• Coastal resilienceDYI experiment demonstrates the physics of climate change for students

    There are two main causes of rising sea levels — thermal expansion and melting land-based ice. Thermal expansion is responsible for most of the rising sea levels during the past century, but an increasing amount of rising levels into the future will be due to the melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as melting glaciers across the globe, especially the Himalayas, experts say. The rising sea level is a global phenomenon and will affect all coastal cities, but some places are more vulnerable than others. For example, the sea level on the North American Atlantic coast north of Cape Hatteras is rising three to four times faster than the global average, which has been attributed to a reduction in the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current.

  • STEM educationMath story time at home markedly improves math achievement in school

    Adding math talk to story time at home is a winning equation for children’s math achievement, according to new research. The study shows a marked increase in math achievement among children whose families used Bedtime Math, an iPad app that delivers engaging math story problems for parents and children to solve together. A recent study found that math-anxious parents who help their children with math homework actually undermine their children’s math achievement – but the new findings demonstrate that structured, positive interactions around math at home can cut the link between parents’ uneasiness about math and children’s low math achievement.

  • Pathogen detectionResearchers develop rapid method for water, air, and soil pathogen screening

    Researchers have developed a highly sensitive, cost-effective technology for rapid bacterial pathogen screening of air, soil, water, and agricultural produce in as little as twenty-four hours. “Rapid and reliable pathogen detection in field samples is critical for public health, security and environmental monitoring. Current methods used in food, water or clinical applications rely on labor and time-intensive culturing techniques while activities such as dairy farming, wastewater and runoff treatment necessitates real-time monitoring of pathogens in environment samples,” said one of the researchers.

  • CrimePredictive policing substantially reduces crime in Los Angeles during 21-month period

    Can math help keep our streets safer? A new study by a UCLA-led team of scholars and law enforcement officials suggests the answer is yes. A mathematical model they devised to guide where the Los Angeles Police Department should deploy officers, led to substantially lower crime rates during a recent 21-month period. The model was so successful that the LAPD has adopted it for use in 14 of its 21 divisions, up from three in 2013.

  • Syria“Greater than 90%”of Russian airstrikes in Syria not aimed at ISIS: U.S.

    The majority of Russia’s military strikes in Syria have not been aimed at the Islamic State or jihadists tied to al-Qaida, and have instead targeted the moderate Syrian opposition, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday. “Greater than 90 percent of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against ISIL or al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists,” said spokesman John Kirby. “They’ve been largely against opposition groups that want a better future for Syria and don’t want to see the Assad regime stay in power.” The Russian strategy appears to be a continuation of the Assad government’s military strategy, which always focused on attacking the anti-regime rebels rather than ISIS.

  • DronesFAA expands efforts to tackle risk of drones near busy airports

    A steep increase in reports of small unmanned aircraft in close proximity to runways is presenting a new challenge for the FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has entered into a Pathfinder agreement with CACI International Inc. to evaluate how the company’s technology can help detect Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the vicinity of airports.

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  • CybersecurityNSF awards $74.5 million to 257 interdisciplinary cybersecurity research projects

    The NSF the other day announced the awarding $74.5 million in research grants through the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program. In total, the SaTC investments include a portfolio of 257 new projects to researchers in thirty-seven states. The largest, multi-institutional awards include research better to understand and offer reliability to new forms of digital currency known as cryptocurrencies, which use encryption for security; invent new technology to broadly scan large swaths of the Internet and automate the detection and patching of vulnerabilities; and establish the “science of censorship resistance” by developing accurate models of the capabilities of censors.

  • CybersecurityTwo new projects tackle e-mail security

    In the early, halcyon days of the Internet, researchers were more interested in sharing information rather than securing it. Now, decades later, securing the world’s most widely used medium for business communication is a full-time job for researchers and IT specialists around the globe. The modern working world cannot exist without e-mail, but hackers exploit this vital service to steal money and valuable information. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is tackling this threat with two new projects.

  • Nuclear powerCyber vulnerability of civil nuclear facilities underestimated

    The risk of a serious cyberattack on civil nuclear infrastructure is growing, as facilities become ever more reliant on digital systems and make increasing use of commercial off-the-shelf software, according to a new report. The report finds that the trend to digitization, when combined with a lack of executive-level awareness of the risks involved, means that nuclear plant personnel may not realize the full extent of their cyber vulnerability and are thus inadequately prepared to deal with potential attacks.

  • MonsoonsUnderstanding monsoons for better predictions of Indian weather

    Summer, or southwest, monsoons are moisture-soaked seasonal winds that bring critical rainfall to the Indian subcontinent during the June-September wet season. An abundant season provides sustaining rainfall that replenishes water reservoirs and reaps bountiful crop harvests. By contrast, a weak season could lead to drought, soaring food prices and a battered economy. Better to understand global weather patterns and increase scientific collaboration between the United States and India, researchers have completed a month-long cruise studying summer monsoon conditions in the Bay of Bengal.

