• Domestic terrorismHundreds of Domestic Terrorism Investigations Opened Since Start of George Floyd Protests: Officials

    By Masood Farivar

    The FBI has opened more than 300 domestic terrorism investigations since late May and arrested nearly 100 people in Portland, Oregon, a focal point of the George Floyd protests, a top federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. The investigations are conducted by a recently formed Justice Department task force on “antigovernment extremists.” Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said most of the bureau’s domestic terrorism cases are linked to white supremacy, but the when lawmakers pressed Erin Nealy Cox, co-director of the task force, why the Justice Department “has stopped tracking white supremacist incidents as a separate category of domestic terrorism,” Cox said she did not know.

  • ExtremismHateful and Conspiratorial Groups on Facebook

    Despite public announcements of efforts to curb hateful speech and misinformation across its platform, Facebook still hosts many spaces in which this content propagates and thrives. While some of these problematic activities occur in small groups, a number of problematic Facebook groups have grown to a significant membership size, yet are still allowed to exist by Facebook. This is not by accident. Facebook has a history of overlooking this kind of behavior, arguing that some hateful content does not go against their Community Standards.

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  • Beirut explosionWhat is Ammonium Nitrate, the Chemical that Exploded in Beirut?

    By Gabriel da Silva

    Ammonium nitrate has the chemical formula NHNO₃. Produced as small porous pellets, or “prills,”it’s one of the world’s most widely used fertilizers. It is also the main component in many types of mining explosives, where it’s mixed with fuel oil and detonated by an explosive charge. For an industrial ammonium nitrate disaster to occur, a lot needs to go wrong. Tragically, this seems to have been the case in Beirut.

  • IoTConsumers Do Not Fully Trust Smart Home Technologies

    Researchers investigating the trust consumers have in “smart home” – homes in which smart devices are connected to each other to create an “internet of things” (IoT) — found that consumers were worried about the likelihood of security incidents. Businesses and policymakers will have to work together to gain consumer trust in smart home technologies.

  • MigrationBrexit Uncertainty, Migration Decisions Spark Brain-Drain Worries

    A new study found that, over the last four years, the “collective uncertainty” triggered by Brexit has sparked major changes in migration decisions, equivalent to the impact of a serious economic or political crisis. The study reveals the U.K. is facing a potential brain drain of highly educated British citizens, who have decided to invest their futures in continental Europe. The study compares changes in migration and naturalization patterns of migrating U.K. citizens before and since the Brexit referendum. 

  • Nuclear accidentsTracking the Neural Network's Nuclear Clues

    Following the 2011 earthquake in Japan, a tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling in three Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactors. The reactors’ cores largely melted in the first 72 hours. The disaster helped inspire PNNL computational scientists looking for clues of future nuclear reactor mishaps by tracking radioactive iodine following a nuclear plant reactor breach.

  • Our picksWhy America Is Afraid of TikTok | Can ISIS Terrorists be Rehabilitated? | Silicon Valley Losing Disinformation Battle, and more

    ·  Experts Warn Mail-In Voting Misinformation Could Threaten Elections

    ·  Silicon Valley Is Losing the Battle against Election Misinformation

    ·  Far-Right Group Britain First Is Setting Up A ‘Training Center’ In London

    ·  The Families of ISIS’s Victims Are Asking for Justice

    ·  Why America Is Afraid of TikTok

    ·  Can an ISIS Terrorist be Rehabilitated and Reintegrated into Society?

    ·  Security Services “Underestimate” the Risks Posed by Female ISIS Recruits Because of Gender Stereotypes, UN Counter-Terror Chief Warns

  • ExplosionPort of Beirut Explosion kills 73, injures 3,700

    A massive explosion late afternoon Tuesday at the warehouse section of the port of Beirut, Lebanon, killed more 73 and injured nearly 4,000, flattening buildings, shattering glass, and spreading fire. There were two explosions. The first, and much smaller one, was at a warehouse storing fireworks. But that explosion triggered the massive explosion next door, in a sprawling warehouse which stored 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical which was downloaded from a commercial ship in 2014 and which was supposed to be stored at the site only temporarily (for comparison: Timothy McVeigh used 1.8 tons of ammonium nitrate to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995). The number of dead and injured is likely to rise, as an untold number of people are still buried under collapsed buildings. Lebanese authorities say that many bodies may never be found because they were likely destroyed by the immense explosion or incinerated in the intense fires which follow.

  • The Russia connectionRussian Government Hackers Stole, Leaked Classified U.K. Trade Documents Ahead of 2019 Election

    A treasure trove of classified documents about secret trade negotiations between the United States and the United Kingdom – discussion which aimed to prepare the U.S.-U.K. economic relationship for the post-Brexit era – were stolen by Russian government hackers and leaked to the opposition Labour Party ahead of the December 2019 general election. The Russian government hackers stole the classified papers – 451 pages in all — from an email account of Liam Fox, who was then the U.K. trade secretary.

  • TerrorismProtection against Terrorist Attacks with Homemade Explosives

    Terrorist attacks often feature the use of homemade explosives. For the police and security forces to be able to take appropriate precautions and assess the damage after an attack, they need access to the right kind of tools. Researchers have now developed a sophisticated risk-analysis system to help prevent such attacks. At the same time, the software-based system assists with the forensic investigation of such incidents.

  • Smart-home defenseNew Method to Defend against Smart Home Cyberattacks

    Instead of relying on customers to protect their vulnerable smart home devices from being used in cyberattacks, researchers have developed a new method that enables telecommunications and internet service providers to monitor these devices.

