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Facial recognition bans: What's next in Oakland, at Amazon and more

Efforts to rein in government use of facial recognition have a big couple of weeks ahead, days after San Francisco approved a first-of-its-kind ban on use of the technology by police and other city agencies.

Across the bay, Oakland is expected to consider a similar ban for the city's agencies, possibly next week. Up north, Amazon investors will...Read more

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Could turning it into CO2 fight climate change?

Usually, choosing between the lesser of two evils is a dismal decision. But sometimes, it's an opportunity.

A case in point: Turning methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) into carbon dioxide (also a planet-warming pollutant) could help fight climate change, researchers say.

It's not that CO2 isn't a problem -- it's the main problem. But on a ...Read more

7 things we've learned about Ultima Thule, the farthest place visited by humans

About a billion miles more distant than Pluto is Ultima Thule, a peanut-shaped object in the outer solar system that's the farthest place ever visited by humans.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Ultima Thule on New Year's Eve (Pacific time), flying within 2,200 miles of the space rock's rust-colored surface. The data it captured is ...Read more

Adieu, Le Grand K: The kilogram to be redefined for the first time in 130 years

In a subterranean vault in a suburb of Paris lies a small, rarely seen metal cylinder known as Le Grand K.

For 130 years, this golf-ball-sized hunk of 90% platinum and 10% iridium has served as the international prototype kilogram. That means it was the single physical object by which all other kilograms across the planet were measured.

If ...Read more

Samsung, Verizon launch first 5G phone, entry price is $1,300

MINNEAPOLIS -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top seller of smartphones, released its first 5G model in the U.S. Thursday, and early adopters and tech journalists visited Minneapolis to try it.

The city and Chicago are the first two places in the U.S. with 5G network coverage, started in both cities earlier this year by Verizon ...Read more

Here's why your internet may be delivered by a drone someday soon

As the pilotless flying wing came in for a landing, winds suddenly picked up. Facebook Inc.'s Aquila drone -- powered by the sun and wider than a Boeing 737 jetliner -- struggled to adjust. Just before landing, part of the right wing broke off.

That inaugural 2016 flight proved an inauspicious beginning for Facebook's foray into internet-...Read more

SpaceX has packed 60 satellites onto one rocket to advance its big internet plan

SpaceX's plan to provide broadband access will take a big step forward Wednesday night as the Elon Musk-led firm prepares to launch five dozen small satellites on a single rocket. They will eventually become part of a network of thousands of internet-beaming spacecraft.

The launch is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Eastern time (7:30 p.m. Pacific time...Read more

Microsoft alerts hospitals to fix potential security risk

MINNEAPOLIS -- Computer experts inside hospitals were working diligently on Wednesday to address a serious new security vulnerability in older versions of the Windows operating system, which is still used in many health care devices even though Microsoft hasn't actively supported the older software in years.

Julie Flaschenriem, chief ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Why some Mac software will soon be outdated

Q: My four-year-old MacBook Pro is warning me that eight of my programs "will not work with future versions of MacOS and need to be updated to improve compatibility." Some of these programs are well-known software, such as "Microsoft Office Utilities" and "Amazon Music." I use the Mojave 10.14.4 operating system. What should I do?

--David de ...Read more

Critically endangered Hawaiian crows build first nest in the wild in decades

SAN DIEGO -- Two Hawaiian crows, or alala, have done something momentous in the struggle to save the critically endangered species.

They have built a nest.

Extinct in the wild for decades, the alala were raised at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers of San Diego Zoo Global, part of its Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.

...Read more

Apple App Store lawsuit can proceed, Supreme Court rules

In a ruling that threatens Apple's lucrative App Store business, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed a proposed class-action consumer lawsuit against the iPhone maker to proceed.

At issue was whether iPhone users had the right to sue the tech giant, which takes a 30 percent cut from tens of millions of app developers on its platform, over ...Read more

Wanted: Digital whizzes to work in agriculture

To the uninitiated, it can be hard to imagine.

Robots with fingers designed to pick mature tomatoes, among the most delicate of crops. A Fitbit-like collar that monitors the wellbeing of a cow. Drones with sensors to identify dry areas of a field or discover crop production inefficiencies.

"In 30 years, what we're doing or seeing as innovative...Read more

Genetically modified bacteria-killing viruses used on patient for first time

Genetically engineered phages -- viruses that kill bacteria -- have been used for the first time to treat a patient struggling with a dangerous, persistent superbug infection.

The 15-year-old girl had been infected with Mycobacterium abscessus, which is in the same genus as the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

Researchers screened a ...Read more

Bird's newest scooter is for sale — and it comes in rose gold

LOS ANGELES -- Bird Rides Inc. will release Wednesday a new electric scooter model in Los Angeles and Santa Monica that it hopes will outlive its predecessors -- and find a market among scooter riders who want to purchase a Bird of their own.

The Bird One is more durable than its predecessors, the company says -- which is key to the start-up's ...Read more

Walmart's robot zips along in tech revolution that's raising big questions for workers

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- When an autonomous floor scrubber was rolled out in Walmart's Bonney Lake store last month, shoppers mistook the teal blue scrubber zipping down the aisles for a runaway machine, said manager David Klein. "Some customers are a little freaked out."

Klein said the Auto-C robot has relieved his employees of several hours of ...Read more

Tech Q&A: What to do when a PC is out of memory

Q: My Windows 8.1 laptop has begun freezing when I read a newspaper article on MSN.com. I get the error message "Out of memory at line: 1." The only solution is to shut down and restart the PC. What's wrong?

--Frank Quick, Tucson, Ariz.

A: That usually means your browser is using too much of the PC's RAM memory and not leaving enough for other...Read more

Seattle-based Cray to build world's fastest supercomputer under $600M federal contract

SEATTLE -- The competition between the U.S. and China for supercomputer supremacy is entering a new phase, with the U.S. poised to protect its lead on the backs of two new machines from Seattle-based Cray.

The supercomputer maker inked its second deal in less than two months with the Department of Energy for systems designed to perform more ...Read more

As UN warns of widespread extinction, California is already losing species

WASHINGTON -- A new United Nations report warning of a global extinction crisis identifies three parts of the world in particular danger: South America, Africa and parts of Asia.

But there are signs of struggle everywhere, notably in California. Though the state boasts some of the most diverse plant and animal life in the United States, ...Read more

AMD's tech to power new supercomputer for Department of Energy

AUSTIN, Texas -- Advanced Micro Devices announced Tuesday that its technology will help power a new supercomputer at Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2021.

The Frontier supercomputer is part of a contract the U.S. Department of Energy awarded to Cray Inc, a supercomputer manufacturer headquartered in Seattle. The total contract ...Read more

1 million species face extinction, as Trump seeks weaker protections

WASHINGTON -- Humans have pushed about 1 million varieties of plants and animals to the brink of extinction, according to a new United Nations Report that arrives as congressional Republicans and the Trump administration try to diminish endangered species protections in the United States.

Many of the species identified in the report could be ...Read more