Science & Technology



Why tiny microbes may be a big factor in how climate change unfolds

Climate change is about big things: melting ice sheets, rising seas, the feverish temperature of the planet.

But scientists say it's also about little things -- namely, microbes.

Everywhere you look on Earth, you'll find these single-celled organisms making a living. And in the process, they produce and consume greenhouse gases including ...Read more

New DNA test beats others at hunting down germs that inflame the brain, study finds

Right now, neurologists don't have one test that can identify multiple causes of inflammatory neurological diseases such as encephalitis and meningitis. But UC San Francisco researchers say their new DNA test hunted down more of these pathogens than any conventional test did in a newly released study.

Inflammatory neurological diseases are rare...Read more

Engineer's 'Smart Speaker Firewall' isolates Alexa devices in a snap

Chuck Carey is an experienced engineer and self-described technophile, but he's also wary of the proliferation of data-hoovering, Internet-connected devices such as the microphone-and-speaker combos used with digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

"While I have three Echo Dots, I have always been suspicious of what gets ...Read more

Search and rescue: Researchers on mission to save the coral reefs of South Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--A research ship that located the black box of a crashed Air France jet has embarked on a scientific expedition to the Florida Keys, where a mysterious disease is burning through coral reefs.

The disease kills coral tissue, leaving lifeless skeletons on centuries-old reef structures. First noticed in the Miami area nearly ...Read more

Ancient drug paraphernalia reveals that people smoked pot in China 2,500 years ago

High in the Pamir Mountains of western China, scientists exploring an ancient cemetery have uncovered 2,500-year old vessels containing the chemical remains of burned cannabis plants.

The discovery, described Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, marks the earliest solid chemical evidence that ancient people sought out cannabis for its ...Read more

Suit alleges Amazon's Alexa violates laws by recording children's voices without consent

SEATTLE -- A lawsuit filed in Seattle Tuesday alleges Amazon is recording children who use its Alexa devices without their consent, in violation of laws governing recordings in at least eight states, including Washington.

"Alexa routinely records and voiceprints millions of children without their consent or the consent of their parents," ...Read more

FTC urges judge to enforce antitrust sanctions against Qualcomm during appeal

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has opposed Qualcomm's request to put on hold enforcement of a federal judge's sanctions for violating monopoly laws – arguing that a delay would allow the San Diego company to continue to levy an artificial surcharge on rival chip makers.

In a legal brief filed with the U.S. District Court in San Jose on ...Read more

Amazon speaks out in favor of regulating facial-recognition technology

SEATTLE -- Amazon has joined the ranks of other technology companies, including Microsoft and Google, in acknowledging the risks of facial-recognition software and calling on the federal government to impose national regulations on the technology.

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy told an interviewer Monday that he welcomed federal legislation...Read more

Tech Q&A: Fix iPhone's wireless printing, audio after installing Windows 10

Q: We have an HP Officejet 4500 printer, and are able to print wirelessly to it from my HP PC and my wife's Mac. But we can't print wirelessly from our two new iPhone XS models because neither of them recognizes the HP printer. Is the printer installed incorrectly, or is it just too old to work with the iPhones?

--Rudi Gutmann, Minneapolis

A: ...Read more

Uber will test unmanned aircraft at Fort Worth Alliance Airport's new technology zone

Uber and other companies have a new place to test their driverless -- and pilotless -- technology in Fort Worth.

The well-known ride-sharing company -- which aims to develop an Uber Elevate air taxi system at DFW Airport and Frisco by 2023 -- is among the key players in a new mobility innovation zone at Fort Worth's Alliance Airport.

Hillwood,...Read more

Coming home stressed? Your dog is internalizing those bad vibes too, study suggests

Is your dog stressed out? Maybe you're the one who needs a belly rub.

New research finds that throughout a dog's life, the stress levels of a canine and his or her human tend to rise and fall together. In fact, stress in a dog appears to be more closely linked to the stress of its owner than it is to the dog's own temperament.

In the 15,000 ...Read more

Tacoma-based Snopes, debunker of fake news, is locked in a nasty legal dispute

After more than two decades battling internet hoaxes, retouched photos, and other fake news, David Mikkelson, co-founder of Snopes, faces a much larger and more existential adversary.

Since 2017, Mikkelson has been locked in a nasty legal dispute with former business associates over control of Snopes, the pioneering fact-checking website that ...Read more

People spend more time on mobile devices than TV, firm says

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's finally happened: Americans now spend more time on their phones and tablets than they do watching TV.

In the United States, adults will spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes each day on their smartphones, feature phones and tablets this year, eight more minutes than they'll spend watching TV, according to a forecast ...Read more

Philadelphia pitches its bonafides to biotech CEOs at confab, and some even seemed impressed

PHILADELPHIA -- Stanley Satz heard it all.

Speaker after speaker at the Comcast Technology Center extolled Philadelphia's world-class hospitals, its 63 universities, and the fact that billions of dollars in research funding have been bet on the city as the "epicenter of cell and gene therapy."

Their comments -- all a bid to attract new biotech...Read more

Tech Q&A: Fixing a slow wireless keyboard

Q: I'm getting sluggish response time from my PC's wireless keyboard. I wonder if that's because my PC has 204 computing processes running at once. What should I do?

-- Mike Bania, Bloomington, Minn.

A: It's possible that your PC is slowing as a result of too much software running.

But having 204 processes running simultaneously is not ...Read more

News Media Alliance pushes for new Senate antitrust bill

WASHINGTON -- The News Media Alliance is scoring some legislative points against the much bigger K Street players Google and Facebook with a bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Monday evening that would temporarily exempt publishers from antitrust laws.

The measure -- sponsored by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy and Minnesota Democrat Amy ...Read more

Data center boosters hope new tax incentives 'stop the bleeding,' keep tech sites in Illinois

Illinois lawmakers approved a data center tax incentive proponents say could make tech giants and other firms think twice about locating their data storage facilities anywhere else.

The incentive, passed as part of a $45 billion capital construction plan, would exempt qualifying data centers from state and local sales tax on equipment inside ...Read more

Tech giants under fire: Is antitrust action the answer?

Ever since revelations of Russian interference in U.S. elections and a host of privacy scandals, tech's titans have faced increasing pressure from Congress, the public and Democratic presidential candidates.

But now that lawmakers this week turned up the heat by announcing a broad inquiry into digital competition, some experts questioned ...Read more

Apple replaces iTunes on Mac with three separate apps

When the iTunes Music store debuted 16 years ago, digital music meant buying a CD and uploading it to a computer or illegally downloading a song from a file-sharing service. Apple changed all that by charging customers 99 cents for a song they could take with them wherever they went.

Over time, iTunes expanded into movies and podcasts, storing ...Read more

California maintains life science dominance, report finds

California retains the crown as the nation's top recipient of federal life science funding, signifying the industry's dynamism, according to a new report from Biocom, a California life science trade group.

The state received $4.2 billion in life science research grants from the National Institutes of Health in the 2018 fiscal year, according to...Read more


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