Science & Technology



Tech Q&A: Finding the cause of vanishing disk space

Q: My Windows 7 laptop has been steadily losing hard disk space as new data is stored on it from a source that I can't determine. The amount of stored data has been climbing at a rate of about 270 megabytes per day for nearly five months. I haven't added anything to the PC but recommended updates and a few spreadsheets and text files. I suspect ...Read more

Meijer to launch self-scanning app to speed grocery checkout

CHICAGO -- Meijer plans to launch a self-scanning mobile application in Chicago-area stores by the end of the summer, a move likely to be followed by some larger retailers in the near future.

The Shop & Scan service allows shoppers to scan products as they shop with a Meijer app downloaded on their phones and bag the groceries on the go. To ...Read more

One of the solar system's early planets didn't survive, but its diamonds are now on Earth

Scientists have found the first hard evidence of a large and ancient protoplanet embedded in extraterrestrial diamonds that fell to Earth about 10 years ago.

To be clear, the diamonds did not fall to Earth on their own. Instead, they were discovered inside a small asteroid that slammed into the atmosphere over the Nubian Desert in northeastern ...Read more

More than 3,300 Android apps are improperly tracking kids, study finds

Thousands of family-friendly apps from the Google Play Store are potentially violating federal law, according to a new large-scale study from North American and European universities and organizations.

The research, recently published in the journal Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, showed that 3,337 Android apps on Google Play ...Read more

Helpware: The state of stuff I can do without

In previous columns I wrote about computer hardware and software I rely on nearly every day. This week I'll tackle the state of stuff I don't need and, in some instances, stuff I wish I hadn't bought.

Computers -- laptops or desktops -- with less than eight gigabytes of memory: Eight gigs are the minimum for either Windows PCs or Macs. ...Read more

NASA is about to step up its planet-hunting game with the launch of TESS

On a cold, clear night in January, Massachusetts Institute of Technology astrophysicist George Ricker and his students stepped onto a rooftop on campus and aimed a camera at the highest point in the sky.

That camera, an engineering model of the four being launched with NASA's TESS mission, revealed a night so thick with stars that they obscured...Read more

As Facebook embraces artificial intelligence tools, will it further spook consumers?

WASHINGTON -- Social media companies have embraced artificial intelligence tools to scrub their platforms of hate speech, terrorist propaganda and other content deemed noxious. But will those tools censor other content? Can a program judge the value of speech?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last week that his company is rapidly ...Read more

Reddit CEO says racism allowed, but not 'welcome,' on the site

Reddit has a history of allowing its users to say just about anything. On Wednesday, its CEO said racist language is just fine -- officially giving license to the hatred that already lives on the site, which bills itself as the front page of the internet.

Now he's backpedaling a bit.

As tech companies face increasing pressure to police content...Read more

Sea turtles use magnetic fields 'like GPS.' But sometimes they get the wrong address

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Research from North Carolina biologists shows that loggerhead sea turtles use the Earth's magnetic fields to navigate back to their home beaches.

But sometimes, another beach has such a similar magnetic field, the sea turtles head to that one instead, as if their internal GPS has just slightly mixed up addresses -- even if ...Read more

Too much sitting may thin the part of your brain that's important for memory, study suggests

If you want to take a good stroll down memory lane, new research suggests you'd better get out of that chair more often.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have found that in people middle-aged and older, a brain structure that is key to learning and memory is plumpest in those who spend the most time standing up and moving. At every age...Read more

Bay Area still dominates U.S. venture capital industry but cracks may be showing

Despite all the talk of technology companies and workers leaving the Bay Area for cheaper pastures, Silicon Valley looks strong as ever -- for now.

Technology companies in the Bay Area raised more than $10 billion in the first three months of 2018, according to a new report Wednesday on the venture capital industry by Dow Jones. A total of 408 ...Read more

How much are your online data really worth?

By now Facebook users seem to finally get that they may not get charged anything for using the social networking service but it sure isn't free, not after being subjected to ad after spookily tailored ad.

Yet users still seem to have a long way to go to fully understand what Facebook and the other big tech companies are really doing. And, of ...Read more

A newly discovered twist on a desert hummingbird's strange courtship ritual

You already know that hummingbirds are amazing animals -- they can hover in place for minutes at a time, fly backwards at will, and flap their buzzing wings up to 70 times per second.

But how much do you know about their bizarre courtship rituals?

The details vary among species, but the principles are basically the same: The male usually ...Read more

Helpware: Computer hardware that's on the essentials list

In a previous column, I mentioned software essentials for my everyday computing, which centers on word processing, photo and video editing and money management. This column will examine hardware I can't live without.

Das Keyboard: With its clicky feel and sound, reminiscent of the first IBM keyboards, the Das has held up well after two years of...Read more

Pay less, get more: Spotify to bundle Premium service with Hulu

It may not be a buy-one-get-one-free deal, but an offering from Spotify and Hulu comes pretty close.

On Tuesday, Spotify said that subscribers to its Premium music-streaming service will be able to bundle it with Hulu's limited-commercial TV plan for $12.99 a month. The deal is similar to an offering Spotify made to students beginning last fall...Read more

Tech Q&A: Account changes to iTunes can give users the blues

Q: I'm having problems with Apple's "authorization" process that gives my PC the right to play songs in the iTunes program. This started when I changed e-mail addresses and switched my iTunes account to the new address. I then authorized my PC to play iTunes music. But when I try to play music, I get a message saying it's not authorized. The ...Read more

Cryptocurrency investment fraud running rampant in Texas, state says

AUSTIN, Tex. -- So-called digital coins might live up to their hype someday of being integral to commerce of the future, but in the interim the term "cryptocurrency" already has a more dubious distinction -- it's become the most common buzzword used in investment scams statewide.

Crypto-related potential swindles have surpassed schemes ...Read more

'The Bay Area is broken': Why Silicon Valley startups are hiring elsewhere

Silicon Valley may be the world's tech paradise, but it's a hiring nightmare for many local startups now forced to venture from Portland to Boise in search of talent.

Enormous salary expectations -- driven by the Bay Area's soaring cost of living and competition from well-paying giants such as Google and Facebook -- have made it too expensive ...Read more

Study uncovers surprising things about squirrels

As the squirrel rotates a nut between its front paws, its brain is considering a variety of factors to reach the answer to a critical question: Do I eat this nut now, or do I store it for later?

That's one of the conclusions of the most comprehensive study of the squirrels' decision-making process – research that revealed that their behaviors...Read more

A finger bone from an unexpected place and time upends the story of human migration out of Africa

It's only 3 centimeters long and less than 1 centimeter wide, but it has the potential to rewrite the history of our ancestors' migration out of Africa.

The object in question is a fossilized piece of a bone, probably the middle portion of a middle finger. Based on its shape, scientists believe that it belonged to a member of the Homo sapiens ...Read more