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technology

The price of bitcoin set another new all-time high Wednesday, shooting past $13,000. The meteoric rise in the value of bitcoin and lesser known virtual currencies is having a real world effect in the Pacific Northwest.

Entrepreneurs are bombarding the public utilities in Central Washington with requests for cheap hydropower to run bitcoin computers.

The delicate art of paper folding is playing a crucial role in designing robotic artificial muscles that are startlingly strong. In fact, the researchers say they can lift objects 1,000 times their own weight.

A team from the University of Washington has won a major award for artificial intelligence: the inaugural Alexa Prize from Amazon.

The $500,000 award was announced today at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas.

This week, another big name in tech was toppled by accusations of sexual harassment — venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX who left his prominent Silicon Valley company.

The big-money world of Silicon Valley remains dominated by men and remains a hard place for women to speak out if they want to join the ranks of its richest. And some women think the best way to fight harassment is to tread carefully and get to the top.

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved its first digital drug: a pill embedded with a sensor that transmits whether someone has taken it.

Although the approval is a big step for digital medicine, there are concerns about privacy, convenience and cost.

You scroll through your friend's Instagram feed and see the most beautiful setting, and think: "I want to go there." And so you do.

According to travel photographer Brent Knepper, you are part of the problem.

In The Outline's article "Instagram is Loving Nature to Death," Knepper says that thanks to the photo sharing app, some of the best-kept secrets of the natural world are drawing big crowds and literally altering the landscape.

There has been a lot of talk about potential Russian manipulation of the 2016 presidential election. Now there's concern about shadowy online electioneering filtering down to the state and local level. It comes in the aftermath of a high-stakes state Senate race in Western Washington.

Facebook
Flickr Photo/Franco Bouly (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6rk2Qf

Bill Radke talks to Anna Lauren Hoffmann, associate professor at the University of Washington's Information School, about the implications of Facebook's idea to stop revenge porn and nude pictures from circulating on their site. 

A little girl looks over her father's shoulder at a smartphone.
Flickr Photo/Lynn Friedman (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/s29eap

How do old parenting dilemmas adapt to new technologies? Parents: when you’re raising kids in the technological age, how much wiggle room with screen time do you give them? How has your own tech use changed in response to what you want them to be doing? And … is it really tech time if everyone is playing with a sensor-enabled ball, but you’re all outside?

In July 2016, the aftermath of a police shooting of an African-American man was broadcast live on Facebook. Instantly, Americans of all stripes used the platform to step up the race wars and attack each other.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, and Manafort's business associate Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the U.S. and other counts.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Tech giants testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday about Russian efforts to spread disinformation in the U.S.

Representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google, along with two national security analysts, will speak with lawmakers about ways that Russia has used the social media platforms.

Earlier this month, the toy-giant Mattel announced it had pulled the plug on plans to sell an interactive gadget for children.

The device, called Aristotle, looked similar to a baby monitor with a camera. Critics called it creepy.

Powered by artificial intelligence, Aristotle could get to know your child — at least that was how the device was being pitched.

Right after the U.S. election last year, Mike Tippett saw an opportunity.

He'd been talking to his friends in Silicon Valley and they were nervous about the newly elected president's attitude toward immigration.

"Many of the start-ups and technology companies in the States and across the globe are made up of people who are not necessarily from that country," Tippett says.

Almost half of all American start-ups were actually founded by immigrants.

Last week in the Russia investigations: Washington, D.C., gears up for the big show; Trump campaign data firm's guru tried to link up with WikiLeaks; and Clinton, DNC helped pay for infamous dossier on Trump.

Get Ready For The Big Show

After weeks of buildups, letdowns, surprises, scoops and headlines, this is it: Three central players in the world of Big Tech are set to face off across the witness table this week from members of Congress.

Lines of code
Flickr Photo/markus spiske (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/XLGzE5


Thinking of making a career switch? Maybe you should consider coding.

No, really — it’s not as hard as you probably think. That’s according to Cheri Allen, a software engineer and educator at the University of Washington and Unloop.

A box containing an order from Amazon.com is shown after it was delivered to a house in Etters, Pa, Wednesday, Sept 16, 2005.
AP Photo/John Zeedick

Bill Radke talks with Washington Post opinion columnist Christine Emba about Amazon Key, a new delivery service from Amazon that drops off packages inside customer's homes.

Emba's latest column in titled "Amazon Key is Silicon Valley at its most out of touch."

Tesla has used its solar panels and batteries to restore reliable electricity at San Juan's Hospital del Niño (Children's Hospital), in what company founder Elon Musk calls "the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico."

The project came about after Puerto Rico was hit by two devastating and powerful hurricanes in September, and Musk reached out about Tesla helping.

For years, Amazon has been testing the limits of online deliveries — expanding the number of things you can order at the click of a button (sometimes literally), pushing shipments to arrive faster, toying with delivery by drones.

Police in Honolulu on Wednesday will begin writing tickets for people who get distracted by their cellphones while walking in a crosswalk. Honolulu is the first major city in the country to pass such a law, citing a high rate of pedestrians being hit in crosswalks.

"Starting today, texting while walking in a crosswalk can get you a ticket," Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman reports for our Newscast unit. "In fact, a downward glance at a screen of any kind will cost you — a phone, a tablet, a video game."

Here's something that may sound like a contradiction in terms: low-fat pigs.

But that's exactly what Chinese scientists have created using new genetic engineering techniques.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists report that they have created 12 healthy pigs with about 24 percent less body fat than normal pigs.

The first Boeing airplane, the Bluebill, B&W Model 1, assembled and launched from Seattle's Lake Union
photo courtesy Boeing Historical Archives

On any given weekday morning, thousands of young professionals flood the streets in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Their identical black backpacks and swinging lanyards mark them as employees of the global retail behemoth Amazon.

Self-driving cars would one day take over Interstate 5 to the exclusion of human drivers under a proposal aired out before Washington state transportation advisors Tuesday.

NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

Bill Radke talks with astrophysicist Michael Landry about an historic collision of two neutron stars, known as a kilonova.

It's the first time scientists have observed this type of cosmic event both through electromagnetic and gravitational waves. Landry is head of the LIGO Hanford Observatory.

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

A previous attempt at providing broadband service through a public-private partnership fell apart in 2013.
Flickr Photo/Steve Rhode (CC BY-NC-ND)

Remember municipal broadband? The idea suffered a blow in Seattle when a partnership involving the city, the University of Washington and a private company fell apart in 2013.

But the dream never died. Now supporters are pushing another campaign.

Author Franklin Foer at The Elliott Bay Book Company
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

If you find yourself checking your phone — a lot — or feeling phantom vibrations, there’s a good reason. Big technology companies (Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook to name a few) want your attention. They want to know what you’re thinking about, what you’re doing, and what you’re likely to do next.

Amazon confirmed a second and 'full equal' headquarters somewhere other than in the Puget Sound region.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Regional politicians have been assembling a multi-county strategy to keep Amazon’s growth here.

The company’s announcement last month that it will pick a second headquarters has sent cities scurrying to meet an October 19 deadline.

It's not often you'll find these 24 names in the same place. They are historians and musicians, computer scientists and social activists, writers and architects. But whatever it may read on their business cards (if they've even got business cards), they now all have a single title in common: 2017 MacArthur Fellow.

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