  • AnthraxPreparing to Clean Up Following an Anthrax Attack

    The microorganism that causes anthrax, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, has infected people and animals since ancient times. Anthrax is one of the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack, because the anthrax bacteria exist in the natural environment, can be easily disguised in powders, sprays, food or water, and have been previously used as a biological warfare agent.

  • Power securitySafeguarding the Power Supply During a Major Outage

    Germany’s power supply is one of the most reliable in the world. Yet the growth in renewable energy has introduced a host of unpredictable factors into the power mix. The increasing number of irregular power sources can bring problems for grid stability. Moreover, in the event of a prolonged outage, there is the need to maintain the supply of power to critical infrastructure.

  • Climate crisis“Worst case” CO2 Emissions Scenario Best Match for Assessing Climate Risk: Report

    Four scenarios known as Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) were developed in 2005 to describe the potential scope and impact of global warming. The worst-case scenario was RCP 8.5, referring to the concentration of carbon that delivers global warming at an average of 8.5 watts per square meter across the planet (the best-case scenario was RCP 2.6). Scientists now argue that the RCP 8.5 CO2 emissions pathway — the worst-case scenario — is the most appropriate for conducting assessments of climate change impacts by 2050.

  • ARGUMENT: Malevolence & incompetenceWhat if J. Edgar Hoover Had Been a Moron?

    Benjamin Wittes, founder and co-editor of Lawfare, writes that it was on the ninth day of the Trump presidency, when writing in response to the new president’s new travel ban executive order, that he coined the phrase “malevolence tempered by incompetence.” But he never imagined in doing so that the phrase might aptly describe the Trump administration’s behavior toward him personally. In his detailed article, Wittes looks at both the incompetence, “which is simple and easy to understand and genuinely amusing,” and then the malevolence beneath it—”which is more complicated and is not amusing at all.”

  • Our picksTikTok Worry | Cost of Killer Heat | Sinking British Coast, and more

    ·  The Sociologist Who Could Save Us from Coronavirus

    ·  QAnon’s New Conspiracy: Democrats Are Stealing African Children

    ·  The Dangerous Art of Social Media and Messaging Manipulation

    ·  Foreign Threats Loom Ahead of U.S. Presidential Election, Intelligence Officials Say

    ·  The Cost of Killer Heat: A Rising Risk of Death in Poor Nations

    ·  U.S. Elections Face Phishing Attack Vulnerabilities: Study

    ·  Britain’s Coast at Risk as Scientists Issue Dire Climate Change Warning

    ·  How Climate Change Is Changing the Way We Build

    ·  The U.S. Is Right to Worry About TikTok

    ·  Mathematicians Urge Peers to Stop Working on Racist “Predictive Policing” Technology

  • China syndromePompeo: U.S. Will Take Action on Chinese Software in “Coming Days

    Chinese software companies operating in the United States assiduously collect customers’ personal date, browsing habits, facial images, and other information and deliver it to China’s intelligence agencies for possible use by China when it would serve China’s interests to do so. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the fact the Chinese software companies serve as information collectors for China’s intelligence agencies poses a serious national security threat to the United States, and that the administration, in the coming days, will soon announce a series of measures aiming to restrict the ability of Chinese software companies to operate in this way, and ban some companies from operating in the United States altogether.

  • China syndromeMystery Seeds from China A Concern for USDA

    During the last few weeks, dozens of people in twenty-two states have been receiving mysterious packages of seeds from China in their mail. The purpose of the mystery packages is not clear, but USDA urges recipients of the seed packages to hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from their states’ department of agriculture or USDA APHIS contacts them with further instructions. The mystery seeds should not be planted, or mixed with legitimate seeds.

  • Pandemic costsGoogle Searches During Pandemic: Hints of Future Increase in Suicide

    U.S. Google searches for information about financial difficulties and disaster relief increased sharply in March and April compared with pre-pandemic times, while Googling related to suicide decreased. Because previous research has shown that financial distress is strongly linked to suicide mortality, the researchers fear that the increase may predict a future increase in deaths from suicide.

  • PolarizationNew Algorithms Could Reduce Polarization Engendered by Information Overload

    As the volume of available information expands, the fraction a person is able to absorb shrinks. They end up retreating into a narrow slice of thought, becoming more vulnerable to misinformation, and polarizing into isolated enclaves of competing opinions. To break this cycle, computer scientists say we need new algorithms that prioritize a broader view over fulfilling consumer biases.

  • ExtremismTruNews Using Facebook to Disseminate, Amplify Anti-Semitism, Conspiracies

    TruNews, the fundamentalist Christian video streaming site which disseminates anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and Islamophobic propaganda, also posts and livestreams extremist content on social media platforms. Rick Wiles, the site’s founder, and his fellow hosts often combine their hate speech with extreme conspiracy theories. Among the conspiracy theories: the U.S. government spread the Ebola virus on U.S. soil; the U.S. and Israel created ISIS; and that Jews were responsibility for COVID-19 nd the impeachment of President Trump.

  • DronesIt’s a Bird... It’s a Plane... It’s Superman? No: It’s a Flapping-Wing Drone

    A drone prototype that mimics the aerobatic maneuvers of one of the world’s fastest birds, the swift, is being developed by an international team of aerospace engineers in the latest example of biologically inspired flight. The 26 gram ornithopter (flapping wing aircraft) which can hover, dart, glide, brake and dive just like a swift, making them more versatile, safer and quieter than the existing quadcopter drones.