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Research suggests another way Neanderthals were like us: They could start their own fires

Humans may not have been the only hominids who knew how to start a fire long ago. New research suggests that as early as 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals wielded this power as well.

The work, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, provides new evidence that Neanderthals may have created flames-on-demand by striking a small piece of pyrite ...Read more

Johnson and Johnson picks Penn for research node

Work is underway on a "JPOD" telecom "networking hub" that is set to open this fall, connecting University of Pennsylvania researchers and area start-ups to funders and scientists at Johnson & Johnson, the New Jersey-based drug and medical-supply giant. All this networking will occur at the school's Pennovation Works business incubator at 34th ...Read more

Amazon gets flak from Little People over 'dwarf-tossing' robot patent

To this country's people of unusually small stature, dwarf tossing is an insult and, according to Little People of America, "objectifies the entire dwarf community."

That didn't stop Amazon inventors from using a hypothetical dwarf figurine to illustrate the operations of a newly patented warehouse-robotics system that "tosses" inventory items ...Read more

Helpware: A clean night's sleep

If your neighbors in the next county complain about your snoring, chances are good that you're among the estimated 22 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea.

Despite its depiction as "ZZZZ's" in comic strips, snoring is no laughing matter. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems, diabetes and ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to store iPhone photos safely

Q: My friend's iPhone 5 and my iPhone SE keep telling us that we don't have enough memory capacity to store more photos. So, we reluctantly delete a large number of photos, but still get the warning. What can we do?

-- Jo-Ida Hansen, St. Paul, Minn.

A: There's no need to lose photos that you like. If your iPhone is low on storage space, you ...Read more

How to protect yourself from 'spear phishing' hacking technique used by Russians

As sophisticated as the scheme was by Russian intelligence agents to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, they used a simple hacking technique, among others, to infiltrate the email accounts of Democratic operatives, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's latest indictment. And that technique -- known as "spear phishing" -- ...Read more

$1M award for Salk scientist Janelle Ayres, who befriends our microbial enemies

SAN DIEGO -- Janelle Ayres, a rising star at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, has collected her second honor in a month -- one which brings $1 million to fund her microbial research.

The grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation will allow Ayres to study alternative ways to cope with dangerous bacterial and viral infections. ...Read more

Microsoft and Walmart signed a broad, five-year deal for the retailer to use Azure cloud services

Walmart and Microsoft have signed a broad five-year cloud-computing deal as both companies try to find a way around Amazon in the race to the top.

Walmart will use Azure, Microsoft's cloud-computing system, and Microsoft 365, the Redmond company's suite of office software on the cloud, to run the retailer's internal operations, power its ...Read more

Jeff Bezos is now the richest man ever in modern history — and here's how Silicon Valley billionaires compare

With his net worth topping $150 billion, Jeff Bezos is now the wealthiest person in modern history.

That's according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which as of Tuesday showed that the Amazon CEO is more than $55 billion ahead of the world's second-richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose net worth stands at $95.3 billion.

...Read more

Surprise! While hunting for the elusive Planet X, scientists discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter

While hunting for the elusive Planet X, astronomers have discovered 12 additional moons around Jupiter, bringing the grand total of the planet's known satellites up to a whopping 79.

The new moons are all relatively small -- between 1 and 3 kilometers (.6 to 1.8 miles) across, which is likely why they haven't been spotted before, scientists ...Read more

They worked at Apple, Amazon and Lyft. Now they're working to get you stoned

For much of her career, Natasha Pecor followed a path well-worn by tech workers. She built her reputation with her first employer in the industry, earning the title head of platform at Yelp. Then she jumped to one of the giants, Amazon, where she worked as a product manager.

Most recently she parlayed that experience into a leadership role at a...Read more

Microsoft calls on Congress to regulate controversial facial recognition technology

Microsoft wants Congress to regulate facial recognition technology as concerns grow that it could be used to invade privacy and improperly monitor people.

Some civil-liberties groups and employees have called on tech companies to restrict the use of facial recognition, but Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a lengthy blog post Friday that ...Read more

Big data playing bigger role as airlines personalize service

You're settling into your window seat, bound for a summer vacation, when the flight attendant wishes you a happy birthday or commiserates about the lousy weather that delayed the last leg of your trip.

It might feel like the flight crew has been scouring your recent social media posts, but at some airlines, that wouldn't be necessary.

Carriers...Read more

Trump's 'space force' will guard US from above, NASA chief says

NASA's administrator is a strong defender of President Donald Trump's proposals for space -- including an armed force and a permanent presence on the moon -- and says he wants Americans to realize how much their well-being depends on what happens far above Earth.

"Every banking transaction requires a GPS signal for timing," Jim Bridenstine said...Read more

Otzi the Iceman was not a strict adherent to the Paleo diet, study finds

If you were thinking that the ancient Alpine traveler known as Otzi -- and often known simply as Iceman -- scraped by on a diet of foraged grasses and berries, you'd be very wrong.

A comprehensive new study of his stomach contents reveals that Otzi, who perished roughly 5,300 years ago on a mountain in the Eastern Alps of Italy, died with a ...Read more

Data software firm Snowflake lands on Microsoft's Azure cloud

Snowflake, a California cloud-computing data software company, has launched its products on Microsoft Azure, another boost for the Redmond company as it competes with Amazon's popular cloud service.

Snowflake CEO and former longtime Microsoft executive Bob Muglia made the announcement Thursday, noting that more clients have been asking in the ...Read more

For the first time, scientists harness 'ghost particles' to study the universe and its black holes

Astronomers from around the world announced a major discovery on Thursday that could help scientists better understand the birth of the universe and some of the most exotic objects in it, including black holes.

By linking a massive detector buried under the South Pole, a command center at Pennsylvania State University, advanced satellites, and ...Read more

After years of searching, scientists finally trace high-energy neutrinos to a blazar

Using a neutrino detector made of Antarctic ice, astronomers have for the first time pinpointed the source of a handful of high-energy neutrinos from far beyond our galaxy: a powerful blazar shining like a beacon from nearly 4 billion light-years away.

The extragalactic neutrinos and their origins, described in two papers in the journal Science...Read more

Twitter accounts are about to lose a bunch of followers

Twitter accounts with legions of fishy followers are about to take a hit. As part of its efforts to fight disinformation, the company announced Wednesday that locked accounts will soon stop being counted as followers.

Accounts that boast high numbers of followers are often seen as more credible. Twitter Inc.'s move is designed to chip away at ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Keep malware threats and operating systems in perspective

Q: I read your column about protecting Windows XP from malware (see tinyurl.com/yapl8out). I would like to point out that XP users are not just putting themselves at risk. They are endangering everyone else by using PCs that can be taken over and used in botnets (groups of malware-infected computers used to attack websites, steal data or send ...Read more