Science & Technology



Feds seek expanded habitat protection as salmon, orcas battle climate change, habitat degradation

SEATTLE -- Most of the outer coast of Washington, Oregon and California would become protected habitat for southern resident orcas under a federal proposal released Wednesday.

The new designation, if approved would greatly expand the area considered "critical" for the survival of the endangered orcas that frequent Puget Sound. Since 2006, the ...Read more

Facebook launches Portal TV in new streaming television push

Facebook on Wednesday took another step in its efforts to gain a piece of the home video-communications market by taking the wraps off of Portal TV, a new set-top box for streaming TV programs and video chats.

In a company blog post, Facebook said that Portal TV will cost $149; they'll be shipped Nov. 5. The device will include streaming TV ...Read more

Facebook reveals how its content-dispute final-appeals board will work

Facebook on Tuesday revealed how it plans to handle disputes over its content decisions, detailing how its purportedly independent "Oversight Board" will operate.

Facebook users who object to a content decision by the company or the algorithms it uses to approve or remove content, and who have exhausted appeals, will be able to request a review...Read more

Tech Q&A: Is that e-warning a scam? Here are clues

Q: I received what appears to be a scam e-mail from Computer Help Security & Services. It urged me to renew my membership or call their telephone number to cancel (and thus avoid an impending $300 renewal charge to my account). I've never done business with this company, but is it possible they have my credit card number? Should I just delete ...Read more

Amazon's Alexa Answers raises questions about information quality and transparency issues

SEATTLE -- Amazon's new Alexa Answers program, which encourages unpaid volunteers to fill in gaps in its databases to better respond to user queries, raises a host of questions about information quality and transparency in the fast-evolving voice computing era.

Many people make purchases, control home automation systems, play music and ask ...Read more

Neighbors are using these smart cameras to track strangers' cars — and yours

LOS ANGELES -- On a quiet road south of Ventura Boulevard, two cameras on a pole watch over the road, facing opposite directions.

A block away, another brace of cameras sit sentry. Together, they constantly film the two points of entry to a closed loop of public streets in Sherman Oaks.

Nearby, on a dual-screen setup in the basement of his ...Read more

Scientists taught rats to play hide and seek

Ready or not, here they come: Scientists who played hide and seek with rats found that their furry subjects seemed to love the game -- and they were remarkably good at it.

The unconventional experiment, described in Friday's edition of the journal Science, sheds light on the sophisticated sense of play in these tiny rodents and the complex ...Read more

Villanova members of 'black hole' team earn share of $3 million Breakthrough Prize

What do you get when you divide $3 million by 347? A Villanova University senior is about to find out.

Actually, this student can probably do the math in his head.

Jadyn Anczarski, who is majoring in physics, learned this month that he and assistant professor Joey Neilsen each will get a share of the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in ...Read more

Groupon could be looking to acquire Yelp amid shareholder discontent

CHICAGO -- Groupon, the struggling Chicago-based deals site, could be eyeing the acquisition of online review site Yelp.

Shareholders are unhappy with Groupon's financial performance and stock price, and a potential acquisition could boost the value and earnings potential of both companies, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing ...Read more

Uber air taxis: Just a flight of fancy for now, but 'it's a future fun possibility'

CHICAGO -- Uber Technologies is headed to the top of Chicago's Old Post Office -- and, someday, maybe even higher.

The company's top executives were in town Monday to discuss the company's 463,000-square-foot lease in the massive building along the Chicago River, where the Uber Freight shipping business will be headquartered.

San Francisco-...Read more

Can San Diego's Brain Corp. become the Microsoft of self-driving robots?

SAN DIEGO -- Ten years ago computational neuroscientist Dr. Eugene Izhikevich walked away from a successful career in academia to co-found Brain Corp. with the ambitious goal of building artificial brains for robots.

These days when the Russian-born Izhikevich lands late at San Diego International Airport, he sometimes sees the fruits of that ...Read more

Lyft to add more safety features for riders and drivers

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After facing lawsuits and criticisms related to the safety of its riders, Lyft said it will implement new measures designed to improve the security of its customers and its drivers.

In a blog post Tuesday, Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer said that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company will now partner with ...Read more

Momentum grows for a digital watchdog to regulate tech giants

WASHINGTON -- With Big Tech accused of everything from decimating industries to abusing privacy, calls are growing for the creation of a federal regulator.

Presidential candidates, consumer advocates and some antitrust enforcers have focused on breaking up Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google -- or at least ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to end or prevent online hacking harassment

Q: Over the last three years, I've been the victim of harassment via the internet and cellphone calls. I've reported it to the police and the FBI, but they haven't been able to stop it. Do you have any idea what I can do about the following:

-- My husband and I use Wi-Fi to access the internet on our iPhones, but I'm having trouble logging in ...Read more

Uber sacks hundreds of workers from engineering and product units: report

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Francisco ride-hailing giant Uber has laid off 435 workers from its engineering and product units as it seeks to create "lean" teams, according to a new report.

The company, which last month announced a $5 billion loss for this year's second quarter, has shown the door to 265 people on the engineering team and 170 on the...Read more

Apple sets $4.99 a month price for Apple TV+ streaming service

Apple on Tuesday kicked off its annual holiday season push by revealing more details about how it intends to make a splash in the streaming television market with its upcoming Apple TV+ subscription service.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Apple TV+ will make its debut Nov. 1, with some original programming and other TV shows and movies. In a move ...Read more

That muffled voice on the other side of the McDonald's drive-thru could be replaced by a robot

CHICAGO -- McDonald's on Tuesday announced plans to acquire a voice technology company to help speed up ordering at the drive thru, the latest in a series of high-tech investments by the fast-food chain as it strives to improve wait times and draw customers to its restaurants.

McDonald's declined to disclose the terms of its agreement to buy ...Read more

Even gun owners agree on measures that would reduce gun violence, survey shows

Substantial majorities of Americans -- both those who own firearms and those who do not -- support measures that would require first-time gun buyers and those wishing to carry a concealed weapon to demonstrate they can safely own and handle a gun, according to a new study.

In a national survey conducted in January, researchers from Johns ...Read more

Apple, Foxconn broke Chinese labor law to build latest iPhones

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Inc. and manufacturing partner Foxconn violated a Chinese labor rule by using too many temporary staff members in the world's largest iPhone factory, the companies confirmed following a report that also alleged harsh working conditions.

The claims came from China Labor Watch, which issued the report ahead of an Apple ...Read more

Facebook hit with antitrust investigation by states' attorneys general

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Facebook is under antitrust investigation by the attorneys general of eight states and Washington, D.C., the second such probe it is facing amid a growing backlash against U.S. tech giants.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday that she is leading the investigation.

"Even the largest social media platform...Read more