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Jennifer Van Grove: AT&T's WatchTV is here, and it's a head-scratcher

AT&T's brand new streaming TV service, WatchTV, gives me pause. Not because it's bad. Rather, it's just decent enough to make me stop and think twice about my current cord-cutter setup.

As a refresher, WatchTV, first announced last week, is the totally free (for some AT&T wireless customers) live and on-demand streaming TV app. Now available on...Read more

The koalas are threatened. Can their genome help us save them?

The koala is an unusual creature. Native to Australia and a bit bigger than a raccoon, it spends most of its time in eucalyptus trees, gorging on leaves that are toxic to nearly every other animal on the planet.

The koala sleeps about 22 hours a day and spends the remainder of its time eating and resting. It might spend 10 minutes a day moving,...Read more

Massive and toxic algae bloom threatens Florida coasts with another lost summer

MIAMI--Lake Okeechobee, Florida's liquid heart, is once again exploding with a massive algae bloom, a deepening crisis that threatens to slime both coasts in what has become a recurring summer nightmare.

This week, thick green blooms the consistency of a sickening smoothie seeped down the rural Caloosahatchee River toward the southwest coast. ...Read more

New chip designed to power kids' smartwatches

SAN DIEGO -- Qualcomm is launching a chip tailored for children's smartwatches, a growing niche in the wearable technology market, particularly in China.

Snapdragon Wear 2500 comes with 4G LTE and uses sensor fusion technology to deliver more precise location tracking than GPS alone. It is smaller than Qualcomm's current smartwatch chip package...Read more

Mysterious sonar 'anomaly' off NC could be shipwreck, rock formation — 'or otherwise'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A strange "sonar anomaly" had NOAA explorers diving off the coast of North Carolina on Wednesday, hoping for an explanation.

NOAA has not been afraid to notch up suspense about the area, noting it could be "an archaeology site, a geological formation or otherwise."

It's anybody's guess what "otherwise" means, but UFO ...Read more

NASA sets 2021 launch date for James Webb Space Telescope

Put March 30, 2021, on your calendar. That's when NASA now plans to launch its much-delayed James Webb Space Telescope.

An independent review board established by the space agency says the new launch date is realistic -- as long as no additional problems arise.

If the review board's recommendations are "rigorously implemented," then NASA has a...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: What is AT&T thinking with WatchTV?

Those in search of the best deal in streaming TV should give AT&T's just-announced WatchTV service at least a once over when it debuts next week. It's so cheap -- as in, completely free for some -- that, even in the land of discount bundles, the streaming package boggles the mind.

The first (and certainly not the last) product of AT&T's freshly...Read more

Tech Q&A: Tricky virus acts like real software

Q: I've been getting unexplained pop-ups on my Windows 10 PC. One says, "How do you want to open this file?" when the file name extension (letters after the dot) is ".vdykyvf". I can't determine what kind of file has that extension name.

The other pop-up is related to Microsoft OneNote, a program I've never used. I'm offered "screen clippings" ...Read more

Sea sponges may hold key to fighting killer infections

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The solution to a vexing -- and deadly -- problem for modern medicine could be lying on the ocean floor.

Just like some insects have evolved to resist synthetic chemical insecticides, new infectious diseases have emerged over the last 20 years that can't be controlled by the antibiotics doctors have at their disposal.

...Read more

After years of searching, scientists can finally account for all the normal matter in the universe

Astronomers using a powerful quasar to study an enormous invisible tendril full of superheated gas say they may have finally discovered the universe's 'missing' detectable matter.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, solve a decades-old mystery and could help scientists further probe the structure and evolution of the cosmos.

All of ...Read more

Trump administration tightens rules for federal scientists talking to reporters

SAN FRANCISCO -- A new directive from the Trump administration instructs federal scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey to get approval from its parent agency before agreeing to most interview requests from reporters, according to employees and emails from officials with the Department of the Interior and USGS.

USGS employees who spoke with...Read more

After years of searching, scientists can finally account for all the normal matter in the universe

Astronomers using a powerful quasar to study an enormous invisible tendril full of superheated gas say they may have finally discovered the universe's "missing" detectable matter.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, solve a decades-old mystery and could help scientists further probe the structure and evolution of the cosmos.

All of ...Read more

Helpware: A tale of three 'ergonomic' mice

Aside from a flickering monitor, there is nothing quite as irksome as a balky mouse. The term "ergonomic" is used freely for mice these days, but decidedly many are not. And those that are truly ergonomic will help protect your hand and wrist from injuries without having to pay an arm and a leg.

I tested three different mice that call ...Read more

Q&A: The long-lasting health effects of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border

Researchers have long looked upon wars, famines and mass migrations as grim but important opportunities to understand how adversity affects children's health.

They've culled the experiences of orphans warehoused in government facilities, Jewish children dispatched to foreign families ahead of a Nazi invasion, and young refugees fleeing ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to avoid browser hijacking

Q: I read that I could get better protection against hackers by switching to an independent internet connection service, such as Google Public DNS, Cloudflare or Quad9. What do you think?

-- Bob Lommel, Minnetonka, Minn.

A: There are some security benefits, but they fall short of what's needed.

The hacking you refer to (called DNS hijacking) ...Read more

Let Amazon in your house? Get mail at your desk? Here's how to beat 'porch pirates'

You did your research, shopped around and finally found what you wanted online. In a few days, it'll be yours.

The tracking website says it's been delivered. But it's not there. Maybe it's been stolen.

It's easy for so-called "porch pirates" to snatch packages from your front door or apartment building stoop, and amid the rise of online retail...Read more

'Pod racer' meets reality? KU aviation team advances in Boeing competition

By the end of the year, a team of students from the University of Kansas hope to have a small working model of a personal helicopter-like aircraft.

After that comes the full-size version.

"So when you see a pod racer on the silver screen, that's a Hollywood fantasy," said KU professor Ron Barrett-Gonzalez. " ... But if you made a specification...Read more

Curiosity rover's findings on Mars' organic molecules offer tantalizing clues in the search for life on the planet

Over nearly six years roaming the surface of Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover has detected organic molecules that offer a taste of what an ancient life-friendly red planet might have looked like. Now, the rover's pulled together a veritable feast.

The discovery of a wide variety of organic molecules and the detection of a seasonal methane pattern -...Read more

Scientists discover world's first known manta ray nursery

SAN DIEGO -- The University of California, San Diego has discovered the world's first known nursery for manta rays, an idyllic spot in the Gulf of Mexico where the "gentle giants" approach divers along colorful reefs that seem drawn from the imagination of Walt Disney.

An exploration team led by Josh Stewart, who is finishing up his doctorate ...Read more

Foods that are both fatty and sweet can hijack the part of the brain that regulates food consumption

It may have taken thousands of generations of hunting, gathering, farming and cooking to get here. But in the end, the genius of humankind has combined fats and carbohydrates to produce such crowning culinary glories as the doughnut, fettuccine Alfredo, nachos and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

It goes without saying that these ...Read more