Science & Technology



Sea-Tac is first airport to resist federal push for facial recognition and other biometric technologies

SEATTLE -- At least for now, controversial facial-recognition technology won't be installed at boarding gates at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making the airport the first in the country to resist the rollout of a federal biometric identification program.

After hours of impassioned public comment Tuesday, much of it from people calling ...Read more

Tech recruiters were once welcomed on campus. Now they face protests

Liza Mamedov-Turchinsky was beginning her junior year at UC Berkeley when she heard the data-mining company Palantir was coming to campus for a recruiting event. She wasn't happy about it.

Palantir is among 43 companies that pay the school $20,000 each year for "unique access" to electrical engineering and computer science students for ...Read more

Facebook, Google drop out of top 10 'best places to work' list

SAN FRANCISCO -- Big tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, long seen as some of the world's most desirable workplaces offering countless perks and employee benefits, are losing some of their shine.

The Silicon Valley companies dropped out of the Top 10 "best places to work" in the U.S., according to Glassdoor's annual ...Read more

Regulators warn about fraudsters creating synthetic borrowers

WASHINGTON -- The financial technology industry that's upending consumer finance could be the solution to a kind of identity fraud that's dogging traditional banks and fintech companies alike.

It's called synthetic identity fraud, where instead of stealing one person's information, criminals synthesize a false identity using information from ...Read more

Transgender kids' gender identity is as strong as that of cisgender children, study shows

SEATTLE -- Gender identity is as strong in transgender children as it is in cisgender children (those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth), no matter how long a child has been treated as being a gender they don't identify with, according to initial findings from a University of Washington study that is the largest of its ...Read more

Apple sues former iPhone chip designer for breach of contract

Apple will be heading to court in January.

The consumer electronics giant is suing Gerard Williams, Apple's former chief architect of iPhone and iPad microprocessors, for breach of contract on the grounds that he started his own chip-design company while still working at Apple. Williams officially left Apple in February 2019 to launch Nuvia, a ...Read more

Homeland Security announces easing of facial recognition rule

WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security officials continue to step back from their published plan to require use of facial recognition technology on American citizens at U.S. airports when they arrive from or depart to international destinations.

The Trump administration's proposed mandatory use of the technology was included in the so-called unified ...Read more

Tech Q&A: TOR browser is secretive, slow and can be risky

Q: I read your column on private Web browsing (see What do you think about using the TOR browser for privacy?

-- Dave Woehning, Cottonwood, Ariz.

A: The free TOR browser allows you to be more anonymous on the internet than you would be with browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. But TOR (which stands for The ...Read more

'Mighty mice' launched into space to help researchers study muscle atrophy and bone degeneration

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Forty mice were sent to the International Space Station Thursday as part of a joint effort between the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, UConn Health and Connecticut Children's to better understand muscle atrophy and bone degeneration.

The mice were successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida...Read more

This startup is designing cashier-less stores — and just raised $30M

SAN DIEGO -- A technology startup in San Diego has just raised $30 million from investors to continue building out its software for cashier-less, "grab-and-go" stores. The model, popularized by Amazon Go, allows shoppers to simply walk into a store, grab items from the shelves, and walk out -- with the receipt sent directly to their mobile ...Read more

Life Fitness enters race against Peloton for virtual exercise classes

CHICAGO -- A new entrant has joined the interactive stationary bike race with Peloton.

Life Fitness, the Rosemont, Ill.-based health club equipment manufacturer, announced this week it is rolling out on-demand exercise classes on the touch screens of its bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and other cardio fitness products.

But unlike Peloton, ...Read more

Mice in space: NASA's latest experiment

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Scientists are sending mighty mice to space, but rather than being gym rats, their strength was enhanced through genetic experimentation in the hopes of preventing human astronauts from experiencing muscle loss in microgravity.

NASA is sending 40 genetically modified mice to space via this week's scheduled SpaceX Dragon launch ...Read more

Developers join call for GitHub to cancel its ICE contract

Since at least September, employees of GitHub have been pressuring the Microsoft-owned code repository to terminate its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, without success. Now they're getting reinforcements from a constituency that could have more clout.

In an open letter published Wednesday on GitHub, software developers ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Assessing the risks of upgrading to Windows 10

Q: Dell's website says that my six-year-old Windows 7 laptop (an Inspiron 5521) was tested and found compatible with the earliest versions of Windows 10 (called build 1507 and build 1511.) But it isn't listed as being tested with newer versions. How risky is it for me to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10? Or should I go for an older ...Read more

Cyber Monday: Adobe says $9.4 billion spent online, $3 billion via smartphones

If you are like many shoppers, you are showing few signs of putting the brakes on your Christmas and holiday spending on this gifts this year.

That's the conclusion based on data from Adobe Analytics, which said Americans spent a Cyber Monday record of $9.4 billion online, or 19.7% more than on the same day a year ago.

And for those doing ...Read more

Brown bananas and squishy avocados no more? Food tech could keep your produce from going bad

Imagine bananas that never go bad. To Aidan Mouat, CEO of Chicago-based Hazel Technologies, it's not so far-fetched.

His company makes a product that extends the shelf life of all sorts of produce -- avocados, cherries, pears, broccoli -- by slowing the chemical process that causes decay. Some of the world's largest growers are using it to send...Read more

California is famous for earthquakes and wildfires — but don't forget about its volcanoes

Margaret Mangan didn't sleep well in the weeks following the Ridgecrest, Calif., earthquakes. The July shaking triggered a swarm of smaller tremors in the nearby Coso Volcanic Field, a cluster of lava domes and cinder cones at the northern end of the Mojave Desert. And it was Mangan's job to watch for a possible eruption.

"We were pretty much ...Read more

A new group thinks Amazon is 'too big to govern' and wants to lead the resistance

In 2017, as cities and states including Philadelphia and Delaware built out lavish incentive packages and sales pitches in hopes of luring Amazon's second headquarters, a resistance emerged.

Critics worried about the displacement of residents, the company's surveillance-heavy labor practices, and the logic of offering billions of dollars in ...Read more

Scientist anticipates breakthrough in Antarctic search for planet's oldest ice

SAN DIEGO -- It's summer in Antarctica, and scientists from all around the world are flying to research stations on the frozen continent as part of a now years-long campaign to uncover the world's oldest ice.

At stake is the ability to more accurately predict planetary warming from greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the foremost experts on the ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Browser privacy mode won't make you invisible

Q: My internet browsers have privacy modes with names like "incognito," "secret" and "private," but I suspect they provide less privacy than the names suggest. What do they do?

-- Warren Nilsson, Richfield, Minn.

A: These browser features give you a degree of privacy, but they don't make you invisible.

The "incognito mode" in the Google ...Read more