Science & Technology



Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group/TNS

An ancient mound of shells has been mined in the San Francisco Bay for 100 years -- but the oyster's future is uncertain

For years now, if a commuter were to glance to the north side of the San Mateo Bridge, they might see a lonely barge, painted with the words “Lind Marine,” floating a few hundred yards from the shoreline.

A stray vessel in the San Francisco Bay is not an uncommon sight. But this particular barge is the last sign of one of California’s ...Read more

Seabirds that swallow ocean plastic waste have scarring in their stomachs – scientists have named this disease 'plasticosis'

As a conservation biologist who studies plastic ingestion by marine wildlife, I can count on the same question whenever I present research: “How does plastic affect the animals that eat it?”

This is one of the biggest questions in this field, and the verdict is still out. However, a recent study from the Adrift Lab, a group of ...Read more


Bowhead whales' migration patterns have shifted in the Arctic

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — With ice declining, bowhead whales of the Pacific Arctic are staying longer in the waters up north. A change in migration patterns could affect the bowheads' health and safety, as well as hunters' access to the subsistence resource.

Two Oregon State University marine mammal researchers, Angela Szesciorka and Kate Stafford,...Read more

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Editorial: Trains are huge polluters. California regulators should clean them up

Communities near railyards, ports and other freight corridors have long been hit hard by air pollution from dirty, old locomotives. These massive, track-mounted vehicles, which use a diesel generator to power electric motors and move rail cars carrying cargo or passengers, are major polluters, responsible for a growing share of the emissions ...Read more

Why does time change when traveling close to the speed of light? A physicist explains

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to

Why does time change when traveling close to the speed of light? – Timothy, age 11, Shoreview, Minnesota

Imagine you’re in a car driving across the country watching the ...Read more

Trump's unprecedented call for protests is the latest sign of his aim to degrade America's institutions

In a social media post on March 18, 2023, former President Donald Trump announced that he would be arrested on March 21 on charges stemming from an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg’s office is probing hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, which were allegedly made to spare candidate ...Read more

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images North America/TNS

All social media platforms have TikTok-like risks, transparency group says

The national-security and mental-health risks posed by TikTok are shared by other social media platforms, according to an advocacy group that’s urging Congress to also hold U.S. companies accountable ahead of high-profile testimony from TikTok’s chief executive officer.

The Tech Oversight Project, a nonprofit, says Meta Platforms Inc., ...Read more

IPCC report: Climate solutions exist, but humanity has to break from the status quo and embrace innovation

It’s easy to feel pessimistic when scientists around the world are warning that climate change has advanced so far, it’s now inevitable that societies will either transform themselves or be transformed. But as two of the authors of a recent international climate report, we also see reason for optimism.

The latest reports from the ...Read more

David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Missouri pollution is so bad it hurts other states. Power plants ordered to cut emissions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an order Wednesday which instructs Missouri, along with 22 other states, to reduce its air pollution levels.

The order, called the Good Neighbor Rule, focuses on reducing emissions of nitrous oxides from power plants and industrial facilities. These gasses directly ...Read more

Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

San Diego is preparing to enforce its long-awaited foam ban. Who might get a reprieve?

SAN DIEGO — With enforcement of San Diego's new ban on polystyrene foam food trays, pool toys and more scheduled to take effect April 1, city officials are scrambling to coach affected businesses, clarify the complex regulations and consider emergency waiver requests.

Such requests include one from a coalition of local grocery stores asking ...Read more

Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

Fla. county courts new ally in beach erosion battle: The White House

TAMPA, Fla. — Cookie Kennedy was out for a walk with a friend one day this winter when she felt a familiar dread creep up on her. As the pair strolled the north shore of Indian Rocks Beach, the small Pinellas County city where Kennedy is mayor, they were forced to weave their way through a thickening crowd of beachgoers. The land where they ...Read more

Estonia's e-governance revolution is hailed as a voting success – so why are some US states pulling in the opposite direction?

Estonia, a small country in northern Europe, reached a digital milestone when the country headed to the polls on March 5, 2023.

For the first time, over 50% of voters cast their ballots online in a national parliamentary election.

As a political science researcher who focuses on elections, I was in Estonia to learn about the ...Read more

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Chicago birders rejoice as Arctic gull makes rare visit to local beaches: 'This is about as good as it gets'

CHICAGO — It was 8:15 on a Saturday morning when Woody Goss’ phone started buzzing.

Annoyed, he checked the screen to find that one of his birding groups was puzzling over a small white gull with distinctive black markings. The bird looked like a Ross’s gull — a very rare visitor from the high Arctic that last stopped for an extended ...Read more

Those seeds clinging to your hiking socks may be from invasive plants – here's how to avoid spreading them to new locations

With spring settling in across the U.S. and days lengthening, many people are ready to spend more time outside. But after a walk outdoors, have you ever found seeds clinging to your clothes? Lodged in your socks and shoelaces? Perhaps tangled in your pet’s fur? While most of us don’t give these hitchhikers much thought, seeds and burrs ...Read more

Ken Wolter/Dreamstime/TNS

Xcel is cleaning up radioactive water spill at Minnesota plant

MINNEAPOLIS — A broken pipe at Xcel Energy's Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant leaked about 400,000 gallons of water containing radioactive tritium, and the utility is working to clean up the contaminated plume, state regulators said Thursday.

Both Xcel and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said there was no risk to drinking water from...Read more

Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Opponents of New Jersey wind farms say whale deaths should put project on pause for further studies

WILDWOOD, N.J. — They arrived at the beachfront parking lot early, holding up signs that showed burning wind turbines, sad whales, and caricatures of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

An acoustic song, “Save the Whales,” blared while a line formed to get into the Wildwoods Convention Center for U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s hearing: “An ...Read more

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Microsoft to bring OpenAI's chatbot technology to the office

Microsoft Corp.’s effort to overhaul its entire lineup with OpenAI technology has spread to one of the company’s oldest and best-known products: its Office apps.

The software, including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word, will begin using OpenAI’s new GPT-4 artificial intelligence platform, Microsoft said on Thursday. AI-powered ...Read more

As bird flu continues to spread in the US and worldwide, what's the risk that it could start a human pandemic? 4 questions answered

An outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza that started in 2021 has become the largest bird flu outbreak in history, both in the U.S. and worldwide. In the U.S. the virus has led to the destruction of millions of commercially raised chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, and has killed thousands of wild birds.

Many virologists are concerned ...Read more

Is the Western drought finally ending? That depends on where you look

After three years of extreme drought, the Western U.S. is finally getting a break. Mountain ranges are covered in deep snow, and water reservoirs in many areas are filling up following a series of atmospheric rivers that brought record rain and snowfall to large parts of the region.

Many people are looking at the snow and water levels...Read more

Idaho Department of Fish and Gam/TNS/TNS

How does Idaho count wolves? Critics say state uses 'smoke and mirrors,' misleads public

BOISE, Idaho — As a scruffy gray-and-brown wolf stood in a grassy Idaho clearing, it fixed its gaze straight ahead. Another dark wolf trotted down a muddy dirt road. A third stepped over gravelly terrain, its mouth open as it panted in the sun. Motion-triggered cameras, placed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, snapped photos of the ...Read more