Science & Technology



What the DNA of the Zika virus tells scientists about its rapid spread

A family tree can reveal a lot, especially if it belongs to a microscopic troublemaker with a knack for genetic shape-shifting.

DNA sleuthing can outline the route an emerging pathogen might take once it makes landfall in the Americas and encounters a wholly unprotected population. It's a modern take on old-fashioned public health surveillance ...Read more

Whales are the largest animals on Earth; now we know why they got so big

You have the privilege of sharing the planet with the largest animal that ever lived on Earth.

The great blue whale, which can be found in every ocean around the globe, is bigger than any dinosaur you've seen in a museum.

It can weigh as much as 24 elephants, and can grow up to two school buses in length.

Its jawbone is as big as a telephone ...Read more

Here's one tally of the losses from WannaCry cyberattack

WASHINGTON -- A digital worm powered by stolen National Security Agency software caused $1 billion in damages when it infected hundreds of thousands of computers in less than a week, a Florida digital security company says. And new attacks may be in the offing.

Hackers unleashed the worm, dubbed WannaCry, on May 12. Some 200,000 to 300,000 ...Read more

Miami-Dade braces for mosquito season with new battle plan

MIAMI -- A year after getting caught off-guard by the first outbreak of the Zika virus in the continental U.S., Miami-Dade County aims to enter this mosquito season armed and ready.

The small mosquito-fighting division has been shored up with $25 million -- most of it covered by the state -- and tripled in size to 59 positions, including a ...Read more

The Big One is going to happen, no matter how much you want to deny it, California scientists say

SEOUL, South Korea -- Fear of earthquakes is part of life in California.

But people experience this anxiety in different ways. For some, the fear prompts them to take steps to protect themselves: strapping down heavy furniture, securing kitchen cabinets and retrofitting homes and apartments.

For others, the fear prompts denial -- a willful ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Streaming TV and the need for speed

Q: I'm thinking about dropping cable TV but keeping cable internet service for streaming TV.

Right now, the speed of my Comcast Xfinity X1 Triple Play internet service is 87 megabits.

That's enough to support a mesh Wi-Fi system, in which three Eero Wi-Fi devices create a single wireless network throughout my home, as well as three wired ...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: Cocktail time? App sends a bartender at your behest

While most people won't find themselves in the position of needing to secure a bartender on short notice, those who do can turn to on-demand alcohol delivery company Saucey to send one straight away.

This week, the startup added push-button bartender service to its inventory, meaning amateur party planners or corporate hosts can book a ...Read more

Stop lying to your 4-year-old, new Stanford study says

Pretty much every parent of a young child has told the occasional white lie to preserve his or her sanity. You might, for example, say "I went to the bank" and leave out the fact that you also stopped for frozen yogurt to avoid the inevitable meltdown that would follow the realization of a missed treat.

Harmless, right? Maybe not.

According to...Read more

Scientific research would suffer under Trump's budget, and that's bad for the economy, experts say

How does science fare under President Donald Trump's proposed budget?

Not too well.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, estimated that the budget released Tuesday morning represented a 16.8 percent decrease in overall funding for scientific research compared with the current budget.

The proposed cuts include:

--...Read more

Helpware: System Mechanic gives your PC a tune-up

If Norton Utilities is the gold standard in PC maintenance software, Iolo's System Mechanic gets the silver. It's a contender but lacks Norton's name recognition and reputation. Still, System Mechanic boasts many of the same features as Norton Utilities and it's good at what it's supposed to do.

System Mechanic, which costs $50 and is now ...Read more

With its wireless broadband, Webpass is cord cutters' gateway to the internet

SAN DIEGO -- Cord cutting has taken a bite out of the number of pay-TV subscribers for cable and telecommunications companies.

But it hasn't significantly reduced high-speed internet subscriptions -- in part because there aren't many alternatives for over-the-top streamers.

Webpass, now owned by Google, wants to be that alternative -- even ...Read more

Venture capitalist spends time browsing Nextdoor

SAN FRANCISCO -- The lauded Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Gurley who, along with his partners at Benchmark, was an early investor in companies such as Instagram, Uber, Stitch Fix and Snap Inc., spent a recent afternoon scrolling through the neighborhood social network, Nextdoor, studying the ways people use the service.

As a 51-year-...Read more

Jury awards T-Mobile $4.8M in trade-secrets case against Huawei

SEATTLE -- A robot named "Tappy" has finally had its day in court, and emerged victorious. Well, its creator -- T-Mobile -- did.

A long-running lawsuit that T-Mobile filed in 2014 against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei concluded in federal court in Seattle this week. A jury decided that Huawei misappropriated trade secrets belonging to T-...Read more

Cybersecurity experts gather to try to prevent future attacks like WannaCry

An entire team of experts works at the Mayo Clinic to ensure that 25,000 networked medical devices -- everything from digital cameras to proton beam therapy systems -- are hardened against cyberattacks like the WannaCry worm that affected hospitals from England to China last week.

It's no easy job, but -- knock on wood -- there have been no ...Read more

Rising sea levels could mean twice as much flood risk in coastal cities

The effects of rising oceans on coastal flooding may be even worse than we thought. Scientists have found that a mere 10 to 20 centimeters, or about 4 to 8 inches, of sea-level rise -- which is expected by 2050 -- will more than double the frequency of serious flooding events in many parts of the globe, including along the California coastline. ...Read more

Facebook fined $122 million by EU over WhatsApp acquisition

Facebook was fined $122 million for giving European Union antitrust regulators misleading or incorrect information about its acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.

The fine is one of the largest that Facebook has received from an antitrust regulator, but officials said Thursday it also sends a warning message to other companies.

"...Read more

Facebook launches war on clickbait headlines

Facebook on Thursday launched an assault designed to crack down on clickbait headlines, in a push to banish "fake news" from its news feeds.

"People tell us they don't like stories that are misleading, sensational or spammy," Facebook stated in a blog post on it site. "That includes clickbait headlines that are designed to get attention and ...Read more

Their code was used to hack Sony and create 'WannaCry.' Meet the 'Lazarus Group'

On Feb. 4, 2016, as employees left work to enjoy their weekends, the central bank of Bangladesh began firing off dozens of transfer orders to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, asking to remove money from its accounts -- almost $1 billion.

It was a heist. The robbers hadn't walked in with guns or tunneled into a vault to get the money. They'...Read more

UM researchers find new way to measure hurricanes: 'gravity waves'

MIAMI--Hurricane forecasters may have a new tool in solving the vexing problem of understanding storm intensity: gravity waves.

Gravity waves are produced when air moving around the atmosphere gets pushed from one place to another. In a hurricane, those waves can come in quick, short bursts as powerful thunderstorms around the storm's eye wall ...Read more

What is that dog trying to say? Ask its owner

When it comes to interpreting dog growls, some humans are surprisingly good at taking the hint, a new study shows. Scientists testing how people categorized different types of natural growls found that people could largely tell playful vocalizations from threatening ones -- though women and dog owners seemed to do better than their peers.

The ...Read more


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