Science & Technology





Jennifer Van Grove: DirectTV's set-top box is a surprising development

DirecTV, the satellite TV business owned by AT&T, is about to try something completely different.

According to documents first discovered by Variety, the company is preparing to release a set-top box that will deliver content entirely by way of the internet, instead of satellite, with Google's Android TV software powering the box. Think ...Read more

Suicide risk can be hard to measure. But a brain's reaction to words like 'carefree' may offer clues

When a person's distress, depression or discouragement appears to have taken a sharp turn for the worse, it's time to ask him or her a weighty question: Are you thinking of harming yourself?

If only the answer were a better guide. One study has found that nearly 80 percent of patients who took their own lives denied they were contemplating ...Read more

Have some bloody fun this Halloween, courtesy of chemistry

It's Halloween, a day for watching scary movies filled with blood and gore.

In other words, it's a day to appreciate chemistry.

For roughly a century, entertainers have relied on chemistry to make fake blood look real. In the early 1900s, productions at the Theatre du Grand Guignol in Paris introduced fake blood as an essential prop, according...Read more

Review: Apple Watch Series 3 is a useful tool for the health-conscious, with diabetes management coming soon

I went into a test drive of the Apple Watch Series 3 thinking it could be a real game changer for diabetes management. Now I'm thinking it should be considered by anyone with a chronic illness.

I'll tell you why in a second.

First, the most important Series 3 feature for people with diabetes isn't available yet, but it will be soon, maybe ...Read more

Maker of $1,000 'smart' teapot gives up

Three years and $12 million were simply not enough time and money to teach the world about the benefits of owning a $1,000 teapot.

That's the word from Teforia, a Mountain View, Calif., startup that is moving to the graveyard of technological gadgetry.

"The reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate ...Read more

Sound Advice: Vibes Hi-Fidelity earplugs can be used with light machinery

Q. Are the Vibes Hi-Fidelity earplugs you recently wrote about also OK to use for operating leaf blowers and stuff like that?

-- J.F., Mt. Lebanon, Pa.

A. I contacted the manufacturer and they say the earplugs can be used with light machinery, providing their specified 22 dB of reduction. While not as effective as over-ear protection, they ...Read more

Apple engineer fired after daughter posts video of iPhone X

If you work at Apple, you should take a lesson from the movie "Fight Club."

The first rule of Apple is, "You do not talk about Apple." The second rule of Apple is, "You DO NOT talk about Apple."

And you especially don't let an Apple product be seen in public before Apple wants it to be seen. A now-former Apple employee learned that lesson the ...Read more

Online grocery shopping becomes fastest-growing sector in US retail

MILWAUKEE -- Because of people like Sarah Fracek -- and some who aren't at all like her -- a retail sector that once seemed nearly immune to the internet's economic disruption has become an increasingly digital thing.

Fracek does almost all of her grocery shopping online.

"I hate going into a grocery store," said Fracek, who doesn't mind ...Read more

The future for defense drones may be under the oceans

SAN DIEGO -- The next frontier for unmanned military drones may not be solely in the skies. It could be undersea.

The U.S. Navy and defense contractors such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and others are increasingly focusing on ocean drones as the next big market for unmanned technology.

Lockheed Martin Ventures in September month invested an ...Read more

Twitter bans ads from Kremlin-funded RT and Sputnik, but they can still tweet

Twitter Inc. said Thursday that it will no longer accept advertising from Sputnik and Russia Today, pointing to the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that the two Kremlin-funded news organizations were part a Russian government operation to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

State-sponsored attempts to "interfere with and ...Read more

Microsoft beats forecasts as cloud boosts quarterly results

SEATTLE -- Microsoft handily beat analysts' expectations for the first quarter of its fiscal year, as its quarterly profit rose 16 percent on the strength of its commercial cloud business.

Revenue from Azure, the company's cloud computing service, grew 90 percent during the quarter, Microsoft said. The Seattle-area company has been pushing ...Read more

Amazon exceeds earnings expectations as head count tops a half-million

SEATTLE -- Amazon cruised past investor expectations for its quarterly earnings, posting another quarter of breakneck growth and announcing that the company topped 500,000 employees for the first time.

The online retailer pulled in a record $43.7 billion during the three months ended in September, up 34 percent from a year ago and narrowly ...Read more

Stripes? Spots? Scientists have new way to see what dinosaurs looked like on the outside

Scientists studying ancient fossils of a small feathered dinosaur have discovered that it had a bandit's mask as well as a striped tail, rather like today's raccoons.

The eye-catching plumage of Sinosauropteryx, described in the journal Current Biology, illuminates the life and behavior of these ancient animals and sheds light on the diversity ...Read more

A new tool for editing DNA, one base at a time

Talk about precision gene editing.

Scientists from Harvard University have just unveiled a new gene editor that uses the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 technology to target and change a single letter in a string of DNA bases -- no cutting necessary.

Considering that there are billions of letters in the human genome, converting one letter to another...Read more

Tesla builds solar farm to power a storm-damaged children's hospital in Puerto Rico

Tesla Inc. said it has assembled a solar panel installation and battery storage project at a hurricane-battered children's hospital in Puerto Rico in a humanitarian effort that also illustrates the company's ability to deliver power quickly.

The Palo Alto, Calif., electric carmaker and solar energy company tweeted photos of the project showing ...Read more

Amazon threatens to disrupt the prescription drug delivery business, analysts say

ST. LOUIS -- In 23 years, Amazon has transformed itself from a relatively unknown online retailer into a behemoth that has toppled traditional big-box stores by attracting consumers to its speedy home delivery model and low prices.

Now, on the heels of acquiring the Whole Foods grocery chain, some analysts say Amazon has set its sights on ...Read more

Can't find a coupon code? This startup does all the work for you

LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Hudson was trying to order pizza online for his two children when he was prompted to enter a coupon code at checkout.

Hudson knew better than to bother searching for a discount. His kids were hungry and he didn't have time to scan the internet for coupons that had either expired or didn't apply to the cheese pizza he wanted ...Read more

How much will you pay for self-driving technology? A lot, Edmunds survey says

DETROIT -- Some consumers say they are wary of a driverless car future, but a new survey says the beginnings of the technology that will power that future are already available on most new vehicle models and many consumers are willing to pay thousands of dollars for them.

That self-driving technology has come in the form of active safety ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Don't be left behind by technology

Q: My husband and I haven't tried to keep up with all the latest technology and devices. But it's becoming apparent that we will soon be "left behind" and be unable to access things that almost everyone else uses on a daily basis. For instance, when we travel we see people getting flight information from their phones faster than we could ...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: Why this die-hard sports fan didn't cut the cord and is sticking with cable — for now

A lifelong San Diegan, Randy Ward was raised to be a Padres fan. Over the years, the 55-year-old plant operations director for an area retirement community, developed an appreciation of all sports.

Like clockwork, Randy returns home from work around 6 p.m. on weeknights and turns on his TV to catch up on the day's news. Then, he's on to some ...Read more