Science & Technology



Trump administration tightens rules for federal scientists talking to reporters

SAN FRANCISCO -- A new directive from the Trump administration instructs federal scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey to get approval from its parent agency before agreeing to most interview requests from reporters, according to employees and emails from officials with the Department of the Interior and USGS.

USGS employees who spoke with...Read more

After years of searching, scientists can finally account for all the normal matter in the universe

Astronomers using a powerful quasar to study an enormous invisible tendril full of superheated gas say they may have finally discovered the universe's "missing" detectable matter.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, solve a decades-old mystery and could help scientists further probe the structure and evolution of the cosmos.

All of ...Read more

Helpware: A tale of three 'ergonomic' mice

Aside from a flickering monitor, there is nothing quite as irksome as a balky mouse. The term "ergonomic" is used freely for mice these days, but decidedly many are not. And those that are truly ergonomic will help protect your hand and wrist from injuries without having to pay an arm and a leg.

I tested three different mice that call ...Read more

Q&A: The long-lasting health effects of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border

Researchers have long looked upon wars, famines and mass migrations as grim but important opportunities to understand how adversity affects children's health.

They've culled the experiences of orphans warehoused in government facilities, Jewish children dispatched to foreign families ahead of a Nazi invasion, and young refugees fleeing ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to avoid browser hijacking

Q: I read that I could get better protection against hackers by switching to an independent internet connection service, such as Google Public DNS, Cloudflare or Quad9. What do you think?

-- Bob Lommel, Minnetonka, Minn.

A: There are some security benefits, but they fall short of what's needed.

The hacking you refer to (called DNS hijacking) ...Read more

Let Amazon in your house? Get mail at your desk? Here's how to beat 'porch pirates'

You did your research, shopped around and finally found what you wanted online. In a few days, it'll be yours.

The tracking website says it's been delivered. But it's not there. Maybe it's been stolen.

It's easy for so-called "porch pirates" to snatch packages from your front door or apartment building stoop, and amid the rise of online retail...Read more

'Pod racer' meets reality? KU aviation team advances in Boeing competition

By the end of the year, a team of students from the University of Kansas hope to have a small working model of a personal helicopter-like aircraft.

After that comes the full-size version.

"So when you see a pod racer on the silver screen, that's a Hollywood fantasy," said KU professor Ron Barrett-Gonzalez. " ... But if you made a specification...Read more

Curiosity rover's findings on Mars' organic molecules offer tantalizing clues in the search for life on the planet

Over nearly six years roaming the surface of Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover has detected organic molecules that offer a taste of what an ancient life-friendly red planet might have looked like. Now, the rover's pulled together a veritable feast.

The discovery of a wide variety of organic molecules and the detection of a seasonal methane pattern -...Read more

Scientists discover world's first known manta ray nursery

SAN DIEGO -- The University of California, San Diego has discovered the world's first known nursery for manta rays, an idyllic spot in the Gulf of Mexico where the "gentle giants" approach divers along colorful reefs that seem drawn from the imagination of Walt Disney.

An exploration team led by Josh Stewart, who is finishing up his doctorate ...Read more

Foods that are both fatty and sweet can hijack the part of the brain that regulates food consumption

It may have taken thousands of generations of hunting, gathering, farming and cooking to get here. But in the end, the genius of humankind has combined fats and carbohydrates to produce such crowning culinary glories as the doughnut, fettuccine Alfredo, nachos and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

It goes without saying that these ...Read more

All around the world, humans are forcing other mammals to be more active at night

Human encroachment is pushing wild mammals all over the globe to increasingly become creatures of the night, moving their daytime activities toward the darker hours, a new study finds.

This day-to-night shift, described in the journal Science, could have a host of implications for the health and survival of these species -- and the structure of...Read more

Microsoft may be aiming for Amazon with cashier-less shopping technology

SEATTLE -- Microsoft may be gearing up to challenge Amazon on its home turf -- the world of retail shopping -- by developing cashier-less technology for grocery stores.

Six people told Reuters news service that the Redmond software company is testing technology that will track what items people pick up while shopping, something that could ...Read more

Before dinosaurs, these creatures ruled the earth

RALEIGH, N.C. -- You wander through a museum, glance at some dinosaur bones and think that one skull looks a little funny. You've discovered a new species.

Sure, that sounds unlikely. But that's what happened when a North Carolina paleontologist discovered two new species of protomammals, mammal-like reptiles that existed millions of years ...Read more

E3 expo highlights virtual reality's never-ending challenge: to get real

LOS ANGELES -- When Elizabeth Ching took off her headset, she was panting.

She had just finished playing a new virtual reality boxing game called "Creed: Rise to Glory" at E3, the nation's biggest video game convention, and she'd knocked her computer opponent out cold. With the exception of a few boxing classes she'd taken, this was the closest...Read more

NASA engineers hope Opportunity rover will sleep through continent-sized dust storm on Mars

LOS ANGELES -- NASA's Opportunity rover is incommunicado after being hit by a severe, continent-scale dust storm on Mars, space agency officials said Wednesday -- and they're not sure exactly when they'll hear from it again.

Officials say the rover has probably fallen asleep after being unable to generate enough energy from its solar panels due...Read more

Study: In 25 years, West Antarctica tripled its rate of ice loss

The Antarctic ice sheet lost nearly 3 trillion metric tons of ice from 1992 to 2017 and tripled its rate of loss over that time for West Antarctica, according to an international collaboration involving some 80 scientists.

The finding published in Nature reveals that Antarctica's ice is shrinking at an unprecedented rate and would mean an even ...Read more

Santa Monica tells scooter companies: OK, you can stay — but there are new rules

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The motorized scooters are staying in Santa Monica -- at least for a while.

Santa Monica's City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve a 16-month pilot program that will allow scooter rental companies such as Bird and Lime to continue operating in the city, as long as they meet certain conditions.

Under the ...Read more

Report: FAA stifling commercial drone use

The Federal Aviation Administration is standing in the way of the public's best interest when it comes to commercial drone activities, according to a report commissioned by the agency and published this week.

The problem, as identified by a 14-person brain trust tasked to recommend a better way forward, is that the FAA's rigorous, safety-first ...Read more

Uber Eats has grown into Texas' most-used food delivery app

Maybe it's the same simplicity as found in its flagship ride-hailing app, or maybe it's the brand recognition. Whatever it is, Uber Eats' share within the food delivery industry is overtaking competitors.

Two years after launching a standalone phone app, Uber Eats has become Texas' most popular on-demand food delivery service and continues to ...Read more

What causes 'chemobrain'? It's time for neuroscientists to get serious about finding out, experts say

At some point in their treatment for cancer, somewhere between 17 percent and 75 percent of patients with malignancies that don't affect the central nervous system report the sensation that a mental fog has set in.

For months or years after their hair has grown back, the exhaustion has lifted and the medical appointments taper off, the "new ...Read more