• IranFormer IAEA deputy director criticizes nuclear agency’s Iran investigations

    Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency has criticized the agency for “reduc[ing] the level of transparency and details in its reporting” on Iran’s nuclear program, making it “practically impossible” to confirm that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal.

  • CybersecurityProtecting the Internet from weaknesses of many “connected” devices

    As an increasing number of devices — from cars to light bulbs to kitchen appliances — connect with computer networks, experts are raising concerns about privacy and security. Just this fall, attackers used compromised home devices, including security cameras and DVRs, to bombard an Internet infrastructure company with traffic, slowing Internet access for much of the U.S. East Coast. to address these concerns, an organization of academics and industry leaders released a report that provides guidance on how to build security and privacy protections into the emerging Internet of things (IoT).

  • Sanctuary campusesAbbott vows to cut funding for "sanctuary campus" schools

    By Patrick Svitek

    Rebuking a growing movement aimed at protecting undocumented students under incoming President Donald Trump, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed Thursday to cut funding for any Texas school that declares itself a “sanctuary campus.” The definition of a “sanctuary campus” is murky, but Abbott  made it clear they are not welcome in Texas.

  • RefugeesConservatives visualize Syrian refugees as small, but threatening: study

    A new study found that people who hold more conservative beliefs are more likely to perceive foreigners such as Syrian refugees as threatening, yet visualize them as physically smaller. Conservatives appear to imagine Syrian refugees as smaller because they believe forceful military action against terrorism will prevail. The researchers call this a “Gulliver effect,” inspired by the Jonathan Swift novel. “Comparatively, we find liberals more hesitant to endorse military action, not just from a moral perspective, but because they lack confidence that fighting will work,’” one researcher says. “Liberals in our sample tend to say that it will take years or decades for military action to be effective, if ever.” The study upheld previous research that revealed differences in how political orientation predicts the way people perceive threatening situations or individuals.

  • ForensicsIt is time to stop using bite marks in forensics: Experts

    Forensic dentists claim that they can accurately associate a bite mark to the one and only set of teeth in the world that could have produced the crime scene bite mark. There is, however, no sound basis for believing that forensic dentists can do such a thing, and researchers are increasingly skeptical about the validity of bite-mark identification as trial evidence.

  • Law enforcementPolice say they lack powers to probe phone involvement in crashes

    Four out of five collision investigators surveyed for the research indicated mobile phone involvement in non-fatal accidents was under-reported, with half agreeing the role of phones was even overlooked in fatal crashes. Police officers are worried they lack the right powers and resources properly to investigate whether a mobile phone was being used by a driver at the time of a crash, a new study has found.

  • EbolaSymptomless Ebola – questions need to be answered before the next outbreak

    By Edward Wright

    Scientists know that Ebola can cause anything from severe hemorrhagic fever to no symptoms at all (asymptomatic infections). What wasn’t known, until now, is the number of people who experienced asymptomatic infections during the 2013-2016 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. While the new report of asymptomatic cases of Ebola virus infection is not unique, it does raise important questions that need to be answered. Over the last couple of years, governments and global public health agencies have increased resources to tackle these questions. Hopefully, we will be better equipped and prepared for the next outbreak.

  • Russian hackingDeclassify information related to Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election: Lawmakers

    Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) led seven members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in asking President Barack Obama to declassify information relating to the Russian government and the U.S. election. Russian government hackers – employed by two Russian government agencies — conducted a hacking and disinformation campaign in the run up to the election, aiming to undermine Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, but no evidence has emerged to suggest that the Russian government hackers interfered with the voting process itself.

  • MalwareMore than 1 million Google accounts breached by Gooligan malware campaign

    Check Point Research Team says that on Tuesday, hard work done by the company’s security research teams revealed a new and alarming malware campaign. The attack campaign, named Gooligan, breached the security of over one million Google accounts. The number continues to rise at an additional 13,000 breached devices each day. The company’s research exposes how the malware roots infected devices and steals authentication tokens that can be used to access data from Google Play, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, G Suite, Google Drive, and more.

  • HezbollahReport: IDF planes strike Hezbollah weapons convoy, Syrian army target

    A Hezbollah arms convoy and a Syrian military target were hit overnight by Israeli air strikes, Arab media reported Wednesday. Syrian government-associated news sources reported that there were four explosions in Damascus at 1:15 in the morning, as a military compound near the Damascus airport was hit by Israel Air Force planes operating in Lebanese airspace. The Kuwaiti news network al-Rai reported that the planes also struck several vehicles travelling along the Beirut-Damascus highway, which were apparently part of a Hezbollah arms convoy.

  • AviationColombia plane crash: how can people survive deadly air disasters?

    By Graham Braithwaite

    A plane crash in Colombia has killed 71 people including most of one of Brazil’s top football teams, leaving just six survivors. While the investigation may take some time to reveal the factors behind the accident, the distressingly high – but not total – number of fatalities raises the question of how some people are able to survive such a devastating disaster. When an accident occurs, what is it that determines that some passengers survive when many others on the same flight do not?

