Technology

Bill Buzenberg and Ross Reynolds
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Digital media and the World Wide Web have disrupted media, decimating the newspaper business and upending other legacy media outlets. After years of strong growth is digital disruption finally reaching public radio? Some question whether NPR can survive. Others feel the public radio collaboration between radio stations and the network is fraying.

In this interview recorded at Town Hall in Seattle, May 3, Ross Reynolds speaks with the former head of NPR news, Bill Buzenberg.

It just became easier for students to fly drones as part of their class work. The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday loosened restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft in academia.

Forty centimeters is a long way down when you’re digging a pit in the forest.

“That’s why you never find perpetrators burying a body six feet under – it’s way too much work,” quips Western Oregon University Professor Misty Weitzel to the raucous approval of her sweaty students.

These Western Oregon University students aren’t burying bodies. They’re digging them up. Weitzel assures that the bodies are not human.

“What we have are three domestic pig burials that were placed in the ground 10 years ago,” says Weitzel, who teaches criminal justice.

Working through a self-help program online can prevent or delay major depression disorder in people who are vulnerable, a study finds. Similar programs have been used to treat depression, but this may be the first one tested to prevent it, the researchers say.

Online programs for mental health problems can be as effective as face-to-face treatment and offer some advantages: Low cost, available at any time and customizable. But they're not panaceas.

A frequent sight in our newsroom: Business reporter Carolyn Adolph arguing with Siri, the iPhone personal assistant.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Jeannie Yandel talks with Geekwire's Monica Nickelsburg about why virtual assistants like Siri typically have female sounding voices.

Though it's the world's top infectious killer, tuberculosis is surprisingly tricky to diagnose. Scientists think that video gamers can help them create a better diagnostic test.

An online puzzle released Monday will see whether the researchers are right. Players of a Web-based game called EteRNA will try to design a sensor molecule that could potentially make diagnosing TB as easy as taking a home pregnancy test. The TB puzzle marks the launch of "EteRNA Medicine."

What do you get in Cracker Jack? A QR code, apparently.

The "Prize Inside" will no longer actually be inside the box, Frito-Lay has announced. Like so many other aspects of our lives, the prize will be digitized.

A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument.

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable.

International trade disputes used to be relatively simple.

One country would build up an industry to create jobs, and then dump excess products in another country at below-cost prices. Competitors facing unrealistically cheap imports would file "anti-dumping" complaints to seek government-backed protections.

Note: This video contains offensive and abusive language.

[Youtube]

Two Chicago-area sports journalists were tired of being the target of abusive online comments from men, so they gathered up the degrading tweets that had been directed at them and asked other men to read them to their faces. The result is a video that has been viewed more than a million times.

Its name will be "Red Dragon." And if the latest partnership between SpaceX and NASA works out, the privately funded craft will land on Mars to collect scientific data — possibly within the next two years. The plan is to use the Dragon capsule, but without a human crew.

"SpaceX is planning to send Dragons to Mars as early as 2018," the company said via Facebook Wednesday. "These missions will help demonstrate the technologies needed to land large payloads propulsively on Mars."

You probably know it's against the law in most states to text and drive — but studies suggest that many of us still peek at our smartphones when we're behind the wheel.

This habit, however, contributes to distracted driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,179 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver in 2014.

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

If I told you there was a way to keep using your phone forever, would you want to?

In true unscientific form, I surveyed some phone users in downtown Washington, D.C.

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