Science & Technology



Facebook's striking new Menlo Park building akin to village with office neighborhoods

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- The official name of Facebook's newest Menlo Park building, MPK 21, may evoke computer jargon, but the gleaming new offices at its headquarters are anything but mundane -- they offer a village where employees can gather, create and relax.

Employees have started moving into the company's new offices in a long, airy building...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to solve the 'error message' riddle

Q: One update regularly fails to install on my Windows 7 PC. It's called "Microsoft .Net Framework 4 Client Profile," and when it won't install I get the error code 643. Is this an important update, and, if so, is there a way to make it work?

-- Ron Bender, Richfield, Minn.

A: That update is particularly troublesome on Windows 7 PCs, but it is...Read more

Helpware: Subscribe or buy — what's the best model for software?

Here's a deal: You buy a new car, and during the year you get a new one free. With that business model, car companies would soon go broke. It's a different matter with computer software. As providers are transitioning to yearly subscriptions, they're offering free upgrades during the year. Well, they're not exactly free -- you've paid for the ...Read more

Qualcomm says uber-fast 5G networks, phones coming to the U.S. by April 2019

As Qualcomm battled rival Broadcom's hostile takeover bid earlier this year -- probably the biggest threat to the company in its 33-year history -- it continued to pour money into developing next generation 5G wireless technologies.

The aim was to speed up the rollout of ultra-fast 5G networks -- where Qualcomm believes it has a lead on ...Read more

Nuclear has to use climate crisis to justify high cost, MIT says

VIENNA -- Nuclear energy can't compete on cost with cheap natural gas or renewables and therefore needs the help of policy makers who are willing to promote its low-emission power generation as a way to fight climate change, according to a landmark new study.

To stave off runaway global warming by midcentury, the world's current crop of leaders...Read more

Caught in a political echo chamber? Listening to the opposition can make partisanship even worse

Dwelling in a political echo chamber -- where you encounter only people who agree with you -- is hardly conducive to a healthy democracy.

But it turns out that broadening your horizons by perusing opposing points of view on social media may just make the partisan divide worse.

That's the depressing result of an unusual experiment involving 909...Read more

Geologist studies Iron Age Vikings for lessons on adapting to climate change

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Popular culture has it that Vikings in their heyday loved to "go Viking" -- take to their longships to rove, settle or pillage from North America to Asia.

But a driving force behind those Norse voyagers wasn't just the lust for treasure or power or exploration. In some cases, it may have been climate change.

An ...Read more

Tempus, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky's cancer-fighting startup, raises another $110 million

Chicago-based cancer-fighting data startup Tempus is now valued at $2 billion.

The company, led by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, announced Wednesday that it raised another $110 million from new and existing investors. Tempus gathers and analyzes data for doctors to use in cancer treatment, and it plans to use the money to apply its ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to make online storage simpler

Q: My Windows 10 PC has two OneDrive online storage accounts that I'd like to combine and access with a single password. The personal account is tied to my Hotmail e-mail address and limited to 5 gigabytes of storage. The other, obtained through a subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 program and tied to a business e-mail, stores 100 gigabytes....Read more

Helpware: PaintShop Pro is powerful and versatile

There is no shortage of photo-editing software. If you're a power user (like news photographers) you're already familiar with Photoshop, which does everything to a photo but take it. Journalists are forbidden to alter the content of photos -- deleting the face of one person and substituting it with Alfred E. Neuman of Mad magazine fame is a good...Read more

Why some workers think Walmart's pay-in-advance app is a lousy deal

When Walmart sales associate Emeraid Gems saw that her paycheck was $200 short, she started looking for solutions.

The money, she later learned, didn't show up because of a glitch -- her paid time off hadn't gone through -- but the 35-year-old Gettysburg, Pa., worker couldn't wait. She needed the money for her car payment, or it would cost her ...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: Would you let a stranger drive your kids to school? This rideshare service caters to children

HopSkipDrive, an Uber-like ride-hail service that only transports minors, has arrived in San Diego to help area parents get their kids to and from school, soccer practice or the myriad of other activities that often conflict with work schedules.

The 4-year-old, venture-backed company started its local operations last week, servicing families ...Read more

Philly refiner plans $120M plant to convert food scraps to fuel for trucks and buses

PHILADELPHIA -- Too much fatty, gassy food in your diet?

A renewable methane producer, RNG Energy Solutions, can't get enough food waste from restaurants and groceries, and the fattier and gassier it is, the better. RNG converts the wretched refuse of our teeming stores into transportation fuel.

RNG Energy announced Monday it has formed a ...Read more

In some countries, the odds of getting shot are 1 in a million. In the US, it's 1,000 times higher

Imagine that, in the course of a single year, a ubiquitous household item was implicated in the death of every man, woman and child in the city of Glendale, Ariz., America's 87th largest city with a population of 251,269. The world would almost certainly take notice of such a loss.

That, in essence, was the global toll of humanity's obsession ...Read more

'I can't lose this money': KC area investors, IRAs ensnared in big Florida bankruptcy

A $283 million bankruptcy in Florida has knocked Khosrow "Kevin" Sohraby off his plan to retire in a house he'd picked out in Overland Park, Kan.

The bankruptcy has left Beverly Durant in financial limbo not knowing where her money is, a small inheritance that she could use for a car, dental work or to help her adult children.

And it swallowed...Read more

Fires, floods and other calamities fuel this app's popularity

Fires, floods and other calamities fuel this app's popularity

On the morning a fire forced the evacuation of her daughter's school, Ruth Kobayashi found out about it when her smartphone bleated out the distinctive tone she knows she can't ignore: the Orange County high school's app-based emergency communications system.

The app, created by ...Read more

Bay Area tech CEOs say immigration policies, H-1B plans are undermining growth

Technology executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff -- have urged the government to back off on tightening immigration policies for foreign workers following aggressive talk from the nation's immigration chief.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration director Francis Cissna, talking to a group pushing for reductions ...Read more

In this lab, researchers infect food with listeria and salmonella and figure out how to kill it

After the scientists step safely out of the airtight lab in the biocontainment plant, and after their spacesuitlike protective wear is disinfected, the room is flooded with chlorine dioxide gas.

"We make sure anything that's in there stays in there," said Robert Brackett, director of the Institute for Food Safety and Health, a unit within the ...Read more

Anthropologists have just hit the genomic jackpot

Among the thousands of bone fragments excavated from an ancient cave in the Altai mountains in Siberia, scientists have identified an inch-long shard that belonged to a rare hominin hybrid: a female with a Denisovan dad and a Neanderthal mom.

An analysis of this bone, published Wednesday in Nature, provides further evidence that the genetically...Read more

Verizon throttled Santa Clara County firefighters' data as they fought Mendocino fire, chief says

Verizon throttled one Bay Area fire department's data plans as its firefighters helped battle the largest wildfire in state history and even demanded the department should pay nearly three times more to remove it, according to its fire chief.

Santa Clara County Fire Department Chief Tony Bowden wrote to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for ...Read more