Science & Technology



Wall Street banks get a surprise: Investors like virtual events

When the pandemic hit in March, Wall Street banks scrambled to switch their long-standing investor conferences to a virtual format. They're now luring more people than traditional conferences -- perhaps obvious given how easy it is to log on -- but the popularity is even surprising people who organize them.

More than 5,000 people logged on to a...Read more

Tech Q&A: How being online renews Office 365 PC apps

Q: In your column about Microsoft Office 365 (see, you said the user "must go online at least once every 30 days or your PC-based software will stop working." What do you mean by go online? Just connect to the internet? Use the Microsoft Edge browser? Update my Office 365 software?

-- Lauren Tiffany, Iowa City, Iowa

A: As...Read more

Branson's Virgin Orbit fails in attempted rocket launch from 747

Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit said a crucial test of its two-stage, orbital rocket system, designed to rival that of Elon Musk's SpaceX for satellite launches, ended the mission shortly after releasing the rocket from the plane.

A Boeing Co. 747, named Cosmic Girl, took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Monday...Read more

Apple, Google release template for COVID-19 contact tracing apps

Apple and Google on Wednesday released the first phase of a template that would allow software developers to build apps to assist public health authorities in tracking the spread of COVID-19.

Apple and Google executives told reporters that they had refined several features of the template after extensive consultations with public health ...Read more

Did HP purge boomers to make way for millennials? Judge rules lawsuit claims can go ahead

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A federal court judge in San Jose narrowed a lawsuit accusing HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise of purging older workers in favor of younger ones, but ruled that the case should proceed based on its central claims.

Three dozen former employees are suing the firms for age discrimination, claiming they were fired because they ...Read more

Amazon promises 1,000 jobs for a new warehouse near Joe Biden's house in Delaware

PHILADELPHIA -- Amazon has confirmed some details of a much-expected new warehouse center at the former General Motors plant site just west of Wilmington, Del.

On Tuesday, Amazon pledged "more than 1,000 full-time jobs" and a first-floor, robotics-heavy 820,000-square-foot operations center at the site, where developer Dermody Properties has ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Reaching the limits of unlimited storage in Google Photos

Q: For years, I've been storing my camera and phone pictures to my online Google Photos account. (I download the camera photos to my PC and upload them to Google Photos from there.) But for the last couple of months I either haven't been able to upload the camera photos from my PC, or could only upload some photos but not others. Meanwhile, ...Read more

Space exploration's next frontier: Remote-controlled robonauts

As Japan's second female astronaut to fly up in the Space Shuttle Discovery, Naoko Yamazaki didn't expect to spend a quarter of her time dusting, feeding mice and doing other menial jobs.

It can cost more than $430 million a year to keep an astronaut in orbit, according to 3-year-old startup called Gitai Inc. It's only possible to keep humans ...Read more

Blood plasma appears safe for COVID-19 patients in early trial results

Taking antibody-rich blood plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus infections and transferring it to patients who are severely ill with COVID-19 does not appear to increase their risk of dying from the disease, according to initial results of a nationwide clinical trial.

What's more, the findings offer an early hint that the ...Read more

Facebook buys animated image library Giphy to boost messaging

Facebook Inc. said it bought Giphy, a library of animated images known as GIFs that can be attached to messages to express emotion.

Giphy will join the Instagram group within Facebook, according to a blog post Friday, and the social giant has extended offers to more than 100 Giphy employees, a spokesperson said.

The acquisition price was $400 ...Read more

Senate may have the votes to limit surveillance of browser history

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan effort to block warrantless surveillance of web browser search history came up one vote short of adoption in the Senate on Wednesday, but the supporters might still have sufficient support to adopt it.

A total of 59 senators backed the effort, offered as an amendment by Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana and Ron ...Read more

Trump extends order that curbs Huawei's access to US market

President Donald Trump extended his effort to curb Huawei Technologies Co.'s access to the U.S. market and American suppliers.

The president on Wednesday renewed for a year a national emergency order that restricts Huawei and a second Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE Corp., from selling their equipment in the U.S. The move continues a ...Read more

Apple-Google virus-tracking rules put apps in a privacy bind

From France to Australia to North Dakota, government apps designed to help authorities track and slow the spread of COVID-19 are struggling to accomplish their goals because of restrictions on data collection built into smartphones by Apple Inc. and Google.

That's leaving public health officials with few options but to use a system designed by ...Read more

Airports are testing thermal cameras and other technology to screen travelers for COVID-19

LOS ANGELES -- Airports equipped with full-body scanners, metal detectors and face-recognition technology to identify potential terrorists are starting to make room for devices to target the latest global threat: travelers infected with the novel coronavirus.

Airports in the U.S. and overseas are testing thermal cameras, sanitation booths and ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Pros and cons in choosing online or offline software

Q: I'm using PC-based Microsoft Office 2010, which will stop receiving security updates in October. The company is directing me to switch to Microsoft 365 (the new name for the online Office 365). But I'm not sure I want to switch. Will the online version be able to read all my existing Word documents? Will I have to pay for it, or are there ...Read more

Chicago imposes new rules for third-party food delivery companies, requiring transparency on receipts

CHICAGO -- With dining rooms currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants are relying heavily on delivery and pickup orders for business. Many are now using third-party delivery services like Grubhub and Uber Eats to handle the logistics of the ordering and delivery process. But some restaurateurs have complained about high ...Read more

Facebook violence curbs are being thwarted by groups using code words

When President Donald Trump urged Americans last month to "LIBERATE VIRGINIA" on Twitter, a private Facebook group named "Boogaloo Enthusiasts: CORONAPOCALYPSE" welcomed the tweet.

"Did Trump just call for boogaloo?" one member wrote, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. "Well, you heard the man! Let's go bois," another responded.

...Read more

Facebook removes 2.5 million posts selling masks, COVID-19 kits

Facebook Inc. said it has removed 2.5 million posts since March 1 offering masks, sanitizers, cleaning wipes and Covid-19 test kits, in an attempt to prevent users from price-gouging or selling counterfeit and dangerous products.

To do it, the social media company relied on the same image-recognition technology it uses to remove sales of guns ...Read more

Target buys technology assets of delivery startup Deliv

MINNEAPOLIS -- Target is acquiring technology from the same-day delivery startup Deliv, which is shutting down.

The Minneapolis-based retailer also will bring Deliv CEO Daphne Carmeli and a small number of engineers on board as part of the deal, which is expected to close later this month. Terms were not disclosed, but the acquisition is not ...Read more

Johns Hopkins looks to blood plasma from coronavirus survivors to prevent new infections

BALTIMORE -- As the race to create a vaccine to prevent more coronavirus infections continues, Johns Hopkins University researchers are testing if blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can work in the meantime.

A trial about to get underway will look to see whether plasma containing antibodies against the virus can stave off infection ...Read more