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technology

Courtesy of Michael Violandi

Many of us spend large portions of our lives in cars. Many of us are annoyed by other people in their cars.

The fact is, human beings behind the wheels of their automobiles are dangerous. In 2015, over 35,000 Americans died in fatal car crashes. With the advent of texting while driving, those numbers are trending up. 

Zoë Quinn at IndieCade in 2015.
Flickr Photo/IndieCade (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/EzDYuD

Zoë Quinn is an avid gamer, developer, and artist. In her capacity as author and advocate, she’s launched an online crisis network and spoken before the UN.

But you probably know her best from #GamerGate.

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET, Oct. 3

Facebook said on Monday it has given Congress thousands of ads linked with Russian influence operations in the United States and is tightening its policies to make such interference more difficult.

"Many [of the ads] appear to amplify racial and social divisions," it said.

The social media giant confirmed that it discovered the ad sales earlier this year and gave copies to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Oren Etzioni and Max Tegmark in the KUOW Green Room.
KUOW PHOTO/JASON PAGANO

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made headlines when he urged leaders to intervene in the quest for artificial intelligence, saying the technology “is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization.”

Musk painted a frightening picture of a future where an AI arms race could lead to apocalyptic outcomes for humanity. But KUOW’s Bill Radke recently talked with two AI experts who take a more optimistic view on the role intelligent machines can play in our future.

Demand is soaring for Seattle-area homes. Buyers who want to succeed are bidding up prices. This Seattle house recently sold for $100,000 over the asking price.
Courtesy of Seattle MLS

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire writer Monica Nickelsburg about a new Seattle based startup called Loftium which will help you buy a house — if you agree to rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb and split the profits with them.

Teens who take an X-rated selfie and then text the image can be found guilty of trading in child pornography in some cases. That was the 6-3 ruling of the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday.

Big names in Northwest business are coming together to deepen the financing pool for the next great tech startups. Microsoft and Madrona Venture Group want to integrate the venture capital communities of Seattle and Vancouver, BC.

Back in 2007, the hype around Apple's new phone was all about the keyboard — or lack thereof.

"In fact, some experts think the days of the telephone keypad are numbered," NPR's Laura Sydell wrote in advance of the release of the very first iPhone by Steve Jobs. It's fair to say, the forecast triumph of the on-screen keyboard has proved true (RIP BlackBerry Classic).

An Amazon Prime truck delivers an Australian fern to Amazon’s campus for the ceremonial first planting at The Spheres on Thursday,  May 4, 2017, in Seattle.
Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Amazon

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire editor Todd Bishop and Slate Magazine tech writer April Glaser about what it could mean for Seattle that Amazon will set up a second headquarters in a different North American city. 

Could a hacker alter your voter registration to disrupt an election? According to a study by Harvard researchers out Wednesday, the answer is yes.

In a stats-driven sport like baseball, it seems we know everything there is to know about a player. From batting average to a pitcher's power finesse ratio.

Measuring a player's ability isn't limited to his or her skill. There's also a wealth of information in an athlete's body.

BiliScreen is a new smartphone app that can screen for pancreatic cancer by having users snap a selfie.
Courtesy of the University of Washington/Dennis Wise

University of Washington researchers have created a smartphone app that could help users screen themselves for a range of diseases, including pancreatic cancer, by simply taking a selfie.

When you call 911 from a mobile phone, software at the carrier and dispatch center triangulates your location. But in places where cell towers are widely spaced, like rural Pacific County, Washington, it doesn't work so well.

phone listen headphones
Flickr Photo/Christoph Spiegl (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/99y97M

Smart devices like your phone or tablet could be used to track your movements. A group of computer science researchers at the University of Washington recently demonstrated this.

They turned smart devices into active sonar systems using a new computer code they created called CovertBand and a few pop songs.

technology computer keyboard
Flicker Photo/Leslee Lazar (CC-BY-NC-ND)

There’s a stereotype of tech workers that’s been circulating for some time now. It says the programmer checklist goes something like this:

Glasses repaired with tape.

Wears shorts and sandals at all times.

Works alone, possibly from parents’ basement.

Here's what we've been told about passwords:

  • Make them complicated.
  • Use numbers, question marks and hash marks.
  • Change them regularly.
  • Use different passwords for each app and website.

