Science & Technology



Case closed: Oldest known cave art proves Neanderthals were just as sophisticated as humans

A red hand stencil. A series of lines that look like a ladder. A collection of red dots.

These images, painted in ocher on the walls of three separate caves in Spain, are the oldest-known examples of cave art ever found. And new research suggests that all three were created not by humans, but by our ancient cousins the Neanderthals.

In a paper...Read more

An amateur astronomer testing a new camera happens to catch a supernova as it's being born

Peering at a distant galaxy, an amateur astronomer in Argentina managed to capture a star in the act of going supernova. The chances of this discovery, scientists say, are 1-in-a-million at best.

This lucky find, described in the journal Nature, offers the first images of the sudden brightening caused by a shock in the star's core -- a process ...Read more

How the Royals are using sports science to gain an advantage

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On most days this spring, Whit Merrifield sets his alarm clock for around 6 a.m. One hour later, he's already on site at Royals camp, preferring a workout in the morning and a protein-laden breakfast inside the clubhouse kitchen before the day officially starts. His routine is simple.

Merrifield, the Royals' second baseman, ...Read more

Brad Keywell's Uptake brings in GE Power executive to help lead the data mining startup

CHICAGO -- Uptake Technologies is bringing in a former General Electric executive to serve as president of the data analytics startup.

Ganesh Bell, who served as chief digital officer at GE Power, starts in his new role at Uptake on Monday, spokeswoman Abby Hunt said. Bell will report to CEO and co-founder Brad Keywell and will be responsible ...Read more

Uber introduces Express Pool service, which sounds kind of like a bus

LOS ANGELES -- First, Uber framed itself as an alternative to taxis. Now the San Francisco ride-hailing company is rolling out a new service that sounds kind of like a bus.

The ride-hailing company is introducing Express Pool to several cities this week. It's a lower-cost service for passengers who are willing to share rides with strangers and ...Read more

Get ready for the era of hypersonic flight — at five times the speed of sound

The sleek aircraft, really more rocket than plane, dropped from the wing of a B-52 before shooting through the sky above Point Mugu Sea Range off the California coast, leaving a long, white contrail in its wake.

The unmanned X-51A hit Mach 4.8, almost five times the speed of sound, with help from a solid rocket booster. Then the Boeing Co. ...Read more

Helpware: This column is guaranteed to put you to sleep

Technology is all about functionality. I've always marveled at the mechanical pencil, not to mention the replaceable eraser head. There are sound machines that help block out a neighbor's barking dog. And don't forget the electric toothbrush.

And then there is MyPillow.

If you watch TV, especially cable channels, you've probably seen Mike ...Read more

Tech Q&A: E-mailing photos with no loss of quality

Q: The last Windows 10 upgrade wiped out one of my favorite features in my Outlook 2010 e-mail program. Before the upgrade, I could select several pictures to e-mail and have Outlook automatically resize the images to fit the storage capacity of an e-mail. After the upgrade, the resizing option quit working. That means I can't e-mail multiple ...Read more

Amazon wristbands could track workers' hand movements: 'Employers are increasingly treating their employees like robots'

As Amazon continues its quest to shrink delivery times and add warehouses in Illinois, the e-commerce behemoth is eyeing technology that could track the movements of its workers' hands as they fulfill orders.

The company recently won patents for wristbands that could be used as part of an inventory system, communicating with equipment in ...Read more

Chicago winters don't bug these insects, thanks to that natural antifreeze

A bonus of the sometimes brutal Midwest winters is the absence of creepy crawlies that take a bite out us during the summer months.

But in forest preserves that ring the city and suburbs and along the banks of outlying creeks and ponds, a small group of bugs not only survive the deep freeze, they thrive. Mother Nature has given them a vital ...Read more

Many of the chemicals in LA's smog come from products like soap and paint, not cars

LOS ANGELES--When it comes to air quality, the products you use to smell nice or scrub your kitchen could be just as bad as the car you drive. A new study of the air around Los Angeles finds that consumer and industrial products now rival tailpipe emissions in creating atmospheric pollutants.

The findings, published Thursday in the journal ...Read more

The much-maligned flu shot has reduced the risk of serious illness this year by 36 percent, CDC says

This year's flu shot is far from perfect, but it's certainly better than nothing, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preliminary data from five sites around the country suggest that people who got vaccinated this flu season reduced their risk of getting a serious case of influenza by 36 percent.

That...Read more

Electricity-generating tinted windows reveal a sustainable future

BERKELEY, Calif. -- When it comes to a sustainable future, scientists aren't seeing clearly.

Researchers have developed a new type of tinted "smart window" that generates electricity when darkened.

The windows "can be automatically converted into a solar cell to generate electricity for us," said Peidong Yang, a chemistry professor at UC ...Read more

Weed won't cause brain damage the way alcohol will, study finds

It's a common stereotype that people who smoke weed are a bit foggy-headed and missing a few brain cells.

But a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that alcohol is much more damaging to your brain than marijuana. In fact, the study -- which was published in the journal Addiction -- suggests that weed use doesn...Read more

In soil-dwelling bacteria, scientists find a new weapon to fight drug-resistant superbugs

It's a new class of antibiotic that promises to live up to its rough Latin translation: killer of bad guys.

In a report published recently in the journal Nature Microbiology, researchers describe a never-before-seen antibiotic agent that vanquished several strains of multidrug-resistant bacteria. In rats, the agent -- which the researchers ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to recognize online scams

Q: I'm having e-mail problems. Several times a day I get "mail delivery failure" notices for e-mails that I never sent. I've also been getting e-mails in foreign languages that I can't read. Some of these e-mails don't contain any message, or the attachments don't make any sense.

Is someone using my e-mail address to send messages to other ...Read more

Bitcoin? Cryptocurrency? Here's Mark Cuban's view of the new digital money

Next season Mark Cuban says you'll be able to buy Dallas Mavericks tickets with bitcoin.

But how that will work, whether his plan includes all of the embryonic crypto market or if cryptocurrency will even have value by then, remains to be seen.

Bitcoin is a decentralized payment network using completely digital money. It's a user-to-user ...Read more

Helpware: Want to save money on your taxes? Hire an accountant

TurboTax is the most expensive $100 software I've ever used.

Last year, I prepared my straightforward personal and business taxes with TurboTax, and then I gave the same income and expense data to an accountant. He discovered that I made multiple errors when I input data into TurboTax; he also discovered that I paid more than $1,600 to the IRS ...Read more

Californians trust tech industry but not social media: survey

Californians trust the tech industry more than any other -- yet they think it needs to be regulated, and they blame social media for fake news, a new survey says.

The annual trust barometer by marketing consultancy firm Edelman shows that Golden State residents consider social media companies to be in a different category from Apple, Google, ...Read more

California legislator introduces bill to regulate how Silicon Valley uses your data

As Silicon Valley companies collect an ever-growing amount of data about their users, a Bay Area-based state legislator wants to create a California regulatory agency to protect personal information.

Assemblymember Marc Levine, a Marin County Democrat, early this week introduced Assembly Bill 2182, which would create the California Data ...Read more