  • Water securityWater security test bed to focus on bolstering municipal water security

    Water is the foundation for life. People use water every single day to meet their domestic, industrial, agricultural, medical, and recreational needs. After the September 2001 terrorist attacks, water system security became a higher priority in the United States. The Water Security Test Bed (WSTB) at Idaho national Laboratory can be used for research related to detecting and decontaminating chemical, biological, or radiological agents following an intentional or natural disaster. The WSTB will focus on improving America’s ability to safeguard the nation’s water systems, and respond to contamination incidents and to natural disasters.

  • Nuclear materialsFBI helps foil several plots to sell nuclear material in Moldova’s black market

    Over the past five years, four attempts by Russian gangs in Moldova to sell nuclear material have been thwarted by the FBI and Moldovan authorities. The most recent case was in February when a smuggler, who specifically sought a buyer from Islamic State, offered undercover agents a large amount of radioactive caesium. The would-be smuggler wanted €2.5 million for enough radioactive material to contaminate several city streets.

  • Islam & extremismTony Blair: Many Muslims support Islamic extremists' ideology

    Tony Blair has warned that the ideology which drives Islamic extremists has significant support from Muslims around the world. Blair said that unless religious prejudice in Muslim communities is rooted out, the threat from the extremists will not be defeated. Blair, speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City, said that while the number of people engaging in violence by joining groups like Islamic State is relatively small, many of their views are widely shared.

  • Islam & extremismISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra share near identical ideologies: Report

    A just-published report analyzes a cross-section of 114 propaganda sources over two years from the three main Salafi-jihadi groups: ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The three groups share near identical ideologies, challenging the concept that “ISIS is more extreme than al-Qaeda.” Built upon distorted Islamic religious principles, the propaganda produces single-minded focus on violent jihad. The report finds explicit references to these principles throughout the propaganda:

  • DronesFAA proposes $1.9 million civil penalty for unmanned drone operations

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the other day announced the largest civil penalty the FAA has proposed against a drone operator for endangering the safety of U.S. airspace. The FAA proposes a $1.9 million civil penalty against SkyPan International, Inc. of Chicago. The FAA says that SkyPan conducted sixty-five unauthorized operations in some of the U.S. most congested airspace and heavily populated cities, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules.

  • ClimateTo “see” climate change, check your thermometer

    Scientists often use satellites, supercomputers, or high-tech arrays of instruments to show how the climate is changing. But now researchers have shown how climate change can be visible, even at just one location, with the simplest instrument of all: a thermometer.

  • Coastal resilienceClimate change will soon make atolls in the Pacific, Indian oceans uninhabitable

    More than half a million people live on atolls throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. A new study shows that the combined effect of storm-induced wave-driven flooding and sea level rise on island atolls may be more severe and happen sooner than previous estimates of inundation predicted by passive “bathtub” modeling for low-lying atoll islands, and especially at higher sea levels forecasted for the future due to climate change.

  • EnergyFusion energy is economically viable: Study

    Fusion energy offers the tantalizing possibility of clean, sustainable, and almost limitless energy.  But can it be an economically viable option? A team of researchers have calculated the cost of building, running, and decommissioning a fusion power station and how this compares to current fission nuclear power plants. They concluded that a fusion power plant could generate electricity at a similar price to a fission plant.

  • SurveillanceEuropean Court of Justice: U.S. data systems expose users to state surveillance

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg has ruled that U.S. digital data storage systems fail to provide sufficient privacy from state surveillance. The ECJ declared the American so-called safe harbor scheme “invalid.” The ruling, which is binding on all EU members states, stated that: “The United States … scheme thus enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons…” The ruling will have far-reaching ramifications for the online industry and would likely lead many companies to relocate their operations.

  • BangladeshBangladesh sees rise in Islamist violence

    A Bangladeshi pastor has escaped an attempt on his life by three men who came to his home saying they wanted to learn about Christianity, the Bangladeshi police said. The attack on the pastor follows last week’s fatal attacks on two foreigners. Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country, has seen a sharp rise in violence by hardline Islamist groups. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government rejected those claims, saying it has information tying the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party and its key ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, to the attacks.

  • TerrorismStrategy to defeat ISIS must degrade the group's finances, leadership

    A wealth of publicly available information suggests that the reemergence of the Islamic State in 2014 should not have come as a surprise, although the strength and scope of the reemergence were rightfully shocking, according to a new report. The researchers say that even before 2012, much was known about how the Islamic State financed and organized itself, established territorial control and responded to airpower. That knowledge can guide efforts to counter the Islamic State.

  • PreparednessMissouri schools underprepared for pandemics, bioterrorism, natural disasters

    Pandemic preparedness is not only critical because of the threat of a future pandemic or an outbreak of an emerging infectious disease, but also because school preparedness for all types of disasters, including biological events, is mandated by the U.S. Department of Education. Missouri schools are no more prepared to respond to pandemics, natural disasters, and bioterrorism attacks than they were in 2011, according to a new study. Particular gaps were found in bioterrorism readiness — less than 10 percent of schools have a foodservice biosecurity plan and only 1.5 percent address the psychological needs that accompany a bioterrorism attack.