Science & Technology



A time for small firms to take tech's stage

LAS VEGAS -- On any given day during the year, tech news is typically dominated by the Apples, Amazons, Facebooks and Googles of the world.

Not so every January, when CES descends on Las Vegas and attention turns for a few brief days to roughly 4,000 exhibiting companies, many of them little-known or completely unheard of start-ups.

Thanks to ...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: The Internet in 2018 - Change is on the way

While we're just a few days into 2018, we're already seeing big names (and small ones, too) make waves as far as Internet access goes.

That means, if the first week in January is any indication, broadband and wireless consumers can expect some pretty dramatic changes and maybe even a few, cool alternative providers to choose from. Happy ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How music streaming may slow internet use

Q: We use an Amazon Echo Dot device to play streaming music throughout the day, and often have a second unit streaming music on a different floor. Are these devices slowing down my internet service from Comcast?

Bob Oldowski, Bloomington

A: Whether Amazon's streaming music service affects your internet usage depends on what internet speed you ...Read more

Auto companies race to get drivers out of self-driving cars

LAS VEGAS -- Auto and tech companies are racing to get human drivers completely out of their autonomous cars, perhaps as soon as this year.

Numerous companies have been testing small fleets of autonomous vehicles on highways and city streets, yet, to date, nearly all of these vehicles have had test drivers or engineers inside, ready to take ...Read more

Comcast, IBM back blockchain fund

Comcast Corp.'s venture capital arm and IBM Corp. have agreed to finance MState, a fund that invests in early-stage firms looking to sell blockchain-based services to big corporations.

The fund's first investment is in BlockDaemon, a New York firm founded by Konstantine Richter (formerly of Lookbooks) which promises clients "one-click ...Read more

Helpware: Streaming in 4K is stunning

One of the biggest advancements in TVs is the 4K standard, in which resolution is four times that of regular HD. Chances are good that if you bought all but the cheapest TVs in the past year, your new one has 4K capability. But 4K content, outside of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, has been limited. That's about to change: ...Read more

Bell Helicopter unveils plans for air taxis, but when will they be zipping around?

FORT WORTH, Tex. -- Imagine flying from Fort Worth to Frisco in just a matter of minutes.

If all goes according to plan, urban air taxis could be zipping across the Dallas-Fort Worth area within the next decade.

At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bell Helicopter will roll out its air taxi cabin design. The mockup will ...Read more

Why the US is 'the most dangerous of wealthy nations for a child to be born into'

It's no surprise that the United States ranks absolutely last in child mortality among the world's wealthiest countries -- that's been true for years. A new study examines how this sad situation came to be.

According to data from the World Health Organization and the global Human Mortality Database, the problems go all the way back to the 1960s...Read more

Even if you don't know you're sick yet, your face will give you away

People can judge whether someone is sick by looking at a photo for just a few seconds.

That may not sound remarkable -- until you consider that the sick people in the photos were in the very early stages of illnesses. They were participants in a scientific experiment and had agreed to be infected with a bacterium that would cause an ...Read more

Study: Humans may look for the helpers, but bonobos prefer the troublemakers

When Mr. Rogers told viewers of his beloved children's TV show to "look for the helpers," bonobos clearly weren't paying attention. A new study of one of our closest living relatives finds that these docile apes prefer individuals who hinder over those who help.

The findings, described in the journal Current Biology, could shed light on the ...Read more

Roku envisions being at the center of voice-controlled home entertainment systems

Roku, which makes devices for streaming internet video on television sets, announced Wednesday that it plans to develop a voice assistant and let manufacturers create Roku-connected speakers, stepping up its competition with Apple, Google and

Owners of Roku TVs and players will get the voice-powered Roku Entertainment Assistant free...Read more

A popular sugar additive may have fueled the spread of 2 superbugs

Two bacterial strains that have plagued hospitals around the country may have been at least partly fueled by a sugar additive in our food products, scientists say. Trehalose, a sugar that is added to a wide range of food products, could have allowed certain strains of Clostridium difficile to become far more virulent than they were before, a new...Read more

In the DNA of an ancient infant, scientists find traces of the very first Americans

Across a span of 11,500 years, a baby is speaking to us.

Although she was just an infant when she died, her diminutive remains are helping researchers understand how ancient people first entered and then moved around the Americas.

The little girl recently was given the name Xach'itee'aaneh T'eede Gaay (Sunrise Girl-Child) by indigenous people ...Read more

What to watch for at the CES technology show

Every year one or two breakout technologies capture the imagination of consumers. Eighteen months ago, it was Pokemon Go, the first augmented reality mobile app to really catch fire. A few years before that, it was 3-D printers.

Last year, it clearly was digital assistants -- Amazon Echo, Google Home and others -- that tapped cloud-connected ...Read more

Jennifer Van Grove: 3 streaming TV trends to watch in 2018

There's no question: 2017 was the year of the cord-cutter.

The rise of online skinny bundles and the exodus of traditional pay TV customers mean 2018 will be another formative year for Internet TV. Not only will winners and losers be decided, but everyone will be watching to see what, if anything, cable and Internet providers do to drum up ...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to back up a PC that stores data in solid-state memory

Q: My PC's SSD (solid-state drive, memory chips that replace a hard drive) has been scrambled. That means I'll have to erase it and reload Windows 7, my programs and my 900 gigabytes of data -- a time-consuming process.

I'd like to avoid doing this again if I have another SSD failure. Is there an easy way to regularly back up my entire SSD -- ...Read more

Sex parties, drugs and Silicon Valley: Upcoming book sheds light on 'MeToo' woes

Just how bad is it for women who work in Silicon Valley, the land of disruption and the tech capital of the world?

Think sex parties at mansions and chateaus where there are two women for every man in attendance, with alcohol aplenty and drugs "molded into the logos of some of the hottest tech companies." Or "cuddle puddles" that later lead to ...Read more

Helpware: PCs at bargain prices — except when they aren't

Looking for a bargain? How about that $275 laptop PC from an office-supply store? Ever since Black Friday, this laptop has intrigued me. This isn't a Chromebook, either. It's a real honest-to-goodness computer. Windows 8.1 is included. And there's the tipoff. Most PCs sold in the last few years come equipped with Windows 10.

This is a vintage ...Read more

The moon is about to do something it hasn't done in more than 150 years

Call it whatever you like -- a blue red moon, a purple moon, a blood moon -- but the moon will be a special sight on Jan. 31.

Three separate celestial events will occur simultaneously that night, resulting in what some are calling a super blue blood moon eclipse. The astronomical rarity hasn't happened for more than 150 years, according to ...Read more

Source code for Apple's 1983 Lisa computer to be made public next year

Before there was an iPhone, iMac or Macintosh, Apple had the Lisa computer.

The Lisa computer -- which stands for Local Integrated Software Architecture but was also named after Steve Jobs' eldest daughter -- was a flop when it released in 1983 because of its astronomical price of $10,000 -- $24,700 when adjusted for inflation. But in the grand...Read more