Science & Technology



222 LA tech companies pledged to improve on diversity. Have they made any progress?

Two years ago, a number of L.A.'s leading tech investors gathered for a swanky party to launch a program called PledgeLA. Its purpose: to change the mostly white, mostly male face of the tech industry in Southern California.

With support from the mayor's office and the deep pockets and local connections of the Annenberg Foundation, PledgeLA has...Read more

Microsoft jettisons dozens of full-time MSN jobs in favor of artificial intelligence

Microsoft this week cut dozens of full-time staffers from its MSN news service, many of them in senior positions, in a move further away from human editors and toward using artificial intelligence to curate stories.

The move comes six weeks after the Redmond, Wash.-based technology giant told about 50 news production contractors they would not ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Reducing smartphone photo quality to save space

Q: The photos taken with smartphones take up a lot of memory space. I'd like to reduce the size of my photos from several megabytes to a little less than one megabyte, a size I've found adequate for viewing on a computer, attaching to e-mails or printing 4-by-6-inch photos. But the camera settings on phones don't begin to make images that small....Read more

4-foot prehistoric-looking bird seen at Outer Banks lighthouse is on wrong coast, experts say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Strange things often wash up on North Carolina's Outer Banks, and the National Park Service says the latest example is a big, prehistoric-looking bird that is far outside its natural range.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore says a sandhill crane has been seen roaming the grounds of Bodie Island Lighthouse.

"These birds migrate...Read more

In debate over reopening schools, science offers few clear answers

As fall approaches in the U.S. and school districts debate whether to resume in-person classes, the issue is complicated by a dearth of knowledge about how COVID-19 is transmitted to and from children.

Other nations have sent children back to school -- or never shuttered schools to begin with -- but none has done so with the virus surging as it...Read more

Chance of big San Andreas earthquake increased by Ridgecrest temblors, study suggests

A new study suggests that last year's Ridgecrest earthquakes increased the chance of a large earthquake on California's San Andreas fault.

The study, published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday, says there is now a 2.3% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 12 months on a section of the ...Read more

Amazon says email telling workers to delete TikTok app was sent in error

Hours after sending an email instructing employees to remove the social media app TikTok from their phones, citing unspecified "security risks," Inc. said Friday the message was sent in error.

The curious sequence of events came days after the White House amped up messaging that casts the popular Chinese-owned service as a potential ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Windows 10 updates are creating new problems

One of the big differences between Windows 10 and its predecessors is that it's updated frequently. That may fix flaws, but it also creates new ones.

Last week, Anita Winkley of Winter Haven, Fla., told me she was losing Gmail messages and their attached photos. We both wondered if her e-mail filter settings were to blame.

But it turns out ...Read more

Under Armour reportedly looks to sell fitness app MyFitnessPal

BALTIMORE -- Under Armour may be looking to shed MyFitnessPal, its fitness and nutrition app and website, as it scales back during a slowdown made worse by coronavirus-related revenue losses.

A potential sale of the app was reported Tuesday by The Information, a business technology news website. The athletic apparel brand has not confirmed the ...Read more

Fintech company Sezzle's growth rockets higher as online shopping soars

Sezzle Inc., the Minneapolis fintech firm that's listed in Australia, said Tuesday its e-commerce platform soared in transaction volume and revenue during the spring months as homebound consumers shopped online more often.

Sezzle's shares jumped 25% on the news, closing at Aus$5.07, the highest level since the company went public on the ...Read more


Jim Rossman: Free streaming content is getting harder to find

A reader wrote me recently about trying to navigate the free TV streaming jungle.

He has a Roku for streaming content with a login for PBS' Passport streaming service provided through his contributions to PBS.

He'd like to explore other shows and networks, noting that many of them tout "streaming the following day."

He tried to watch the CW...Read more

Joni Hanebutt/Dreamstime/TNS

Police partnerships with Amazon Ring raise alarms about racial bias, privacy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As nationwide protests force a deep examination of police tactics and funding, technology companies say they are re-evaluating their relationship with law enforcement as well. Amazon has halted police use of its facial recognition technology for one year and the website Nextdoor has stopped forwarding tips to police.

Now,...Read more


'Pokemon Go': Gastly Community Day added to packed July schedule

Niantic is adding to an already packed July schedule with Gastly Community Day that is being held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 19.

Although the shiny version of the Gas Pokemon has been around a while, it has been relatively rare for players. With the Community Day, they have a chance to get one of the best-looking shiny Pokemon in the game. ...Read more


CNET: Best gas grills of 2020

If you're new to outdoor cooking or just need to replace an old grill, the abundance of options out there can make picking the best grill feel overwhelming - it's hard to know whether to go for a gas grill (fueled by propane or natural gas), kamado grill, charcoal grill, pellet grill or perhaps a portable model.

Gas grills are a great place ...Read more

Gadgets: Extend your Wi-Fi range

To the list of all the home improvements people have generated in the past few months, add an easy setup of extending the range of some of your home Wi-Fi smart products. The idea of doing this is great and a company called Lutron makes it a do-it-yourself easy project with a new CaseĀ“ta Wireless Repeater and Motion Sensor added to Lutron's ...Read more

As body cameras gain more attention, their uses are expanding well beyond law enforcement

Weeks of protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd have placed renewed attention on police body-worn cameras.

Axon and Motorola Solutions recently branched out to commercial sales even before Floyd's filmed killing in Minneapolis. Cellphone footage from bystanders put the case in the spotlight, but recordings from police body cameras ...Read more

Internet speeds were awful, so these rural Pennsylvanians put up their own wireless tower

Big Valley is a living postcard of Pennsylvania. Jet-black buggies hug the shoulders of its long, straight roads and knobby-kneed foals prance in fields so green they look electrified. Most signs there urge motorists to repent and rejoice, or to buy fresh strawberries from the Amish children sitting in the shade.

But one Pennsylvania tradition ...Read more

Not just about the data: Scientists seek to address racial bias in the lab and classroom

In this time of national reckoning, a grassroots movement of scientists and academics is asking their colleagues to solve problems beyond their research: the scientific community's own issues with racial discrimination and bias.

Scrolling through social media posts tagged #BlackInTheIvory illuminates just some of the experiences Black students,...Read more


Jim Rossman: How can you boost a poor cell signal?

I got this question from a reader recently: "I would like to know if you have any suggestions for boosting cellphone reception inside your home. There are areas in my house that drop my calls. It gets very frustrating."

This is a good question.

One method she could try is to switch to a different cell carrier that might cover her home with a...Read more


Michigan voters to decide whether to ban police use of electronic data without warrant

DETROIT - Voters in November will decide whether police should have access to an individual's electronic data and communications without a warrant.

The Michigan House and Senate passed a resolution that would place on the November ballot a constitutional amendment barring the search and seizure of private electronic data without a warrant. ...Read more