Science & Technology





Genetically modified bacteria-killing viruses used on patient for first time

Genetically engineered phages -- viruses that kill bacteria -- have been used for the first time to treat a patient struggling with a dangerous, persistent superbug infection.

The 15-year-old girl had been infected with Mycobacterium abscessus, which is in the same genus as the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

Researchers screened a ...Read more

Bird's newest scooter is for sale — and it comes in rose gold

LOS ANGELES -- Bird Rides Inc. will release Wednesday a new electric scooter model in Los Angeles and Santa Monica that it hopes will outlive its predecessors -- and find a market among scooter riders who want to purchase a Bird of their own.

The Bird One is more durable than its predecessors, the company says -- which is key to the start-up's ...Read more

Walmart's robot zips along in tech revolution that's raising big questions for workers

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- When an autonomous floor scrubber was rolled out in Walmart's Bonney Lake store last month, shoppers mistook the teal blue scrubber zipping down the aisles for a runaway machine, said manager David Klein. "Some customers are a little freaked out."

Klein said the Auto-C robot has relieved his employees of several hours of ...Read more

Tech Q&A: What to do when a PC is out of memory

Q: My Windows 8.1 laptop has begun freezing when I read a newspaper article on I get the error message "Out of memory at line: 1." The only solution is to shut down and restart the PC. What's wrong?

--Frank Quick, Tucson, Ariz.

A: That usually means your browser is using too much of the PC's RAM memory and not leaving enough for other...Read more

Seattle-based Cray to build world's fastest supercomputer under $600M federal contract

SEATTLE -- The competition between the U.S. and China for supercomputer supremacy is entering a new phase, with the U.S. poised to protect its lead on the backs of two new machines from Seattle-based Cray.

The supercomputer maker inked its second deal in less than two months with the Department of Energy for systems designed to perform more ...Read more

Sound Advice: Speed Queen machines designed to last 25 years or more

Q. I read your review of the VAVA dashcam and tried ordering from Amazon using the discount code NC58Z5UC. The code is not valid. What's up with it not working?

-- K.K., Milwaukee

A. I received many emails about the excellent VAVA dashcam and the $40 coupon code, which reduced the price from $119 to $79. For the first week the code NC58Z5UC ...Read more

As UN warns of widespread extinction, California is already losing species

WASHINGTON -- A new United Nations report warning of a global extinction crisis identifies three parts of the world in particular danger: South America, Africa and parts of Asia.

But there are signs of struggle everywhere, notably in California. Though the state boasts some of the most diverse plant and animal life in the United States, ...Read more

AMD's tech to power new supercomputer for Department of Energy

AUSTIN, Texas -- Advanced Micro Devices announced Tuesday that its technology will help power a new supercomputer at Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2021.

The Frontier supercomputer is part of a contract the U.S. Department of Energy awarded to Cray Inc, a supercomputer manufacturer headquartered in Seattle. The total contract ...Read more

1 million species face extinction, as Trump seeks weaker protections

WASHINGTON -- Humans have pushed about 1 million varieties of plants and animals to the brink of extinction, according to a new United Nations Report that arrives as congressional Republicans and the Trump administration try to diminish endangered species protections in the United States.

Many of the species identified in the report could be ...Read more

How bamboo-eating pandas trick their bodies into thinking they are carnivores

On the outside, giant pandas look like herbivores. They spend nearly all of their waking hours eating bamboo.

But on the inside, they're built like carnivores. About half of the calories they eat come from protein, according to a new study.

That puts the giant panda diet on a par with wolves, feral cats and other animals that depend on meat to...Read more

Justice Department, worried about 5G race, seeks hearing in Qualcomm-FTC case

The U.S. Department of Justice has requested that a Northern California federal judge hold a hearing before levying any sanctions against Qualcomm in an antitrust case, citing possible harm to the 5G industry.

In a briefing filed with U.S. District Court in San Jose on Thursday, the Justice Department argued any changes to Qualcomm's business ...Read more

Alexa, don't store this recording: California bill targets smart home speakers

A bill making its way through the California Legislature would prohibit makers of smart home speakers from saving or storing recordings without users' explicit consent.

The Anti-Eavesdropping Act, which cleared its first committee Wednesday, would also ban smart speaker device manufacturers from sharing with third parties recordings of verbal ...Read more

Google workers protest 'culture of retaliation' with sit-in

Google employees staged a sit-in Wednesday to protest what they call a "culture of retaliation" at the company -- the latest in a series of demonstrations by tech industry workers.

It's unclear how many employees participated in the sit-in, but organizer Meredith Whittaker tweeted that hundreds of people protested at the New York office ...Read more

Augmented writing technology: a writer's friend or foe?

SEATTLE -- As a self-proclaimed skeptic of HR technology, Aubrey Blanche was reluctant to compose job posts using artificial intelligence that generates text.

But the software produced by Seattle-based Textio worked, said Blanche, whose title at software company Atlassian is global head of diversity and belonging. Not only did the writing ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Turning off forced Windows 10 updates

Q: For the last year, my three-year-old Dell PC has been automatically forced to update its version of Windows 10. The update takes over my PC, but then always fails to install. That forces the PC to reboot. How can I get rid of this continued update attempt?

--Victor Hagenah, Ramsey, Minn.

A: Microsoft won't help you with this problem, but ...Read more

What are Uber, WeWork and Airbnb worth? Vanguard knows. It already owns shares in these IPO-ready unicorns

Billion-dollar "unicorn" start-ups are rushing to take advantage of the bull market and sell their shares to the public, even if they're losing piles of money.

And big investors such as Vanguard Group, the Malvern-based $5 trillion-asset fund company, haven't waited for those unicorns to go public. They acquired preferred shares in firms such ...Read more

Sound Advice: LectroFan Micro2 sleep sound machine highly recommended

Q. I travel a great deal for my job and have trouble sleeping away from home. You once wrote about a sleep sound machine that is small enough to take anywhere, and I would like to try it. What was the model?

-- T.G., Augusta, Ga.

A. The model I wrote about in 2017 was the LectroFan Micro. It has since been replaced with the LectroFan Micro2. ...Read more

NASA's new carbon observatory is set for launch despite Trump's efforts to ax it

A NASA instrument designed to track carbon in Earth's atmosphere is headed to the International Space Station next week, and the president isn't happy about it.

President Donald Trump slashed funding for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 and four other Earth science missions in his proposed spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year, citing "budget...Read more

Science explains why you wrongly think that ball is yours

Nearly simultaneously, two players grab for a ball.

Who got it first?

Whether on the playground or sports arena, we think it's ours, and scientists now know why: We mentally register our own sensations before whatever else is around us.

"We have identified what may be a principal cause of arguments in ballgames, and it is about time," ...Read more

Qualcomm shows off 5G tech at China Unicom event

Qualcomm this week joined Chinese smartphone makers including OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi and ZTE to demonstrate new, faster 5G handsets and mobile networks targeting the China market.

The San Diego company participated in a conference in Shanghai hosted by China Unicom, the second largest mobile operator in China.

China Unicom conducted live 5G ...Read more

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