic events are indeed a source of gold, platinum and other heavy elements in the universe.

The powerful smash-up produced gravitational waves that were picked up by the LIGO and Virgo observatories. It also emitted...Read more

Advertising startup gives college students gigs as human billboards

SEATTLE -- Jonah Friedl was trying to persuade his fellow Washington State University students to come eat at the hotel where he worked and felt like Facebook and social-media ads were his only option.

"That's really where the line stops with millennials," he said. Physical ads like billboards and posters felt old-fashioned.

Then one morning ...Read more

Beyond the orbit of Neptune, a dwarf planet is found to have a ring

There may be more ringed objects in the outer solar system than anyone knew.

This week, researchers revealed that the egg-shaped dwarf planet Haumea -- one of four known diminutive planets that circle the sun from beyond the orbit of Neptune -- is surrounded by a ring of material roughly 43 miles in width.

Although rings are well known around ...Read more

NASA tracks carbon emissions from space to better understand climate change

Fires, drought and warmer temperatures were to blame for excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the 2015-16 El Nino, scientists with NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 say.

The findings, part of five papers published in the journal Science, shed light on the mechanisms through which Earth "breathes" carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse...Read more

Facebook's Oculus tries to find 'sweet spot' with new VR headset

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Facebook's Oculus wants to get 1 billion people into virtual reality, but consumers might think twice about embracing the technology if they see a high price tag.

Now, Oculus is trying to make virtual reality more affordable for the masses.

On Wednesday, Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said Oculus will be ...Read more

Facebook, Instagram outage mostly resolved, company says

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Facebook, which was down for some users around the world Wednesday morning, is back for almost everyone, the company said.

"A networking issue" was to blame for the disruption of Facebook services, which the company began fixing within an hour, a spokeswoman said.

However, a map by Down Detector, which keeps track of ...Read more

Amazon's high-end Kindle gets a recharge as e-reader marks 10th year

SEATTLE -- For its 10th birthday, Amazon's Kindle is getting a new suit.

A refreshed version of the high-end Kindle Oasis, unveiled on Wednesday, sports an aluminum back and larger screen and is the first waterproof device Amazon has rolled out in the decade since launching its e-reader line.

The Kindle Oasis will start shipping at the end of ...Read more