Science & Technology





Microsoft to invest $40 million in AI technology for humanitarian issues

Microsoft will invest $40 million to apply artificial intelligence to humanitarian issues, the company said Monday, the third program in a previously announced series of AI initiatives.

The project, AI for Humanitarian Action, follows a $50 million pledge in AI for Earth and a $25 million investment in AI for Accessibility.

The humanitarian ...Read more

Ignite conference: Smart search, LinkedIn profile info coming to Microsoft Office apps

Microsoft announced new features coming to its Office 365 suite, including an AI-powered Clippy-like tool, at its annual Ignite information technology conference Monday in Orlando, Fla.

The laundry list of new tools underscores Microsoft's drive to make its Office apps relevant to every piece of daily work as all types of workers spend more ...Read more

Beer's bitter delight is tasted in the gut

Hoppy beers are famous as a driver of craft brewing. But the challenging taste of hops goes far beyond the palate. According to a new study from Scripps Research scientists, the bitter flavor literally reaches into your gut.

Moreover, chemicals in hops called isohumulones may help control obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other diseases.

Intestinal...Read more

Where do Maryland crabs come from? Researchers use a virus, ocean current maps and more to find out

BALTIMORE -- A common joke between politicians from Maryland and Virginia holds that all Maryland blue crabs actually come from Virginia, where saltier waters are hospitable to egg-bearing females. The retort: As soon as they can, they move to Maryland.

But what if some Chesapeake Bay crabs actually come from Delaware or North Carolina?

...Read more

Seattle trucking-tech company Convoy gets $185 million delivery

Seattle tech startup Convoy, which connects truckers to companies that need freight moved, has raised $185 million in a financing round led by an investment fund connected to Google.

Convoy, which was launched in 2015, makes an app for truck drivers that allows them to see companies that have shipping needs – along with exact pay -- and ...Read more

Christine Blasey Ford got doxed. Can anyone ever really scrub their online presence?

Christine Blasey Ford knew her life would be turned upside down when she decided to identify herself as the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, so, her friends said, she deleted all of her social media accounts.

Despite those efforts, the Palo Alto University psychology professor's ...Read more

5 standout new Alexa products from Amazon

Amazon devices chief Dave Limp plowed through 70 new products or features in about as many minutes during a product launch presentation Thursday, focused on broadening the territory available to the company's Alexa voice software.

Here are five standouts making their way into Amazon's growing range of gadgets and software:

--Echo Auto

Amazon ...Read more

Digital ads represents half of U.S. advertising sales for the first time, report says

Advertisers are spending more money on online sites like Google and Facebook, pushing digital ads to represent more than half of U.S. ad sales for the first time, according to a report released Thursday.

This year, the nation's advertisers will spend $106 billion in digital ads, up 16 percent from a year ago, according to Magna, a division of ...Read more

Adobe to acquire San Mateo's Marketo for $4.75 billion

In an effort to expand its cloud-based marketing business, Adobe Systems said Thursday it will acquire San Mateo-based Marketo for $4.75 billion.

Marketo specializes in digital marketing software for businesses. The company's software is used by businesses to keep track of what customers do online so that they can deliver more personalized ...Read more

A new app pays you for product recommendations

Don't try to make money off my online behavior -- unless, of course, I get a commission.

That's the idea behind San Diego tech startup Wildfire Systems, which launched an app Wednesday to help internet users make money from of conversations they're already having online. The company, founded by a former eBay executive, lets users earn ...Read more

Tech industry hit, but Apple and Fitbit are spared by latest Trump tariffs

As the U.S.-China trade war escalates, Apple and Fitbit were reprieved when the Trump administration released the final list of products that will be subject to a new round of tariffs starting next week.

So prices of the Apple Watch, AirPods, some Fitbit activity trackers and Bluetooth devices are not likely to rise because of the tariffs. But ...Read more

Sound Advice: A good phono preamp can make a major difference in vinyl sound quality

Q. I need a phono preamp for a Denon high output moving coil cartridge. What would you recommend under $500?

-- S.O.

A. A high output moving coil cartridge will work with any phono preamp with a moving magnet (MM) input. A moving coil (MC) input is only needed with a low output moving coil cartridge. Many phono preamps have settings for both ...Read more

Mapping tech company Here Technologies names Chicago its HQ for the Americas

Here Technologies, which collects and analyzes traffic data, has designated Chicago as its headquarters for the Americas, in part because of access to the area's data scientists and other technology workers.

"For us, it's all about talent," said Angel Mendez, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Here Technologies. "Our ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Telling a PC not to ask for a password

Q: My new Windows 10 desktop PC requires me to enter a password (or, in my case, a PIN or personal identification number) each time it starts up -- even though I set it up not to require a PIN or password. Every time the PC starts, I get a nature scene with a login box instead of going directly to my desktop screen. How can I get rid of these ...Read more

$34K to repair a car? High-tech features mean higher repair bills

Many new vehicles these days come loaded with all kinds of extras, including safety features that should help you avoid a crash.

Automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, forward-collision warning -- the list goes on.

Advanced safety features have helped reduce fatalities for those behind the wheel and their passengers, and features ...Read more

Grocers invest heavily in digital to keep up with customers' shopping habits

More grocery shoppers than ever before are using mobile devices to supplement -- or in some cases take over -- their shopping, with one Deloitte study finding more than half of all grocery sales today are digitally influenced.

As such, grocers of all sizes are investing large amounts of time and money in their digital products to attract or ...Read more

Scientists unravel the mysteries of the Salish Sea

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. -- By now, the millions of people around the world who followed the saga of a mother orca carrying her dead calf know the endangered southern-resident orca whales exclusively eat chinook salmon. But what do the chinook eat?

A team of research scientists climbed into a small submarine and plunged to the bottom of the Salish ...Read more

Did archaeologists find the oldest drawing made by humans?

In an ancient seaside cave on the South African coast, archaeologists have found what may be the earliest known drawing created by a human.

This ancient piece of art is about 73,000 years old, its discoverers say. It's on the smooth, concave side of a grindstone tool that's only 1.5 inches long, and experiments in a French laboratory suggest it...Read more

Apple sees nothing impossible with new iPhones

Apple might have started its annual September product event Wednesday with a video inspired by the "Mission: Impossible" movie franchise, but in setting a new bar for pricing its biggest generator of sales, Chief Executive Tim Cook & Co. are saying they think nothing is impossible when it comes to juicing demand for the iPhone.

Apple used the ...Read more

Apple event: iPhones get top billing in a showcase of new products and services

The first 1,000 was apparently the hardest.

After finally hitting the one-grand price tag last year with its iPhone X, Apple on Wednesday announced it would be climbing higher still, nudging the starting price on its new super-screened iPhone Xx Max to $1,099, the most it has ever asked people to pay for an iPhone.

"Just a hundred dollars more...Read more