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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.

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.

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