Science & Technology



Justice Department opens probe of big tech companies over competition harm

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department said it's investigating whether technology giants are harming competition, stepping up its scrutiny of the industry's biggest companies.

The department's antitrust division will look at concerns that consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and online retail, ...Read more

Barr warns time's running out for companies to open encryption

WASHINGTON -- Attorney General William Barr issued a sharp warning that time may be running out for Facebook Inc. and other technology companies to come to a voluntary agreement providing law enforcement officials with access to the encrypted communications of their users.

"While we remain open to a cooperative approach, the time to achieve ...Read more

Huawei helped North Korea build its wireless network, report says

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. reportedly helped build North Korea's commercial wireless network, a revelation sure to increase scrutiny on a company already banned from doing business in the U.S.

According to unnamed sources and documents obtained by the Washington Post, Huawei worked with a Chinese state-owned firm ...Read more

How NASA's Apollo program turned military test pilots into lunar geologists

Step through the Cinder Lake Crater Field roughly 12 miles outside Flagstaff, Ariz., and you might encounter a white crystal-filled rock that has absolutely no business being there.

The chunks of anorthosite weren't deposited there by nature -- they were trucked in from the mountains around Pasadena. And the craters were carved not by meteors, ...Read more

It is official: Majority of Americans think women are just as competent as men, if not more so

Good news, ladies: Americans now think women are just as smart and just as competent as men.

And it gets better: Among the 25% of respondents who did perceive a gender difference in the smart category, most said that women were more intelligent and competent than men.

So says a scientific study published Thursday in the journal American ...Read more

Trump expressed concerns about Pentagon cloud-computing contract

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump recently demanded more information about how the Pentagon crafted a massive cloud-computing contract it's poised to award to Inc. or Microsoft Corp., in order to decide whether he should intervene.

The Defense Department is set to give the contract, worth as much as $10 billion over ten years, to ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Why your phone shouldn't go swimming

On a lake trip over July 4th weekend, my daughter's iPhone 7 Plus ended up taking a dive. It was found in about 3 feet of water 24 hours later, still working but with some permanent damage. The experience provided a few lessons.

Immersion in water used to ruin a cellphone. That's less true today because many newer phones are "water-resistant" (...Read more

Qualcomm gets support from Justice Department, others in antitrust appeal

The U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies have weighed in to support Qualcomm's efforts to put antitrust sanctions on hold pending appeal, claiming immediately imposing the stiff requirements could harm national security.

In a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals, the Department of Justice said it had an ...Read more

How the women of NASA made their mark on the space program

HOUSTON -- The Civil Rights Act had just passed and the slide rule was giving way to computers when Frances "Poppy" Northcutt arrived at NASA's Houston campus in 1965, eager to join the space race. But her job title stunned her: "computress."

Northcutt, then 22 and fresh out of the University of Texas at Austin with a mathematics degree, soon ...Read more

L.A.'s ShakeAlert earthquake warning app worked exactly as planned. That's the problem

LOS ANGELES -- More than 500,000 people have downloaded Los Angeles County's new ShakeAlertLA app to warn them of impending earthquakes.

So when the two strongest earthquakes in almost two decades hit Southern California this month, those residents were surprised by what they saw on their smartphones: nothing.

Officials were quick to explain ...Read more

Could the Apollo 11 moon landing be duplicated today? 'Lots of luck with that'

The passage of half a century has blurred many of the reasons that the United States was able to accomplish what seemed like science fiction: the July 20, 1969, landing of Apollo 11 on the moon.

The Apollo program's stunning technical success depended on a government leadership culture, an industrial organization, a tolerance for risk and a ...Read more

What to know about how Amazon sucks you in on Prime Day (and makes you buy stuff you don't want)

I didn't need the fancy dog treats.

Seriously, my dog has plenty of treats. She hates most of them. But I'd just bought her a new bowl, and Amazon told me that other people who bought the bowl also bought these delicious dog treats.

Obviously, I bought the fancy dog treats.

The psychology behind that decision will be on full display, on a ...Read more

Want to do something about global warming? Talk about it with your family and friends

There's the old saying that you should never discuss politics or religion in polite company. Nowadays, it seems climate change has joined that list.

Barely more than a third of Americans broach the subject often or even occasionally, according to a recent survey by researchers at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

All this not ...Read more

210,000-year-old skull in Greece is earliest sign of modern humans in Europe or Asia

Around 210,000 years ago, an early human died in southern Greece -- leaving scientists with the earliest evidence of human migration out of Africa and prompting them to reconsider the story of how our species spread throughout the planet.

A new analysis of that ancient person's skull suggests Homo sapiens left their birthplace in Africa about ...Read more

Malicious apps infect 25 million Android devices with “Agent Smith” malware

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Malicious apps from a campaign called "Agent Smith" have been downloaded to 25 million Android devices, according to new research by cyber-security firm Check Point.

The apps, most of them games, were distributed through third-party app stores by a Chinese group with a legitimate business helping Chinese developers promote ...Read more

Electric-airplane startup Zunum runs out of cash

SEATTLE -- Zunum, the Bothell, Wash.-based startup developing a small hybrid-electric airplane, has run out of cash, and much of the operation has collapsed.

The company promised to develop a family of small jets to serve lucrative short-hop routes with on-demand air-taxi services. A graphic produced by the company showed three different ...Read more

A retired teacher found some seahorses off Long Beach. Then he built a secret world for them

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Rog Hanson emerges from the coastal waters, pulls a diving regulator out of his mouth and pushes a scuba mask down around his neck.

"Did you see her?" he says. "Did you see Bathsheba?"

On this quiet Wednesday morning, a paddle boarder glides silently through the surf off Long Beach. Two stick-legged whimbrels plunge their...Read more

As VICIS ventures into youth football, teams and parents are forced to confront the cost

SEATTLE -- Snuggled near Amazon's shimmering South Lake Union campus is a nondescript, white, single-storied building. Inside, another potential disruptor is at work meticulously designing and relentlessly testing its technology with mechanisms used by the U.S. Army (for which it manufactures helmets) and the NFL (for which it is better known ...Read more

Women played crucial roles in the space program. Yet we don't know much about them. Why?

SEATTLE -- Edith Gustan's name appears in the fourth paragraph of a Seattle Times article from 1970, a skinny strip of text above a nearly full-page ad for Sears' Mother's Day sale that advertises, among other things, "incontestably female ... cardigans!"

Gustan was a biologist and longtime Boeing employee who conducted research on subjects at ...Read more

Courts grapple with Amazon's responsibility for dangerous products

A tragic accident and a faulty rhinestone dog collar are at the center of a court drama that could have far-reaching effects on how products are sold online.

In 2015, Heather Oberdorf took her dog for a walk outside her Pennsylvania home, attaching a retractable leash to a collar she bought from Amazon seller The Furry Gang. The collar broke ...Read more


Social Connections


The Barn Dennis the Menace Signe Wilkinson Darrin Bell Arctic Circle Gary Varvel