Science & Technology



L.A.'s ShakeAlert earthquake warning app worked exactly as planned. That's the problem

LOS ANGELES -- More than 500,000 people have downloaded Los Angeles County's new ShakeAlertLA app to warn them of impending earthquakes.

So when the two strongest earthquakes in almost two decades hit Southern California this month, those residents were surprised by what they saw on their smartphones: nothing.

Officials were quick to explain ...Read more

Could the Apollo 11 moon landing be duplicated today? 'Lots of luck with that'

The passage of half a century has blurred many of the reasons that the United States was able to accomplish what seemed like science fiction: the July 20, 1969, landing of Apollo 11 on the moon.

The Apollo program's stunning technical success depended on a government leadership culture, an industrial organization, a tolerance for risk and a ...Read more

What to know about how Amazon sucks you in on Prime Day (and makes you buy stuff you don't want)

I didn't need the fancy dog treats.

Seriously, my dog has plenty of treats. She hates most of them. But I'd just bought her a new bowl, and Amazon told me that other people who bought the bowl also bought these delicious dog treats.

Obviously, I bought the fancy dog treats.

The psychology behind that decision will be on full display, on a ...Read more

Want to do something about global warming? Talk about it with your family and friends

There's the old saying that you should never discuss politics or religion in polite company. Nowadays, it seems climate change has joined that list.

Barely more than a third of Americans broach the subject often or even occasionally, according to a recent survey by researchers at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

All this not ...Read more

210,000-year-old skull in Greece is earliest sign of modern humans in Europe or Asia

Around 210,000 years ago, an early human died in southern Greece -- leaving scientists with the earliest evidence of human migration out of Africa and prompting them to reconsider the story of how our species spread throughout the planet.

A new analysis of that ancient person's skull suggests Homo sapiens left their birthplace in Africa about ...Read more

Malicious apps infect 25 million Android devices with “Agent Smith” malware

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Malicious apps from a campaign called "Agent Smith" have been downloaded to 25 million Android devices, according to new research by cyber-security firm Check Point.

The apps, most of them games, were distributed through third-party app stores by a Chinese group with a legitimate business helping Chinese developers promote ...Read more

Electric-airplane startup Zunum runs out of cash

SEATTLE -- Zunum, the Bothell, Wash.-based startup developing a small hybrid-electric airplane, has run out of cash, and much of the operation has collapsed.

The company promised to develop a family of small jets to serve lucrative short-hop routes with on-demand air-taxi services. A graphic produced by the company showed three different ...Read more

A retired teacher found some seahorses off Long Beach. Then he built a secret world for them

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Rog Hanson emerges from the coastal waters, pulls a diving regulator out of his mouth and pushes a scuba mask down around his neck.

"Did you see her?" he says. "Did you see Bathsheba?"

On this quiet Wednesday morning, a paddle boarder glides silently through the surf off Long Beach. Two stick-legged whimbrels plunge their...Read more

As VICIS ventures into youth football, teams and parents are forced to confront the cost

SEATTLE -- Snuggled near Amazon's shimmering South Lake Union campus is a nondescript, white, single-storied building. Inside, another potential disruptor is at work meticulously designing and relentlessly testing its technology with mechanisms used by the U.S. Army (for which it manufactures helmets) and the NFL (for which it is better known ...Read more

Women played crucial roles in the space program. Yet we don't know much about them. Why?

SEATTLE -- Edith Gustan's name appears in the fourth paragraph of a Seattle Times article from 1970, a skinny strip of text above a nearly full-page ad for Sears' Mother's Day sale that advertises, among other things, "incontestably female ... cardigans!"

Gustan was a biologist and longtime Boeing employee who conducted research on subjects at ...Read more

Courts grapple with Amazon's responsibility for dangerous products

A tragic accident and a faulty rhinestone dog collar are at the center of a court drama that could have far-reaching effects on how products are sold online.

In 2015, Heather Oberdorf took her dog for a walk outside her Pennsylvania home, attaching a retractable leash to a collar she bought from Amazon seller The Furry Gang. The collar broke ...Read more

Tech Q&A: What you can do when Windows 7 is obsolete

The pending end of Microsoft security updates for Windows 7, scheduled for Jan. 14, 2020, has led some readers to ask about alternatives to its successor, Windows 10.

Here is what you could do:

-- Switch to Windows 8.1 (about $36 online), which will receive security updates until Jan. 10, 2023. But many Windows 7 users won't like Windows 8.1, ...Read more

Jane Goodall enlists advanced mapping technology for nature and humanity

SAN DIEGO -- In groundbreaking research beginning nearly 60 years ago, Jane Goodall has devoted her life to understanding our closest relatives, chimpanzees.

Goodall, 85, lived among chimps in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park, gathering observations that reached the public in a series of popular books. She was first scientist to describe ...Read more

Instagram wants you to really think about what you are about to post

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Instagram wants you to think about what you post the next time you put something up on the social-media site. And you might just get a warning about what you say in that next post.

As part of an ongoing effort to cut down on hate speech, threats and bullying online, Instagram is implementing new artificial intelligence tools...Read more

Graham: Tech companies should 'earn' liability shield

WASHINGTON -- Changes may be coming to the provision in communications law that limits web platforms, like Facebook and Google, from being sued for user content, if Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has his way.

Following a hearing on protections for children from internet predators before his committee Tuesday, Graham said he wants to ...Read more

Benign gut virus may be older than humanity, might be useful as therapy

Helped by a global search through sewage, San Diego State University researchers have found that a benign gut virus appears to be older than the human race itself.

Moreover, different strains of this common virus can be traced to countries or even individual cities, said study leader Rob Edwards. Travelers rapidly pick up the local strain, ...Read more

Zoom Video says 'no indication' its users have been hit by Mac webcam security flaw

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Companies that use Zoom Video Communications' video conferencing app for Apple's Mac computers are being advised to check their security settings due to a flaw that could allow any website to commandeer those web cameras.

In a Medium blog post, security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh detailed the flaw, which potentially ...Read more

ICE used facial recognition to scan driver's license photos in some states. Illinois says it has turned down ICE requests.

CHICAGO -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has used facial recognition technology to comb through millions of driver's license photos, a move experts say violates the privacy of both immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and at risk of deportation, and legal residents and citizens.

The searches were uncovered in documents ...Read more

Advocacy group launches national campaign to ban facial-recognition technology from government use

SEATTLE -- As some cities and states crack down on government use of facial-recognition software, a national advocacy group is going a step further by calling for an outright federal ban on the technology.

On Tuesday, the Worcester, Mass.-based nonprofit Fight for the Future launched what it calls the first national campaign calling for a ...Read more

11% chance of another huge earthquake in Southern California, scientists say

The odds that Southern California will experience another earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater in the next week are now nearly 11%, according to preliminary estimates from seismologists.

And the chances that a quake will surpass the 7.1 temblor that struck near Ridgecrest on Friday night are roughly 8% to 9%, said Caltech seismologist Lucy ...Read more


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