These guidelines often leave users frustrated and struggling to remember them all.

Flickr Photo/Robert Scoble (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with Slate tech writer April Glaser about the reasons that Google fired an engineer after he wrote a memo that questioned the ability of women to be successful in the tech industry. 

The cubist revolution, now in its eighth year, is thriving.

That's Minecraft cubes, of course.

The game where you build virtual Lego-like worlds and populate them with people, animals and just about everything in between is one of the most popular games ever made; it's second only to Tetris as the best-selling video game of all time. There's gold in them thar cubes: More than 120 million copies have sold since Minecraft launched in 2009.*

So what's behind the game's enduring appeal?

For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012: "iGen."

She says members of this generation are physically safer than those who came before them. They drink less, they learn to drive later and they're holding off on having sex. But psychologically, she argues, they are far more vulnerable.

Seattle women with advanced degrees earned 68 cents on the dollar that men made in 2015. Women with high school degrees were closer to parity with men of their education level in the city.
Flickr Photo/European Parliament (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/rwbiZy

If you're a Seattle woman with an advanced degree, another man in the city with the same level of education may earn quite a bit more than you.  

Updated 11:30 p.m. ET

A senior software engineer reportedly has been fired by Google after a memo he wrote criticizing diversity initiatives was leaked and sparked protests on social media.

The 3,300-word document that has been shared across Google's internal networks says "biological causes" are part of the reason women aren't represented equally in its tech departments and leadership. The senior engineer also cited "men's higher drive for status."

Marcus Hutchins' Twitter account suddenly went quiet a day ago when the FBI took him into custody in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The 23-year-old British citizen — who was praised earlier this year when he was credited with helping to control a global ransomware attack — was in town attending the Black Hat and DefCon cybersecurity conferences.

A privacy watchdog group has filed a complaint with the FTC over Google's system for tracking purchases Internet users make in person, at physical store locations.

In his North Korean mining town, Kim Hak-min loved getting his hands on electronics so much that he became the go-to guy to fix his neighbors' watches, TV's and radios. It earned the nickname "Repair Boy."

"I remember first opening up an electric toy when I was eight years old, figuring out how it worked and clutching it when I went to sleep," Kim recalls.

But by 2011, Kim had yet to encounter a smartphone.

"When I was in North Korea the only phones I saw where 2G and they were flip phones," Kim says.

Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Yes, you were promised a jet pack. Your disappointment around that may still sting, or you may be more concerned about global warming, or a robot taking your job, or finding affordable housing. Or you might be reasonably concerned that the digital revolution will leave you somewhere on the global trash heap of history.

A new book will help you find out what’s happening now and next in technology and maybe how to stay ahead of the curve.

You may have read that Bigfoot was found dead on a lake shore in New Mexico this summer. He wasn't. You can learn about that hoax here from the myth-busting and fact-checking site Snopes.

You may have heard NASA predicted the Earth will endure 15 straight days of darkness this fall. It didn't. Snopes has that covered too — debunking the claim when it first appeared in 2015 and again in May when it resurfaced.

In the neonatal intensive care unit of Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, a father is rocking a baby attached to a heart monitor. While doctors roam the halls trying to prevent infections, Chief Information Officer Theresa Meadows is worried about another kind of virus.

"The last thing anybody wants to happen in their organization is have all their heart monitors disabled or all of their IV pumps that provide medication to a patient disabled," Meadows says.

Crumbs may seem harmless here on Earth, but they can be a hazard in microgravity — they could get in an astronaut's eye, or get inhaled, causing someone to choke. Crumbs could even float into an electrical panel, burn up or cause a fire.

That's part of the reason why it was a very big deal in 1965 when John Young pulled a corned beef sandwich out of his pocket as he was orbiting the earth with Gus Grissom.

"Where did that come from?" Grissom asked Young.

"I brought it with me," Young said.

Even the most commonplace devices in our world had to be invented by someone.

Take the windshield wiper. It may seem hard to imagine a world without windshield wipers, but there was one, and Mary Anderson lived in that world.

In 1902, Anderson was visiting New York City.

Mute button on an Amazon Echo
Flickr Photo/Rob Albright/(CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/C6Ae3S

Bill Radke speaks with WIRED senior writer Emily Dreyfuss about her article that asks the question if Amazon's Echo should be able to call the police and what implications that could have on our privacy. 

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