Science & Technology



Artificial lights are eating away at dark nights — and that's not a good thing

Earth is losing its darkness. A new study using satellite data finds that artificially lit surfaces around the world are spreading and growing brighter, producing more light pollution at night.

The findings, described in the journal Science Advances, track what researchers called a worrisome trend that has implications for the environment as ...Read more

Tech Q&A: What to do when an old word processing or spreadsheet format fades away

Q: My 2010 desktop PC crashed in October, taking with it my copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007. Fortunately, I saved all my Office 2007 Word and Excel files, which are in the ".wps" and ".xlr" file formats, on flash drives. I bought a new Windows 10 PC, but have not yet replaced the Office software. If I buy Office Home and Student ...Read more

Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million Uber passengers and drivers

Uber Technologies Inc. admitted Tuesday that hackers stole personal data belonging to 57 million customers and drivers -- a fact it concealed for more than a year.

The attack, which took place in October 2016, resulted in the worldwide theft of names, email addresses and phone numbers belonging to 50 million Uber riders, according to Bloomberg,...Read more

Mars may not have the water we thought it did, study shows

When it comes to signs of flowing water on Mars, planetary scientists might be getting left high and dry. New research reveals that mysterious dark streaks long thought to be signs of seasonal water activity might actually just be caused by dry sand.

The findings, described in the journal Nature Geoscience, indicate that the idea that microbial...Read more

Apple supplier used illegal teenage labor to assemble the iPhone X: report

If you own an iPhone X, there is a chance your prized smartphone was built from forced labor of Chinese high school students.

Apple and its largest Chinese supplier, Foxconn, acknowledged that students did work in the latter's factories to assemble the iPhone X to keep up with the demand. Despite Apple and Foxconn saying the students ...Read more

Helpware: Becoming a member of Quicken

Quicken has been my go-to program for managing my vast empire's finances since a decade before the last century ended. I used the early Windows versions, and the DOS versions before that. Through the years, it's become slicker, and has added such features as budgeting (seriously?) and managing bill payments, rental property and investments.

But...Read more

Tech education that pays, or you don't

PHILADELPHIA -- With tuitions ever rising and student debt exploding to $1.45 trillion, there has been increased pressure on schools to demonstrate their value based on their success in placing graduates in good-paying jobs.

A for-profit computer-coding boot camp in Philadelphia, the local branch of the New York Code and Design Academy, has ...Read more

Chipmaker Marvell to buy rival Cavium for $6 billion

SAN JOSE, Calif. –– Marvell Technology Group said Monday that it would acquire Cavium for $6 billion in a deal that will bring together two rivals in the market for high-end chips used in data centers, wireless communications and self-driving cars.

Marvell, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, has its U.S. headquarters in Santa Clara.

The ...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: YouTube TV's about-face on TV apps is the right move

There's something commendable about a company that can publicly admit to being wrong. That's exactly what Google did when it recently announced a major shift in strategy around YouTube TV, it's streaming skinny bundle for cord-cutters.

The about-face started on Oct. 30 with the launch of a YouTube TV app for Xbox and Android TV devices. Just ...Read more

Even small black holes emit gravitational waves when they collide, and LIGO heard them

LIGO scientists say they have discovered gravitational waves coming from another black hole merger, and it's the tiniest one they've ever seen.

The findings, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters, could shed light on the diversity of the black hole population -- and may help scientists figure out why larger black holes appear to behave...Read more

Sensor-equipped pill raises technological, ethical questions

The first drug with a sensor embedded in a pill that alerts doctors when patients have taken their medications was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, raiding issues involving privacy, cost, and whether patients really want caregivers looking over their shoulders.

Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. will insert a tiny chip -- the size ...Read more

Just like humans, chimpanzees warn others of impending danger

Chimpanzees adjust their warning calls if they think a fellow primate hasn't picked up on a nearby threat, a new study finds.

The results, published in the journal Science Advances, reveal that humans and one of their closest living relatives may share a very special ability, one that could potentially shed light on the origins of language.

...Read more

Tech Q&A: Solving the mystery of Windows updates

Q: Several years ago, I purchased an HP Envy PC, model h8-1414. I've upgraded the operating system from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Now I can't get automatic Windows 10 updates to complete; the updates freeze and I'm forced to restart the PC. A few hours later, the PC tries to update Windows 10 again, with the same result. Because of...Read more

Organic agriculture can help feed world, but only if we eat less meat and stop wasting food

Agriculture could go organic worldwide if we slashed food waste and stopped using so much cropland to feed livestock, a new study finds.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that it will take several strategies operating at once to feed the growing human population in a more sustainable way -- and some of those ...Read more

Helpware: How to buy an iPhone X

This is not a review of the iPhone X. There have been enough well-deserved raves of Apple's new genius phone to persuade Apple groupies like me to buy one.

Instead, this column is about math. More specifically, it's about the reality that no matter where you shop – the Apple Store or your cellular carrier – you'll pay pretty much the same...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: Let's get real about Kodi and 'free TV'

We need to have a serious talk about Kodi.

Whether you know it or not, you've heard about Kodi -- either from friends in real life who love streaming free stuff and telling you about it, or by way of social network pals who promote the boxes that make it possible. Or maybe you've read my feature story on the subject matter last year.

Even so, ...Read more

How NASA engineers mourn the death of a spacecraft

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. -- They called it a wake, but the loved one they had come to mourn wasn't a person.

It was the Cassini spacecraft, the robotic explorer that had spent the last 13 years unlocking the mysteries of Saturn, its rings and its many moons.

Soon after Cassini vaporized like a shooting star in the Saturnian sky, about 175 ...Read more

Odds of Harvey-like rains coming to Texas on the rise, scientists say

So much for the storm of the century.

A new study suggests that massive hurricanes like Harvey are expected to strike Houston and Texas with much greater frequency in the future than they do now.

Blame our changing climate.

According to a study published Monday in PNAS, the odds of Harvey-like rains drenching the city of Houston will grow ...Read more

Citizen devices track Chicago's pollution hot spots

CHICAGO -- With a variety of palm-size devices strapped across her chest and connected wirelessly to her smartphone, Gail Merritt discovered the air in Chicago's South Loop might be a lot dirtier than expected.

Merritt and her group of volunteer pollution hunters had assumed the low-cost sensors they carried during daily walks would confirm ...Read more

Scoping out the Silver Tech boom for savvy seniors

"What a drag it is getting old," Mick Jagger first whined on "Mother's Little Helper" from the Rolling Stones' 1965 Aftermath album.

"Hope I die before I get old," the Who's Roger Daltrey growled the same year on "My Generation."

But for those who first heard those plaints way back when and are still walking this Earth, getting older isn't so ...Read more

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