Science & Technology





That muffled voice on the other side of the McDonald's drive-thru could be replaced by a robot

CHICAGO -- McDonald's on Tuesday announced plans to acquire a voice technology company to help speed up ordering at the drive thru, the latest in a series of high-tech investments by the fast-food chain as it strives to improve wait times and draw customers to its restaurants.

McDonald's declined to disclose the terms of its agreement to buy ...Read more

Even gun owners agree on measures that would reduce gun violence, survey shows

Substantial majorities of Americans -- both those who own firearms and those who do not -- support measures that would require first-time gun buyers and those wishing to carry a concealed weapon to demonstrate they can safely own and handle a gun, according to a new study.

In a national survey conducted in January, researchers from Johns ...Read more

Apple, Foxconn broke Chinese labor law to build latest iPhones

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Inc. and manufacturing partner Foxconn violated a Chinese labor rule by using too many temporary staff members in the world's largest iPhone factory, the companies confirmed following a report that also alleged harsh working conditions.

The claims came from China Labor Watch, which issued the report ahead of an Apple ...Read more

Facebook hit with antitrust investigation by states' attorneys general

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Facebook is under antitrust investigation by the attorneys general of eight states and Washington, D.C., the second such probe it is facing amid a growing backlash against U.S. tech giants.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday that she is leading the investigation.

"Even the largest social media platform...Read more

Lawsuit: Data breach at publishing giant compromised data on a million students

CHICAGO -- An Illinois woman and her daughter filed a lawsuit Thursday against education publishing giant Pearson, accusing the British-owned company of negligently handling student data and causing a data breach that compromised the personal information of nearly one million students in 13 states, including tens of thousands in the Chicago area...Read more

Why does so much news seem negative? Human attention may be to blame

Ever wonder why there's so much bad news out there? Maybe it's because people find bad news more interesting than good news.

A new study involving more than 1,000 people across 17 countries spanning every continent but Antarctica concludes that, on average, people pay more attention to negative news than to positive news.

The findings, ...Read more

Facebook meets with FBI to discuss 2020 election security

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. executives met with U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday to discuss the technology industry's security efforts leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The gathering, which is taking place at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, ...Read more

ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia wants you to sweat

Payal Kadakia, 36, is executive chairwoman of ClassPass, the popular app and monthly subscription service that she founded in 2011. ClassPass gives users the freedom to take a broad range of exercise classes, including yoga, cycling, Pilates, strength training, boxing and more. ClassPass users also have access to more than 22,000 fitness studios...Read more

Tech Q&A: Dealing with e-mail issues you can't fix

Q: I wondered why I was getting more than 30 spam e-mails a day with names such as "Russian Women Online" or "Best Home Warranty." Then I discovered my e-mail account listed many e-mail "subscriptions" I didn't sign up for. When I clicked to "unsubscribe," I was told I'd be taken to a suspicious-sounding website, so just emptied my ...Read more

Google to pay $170 million for YouTube child privacy breaches

WASHINGTON -- Google's YouTube agreed on Wednesday to pay a $170 million fine and limit ads on kids' videos to settle claims that the company violated children's privacy laws.

The world's largest video-sharing site agreed to pay the fine, which is a record for a children's privacy case, to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and New York State ...Read more

Sound Advice: Q Acoustics 3020i speakers combine best characteristics of British, American speakers

Q. Your travel camera recommendations are all too expensive for me. Can you recommend a pocketable camera with a long zoom that sells for under $300 that takes better pictures than a smartphone?

-- MV, Pittsburgh

A. Actually, I can't. A modern smartphone has much better picture quality than a $300 camera. The $369 Sony RX100 will take great ...Read more

Breeding has shaped dogs' brains, MRI scans reveal

As hunters, fetchers, and vigilant protectors, dogs have honed a wide array of specialized skills through centuries of breeding.

In a new study, scientists say evidence of all this human intervention can be seen at a deeper level than simply how the animals use their snouts and paws:

It shows up on MRIs of their brains.

The authors analyzed ...Read more

Earthquake fault long thought dormant could devastate Los Angeles, researchers say

Scientists citing new research say an earthquake fault along the Los Angeles coast, previously believed to be dormant, is active and could cause a destructive 6.4 magnitude earthquake if it ruptured.

And if it linked with other faults, it could trigger an earthquake in the magnitude 7 range, according to a team of researchers from Harvard, the ...Read more

Human mini-brains made from stem cells make mini brain waves

SAN DIEGO -- Miniature human brain models grown from stem cells make brain waves like those in prematurely born babies, according to a study from University of California San Diego scientists.

This activity has never been seen before in the mini-brains or "organoids," said Alysson R. Muotri, a UCSD stem cell researcher. Muotri led the study ...Read more

Minn. author's new book teaches kids the 'science' of cooking

EDINA, Minn. -- The timer beeped, and Liz Lee Heinecke handed her 13-year-old daughter, Sarah, two oven mitts. Her latest science experiment was ready.

Sarah opened the door of the oven and took out a silvery pan containing the result of a chemical reaction that demonstrated how heat turns water into steam: popovers.

Heinecke plucked one of ...Read more

The 'lungs of the world'? Scientist says Amazon rainforest is not the source of 20% of Earth's oxygen

As news circulated of the record-setting fires raging across the Amazon rainforest this month, so has a statistic that reinforces the significance of the world's largest tropical rainforest: The Amazon produces 20% of the world's oxygen supply.

But a Northwestern University researcher has pushed back against that claim, saying that the release ...Read more

New iPhones expected as Apple sets Sept. 10 date for its next 'special event'

Apple on Thursday sent invitations to members of the media to attend a company event on Sept. 10 in which it is expected to show off the latest iterations of several products, including new iPhones.

"Please join us for an Apple special event," read the invitations that were emailed Thursday morning. Unlike some previous Apple events, where the ...Read more

There is no single 'gay gene,' DNA analysis of nearly half a million people shows

A new study that analyzed the DNA of nearly half a million people has found that while genetic differences play a significant role in sexual preference, there is no single gene responsible.

The findings, described Thursday in the journal Science, looked at sexual behavior and not sexual identity. Still, the results debunk the idea of a so-...Read more

A new species of bloodsucking leech with 3 jaws has been found in Maryland

BALTIMORE -- What has three jaws, 56 to 59 teeth in each, no thumbs and was first discovered in Charles County, Md.?

No, this is not a story about Chessie, the monster who definitely lives at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay along with the unedited footage of Stanley Kubrick's staged moon landing.

Rather, this is about gross, bloodsucking ...Read more

Google reportedly moving Pixel phone production out of China

Is it possible that President Donald Trump's "ordering" of American companies to look for places other than China to build their products is having an effect on their business operations?

With a new round of tariffs on items made in China set to go into effect Sept. 1, Alphabet's Google reportedly is moving to shift almost all of its production...Read more

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