  • CybersecurityAdvancing the science of cybersecurity

    Cyberattacks on corporations, agencies, national infrastructure and individuals have exposed the fragility and vulnerability of the internet and networked systems. Achieving truly secure cyberspace requires addressing both the technical vulnerabilities in systems, as well as those that arise from human behaviors and choices. NSF awards $70 million to support interdisciplinary cybersecurity research.

  • SuperbugsSupercomputer simulations help develop new approach to tackle antibiotic resistance

    Supercomputer simulations at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have played a key role in discovering a new class of drug candidates that hold promise to combat antibiotic resistance. Researchers combined lab experiments with supercomputer modeling to identify molecules that boost antibiotics’ effect on disease-causing bacteria.

  • Water securityNew wastewater system design guidelines help protect aquatic life

    New wastewater system design guidelines can help municipal governments better protect aquatic life and save millions of dollars a year. Engineers developed guidelines that can tailor the design of specialized filters, called fluidized bed reactors, to local conditions and help prevent phosphorous deposits from forming in wastewater systems.

  • Coastal resilienceBetter way for coastal communities to prepare for devastating storms

    As of 2010, approximately 52 percent of the United States’ population lived in vulnerable coastal watershed counties, and that number is expected to grow. Globally, almost half of the world’s population lives along or near coastal areas. Coastal communities’ ability to plan for, absorb, recover, and adapt from destructive hurricanes is becoming more urgent.

  • Emerging threatsRecord-breaking hot days ahead

    If society continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, Americans later this century will have to endure, on average, about fifteen daily maximum temperature records for every time that the mercury notches a record low, new research indicates. That ratio of record highs to record lows could also turn out to be much higher if the pace of emissions increases and produces even more warming.

  • Russian hackingRussian gov. hackers may disrupt Germany’s 2017 elections: Germany’s intel chief

    The Russian government’s broad hacking campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and help Donald Trump become the U.S. next president may well be the template Russia is following in the run-up to next year’s German general election. Russia has actively – both overtly and covertly — supported right-wing, ethno-nationalist, populist, and proto-Fascist parties like Front National in France, Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, and Jobbik in Hungary. These parties share not only anti-immigrant policies – but they are also fiercely anti-EU and want to distance their countries from NATO. One of the major themes in the public rallies – and political platform – of the German far-right, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant Pegida movement is that the influence of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Germany would be a welcome alternative to the imperial designs of the United States and Brussels.

  • Iran’s nukesExpert: Iran falsely accusing U.S. of violating nuclear deal to gain more concessions

    Iranian warnings against the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) reflect “a broader strategy” in pursuit of additional sanctions relief, a senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in a policy brief on Saturday. The ISA was originally passed in 1996, targeting Iran’s energy sector and expanding U.S. secondary sanctions. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the act earlier this month. In order to be renewed, the legislation must now pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

  • ImmigrationMexicans are migrating, just not across the U.S. border

    By Jeffrey H. Cohen and Bernardo Ramirez Rios

    Mexican migration to the U.S. is in decline. The Pew Hispanic Research Center has found that since 2009, more than one million native-born Mexicans living in the U.S. returned to Mexico. But many other Mexicans never crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in the first place. Why are some Mexican migrants choosing to stay home? What does it mean for the U.S. border with Mexico? The decline in migration to the U.S. is not simply linked to building more barriers at the border. Changing demography, economy, the difficulties of living in the U.S., and a growing sense of opportunity at home, among many other factors, are shifting Mexican migration to the U.S. Migrants balance risk and opportunity as they decide to move. Fostering the continued growth of those possibilities within Mexico, and the continued strengthening of the Mexican economy can help build a future without building a wall.

  • Immigration & businessLawmaker wants to crack down on illegal hiring by state contractors

    By Julián Aguilar

    The federal E-Verify system, operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, screens for undocumented workers by comparing the information that job applicants submit to an employer with records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. A measure filed Monday in the Texas Senate would beef up punishment for employers that hire undocumented workers and seek to do business with the state.

  • Blood systemChanges required to fortify U.S. blood system against financial, biological threats

    The U.S. blood system collects, tests, processes, and distributes the blood that is ultimately used in clinical practice. In 2013, more than 14 million units of blood were collected in the United States from about 15.2 million individuals, with 13.2 million units transfused. Medical advances have reduced the demand for blood in the United States, creating financial pressure on the nation’s blood collection centers and threatening their future survival.

  • GridRestoring power to a grid facing a cyberattack

    Currently, utility companies in North America have procedures and capacity to handle localized power outages caused by events such as extreme weather and high usage on hot days. However, there are not any tools available to resolve the type of widespread outages that can be caused using malware. Researchers from SRI International are leading a collaborative team to develop cutting-edge technology that can be used by utilities and cyber first responders to restore power to an electric grid that has come under a cyberattack.